Live updates tracking the coronavirus pandemic from Yahoo News reporters in the United States and around the world.
Live updates tracking the coronavirus pandemic from Yahoo News reporters in the United States and around the world.
Two 13-year-olds were arrested and charged with arson Saturday, in connection to a grass fire in a Spruce Grove, Alta. field next to a residential neighbourhood. Parkland RCMP and the Parkland Fire Department responded to reports of an arson north of Highway 16A near Jennifer Heil Way, about 30 kilometres west of Edmonton on Saturday at 1:45 p.m., police said. Bales had been lit on fire and were found smouldering, Const. Patrick Lambert said. Parkland Fire remained on scene after the fire was put under control. Damages are estimated at $10,000 and 150 bales were lost in the fire, police said. The two youths were arrested and charged with arson. They are scheduled to appear in Stony Plain Provincial Court on June 4. Parkland County remains under a fire ban which went into effect Thursday, prohibiting all outdoor fires including recreation fire pits and charcoal briquette barbeques. Westlock County north of Edmonton and Lac Ste. Anne County, northwest of Edmonton have also implemented fire restrictions, as a dry central Alberta faces wildfire season. Alberta Wildfire also had fire advisories in effect for the Edson and Rocky Mountain House Forest Areas on Saturday. "Any spark, hot exhaust or friction will catch easily and burn quickly which could start a wildfire," Alberta Wildfire said in wildfire danger alert.
MOSCOW/PRAGUE (Reuters) -Moscow expelled 20 Czech diplomats on Sunday in a confrontation over Czech allegations that two Russian spies accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind an earlier explosion at a Czech ammunition depot that killed two people. Prague had on Saturday ordered out 18 Russian diplomats, prompting Russia to vow on Sunday to "force the authors of this provocation to fully understand their responsibility for destroying the foundation of normal ties between our countries". Moscow gave the Czech diplomats just a day to leave, while Prague had given the Russians 72 hours.
Alma Wahlberg, the mother of entertainers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and a regular on their reality series “Wahlburgers,” has died, her sons said on social media Sunday. She was 78. “My angel. Rest in peace,” Mark Wahlberg tweeted. Donnie Wahlberg posted a longer tribute to his mother on his Instagram account. “It’s time to rest peacefully, mom,” Donnie Wahlberg wrote. “I love you, miss you, thank you and will celebrate you, today and always.” No information was given about the cause, date or location of her death. Donnie Wahlberg often posted about his mother on his accounts and in July updated his fans on her health, writing that she “didn’t remember much and was often confused but somehow she was still Alma.” The Boston-born mother of nine became a household name thanks to her appearances on the A&E series “Wahlburgers,” about the family’s burgeoning burger chain. “She made no apologies for who she was, but never put herself above anyone else. She kicked our butts if we messed up, kicked anyone else’s butts if they messed with us. Taught us right, made us pay the price when we were wrong,” Donnie Wahlberg wrote Sunday. “She was the epitome of the word grace.” He also included a video of them dancing at his wedding to one of her favourite songs, “If I Could” by Regina Belle. He wrote that she danced to that song at each of her children’s weddings, but at his own, he surprised her by having Belle there to perform it live. On the “Today” show in 2018, Alma Wahlberg opened up about her parenting and how hard it was early on. “I invented the craziest meals,” she said. English muffin pizzas were among her creations to feed her hungry lot. More than a few of her children went on to great successes and fame. Her son Paul Wahlberg, who is the chef behind the namesake burger chain, also named the Alma Nove restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts, after her. “People know me as being the mother of famous children, and although this fact has brought many gifts into my life and has afforded me opportunities that may never have been possible otherwise, there is a whole lot more to my story than most people know,” Alma Wahlberg said in an interview with Boston’s WCVB-TV in 2018. “I’ve lived with alcoholism and abuse; struggled with poverty and experienced great wealth; lost so many that I’ve loved; struggle to raise nine children, and I love them more than anything else; watch them suffer, learn and come out on the other side; lost myself; found myself, again and again; and kept moving forward, no matter what.” Alma Wahlberg is survived by eight children. Her daughter Debbie died in 2003. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will deliver the Liberal government's first budget in two years on Monday, laying out more than $2 billion for a national child-care program while keeping the federal deficit for the past year under the $400 billion mark, CBC News has learned. A senior government source that spoke to CBC News Sunday — on the condition they not be named because they are not permitted to speak on the subject — said unlike the way some programs have been announced in past budgets, the forthcoming child-care announcement will not be about striking expert panels, undertaking further study or be entirely subject to negotiations with the provinces. The initial investment will be in excess of the $2 billion a report by the federal finance committee recently said should be the starting point of any national child-care program, and will be enough to lay the foundations of a full-scale national system that puts both affordability and quality at its start. The source said the program will be the centrepiece of the budget and will be crafted to help women quickly, which means Canadians should expect to see something tangible in the next year to 18 months. The child-care investment plays into the federal government's three key budget components, which include introducing measures that address critical needs in the short, medium and long term. To deal with immediate concerns, the source said, the federal budget will acknowledge that pandemic financial supports are still needed and will not be cut off as the crisis drags on with the worsening third wave. That information is roughly in line with reporting by the Toronto Star earlier Sunday that said Freeland will roll out a $12 billion extension to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) as well as the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and lockdown support — key programs that have helped keep small businesses afloat over the last year. The Star also said that all of the "main pandemic support programs" will be extended until the fall. Targeted supports coming, source says The second component of the budget, the senior government source said, will include efforts targeted at supporting women, low-wage workers, students and those in essential jobs as the economy comes back. Child care will be a big part of that, the source said, as will assistance targeted at small businesses. As federal pandemic-related financial supports eventually begin winding down, they will be transitioned into something that is more targeted, the source told CBC News. That information dovetails with reporting from The Toronto Star, which said Sunday the federal government intends to introduce a new program called the Canada Recovery Hiring Program. It's important for us to invest in rebuilding an economy that's still 300,000 jobs short of where we were before the pandemic. - Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson Under the program, the Star reported, companies that have relied on the CEWS would instead be able to access up to $1,100 for each four-week period of a new employee's term. The third component of the budget will be focused on longer-term efforts that help reduce the deficit and set the stage for a sustainable recovery that addresses both climate change and the social inequalities laid bare by the pandemic. "We want to give people the confidence that they can make decisions now so that they're ready when the economy comes back," the government source said. The size of the deficit The $70 to $100 billion the federal government said it will use to help stimulate the economy will not all be allocated in Monday's budget but general direction of where that money is going will be included. The federal government has faced criticism for the stimulus program it outlined in the fall economic update unveiled in November as being unnecessary in the face of what many expect to be a strong economic rebound as pent-up Canadians prepare to splash out once the pandemic peters away. "While temporary stimulus of this magnitude would likely provide a significant boost to the Canadian economy, it would result in materially larger budgetary deficits and higher federal debt in the medium term," a recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) said. That opinion was also expressed by the shadow budget put out by the C.D. Howe Institute, which said "fiscal stability" would be "jeopardized" by spending up to $100 billion on stimulus. Despite that criticism, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday that financial supports rolled out in 2008-09 were rolled back too quickly and that organizations such as the International Monetary Fund have warned Canada not to move away from investing in jobs and growth if it wants to get the economy fully firing again. "Our view is aligned with our European colleagues which is; it's important for us to invest in rebuilding an economy that's still 300,000 jobs short of where we were before the pandemic," he said on Rosemary Barton Live. "Our intention is to move forward, to invest for jobs and growth, to rebuild this economy and ensure that Canada will be strong and prosperous as we move forward." The senior government source also said that the expected deficit for the past year will not exceed $400 billion and may be slightly lower than expected but refused to provide an exact figure. The PBO estimated the deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year stands at $363.4 billion, without including any of the stimulus spending. The C.D. Howe Institute, which also does not include stimulus spending, puts that number at $388.7 billion. The fall economic statement put the deficit for the preceding year at $381.6 billion. Regardless of the exact spending totals for the past year, bringing the federal government's books back into balance will take time, and the source said Canadians should not expect to see major changes to the tax code — including the introduction of a wealth tax — geared toward paying that money back just yet. You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday April 17, 2021. There are 1,113,907 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,113,907 confirmed cases (86,763 active, 1,003,553 resolved, 23,591 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 7,842 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 228.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 60,088 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 8,584. There were 50 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 295 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 62.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 29,803,243 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,039 confirmed cases (22 active, 1,011 resolved, six deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 233,208 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 167 confirmed cases (seven active, 160 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 133,877 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 1,800 confirmed cases (44 active, 1,689 resolved, 67 deaths). There were eight new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.49 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 6.84 per 100,000 people. There have been 461,926 tests completed. New Brunswick: 1,778 confirmed cases (151 active, 1,594 resolved, 33 deaths). There were 11 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 19.32 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 65 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.22 per 100,000 people. There have been 282,492 tests completed. Quebec: 335,608 confirmed cases (13,768 active, 311,047 resolved, 10,793 deaths). There were 1,537 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 160.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,760 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,537. There were eight new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 56 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 125.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,774,650 tests completed. Ontario: 412,745 confirmed cases (40,694 active, 364,353 resolved, 7,698 deaths). There were 4,362 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 276.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30,593 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 4,370. There were 34 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 167 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 24. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 52.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 13,271,395 tests completed. Manitoba: 35,992 confirmed cases (1,630 active, 33,404 resolved, 958 deaths). There were 183 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 118.18 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 127. There were three new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of nine new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 69.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 626,901 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 37,873 confirmed cases (2,859 active, 34,550 resolved, 464 deaths). There were 249 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 242.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,889 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 270. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. 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 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 719,971 tests completed. Alberta: 169,279 confirmed cases (17,307 active, 149,935 resolved, 2,037 deaths). There were 1,486 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 391.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,560 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,366. There were three new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 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 46.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,913,177 tests completed. British Columbia: 117,080 confirmed cases (10,259 active, 105,291 resolved, 1,530 deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 199.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 6,257 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 894. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.72 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,349,763 tests completed. Yukon: 76 confirmed cases (two active, 73 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two 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 8,740 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 43 confirmed cases (one active, 42 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 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 16,904 tests completed. Nunavut: 414 confirmed cases (19 active, 391 resolved, four deaths). There were six new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 48.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19 new cases. 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 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,163 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published April 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
China will expand digital yuan experiments to more cities, but there is no specific timetable for its official rollout, central bank vice governor Li Bo told an annual gathering on Sunday of top Chinese and foreign policymakers, executives and academics. China is one of the frontrunners in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies to modernise financial systems, ward off the threat from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments. Li said testing had shown that the issuance and distribution mechanism of the digital yuan, or e-CNY, are compatible with the existing financial system, and help minimize the impact on the banking sector.
WASHINGTON — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to succeed him is already beginning. Trump's former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has launched an aggressive schedule visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 Republican primaries and he has signed a contract with Fox News Channel. Mike Pence, Trump's former vice-president, has started a political advocacy group, finalized a book deal and later this month will give his first speech since leaving office in South Carolina. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been courting donors, including in Trump's backyard, with a prominent speaking slot before the former president at a GOP fundraising retreat dinner this month at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where Trump now lives. Trump ended his presidency with such a firm grip on Republican voters that party leaders fretted he would freeze the field of potential 2024 candidates, delaying preparations as he teased another run. Instead, many Republicans with national ambitions are openly laying the groundwork for campaigns as Trump continues to mull his own plans. They’re raising money, making hires and working to bolster their name recognition. The moves reflect both the fervour in the party to reclaim the White House and the reality that mounting a modern presidential campaign is a yearslong endeavour. “You build the arc before it rains,” said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush’s presidential 2016 campaign, among others. “They’re going to do the things they need to do if he decides not to run.” Trump, at least for now, is giving them plenty of leeway, convinced they pose little threat to his own ambitions. “It’s a free country. Folks can do what they want," Trump adviser Jason Miller said in response to the moves. “But,” he added, “if Present Trump does decide to run in 2024, the nomination will be his if you’re paying any attention to public polling of Republican voters." Polling does indeed show that Trump remains a commanding figure among GOP voters, despite his loss in November to Democrat Joe Biden. Republican leaders, including those who may hope to someday succeed him, have been careful to tend to his ego and make clear they have no plans to challenge his standing. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, last weekend awarded Trump a new “Champion for Freedom Award," which the group publicized — complete with a photo of a smiling, golf-attired Trump holding a small, gleaming cup — even after the former president went after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in a profanity-laden speech. A day later, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who many consider a top-tier 2024 candidate, told The Associated Press that she will sit out the race if Trump runs again. “I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it," she said in Orangeburg, South Carolina. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.” The deference is, in part, an acknowledgement of Trump's continued power. Even out of office and without his Twitter megaphone, Trump remains deeply popular with the GOP base and is bolstered by an $85 million war chest that can be shared with endorsed candidates, spent on advertising and used to fund travel and pay for polling and consultants. Trump is making plans to soon increase his visibility, with aides discussing options to hold rallies as soon as late spring or summer. “There’s a pretty strong demand out there to get President Trump on the road,” Miller said. Many Republicans acknowledge Trump would leap to the front of the pack if he chooses to mount a bid to become the only president other than Grover Cleveland to serve two nonconsecutive terms. Still, there is deep skepticism in many corners of the party that Trump will run again. While people close to him insist he is serious, many see Trump’s continued flirtations as a means to maintain relevance as he has settled into a comfortable post-White House life. At Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, he's courted by candidates and met by rounds of applause and standing ovations whenever he enters the dining room. In the meantime, other could-be-candidates are making moves, even as many of their aides insist their focus is squarely on next year's congressional elections and helping Republicans win back control of the House and Senate. Jeff Kaufmann, the chair of the Iowa Republican party, said the activity in his state has begun even earlier this year than in the past two election cycles, with every candidate on his potential 2024 list having already visited or thinking of visiting the first state on the GOP nominating calendar. “I know of no one — honestly no one — that is hesitating to come out," he said. "Now some are a little more subtle than others, but that may not necessarily be tied to Donald Trump. That may be just tied into their campaign style and not wanting to get too far ahead of their skis until they see if they have any traction whatsoever.” Pompeo, arguably the most aggressive to date, is among those who has already spent time in Iowa, as well as New Hampshire, and this week past he addressed Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network in New York, where he was introduced by video by Republican megadonor Miriam Adelson. And on Saturday, he headlined the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner at Mar-a-Lago along with Scott and DeSantis. DeSantis, who is up for reelection next year, recently hired a top Republican strategist who served as executive director of the Republican Governors Association. DeSantis also has been using the race build a deep fundraising network that could support him if he chooses to run nationally. The party, which for a time appeared to be paralyzed by division, has grown more united in its opposition to Biden, even as Trump continues to spar with McConnell and works to defeat incumbents who voted for his impeachment. Republicans in Congress have found common cause railing against Biden’s border policies, voting against his COVID-19 relief bill and pushing for new restrictions on voting, while railing against corporate interference in the voting rights debate. “I think you would find broad agreement in our party that we need to be having the debate about policy," said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, who continues to face enormous backlash after voting for Trump's impeachment. “We need to be talking about policy," she said while speaking to Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service last week. Regardless of Trump's ultimate decision, his critics and acolytes alike say they see the future of the party as dependent on maintaining their appeal Trump voters, while at the same time winning back the suburban voters who abandoned them last fall. “I think everyone’s trying to find that magic combination of ‘Trump-plus,’ of continuing to appeal to the new voters that President Trump brought to the Republican coalition while also bringing back back some of the college-educated suburban folks that were repelled by his antics,” said Steel. ___ Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Orangeburg, South Carolina, contributed to this report. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Four wagons of a passenger train bound for Cairo ran off the railway at the city of Banha in Qalyubia province this afternoon, killing at least 11 people and injuring scores of others.View on euronews
Recent developments: Health officials in Ottawa reported 283 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The province has walked back rules that would have allowed police officers to conduct random stops. Playgrounds and park structures are also no longer off-limits. What's the latest? The Ontario government has walked back some of the COVID-19 restrictions it introduced late last week, including expanded police powers that would have allowed officers to stop people at random and ask why they weren't at home. Now, officers will only be able to stop vehicles or people if they are suspected of participating in an organized public event or social gathering. Police forces in Ottawa, Kingston, Cornwall and Belleville were among those that said they would not have carried out the random stops. The province has also reversed course on declaring playgrounds and play structures off-limits. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was one of the officials who urged the province to reconsider that measure. Ottawa reported another 283 COVID-19 cases Sunday, while 143 cases were logged in western Quebec. How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining test sites and filling hospitals. As of Saturday, 21,835 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 3,339 known active cases, 18,014 resolved cases and 482 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 33,900 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 162 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 185. Akwesasne has had more than 590 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 27 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order that has been extended until at least May 20. People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary. Checkpoints are set to go up at border crossings between eastern Ontario and western Quebec on Monday. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include people who live together, those who live alone and pair up with one other household, and small religious services. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Ontario is indefinitely moving to online learning after April break. Daycares remain open for now. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks. Police officers ride ATVs while patrolling Mooney's Bay park in Ottawa on April 17, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Matthew Kupfer/CBC) Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until April 25 in the Outaouais. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people and masks are no longer mandatory if doing so. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People there are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are spreading quickly. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Gunners with 30th Field Artillery Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery wear masks while conducting a gun salute in Ottawa on April 17, 2021, to mark the passing of Prince Philip.(Blair Gable/Canadian Press) Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 525,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 238,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 93,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. It's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Phase 2 now includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May. Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July. A sign at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club on April 17, 2021, tells people the course is closed. The province introduced stricter COVID-19 rules the day before that included declaring golf courses off-limits.(Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada) Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited. Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces. Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way. The health unit for the Belleville area says this hot spot strategy means some of its doses are being sent elsewhere and it will have to postpone some appointments. WATCH | Doctors say Ontario ignored crucial warnings about pandemic's third wave Western Quebec Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers. The vaccination plan now covers people age 55 and older, along with local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès. Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province, not individual pharmacies. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. This week that includes school staff and students. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
The Ontario government and the Greater Toronto Area's largest public health units say they don't yet know how many teachers and education workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — as some special education workers and students head back to class this week. Many of those workers were made eligible for vaccinations last week when the province announced a plan to inoculate education staff in hot-spot neighbourhoods during April break. While the return of in-person classes for elementary and secondary schools has since been put on hold indefinitely across Ontario, some classes for students with special education needs are set to resume on Monday. It appears that few of those teachers will have been vaccinated by the time their classrooms reopen. "Not many have been vaccinated already, and certainly none have been vaccinated with the two-week incubation period that's needed," said Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local and a longtime Brampton elementary teacher. The possibility of delayed vaccinations for teachers, coupled with the pandemic's surging third wave in Ontario, is said to be threatening the return of in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. "There will be virtually no time left in the school year before those vaccines have had a chance to take effect," said Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF). In Peel Region alone, Bannister-Clarke said, Monday will mark the return of 116 teachers and dozens of special education workers for in-person classes. Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local, said teachers will not feel comfortable returning to class before being vaccinated.(Zoom) She said some teachers and education workers who tried to book appointments last week will not actually receive their shots until mid-May. "We're quite confused as to why we're opening classrooms at this time," Bannister-Clarke said. Ontario promised vaccine access, 'full stop' Ontario said its plan to make teachers and special education workers a priority for immunization in hot-spot postal codes would help protect workers facing the greatest risk of infection. "I just want to assure every worker in the province in our schools, driving our buses and helping to protect our kids: you are going to get access to the vaccine, full stop," Education Minister Stephen Lecce said after announcing the plan, which came days before Ontario decided to close schools to in-person learning following April break. But local public health units, who are tasked with administering vaccinations, say they did not receive any additional vaccine supply or guidance when teachers and education staff were made eligible. Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa estimated during a Board of Health meeting last week that "roughly 40,000" people qualified for vaccination under the expanded plan, but said Toronto did not receive any additional vaccines to serve those workers. "It wasn't really a plan, it was sort of a half-baked wish," said Bischof, who said teachers have reported difficulty getting vaccine appointments across Ontario. The province's Ministry of Health did not respond to a CBC News request for information on the status of vaccinations among teachers and education workers. Vaccines may not even be enough Brenda Coleman, a clinical scientist at Sinai Health System and an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said vaccination rates are one of several key factors that will determine if and when schools are safe to reopen. Coleman is studying the threat of COVID-19 to teachers in schools, which she considers to be a "very high-risk situation." While Coleman said vaccines represent an important safeguard for teachers, she said the current trajectory of the pandemic could preclude schools from reopening even if teachers are vaccinated. "The case rate is so high right now that putting children and education workers back into school just doesn't make any sense at this point," Coleman said.
Friends and family are concerned about the well-being of a 65-year-old missing man in Moncton, N.B., who doesn't speak English or French. Abdulgadir Nur was last seen Thursday around 11:30 a.m. on Paul Street in Dieppe. He speaks Tigrinya, a language common to Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia, and some Arabic. Nancy Biddington, a friend of the family, has been part of a group searching for Nur since he was last seen. "We're very concerned," she said. Biddington described Nur as shy and said he is not likely to ask for help because of the language barrier. According to Biddington, Nur doesn't know his way around Moncton very well, aside from his daily travels in his neighborhood, and only walks or takes the bus. RCMP along with family and friends are searching for Abdulgadir Nur.(Submitted by Codiac Regional RCMP) "He only goes from his house to the language class," she said, noting he sometimes stop at the mall. Nur was missing once before. In September 2020, he was lost in the city for a day before he was found, according to Biddington. "He was just lost and he didn't know where he was," she said. "He was just walking. He didn't know how to get back home." Biddington said family and friends think that may have happened again. They have been searching the city for him. A group of 30 people searched for Nur until close to midnight Saturday. Searchers were planning to head out to look for Nur again Sunday afternoon. Nancy's husband, Ken, said they are asking people to check their backyards for Nur. Codiac Regional RCMP described Nur as five-foot-three and about 185 pounds. He has short white hair, a white beard, and brown eyes. Anyone with information on Nur's whereabouts is asked to contact the RCMP at 506-857-2400.
The woman who shot a video of a violent arrest by a private security guard at a Saskatoon FreschCo. earlier this week says she was frozen in fear as she watched the incident unfold before her. Now, after taking some time to reflect and steady herself, she says she's glad she recorded the video, but wishes she had stepped in. Jade Acikahte watched the entire arrest unfold, saying the Indigenous woman complied with the security guard fully before she was arrested. Acikahte says the security guard stopped the woman as she was leaving the store on 33rd Street West in the city's Mayfair Neighbourhood, and said he suspected her of theft. She says that when asked, the woman followed instructions from the man fully, emptying the contents of her purse as requested. However, when that didn't satisfy the guard, the man told the woman to follow him back to the store, at which time she said she didn't want to. "As she was putting her stuff back in her purse, she said 'No, I don't want to go with you. I'm not going with you,'" Acikahte said. The guard was blocking the woman's path, according to Acikahte, when the woman tried to walk away. Acikahte said the security guard grabbed the woman by her wrist and tried to force her into handcuffs. When she fought back, the man threw her to the ground. "With her hands still behind her back, so she wasn't able to brace for that fall," she said, and at that point, that's when she took out her phone and started to record. The incident has spurred calls for the security guard in the video to be fired and has already resulted in the termination of the contract between the FreshCo. store and the security firm that employs him. The woman, a 30-year-old, has been charged with theft under $5,000 and assault as a result of the incident. Calls for guard to be fired, charged The security guard has not been charged, but many — including Indigenous leaders with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Saskatoon Tribal Council — want that to change. They also want all charges against the woman dropped. As for Acikahte, she says she had never seen anything like the arrest before, noting she agrees the guard should be fired and charged. "I felt really confused and scared for her," she said. "All I know is that I had to record." A photo of Jade Acikahte, an Indigenous woman in Saskatoon who recorded a violent arrest in a Saskatoon parking lot by a private security guard on April 14,2021. (Supplied by Jade Acikahte ) The company that employs the guard, Emergency Security Management Solutions, has told CBC News previously that every company has its policies and procedures around their employees and says they will be followed. Acikahte says the recording has been shared with police, as she does not feel the guard's behaviour was appropriate. It's also circulated widely online, with the original post being shared almost 2,000 times. WATCH | Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations calls for security guard to be fired following violent arrest at Saskatoon store: Acikahte, who saw photos of the arrests aftermath, says the woman in the video suffered numerous injuries as a result. "It was literally her entire body," she said. Acikahte, who is also Indigenous, says the fact the woman was charged as a result of the incident is "absolutely outrageous." "Just witnessing it from beginning to end, the force he used at the very beginning was just not necessary," she said. "I feel like she acted out of self-defence. Completely." However, Acikahte says while the video was shocking, it wasn't surprising, as it's a sign of a larger problem. "This is normal life for Indigenous people. I really hope that this situation can be an example and it's rectified in a positive way," she said. "It's upsetting. It's really, really upsetting to watch this unfold." Mayor addresses racism, profiling Saskatoon's Mayor Charlie Clark has also publicly stated the video has left him feeling angry, and this type of violence "needs to stop. "We can't ignore as a community that not everyone would have been treated this way. Our city has been coming to terms with the reality of our history and ongoing impacts of violence against women, and violence against Indigenous women," said Clark in the statement. "We have also been coming face to face with the reality that systemic racism, and profiling of people in stores and institutions in our community, carries on in large and small ways," he said. "The video of this arrest highlighted this. I hear too often from people who are Indigenous, Black, and people of colour that they regularly face discrimination, profiling and violence." In the statement, Clark says this type of violence has a real impact on a person's life and those who do not experience need to "listen and hear directly from people who do. "We have work to do to address the training and accountability of security guards, the racial profiling of people in stores and institutions, to address the hard truths of the impacts of a colonial relationship, and to build a way forward where we see each other as relatives and where everyone has opportunity here." Clark says he's committed to the work necessary to bring an end to this type of injustice and has already had communication with Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand on steps forward. "I will keep working with leaders throughout the community towards these goals," he said in the statement. "We can only be successful by doing it together as a community." The woman has been offered support by both the FSIN and the STC, and Acikahte says she too will do all she can to help. She's spoken to the woman about why she didn't get involved, as she was afraid of charges, and for her safety and said the conversation was important. "I apologized profusely for not stepping in for not being more help," she said. "She was not upset with me. She was not angry with any of us bystanders, she was glad it was recorded." On Friday morning, the Saskatoon Police Service confirmed its investigation into the matter is ongoing, but did not have any updates. "As with any call for service, we respond with the information we have at the time," the statement said. "I can add that if we need to seek an opinion from the Crown following the investigation, we will."
The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year, according to a government source. The change will broaden access to vaccines as a third wave of infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals in Canada's most-populous province, and should make it easier to use doses that in some cases have been accumulating at pharmacies. The vaccine has already been distributed to pharmacies but currently can only be given to people turning 55 or older this year.
A body recovered Friday is that of the man who fell through the ice on the North Saskatchewan River on April 6, Edmonton police confirm. The man, who attempted to rescue a woman's dog before falling through the ice, was identified by friends as Rob White, 55. After falling through the ice near Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park in Edmonton's river valley, White was carried down the river toward an ice shelf near Groat Bridge. Emergency crews lost sight of him and called off the search for White almost three hours later. The dog was rescued about a half-hour after Edmonton Fire Rescue Services were dispatched on the same day. White, who is survived by his wife and two sons, was remembered for his kindness and unique personality.
Gordie Howe, Saskatchewan's most famous hockey icon, always said records were meant to be broken, according to his son, Murray Howe. And if Gordie were alive today, Murray said, he'd be excited to see another Saskatchewan native, Patrick Marleau, break his longtime record for most NHL games played — expected to happen Monday night in Las Vegas, barring anything unforeseen. "I think he'd be very thrilled and the first out on the ice to applaud Patrick on this really incredible milestone," Murray said. Gordie Howe, who had the nickname Mr. Hockey, set the record of 1,767 NHL games played before he retired in 1980 at age 52. Howe died in 2016 when he was 88. Marleau, 41, tied the record on Saturday night in Minnesota. Murray said he's also happy to see his dad's record will be broken by Marleau, someone lauded for the same dedication, passion and humility as Gordie Howe, who "never put himself up on a pedestal." "[Marleau] is a class act," he said. "Just in the same way that Gretzky broke Dad's scoring records, it was great to see it accomplished by someone who was humble and dedicated to the game and grateful for the things that he had." As Monday approaches, Marleau's family is also cheering him on, from the Saskatchewan farm where he first fell in love with the game. WATCH | Brush up on the career of Patrick Marleau in 90 seconds: Shooting pucks by the barn Marleau grew up on his parent's farm near Aneroid, Sask., 250 kilometres southwest of Regina. His mother, Jeanette, a retired teacher, remembers how her two sons, Richard and Patrick, would play mini-stick hockey in the kitchen on her linoleum floor. "If I would wax [the floor], they would use their socks and they would polish it at the same time. They'd be playing hockey and [polishing]," she said. Richard took masking tape and spelled out "NHL" on the back of their jerseys. Denis Marleau and his two sons, Richard and Patrick, right, at their home near Aneroid, Sask. Now in his 23rd NHL season, Patrick Marleau said he still loves the game.(Submitted by Teresa Marleau) "There were a lot of battles on the kitchen floor. It seemed like we'd just get wound up on a Saturday night when Hockey Night in Canada would start playing … and then Mom would say 'Oh no, it's time for bed' just when things got really good," he said, with a chuckle. But Marleau's singular focus on honing his skills began to set him apart from other young players. His father, Denis, who still farms at age 74, remembers how Patrick would haul an ice cream container full of pucks out to the barn and practice his shot off a sheet of plywood. "You'd always knew where he was on the farm. You could hear this bang, bang — the pucks hitting the boards," said Denis. "We didn't have to tell him to do anything about hockey. He just loved it." At Christmas one year, Marleau's parents gave him an instructional video by Mario Lemieux, his favourite player, on VHS and he played it over and over. "I'm sure he wore that tape out. He watched it for hours," said Denis. Marleau grew up playing hockey in small rinks around Aneroid, Saskatchewan, 250 kilometres southwest of Regina.(Submitted by Teresa Marleau) Hard work and a bit of luck Marleau was selected by San Jose in the 1997 NHL Draft. The team's veteran goaltender Kelly Hrudey said he saw something special in the young rookie and so he, along with his wife Donna and three daughters, invited Marleau to live in their guesthouse. Hrudey said he could tell that Marleau was raised by his parents to be kind, and he hasn't changed today. "Very, very humble. For all that he's accomplished, and things he's done in his career and all the money he's made, to me he hasn't changed," said Hrudey. WATCH | Why Kelly Hrudey invited Patrick Marleau to come stay: The NHL analyst for Sportsnet credits Marleau's long career to his unique combination of skill, smarts, and passion, as well as Marleau's intense off-ice training and a bit of luck that have helped him escape injury. "He's had a body that just refuses to break down and that's what's very, very rare," said Hrudey. On Thursday, Marleau spoke to reporters in a virtual press conference. "I just love being out there and playing. Obviously every kid's dream is to hoist that Stanley Cup, so I've been chasing it all this time," said Marleau. He has yet to win a NHL championship. Marleau poses with his parents, Jeanette and Denis, after winning a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. (Submitted by Teresa Marleau) Marleau, who didn't mention retirement, said he hopes he'll be remembered as a player who loved the game, his team, and winning. "Ya know, I gave it my all," he said. Murray Howe, a physician who now lives in Toledo, Ohio, said his dad Gordie had the same attitude and was never driven or distracted by his statistics or records. "It is more about doing what he loves and feeling fortunate that he could do it as long as he could and do it at the level that he did," he said. "When Dad finally hung up the blades, he knew he left everything out on the ice and I think he's equally proud of anyone who does the same thing out on the ice, including Gretzky and Patrick [Marleau]." San Jose Sharks centre Marleau, left, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period of an NHL hockey game on April 6 in San Jose, Calif.(Tony Avelar/The Associated Press)
P.E.I. is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 and a second person is in hospital in the province related to the virus. Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, made the announcement in a news release Sunday. The new cases include a child younger than 10, an individual in their 30s and an individual in their 50s. All three cases are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The child has been self-isolating since arriving on Prince Edward Island and there are no exposures at any schools or child-care facilities. The child has been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The previously announced hospitalization has now been moved into intensive care at the QEH. There is also a flight exposure notification related to the cases. Anyone who travelled on Air Canada Flight 8302 from Montreal to Charlottetown on April 16 should monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and, if any develop, visit a testing clinic and self-isolate until a negative result is received. P.E.I. currently has 10 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 170 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic. More from CBC P.E.I.
BELGRADE, Serbia — Hamid Ahmadi still can feel the cold of the February night when Serbian police left him and two dozen other refugees in a forest. Crammed into a police van, the refugees from Afghanistan thought they were headed to an asylum-seekers' camp in eastern Serbia. Instead, they were ordered out near the country's border with Bulgaria in the middle of that night four years ago. In below-freezing temperatures and desperately in need of help, they had no choice but to head to Bulgaria — the country they had left just a day earlier. “I will not forget it as long as I live,” said Ahmadi, who was 17 at the time and now lives in Germany. “Even after a period of good life and stability, one cannot forget the tough times.” The Serbian border police had engaged in a pushback, or collective expulsion, one of many such actions along the travel routes used by migrants and refugees trying to reach Western Europe. But unlike most such illegal deportations, the officers' actions in February 2017 resulted in the Afghan refugees winning an unprecedented legal victory in Serbia's highest court. The Balkan country's constitutional Court ruled in December that the border control officers unlawfully deported the refugees and violated their rights. The court also ordered Serbian authorities to pay the 17 members of the group who brought the lawsuit 1,000 euros ($1,180) each in compensation. “The importance of this verdict is immense for Serbia,” said Belgrade lawyer Nikola Kovacevic, who represented the refugees in the case. It sends a “clear message to state authorities to harmonize their border practices with domestic and international law." The ruling is a rare official acknowledgment that countries in Europe conduct pushbacks in violation of European Union and international laws which ban forcibly returning people to other countries without looking into their individual circumstances or allowing them to apply for asylum. Although refugees and economic migrants passing through the Balkans regularly give accounts of the practice, authorities routinely deny that their agencies carry out pushbacks, which are difficult to prove and mostly go unpunished. Turned back and forth at various borders, people fleeing war and poverty spend months, if not years, on the road, exposed to harsh conditions and danger in the hands of people-smugglers and human traffickers. Sometimes, refugees and migrants are sent back over two or three borders it had taken them months to cross. Human rights groups have called repeatedly for governments to uphold their responsibilities involving refugee rights and accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to the illegal activity taking place at its doorstep. The United Nations mission in Bosnia called this month for urgent action to halt pushbacks along EU member Croatia's border with Bosnia after a U.N. team encountered 50 men with wounds on their bodies who reported authorities pushed them back and took their possessions away when they tried to enter Croatia. According to the U.N. refugee agency's office in Serbia and its partners, 25,180 people were pushed back into Serbia from Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary and Romania last year. Kovacevic, the lawyer in Serbia, said collective expulsions became increasingly common after the EU and Turkey made a 2016 agreement intended to curb migration to Europe. More than a million people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia had streamed to the continent the year before. The agreement called for Turkey to control the flow of people departing its territory in exchange for aid for the large number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as other incentives. “All the borders have introduced the practice of systematic violations of the ban on collective expulsions,” Kovacevic said. “But at least now in Serbia, this was officially confirmed, not by a non-government organization, local or foreign, but the highest authority for protection of human rights.” To hide any evidence of wrongdoing, border control officers routinely strip refugees of mobile phones or documents. In the case of Ahmadi and the others, a clear trace of evidence was left behind thanks to what Kovacevic said was the “blatant arrogance” of the Serbian police who “thought they could do whatever they wanted." It started on Feb. 2, 2017, when 25 migrants, including nine children, were caught at the border with Bulgaria and brought to a nearby police station in Serbia. They were kept for hours in a basement room, then taken before a judge to face charges of illegally crossing the border. The judge, however, ruled that the group should be treated as refugees and taken to an asylum centre. Ahmadi, who spoke to the AP from Germany through an interpreter, said he clearly remembers when the judge asked them if they wanted to stay in Serbia. He said he was happy they would finally have a place in the camp after travelling through Turkey and Bulgaria. Hours later, inside the border police van that was supposed to take them to the camp, Ahmadi realized something was wrong. When police abandoned them in the forest, “I felt broken," he recalled. “I thought about my family at home." In the pitch dark and freezing temperatures, the refugees headed on foot toward Bulgaria — and straight into the hands of border police in that country. They managed to phone an interpreter in Serbia, who alerted refugee rights activists in both Serbia and in Bulgaria. The refugees stayed in camps in Bulgaria, some for days and others longer, before making it back to Serbia again and later moving on toward Western Europe. The rights lawyers later collected documentation left behind by the Serbian court and the Bulgarian authorities, establishing a clear trace of events that helped build the case in the court. Four years later, Kovacevic is trying to establish contact with all the people from Afghanistan he represented; they are scattered in countries that also include France and Bosnia. Coronavirus lockdowns have made it more difficult to establish contact and arrange money transfers for the damages they won, he said. “It’s taking a little longer, but we will get there,” smiled Kovacevic. Ahmadi, who was granted asylum in Germany five months ago, said he plans to use the damages to help him and his wife start a new life in Europe. He is now taking German language lessons before looking for a job. “This compensation means a lot to me,” he said. “I will be able to buy a bed and a little something for our flat once we rent it.” ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Jovana Gec, The Associated Press
Moderna has not violated its contractual obligations with Canada, Procurement Minister Anita Anand says, despite continued setbacks over promised COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to this country. "There has not been a breach of contract at this stage, and indeed, strong relationships with our suppliers [have] been fundamental to ensuring that we've accelerated 22 million doses already from one quarter to the next," Anand said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The minister's comments come as a shipment of 1.2 million Moderna doses bound for Canada this month has been scaled back and delayed. The shots, which were set to arrive this week, have been slashed to 650,000 doses and will now arrive later in April or by early May. A further 12.3 million doses expected to arrive by the end of June will also shrink by one to two million shots and are now scheduled to show up between July and September. The Massachusetts-based company is struggling to meet ramped-up global demand at its European facilities, partly due to labour shortages. "Moderna continues to make substantial capital investments to support production increases ... and explore other potential collaboration opportunities," the company said in a statement on Friday. FedEx workers in Toronto offload a plane carrying Moderna vaccine doses originating from Europe in March 2021. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press) Flexible contracts allow for accelerated deliveries Both Moderna and Pfizer wrestled with production holdups earlier this year as the companies scaled up their capacity to handle increased demand — but Pfizer has maintained a consistent delivery schedule since then. "Pfizer has been an incredibly stable partner in the bringing in of vaccines to this country," Anand told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton. "We continue to ask them for earlier and earlier doses, and they continue to ensure that we are able to do that." On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada signed an agreement with the pharmaceutical giant for eight million more doses of its mRNA vaccine. A driver pulls his truck out of the Pfizer plant in Puurs, Belgium, on Dec. 21, 2020. Pfizer scaled up the production capacity of the plant earlier this year.(Valentin Bianchi/The Associated Press) The country is not paying a premium for the accelerated deliveries, Anand said. "We are paying fair market value for these doses, and they are obliging our requests. We exercised options for those eight million doses, and we had built that flexibility into our contracts." The minister said the nature of Canada's agreements with its suppliers means delivery schedules are not necessarily set in stone. "The ability for Canada to bring in increasing numbers of doses goes back to the diversified portfolio of vaccines that we put in place back last August, and [we] made sure that we have flexibility here so that we can draw down on our contractual arrangements." Accessing U.S. supply When asked at what point the United States might be able to open up access to its vaccine stocks, Anand said she's not focused on that country's supply chain. "I'm not focused on the U.S. timeline as much as I am on ensuring we're having those discussions right now, and that's why we have been engaged with the U.S. administration since January," she said. So far, Canada has received 1.5 million AstraZeneca-Oxford doses on loan from its southern neighbour that will be returned later this year. "We are in constant discussion with the United States and will continue to do that through our ambassador, Kirsten Hillman, and with her excellent help in order to have Canada as being well placed to continue to draw doses from multiple countries, not just the U.S.," Anand said. You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.
SHANGHAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -China and the United States agree that stronger pledges to fight climate change should be introduced before a new round of international talks at the end of the year, the two countries said in a joint statement on Sunday. The statement came after a meeting between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday, China's environment ministry said. "The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis," their joint statement said.
Seventy-three people rolled up their sleeves at Yellowknife's first pop-up vaccine clinic on Saturday, according to the territory's COVID immunization response team. Sheila Laity, one of the nurse practitioners on site, said there was a lineup waiting for them when they first arrived at the Yellowknife Co-op in the morning. Initially equipped with forty doses of the Moderna vaccine, Laity said they were twice delivered more vials to keep up with demand. "I didn't expect that much," she said. "We have a lot of people who are very happy about just popping in, showing up here while you're getting your groceries, not having to make an appointment." Aziz Benali said having the pop-up clinic at the grocery store made it "very convenient" to get the shot while doing errands.(Liny Lamberink/CBC) For Aziz Benali, the convenience was key. "I was supposed to get it two days ago," he said, referring to his second dose of the vaccine. "I didn't get the chance because I was working the whole day and Saturday is a challenging day for me because I have to do some groceries and also have to go to work in the afternoon." To be able to get the shot, while out doing errands, was easy, he said. "It takes me five minutes. It's a very good idea." Getting vaccinated had been on the to-do list for Kristy Hawes and her husband, Brian. So when they spotted the clinic in the grocery store, they jumped on the opportunity — with their children Nate, 7, and Lilah, 4, in tow. "We were pleasantly surprised this clinic was here with no lineup," said Kristy Hawes. "We think it's important to keep the North safe, and we would like to visit family this summer. It's a first step for us to keep ourselves safe and our families safe." Ron Klein and his wife Anita Kikoak were among 73 people to get a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during Saturday's pop-up clinic.(Liny Lamberink/CBC) Ron Klein and his wife, Anita Kikoak, also had travel on their minds. "My nephew wants to get married this year," explained Kikoak. "I'm not sure if he will now, because [COVID-19 cases are] just climbing up there. I just want to be prepared, in case we do go." They also agreed to get the shot because Kikoak said she's worried about her husband's health. "He is older than I am, that's the main thing. I was teasing him last week that he's fragile now," she said. "I just worry about him." Laity said she's not sure if there are more pop-up clinics planned for Yellowknife in the future. Walk-ins are welcome at the Centre Square Mall vaccination clinic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except for Tuesdays and Sundays. People living in communities outside Yellowknife are encouraged to contact their local public health unit or health centre to arrange getting their first or second dose.