Students and staff at Vanguard School in Montreal are in mourning after a teacher died after contracting COVID-19. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports.
Students and staff at Vanguard School in Montreal are in mourning after a teacher died after contracting COVID-19. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports.
Angela Carter, professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, says People's Recovery is an alternative to Andrew Furey's economic recovery team. (Bruce Tilley/CBC) People's Recovery, a volunteer group of 60 individuals and organizations, unveiled its own economic recovery plan for the province Wednesday, calling it an alternative to the premier's economic recovery team (PERT), and the pending Greene report. The progressive group, which is against privatization and cuts to public spending and services, is endorsed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, $15 and Fairness, the St. John's Status of Women Council and Memorial University's Faculty Association, among others. Federation of Labour president Mary Shortall, who quit PERT in January over concerns about its process, is also a member of People's Recovery. While Liberal Leader Andrew Furey has said there will be no mass layoffs and that the recommendations in the as-yet-unwritten Greene report will be fully debated, there is widespread concern that chair Moya Greene and her group will recommend service cuts and other tough decisions. "This, in many ways, is a counterpoint to the premier's economic recovery team," said Angela Carter, a political science professor with the University of Waterloo, and co-facilitator of People's Recovery. The group started in November, with small meetings of mostly academics and people in the non-profit sector, but has since grown. "We have environmental groups, women's groups, anti-racist groups, people who represent the small business sector, labour organizations and labour advocates. So a very wide and diverse range of people are at the table with us," Carter said via FaceTime Wednesday. Moya Greene is leading the economic recovery team that is scrutinizing government spending and services. The team is expected to deliver a final report to the provincial government in April. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) She says they were inspired by PERT to find another path to fixing the province's financial crisis. "There's a knee-jerk reaction in the province to cut spending, and the sort of slash-and-burn mentality," Carter said. "But what that means for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is that our services then become impoverished." "So there is another option. There's another way here." Increase taxes for the wealthy Instead of cutting, the groups wants the government to look at the other side of the ledger and capture money left on the table. According to their revenue fact sheet, they propose a two per cent tax increase for those in the top two tax brackets, a new tax bracket for people earning over $1 million, a one per cent wealth tax on net assets over $20 million, a 20 per cent luxury tax on luxury vehicles, boats and aircraft over $100,000, and taxing capital gains the same as wages. "Some of it is directed toward making sure that the very richest people in our society, that are currently still doing really well even during COVID, that they pay a fair share of taxes going forward," Carter said. "Middle income people in Newfoundland and Labrador pay about the same amount as middle income people in other Atlantic provinces. But if you are very wealthy in Newfoundland and Labrador, you actually get a sweet deal on taxes," she said. People's Recovery also believes in a $15 minimum wage, and says reducing unemployment by three per cent will create just under $50 million in revenue for the government. They're also pushing back on the idea that provincial government spending is out of control, calling it a "myth." "If you look at comparisons with other Atlantic Canadian provinces, for example, we see that Newfoundland and Labrador's program spending is actually lower per GDP than all of those provinces," she said. Liberals welcome discussion Furey, who created PERT and appointed Greene as its chair last fall, was not available for an interview Wednesday, but St. John's West candidate Siobhan Coady was. "I am very, very pleased to have more people engaged in this discussion. This is exactly what I think we need in Newfoundland and Labrador. We need all, all of us to be engaged in this discussion," Coady said. When it comes to increasing taxes on the wealthy, Coady says the province completed a review of its tax system in 2018. St. John's West candidate Siobhan Coady says she's pleased to have people enter the discussion on the province's financial crisis. (Zach Goudie/CBC) "We were middle of the road and I think that's where we want to be. But there's certainly always value in continuing to look at our taxation system to make sure that we're competitive." She said she will take People's Recovery's recommendations seriously, and there will also be public consultations on the PERT report. People's Recovery says it will release more policy in the coming weeks. Greene's interim report for PERT was due to government on Feb. 28, but she said it will be delayed for five or six weeks, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and the current lockdown for the delay. Read More from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Dutch court ruled Thursday that a deeply religious father who kept some of his children isolated from the outside world for years in a remote farmhouse can't stand trial on charges including child sexual abuse because he has been incapacitated by a stroke. The decision came after prosecutors last month asked the court in the northern city of Assen to drop the case because the 68-year-old suspect wasn't fit to stand trial. It brings to an end a case that made headlines around the world after one of the man's sons raised the alarm and authorities discovered the father had been living for years with six of his children in the farmhouse in the eastern Netherlands. At a preliminary hearing in January last year, prosecutors portrayed the father, identified only as Gerrit Jan van D., as a deeply religious man who saw his family as “chosen by God” and did everything in his power — including physical beatings and other punishments — to keep them from succumbing to what he considered malign outside influences. The court ruled Thursday that a 2016 stroke had so badly affected the father's ability to communicate that continuing with the case would breach his fair trial rights. “He doesn't sufficiently understand what is happening in the courtroom,” court spokesman Marcel Wolters said in a video statement. The six children who were kept on the farm are now all young adults. Three older siblings had earlier left the family’s isolated life. Their mother died in 2004. The Associated Press
A Green MLA wants to know if government will reinstate a moratorium on student loan repayments in the province. Lynne Lund raised the issue during question period in the legislature Wednesday. The province put a hold on student loan repayments between March and September last year to help students manage the economic impacts of the pandemic. In February, the student union at UPEI called on the province to bring back its moratorium on student loan payments. The union wants the new moratorium on payments to run from April through September, which Lund said she supports. Lund said she raised the issue with government for the first time last November and is still waiting for an answer. Green MLA Lynne Lund also called on government to forgive $2.8 million in student debt in the upcoming budget. (Legislative Assembly of P.E.I.) "Students are still waiting for an answer from this government. This is a significant monthly expense of lots of recent graduates and they are asking for help," Lund said. "Does your government intend to reinstate the moratorium on student loan repayments, yes or no?" 'Identified as a priority' Lund told CBC News she has received several letters from recent graduates that say repaying their student debt has been a serious hardship. She said she tabled a petition in the legislature with nearly 300 signatures from students and former students calling on government to put a hold on loan repayments. Responding to Lund's question, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson said there are a number of other financial supports available for students. She said government has invested in non-repayable loan options for students, including the George Coles bursary. Jameson said students don't have to make payments on their provincial loans while they remain full-time students and don't have to start repaying their loan for a year after they are no longer a full-time student. She said students also don't pay interest on their provincial loans. Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson did not say whether or not government would reinstate the moratorium on student loan payments but says government has received the request from the UPEI Student Union and is looking into it. (Legislative Assembly of P.E.I. ) Jameson did not say whether or not government would reinstate the moratorium. Jameson told CBC News that government has received a budget submission recommendation from the student union at UPEI that the moratorium be reinstated and government is considering the request. "It's one that we've discussed and identified as a priority," Jameson said. "We have a number of financial supports available but certainly we're always looking for innovative solutions to reduce financial burdens for students." Lund also called on government to forgive $2.8 million in student debt in the upcoming budget. Jameson said she can provide answers to questions around debt forgiveness once the budget is tabled. More P.E.I. news
These screen protectors can be similar to cheap insurance for your cell phone. If your phone takes an impact, the screen protector can help protect the actual phone screen from breaking. In this video we have a screen protector that did it’s job but needs to be replaced with a new one. We take the process one step at a time to show you how to make the installation look nice. Enjoy!
Veteran Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, who runs a website known for its tough scrutiny of President Rodrigo Duterte, took the witness stand for the first time on Thursday to counter tax evasion charges that she maintains were politically motivated. Ressa, a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018 for fighting media intimidation, is facing several government lawsuits that have stoked international concern about harassment of journalists in the Philippines, a country once seen as a standard bearer for press freedom in Asia. Speaking to reporters after testifying for two and a half hours in Manila, Ressa asked the government to allow journalists to work freely and independently.
Conservation authorities in the Ottawa area say the weather's not co-operating for people who want to leave their ice fishing huts out until the March 15 deadline. Ice fishers have until a certain date in Ontario to get their huts off the ice or face a fine: locally, it's March 1 along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, March 15 for most of eastern Ontario and March 31 in Renfrew County and Algonquin Park. People who monitor ice and water conditions around Ottawa advise getting gear off sooner rather than later. "The recent fluctuations in weather have not made for good, safe ice over an extended period," said Ryan Robson, a resource technician with South Nation Conservation, in a news release. The authority covering part of Ottawa and communities to the east said last week it was measuring ice just 15 centimetres thick near some huts around Casselman, Ont., which is considered barely safe for walking. Ice thickness around Petrie Island in east Ottawa ranged from 15 to 51 centimetres in the local association's latest report last weekend and the ice is off-limits to larger vehicles. Do you want this to be your hut? Didn't think so.(Giacomo Panico/CBC) The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, west of South Nation's area, echoed its neighbour's message, saying huts, gear and waste will pollute the waters people fish if they're left. You also can't just burn your hut down, added South Nation Conservation: it's both illegal and polluting. Ottawa's forecast calls for sunny daytime highs of between 5 C and 8 C to start next week. If you're new or just want a reminder, Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has safety advice and lists of which fish are in season.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 4, 2021. There are 875,559 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 875,559 confirmed cases (29,930 active, 823,524 resolved, 22,105 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,812 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 78.75 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,365 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,909. There were 60 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 299 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 43. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,676,396 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 997 confirmed cases (153 active, 838 resolved, six deaths). There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 29.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 35 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. 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 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 199,347 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 137 confirmed cases (22 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 13.78 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 20 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 107,377 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,646 confirmed cases (30 active, 1,551 resolved, 65 deaths). There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 3.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 343,260 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,438 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,372 resolved, 28 deaths). There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 4.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 238,399 tests completed. _ Quebec: 289,670 confirmed cases (7,336 active, 271,908 resolved, 10,426 deaths). There were 729 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 85.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,198 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 743. There were 19 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 81 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.59 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,320,910 tests completed. _ Ontario: 303,763 confirmed cases (10,397 active, 286,352 resolved, 7,014 deaths). There were 958 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 70.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,590 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,084. There were 17 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 121 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.6 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,964,481 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,000 confirmed cases (1,146 active, 29,953 resolved, 901 deaths). There were 50 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 83.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 413 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 59. There were three new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 535,163 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,059 confirmed cases (1,431 active, 27,239 resolved, 389 deaths). There were 121 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 121.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,079 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 154. There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33 per 100,000 people. There have been 579,326 tests completed. _ Alberta: 134,454 confirmed cases (4,649 active, 127,903 resolved, 1,902 deaths). There were 402 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 105.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,421 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 346. There were 12 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 36 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,414,903 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 81,909 confirmed cases (4,718 active, 75,819 resolved, 1,372 deaths). There were 542 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 91.65 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,559 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 508. There were seven new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 34 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,941,589 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were zero new cases Wednesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,183 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (two active, 40 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 4.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,664 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 359 confirmed cases (eight active, 350 resolved, one death). There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 20.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of eight 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 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,718 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Twitter Inc. will be bulking up on Canadian talent this year with a hiring spree meant to add dozens of engineers in the country to its staff. The San Francisco, Calif.-based social media giant said Thursday that it plans to form its first Canadian engineering hub with at least 24 workers it will soon hire. "We have folks that are from Canadian schools or have Canadian backgrounds and they've just been really successful in growing their careers here," said Tristan Jung, a senior engineering manager involved with Twitter's hiring, in a video call from the Bay Area. "The thought process was why don't we just go to the source instead of having to pull them all into the Bay Area? Toronto was the best place to do so." Twitter's increased interest in the market comes as global competition for tech talent is intensifying. Encouraged by the COVID-19 pandemic's work-from-home measures, companies have begun hiring beyond their current borders, allowing them to source talent in new or unexpected places. In a 2019 visit to Toronto, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey preached the values of a "decentralized" company and said the "centre of gravity shouldn’t be San Francisco:" Last March, he doubled down on his beliefs when he announced Twitter workers will be allowed to work remotely permanently. "We serve global audiences and so we believe fundamentally that our talent mix should reflect the communities that we serve," said Paul Burns, managing director of Twitter's Canadian operations, on the same call as Jung. "You shouldn't have to move to Silicon Valley to have an impact and build a meaningful career." Twitter's Thursday announcement is zeroing in on the Canadian market because of the technical talent it has seen evolving in the country recently. Several of Twitter's senior hires in the U.S. and other markets have come from Canada and even junior workers have flocked from the country to the company's global offices. Since it opened in 2013, the office Burns runs in Toronto has been home to sales, partnerships, policy, marketing, research and curation workers. A few engineers on global teams have worked remotely in Canada, but the company has never attempted to cluster engineers in the market until now. Those hired will work within three teams. One will be responsible for engineering work linked to discovery and connection on the platform, another will build tools that enable users to easily create content and the last group will aim to maximize safety and minimize harms on Twitter. Filling these positions will come with plenty of competition. E-commerce giant Shopify Inc. announced in January that it will add 2,021 to its company this year to work in technical roles involving front-end and back-end development, data, mobile and infrastructure tasks. On Wednesday, social discovery platform Pinterest said its Toronto office will get 50 new hires this year in engineering, sales, insight and marketing roles — it's biggest expansion since the office opened in 2018. The engineers will include front-end, full-stack and machine-learning experts and the city was chosen because of the emphasis Canadian universities place on these skills, said Erin Elofson, Pinterest's head of Canada and Australia in an email. Burns and Jung don't worry about competing for talent because they said Twitter attracts workers who believe strongly in the company's ability to connect people and want to have a direct impact on making conversations across the platform more efficient and safe. They expect hiring to begin shortly and are excited to see what innovations the new hires come up with. Burns said, "We're just really excited about the investment in Canada, and I think it's the start of something that'll you'll see … grow over time." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — When will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines? It depends on the child's age, but some teenagers could be rolling up their sleeves before too long. The Pfizer vaccine already is cleared for use starting at age 16. That means some high schoolers could get in line for those shots whenever they become eligible in their area, either because of a medical condition or once availability opens up. Pfizer and Moderna both have completed enrolment for studies of children ages 12 and older, and expect to release the data over the summer. If regulators clear the results, younger teens likewise could start getting vaccinated once supply allows. The Moderna vaccine is currently cleared for people 18 and older. Researchers started with older children because they tend to respond to vaccines most similarly to adults. Testing even younger groups is more complex, because they may require a different dose or have differing responses. “Children are not just small adults,” said pediatrician Dr. James Campbell of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The younger you get, the higher the odds are that things could be different.” Children develop serious illness or die from COVID-19 at much lower rates than adults, but can still spread the virus. “There’s no question: we do want to immunize children,” said Drexel University pediatrics professor Dr. Sarah Long. Pfizer and Moderna expect to start studies in children 11 and younger later this year. “It’s unlikely we could get community protection without immunizing children,” Long added. “This is the lynchpin to getting everything back to some kind of normalcy.” __ The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read previous Viral Questions: How would COVID-19 vaccine makers adapt to variants? How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe? How are experts tracking variants of the coronavirus? Marion Renault, The Associated Press
As vaccination rates rise everyday around the world and economic lockdown measures are gradually eased, leaders in the oil and gas industry aren't shy about their optimism for the rest of the year. They are expecting a bounce back after a brutal 2020. Oil prices hit record lows last year, but are now back above where they were before the pandemic struck. The industry can feel the recovery underway and are excited see demand pick up as economic activity rebounds. Some expect the world's demand for oil to surpass pre-COVID levels by the end of 2021. Yet, that hopefulness is clouded by competing priorities for the sector as it picks itself off the ground and tries to position itself for a world increasingly focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change. It's an ongoing theme at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference, one of the world's largest energy conferences, as industry leaders discuss the juggling act of appeasing investors, environmentalists, and customers, while trying to come up with the critical technologies they believe the world will need to have abundant energy without the heavy emissions. Chevron built a "hydrogen highway" in California about 15 years ago, but it wasn't much of a success. The company's chief executive Michael Wirth says 'as an industry, we can't give the market what it doesn't want.'(CERAWeek by IHS Markit) Balancing act The competing priorities are evident in what Calgary-based oilsands producer Suncor calls its purpose: "To provide trusted energy that enhances people's lives while caring for each other and the earth." That's easier said than done. Chief executive Mark Little said a company can't slash its shareholder returns to invest in cutting emissions, since the industry needs the support of investors. Suncor is allocating about 10 per cent of its capital spending on reducing its emissions and providing cleaner energy. Little said he is trying to figure out the timing of the energy transition and when the world will be ready to rely on low-carbon sources of energy. "We can actually create quite a challenge to the globe in not providing enough energy, driving prices up and countering this economic drive," he said, during the CERAWeek event. "But … we don't want to be the other way and have all these excess emissions and not do the transition." Pre-COVID, many energy companies were spending a lot of money to grow production, but now they're pulling back on that strategy. Little doesn't seem to have the answer on the perfect strategy. That's why the Suncor CEO said he, along with many others, will be watching how the industry balances the business amidst so many often competing forces on the sector. Pressure for profits The forecasts for this year are remarkably better compared to 2020, when companies like BP cut 10,000 jobs and the industry accumulated debt. "Our economists at IHS Markit keep raising their forecast for economic activity in 2021, and certainly that will be reflected in demand in the second half of the year," said Dan Yergin, IHS Markit vice chairman, during the event. Some even predict significant growth for the sector. "We don't think peak oil is around the corner — we see oil demand growing for the next 10 years," said John Hess, the chief executive of Hess Corp., a New York-based oil company. "We're not investing enough to grow oil and gas in the future." The financial outlook will be welcomed by investors, who have put increased pressure on the oilpatch in recent years to produce profits and return that money to shareholders. Previously, investors were content with companies growing operations, but the focus is now on producing cash. "That's what you've got to deliver as a business, first and foremost," said Ryan Lance, chief executive of ConocoPhillips. "Then you have to do it sustainably." Lance describes how investors are demanding more of the industry. Besides profits, companies need to have a credible plan to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, or else "you don't deserve investors interested in your business." Suncor is committing about 10% of its capital spending toward clean fuels and reducing emissions. (Kyle Bakx/CBC) Climate risk Of course, it's not just investors concerned about carbon emissions. There's mounting pressure from governments, regulators and environmentalists who want to address climate change. ExxonMobil, for instance, has changed its position to support a carbon tax in the U.S. and also embraced carbon capture and storage as a way to reduce emissions. This week, the company added two new board members amidst pressure from some of its largest investors to disclose more about its carbon emissions and to publicize a long-term energy transition plan. Like many in the industry, chief executive Darren Woods said there is a "dual challenge" in providing more energy, with less emissions. At the same time, there's pressure to innovate. That includes finding ways to reduce the cost of carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production, biofuel production, and other low carbon technologies. Exxon says it has spent about $10 billion US on emission reductions research and will invest a further $3 billion by 2025. One area of focus is on reducing methane emissions from its operations. Plenty of work is needed toward developing better technologies in surveillance and mitigation of fugitive methane, he said. "I think the industry, with time, will close [those emission leaks] down and that will be much less of a concern, going forward." Global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions were two per cent higher in December 2020 than in the same month a year earlier, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, pointing to the economic recovery and a lack of clean energy policies. "Our numbers show we are returning to carbon-intensive business-as-usual. This year is pivotal for international climate action — and it began with high hopes — but these latest numbers are a sharp reminder of the immense challenge we face in rapidly transforming the global energy system," said IEA executive director Fatih Birol, in a statement. Preventing outages Recent electricity outages in Texas and California are being held up as examples of the value of dependable energy and how much the world still relies on fossil fuels. Some environmentalists may want the world to rapidly reduce the production of oil and gas, but those in the industry warn the energy transition can't happen too quickly. "We need to be sure that we've got reliable grid management and reliable power supply to that grid and natural gas should play a very, very important role," said Chevron chief executive Michael Wirth. Society's reliance on oil and gas has been evident during the pandemic. Even with government lockdown measures, travel restrictions and an increased level of people working from home, the global demand for oil and gas only dropped about nine per cent in the last year, Wirth said. "I think it actually, in a way, demonstrates how important our industry is to the world economy," he said. Chevron learned first hand that the sector can't move too quickly. About 15 years ago, the company built a series of hydrogen fuelling stations in California, but found little success, even with the support of the state's government. It serves as a cautionary tale about moving at the right pace during the energy transition. "As an industry, we can't give the market what it doesn't want," said Wirth.
NYON, Switzerland — Liverpool and Leipzig are going to Budapest for a second time in the Champions League round of 16 next week. UEFA confirmed on Thursday that Liverpool’s home second-leg game will also be at Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital next Wednesday. The Puskas Arena — which is a European Championship venue at the end of this season — has become UEFA’s main neutral venue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leipzig’s home game in the first leg was also played in the empty stadium in Budapest on Feb. 16 because of travel restrictions between England and Germany. Liverpool won 2-0. It also hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Manchester City in the Champions League, and Wolfsberger vs. Tottenham in the Europa League last month. It will stage Molde vs. Granada in the Europa League on March 18. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 4, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 77,572 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,091,700 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,519.103 per 100,000. There were 129,330 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,611,680 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.09 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 4,472 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,757 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.279 per 1,000. There were 1,800 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 35,620 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,054 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 35,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 36.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.94 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 17,382 new vaccinations administered for a total of 472,710 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.245 per 1,000. There were 100,620 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 638,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 27,398 new vaccinations administered for a total of 754,419 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.359 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.52 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,966 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,171 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 58.221 per 1,000. There were 8,190 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 116,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.73 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 81,597 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 69.20 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 109.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 10,229 new vaccinations administered for a total of 255,283 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 57.992 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 6,627 new vaccinations administered for a total of 289,809 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.476 per 1,000. There were 18,720 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 382,740 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.72 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 990 new vaccinations administered for a total of 18,158 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 435.12 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 96.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 5,327 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,393 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 345.84 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 56.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Federal Liberal government staffers were worried that a donation of medical-grade masks for Korean War veterans in Canada would send the wrong message as the country grappled with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the outset of the pandemic. The Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, shipped more than one million face masks to veterans around the world last May as a "token of appreciation" for those who fought in the 1950-53 conflict on the Korean peninsula. Some 35,000 KF94 masks, the Korean equivalent of the gold standard N95 respirator, were shipped to Canada to be distributed to the 5,900 surviving veterans of the war. The South Korean government said it wanted to help these elderly Canadian Armed Forces veterans — their average age is 88 years old — at a time when masks were scarce in Canada and the novel coronavirus was claiming the lives of hundreds of seniors in Canada's long-term care homes. "We know how difficult it is to obtain this personal protective gear in Canada at this moment," Ambassador Yun Je Lee, the consul general of the Republic of Korea in Montreal, told CBC News at the time. "This can never match the warm hands you extended to us, but we hope this will help you overcome the current crisis." Behind the scenes, however, federal political staffers worried that helping to facilitate the donation might lead to awkward comparisons with the plight of Canadian health care personnel struggling to acquire PPE to protect themselves at work. The federal government's PPE procurement efforts at the time were beset by problems with shaky supply chains in China and a protectionist push in the U.S. to reduce shipments to other countries. Jake McDonald holds up a package of masks sent to him by the Republic of Korea. McDonald served in the Korean War at the age of 17.(Dave Laughlin/CBC) According to documents tabled at the House of Commons health committee last week, the government staffers urged Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to downplay the South Korean announcement and relegate news of the donation to a social media post to avoid media inquiries. One staffer floated the idea of redeploying the masks to meet other needs. While procurement agents previously had ignored warnings about shortages in the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) and rebuffed an offer from U.S. industrial giant Honeywell to supply Canada with N95 masks, by May it was abundantly clear that the country did not have enough PPE on hand for doctors and nurses working on the front lines. Supplies were stretched so thin that some health care workers were sanitizing their masks in microwaves. "I worry about the optics around the government of Canada facilitating the distribution of N95s in settings where they are not recommended for use when doctors are pulling all the stops to stretch the existing supply that they have," wrote Sabrina Kim, then the issues advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a May 20 email. "I submit for your consideration that some low key social media expressing Canada's thanks (rather than a news release) would invite fewer questions about N95 mask distribution, testing & healthcare priorities. Just my 0.02$!" she added. Kathleen Davis, a senior foreign policy adviser in the Prime Minister's Office, agreed with Kim that a plan to issue a news release thanking the South Korean government should be scrapped to avoid generating what she called "unnecessary controversy." "Agree with this, for what it's worth," she wrote. Andrew MacKendrick, a communications planning staffer in the Prime Minister's Office, asked if Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) raised any red flags about this donation to a relatively small subset of the Canadian population at a time when there were supply demands elsewhere. "Are there any issues with Health/PHAC that these donations are going to specific places vs. to PHAC and then area of greatest need?" Andrew MacKendrick, a communications staffer in the Prime Minister's Office, asked John Embury, the director of communications to Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay. Travis Gordon, a senior policy adviser in Health Minister Patty Hajdu's office, said the federal government couldn't easily intercept the donation to make up for shortfalls elsewhere. "Given that it's a donation, I suppose we can't redirect them to where they are sorely needed (hospitals)," Gordon wrote. "We will just try to avoid this spinning into a story about how some vets in some LTC homes will get N95s while doctors in hospital are limited to one per day," he added. "Please let us know if any interesting media Qs come your way on mask grade/distribution." In total, 35,000 face masks were sent out in bags like this one to Korean War veterans across Canada.(Eddy Kennedy/CBC) John Brassard, the Conservative critic for veterans affairs, said it's "egregious" that the government was even considering "confiscating" masks destined for elderly war veterans. "It tells me just how miserably unprepared the Canadian government was in terms of PPE and providing PPE to front line health care workers, including doctors," Brassard told CBC News. "It was a gift. A gift from the South Korean government to elderly Canadian war veterans who served in the Korean conflict. The fact they were even thinking about confiscating this gift, it's disturbing." After pushback from his colleagues, Embury ultimately dropped plans to release a statement to the media celebrating the donation and the diplomatic gesture. "No problem, we will pull the plug," he wrote on May 20. He also said he would ask the South Korean embassy to hold off on publicizing the donation until after the prime minister's scheduled press conference on May 21 so that Trudeau could avoid questions from the media. "Asked them to delay releasing their NR until after the PM's news conference, but no guarantee on that," he said. "Great thanks," Kim said in response. On May 21, the prime minister announced support for off-reserve Indigenous communities in the morning. A ceremony commemorating the face mask donation was later held at the South Korean embassy in Ottawa. MacAulay did not attend that ceremony but the department's deputy minister, Walt Natynczyk, was on hand. "They were clearly embarrassed by the PPE situation. They were trying to tamp down this news release, and hold off. They didn't want the prime minister to be asked about it because they didn't want him to be embarrassed," Brassard said. Reached by phone, Embury said VAC had planned to send out a news release but the South Korean embassy "jumped out ahead of us" and released one of its own, "and we just rolled with the punches." He said a press release was "only one possible channel" to acknowledge the donation, and MacAulay later had a private Zoom call with the South Korean ambassador to thank him for the donation. "We didn't have any reluctance to publicize the gift of masks," Embury said. The donation ultimately received scant coverage in the mainstream press until CBC News in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador profiled some grateful Korean War veterans at the end of June, nearly a month after the masks had first arrived in Canada. "I feel very proud that they remembered some of the guys that were over there. A lot of the guys never came back," one recipient, Jake McDonald, said of the South Korean donation.
Walmart Inc-owned Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart is exploring going public in the United States through a deal with a blank-check firm, although a traditional stock market listing is much more likely, people familiar with the matter said. The talks for a deal with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) are at a very early stage and could fall apart as no plans have been finalized yet, said the people, who declined to be named as the information is confidential. "We have been clear that we support an IPO for Flipkart, but we have not made any decisions on timing, listing venue or methodology," a spokesman for Walmart told Reuters.
Why do some long-term care residents who contract COVID-19 become seriously ill and die, while others show just mild symptoms, or none at all? That's a question one of Nova Scotia's top infectious disease experts is looking to answer with a study that's currently underway. "We know very little about immune systems in older adults — not just in Canada, but in the world," said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease researcher and clinician at Dalhousie University in Halifax. "They are a very under-studied population of people, and therefore this particular study allows us to really get in there and understand immune responses to a brand new pathogen, or virus, that these folks have never seen before." Four long-term care facilities in the province are taking part in the study, including Northwood's campuses in Halifax and Bedford. Barrett said 356 people have agreed to participate. "The participants and their families have been incredibly generous with their time, with consent, and, of course, with their blood, which is where we get the immune cells to study their immune systems," she said. "It is orders of magnitude bigger than most immune studies of this type, which makes it one of our most powerful tools we have right now to study older people — not just for COVID, but immunity and frailty in general." Northwood's long-term care facility in Halifax, where 53 residents died after contracting COVID-19, is taking part in the study.(Robert Short/CBC) Blood samples were taken from residents before they got vaccinated against COVID-19, and samples will continue to be taken after their first and second doses to study their immune response. Samples are also being taken from both residents who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19, and from people who have never had the disease. This will allow researchers to compare the immune response in those who were never infected, those who were highly exposed but never infected, those who had moderate symptoms of COVID-19, and those who had severe symptoms. Studying vaccine responses Of the 65 people who died of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, 53 of them were residents at Northwood's Halifax facility. After a provincial review into the Northwood outbreak last year, experts recommended a more robust response to the spread of infection, like fewer shared rooms, better ventilation and more staff. Josie Ryan, Northwood's executive director of long-term care, said those recommendations have been addressed. But the review didn't help them understand why some residents were getting sick and others weren't. "You could have a person that was 100 years old that would go through the virus with very little symptoms, but yet somebody that was 70 would be significantly affected," she said. "So it was a mystery sometimes because you didn't know." Ryan is the executive director of long-term care at Northwood. The province started vaccinating long-term care residents for COVID-19 in January.(CBC) Ryan said now, about 95 per cent of Northwood's residents are vaccinated against COVID-19 and researchers will continue to monitor their immunity. "That's the big piece for me, to know if the seniors are protected by the vaccine," said Ryan. Beyond COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic has been the source of unspeakable tragedy, but Barrett said it also presented an opportunity to research the immune response of a group of people who are typically left out of these kinds of studies. The $1.9-million study is being funded through the Government of Canada through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. Barrett said this research will have "huge implications" beyond COVID-19. "We struggle to get funding to study immunity in older people, and one of the biggest killers of older people is infection, whether that's pneumonia, influenza or other infections," said Barrett. "So while this is about COVID, it's also about making more knowledge about immunity in older people, which is a huge part of keeping people healthy and living longer." Barrett acknowledged the study is a "silver lining that I know cannot make up for the heartbreak of people lost." "But certainly, it does help people to feel like we're making the best of a very bad situation, I think." MORE TOP STORIES
When the hockey season resumes, 13-year-old Matéo Pérusse-Shortte will be taking a shot at a long-standing problem in his sport: racism. The Montreal teen and his mother Moashella Shortte are starting a hockey diversity group in Quebec to make the sport more inclusive by allowing players of colour to share their experiences. Pérusse-Shortte, a right winger, was only eight when he first had to confront racism head-on. As he pursued his hobby into his teens, the discrimination continued. Matéo Pérusse-Shortte first experienced racism while playing hockey at the age of eight.(Kwabena Oduro/CBC) "We were in the semi-finals and I scored the tying goal. I got to celebrate in the stands and there was a family flipping me off and calling me the N-word," he said. "Coaches would look at me differently, maybe [give me] less ice time … I felt it, the ignorance of coaches." A self-described hockey mom, Shortte says being one of the only parents of colour in those stands was an additional barrier to speaking about the prejudice her son faced. Teen hockey player Matéo Pérusse-Shortte says a family in the stands once called him the N-word. He first confronted racism head-on when he was eight years old. (Submitted by Moashella Shortte) "If I start telling people, 'Hey, you know, this happened to my son,' I know exactly what's going to happen: those people are going to talk to me less and less," she said. "People are not comfortable to talk about race, and Black people are not comfortable to put themselves out there because we know that we will be isolated." Plans for the group are still in development, but the first online session is scheduled for September and will be open to players, parents and coaches. "I would love to see coaches seeking out information on how they can support their Black players, how they can learn to identify when racism is taking place and what to do about it," said Shortte. Once the group is launched, Pérusse-Shortte says he hopes to have a greater sense of belonging. "I hope to feel more comfortable in my sport after all of this." (CBC) For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
The pending closure of a major grocery store in downtown Prince George, B.C., has sparked concerns that some of the city's poorest residents may not have easy access to affordable food. Save-On-Foods, owned by the Jim Pattison Group, has confirmed it is moving its downtown location to Pine Centre Mall, roughly three kilometres away. Though the distance may not make much of a difference to people who drive, it could have a major impact on those who walk or take transit to get their food, advocates say. "This is leaving a lot of people, I fear, with very little options," said Torie Beram, a nurse who works with vulnerable people in the city. "You are giving people no choice but to go hungry, utilize food banks or have to find a way to get to the grocery store." The issue of food deserts — urban areas without accessible, affordable food — is a growing concern across Canada. Research out of Winnipeg indicates areas without adequate grocery options tend to have higher rates of people with diabetes, with many surviving on convenience foods and canned goods. Beram worries Save-On's departure will create another such food desert in the heart of northern B.C.'s most populous city, particularly among residents of nearby neighbourhoods with higher concentrations of poverty. Many of her clients don't have vehicles, and even the cost of taking a taxi or having groceries delivered can be prohibitive. As a result, she said, they may be forced to take an hour round trip by foot or bus just to get supplies — a difficult task for single parents or elderly people, particularly during winter months. Seniors, students impacted The move also deals a blow to the city's downtown revitalization plans, which include the construction of student housing just a few blocks away from Save-On's current location. "Very often students come to Prince George, they may not have a vehicle, and having access to good healthy food is important to them," said Coun. Murry Krause, who chairs the city's poverty reduction committee. "It's very disappointing on so many fronts." Krause said the city's economic development wing will be reaching out to other major grocers in an attempt to entice them to take Save-On's place. City Councillor Murry Krause chairs Prince George's poverty reduction committee. He worries what the departure of Save-On will mean for the city's downtown revitalization efforts and how it will impact some of the community's most vulnerable people.(Andrew Kurjata/CBC) Some private citizens are doing the same. Kathleen Hebb said she is personally reaching out to retailers including Safeway and Sobey's in an attempt to get them to open up downtown. She said she is motivated by her own background being raised by a single parent on social assistance. "To say, 'Just get a taxi, get on a bus, go that extra distance' ... is really putting up more barriers and also taking away a bit of money every week." Darrin Rigo said he has a similar background — and similar concerns. "I had a single mom who didn't have a car ... so we walked to the grocery store as a family, 20 minutes round trip each way," he said. Rigo mapped out what Save-On's move might mean for some of the people who live nearby and was concerned by what he found. "It's a 40-minute-plus walk that requires crossing a highway and following a lot of busy arteries," he said. "I think back to my mom who was working two jobs at the time and probably just barely fitting all of this together — if that walk suddenly doubled in length ... I don't think she would have had many options." The move is also a concern to seniors and young families who live in the nearby Millar Addition and Crescents neighbourhoods. While they might be able to afford a car, many chose to live near downtown so they could access services by foot. Save-On-Foods says it is closing its location in the downtown Parkwood Place mall and moving to another location in the city. The grocery giant did not provide a reason for the move.(Andrew Kurjata/CBC) Jeremy Morris, 30, said he just bought his first house in the Crescents in part because he would be able to walk to get groceries, and is disappointed that will soon change. Barbara Robin, 78, is a retired real estate agent who moved close to downtown so she would be able to "walk everywhere" without having to cross any highways. She said the neighbourhoods close to downtown are popular among older people looking to downsize and have easier access to medical services, but the lack of a grocery store could be a barrier. "We want to encourage growth downtown ... so I think it's only right we should have a grocery store in that area." Brian Quarmby co-owns Birch and Boar, a downtown Prince George grocer specializing in locally-produced foods.(Andrew Kurjata/CBC) In the meantime, some smaller retailers are adjusting to the pending departure of Save-On. Birch and Boar, a small grocer specializing in locally-produced food, is expanding its hours to better serve people who need to pick up some items after work or on weekends. Co-owner Brian Quarmby said the shop is also talking to local farmers about expanding their produce options. But, he said, he recognizes a specialty shop can't replace the role of a large grocery store and he would welcome the arrival of another chain in the neighbourhood. "Especially with the seniors and that [vulnerable] community, they need something downtown." To hear more about the impact of Save-On leaving downtown Prince George, tap the audio below: Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
BRUSSELS — An inquiry into claims that the European Union’s border and coast guard agency was involved in illegally pushing back migrants has cleared Frontex of links to most of the incidents but has been unable to establish what happened in five cases, according to the official report into the allegations. The report is by a special working group set up to investigate media allegations that staff, ships or aircraft working with Frontex took part in or were near more than a dozen pushback incidents in the sea between Greece and Turkey last year. Its findings will be the focus of an extraordinary meeting of the agency’s management board on Friday. Frontex, which is responsible for patrolling the external borders of the 27-nation EU, has rejected the pushback allegations and said that its own internal inquiry could find no evidence to substantiate the claims. Greece, which is in charge of operations involving co-ordinating Frontex on its territory, has also denied reports of pushbacks by its border officers. Pushbacks are forcibly preventing people from entering a country when they might want to apply for asylum. They are contrary to refugee protection agreements, which say people shouldn’t be returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or political views. They also contravene EU law and policy. The working group cleared Frontex of any wrongdoing in 8 cases, but said in five cases “it has not been possible to completely resolve the incidents beyond any reasonable doubt,” according to part of the restricted report, dated March 1 and seen by The Associated Press. Investigators could not determine whether the people involved in the five incidents were picked up by Turkish authorities or made it safely onto Greek soil. “There is no indication of anybody injured, reported missing or having died in connection with the respective incidents,” the report said. The probe, by experts from seven European countries and the European Commission, was set up weeks after reports of collective migrant expulsions were revealed in an October joint investigation by media outlets Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
MOSCOW — The European Medicines Agency said it has started a rolling review of Sputnik V, many months after the vaccine was first approved for use in Russia and after dozens of countries around the world have authorized it. In a statement Thursday, the European regulator said the review is based on results from lab studies and research in adults, which suggests the vaccine may help protect against coronavirus. Despite skepticism about Russia’s hasty introduction of the vaccine, which was rolled out before it had completed late-stage trials, the vaccine appears to be safe and effective. According to a study published in the journal Lancet, Sputnik V was about 91% effective in preventing people from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. The EMA has not set a date for when its expert group might meet to assess Sputnik V data to decide if it should be approved across the European Union, but the rolling review process is meant to expedite the authorization process, which can typically take several months. The Associated Press
For Grade 12 teacher Jason Stein, instructing during the COVID-19 pandemic is "like having the Sword of Damocles [impending doom or disaster] always over top of your head; you don't necessarily always consciously think about it all the time." "When I'm in school and teaching and interacting with students, it's not there. Then you see something and you're like, 'Oh yeah, what if?'" Something like a student missing from class: Are they sick? Did they expose the entire class? Stein teaches a variety of subjects at Turtleford Community School, in the small community about 85 kilometres northwest of North Battleford, Sask. When Stein spoke with CBC in the middle of January, his class was at level two of the province's Safe School Plan, which meant students were in class, cohorting and wearing masks. He said if a student were to test positive for COVID-19, his class would transition to level four of the plan, which means every student would immediately move to online learning. That's what happened to Stein's wife, who teaches younger students at the same school. She was called four days before the winter break with a head's up about just that. "It happens very quickly and there's not a lot of recourse or time to sort of reorient yourself," Stein said. Teachers' reflect on a year in flux Teachers have been on the frontlines of COVID-19 from the beginning, working essential jobs that have changed forms multiple times since the first cases hit Saskatchewan in March 2020. Schools closed early for the 2019-2020 school year, a measure the provincial government took to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In June, the government announced schools would reopen for the new year in the fall. But exactly what that looks like has been in near-constant flux. While organizations like the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation have been vocal about the pandemic's impact on teachers and what they'd like to see done to help them, little has been heard publicly from those leading the classrooms themselves. Nearly two dozen teachers from around Saskatchewan responded to a questionnaire CBC Saskatchewan has available online for people to share their pandemic experience. They wrote about lacking the resources they felt they need to handle the added pressures, from the steep learning curve associated with teaching virtually to sanitizing their classrooms. Worries were expressed by and for those who are immunocompromised and how COVID-19 could impact them, and some called for additional measures from the government to protect teachers in classrooms. Some were concerned about the impacts online teaching would have on relationship-building — an essential part of their job — and their mental health and that of their students. And many shared their love of teaching and how they were trying to make the best of a very difficult situation. WATCH | Two teachers, one working at school and one from home, walk us through a typical day for them: Stein said two of the biggest things he's noticed as a result of the pandemic are resource gaps and a shift in the social construction of his school. Getting in-class tech issues resolved takes longer, he said — a symptom of greater stress on those with that knowledge, created by the addition of online learning. Stein said someone might be unable to help with a fix for a week, "whereas pre-pandemic, it was maybe a day." "That changes the quality of in-class instruction as well and so we're just not in an optimal situation right now." Jason Stein, a teacher from Turtleford, described working under COVID-19 and the possibility of suddenly shifting to an online learning environment as similar to working with the Sword of Damocles over his head.(Submitted by Jason Stein) For the time being, he said the Turtleford Community School has restricted access to some areas for certain age groups, essentially creating an elementary, intermediate and high school situation in what is normally a kindergarten to Grade 12 environment. Stein said students are used to being encouraged to interact with those in different age groups and frequently participate in activities with those younger and older, but this year was different in the sense that there isn't a sense of community that there normally is. That extends to the staff he said, who are now eating their lunches alone in classrooms while educational assistants are relegated to the staff room to ensure physical distancing. "One of the things that I've started to do is at least once a week I make a concerted effort after school to go and visit the other wings of the school, just to remind myself that, yeah, you have other colleagues that are here," Stein said. The little interactions, like the staff room discussions or the face-to-face time with their peers were essential to ensuring there was cohesion in kids' learning, he said. Staff are still participating in group meetings and discussions, albeit via video-conferencing. But working to find ways to encourage a cohesive learning environment in the age of COVID-19, he said, creates extra work for educators. "That working to find ways to replace the old things is that added level of stress that teachers are feeling," Stein said. 'I wish I could just reach through my computer and help them' Not being able to be there in person for her students, has stood out as a particular challenge for Miranda Hammett. "I know when I'm having kids who are struggling, I've always said that I wish I could just reach through my computer and help them," the Grade 3 and 4 teacher with the Regina Catholic School System said. "Sometimes it's really hard to problem solve when I'm in one room and they're somewhere across the city in another." In a typical classroom setting, she would be able to pull those students who aren't engaging as much aside and have face-to-face conversations with them, where that isn't as likely to happen now. Some choose not to turn their cameras on. Online instruction wasn't as foreign to Hammett as it may have been for other teachers. Miranda Hammett, a first-year teacher, started her career in an unexpected manner when she signed an online education contract with the Regina Catholic School Division at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.(Bryan Eneas/CBC) She completed her education program online with the University of Regina last spring due to the pandemic. Hammett said those experiences, paired with a week-long crash course in online education before the school year started, prepared her, in a way, for this year. "I was a little bit nervous to take my contract on, especially with it being an online contract, but overall it's been a super positive and super great experience," she said. One advantage the pandemic provided, she said, was the absence of developing a classroom space — something she said first-year teachers would have to balance alongside creating content and developing education plans. She said it allowed her to focus more on what she's teaching and how she's teaching. But relationship building, an important aspect of teaching and something Hammett learned how to do in-person through her education, was a concern. Before she told the students what they were going to be learning for the year, she prioritized getting to know who they are as people — their likes and dislikes and other information they were willing to share with her. Being online has made me love my career and made me so happy with what I've chosen to do with my life. - Miranda Hammett For students between the ages of eight and 10, Hammett said her students have become surprisingly adept at the technology they're required to use. In some cases, she said students were teaching her how to use various aspects of the programming. Hammett, who is teaching from her basement in Regina, says when her Grade 3 and 4 students experience tech problems it makes her wish she could reach through the screen to help them.(Bryan Eneas/CBC) When tech-related frustrations do come up, Hammett said it's time for a "brain break." "We take our mind off what's frustrating us and then we get back into it and I'm going to re-explain it, I'm going to re-show it to them and hopefully the second time around we're walking in with a clearer head." Teacher not worried about kids' overall educational outcomes Stein said the teachers he knows would much rather be educating entirely in the classroom and where possible, it's being done. But all of the little things, like losing face-to-face conversations or interactions with students, kids losing out on extracurricular activities, tech issues and resource strains, are contributing overall to a decline in the quality of the education, Stein said. Still, he feels that in the grand scheme of things, the COVID-19 pandemic probably won't have a negative impact on most students' educational outcomes overall, as students will always be able to find a job they want to do and take the appropriate steps to be able to reach that goal. "In that sense, I don't think that educationally, the students' are going to lose out," he said. Hammett said although the pandemic impacted her personal mental health — there are plenty of up-and-down days — teaching online through COVID-19 has taught her to appreciate in class learning, whenever that happens. "Being online has made me love my career and made me so happy with what I've chosen to do with my life. But it's definitely going to be easier to make relationships and to teach and everything else [in-person]," she said. (CBC News Graphics) This article was produced thanks to submissions to CBC Saskatchewan's COVID-19 questionnaire. We want to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story here.