Gerontologist Dr. Maria Chung discusses the damaging effects of prolonged social isolation on a senior's well-being.
Gerontologist Dr. Maria Chung discusses the damaging effects of prolonged social isolation on a senior's well-being.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Alice Hoagland, a beloved figure of the gay rugby movement that her own son, Mark Bingham, helped set in motion shortly before he perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks as one of the heroes of Flight 93, has died. She was 71. Hoagland, a former flight attendant who became a safety activist while carrying on her son’s athletic legacy, died Dec. 22 in her sleep at her home in Los Gallos, California, after battling Addison's disease, according to longtime family friend Amanda Mark. International Gay Rugby — an organization that traces its roots to one team in London in 1995 and now consists of about 90 clubs in more than 20 countries on five continents — held Hoagland in such esteem that one of the prizes at its biennial Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or the Bingham Cup, is called the Hoagland Cup. Scott Glaessgen, of Norwalk, Connecticut, a friend of Bingham’s who helped organize New York’s Gotham Knights rugby club, described meeting Hoagland at the first Bingham Cup in 2002 in San Francisco. “Nine months after Mark was killed, and there she is with a never-ending smile on her face, just charming and engaging and happy and proud,” Glaessgen said. “And that resilience and that strength that she just exuded was really inspirational.” Amanda Mark, of Sydney, Australia, praised Hoagland for always fighting for people — and continuing to do so after losing her son by standing up for aviation safety and LGBT rights. “Through the Bingham Cup,” Mark said, “she became the inspiration and the acceptance that a lot of LGBT folks needed when they may have been challenged with their families or friends to be true to themselves.” Bingham, 31 when he died, had played on a champion rugby team at the University of California, Berkeley. He helped organize the gay San Francisco Fog team in 2000 and quickly became its main forward. He was on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers commandeered it. He called his mother and told her he loved her. “I only got 3 minutes with him and when I tried to call back, I couldn’t get through,” Hoagland told the Iowa City Press-Citizen in 2019. “As a flight attendant for 20 years, I wanted to tell him to sit down and don’t draw attention to yourself.” But the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Bingham fought back, posthumously winning praise as an openly gay patriot who joined other passengers in foiling the hijackers and causing the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania instead of its intended target, believed to be the U.S. Capitol. “He grew from a shy, chubby kid into a tall rugby competitor with the ability to amass his energy to face a real enemy in the cockpit of an airplane," Hoagland told the Press-Citizen. Bingham and Hoagland's stories went on to be chronicled in film and screen, including the TV movie “Flight 93," HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and the documentary “The Rugby Player.” Hoagland became an advocate for airline security and for allowing relatives of 9-11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over claims it played a role in the attacks. “We’re less interested in any kind of financial gain than we are in bringing the truly guilty into court and making our case known,” Hoagland told The Associated Press in 2016. The first Bingham Cup consisted of eight teams and was hosted by its namesake's home team. Today, it is billed as the world’s largest amateur rugby event, and cities bid to host it. It was last held in Amsterdam in 2018 with 74 teams competing. Hoagland was a celebrity at every tournament she attended. Players flocked to meet her and have a photo taken. She always obliged. Jeff Wilson, of International Gay Rugby, recalled in a post on the organization's Facebook page a conversation with Hoagland at the 2012 Bingham Cup in Manchester, England. His mother had recently died. “I asked how she kept on during grief — she said it was a purpose, and a calling and that I would keep going because it drove me,” he wrote. “Her compassion, heart and focus on others touched me in ways that I cannot express.” No memorial service is yet planned. Jeff McMillan, The Associated Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan says the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations will start to slow in the province as it marked the deadliest day yet of the pandemic. Health officials said Thursday that 13 more residents have died, nine of whom were 80 and older, for a total of 239 deaths. The Ministry of Health reported 227 new infections in the province and 197 people in hospital, with 31 of them in intensive care. It says 91 per cent of the vaccine doses received to date have gone into the arms of critical health-care workers, long-term care staff and vulnerable seniors, for a total of more than 29,000 shots. But the ministry says vaccine supply will run short because there are no new deliveries coming next week. A ministry spokeswoman says the province is still figuring out how it's going to adjust its vaccine rollout in light of the supply interruption from Pfizer-BioNTech. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 The Canadian Press
The role of Canada's vice-regal has been held by a wide variety of people, from British nobles to military leaders to humanitarian advocates. Here is a list of all those who have served as Canada's governor general since Confederation: — Viscount Monck: 1861-1868 Lord Lisgar: 1868-1872 Earl of Dufferin: 1872-1878 Duke of Argyll: 1878-1883 Marquess of Lansdowne: 1883-1888 Earl of Derby: 1888-1893 Earl of Aberdeen: 1893-1898 Earl of Minto: 1898-1904 Earl Grey: 1904-1911 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: 1911-1916 Duke of Devonshire: 1916-1921 Lord Byng: 1921-1926 Viscount Willingdon: 1926-1931 Earl of Bessborough: 1931-1935 Lord Tweedsmuir: 1935-1940 Earl of Athlone: 1940-1946 Viscount Alexander: 1946-1952 Vincent Massey: 1952-1959 Georges Vanier: 1959-1967 Roland Michener: 1967-1974 Jules Léger: 1974-1979 Edward Schreyer: 1979-1984 Jeanne Sauvé: 1984-1990 Ramon Hnatyshyn: 1990-1995 Roméo LeBlanc: 1995-1999 Adrienne Clarkson: 1999-2005 Michaëlle Jean: 2005-2010 David Johnston: 2010-2017 Julie Payette: 2017-2021 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union used a video summit of its 27 leaders Thursday to call on Russia to immediately release opposition leader Alexei Navalny and make sure that his rights are fully respected. Navalny was arrested last Sunday at a Moscow airport as he tried to enter the country from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin. EU summit host Charles Michel said the leaders “expect Russia to urgently proceed with the independent and transparent investigation into the attack on his life." Michel also insisted that Moscow “fully co-operate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to ensure an impartial international investigation" is carried out into the attack. Russia came under renewed pressure after Navalny's arrest to explain the nerve agent attack on the opposition figure s the annual meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog. Police on Thursday also took into custody two top associates of Navalny ahead of planned protests against his detention. The Associated Press
At some point this year, the respective councils of Sundridge and Strong will need to make a strategic decision on how to go about replacing two of their firefighting vehicles. First up for replacement in 2023 at the Sundridge-Strong (Volunteer) Fire Department is the pumper, which holds about 900 gallons of water and was acquired in 2003. Then in 2026, the department's tanker which, transports about 1,600 gallons, is scheduled to be replaced. In order to have the first vehicle by 2023, Fire Chief Andrew Torrance says he needs to place an order before the end of this year. Torrance says the ordering process is long because, assuming he gets the go-ahead, a request for proposals is made and contract awarded, it takes time to put together a vehicle to the department's specifications. “So it's not a question of trying to replace a vehicle in the year you need to replace it,” says Torrance. “And if (the process) doesn't get started by the end of this year, then we're not likely to see that delivery take place for 2023.” It's the fire chief's hope he can have a proposal ready to be considered by the Sundridge-Strong Fire Department management board in the near future. That sets the stage for the board members to discuss the proposal before they take it to their respective councils for review. However, the proposal Torrance is putting together also will include a section showing how both municipalities can save money if the fire department reverses the ordering timeline and changes the holding capacity of both vehicles. As it stands now, Torrance says, the option to replace the vehicles as scheduled is the more expensive route because it involves the purchase of two full-sized vehicles; the pumper for 2023, followed by the tanker in 2026. But Torrance also plans to suggest an alternative where the department buys a tanker for 2023 that carries about 2,500 gallons of water and then a mini-pumper in 2026 that holds nearly 500 gallons. Torrance says there are no water hydrants in Sundridge or Strong. “And that's one of our main issues,” he says. “We have to make sure we bring enough water to fire-related emergencies.” Torrance says a larger tanker addresses the water capacity issue. He also says the tanker, which went into service in 2006, “would fetch more if it's replaced sooner than later because it has more value now and that would help offset the cost of the larger tanker.” As for the mini-pumper, the fire chief says the vehicle will cost less because of its smaller size, but also will improve firefighting because it's more versatile. “It's more agile and creates more accessibility to long driveways and challenging locations,” Torrance explains. The department also has a second full-sized pumper, which is its primary pumper. The unique feature with this vehicle is it can carry up to five firefighters and is also able to carry and dump water in addition to pumping it at a fire scene. Torrance says the primary pumper won't have to be replaced for many years because it was bought in 2016. The response to a typical fire emergency would see the tanker and pumpers arrive on the scene with the tanker dumping its load of water into portable tanks that sit on the pumpers. Firefighters then battle the flames by using the pumpers to draw or draft out the water from the portable tanks. The tanker, meanwhile, makes its way to the closest water source to refill its reservoir and returns to the fire site with more water for the portable tanks that is again drafted by the pumpers. The action is repeated until the fire is out. A tanker capable of carrying more water, like the 2,500-gallon vehicle that Torrance plans to propose, means fewer refilling trips and that, he says, makes for a more efficient firefighting department. Torrance also addressed the issue of why buying a mini-pumper now won't work. “If we went to a mini-pumper without changing the size of our tanker, then we carry less water and that's not improving our fleet,” he explains. Torrance says that's not to suggest there's anything wrong with the existing tanker. “It's a great truck and has served the area very well,” he says. “And it will continue to serve us well even if we don't immediately replace it.” Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, explained on Thursday that with the emergence of more COVID-19 variants that are more transmissible, more people need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine. Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week's order to the federal government. "The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is to make your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada's case," Tory said. Trudeau has said he spoke to Pfizer on Tuesday and Ford said he was in contact with the pharmaceutical manufacturer on Wednesday. Tory said he knows members of Pfizer's management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government. "I'm trying to help the country's efforts to try to see if we can't get more supply," the mayor said. "I can't tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else's, will have." Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city's public health unit. An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers. The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer, said everyone's frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope. "Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted," De Villa said. "But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we'll do our very best." De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error. Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference. All three detailed the city's ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
CHIBOUGAMAU-La région du Nord-du-Québec est devenue l’une des premières ce jeudi à entreprendre une campagne de vaccination massive contre la COVID-19. Depuis jeudi matin, la plupart des résidants au nord du 49e Parallèle âgés de 40 ans et plus ont reçu ou recevront dans les prochains jours leur première dose. La région socio-sanitaire avait jusque-là été relativement épargnée par la pandémie. Elle a tout de même été classée Niveau 4 par l’Institut national de la Santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), en raison de son isolement et de son éloignement. «Le domaine de la santé demande déjà une bonne logistique sans la COVID, explique la PDG du Centre régional de santé et de services sociaux de la Baie-James, Nathalie Boisvert. Pour les cas plus graves, comme les AVC, nos résidants doivent parcourir plusieurs kilomètres vers un centre de santé, pour souvent être transférés par la suite dans un établissement dans le sud de la province. Tout cela apporte une pression supplémentaire et des inquiétudes avec la COVID-19. C’est pour cela que notre vaccination était prioritaire.» Des éclosions À l’instar du reste du Québec, le Nord-du-Québec a connu ses épisodes d’éclosions du virus. En novembre dernier, 146 personnes avaient été mises en isolement après avoir fréquenté le salon de quilles Bolorama, de Chibougamau. La Santé publique de la région souligne également deux éclosions dans des résidences pour personnes âgées dans le temps des fêtes. «Notre équipe de santé publique a fait un travail formidable en amont, affirme la PDG du CRSSSBJ. Ils ont travaillé fort pour faire du dépistage préventif.» L’immensité du territoire représente aussi un défi logistique, selon l’adjointe à la PDG, Julie Pelletier. «Nous avons des ententes avec d’autres régions, comme par exemple dans le secteur au nord de La Sarre, qui relève de notre juridiction, explique-t-elle. Ces régions sont plus près de l’Abitibi, même si elles sont en Jamésie. Nous irons vacciner les gens de ce secteur au cours des prochains jours.» Des échanges avec le Cree Health Board Autre casse-tête : les populations d’origine crie et non-crie se côtoient sur le territoire, mais ne sont pas régies par les mêmes organismes. Les Cris sont pris en charge par le Cree Health Board (CHB), qui a juridiction sur ces populations. Sauf que le virus, lui, ne fait pas de distinction. «Nous avons des échanges constants avec le Cree Health Board, indique Nathalie Boisvert. Nous sommes conscients que le virus circule dans les deux populations, nos devons donc travailler de concert pour garder le contrôle sur les éclosions.» Ainsi, tous les jeudis, des représentants des deux entités s’assoient avec des représentants politiques pour faire le point sur la situation. Il y aussi de l’entraide mutuelle dans le quotidien. «Lors de l’éclosion à la salle de quilles, le CHB nous a prêté deux infirmières pour aider au dépistage, indique Mme Boisvert. Dernièrement, on a recensé plusieurs cas de COVID dans la communauté d’Oujé-Bougoumou (située à moins de 30 km de Chapais), et à Mistissini. Quatre de nos infirmières sont allées prêter main forte là-bas.»Après les 40 ans et plus, ce sera le tour des personnes âgées de 18 ans et plus d’être vaccinées au début de février. «L’éloignement des grands centres a ses avantages, mais au point de vue de la santé, nous sommes loin des services spécialisés, affirme Julie Pelletier. C’est pour cela que nous avons comme objectif une immunisation collective rapide.» Michel Ducas, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has moved quickly to remove a number of senior officials aligned with former President Donald Trump from the Voice of America and the agency that oversees all U.S.-funded international broadcasting. The actions address fears that the U.S. Agency for Global Media was being turned into a pro-Trump propaganda outlet. The agency announced Thursday that VOA’s director and his deputy had been removed from their positions and that the head of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting had resigned. The moves come just a day after President Joe Biden was sworn in and demanded the resignation of Trump’s hand-picked CEO of USAGM, Michael Pack. The agency said in a statement that VOA director Robert Reilly had been fired just weeks after having taken the job. He had been harshly criticized just last week for demoting a VOA White House correspondent who tried to ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question after a town hall event. Two agency officials familiar with the matter said Reilly and his deputy, Elizabeth Robbins, were escorted from VOA's headquarters by security guards. The officials were not authorized to discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. In addition, Jeffrey Shapiro, who was just recently appointed to run Cuba-focused broadcasters Radio and TV Marti, resigned at the request of the new administration, they said. Pack, who appointed all three of those terminated on Thursday, resigned just hours after Biden was inaugurated. Soon after his resignation, the Biden White House announced that a veteran VOA journalist, Kelu Chao, would head USAGM on an interim basis. Pack created a furor when he took over the agency last year and fired the boards of all the outlets under his control along with the leadership of the individual broadcast networks. The actions were criticized as threatening the broadcasters’ prized editorial independence. The moves raised fears that Pack, a conservative filmmaker and former associate of Trump’s onetime political strategist Steve Bannon, intended to turn venerable U.S. media outlets into pro-Trump propaganda machines. His further actions did little to ease those concerns. Indeed, just on Tuesday he appointed new conservative members to the boards of Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Biden had been expected to make major changes to the agency’s structure and management, and Pack’s early departure signalled that those would be coming sooner rather than later. Though many presidential appointees resign when a new administration comes in, Pack was not required to do so. His three-year position was created by Congress and was not limited by the length of a particular administration. VOA was founded during World War II and its congressional charter requires it to present independent news and information to international audiences. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
The Canadian government anticipates that at least 95 per cent of the Canadian population will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the third quarter of the year, between July and September.
ROME — A late own goal by Parma goalkeeper Simone Colombi sent Lazio to the Italian Cup quarterfinals with a 2-1 win on Thursday. Lazio will next play Atalanta in Bergamo on Jan. 27. The match appeared to be heading for extra time when, in the final minute, Vedat Muriqi’s header came off the base of the right post and went in off Colombi. Muriqi hit the post in the first half too, as did Andreas Pereira, moments before Lazio eventually took the lead in the 23rd minute when Marco Parolo headed in Pereira’s cross. Parma could have levelled in the 72nd but Valentin Mihaila fired off the crossbar from point-blank range. Mihaila did get the equalizer seven minutes from time when a through ball caught the Lazio defence napping and the Romanian beat goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha one-on-one to lift the ball into the bottom right corner. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is drafting legislation around the sale of used police vehicles and equipment, after a man driving a replica RCMP cruiser killed 22 people last April. Justice Minister Mark Furey told reporters following a cabinet meeting Thursday the legislation will regulate how police vehicles are decommissioned, which will include, he said, ensuring they are stripped of equipment and decals. "We are certainly aware of the previous circumstances and the most recent circumstances," Furey said. The minister made the comments a day after the Mounties said a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have driven a vehicle that looked like an unmarked police car and pulled over drivers. The vehicle in question, a white 2013 Ford Taurus, is similar to the car Gabriel Wortman used during his 13-hour, deadly rampage in northern and central Nova Scotia on April 18-19, 2020. Furey noted that under current law it's illegal to impersonate a police officer. "When it comes to police articles and decommissioned police vehicles there is certainly some work to do to fine-tune that legislation and the ability to mitigate and prevent, as best we can, access to this equipment that is used to mock-up police vehicles." he said. Furey said there are no plans to ban the sale of decommissioned police vehicles despite calls by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives to prohibit those sales. He said RCMP and municipal police services have been consulted and are in support of the government's draft legislation. Furey is recommending the Liberal government table a bill during the next sitting of the legislature. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that America's war on COVID-19 is under new command, promising an anxious nation progress to reduce infections and lift the siege it has endured for nearly a year. At the same time, he tried to manage expectations in his second day in office, saying despite the best intentions “we're going to face setbacks.” He brushed off a reporter's question on whether his goal of 100 million coronavirus shots in 100 days should be more ambitious, a point pressed by some public health experts. The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. One directive calls for addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus. “We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said at the White House. U.S. deaths have have surged past 400,000, and he noted projections that they could reach 500,000 in a month. But then, looking directly into the TV camera, Biden declared: "To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.” The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. A key difference is that under Biden, the federal government is assuming full responsibility for the COVID response. And instead of delegating major tasks to states, he is offering to help them with technical backup and federal money. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package. On Thursday a group influential with Republican office holders lent its support to Biden's strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “We support the new administration’s focus on removing roadblocks to vaccinations and reopening schools, both of which are important steps to accelerating a broad-based economic recovery for all Americans.” Biden officials have said they've been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration during the transition. They say they don’t have a complete understanding of their predecessors’ actions on vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states that say they are not getting enough vaccine even as they are being asked to vaccinate more categories of people. The U.S. mask order for travel implemented by Biden applies to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travellers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and must quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property. Although airlines, Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden's order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights. It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump's administration, under which masks were optional, and Trump made a point of going maskless and hosting big gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that masks, properly worn, cut down on coronavirus transmission. Biden is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. But some independent experts say his administration should strive for two or three times that number. Even with the slow pace of vaccinations, the U.S. is already closing in on 1 million shots a day. “It's a disappointingly low bar,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. Asked about that at the White House on Thursday, Biden told a reporter: “When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a break, man.” The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centres, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He's ordering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month, building on a plan devised by the Trump administration. And he's launching an effort to train more people to administer shots. Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he's ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening them safely. States would also be able to tap FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help get schools back open. Getting schools and child care going will help ease the drag on the U.S. economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and for restaurants to find lunch-time customers. But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely depends on increased testing. Biden is giving government agencies a green light to use the Cold War-era Defence Production Act to direct manufacturing. It allows the government to direct private industry to produce supplies needed in times of national emergency. In this case it could be anything from swabs, to masks, to certain chemicals. “We do not have nearly enough testing capacity in this country,” said White House coronavirus co-ordinator Jeff Zients. “We need (more) money in order to really ramp up testing, which is so important to reopen schools and businesses.” This means that efforts to boost the economy could hinge on how quickly lawmakers act on the $1.9 trillion package proposed by Biden, which includes separate planks such as $1,400 in direct payments to most working people, a $15 minimum wage and aid to state and local governments that some Republican lawmakers see as unnecessary for addressing the public health emergency. The Biden plan estimates that a national vaccination strategy with expanded testing requires $160 billion, and he wants an additional $170 billion to aid the reopening of schools and universities. The proposal also calls for major investment in scientific research to track new variants of the virus. As part of his strategy, Biden ordered establishment of a Health Equity Task Force to ensure that minority and underserved communities are not left out of the government's response. Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans have borne a heavy burden of death and disease from the virus. Surveys have shown vaccine hesitancy is high among African Americans, a problem the administration plans to address through an education campaign. But Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the top White House health adviser on minority communities, said she's not convinced that race is a factor in vaccination reluctance. Disparities seem to have more to do with risky jobs and other life circumstances. “It's not inherent to race,” she said. “It's from the exposures.” ___ Associated Press writers Collin Binkley and Josh Boak contributed to this report. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit says it is ready to start rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and expects to get its first shipment in early February. Medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Gemmill, addressed media Jan. 20 and said the unit submitted its rollout plan to the Ministry of Health earlier this week. Gemmill said although the date could change, the province has told the health unit to expect its first vaccines in early February. Vaccines will initially be directed to long-term care homes. “We are ready to go as soon as we get a vaccine available, with a focus on the residents, the staff and the essential caregivers in long-term care,” he said. Gemmill noted the region has relatively fewer cases, so it is a lower priority to receive the vaccine. But he added staff will be ready as soon as it does arrive. “The speed with which the general population will be protected will be determined by one factor only, and that is the supply of the vaccine,” he said. “We are going to have all hands-on deck.” Meanwhile, the district’s COVID cases are going down thanks to the Dec. 26 lockdown, according to Gemmill. There were only four new cases Jan. 20 – including zero in Haliburton – down from the 10-15 daily case average in the two weeks previous. “Our cases, at least for the last couple of days, have been diminishing. I hope that trend continues and I thank people for doing the things that need to be in place to make that happen.” However, the district saw a spike in cases the next day, with 40 new cases Jan. 21, including two in Haliburton. 35 of the cases were in Kawartha Lakes, which the health unit said was due to an outbreak at a long-term care come there. Snowmobile trails staying open The district is not planning to follow the lead of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit in closing Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club (OFSC) trails. “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19,” their medical officer of health, Dr. Jim Chirico, said. “The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously.” Their closure is effective Jan. 21. Gemmill said he does not intend to close local trails, but people need to follow the stay-at-home orders. “I have no problem with people going out for recreation,” Gemmill said. “But do keep within the spirit of the regulations so we don’t have transmission.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
The Vancouver Whitecaps went international in the first round of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, taking a Nigerian forward and Jamaican defender. The Whitecaps selected Akron forward David Egbo ninth overall before taking Jamaica's Javain Brown from South Florida with the 23rd pick, obtained in the December 2018 trade that sent Erik Hurtado to Sporting Kansas City. Egbo, a 22-year-old senior from Enugu, Nigeria, scored 21 goals and added 13 assists in three seasons with the Zips. Egbo, who says he can play a variety of attacking positions, is not short on confidence "Personally I think I'm good at everything," said Egbo, who came to the U.S. in 2014 on an academic scholarship to Pennsylvania's Kiski School. "That's not to sound cocky … I wouldn't say I'm the perfect striker but I think I have a little bit of everything and that's what makes me different from the rest of the strikers." The 24-year-old Brown, who has won four caps for Jamaica, scored three goals in 15 games with South Florida in 2019. Expansion Austin FC took Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira first overall. The 20-year-old sophomore started all 26 games he played in for the Hokies with six goals and six assists. A native of Venezuela, Pereira was a teenager when his family came to the U.S. seeking asylum. Pereira was one of five players signed to Generation Adidas contracts, which don't count against the league's salary cap. All five went in the top seven of the draft. Toronto traded its 18th overall pick to Minnesota United, acquiring the 25th pick and US$50,000 in general allocation money in exchange. TFC used the pick to fill a need at fullback with Maryland's Matt Di Rosa. Toronto has incumbents Richie Laryea and Brazil's Auro at fullback. Veteran Justin Morrow's contract has expired and Tony Gallacher's loan from Liverpool is over. Di Rosa won the 21018 NCAA title with the Terrapins, scoring the winning goal in the semifinal against Indiana. CF Montreal's Amar Sejdic scored the lone goal in Maryland's 1-0 win over Akron in the championship game with Canadian Dayne St. Clair, now with Minnesota United, getting the shutout. Di Rosa's twin brother Ben, a defender from Maryland, went in the second round (44th overall) to New York City FC. Toronto chose Virginia forward Nathaniel Crofts in the second round (45th overall). The native of Sheffield, England, had 11 goals and 11 assists in 64 games (63 starts) with the Cavaliers. Vancouver picked UCLA midfielder Eric Iloski and Michigan defender Joel Harrison, a native of Langley, B.C., in the second round (46th and 53rd overall, respectively). CF Montreal, formerly known as the Montreal Impact, previously traded its first-round pick to Austin for Canadian defender Kamal Miller and its second-round selection to Minnesota in the Mason Toye deal. In 2019. the six-foot-one 185-pound Egbo led Akron in goals (7), assists (4), points (18), shots (49), while ranking second in shots on goal (19) en route to earning first-team all-Mid-American Conference honours. The 5-11 160-pound Brown played for HarbourView FC in Jamaica. Both players will require an international spot if signed to an MLS contract. There were 12 Canadians among the 170-plus players available in the draft, which was reduced to three rounds from four this year. Wake Forest and Clemson dominated picks No. 2 through 4. FC Cincinnati used the second overall pick on Wake Forest forward Calvin Harris, another Generation Adidas player and the son of former Sheffield United player Terry Harris. The 20-year-old from England, who grew up in Hong Kong and New Zealand, had 16 goals and six assists as a sophomore in 2019, his last season. Colorado traded up to get the third pick from Houston, using it to select Clemson midfielder Phil Mayaka. The 21-year-old, another GA player, was ACC Freshman of the Year and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2019. Mayaka emigrated from Kenya to the U.S. as a teenager. The pick cost Colorado $200,000 in general allocation money, with Houston possibly receiving another $50,000 of 2022 GAM as part of the deal. D.C. United took Clemson forward Kimarni Smith with the fourth pick and then acquired the fifth overall selection from Atlanta, using it to select Wake Forest defender Michael DeShields. D.C. also got the 32nd overall pick in the deal that sent Atlanta $125,000 in general allocation money and the 31st selection. Houston took Washington centre back Ethan Bartlow with the sixth pick. Virginia midfielder Bret Halsey went seventh to Real Salt Lake. Both are Generation Adidas players. Orlando City used the No. 8 selection on Georgetown' forward Derek Dodson. The pick was acquired from Portland in exchange for $100,000 in general allocation money — $75,000 in 2021 and $25,000 in 2022. Earlier Thursday, the Whitecaps flipped second-round draft picks with Nashville SC, acquiring a 2021 international roster slot in the process. Vancouver gave up the 36th overall pick, receiving the 46th overall selection. The deal also involved an exchange of general allocation money. Vancouver sent $175,000 to Nashville with a promise of up to $75,000 in return based on "performance benchmarks" of the player selected by Nashville. In other moves, Houston acquired former U.S. youth midfielder Derrick Jones from Nashville SC for $100,000 in general allocation money and $150,000 in 2022 GAM. ---- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
U.S. regulators have approved the first long-acting drug combo for HIV, monthly shots that can replace the daily pills now used to control infection with the AIDS virus. Thursday’s approval of the two-shot combo called Cabenuva is expected to make it easier for people to stay on track with their HIV medicines and to do so with more privacy. It’s a huge change from not long ago, when patients had to take multiple pills several times a day, carefully timed around meals. “That will enhance quality of life” to need treatment just once a month, said Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has no ties to the drug's makers. “People don’t want those daily reminders that they’re HIV infected.” Cabenuva combines rilpivirine, sold as Edurant by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, and a new drug — cabotegravir, from ViiV Healthcare. They’re packaged together and given as separate shots once a month. Dosing every two months also is being tested. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Cabenuva for use in adults who have had their disease well controlled by conventional HIV medicines and who have not shown signs of viral resistance to the two drugs in Cabenuva. The agency also approved a pill version of cabotegravir to be taken with rilpivarine for a month before switching to the shots to be sure the drugs are well tolerated. ViiV said the shot combo would cost $5,940 for an initial, higher dose and $3,960 per month afterward. The company said that is “within the range” of what one-a-day pill combos cost now. How much a patient pays depends on insurance, income and other things. Studies found that patients greatly preferred the shots. “Even people who are taking one pill once a day just reported improvement in their quality of life to switch to an injection,” said Dr. Judith Currier, an HIV specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles. She consults for ViiV and wrote a commentary accompanying one study of the drug in the New England Journal of Medicine. Deeks said long-acting shots also give hope of reaching groups that have a hard time sticking to treatment, including people with mental illness or substance abuse problems. “There’s a great unmet need” that the shots may fill, he said. Separately, ViiV plans to seek approval for cabotegravir for HIV prevention. Two recent studies found that cabotegravir shots every two months were better than daily Truvada pills for keeping uninfected people from catching the virus from an infected sex partner. ___ 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. Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
The provincial and federal governments have announced new funding today to support essential air carriers that serve remote First Nation communities in Northern Ontario. The funding will ensure communities have access to essential supplies, services and goods. Canada will be investing $11.1 million, while the province has earmarked $14.2 million to operate remote airports in 2020-21, including an additional $4 million this year to ensure safe operations during the pandemic. Today’s announcement includes Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Peawanuck and Attawapiskat First Nation. Across Canada, there are 140 communities with airports that were considered remote when the federal government announced the funding program last August. Out of 34 remote communities in Northern Ontario, 28 don’t have all-year-round access and rely on air carriers for essential services and goods. “While we continue to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19, we must also ensure remote communities continue to have the air connectivity they need for essential goods and services, travel and business," Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said in a statement. "This agreement with the Government of Ontario will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in Ontario connected to the rest of the country." The Ministry of Transportation owns and operates 29 airports, 27 of which support remote First Nation communities, according to the press release. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com