Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Ontario in Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that new coronavirus variants had now been reported and confirmed in all ten Canadian provinces.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Ontario in Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that new coronavirus variants had now been reported and confirmed in all ten Canadian provinces.
Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada's chief public health officer expressed optimism over vaccines ahead of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it's been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice."Yet, as the months have gone by, I have also witnessed the remarkable courage, strength, and generosity demonstrated by Canadians," she wrote in a statement."Through it all, it is the incredible support that Canadians have shown for one another that has impressed me the most."Tam expressed optimism that brighter days were coming, thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines."This week has been a very good week for Canada's COVID-19 vaccination programs," she wrote.The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are among the provinces preparing to lift restrictions on Monday after weeks of stable or declining cases. A stay-at-home order in Ontario's Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions, including Quebec City, will be downgraded from red to orange on the province's colour-coded regional alert system.All of New Brunswick will transition to the less-restrictive "yellow" alert level Sunday at midnight, meaning residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.Canada's two biggest cities will remain under fairly strict restrictions, however. Toronto — and neighbouring Peel Region — will enter the "grey lockdown" category, which will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining closed.The greater Montreal region remains a red zone, which means an 8 p.m. curfew is still in effect.Tam said the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.In a long message, Tam said it is not that it is not possible to directly compare the efficacy of different vaccines to one another."Each vaccine was studied in a separate trial conducted at different times, using different populations and conditions," she wrote.She said the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 62 per cent in generally preventing "symptomatic COVID-19." Both vaccines, she said, were found to protect against severe disease, meaning that those who got COVID-19 after the shot were much less likely to get seriously ill. Currently, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization does not recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those aged 65 or over due to limited data, but Tam stressed that the recommendations could change.She noted both the new vaccines are easier to transport than those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require freezer storage. With Canada set to receive more than 900,000 COVID-19 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, many provinces are ramping up their vaccination campaigns.Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65.Quebec, which has been booking vaccine appointments for seniors 70 or 80 and over depending on the region, will speed up the pace this week as more mass vaccination centres open across the province after focusing mainly on hard-hit Montreal last week. Quebec counted 707 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and seven more deaths. Ontario reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. That province logged 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 15 added deaths. Manitoba counted 56 new cases of the virus and two more deaths. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 116 more cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19, including a person who was under 20 years old. Alberta logged roughly 300 new cases of the virus Sunday, though the province said a system upgrade meant precise numbers weren't available. Farther east, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each recorded two new cases of COVID-19. The government said it would receive more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be sent to five different parts of the province.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
The Champions League talking points ahead of the first set of second-leg matches in the round of 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday: JUVENTUS VS. PORTO (first leg: 1-2) Álvaro Morata is finding his best form at the right time for Juventus. Morata had not scored in the league since December and was sidelined recently with illness but the Juventus forward has scored three times in his last two matches -- including in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Lazio. Morata has scored six goals in this season’s Champions League, two more than teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The 36-year-old Ronaldo was given some much-needed rest at the weekend and went on only for the final 20 minutes, which should leave him fresh for Tuesday's match against Porto. Juventus has been dealing with illness and injuries. Coach Andrea Pirlo hopes Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt will recover in time to play Porto. Forward Paulo Dybala is still sidelined, while Rodrigo Bentancur is also out after contracting the coronavirus. Porto also has some injury problems, including defender Pepe with a right leg ailment. DORTMUND VS. SEVILLA (3-2) Borussia Dortmund’s 4-2 loss to Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich at the weekend could leave its mark for Tuesday’s visit from Sevilla. Star striker Erling Haaland, who scored twice in Dortmund’s 3-2 win over Sevilla in the first leg, was taken off early with stud marks on the back of his right ankle after a nasty challenge from Jérôme Boateng. Although Haaland told Dortmund coach Edin Terzic “it wouldn’t be a big problem.” The loss in Munich marked the end of Dortmund’s four-game winning run across all competitions. The team was without Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Guerreiro and Gio Reyna. All three face a race to be fit for Tuesday. Sevilla has been struggling since the first-leg loss to Dortmund, losing three of its four matches since then. It is coming off a loss to relegation-threatened Elche in the Spanish league, and was eliminated by Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey despite a 2-0 first-leg win. PSG VS. BARCELONA (4-1) Barcelona seems like a different team to the one which played so badly in the second half at home to PSG. Ronald Koeman’s lineup is 16 games unbeaten in the league and the defence appears to be considerably stronger now that he has ditched the ineffective 4-3-3 formation for a 3-5-2 system which offers his central defenders more protection. Veteran defender Gerard Pique is a doubtful starter for the game, however, after hurting his knee midweek. A lot will rest Wednesday on Barça’s French defenders Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, with PSG is almost at full strength. Goal-scoring winger Angel Di Maria is back from injury and Neymar is close to a return after getting back to training. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino may see no valid reason to drop the 4-2-3-1 formation which worked so well in Spain, with Kylian Mbappe helping himself to three goals despite playing wide and not as the central striker. Even though PSG defends a big lead at Parc des Princes, there may be some nerves about facing Lionel Messi in top form once again. PSG went out after losing 6-1 in Spain in 2017 having won the home leg 4-0. But this Barcelona lineup is not as strong as the 2017 squad, and PSG is more resilient now. LIVERPOOL VS. LEIPZIG (2-0) The teams return to neutral territory at the Puskas Arena in Budapest with Liverpool's two-goal cushion perhaps not as commanding as it seems given the team's recent problems, particularly in its injury-hit defence. The pressure is on the soon-to-be-deposed English champions because winning the Champions League might be the most likely route back into the competition for next season. Juergen Klopp's squad currently sits outside the Premier League's top four. Leipzig is on a six-game winning run in the Bundesliga and briefly took over top spot on Saturday. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann omitted Angeliño from the team that beat Freiburg 3-0, but dampened hopes the Spanish winger will return in time for Liverpool. Uncharacteristic defensive lapses helped Liverpool in the first leg. The game is again taking place in the Hungarian capital due to German restrictions on visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
MANCHESTER, England — Success for Manchester United these days is being the spoiler as Manchester City goes on to eventually claim the league titles. City manager Pep Guardiola's pursuit of a world-record winning streak ended after United won the derby 2-0 on Sunday. A penalty won after 36 seconds was converted by Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw netted five minutes into the second half to end City's 21-match winning run in all competitions. But the complexion of the Premier League has drastically changed since City's last defeat 106 days earlier at Tottenham left the team in 11th place — eight points behind the London club at the top. Now losing is more a matter of pride and missing out on catching the mark of 27 consecutive wins set by Welsh side The New Saints in 2016. City has not only climbed to the summit but built a lead that meant its second-placed neighbour only trimmed the gap to 11 points with victory at the Etihad Stadium. With such a commanding lead and only 10 games remaining, United has probably only just delayed the moment City dethrones Liverpool as champion. Just like three years ago when Jose Mourinho's derby win prevented City sealing the title that April day. But it's only two months since United harboured ambitions of its own of lifting the trophy — for the first time since 2013 — when it sat in first place. The title challenge has melted away for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side and United will likely be consigned to seeing City crowned champions for the third time since United's name was last etched into the trophy. But there is no longer a vast gulf when these two sides meet in the Premier League. United has won three of the last derbies and drawn the other. It's almost a year to the day since United also beat City 2-0 at Old Trafford, the last time they played in a full stadium or any fans were allowed into a Manchester stadium due to the pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
Alberta reported an estimated 300 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, including 54 more cases involving variants of concern. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, posted a "preliminary" update Sunday afternoon to Twitter. Due to system upgrades, she said online case counts would not be updated until Monday. The latest numbers show laboratories completed around 8,100 tests for a positivity rate of about 4 per cent, Hinshaw said. No information for newly-reported deaths was provided. As of Sunday, Alberta has administered 290,391 doses of vaccine in Alberta with 90,937 Albertans fully immunized with two doses. "Vaccines save lives and encourage everyone to get immunized when it's your turn," Hinshaw said. Earlier this week, the government announced it would expand its COVID-19 vaccine rollout to include people under age 75 starting March 15 — and, if shipments arrive as scheduled, all adults in the province will receive their first dose by the end of June. The province reported 341 new cases of COVID-19 around the province on Saturday and one additional death. Across the province, there were 247 in hospital and 42 in intensive care. On Saturday, the province also reported 36 new cases of the COVID-19 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom. Sunday's estimated 54 variant concern cases would bring the total to 653. Alberta's online COVID-19 dashboard will be updated Monday, Hinshaw said. A live update is also expected.
The United States has identified three online publications directed by Russia's intelligence services that it says are seeking to undermine COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, a State Department spokeswoman said on Sunday. The outlets "spread many types of disinformation, including about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as international organizations, military conflicts, protests, and any divisive issue that they can exploit," the spokeswoman said. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported on the identification of the alleged campaign on Sunday.
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 600 others on Sunday, authorities said. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said in a statement read on state television that the explosion was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite” in the military barracks located in the neighbourhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata. He said that the explosion occurred at 4 p.m. local time. “The impact of the explosion caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata," the president said in the statement, which was in Spanish. The defence ministry released a statement late Sunday saying that a fire in a weapons depot in the barracks caused the explosion of high-calibre ammunition. It said the provisional toll was 20 dead and 600 injured, adding that the cause of the explosions will be fully investigated. Earlier, the Health Ministry had tweeted that 17 were killed and the president’s statement mentioned 15 dead. Equatorial Guinea, a tiny West African country of 1.3 million people located south of Cameroon, was a colony of Spain until it gained its independence in 1968. State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the explosion site as crowds fled, with many people crying out “we don’t know what happened, but it is all destroyed.” The Health Ministry made a call for blood donors and volunteer health workers to go to the Regional Hospital de Bata, one of three hospitals treating the wounded. The ministry tweeted that its health workers are treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still missing under the rubble. Images on local media seen by The Associated Press show people screaming and crying running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital. The blasts were a shock for the oil rich Central African nation. Foreign Minister Simeón Oyono Esono Angue met with foreign ambassadors and asked for aid. “It is important for us to ask our brother countries for their assistance in this lamentable situation since we have a health emergency (due to COVID-19) and the tragedy in Bata,” he said. A doctor calling into TVGE, who went by his first name, Florentino, said the situation was a “moment of crisis” and that the hospitals were overcrowded. He said a sports centre set up for COVID-19 patients would be used to receive minor cases. Radio station, Radio Macuto, said on Twitter that people were being evacuated within four kilometres of the city because the fumes might be harmful. Following the blast, the Spanish Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommended on Twitter that “Spanish nationals stay in their homes." ___ Joseph Wilson reported from Barcelona, Spain. ___ A previous version of this story was corrected to show that state television is TVGE, not TGVE. Sam Mednick And Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
La popularité des livres numériques n’a jamais été aussi importante qu’en temps de COVID-19 à la bibliothèque Fonds de solidarité FTQ de Matane. « Durant le confinement, souligne la responsable de la bibliothèque municipale Christiane Melançon, nous avons concentré nos efforts sur la promotion de la lecture numérique. Nous voulions continuer à offrir de la lecture aux usagers en les aidant dans l’utilisation de la plateforme. Bien des gens ont utilisé ou découvert ce type de lecture. » Explosion des prêts numériques à la bibliothèque municipale de MataneDonnées éloquentes Les statistiques parlent d’elles-mêmes. Ainsi, le nombre de prêts numériques a explosé en 2020 avec une hausse de 334 %, soit 820 contre 189 tandis que le nombre d’accès à la plateforme numérique a grimpé de 232 %, soit 2 003 contre 603 l’année précédente. « Au même moment, note Mme Melançon, la fréquentation a chuté de près de 50 %. Et si on exclut la fermeture complète de la mi-mars au 25 mai, le prêt de livres papier sans contact n’a pas attiré autant d’usagers qu’en temps normal. » Collection de livres numériques en hausse Afin de continuer malgré tout à offrir de la lecture durant le confinement, la bibliothèque municipale a augmenté sa collection de livres numériques en en achetant 1 087 comparativement à 148 l’année d’avant. Présentement, elle en a 1 895, dont 765 dans la catégorie Romans et nouvelles. Elle offre de façon continue du soutien aux usagers pour l’accessibilité à la plateforme de prêt numérique. Romain Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Monmatane.com
PARIS — Marseille's chaotic season took its latest turn for the worse when it lost 2-1 at fourth-tier Canet-en-Roussillon in the French Cup on Sunday. Marseille was eliminated from the Champions League in last place in its group. It has struggled in the French league with an interim coach after the previous one resigned and with a new coach having just arrived. On top of all that, angry fans are facing court cases after smashing up the club's training complex. Considering all these problems, Marseille needed a morale-boosting win against an amateur side to reach the last 16. But it went badly wrong in Perpignan. “I’m ashamed. There are no words to describe it, we played like (expletive),” Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara told broadcaster Eurosport moments after the final whistle. “It’s a fair result, there are no excuses. We are a professional team and we've made a huge mistake.” A superb free kick from midfielder Jeremy Posteraro on his 30th birthday put the minnows ahead after 20 minutes. He was about 25 metres out and to the right of the penalty area when he floated a magnificent shot into the top left corner, with No. 2 goalkeeper Yohann Pele rooted to the spot as the ball sailed in. Marseille equalized before halftime when playmaker Dimitri Payet sent forward Valere Germain free down the right flank, and his cross was headed in by Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik for his third goal since joining on loan from Italian side Napoli. That should have settled Marseille down, but Posteraro was not finished and his astute pass sent midfielder Yohan Bai clean through in the 71st. He neatly clipped the ball over Pele for the winner against Marseille, a club which still proudly boasts of being the only French side to win the Champions League, back in 1993. Those days are long gone. Marseille fell apart in the last 10 minutes, with five simple passes going astray and with one corner from the left taken so badly it didn't even enter into play. It was a bad Sunday all around for the Payets, too, with younger brother Anthony Payet also on the losing side. He played up front for fourth-tier Romorantin against fellow amateurs Chateaubriant but failed to score in a 3-1 home defeat. Elsewhere, Canada striker Jonathan David scored late on again as Lille won 3-1 at fourth-tier Corsican side GFC Ajaccio to advance to the last 16. Four days ago, he netted in the last minute and then in injury time to help Lille stay on top of the French league. This time his goal was less vital as Lille was already 2-0 up when he struck a low shot in the 84th. The home side grabbed a consolation goal shortly after. First-tier Angers had little trouble beating amateur side Club Franciscain 5-0, with midfielder Ibrahim Amadou grabbing two goals. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — Health authorities across British Columbia announced locations for COVID-19 vaccine centres Sunday, the day before some of the province's oldest residents could start booking appointments to get their first shots. Vaccine call centres are set to open Monday morning to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people 90 and older, and Indigenous people 65 or older, as well as those who identify as Indigenous elders. Island Health officials said Sunday 19 community sites across Vancouver Island have been identified to administer COVID-19 vaccines and 25 community sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will be used as clinic locations. The Interior, Northern and Fraser health authorities say they will confirm vaccination sites with people when they book a COVID-19 appointment. "We recognize that there's lots of people that are eager to call in and get going (Monday), so just another reminder that please, unless you are in that category of over 90 or Indigenous over 65 or you identify as an elder, please don't call next week so we can get through this important population,'" said Victoria Schmid, Island Health's pandemic planner. "Your turn will come," she said at a news conference Sunday. "We just need everyone to be patient right now." People can contact their health authority and book appointments for themselves or their spouse, and family members or friends are permitted to schedule an appointment on someone else's behalf, Schmid said. People will be asked to provide the person's first and last name, date of birth, postal code and personal health number and will be asked for an email address or text number to confirm the COVID-19 vaccine appointment, she said.. People born in 1936 or earlier can start calling for appointments on March 15 and those born in 1941 or earlier can start scheduling their shots on March 22. Schmid said she expected the appointments to last about 30 minutes, which includes a 15-minute waiting period following the administration of the vaccine. She suggested people wear short sleeves to make it easier to give the vaccine and not to forget a mask. A support person to can accompany people to the vaccine clinic, she said. Schmid said sites for the community clinics were chosen for their accessibility and comfort and familiarity for Indigenous people. "Ease of access was really important to us," she said. "We really tried to keep a travel time to no more than 15 minutes within urban areas. We want to make sure these sites are accessible for individuals with mobility challenges." Immunization clinics will also be held at Indigenous friendship centres in Victoria, Port Alberni and Port Hardy, Schmid said. Vancouver Coastal Health said in a news release its clinics will be located cross Metro Vancouver and the Squamish and Whistler areas and the Sunshine Coast. The clinics will be held at community, friendship, senior and cultural centres and other regional sites. The health authorities plan to have B.C.'s population of elderly people, ranging in age from 80 to more than 90 years and Indigenous people 65 and older and elders, vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 12, Schmid said. She said a person 90 years and older who calls next week for a COVID-19 vaccination will get their appointment within one week. "They have a week to register for the following week's vaccination appointment," said Schmid. "After that, we're going to move to register those over 85 and then moving down the week after to those over 80." Island Health's Dr. Mike Benusic said he's optimistic about the vaccination rollout. "The announcements we're giving right now provide me with such a sense of hope," he said. "The fact is right now we have 25 times the number of people vaccinated within Island Health than people who have had COVID-19 within Island Health, and we're only going to see that number sky rocket in the next few weeks and months." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken is proposing a series of steps to help jumpstart Afghanistan’s stalled peace process between the government and Taliban, according to a letter from Blinken to Afghanistan’s president Ashra Ghani published Sunday by Afghanistan’s TOLONews. The letter calls for bringing the two sides together for a U.N.-facilitated conference with foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the United States “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.” Blinken also calls for holding talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in a senior-level meeting in Turkey in the coming weeks to hammer out a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence. The secretary of state has also called on special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to share with both the Afghan government and Taliban written proposals to help accelerate discussions, according to the TOLONews report. Blinken also made clear in the letter that the Biden administration continues to consider a “full withdrawal” of the roughly 2,500 U.S. forces in the country by the May 1 deadline negotiated by Trump administration. The State Department declined to comment on the TOLONews report. “We have not made any decisions about our force posture in Afghanistan after May 1,” the State Department said in a statement. “All options remain on the table.” Afghanistan presents one of the new administration’s most difficult foreign policy decisions. The U.S. public is weary of a war nearly 20 years old, but pulling out now could be seen as giving the Taliban too much leverage and casting a shadow over the sacrifices made by U.S. and coalition troops and Afghan civilians. Blinken urged Ghani to quickly embrace the proposal and underscored his concern that the security situation in the country could quickly deteriorate as the weather warms in Afghanistan “Even with the continuation of financial assistance from the United States to your forces after an American military withdrawal, I am concerned that the security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains,” Blinken wrote in the letter. The Associated Press
Chantal Brahmi lost her mother, Anna Elofer, to COVID-19 on Nov. 16.
La gestion de l’aide d’urgence aux entreprises a amené la création d’un comité tactique au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean au début de la crise, une initiative qui pourrait être appelée à rester pour soutenir le développement économique régional. Le comité a été mis en place par l’organisme de concertation économique Développement économique 02, lorsque les municipalités régionales de comté (MRC) ont reçu la responsabilité à travers la province d’administrer l’aide d’urgence aux entreprises annoncée par Québec en avril. À l’image des mesures sanitaires, les fonds, programmes et critères d’admissibilité changeaient constamment, autant du côté de Québec que d’Ottawa, et les intervenants régionaux avaient eux-mêmes de la difficulté à s’y retrouver, afin de pouvoir accompagner les entreprises. « Il est arrivé une multitude de fonds, chaque semaine, on était tout le monde perdu, alors c’est pour ça qu’on s’est dit : “Est-ce qu’on peut se parler régionalement ? ” », explique Claudia Fortin, administratrice au sein de l’organisme qui relève de la Conférence régionale des préfets du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. C’est ainsi qu’un « comité tactique élargi » a vu le jour. Le comité stratégique, nommé Comité d’intervention régionale, a rassemblé plusieurs acteurs économiques régionaux habitués à collaborer, mais qui ne se retrouvaient pas autour d’une même table. Des rencontres en ligne ont été tenues chaque semaine, d’avril à juin. En plus des responsables du développement économique régional déjà présents au sein de Développement économique 02, des représentants régionaux du ministère de l’Économie, de Services Québec, de Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, de la Société de développement économique ilnu de Mashteuiatsh, d’Investissement Québec, de Développement économique Canada pour les régions du Québec, et un représentant des sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) régionales ont notamment pris part aux rencontres. Harmoniser l’administration La concertation des acteurs a permis entre autres d’harmoniser l’administration de l’aide d’urgence, de gagner en efficacité et de mettre en commun les pratiques. Les MRC devaient alors elles-mêmes bâtir les formulaires de demandes de prêts et assurer l’analyse des dossiers pour coordonner l’aide d’urgence aux entreprises frappées par les impacts de la pandémie de COVID-19. « À travers la dernière année, les directeurs de développement économique ont tellement travaillé à développer ces expertises-là et ces harmonisations-là que ça a permis justement à nos entreprises de survivre », estime pour sa part le maire de La Doré, Yanick Baillargeon, qui occupe la présidence de Développement économique 02 depuis décembre. Développement économique 02 n’était pas en mesure d’indiquer le nombre d’entreprises qui ont reçu un prêt dans la région et l’aide d’urgence totale dont la région a bénéficié jusqu’à maintenant. « On a eu besoin les uns des autres » Le comité stratégique, qui a pris une pause pendant l’été, a repris ses rencontres hebdomadaires à l’automne, en réduisant cependant le nombre de participants. Le comité est toujours actif aujourd’hui et pourrait reprendre une formule plus élargie à l’image de celle connue au printemps, à la demande de certains acteurs qui ont apprécié la concertation qui en a découlé, a indiqué Mme Fortin. « On a eu besoin les uns des autres, c’est surtout ça, souligne-t-elle. La force de la concertation, elle est là. Tout seul, c’était trop une grosse bouchée pour chacun, dans nos territoires, mais le fait qu’on était tout le monde ensemble, et qu’on partageait ça, ça a vraiment aidé. » Fonds de relance La concertation des acteurs régionaux a aussi mené à un sondage des entreprises régionales, afin d’identifier leurs besoins pendant la crise. Un fonds de relance régional de 750 000 $ a également été lancé en septembre, le Fonds de relance 02. L’initiative financée par Desjardins, Rio Tinto et les cinq MRC de la région proposait une subvention aux entreprises. Les demandes ont été nombreuses, si bien qu’en décembre, toutes les sommes étaient réservées. Le nombre d’entreprises et les projets soutenus seront connus ultérieurement. + LE BRAS FINANCIER DE LA CONFÉRENCE DES PRÉFETS Peu connu du public, Développement économique 02 agit en fait comme bras financier de la Conférence régionale des préfets du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Développement économique 02 vu le jour en réaction à l’annonce, en 2014, de l’abolition des centres locaux de développement (CLD) par le gouvernement Couillard. « En 2015, quand le gouvernement a décidé de mettre la hache dans les CLD, on trouvait ça dommage de perdre toute une expertise et une concertation qu’on avait autour du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean », explique Yanick Baillargeon, président de Développement économique 02. Le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean comptait alors, depuis le début des années 2000, sur une association régionale rassemblant les CLD régionaux. Même si le modèle des CLD subsiste toujours aujourd’hui dans la province dans certaines municipalités régionales de comté (MRC), alors que d’autres ont choisi de rapatrier les services à l’interne ou de les transférer à un autre organisme, Développement économique 02 est demeuré en place afin d’assurer cette concertation sur le plan économique régional. « Dans toutes les régions du Québec, on doit être un des seuls qui a ce genre d’organisme de développement économique en concertation », souligne M. Baillargeon, qui est également préfet de la MRC du Domaine-du-Roy. L’élu, maire de La Doré, compte d’ailleurs solliciter un second mandat à la tête de la petite municipalité lors des élections municipales, cet automne. Le conseil d’administration de Développement économique 02 est composé de cinq responsables du développement économique des MRC de la région et de cinq élus, qui sont actuellement quatre préfets de MRC ainsi que la mairesse de Saguenay, Josée Néron, la municipalité ayant le statut de ville-MRC. Développement économique 02 chapeaute différents projets, comités et initiatives, en lien avec les enjeux de transport ferroviaire, les retombées économiques ou encore de l’emploi dans la région. « On n’est pas connu, mais on est dans l’action », souligne pour sa part Claudia Fortin, administratrice au sein de l’organisation. L’organisme, en étant lié à la Conférence régionale des préfets, est également distinct de la Table régionale des élus du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, qui a en quelque sorte repris le relais de la défunte Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ), les CRÉ ayant été abolies en 2015. Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
World shares dipped on Monday as the U.S. Senate's passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill put fresh pressure on Treasuries and tech stocks with lofty valuations, raising inflation jitters. "Between reflation, inflation risk and equity valuations, there's plenty of reasons for the market to be jittery over the bond re-pricing," said Natixis strategist Florent Pochon. "Equity valuations will of course remain a burning issue, in particular for overly rich sectors," he also said.
Hundreds marched near the National Assembly in Quebec City Sunday afternoon, calling on the government to allow team sports to resume in the province. Athletes, parents, community organizations and politicians participated in the march, stressing the importance of team sports on peoples' mental and physical health. The protest was started by Isaac Pépin, a football player in Secondary 5 at Séminaire Saint-François. He is asking that Quebecers be allowed to participate in team sports again, both for health reasons, and so that younger athletes can keep improving at their sports. "With everything that's going on today and the number of people who showed up, I have hope that this will work," Pépin said Sunday. High school football player Isaac Pépin, centre, organized the pro-sports march Sunday. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press) The protest also garnered the support of Isabelle Charest, the province's minister responsible for sports. "I hear your cries and it is these positive messages that I take with me when I speak to public health," Charest wrote on Twitter Sunday. "We will make it happen." Montrealers voice support In Montreal, several people echoed their sentiments. Tony De Francesco, director of community services and sports at Sun Youth, believes a return to team sports is long overdue. "People from youth organizations like us have noticed a lot of issues, especially with young student athletes, in terms of being able to function on a daily basis without sports," said De Francesco. De Francesco says many of the youth he works with rely on sports as a means to succeed academically, and many feel lost without it. "A lot of them use this as a social construct and as a coping mechanism to a lot of the things that are happening in their life for the first time," he said. "Sports is their way out and it actually helps them get better grades." Justin Frattaroli, an 18-year-old CEGEP student who plays football at Sun Youth, usually relies on team sports as an outlet for his stress. For most of the past year, he's had to resort to exercising at home instead. "Because of this pandemic, not only am I missing out on practices, on games, but — I'm sure all athletes can agree with me — we miss being with teammates, the bus rides home, the going out to eat with each other and just being together," said Frattaroli. "Practicing got everything off my mind. It helped me mentally. It helped me physically" Discussions with federations ongoing Starting March 15, extra-curricular activities and sports in schools will be allowed across the province, but team sports outside of school are still forbidden. Last week, Premier François Legault said the government is in talks with sports federations to gradually resume sports more widely, but Legault said it's clear some sports cannot be allowed given the risk of transmission. Legault is expected to announce more details on that next week. In an interview Sunday, Luc Fournier, interim general manager of Sports Québec, said the federation has submitted its proposal for the resumption of sports and is currently waiting to hear back from public health authorities. "We hope to have an answer maybe Monday or Tuesday," said Fournier. "We know that competitions would be very tough to reopen right now but if we can start by practice or by side activities that would be great." Some less eager for team sports to resume Montreal resident Jennifer Cox says there would need to be strict public health measures in place for her to send her child back to his hockey team. (CBC) Before the pandemic, Montreal resident Jennifer Cox would be at the arena with seven-year-old son, Cameron, every weekend. "Hockey was a really big part of our family's life, our weekend life," said Cox. This year, she opted to set up a skating rink in the family's backyard instead, to make sure Cameron could keep practicing. While her son misses interacting with his teammates and coaches, Cox isn't sure she'll be sending him back to the rink just yet — especially because they have an at-risk family member at home. "If we were to consider it, we'd really have to see the numbers, how many kids are being allowed to get on the ice, if there's any additional safety restrictions in terms of wearing masks under their helmets and things of that nature," said Cox. "I don't think we're 100 per cent ready to dive back into full team sports right now."
For Julie Lefebvre, cooking and harvesting go hand in hand. Lefebvre, 35, is a paralegal and a member of Centre Culturel La Ronde’s fundraising committee. She describes herself as an outdoorsy person who is passionate about cooking and harvesting. Lefebvre says her culinary passion came from her mother, who would always prepare homemade meals, and from watching her family gather around a table to socialize and enjoy the food. You’re more likely to see Lefebvre cooking in the kitchen rather than baking dessert. “It’s all about keeping it simple, cooking with fresh ingredients. Less is more,” she says. She’s always on the lookout for new recipes and popular dishes from various cuisines around the world. As a food lover, she prefers growing her own vegetables and buying local produce if she can. Growing vegetables is a learning process and a lot of work, she says. In her own backyard, she enjoys growing cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, carrots, potatoes, beets, and cauliflower. “The fact that I grew this — I don’t know if it tastes better — but it’s not comparable in my eyes,” Lefebvre says. Lefebvre has also been hunting for as long as she can remember. She’s grateful for her Métis background and to have hunting and harvesting rights within a certain territory. “I can’t imagine living my life any other way in the aspect of harvesting and ancestries. I’m very proud of my way of life,” she says. Moose meat to her is like beef to other people, she says. The only time she buys beef from a store is to make a barbecue steak or ribs. When it comes to roasts or hamburgers, those are made from moose meat. “I’ll make anything and everything with moose. But nothing beats a moose hamburger,” Lefebvre says. Lefebvre owns JDL Paralegal firm where she practices in provincial offences court. After graduating high school, she didn’t know what she wanted to pursue. She took a year off and worked at a law firm, which she enjoyed, and decided to become a paralegal. “I have the opportunity to assist people in the area they have no knowledge of,” she says about her job. “I like being able to provide information with respect to the system and making sure the outcome is in their best interest.” If she could sum up her life, she says it would be about gathering people around the table and feeding them, using the simplest and freshest ingredients. And when she’s not working, she spends time outside, either at her cottage or on the trapline. Lefebvre joined La Ronde about a year ago to help raise funds for the new building. "It's time for this building to go up. We need to rebuild this and we need the centre so bad," she says. "I believe there's a bright future for La Ronde." Last week, she held a cooking workshop for Bonhomme Carnaval where she made Coquilles Saint-Jacques, a dish involving shrimps and scallops. Being bilingual means everything to her, she says. “It’s very important to have both languages living in the country that we do and the city that we do. It’s very important to be able to communicate in French and English to be able to assist a diverse population,” she says, adding she wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and be bilingual. Lefebvre’s husband also speaks French. Moving forward, Lefebvre says she would like to inspire people in the kitchen and continue being involved with La Ronde. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
WASHINGTON — The United States and South Korea have reached agreement in principle on a new arrangement for sharing the cost of the American troop presence, which is intended as a bulwark against the threat of North Korean aggression. The State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said the deal includes a “negotiated increase” in Seoul's share of the cost, but it provided no details. The Bureau wrote on Twitter that the agreement, if finalized, would reaffirm the U.S.-South Korean treaty alliance as “the linchpin of peace, security and prosperity for Northeast Asia.” The negotiations had broken down during the Trump administration over a U.S. demand that Seoul pay five times what it previously had paid. The U.S. keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea. The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the agreement, said it would last through 2025. Robert Burns And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Karla Combres says the night before the first COVID-19 lockdown last year, her husband was in Nipawin for a meeting with 100 people. "He came home that night and I said, you know what? I don't think you should go to work tomorrow," Combres told CBC's Saskatchewan Weekend. "It was as quick as that. You know, like, from one day to the next, it was unthinkable to gather with that many people." Combres is a life cycle celebrant in Saskatoon and one of the organizers of an online vigil being held this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. CST to mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. The vigil is called Together in Remembrance, Together in Hope, and it was organized by Saskatoon's multi-faith community, but Combres said everyone is welcome. "For anybody coming to this, no grief is too big or too small," she said. "This is really for everyone, no matter what your race or your creed or your colour or your age or where you are in the province." Her work centres around gathering people and in the early days of the pandemic, she said she wasn't sure how she was going to be able to continue doing that in a meaningful way. "Over the course of the past year, I have found ways through researching and participating in gatherings and then also through just really learning and being creative on my own with the people I work with," she said. Gatherings are smaller and people join via livestream but it is still possible to connect, she said, and she hopes people will find that with the vigil as well. Combres had the idea for a vigil but she said it was Blake Sittler who got the ball rolling initially to mark the anniversary. Sittler is the executive director of Saskatoon's Roman Catholic chaplaincy and another organizer of the vigil. He and his wife were celebrating their 25th anniversary in New York before the pandemic hit, arriving home only a few days before the first case was found there. "We went back to work for a day or two and on Friday, I grabbed my laptop and I said, you know, I'm going to take this laptop home in case I need to stay home for a few days and a few days turned into a full year working in my basement," he said. A person in a face mask walks through an almost empty Times Square in New York City as the COVID-19 outbreak pandemic continues.(Andrew Kelly/Reuters) Sittler said the goal of the event was to represent as many of the different communities in the province as possible, echoing the provincial motto, "From many peoples strength." "We knew we wanted to mark the day because humans do try to make meaning of their lives through ritual," Sittler said. He said the vigil is not a religious event but instead an opportunity to bring people together so they feel less alone. "You're not alone in your mourning, you know, you're not alone in the jobs you lost, your fear, the loneliness, the isolation.… And at the same time, now that the vaccines are coming out, we also wanted to let them know that they aren't alone in their hope." Sittler said he'll be thinking of people in special care and long-term care homes who have been isolated throughout the pandemic, as well as the workers in those facilities. "These are folks who have built up this province and have spent their life serving their community and their kids," he said. "It's like being in isolation in a prison. And some of them even asked that question is like, what did we do wrong that this is happening?" Sittler said he wanted to put an event together where people could gather and say, 'I'm not crazy for being sad and I'm not crazy for being hopeful.'(Supplied by Shirley Larkin/White Coat Black Art) The event will have greetings from representatives from different traditions. A front-line worker will speak about their experience, and there will also be poetry and music. The event also invites everyone to bring a candle to light. "People know what it means to light a candle in the window, you know, for the weary traveler to just find their way through the darkness," Sittler said. "And that's what this is, to light a candle, to give people hope to say that we're in this together." The event is free but you need to register at covidvigil.ca. You can join on Zoom, and it will also be livestreamed to YouTube.
Durham Region’s medical officer of health says the region is in “very good shape” with vaccine distribution and administration. In a recent update to the region’s health and social services committee, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle says clinics opening Monday, all those ages 80 and older can now book their appointment to be vaccinated, noting the vast majority of seniors living in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes in Durham Region, as well as most healthcare workers, have been vaccinated. “We were tasked by the government to develop a plan that when fully operational, will allow vaccination of approximately 10,000 clients per day,” says Kyle, noting there will be at least one clinic in each of the eight municipalities. As of Monday, March 8, two clinics will be open: Durham College and Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, and the other in Pickering. “The staging of the opening dates (of the other clinics is) a sign that we are ramping up, staffing up,” he adds. According to the Durham Region Health website, The Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Clarington will open on Tuesday, March 9, followed by the opening of the McKinney Centre in Whitby on Monday, March 15. Uxbridge Arena, Scugog Arena and Rick MacLeish Memorial Community Centre Arena will open on a rotating basis beginning March 15. Finally, the Audley Recreation Centre in Ajax will open on Tuesday, March 16. The mobile clinic will also continue to vaccinate additional Phase 1 populations as required, Kyle notes. However, he says the region can’t get too far ahead of the vaccine supply. “While I say the maximum capacity is 10,000 clients per day, the number of clinic sites and available appointments will depend on vaccine supply,” Kyle continues. Furthermore, Kyle says the region’s communications plan is “robust” and has been developed to “promote vaccine awareness, accurate evidence, informed information, and timely and accurate information.” “We’re building on key messages from the Ministry of Health and the go-to place for all things COVID vaccine is durham.ca/covidvaccines,” he says, noting the website is updated on an ongoing basis. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
More than 110,000 Olympic volunteers had their dream summer all mapped out for 2020. Instead, the unsung backbone of any Olympics - its corps of volunteers - has had to recalibrate lives, put vacations or returns to home countries on hold and seek out part-time jobs in Japan so they are still free to volunteer. "I'm actually wavering about taking part now," said Yamamura, 40, who lives in southwestern Japan, far from Tokyo.
Chinese drone giant DJI Technology Co Ltd built up such a successful U.S. business over the past decade that it almost drove all competitors out of the market. Yet its North American operations have been hit by internal ructions in recent weeks and months, with a raft of staff cuts and departures, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former employees. The loss of key managers, some of who have joined rivals, has compounded problems caused by U.S. government restrictions on Chinese companies, and raised the once-remote prospect of DJI's dominance being eroded, said four of the people, including two senior executives who were at the company until late 2020.