With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
(Brittany Spencer/CBC - image credit) Tough new COVID-19 measures kicked in at midnight, meaning Prince Edward Islanders are waking up to a world where some things are no longer possible — at least for the next 72 hours. The P.E.I. government's so-called modified red restricted measures are meant to curb outbreaks of COVID-19 in Summerside and Charlottetown. As of late Sunday, 17 new cases had been confirmed in the past five days, with more than 190 close contacts identified so far. Dr. Heather Morrison, the province's chief public health officer, provided a long list of possible exposure sites and dates during a briefing Sunday afternoon. They appear below, along with a list of where COVID-19 testing is available. Exposure sites and times Islanders are strongly urged to seek a COVID-19 test if they were at any of the following locations at the times given, even if they do not have symptoms. Note that the province said on its Facebook page Monday: "When we list an exposure location and time, it's only for those specific times. If you were there before or after that time, you would not be considered a risk for exposure." Testing locations and hours After a busy weekend that saw about 6,632 tests for COVID-19 collected — 2,250 at Three Oaks High School in Summerside alone — provincial public health officials are looking for more swabs. Here are the times and places of today's testing clinics for people who may have had exposure at the above sites as well as for anyone experiencing symptoms: Charlottetown Park Street clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Montague Legion Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m Summerside Slemon Park Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. O'Leary Health Centre Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Health PEI announced changes for testing sites this evening because of potentially bad weather on Tuesday. Stratford testing site at Stratford Town Hall will be open for people aged 19-29 who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and do not have symptoms until close at 8 p.m. tonight. It was previously open only to 19- to 24-year-olds working in that industry today. Three Oaks High School testing site is available for 25- to 29-year-olds who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and who do not have symptoms until 6 p.m. This clinic was also previously open today only to 19- to 24-year-olds. 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.
A battle between lawsuits related to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is to be heard in a Regina courtroom this week. Eleven lawsuits were filed after the crash on April 6, 2018. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured when the driver of a semi-truck blew a stop sign and drove into the path of the junior hockey team's bus near Tisdale, Sask. Lawyers for a proposed class action waiting for certification plan to ask a judge Friday to delay another lawsuit filed by five of the victims families until that's done. The possible delay has some of the families frustrated. "We want to put certain pieces of this behind us. When they get dragged out longer and longer, it just makes it harder and harder. It causes more pain," said Chris Joseph, a former NHL player from St. Albert, Alta. His 20-year-old son, Jaxon, died in the crash. The proposed class action so far includes the families of 24-year-old Dayna Brons, the team's athletic therapist from Lake, Lenore, Sask., who died in hospital after the crash, and injured goalie Jacob Wassermann, 21, from Humboldt, Sask. The suit names the Saskatchewan government, the inexperienced truck driver who caused the crash and the Calgary-based company that employed him. Vancouver lawyer John Rice said the request for a stay, or delay, is about fairness. "In situations where numerous claimants are harmed from the same event — and where the legal findings in one proceeding could impact all the others — the court needs to strike a balance between the competing interests of individual litigants to ensure that the most efficient and just process is adopted," Rice said. "In these awful circumstances, in this application, the court is being asked to exercise the 'least-worst' option, which is to press pause on the progress of one action until the application for certification is heard." Kevin Mellor of Regina, lawyer for the other lawsuit, said a delay would put his clients' claim at risk. He represents the Joseph family as well as the families of Adam Herold, 16, of Monmartre, Sask.; Logan Hunter, 18, of St. Albert, Alta.; Jacob Leicht, 19, of Humboldt, Sask.; and assistant coach Mark Cross, 27, from Strasbourg, Sask. They all died from the crash. That lawsuit, in addition to naming the Saskatchewan government, the driver and his employer, also lists the bus company as a defendant. Mellor said Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison for causing the crash, but could be deported to India before their lawsuit gets to trial. "If the class action is going to delay ... they're going to miss out on material evidence because this guy will be deported," Mellor said. "We need to giddy-up and go." Co-counsel, Sharon Fox, said their clients shouldn't be punished because they were first to file a lawsuit. "We filed our claim in July 2018, three months after the crash happened," Fox said. "We have been at this for almost two years ... They're trying to hold us back, put us on the sidelines, so they can catch up. We're saying that's not fair and that's going to impact our client's ability to prove our case." Their clients also don't want to put their healing on hold any longer, she said. An affidavit from Herold's father, Russ Herold, was filed in advance of Friday's hearing. "I feel I will suffer psychological harm if my lawsuit is delayed," he says in the document. "I want to advance my lawsuit to hold responsible those that should be held responsible for my son's death." Lawyers for the Saskatchewan government recently argued in court that, because of the province's no-fault insurance, it should be struck as a defendant from the class action. A judge has not yet ruled on that application. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday stood by an unidentified Cabinet minister against calls for him to step down over an allegation he raped a 16-year-old girl more than 30 years ago. The accusation has created a cloud over the 16 men in Morrison’s 22-minister Cabinet and is feeding complaints of a culture within Parliament that is toxic for women. The allegation was contained in an anonymous letter sent to the prime minister’s office and to three female lawmakers last week. The letter contained a statement from a complainant that detailed her allegation of a rape she said occurred in New South Wales state in 1988. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, reported the allegation to police before taking her own life in June at age 49. Morrison said the Cabinet minister “vigorously and completely denied the allegations.” Morrison said he forwarded the letter to police and discussed the allegation with the federal police commissioner. Morrison said he did not intend to take any further action. “We can’t have a situation where the mere making of an allegation and that being publicized through the media is grounds for ... governments to stand people down simply on the basis of that,” Morrison said. The Ministerial Code of Conduct states a “minister should stand aside if that minister becomes the subject of an official investigation of alleged illegal or improper conduct.” Some within the government argue that because the complainant is dead, her allegation is no longer under official police investigation because a conviction is unlikely. Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, a minor Greens party lawmaker who received the anonymous letter, said the minister must step down pending an independent investigation by a former judge. “It is just not right to suggest that this type of allegation could linger, hang over the heads of the entire Cabinet,” Hanson-Young said. She said the accusation erodes the belief that the government takes sexual assault seriously. Marque Lawyers managing partner Michael Bradley, who represented the complainant when she took her accusation to police, said the allegation cannot be resolved through the criminal justice system because she has died. The minister should step down while some independent inquiry investigates the evidence, Bradley said. “His position is pretty clearly untenable and he should step aside or be stood aside until this matter can be addressed and resolved,” Bradley said. The disclosure comes two weeks after Morrison apologized in Parliament to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a more senior colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. Brittany Higgins quit her job in January and reactivated her complaint to police after initially not pursuing the case because she felt it would have affected her employment. The colleague, who has not been named publicly, was fired for breaching security by taking Higgins into a minister’s office following a night of heavy drinking. Three other women have made sexual misconduct allegations against the same man since Higgins went public with her complaint. A government staffer who alleged she was raped by the man last year told The Weekend Australian newspaper the attack wouldn’t have happened if the government had supported Higgins’ initial complaint. Morrison responded to Higgins’ public complaints by appointing government lawmaker Celia Hammond to work with political parties to investigate Parliament House culture, improve workplace standards and protect staff. Hammond and opposition Labor Party Sen. Penny Wong also received anonymous letters about the 1988 rape allegation. Wong said she met the complainant in 2019 and the complainant detailed her allegation against the man, who was not in Parliament in 1988. “I facilitated her referral to rape support services and confirmed she was being supported in reporting the matter to NSW Police,” Wong said. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whom Morrison replaced in a power struggle within the ruling conservative Liberal Party in 2018, said the complainant wrote to him in 2019 seeking advice on what she should do with her allegations. Turnbull described her allegations as “pretty harrowing” and said Morrison should remove the minister. Turnbull said he had sent the woman's email and his reply to police in the woman's home state of South Australia in expectation that they would be used as evidence in a coroner's investigation into her death. An investigation has not yet been announced. Morrison said that before he was told of the rape allegation last week, he had heard “rumours” that an Australian Broadcasting Corp. investigative reporter was “making some inquiries” about a rape around November last year when the ABC’s Four Corners program broadcast its “Inside the Canberra Bubble” investigation. The program accused the Liberal Party of tolerating and condoning inappropriate sexual behaviour. The program exposed an extramarital affair between Population Minister Alan Tudge and a female adviser in 2017. It also alleged Attorney General Christian Porter had been seen “cuddling and kissing” a female staffer in a Canberra bar, which he denies. The government has condemned the program. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has asked the ABC board to explain how the program was in the public interest and complied with the state-owned broadcaster’s obligation to produce accurate and impartial journalism. Minister for Women Marise Payne on Monday described the recent allegations of sexual misbehaviour as a low point of her 24 years in Parliament. “This is most definitely the most difficult, most confronting and most distressing period of my work life in this environment,” Payne told Sky News. “But distressing for me is meaningless in comparison to those people who have had to endure issues around sexual assault, the experience of sexual assault or harassment in its many forms, and we want to make sure that that stops now,” she added. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The federal government hopes to start receiving doses of AstraZeneca’s recently approved COVID-19 vaccine this week as the flood of shots that flowed into Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week partially subsides. Health Canada announced on Friday that it had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third COVID-19 shot to have received regulatory approval since the start of the pandemic. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with the majority to be delivered from the United States between April and September. But two million jabs have been ordered from the Serum Institute of India, and Verity Pharmaceuticals, which is facilitating the institute’s application in Canada, has said the first 500,000 would reach Canadian shores this week. A senior government official told The Canadian Press on background Sunday that the first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday, though the shipment has not been confirmed. Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, also told the CBC on Sunday that the regulator had received additional information over the weekend from Johnson and Johnson, which is seeking approval for its own vaccine. Regulators in the U.S. gave it the green light over the weekend. Sharma said Health Canada is hoping to approve Johnson & Johnson's vaccine in "the next couple of weeks," but added any decision is contingent on the information presented by the company. As it stands now, the Public Health Agency of Canada is currently only expecting delivery of about 445,000 vaccine doses this week, which is about 200,000 less than last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. The confirmed doses are all coming from Pfizer-BioNTech, as the two companies settle into a rhythm following a month-long delivery lull in January and much of February due to production upgrades in Europe. The pharmaceutical giants have pledged to deliver 4 million doses by the end of March. Canada received 168,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine last week, but the company only delivers every three weeks. Clinical trials showed the AstraZeneca vaccine to be less effective at preventing infection than the other two, but it is still keeping people from getting very sick or dying, Sharma said Friday. Pfizer and Moderna both reported their products were 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in immunized patients compared to those who received a placebo. Efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine is believed to be around 62 per cent. It’s not entirely clear yet how provinces and territories will incorporate the AstraZeneca vaccine into their inoculation efforts, but the product offers a more flexible option since shots can be shipped and stored in refrigerators rather than freezers. AstraZeneca vaccines are to be given in two doses between four and 12 weeks apart. Sharma said there is some indication that waiting longer for a follow-up jab leads to a better response, but that data is not yet complete. There have been some concerns raised about the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent weeks, including its effectiveness against virus variants of concern and whether there is enough data to show it works on older recipients. Several European countries, including Germany and France, limited AstraZeneca's vaccine to residents under the age of 65. Sharma said there were a limited number of people over 65 involved in the clinical trials, but that data, coupled with the real-world experience in the United Kingdom, shows strong evidence seniors are protected. Canada’s vaccine program is ramping up after the lengthy slowdown in deliveries. More than 300,000 people were vaccinated in the last week, almost one-fifth of the total doses injected since the first immunizations began Dec. 14. About 700,000 people had received one dose as of Friday afternoon, and more than 500,000 are now fully vaccinated with two doses. Quebec is set to expand its vaccination effort to the general public on Monday by allowing seniors 85 or older to begin booking appointments. The age threshold has been lowered to 80 for seniors in the Montreal area. The AstraZeneca vaccine works differently than the other two already in use in Canada. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use messenger RNA technology, using RNA encoded with the piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as the spike protein. The mRNA trains the body to fight off a COVID-19 infection. AstraZeneca is a viral vector vaccine, which takes a cold virus, modifies it so it can’t reproduce itself, and adds the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. When injected, it too provokes the body to develop infection-fighting antibodies and cells to combat the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Former Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi says he believes he was surveilled by Canadian intelligence while he lived in Montreal.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Mar. 1, 2021. There are 866,503 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 866,503 confirmed cases (30,731 active, 813,778 resolved, 21,994 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,307 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 80.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,873 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,839. There were 35 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 320 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 46. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,425,703 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 988 confirmed cases (266 active, 716 resolved, six deaths). There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 50.95 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 196,011 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were five new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 102,000 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,641 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,538 resolved, 65 deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 3.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 329,339 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,430 confirmed cases (39 active, 1,364 resolved, 27 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 236,401 tests completed. _ Quebec: 287,740 confirmed cases (7,817 active, 269,530 resolved, 10,393 deaths). There were 737 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,618 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 803. There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.21 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,280,259 tests completed. _ Ontario: 300,816 confirmed cases (10,492 active, 283,344 resolved, 6,980 deaths). There were 1,062 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 71.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,730 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,104. There were 20 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 119 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,849,514 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,859 confirmed cases (1,194 active, 29,770 resolved, 895 deaths). There were 50 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 86.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 68. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.89 per 100,000 people. There have been 528,966 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,647 confirmed cases (1,543 active, 26,719 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 141 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 130.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,027 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 147. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 573,125 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,504 confirmed cases (4,584 active, 127,034 resolved, 1,886 deaths). There were 301 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 103.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,441 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 349. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 59 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,387,838 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,448 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,910,966 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,142 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,451 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 357 confirmed cases (18 active, 338 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 45.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 18 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,615 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Mar.1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou's U.S. extradition hearing resumed in a Canadian court on Monday with defence countering prosecutors' claims that Meng misled HSBC about the Chinese telecom company's relationship with its affiliate while doing business in Iran. As five days of hearings in the British Columbia Supreme Court started, the defence drilled into the alleged sanction violations that led to Meng's arrest. The daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is accused by the United States of misleading HSBC about her company's business arrangements in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.
NEW DELHI — India is expanding its coronavirus vaccination drive beyond health care and front-line workers, offering the shots to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk. Among the first to receive a vaccine on Monday was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Those now eligible include anyone older than 60, as well as those over 45 who have ailments such as heart disease or diabetes that make them vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness. The shots will be given for free at government hospitals and will also be sold at over 10,000 private hospitals at a fixed price of 250 rupees, or $3.40, per shot. But the rollout of one of the world's largest vaccination drives has been sluggish. Amid signs of hesitancy among the first groups offered the vaccine, Modi, who is 70, got a shot at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science. He received the vaccine produced by Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech — which has been met with particular skepticism. He appealed for all to get vaccinated, tweeting afterward, “together, let us make India COVID-19 free!” The drive, which began in January in the country of 1.4 billion people, has recently taken on even more urgency, since new infections have begun to increase again after months of consistent decline, and scientists have detected worrisome variants of the virus that they fear could hasten infections or render vaccines or treatments less useful. Scores of elderly people started lining up outside private hospitals on Monday morning. Sunita Kapoor was among them, waiting for a vaccine with her husband. She said that they had been staying at home and not meeting people for months to stay safe from the virus — and were looking forward to being able to socialize a bit more. “We are excited,” said Kapoor, 63. Many said that they had struggled with the online system for registering and then waited in line for hours before receiving the vaccine — problems that other countries have also experienced. Dr. Giridhar R. Babu, who studies epidemics at the Public Health Foundation of India, said that long waits for the elderly were a concern since they could pick up infections, including COVID-19, at hospitals. “The unintended effect might be that they get COVID when they go to get the vaccine,” he said. Even though India is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers and has one of the biggest immunization programs, things haven't gone according to plan. Of the 10 million health care workers that the government had initially wanted to immunize, only 6.6 million have gotten the first shot of the two-dose vaccines and 2.4 million have gotten both. Of its estimated 20 million front-line workers, such as police or sanitation workers, only 5.1 million have been vaccinated so far. Dr. Gagangdeep Kang, an infectious diseases expert at Christian Medical College Vellore in southern India, said the hesitancy by health workers highlights the paucity of information available about the vaccines. If health workers are reticent, “you seriously think that the common public is going to walk up for the vaccine?” she said. Vaccinating more people quickly is a major priority for India, especially now that infections are rising again. The country has recorded more than 11 million cases, second in the world behind the United States, and over 157,000 deaths. The government had set a target of immunizing 300 million people, nearly the total U.S. population, by August. The spike in infections in India is most pronounced in the western state of Maharashtra, where the number of active cases has nearly doubled to over 68,000 in the past two weeks. Lockdowns and other restrictions have been reimposed in some areas, and the state's chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, has warned that another wave of cases is “knocking on our door.” Similar surges have been reported from states in all corners of the massive country: Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Gujarat in the west, West Bengal in the east, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in central India, and Telangana in the south. Top federal officials have asked authorities in those states to increase the speed of vaccinations in districts where cases are surging, and to track clusters of infections and monitor variants. “There is a sense of urgency because of the mutants and because cases are going up,” said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. He said that the consistent dip in cases over months resulted in a “reduced threat perception,” leading to vaccine hesitancy. “The (vaccination) drive began when perception was that the worst was over, so people were more hesitant,” Reddy said. Others have also pointed out that the reticence to get vaccinated was amplified, at least in part, by the government's opaque decision making while greenlighting vaccines. But experts say that allowing private hospitals to administer the shots — which began with this new phase of the campaign — should improve access. India's health care system is patchy, and in many small cities people depend on private hospitals for their medical needs. Still, problems remain. India had rolled out online software to keep track of the shots and recipients, but the system was prone to glitches and delays. The federal government will decide which hospitals get which vaccine and people will not have a choice between the AstraZeneca vaccine or the Bharat Biotech one, confirmed Dr. Amar Fettle, the nodal COVID-19 officer for southern Indian state Kerala. The latter got the go-ahead by Indian regulators in January before trials testing the shot's effectiveness at preventing illness were completed. But opening up the campaign to private hospitals may allow the rich to “shop” around for places that are providing the AstraZeneca vaccine — an option that poorer people wouldn't have, said Dr. Anant Bhan, who studies medical ethics. India now hopes to quickly ramp up vaccinations. But the country will likely continue to see troughs and peaks of infections, and the key lesson is that the pandemic won't end until enough people have been vaccinated for the spread of the virus to slow, said Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University who advises West Bengal state on the virus response. “Don’t use a trough to declare success and say it's over,” he said. ___ Associated Press journalists Krutika Pathi and Rishabh Jain contributed to this report. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Aniruddha Ghosal, The Associated Press
(Heather Gillis/CBC - image credit) Kayleigh Kennedy says she received the wrong voter declaration envelope in her voting kit. Elections NL provided her with a new one, saying it wouldn't have spoiled her ballot. As Elections NL begins the process of counting ballots on Monday, in the province's extended election, one St. John's woman is urging voters to double-check their mail-in ballots before returning them. When the election was first called Kayleigh Kennedy had planned to vote in-person, since she lives near a polling station in her Waterford Valley district. "We had zero cases for so long that I was comfortable just going to vote in-person," Kennedy said of the province's pandemic election. But when cases skyrocketed and the province went into an Alert Level 5 lockdown, Kennedy changed her mind. "There's no way on God's green earth that I am going into a public place right now," she said via FaceTime on Sunday. Kennedy said she applied for a mail-in ballot and marked an "x" for her candidate of choice. Elections NL says ballots returned in the wrong declaration envelope won't be spoiled. "I read all the instructions, I signed it, I put it in the green ballot envelope. And then when I went to put it in the blue one, like the declaration envelope you have to sign, I noticed my name was printed on it, but it said St. John's Centre underneath it instead of Waterford Valley," Kennedy said. Kennedy called Tom Osborne, the Liberal candidate in Waterford Valley, and asked him if she could return her ballot in the wrong envelope, fearing it could spoil her ballot. She says Osborne contacted Elections NL on her behalf, which then dropped off new envelopes with the correct district printed on it. "My first thought was how many other people around here has this happened to and are they going to notice? Because I was ready to just throw it in the envelope and stick it in the mail," said Kennedy, who lives on a street that borders the St. John's Centre district. Wrong envelope won't spoil ballot: Elections NL In a statement, a spokesperson for Elections NL said some people have received an incorrect ballot, but issues have not been "significant." "When we shifted from the in-person vote to strictly vote-by-mail process, we also switched from using the candidate ballots to the write-in ballots. Approximately 35,000 people will have received candidate ballots whereas the rest of the approximately 120,000 applicants are receiving blank, write-in ballots," reads part of the statement. Elections NL said anyone who has issues with a voting kit should contact them so the the problem can be fixed. "We have issued replacement voting kits to those who have needed them. The process of compiling the voting kits for the mail is a fully manual process. Human error is certainly a possibility." the statement said. Meanwhile, Elections NL said, ballots returned in the wrong declaration envelope won't be spoiled. "As long as the elector signs and dates the blue declaration envelope, we are able to look them up in our system to determine their correct electoral district." In the meantime, Kennedy, who believes voter turnout will be low, is reminding voters to double-check their kits "just in case, because every vote counts." "If there's mistakes along the way that aren't our fault, then I think people should be watching out for those," she said. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by March 12 in order to be counted. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
(Submitted by Kacey Salter - image credit) A man accused in the death of a young mother is scheduled to appear in court Monday in Fort St. John, as the northern B.C. community struggles with her loss. Amanda Black, 22, died inside a townhouse in Fort St. John on Feb. 8, according to RCMP. "The community is absolutely horrified," said Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, who burst into tears during an interview with CBC News. "We've lost a young mum and a young boy has lost his mom," the mayor said. Black's boyfriend Shane Sutherland is charged with second degree murder and remains in custody. Close friends remember Black as funny, outgoing and unique, a young woman who sported funky hair colours, lip piercings and a peace sign tattoo and was a dedicated mother to her one-year-old son. Black's friends remember her as happy and courageous, a woman who stood up to bullies. "She was such an amazing mom to her little boy, and loved him with her full heart," said Black's longtime friend, McKayla Ingram. Friends also remember her courage. 'She stood up to bullies' Kacey Salter, 22, said as a young teen, Black stepped in to protect her from an online bully and later went toe-to-toe with older teenage boys who harassed them on the street. "She stood up to bullies. She definitely wasn't scared of much," said Salter. Friends say Black loved music and had a beautiful voice. After she died, Salter discovered an old video of Black singing the country song, "If I die young." "It was very sad to see that,"said Salter, who remembers her friend as full of life and "almost always happy." Close friends remember Black as a strong woman who stood up to bullies. Salter said she and Black cemented their friendship as young teens racing around in a shopping cart at Zellers. She had recently helped Black dye her hair bright pink and blue. The very last time she saw her friend, she says, they dropped Black's young son off at daycare, then laughed out loud as they shared smiley face cookies. Salter has now adopted Black's cat, a tabby named Ash she believes may have been hurt the night her close friend died. Salter said Ash's eye was almost swollen shut and his nose was injured. "I don't know what happened that night, but Ash definitely took some kind of hit to the face," she said. Longtime friend Talus Skafte, remembers Black as extremely courageous. "She stuck up for everyone. She had no problem putting her foot down. She was strong." To mark what would have been Black's 23rd birthday, her friends and family released lanterns during vigils at Fort St. John's baseball fields and the beach on Gabriola Island. Days after Black died, friends and family marked what would have been her 23rd birthday, by launching lanterns from a rocky beach on Gabriola Island where family members live and from a baseball diamond in Fort St. John. Black honoured in Fort St. John In Fort St. John, civic officials illuminated the recreation centre with purple lights, in honour of Black's favourite colour. "It's like we were lowering the flag for someone who lost their life," said Ackerman. Fort St. John lit up its community centre in honor of Amanda Black. The city's mayor said it was a sign of respect, similar to lowering the flag. Amanda Trotter with the Fort St. John Women's Resource Centre, says Black's homicide has created a level of apprehension in the community. "There are a lot of young women in our community asking, gosh, could this happen to me, too?" In the small city of 20,000 people, Fort St. John RCMP respond to about 150 domestic violence calls each year, a number community leaders say is rising.
TORONTO — Demand for electricity in Ontario last year fell to levels rarely seen in decades amid shifts in usage patterns caused by pandemic measures, new data show. The decline came despite a hot summer that had people rushing to crank up the air conditioning at home, the province's power management agency said. "We do have this very interesting shift in who's using the energy," said Chuck Farmer, senior director of power system planning with the Independent Electricity System Operator. "Residential users are using more electricity than we thought they would and the commercial consumers are using less." The onset of the pandemic last March prompted stay-home orders, businesses to close, and a shuttering of live sports, entertainment and dining out. Social distancing and ongoing restrictions, even as the first wave ebbed and some measures eased, nevertheless persisted and kept many people home as summer took hold and morphed into winter. System operator data show peak electricity demand rose during a hot summer spell to 24,446 megawatts — the highest since 2013. Overall, however, Ontario electricity demand last year was the second lowest since 1988, the operator said. In all, Ontario used 32.2 terawatts of power in 2020, a decline of 2.9 per cent from 2019. With more people at home during the lockdown, winter residential peak demand has climbed 13 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, while summer peak usage was up 19 per cent. "The peaks are getting higher than we would normally expect them to be and this was caused by residential customers — they're home when you wouldn't expect them to be home," Farmer said. Matching supply and demand — a key task of the system operator — is critical to meeting peak usage and ensuring a stable grid because electricity cannot be stored easily. It is also difficult to quickly raise or lower the output from nuclear-powered generators, which account for the bulk of electricity in the province, as demand fluctuates. Life patterns have long impacted overall usage. For example, demand used to typically climb around 10 p.m. each night as people tuned into national television newscasts. Livestreaming has flattened that bump, while more energy-efficient lighting led to a drop in provincial demand over the holiday season. The pandemic has now prompted further intra-day shifts in usage. Fewer people are getting up in the morning and powering up at home before powering down and rushing off to work or school. The summer saw more use of air conditioners earlier than normal after-work patterns. Weather has always been a key driver of demand for power, accounting for example for the record 27,005 megawatts of usage set on a brutally hot Aug. 1, 2006. Similarly, a mild winter and summer led to an overall power usage drop in 2017. Still, the profound social changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic — and whether some will be permanent — have complicated demand forecasting. "Work patterns used to be much more predictable," the agency said. "The pandemic has now added another element of variability for electricity demand forecasting." Some employees sent home to work have returned to their offices and other workplaces, and many others are likely do so once the pandemic recedes. However, some larger companies have indicated that working from home will be long term. "Companies like Facebook and Shopify have already stated their intention to make work from home a more permanent arrangement," the operator said. "This is something our near-term forecasters would take into account when preparing for daily operation of the grid." Aggregated data from better smart meters, which show power usage throughout the day, is one method of improving forecasting accuracy, the operator said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario's website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments will begin a "soft launch" in six public health units this week, two weeks before it becomes available across the province, The Canadian Press has learned. But the website will not be available to the general population in those regions, said a senior government source not authorized to speak publicly about the plan. Instead, public health officials will reach out to a small number of individuals who are 80 or older, as well as some eligible health-care workers, starting Monday. The source said the plan will help the province test components of the system before the full launch, determine whether any changes need to be made to the system and organize the vaccination of larger populations. The site is a "public-facing extension" of the COVaxON system the province has been using since the start of the vaccine rollout, the source said, and will also serve to keep track of inoculation data. The regions participating in the soft launch are Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington; Peterborough County-City; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties; Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark; Grey Bruce; and Lambton. The source noted the site will not be available to other regions before March 15, even those that have already begun vaccinating members of the 80-and-over age group such as York and Peel. Those regions must use "existing relationships with residents" to book the vaccinations until the online platform launches on March 15, when they're expected to switch to the provincial system. The source said the website will focus at first on appointments at mass vaccination sites, but the province will work with public health units in the coming weeks to make sure it's compatible with other facilities such as hospital sites and mobile clinics. The government has faced criticism for what some describe as the slow rollout of its vaccine booking portal, which is expected to launch the same day the head of the vaccine task force said people aged 80 and over would start getting the shots. Retired general Rick Hillier said his team was "furiously working" to test and refine the site so it would be up-and-running on time. Health Minister Christine Elliott defended the timeline, saying the government was still testing the site and wanted to ensure it won't crash when it goes live. "We don't want to rush to failure,'' she said last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
The S&P 500 surged on Monday in its strongest one-day gain since June as bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff, while another COVID-19 vaccine getting U.S. approval and fiscal stimulus bolstered expectations of a swift economic recovery. Johnson & Johnson ended up 0.5%, but off earlier highs, after it began shipping its single-dose vaccine after it became the third authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the United States over the weekend. U.S. bond yields eased after a swift rise last month on expectations of accelerated inflation due to bets on an economic rebound.
ISLAMABAD — The United States wasted billions of dollars in war-torn Afghanistan on buildings and vehicles that were either abandoned or destroyed, according to a report released Monday by a U.S. government watchdog. The agency said it reviewed $7.8 billion spent since 2008 on buildings and vehicles. Only $343.2 million worth of buildings and vehicles “were maintained in good condition,” said the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, which oversees American taxpayer money spent on the protracted conflict. The report said that just $1.2 billion of the $7.8 billion went to pay for buildings and vehicles that were used as intended. “The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects," John F. Sopko, the special inspector general, said in his report. The U.S. public is weary of the nearly 20-year-old war and President Joe Biden is reviewing a peace deal his predecessor, Donald Trump, signed with the Taliban a year ago. He must decide whether to withdraw all troops by May 1, as promised in the deal, or stay and possibly prolong the war. Officials say no decision has been made but on Monday, Washington's peace envoy and the American who brokered the U.S.-Taliban deal, Zalmay Khalilzad, was back in the Afghan capital for a tour of the region. Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government have been holding on-again-off-again talks in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar but a deal that could bring peace to Afghanistan after 40 years of relentless war seems far off. After Kabul, Khalilzad will travel to Qatar's capital of Doha and neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, to push anew for progress in the Doha talks and a cease-fire to end the relentless violence. Analyst Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal said the findings by SIGAR are not surprising. The reasons for the financial losses include Taliban attacks, corruption and “throwing money at the problem without considering the implications,” he said. “It is one thing to build a clinic and school, it is another to operate, maintain, and in many cases defend this infrastructure from Taliban attacks,” said Roggio. "Additionally, the West has wildly underestimated the impact of Afghan corruption and in many cases incompetence. It was always a recipe for failure.” U.S. agencies responsible for construction didn't even ask the Afghans if they wanted or needed the buildings they ordered built, or if they had the technical ability to keep them running, Sopko said in his report. The waste occurred in violation of “multiple laws stating that U.S. agencies should not construct or procure capital assets until they can show that the benefiting country has the financial and technical resources and capability to use and maintain those assets effectively,” he said. Torek Farhadi, a former adviser to the Afghan government, said a "donor-knows-best” mentality often prevailed and it routinely meant little to no consultation with the Afghan government on projects. He said a lack of co-ordination among the many international donors aided the wastefulness. For example, he said schools were on occasion built alongside other newly constructed schools financed by other donors. The construction went ahead because once the decision was made — contract awarded and money allocated — the school was built regardless of the need, said Farhadi. The injection of billions of dollars, largely unmonitored, fueled runaway corruption among both Afghans and international contractors. But experts say that despite the waste, the need for assistance is real, given the Afghan governments heavy dependence on international money. The worsening security situation in Afghanistan also greatly impeded the monitoring of projects, with shoddy construction going undetected, said Farhadi, the former Afghan government adviser. “Consult with the locals about their needs and sustainability of the project once the project is complete,” he urged U.S. funding agencies looking to future projects. “Supervise, supervise, supervise project progress and implementation and audit every single layer of expenditure.” Going forward, Roggio said smaller, more manageable projects should be the order of the day. To build big unmanageable projects that Afghanistan has neither the capacity nor technical expertise for after 40 years of relentless war “feeds into the Taliban narrative that the government is corrupt, incompetent, and incapable of providing for the Afghan people,” he said. Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press
BERLIN — Companies that sell refrigerators, washers, hairdryers or TVs in the European Union will need to ensure those appliances can be repaired for up to 10 years, to help reduce the vast mountain of electrical waste that piles up each year on the continent. The "right to repair," as it is sometimes called, comes into force across the 27-nation bloc Monday. It is part of a broader effort to cut the environmental footprint of manufactured goods by making them more durable and energy efficient. “This is a really big step in the right direction” said Daniel Affelt of the environmental group BUND-Berlin, which runs several "repair cafes" where people can bring in their broken appliances and get help fixing them up again. Modern appliances are often glued or riveted together, he said. “If you need specialist tools or have to break open the device, then you can’t repair it.” Lack of spare parts is another problem, campaigners say. Sometimes a single broken tooth on a tiny plastic sprocket can throw a proverbial wrench in the works. “People want to repair their appliances,” Affelt said. “When you tell them that there are no spare parts for a device that’s only a couple of years old then they are obviously really frustrated by that.” Under the new EU rules, manufacturers will have to ensure parts are available for up to a decade, though some will only be provided to professional repair companies to ensure they are installed correctly. New devices will also have to come with repair manuals and be made in such a way that they can be dismantled using conventional tools when they really can't be fixed anymore, to improve recycling. Each year, Europeans produce more than 16 kilograms (35 pounds) of electrical waste per person. About half of that junk is due to broken household appliances, and the EU recycles only about 40% of it, leaving behind huge amounts of potentially hazardous material. German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said that in a next step, manufacturers should have to state how long a product is expected to work for and repair it if it breaks down earlier. This would encourage companies to build more durable products, she said. “In the repair cafes we see a lot of devices that broke shortly after the warranty expired,” said Affelt — a phenomenon that has prompted some environmentalists to accuse manufacturers of designing their devices with planned obsolescence. Knowing an appliance will really last for a decade might prompt consumers to choose products that are more durable or can be easily fixed, he said. “For the vast majority of devices, repair is the right choice," said Affelt, adding that the exception might be old, inefficient refrigerators that can contain powerful greenhouse gases which fuel climate change. In a next step, environmentalists and consumer rights groups want the “right to repair” expanded to include smartphones, laptops and other small electrical devices. Responding to growing demand, Apple last year announced it would start providing training and spare parts to certified independent repair stores fixing Mac computers, not just iPhones. Right to repair bills have been introduced in several U.S. state legislatures, attracting bipartisan support, though as yet there is no nationwide measure in force. Sweden has gone further than most of the EU, making repairs and spare parts subject to lower value-added tax. The bloc's ecological design directive — of which the right to repair requirement is a part — will also revise existing energy labels that describe how much electricity washers and other household devices consume. The new seven-step scale from A to G will be complemented by a QR code that provides consumers with further information, such as how loud the devices are. Frank Jordans, The Associated Press
Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. Chris Scott, chief meteorologist with The Weather Network, said Canadians can count on some sunny days to put a bounce in their step after a long winter. "There's going to be some challenges. We're not out of the woods for winter, but we've certainly put the worst behind us and there's some really nice days ahead," said Scott, adding that people should get out and enjoy the sunshine when the daily forecast calls for it. The Weather Network predicts that March will bring extended tastes of early spring to Ontario and Quebec after a particularly wintry February. But Scott said the province should brace for a period of colder weather in mid-spring before more consistent warmth sets in. The Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia, with lower-than-average temperatures in the offing for the first half of the season. An above-normal snowpack will make for excellent skiing conditions but also a heightened risk for spring flooding when warm weather finally arrives, Scott said. The Weather Network's outlook suggests March will be dramatically warmer through the Prairies, but indicates western parts of the region will struggle to reach consistently mild temperatures. The network said it's concerned that drought conditions south of the border could become more widespread and affect southern parts of the region by the start of the growing season. Scott predicted temperatures exceeding seasonal norms in Atlantic Canada, but said the region is still at risk for high-impact, late-winter storms. In Northern Canada, colder than normal spring temperatures are expected for southern Yukon, while eastern Nunavut will be warmer than usual. "There's going to be good days (for outdoor activities) in every part of the country, you're just going to have to pick your battles," Scott said. The meteorologist did have good news for most of Canada's largest river valleys, predicting they would be spared disastrous floods in the months ahead. Scott said the Red River Valley in Manitoba, the Ottawa and St. Lawrence valleys in Ontario and Quebec, as well as the Saint John River valley in New Brunswick likely won't have to contend with dangerously high water levels in March and April. "That's because we don't have the tremendous snowpacks that are the antecedent condition that you need to get really severe spring flooding," said Scott. "That's really good news in places, especially in Eastern Canada, that have been hit with floods." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Despite the U.S. economy's near miss with a depression last year and an ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has brought travel to a virtual halt, Jeff Hurst, the chief executive of vacation rental firm VRBO, sees a boom on the horizon. "Every house is going to be taken this summer," Hurst said, as the expected protection from vaccines arrives in step with warmer weather, unleashing a cooped-up population with record savings stashed away.
Bitcoin's 300% price surge since October has revived China's grey market in cryptocurrency trading, putting regulators on alert over financial risks and capital outflows as volatility spikes. China shut down its local cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017, smothering a speculative market that had accounted for 90% of global bitcoin trading. Onshore investors now trade bitcoin on platforms owned by Chinese exchanges that have relocated overseas, including Huobi and OKEx.
BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish police entered Barcelona's stadium on Monday in a search and seize operation. The club said authorities were at the team's headquarters but did not provide any more detail. Spanish media said the operation was related to last year's “Barçagate,” in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Lionel Messi. The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The operation comes less than a week before presidential elections are to be held at the club. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press