Could ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Speed Paramount’s Recovery at the Box Office?

Jeremy Fuster

“Sonic the Hedgehog,” a film once known as a “Cats”-level internet joke, has become Paramount’s biggest box office hit in almost 18 months. With a three-day domestic opening of $58 million, the film based on Sega’s blue speedster has given the Viacom-owned studio its best opening weekend since 2018’s “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” That’s welcome news after Paramount’s disappointing $563.9 million in total domestic box office in 2019, when none of the studio’s releases managed to cross $100 million in domestic ticket sales. While the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” produced a profit with $195 million in global ticket sales against a $40 million budget, the studio struck out hard with would-be blockbusters “Gemini Man” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Both films had budgets well over $100 million, and both failed to gross even $300 million worldwide. (Paramount shared the costs on “Gemini Man” with Skydance, Alibaba and Fosun, while “Dark Fate” was co-financed with Skydance and Disney’s 20th Century Fox.) Also Read: The Short Oscar Season Was Tough for Hollywood, but Good for Box Office With “Sonic” off to a fast start, Paramount is now looking ahead to what it hopes will be a brighter 2020 with a film slate featuring...

Read original story Could ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Speed Paramount’s Recovery at the Box Office? At TheWrap

  • 'There are risks' to going to rural areas and cottages, chief medical officer says
    News
    CBC

    'There are risks' to going to rural areas and cottages, chief medical officer says

    Hospital facilities, ambulance wait times and possibly spreading COVID-19 are a few things Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health says people should consider before deciding to open up their cottages or travelling to rural areas."We are a small province, in terms of trying to maximize our resources to help get us through this pandemic," she said. "There are risks for people to move around in that way and to go to those rural areas."Russell's national counterpart Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said last week people who live in urban areas should not travel to their camps or cottages or summer homes."Urban dwellers should avoid heading to rural properties, as these places have less capacity to manage COVID-19," Tam said.Health experts agree the best way to battle COVID-19 is to stay put, and that might mean keeping away from camps and summer homes.Expecting a lower turnoutKingston Peninsula store manager Ed Larsen says he was already concerned about cottage owners bringing the infection. He says this is a good recommendation, if it will help shorten the lifespan of this pandemic."We just want to do whatever the health department is recommending and try to do more if we can," he said. "We gotta flatten this curve and make it go away.""Would it affect us? It would, because a lot of folks come out here in the summer" he said. "But what we want to do is look after our folks that are out here, to keep everybody safe."Larsen's store is open every month of the year to serve locals who live on the peninsula year-round. He said some people aren't even getting on the ferry to the mainland out of fear of spreading the virus when they come back. Larsen said inter-provincial and international travel restrictions meant he was already preparing for a large decrease in the number of people he sees.Christine Burt runs a grocery store, restaurant and gas station in Jemseg near Grand Lake, where many people travel to spend their summers.She said the possibility of cottagers and tourists bringing the virus is "in the back of your mind" for sure, even before they land in the province."I make sure I keep my distance … step back while the customer pays their bill," she said.She said  it's going to be tough for anyone to be travelling for leisure if the restrictions don't get loosened by the summer. And if they do come, there might not be much to do."What are you going to do? Parks are closed, any amusement or entertainment, there's nothing going on," she said.She said she's already had to lay off some staff, and she's hoping this doesn't go on for much longer. "It's something we've never been through before and hopefully never have to go through again."

  • Death at home: the unseen toll of Italy's coronavirus crisis
    News
    Reuters

    Death at home: the unseen toll of Italy's coronavirus crisis

    It took Silvia Bertuletti 11 days of frantic phone calls to persuade a doctor to visit her 78-year-old father Alessandro, who was gripped by fever and struggling for breath. When an on-call physician did go to her house near Bergamo, at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, on the evening of March 18, it was too late. Alessandro Bertuletti was pronounced dead at 1:10 a.m. on March 19, 10 minutes before an ambulance called hours earlier arrived.

  • Trump suggests firing watchdog was payback for impeachment
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Trump suggests firing watchdog was payback for impeachment

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump suggested that he fired the inspector general for the intelligence community in retaliation for impeachment, saying the official was wrong to provide an anonymous whistleblower complaint to Congress as the law requires.Trump called Michael Atkinson a “disgrace” after informing Congress late Friday night that he intended to fire him. In letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees, Trump wrote that he had lost confidence in Atkinson but gave little detail.A day later, Trump was more blunt, telling reporters at the White House: “I thought he did a terrible job, absolutely terrible.” The president added: “He took a fake report and he took it to Congress with an emergency, OK? Not a big Trump fan, that I can tell you.”The whistleblower report was not fake, but a detailed complaint written by an anonymous intelligence official who described Trump's pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son. Atkinson determined the complaint was urgent and credible and therefore was required by law to disclose it to Congress, but he was overruled for weeks by the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire.After a firestorm sparked by media reports of the complaint, it was turned over and made public. A congressional inquiry led to Trump's impeachment by the House in December. The GOP-led Senate acquitted Trump in February.On Saturday, Trump questioned why Atkinson didn’t speak to him about the complaint, though Atkinson’s role is to provide independent oversight.“Never came in to see me, never requested to see me,” Trump said. He added: “That man is a disgrace to IGs.”Atkinson’s removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has always viewed intelligence professionals with skepticism. His ouster came under immediate fire from Democrats and a handful of Republicans.Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Finance Committee, said that Congress has been “crystal clear” that written reasons must be given when inspectors general are removed for a lack of confidence.“More details are needed from the administration," Grassley said.Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a GOP member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she didn't find Trump's reasoning in his Friday letter to be persuasive, and said Atkinson's removal “was not warranted.” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said an inspector general "must be allowed to conduct his or her work independent of internal or external pressure.”Trump's criticism Saturday came after Atkinson's peers had rushed to his defence. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general at the Justice Department, said Atkinson was known for his “integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight." He said that included Atkinson's actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint.Asked during his daily coronavirus briefing about firing Atkinson, Trump returned to his attacks on the Democratic-led impeachment investigation and trial and his defence that his phone call with Ukraine’s president was “perfect” but had been inaccurately described in the whistleblower’s account. In fact, the partial transcript later released by the president largely supported the whistleblower’s account.Atkinson is at least the seventh intelligence official to be fired, ousted or moved aside since last summer. In his letters to the intelligence committees informing them of the firing, which were obtained by The Associated Press, Trump said that it is “vital” that he has confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general, and “that is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”Trump said Atkinson would be removed from office in 30 days, the required amount of time he must wait after informing Congress. He wrote that he would nominate an individual “who has my full confidence” at a later date.According to two congressional officials, Atkinson has been placed on administrative leave, meaning he will not serve out the 30 days. One of the officials said Atkinson was only informed of his removal on Friday night. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Atkinson’s administrative leave had not been announced.Atkinson’s firing thrusts the president’s impeachment back into the spotlight as his administration deals with the deadly spread of the coronavirus. As Trump was removing Atkinson, the number of U.S. deaths due to the virus topped 7,000. By the time of his remarks Saturday, it was over 8,100.The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, said it was unconscionable that Trump would fire Atkinson in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.“We should all be deeply disturbed by ongoing attempts to politicize the nation’s intelligence agencies,” Warner said.House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who led the House impeachment inquiry, said “the president’s dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the firing “threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power.” And Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump “fires people for telling the truth.”Tom Monheim, a career intelligence professional, will become the acting inspector general for the intelligence community, according to an intelligence official who was not authorized to discuss personnel changes and spoke only on condition of anonymity. Monheim is currently the general counsel of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.Atkinson had hinted of frustration on the job in a March letter to Schumer, in which he said “the past six months have been a searing time for whistleblowers.” Atkinson was responding to a letter Schumer had sent to agency inspectors general asking them to document and investigate any instances of retaliation after Trump had threatened the anonymous whistleblower.In the letter to Schumer, obtained by the AP, Atkinson said support for whistleblowers would be rendered meaningless if “whistleblowers actually come forward in good faith with information concerning an extraordinary matter and are allowed to be vilified, threatened, publicly ridiculed, or — perhaps even worse, utterly abandoned by fair weather whistleblower champions.”Late Saturday, Schumer tweeted that he had spoken to Atkinson and thanked him for his service. Schumer said he told Atkinson that "history will remember him as a hero and those who retaliated against him as scoundrels.”Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking And Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press

  • Great Dane isn't too sure about his bunny rabbit ears
    Rumble

    Great Dane isn't too sure about his bunny rabbit ears

    Mikey wears these Easter bunny ears, for a few moments at least, before pawing them off. Too funny!

  • Quebec extends halt on non-essential activity to May 4, province approaches 8,000 cases
    News
    CBC

    Quebec extends halt on non-essential activity to May 4, province approaches 8,000 cases

    * The city has closed Île Notre-Dame and parking at Mont-Royal Park. * All business except dépanneurs, gas stations and pharmacies are closed today.The shutdown of non-essential economic activity in Quebec will last at least another month, and won't end on April 13 as the provincial government had initially hoped.Premier François Legault said given the continued rise in the number of new cases of COVID-19, Quebecers should expect businesses to remain closed until May 4. "If we relax our efforts, we'll just delay the moment when we'll be able to go back to our lives," Legault said Sunday at the government's daily news conference in Quebec City."The battle is far from over. In fact, we're entering the decisive phase of this battle."Public health officials announced Sunday there were 947 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec, bringing the total in the province to 7,944. Percentage wise, that's one of the lower daily increases of the past two weeks. Hospitalizations also appear to be increasing at a weaker rate than earlier in the crisis. But 19 more people have died from causes related to the disease, bringing the overall number of deaths in Quebec to 94.As long as the number of new cases is increasing, Legault said, the government's priority will remain protecting the public's health, even if it means enforcing measures that are painful for businesses.The province is likely still several weeks away from hitting its peak number of cases, Legault said. Only after that will his government consider relaxing its strict physical distancing policies. "We put all our effort in the public's health because we needed to allow the health-care system to get ready to handle the first wave," Legault said."I'm looking forward to getting over that peak. That's when we'll begin looking at which businesses and organizations to re-open."Businesses groups in the province met the news with mixed emotions. The Conseil du Patronat called the extension a "necessary evil."Veronique Proulx, head of the Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters Association, worried about the ground businesses in the province were losing to competitors in the U.S. and rest of Canada, where restrictions have been less severe. "Our concern is that SMEs (small and medium-sized enterpresies) in Quebec will lose contracts and market share," Proulx said.Preparing for the post-COVID economy  In an effort to ease the pain of a longer lockdown, the Quebec government revealed details of an ambitious buy-local program called Panier Bleu. Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, who joined Legault at Sunday's news conference, compared the initiative to an Amazon-style inventory that will allow Quebecers to search online for products made in the province and buy them directly from retailers."It's an approach to unite communication channels to allow our small businesses to compete with corporations that have huge marketing resources," Fitzgibbon said.The government has been indicating it wants to use the coming months to re-tool the Quebec economy in order to make it better suited to the post-COVID world.Legault and Fitzgibbon said they anticipate supply chains will remain unstable for years to come and that global trade will be hampered by protectionism.The government's long-term goal, they said, is to make the provincial economy more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports."I think the public-health crisis allowed us to realize to what point we needed an ambitious strategy for local businesses and e-commerce. We want to make that a priority," Fitzgibbon said. Legault pointed in particular to the need for making Quebec's health-care industry, which is struggling to find supplies abroad, and the agriculture sector, which is dependent on foreign workers, more autonomous.More powers for police to fine people, Île Notre-Dame closed The prospect of a longer shutdown, and continued physical distancing, will not be easy for many Quebecers to swallow, especially as the weather continues to warm. Scores of people flocked to Montreal's parks on Saturday to enjoy the sun and mild temperatures, despite public health directives against public and private gatherings. Montreal police had beefed up their presence in public spaces and reportedly fined people who were not respecting the physical distancing guidelines.Police informed City Hall that many of the people in Montreal's downtown parks were from suburbs on the north and south shore, raising concerns about the disease spreading further."That not what we wanted," Mayor Valérie Plante said Sunday. "We want people to stay close to their homes."As a result, the city announced it was closing one vast green space — Île Notre-Dame — and shutting the parking lot at another, Mount Royal Park.The measure was necessary, Plante said, in order to keep Montreal parks empty enough for Montrealers who live in apartment buildings or condominiums to be able to use them.Access to green space will be essential to allow people to cope with an extended period without bars, restaurants and municipal facilities, she said. But if public health directives aren't followed, she warned she would close other parks as well."It's a difficult time for everybody, that's for sure," Plante said. "My desire to keep public spaces and parks open is part of that."

  • Pope opens Holy Week amid pandemic; says now is the time to serve
    News
    Reuters

    Pope opens Holy Week amid pandemic; says now is the time to serve

    Pope Francis marked a surreal Palm Sunday in an empty St. Peter's Basilica, urging people living through the coronavirus pandemic not to be so concerned with what they lack but how they can ease the suffering of others. The service, kicking off Holy Week events leading to Easter, usually attracts tens of thousands of people to a St. Peter's Square bedecked with olive and palm trees. The service normally includes a long procession of cardinals, priests and faithful carrying palm fronds.

  • 'There is some upside': Optimism in natural gas sector a result of oil industry's crisis
    News
    CBC

    'There is some upside': Optimism in natural gas sector a result of oil industry's crisis

    While record low oil prices are costing the vast majority of companies money on every barrel they produce, the natural gas sector is optimistic that 2020 could turn out to be a pretty good year.In short, all of the problems plaguing the oil industry — including a sharp drop in fuel demand and OPEC countries flooding the market with oil — could mean higher prices for natural gas.Much of the natural gas to hit the market in the U.S. is produced from oil wells. Companies pull oil from the ground, but some natural gas comes up with it.As many oil companies are now cutting back on oil production, there will likely be much less natural gas on the market. That could mean higher prices."Most of us are still needing our homes heated and so on, so demand isn't down much," said Jonathan Wright, the chief executive of Calgary-based NuVista Energy.About two-thirds of the company's production is natural gas, while the remainder is condensate, a very light type of oil.Wright said he has "no joy at all" at seeing oil prices so low, but he's optimistic about what it will mean for his company."The oil price is going to take some time to recover, in my best estimate, and that means with less gas being produced with it, there is some upside to natural gas," he said.Natural gas prices are likely to be volatile this summer, he said, as the repercussions of the COVID-19 virus have shifted demand for the energy source.So far this year, natural gas in Western Canada has averaged about $2 per million British Thermal Units, although the price now sits at about $1.60.Martin King, a Calgary-based commodities analyst with RBN Energy, expects the price to average about $1.90 for this year."For the summer and a good portion of the rest of the year, I think we could see respectable pricing for natural gas here in Canada and especially Western Canada," he said.King said there is also plenty of storage space available north of the border."If we keep producing at a reasonable level and there is a pullback in demand or exports to the U.S., we do have a place to put the gas," he said.Possible downside, tooConsidering how long the pandemic may last and how unpredictable the impacts will be of the virus, there is some concern the natural gas sector won't be immune.Rory Johnston, the managing director at Toronto-based market research firm Price Street, is cautious about predicting how the sector will perform for the rest of the year."There's a small silver lining there," he said of how reduced oil production should improve natural gas prices."Then again, you have such a demand drop in this. Power demand and commercial heating demand and other things that are all part of that COVID demand disruption story that are affecting oil," he said. "I think a lot of that could also batter natural gas."

  • Labrador Indigenous groups plan how to use federal COVID-19 relief
    News
    CBC

    Labrador Indigenous groups plan how to use federal COVID-19 relief

    Indigenous communities in Labrador are already planning on what to do with recently allocated federal funds for COVID-19 relief.Ottawa has earmarked $305 million to be shared among First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities around Canada. The money will be split up into four different sections: * $215 million will be given to each First Nation community and will be distributed based on population, remoteness, and community well-being; * $45 million will be given to the four different Inuit organizations, the funds will be distributed by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional Inuit land claims organizations; * $30 million for Métis Nation communities; * $15 million for regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members who are living away from their respective communities.The money is still trickling down to Indigenous communities in Labrador, but governments are already planning on how to use the money.NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) is one of three Indigenous governments in Labrador and the president, Todd Russell says he's concerned about how much money they'll be able to access."We were not part of the $45 million that went to other Inuit in Canada and we are now finding ourselves having to compete in a much smaller envelope of funding — $15 million, Canada-wide," Russell told CBC's Labrador Morning.Despite having a smaller pot of money to pull from and even though the government never received any money, Russell adds that efforts are already being put in place to meet the needs of NCC members, starting with the community of Black Tickle."Airlifts of food, and water to make sure they're well provisioned — we also have three contracts where we have individuals hauling fuel wood and gas into Black Tickle," he said. "We can't have a community so isolated going through a health crisis without fuel, without heat, without gas." Community protection key, Sheshatshiu chief saysThe Innu Nation has also been been developing plans for the new funding. Sheshatshiu chief Eugene Hart is focused on keeping the community safe during the pandemic, and says the money will be a great help. "We're looking to get financial support for the security that we put in place to protect the community from COVID-19," Hart said."We are also looking for funding for supplying community members with enough cleaning supplies and food during our containment procedures."Hart added that they don't know how much money will be provided, but  community has a common focus. "Most members of the community have embraced the concern and want to keep themselves protected."In the northern Innu community of Natuashish, chief John Nui has been busy deciding what to do with the money, including some land-based projects. "At the same time we submitted a proposal for a crisis team for a hotline for our youth to call in," Nui said.The Inuit government of Nunatsiavut has also been busy in finding ways to help its residents cope with the impacts of the virus.Financial support will be provided to community food banks and freezer programs, and cleaning supplies have been provided to families.Various support packages with puzzles and games will be provided to promote mental wellness during self-isolation.A program is being developed to ensure wood and fuel is provided to those in need. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, April 5
    News
    CBC

    What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, April 5

    Recent developments: * An outbreak has been declared at both the Chartwell Willowdale and Chartwell Van Horne retirement residences in Smiths Falls, Ont., after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. * The Outaouais now has 109 confirmed cases of the virus, with the majority in Gatineau. * This weekend, Ottawa's municipal officials are crunching numbers to see how much the pandemic is costing the city.Here's what's happening this weekendNeed cannabis or hardware supplies? You'll have to order them online now, as the province has ordered those stores closed — part of its increasing efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.The decision to reduce the number of businesses in Ontario deemed essential came Friday after public health officials shared stark projections suggesting between 3,000 and 15,000 people could die over the course of the pandemic.The deadline to close was midnight.The Ottawa Hospital, meanwhile, is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 at its Civic campus. One patient is ill and is in isolation, hospital officials say.If you are an essential worker and need childcare, registration is underway this weekend for free daycares in both Ottawa and Kingston, Ont, for children between the ages of 18 months and five years old. Ottawa bylaw officers say after issuing dozens of warnings, they will start to fine people for breaking COVID-19 rules.Other communities such as Kingston, Ont. and Gatineau are in a similar boat.How many cases do we have?As of Sunday, there were 345 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and more than 640 in the region. The virus has killed four people in Ottawa.Confirmed cases are just a snapshot because of the limits of testing. There are likely thousands more.Distancing and isolatingPhysical distancing means avoiding non-essential trips, working from home, cancelling all gatherings and staying at least two metres away from others when out for a walk.WATCH: Here's what you can and can't do in Ottawa's parksTravellers who return to Canada must now self-isolate for 14-days: staying home and asking others to leave supplies at the door.Anyone who is older than 70, or who has a compromised immune system, or who has been in close contact with  someone who either has tested positive or has symptoms after recent travel should also self-isolate for 14 days.People who feel sick should self-isolate for 14 days or until their symptoms are gone for 24 hours, whichever is longer.How daily life is changingQuebec has banned non-essential travel into and through western Quebec, which police are enforcing with moving checkpoints.Ottawa is set to release more details this week on how the drop in revenues from physical distancing will affect the city's balance sheet. Parks are only open to walk through and authorities are watching for gatherings in many communities.WATCH: Ontario could have seen 100,000 COVID-19 deathsOntario and Quebec schools are closed until May and all non-essential businesses should be closed. Public transit authorities are scaling back service. Essential services like waste collection continue. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?They range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue and a dry cough.Older people, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious problems.WATCH: Ontario's ICU capacity at risk, says head of Ontario HealthThe coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.Ottawa Public Health says unless you need an N-95 mask for your job, only people with respiratory illnesses and those caring for sick people should wear them.Homemade masks may do little to stop the spread of the virus — aside from stopping people from touching their faces and muffling a cough or sneeze. Kingston General Hospital has banned staff from wearing them.The germs can also spread through close, prolonged contact, such as handshaking, and via surfaces such as door handles, phones and light switches.Most people with mild symptoms can self-isolate and get better. If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedAnyone concerned they have COVID-19 in Ontario can fill out its online assessment tool. Ottawans who have a new or worsening cough or fever and have left the country — or have spent time with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days — should visit the COVID-19 screening centre at the Brewer Arena.The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 151 Brewer Way. You don't have to call ahead.WATCH: At least 2,000 waiting to get tested for COVID-19 in OntarioStarting Monday a former school in Bells Corners will become a care centre for people with moderate symptoms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.The assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre at 303 York St. is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone with symptoms.The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people only call it at 613-966-5500 if they still have questions after the province's self-assessment.Same for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark's unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499.It has testing sites by referral from a family doctor or the health unit only in Brockville, Almonte and Smiths Falls and a new home test service for people in care or with mobility challenges. Call the health unit to ask about one.There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman, Ont. open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 872 Principale St. for people with worsening symptoms, like the test site at 750 Laurier St. in Hawkesbury, Ont., open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. No need to call ahead.There are others by appointment only in Winchester, Ont., by calling your family doctor or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, and Cornwall, Ont. Call 613-935-7762 if you have worsening symptoms.Only people older than age 70 in that area or who have chronic health problems or compromised immune systems can call 613-933-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to ask about a home visit from paramedics.Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.Call Telehealth, your health care provider or it at 613-735-8654 if you still have more questions.Anyone who doesn't have or can't reach a family doctor can call its new primary health-care centre at 1-844-727-6404 if they have any health questions.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever, whether they've travelled or not. You could be referred to Gatineau's testing centre.If your symptoms require a trip to the ER, call ahead if you can to let them know your travel history.First Nations communitiesAkwesasne, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) and Pikwakanagan have declared states of emergency..With a confirmed case in the American part of Akwesasne, anyone returning from farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Anyone in MBQ who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nursePikwakanagan's new council has ordered all businesses to close.Kitigan Zibi has scaled back non-essential services.For more information, visit:

  • News
    CBC

    1 bus driver, 2 other Calgary Transit workers test positive for COVID-19

    Calgary Transit says three workers have tested positive for COVID-19.Two have had no contact with the public, Transit said on Twitter on Saturday, while a third has had "limited to no contact with customers."A City of Calgary spokesperson told CBC News that the first two employees work within training operations, while the third is a bus driver.The city spokesperson said that the bus driver would have limited to no contact with the public due to physical distancing measures that have been put in place.That bus driver works out of Spring Gardens with some contact with the Stoney Transit Facility, Calgary Transit said.CBC News reached out to inquire what transit routes the driver was on, when the driver tested positive and when the driver was last at work. The city spokesperson said that the bus driver tested positive on April 3, but did not state when the driver was last at work or what routes the driver was on, adding that notifying Calgarians would be up to AHS and reiterating that customers likely had no contact with the driver.All employees who have come into close contact with those three workers have been contacted, Calgary Transit said, and any locations or buses they came into contact with have been deep cleaned and sanitized.Calgary Transit tweeted that it's also implemented the following measures to keep passengers and drivers safe: * Rear-door boarding on big buses. * Two-metre physical distancing requirements. * Shuttle-bus front-seat closures. * A 50 per cent seat capacity limit on all buses.In Ottawa, after a driver tested positive, OC Transpo released information about which routes that driver had been assigned to, and the day and time the driver was on each route.As of Saturday afternoon, 734 people in Calgary have tested positive for COVID-19, out of 1,181 in Alberta.

  • 'Not all families have this option': Sask. woman takes father out of care home due to COVID-19 pandemic
    News
    CBC

    'Not all families have this option': Sask. woman takes father out of care home due to COVID-19 pandemic

    Donna Pasiechnik considers herself lucky. When she got a temporary layoff notice on Monday, she knew it meant she could do something not many others can do: bring her father home. Pasiechnik's father Joseph recently moved to a care home in Invermay, Sask. after a lengthy stay in hospital in Yorkton. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about three and a half years ago and just starting to get used to his new place when the pandemic broke out. "We'd become more and more concerned about his risk as an 87-year-old man living in a communal setting," she said. "We'd been watching the news and really worried about losing him."News from other provinces shows that if COVID-19 gets into a care home, it can be devastating.Pasiechnik's concern didn't have to do with the level of care at his Invermay home. She praised staff there for the kindness and support they showed her and her family. Pasiechnik knew she would be off work for at least three months, so after some conference calls with her family and difficult decisions — but ultimately her husband's blessing — she left her home in Regina to move in with her mom and dad in Canora, Sask. to help care for her father.  I know they're trying to do everything to keep residents connected with their families through technology, but it's hard. It's really hard. \- Donna PasiechnikThe thought of losing her father and not being able to see him was unimaginable for Pasiechnik and her family. He had even started to deteriorate near the outset of the pandemic, when they shut down the home and visitors weren't allowed anymore. Pasiechnik's mom used to visit him almost every day, spending the afternoon. "We were finding a rhythm. But once we were no longer able to do that, my dad went into a deep depression and we were really concerned about his mental health and what this would do to him," she said.  "It's going to be a challenge I'm sure."Pasiechnik knows not everyone has this opportunity. Right now, she is just taking it one day at a time and trying to settle into a routine. "I know not all families have this option available to them and I just felt heartbroken yesterday picking dad up and seeing these folks in the home kind of left behind," she said."I know they're trying to do everything to keep residents connected with their families through technology, but it's hard. It's really hard."

  • Actress-author Patricia Bosworth dies from coronavirus at 86
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Actress-author Patricia Bosworth dies from coronavirus at 86

    LOS ANGELES — Patricia Bosworth, an actress who once starred alongside Audrey Hepburn and later wrote biographies on several stars including Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, has died due to the coronavirus. She was 86.Bosworth’s stepdaughter, Fia Hatsav, told The New York Times that pneumonia brought on by the virus was the cause of death. Bosworth died on Thursday in New York.Bosworth played a nun opposite of Hepburn in the 1959 classic “The Nun’s Story.” Along with penning bios for Brando and Clift, she also wrote biographies on actress Jane Fonda and famed photographer Diane Arbus, who photographed Bosworth in a Greyhound bus advertisement.Her biography on Arbus served as the base for the 2006 film “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” which starred Nicole Kidman.Under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg, Bosworth studied acting at the Actors Studio alongside Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Fonda. Bosworth worked on Broadway and starred in television shows including “Naked City” and “The Patty Duke.”Bosworth turned her attention from acting to focus on a career in journalism as a successful editor and writer. She wrote for The New York Times and New York magazine, and was an editor for several publications including Screen Stars, McCall’s and contributed to Vanity Fair.She wrote memoirs about her own life in 1998's “Anything Your Little Heart Desires: An American Family Story" and 2017’s “The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan."The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Moving homes in the middle of a pandemic

    Edmontonians have had to postpone travel plans, weddings, and birthdays due to the pandemic, moving homes can still go ahead.That's due to moving companies being deemed an essential service. Eager Beaver Moving, a company based in south Edmonton, continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been kept busy."The last three weeks have been insane, we have been completely swamped," said owner John Watson.Watson said the company has a number of measures in place, listed on their website for customers to know. They work to thoroughly disinfect trucks and equipment used as well as ask employees to regularly wash their hands.The company also has measures for customers to follow, including keeping a safe distance from employees, not bringing in extra people to help, and doing a wellness check where they call their customer a day before a move to make sure they are healthy. But despite all these measures, Watson still finds sending his crew into people's homes stressful. "I feel really anxious about sending my people out there," Watson said. "I almost sometimes wish that we were just shut down so it would make it easier, but then of course you would have the financial stress that everybody else is living with."Some of Watson's crew members — those living with senior parents or with kids who have compromised immune systems — decided to self-isolate and stay at home. His full staff of 22 movers is down to only 16."We had to hire new guys to make up for the shortfall," he said.To keep his employees safe, Watson is currently on the lookout for masks and gloves but has had trouble finding them."You phone suppliers and unless you have ordered them in the past, they are not selling them to you," he said. Watson credits the busy schedule not only to the pandemic — he believes many people who had put off moving to later months are now doing it earlier — but also because he claims some moving companies will cancel at the last minute if they believe it's not safe for them to operate. He said he has received calls from customers that were cancelled on from other companies. 'I cannot imagine the stress'One of Watson's customers, Bernadine Whitford, actually had to put off moving due to quarantine. She was supposed to move sometime at the end of March but had to go into quarantine for 14 days after returning from travel. She hired Eager Beaver for her move on Saturday. Whitford said the company came highly recommended and she appreciated the extra precautions that were listed in the email they sent her. "I don't feel like I'm going to Lysol everything as soon as I get home," she said. "They are very conscientious and I appreciate that a lot."Despite content customers, Watson said he still worries about his staff. "Especially in apartment buildings, you are riding up in elevators, people are touching stuff, it's a very anxious time for them," he said. "I cannot imagine the stress that they must be feeling."Watson said he tries to be there for his crew and listen to them if they ever need to talk."That's often all they really need to do," he said.Although they had a busy run in March, Watson believes business might slow down as the pandemic continues. "I think we are really going to feel a slowdown in a month or two," he said.

  • New Orleans calliope tribute for jazz great Ellis Marsalis
    News
    The Canadian Press

    New Orleans calliope tribute for jazz great Ellis Marsalis

    NEW ORLEANS — A tourist riverboat calliope blasted hymn and gospel tunes across New Orleans' French Quarter on Friday as a tribute to the late jazz pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis.Marsalis, who taught generations of jazz players, including four of his six sons, died Wednesday of pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.On Friday, a medley including “How Great Thou Art” and “I’ll Fly Away” climaxed with “When the Saints Go Marching In” and the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.Most of the city has been staying inside, but Tristan Dufrene was among several people making cellphone videos of the performance, which she said she'd learned about from an Instagram post."It was beautiful,” she said afterward.About two dozen people, many of them journalists, spaced themselves along the Bienville Street wharf for the 15-minute performance by Debbie Fagnano, who plays calliope on the riverboat Natchez.New Orleans has been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak and the state's governor has warned that the region is projected to run out of ventilators by Tuesday and hospital beds five days later.The boat may host brief Friday concerts as a morale-booster, since the sound carries a long way, said Adrienne Thomas, a spokeswoman for the steamboat company. “Perhaps next week we might be playing the tunes we usually play for Good Friday,” she said.A few miles away, at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a sign saying classes are suspended until further notice was partly covered by one reading, “Rest In Peace Ellis. Forever in our hearts.”Saxophone player Branford Marsalis, one of Ellis Marsalis' sons, and singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr., who was among the elder Marsalis' students, founded the centre in 2011 to preserve New Orleans music and culture.Ellis Marsalis' son Wynton, a Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning trumpeter, is America’s most prominent jazz spokesman as artistic director of jazz at New York’s Lincoln Center.Janet McConnaughey, The Associated Press

  • San Francisco park's 150th birthday celebration goes online
    News
    The Canadian Press

    San Francisco park's 150th birthday celebration goes online

    SAN FRANCISCO — Golden Gate Park turns 150 years old on Saturday, and the huge party to celebrate San Francisco's beloved treasure will, for the time being, take place online.Originally, city officials planned a yearlong celebration that included free museum admission, concerts and the participation of more than 150 cultural institutions and community groups. A giant Ferris wheel that lifts passengers 150 feet into the sky was brought in for the occasion.But the spread of the coronavirus forced them to postpone the event.Instead, they launched an online concert series featuring musical sets performed in the park over the years. They include an appearance by Boz Scaggs at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in 2016 and Metallica's headlining performance at the Outside Lands festival in 2017.“Golden Gate Park has served as a place of inspiration, hope and refuge for San Franciscans for 150 years,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.“We hope these virtual experiences will bring some joy and entertainment during this challenging times.”April 4 marks the day the park was chartered by order of California State Legislature 150 years ago. Skeptics doubted the city's sand dunes could be converted into park land, but field engineer William Hammond Hall and master gardener John McLaren figured out a way to blanket more than 1,000 acres on the city's west side with trees.Associated Press, The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    5 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Grand Valley Institution

    Canada's largest prison for women is in partial lockdown as it deals with a COVID-19 outbreak, according to Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.Five inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, while two more tests are still being processed, according to Correctional Service Canada. The union says one prison guard has also tested positive for the virus. In a statement, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says one unit housing about 40 inmates in the 250 capacity prison is in lockdown, meaning inmates are being kept in their cells.Correctional Service Canada says Grand Valley Institution is on "a modified routine with inmates self-isolating in their living units as a precautionary measure."Thirty-one inmates have been tested for COVID-19 at Grand Valley Institution, more than any other prison in Canada. There's a total of 12 confirmed positive cases in federal prisons, according to the correctional service.Inmates are 'very scared'Safety concerns are coming from the prison guards who work at Grand Valley Institution and inmate advocates who say they're hearing directly from women in the prison.Emilie Coyle, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, tells CBC News they've received more than 40 calls from inmates at the prison in the last two days."The women who called us are very scared," said  Coyle. "Everyone's calling to say 'We're afraid, we want to get out.' ... One woman said she didn't want to die in prison."Coyle says the women have told her they don't believe there's enough measures in place at the prison to keep them safe. They're concerned correctional officers aren't wearing masks and there aren't enough cleaning supplies, according to Coyle.The union says prison guards are also worried about having sufficient personal protective gear."The type of PPE required to perform our work safely continues to be a source of anxiety among the membership at [Grand Valley Institution]," said a statement from the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.Correctional Service Canada says it's following safety protocols."We are closely and carefully following direction from public health officials, while following strict protocols to avoid further spread in the institution," the correctional service told CBC News in a statement. "We remain in close contact with our public health partners as we monitor this situation closely."Release of inmatesCoyle is calling for the release of some inmates."We have seen from around the world when COVID-19 reaches prisons, it spreads like wildfire," said Coyle.She would like to see women who are near their release date and eligible for parole be released to their homes.If those women don't have a home to go to, Coyle would like to see the prison work with shelters and halfway houses to help the women make their way back safely to their communities.The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says that approach wouldn't work."[It] would not solve the potential spread of COVID-19 in our facilities; it would only increase the risk for Canadians," the union says. "It is irresponsible to introduce further threats into our communities."A spokesperson for the public safety minister has said the government is looking into "whether there are measures that could be taken to facilitate early release for certain offenders."Coyle says Ottawa needs to act immediately before the situation becomes worse."Going to prison should not be a death sentence and at this point if COVID-19 really spreads...it could be very very dire," said Coyle.

  • The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

    The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:22 p.m. on April 4, 2020:There are 14,018 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada._ Quebec: 6,997 confirmed (including 75 deaths, 306 resolved)_ Ontario: 3,630 confirmed (including 94 deaths, 1,219 resolved)_ British Columbia: 1,203 confirmed (including 38 deaths, 673 resolved)_ Alberta: 1,126 confirmed (including 20 deaths, 196 resolved), 55 presumptive_ Nova Scotia: 236 confirmed (including 50 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 231 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 55 resolved)_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 203 confirmed (including 1 death, 18 resolved)_ Manitoba: 172 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 17 resolved), 22 presumptive_ New Brunswick: 98 confirmed (including 28 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 22 confirmed (including 6 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed_ Yukon: 6 confirmed_ Northwest Territories: 4 confirmed (including 1 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases_ Total: 14,018 (77 presumptive, 13,941 confirmed including 233 deaths, 2,569 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2020.The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected file. An earlier version, based on information on a government website, did not differentiate between Alberta's confirmed and presumptive cases.

  • News
    CBC

    Two more deaths, 106 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta

    Alberta reported two more deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, both women in their 90s who lived at the Mckenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary.That brings the total number of deaths in the province to 20, according to the provincial government. Alberta reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday — 51 of those were confirmed by a lab and 55 are probable. This raised the total number of cases in Alberta to 1,181 as of Saturday, with 240 patients having recovered from the illness.As of Saturday, there were 42 people in the hospital due to COVID-19, including 14 in intensive care units. Nine outbreaks were recorded at continuing care centres, with 93 cases stemming from those facilities.The regional breakdown of cases is: * Calgary zone: 734 cases, 13 deaths. * Edmonton zone: 290 cases, 4 deaths. * Central zone: 66 cases. * North zone: 68 cases, 3 deaths. * South zone: 18. * Unknown: 5.While there are no live updates planned over the weekend, the Alberta government is providing updated case numbers and statistics. Forestry sector reliefThe government also announced a relief measure on Saturday for forestry companies, citing the sector as the third largest in the province behind energy and agriculture.Timber dues from the use of publicly owned forest resources will be deferred for six months to support companies with self-isolating staff or remote work constraints.The industry directly employs 18,700 Albertans and contributed close to $2.2 billion to the provincial GDP in 2018, according to the release.

  • A journey from Nepal to love under quarantine in St. John's: One couple's story
    News
    CBC

    A journey from Nepal to love under quarantine in St. John's: One couple's story

    After years of waiting, Tilak Chawan is finally living a life he's been dreaming of — spending every moment with his wife Mamta Bhurtel. Theirs is a love story that started in Nepal, lasted years of long distance, and is seeing the happily ever after unfold in St. John's. Chawan was born in Bhutan but, because of the political realities of the day, ended up spending years with his family in a refugee camp. In 2010 he started teaching outside the camp in Nepal to make some money for his parents and siblings. "Financially, our situation was really terrible," Chawan said.  "I started helping my family, supporting with the finances and going outside teaching into small schools outside in Nepal," he said.While teaching he met a woman named Mamta Bhurtel but that's where things ended at the time — a year later he was sponsored as a government-assisted refugee to come to Canada. Facebook connectionTime passed as Chawan was getting used to his new country and life went on.But then one day, a few years after they'd met, a name popped up on Facebook: Mamta Bhurtel.  Living away from each other means one day we will meet again. It's for the best of everybody right now. \- Tilak ChawanThe pair added each other and started chatting. The chats went off swimmingly and before long they agreed to start dating in a long distance relationship. The relationship grew year after year. Finally in 2016, Chawan became a Canadian citizen, got a passport right away and booked a trip to see his love in Nepal. While there he asked her parents for her hand in marriage. She said yes, and so did her family. Plans were made for a 2018 wedding. "It was beautiful," said Chawan. "It was a very big celebration."After the wedding in Nepal, paperwork needed to be done for Bhurtel to be able to come and live in Canada as she finished her master's in microbiology in Nepal. She got a visa for entry into Canada this year and was set to arrive in St. John's on March 12. "We were so excited, over-the-moon-kind of excitement from both families," said Chawan.He said the countdown was months long and everything was ready for her to arrive. "Having to stay away from each other for so many long years. That was only the dream we dreamt about every time," he said. A COVID-19 wrenchCOVID-19 threw a wrench into their plans. The day before Bhurtel was set to arrive, the WHO declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic. Her flight was cancelled.The larger worry was Bhurtel wouldn't get to St. John's at all with countries bringing in more strict travel restrictions — and her entry visa expiring March 21. Chawan managed to rebook her flight so she could arrive on time, and when Bhurtel landed on Canadian soil Chawan was waiting. "I was at the airport with roses in my hand, you know, totally different romantic situation. It was really fun and really exciting," he said. Quarantine timeAfter having a long-distance relationship for years, it was off into self-quarantine together as even though it wasn't obligated at the time, they felt it was the responsible thing to do. Chawan said after loving each other for so many years from afar, they enjoyed every single minute of the 14 days. "Honestly that is more than a dream come true for us. We always wished this moment to be happening in our lives. And now it is happening," he said. Chawan also has advice for anyone who is finding the COVID-19 distancing becoming too much to bear. "Living away from each other means one day we will meet again. It's for the best of everybody right now," he said. "That is exactly what I felt when my wife and I were away from each other. She was doing her part. I was doing my part and the goal was one day we will be together to do our part." Looking aheadChawan's plans for when this pandemic is behind us are simple: help his wife get to know her new city. "I've always dreamt about going up to Signal Hill and spending some quality time there, like watching the beautiful view of our city."Chawan's parents and siblings also live in St. John's. He said they plan to give her a proper welcome and celebrate the next chapter they will spend together.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 'It's critical': Shuttered fitness studios move online to stay afloat in era of COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    'It's critical': Shuttered fitness studios move online to stay afloat in era of COVID-19

    Canada's fitness industry is undergoing a major technological shift due to COVID-19, as owners of gyms and fitness studios jump into the digital world with both feet, hoping for a new way to keep money coming in while clients can't.There are some obvious hurdles to moving their operations from real to virtual, from the right setting, technology and know-how to the fact that Canadians may not have much income to spend right now. Still, some studio owners feel like they don't have any choice but to innovate — and quickly."This was devastating for our business," said Dana Cantarutti, the director of strategic operations for Spinco spin studios, with locations in B.C., Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.All of Spinco's 15 locations across the country have been closed for more than two weeks, so in a move to create a temporary source of revenue the company decided to rent out its bikes at a cost of up to $250 per bike, per month, for three months or until the studio is able to open again."It was an overwhelmingly positive response," said Cantarutti.Revenue 'dried up'The company also launched an online platform with pre-recorded spin classes, called Spinco On Demand, open to anyone for a monthly fee of $29 — or free with the Spinco bike rental."This enables us to earn a little bit of revenue in a creative way across the country, and allows us to keep some of our staff and some of our instructors employed," said Cantarutti.Ontario-based SAANA Yoga also closed its doors more than two weeks ago, and soon after began offering yoga classes through Instagram for free."The immediate drive was to connect to our community and just to keep our community alive," said Jacqueline DiRenzo, co-founder of the SAANA Yoga brand and co-owner of the downtown Toronto location.The studio launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay the teachers for their time, most of whom are contract workers."Their access to making money and their sources of revenue dried up right alongside ours," said DiRenzo.DiRenzo is considering applying for some of the business assistance the federal government is offering, such as the new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), a program that will offer small businesses interest-free loans of up to $40,000, but she's wary of taking on new debt."It's not relief in the traditional sense of the word, like 'Hey, here's a bailout,' for example," said DiRenzo, who worries about how loan repayment will impact her business when she reopens.The free classes aren't helping the bottom line either, so SAANA Yoga is exploring other online options to bring in some money. On April 14 it's launching a 30-day yoga challenge that includes two daily classes and other workshops using the video-conferencing platform Zoom, for $59. Front-line health care workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedics and hospital support staff can have access at no cost.Permanent paid online offerings are also in the works, including live online drop-in classes for a fee of $6 each, or access to a catalogue of pre-recorded classes to take anytime for a monthly membership fee.DiRenzo hopes it all adds up to enough to help her get SAANA Yoga through this pandemic and out the other side intact. "It's critical really…. I won't mince my words: It's not an easy time," said DiRenzo.'Defining times'But digital innovators stand to benefit from a captive audience of potential customers, as Canadians are trapped in their homes, looking for connection and ways to stay healthy.A dance studio owner in Toronto sees it as his chance to go all-in online. The Underground Dance Centre currently spans two buildings in downtown Toronto with six studio spaces, and about 230 drop-in classes offered each week, from hip hop, jazz and dancehall to Bollywood, heels and contemporary.The owner hopes to recreate the in-studio experience online, and he says he's investing any money he can muster to do it."There are two ways you can look at this: that this is just going to be a bump in the road, or this is going to be the start of a new road," said Aaron Libfeld.On Monday, Libfeld's new on-demand service will go live, with a catalogue of more than 20 classes to start and new ones to be added each week. The membership fee is $39 per month, or a promotional price of $99 for a full year — which will eventually go up to $199.The 30-year-old entrepreneur, who is also the father of a four-week-old and a two-year-old, is running on little sleep but a lot of optimism."I think for small business owners and medium sized business owners, these are really defining times — this will really define who you are. Maybe not for the next year, but possibly for the next 10 years," said Libfeld.Share your favourite new online fitness offerings in the comments below.

  • Families of Flight 752 victims report threats, acts of intimidation — and blame Tehran
    News
    CBC

    Families of Flight 752 victims report threats, acts of intimidation — and blame Tehran

    Family members in Canada who have criticized Iran's government after losing their loved ones in the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 say they're being targeted with threats and intimidation — and they blame Tehran.Global Affairs is aware of "reports" of victims' families "being approached in Canada in situations which have caused them concern," according to an email the department sent to families that was obtained by CBC News. A government task force has warned families to immediately call police if they feel unsafe.Iran has admitted its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps 'mistakenly' shot down Flight 752, killing all on board, including 55 Canadian citizens. Canada is among the nations pressing for compensation for families of the victims.The email doesn't say whether authorities suspect anyone in particular is approaching family members — but multiple families tell CBC News they fear it's people close to the Iranian regime.Canada's new special adviser to the federal government on the aftermath of Flight 752, Ralph Goodale, said it's "critically important" that families report threats or acts of intimidation to police."Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada should not have reason to fear for their safety or the integrity of their very existence in this country," said Goodale, who was appointed by the prime minister earlier this week.'You are a traitor'Hamed Esmaeilion of Richmond Hill, Ont., has already gone to the RCMP. His wife and daughter were killed when Flight 752 was shot down on Jan. 8 shortly after it took off in Tehran. After the disaster, he said, he received a stream of hateful messages from a man whose Facebook account said he was located in Toronto. "He's asking me why I'm acting against the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]. He said, 'You are a traitor to your homeland,'" said Esmaelion. "He was very insistent. He was doing that every day." After talking to other victims' families and learning he wasn't his unnamed persecutor's only target, Esmaelion contacted police.The RCMP says it can't comment on individual cases, but said it's "aware of allegations of intimidation of the grieving families of the PS752 and deplore any such actions."Across the country in Edmonton, the parents, younger brother and aunt of Amir Hossein Saeedina allege they were forced to flee Iran — first to Turkey, then to Canada in February — because of threats from Iranian authorities after they spoke out about his death on Flight 752.Intimidation from a distanceThe aunt claims agents of the Iranian regime detained her, abused her and warned her to keep her family silent. "The worst things that could happen to a person in those 24 hours ... they did to me," Fatemeh Latifi told CBC News through a translator on March 5.But even in Canada, where they're filing for refugee status, they claim Tehran hasn't forgotten about them. Reza Akbari of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton said government officials visited Saeedina's grandparents in Iran and asked them why their family was betraying their country. "And threatening them if they continue talking and speaking out ... they will detain all of their personal belongings," said Akbari. "That threat exists." Edmonton PhD student Javad Soleimani, who lost his wife in the disaster. said he got an hour-long phone call from someone claiming to be a high ranking official with the Iranian regime after he criticized the government online.'I don't want to stop'When he refused to take down an Instagram post criticizing Iran for keeping its commercial airspace open the night Flight 752 was destroyed, the regime contacted his family in Iran and put pressure on them, he said. "When someone from the government calls you and then two days after that puts pressure on my family, this is a threat," he said."I don't want to stop. I'm allowed to seek justice. I'm alive to actually talk about this catastrophe, to criticize the government. This is the motivation for the rest of my life. Nobody can scare me or stop me." Esmaeilion said he feels the same way. He's living in an empty house without his wife and daughter. Every day feels like the day he found out they were dead, he said. "I myself am not scared of anything," he said. "I have nothing to lose."Watch: Ralph Goodale talks about the search for answers on Flight 752

  • Former military commanders offer ideas for keeping sane, healthy in COVID-19 lockdown
    News
    CBC

    Former military commanders offer ideas for keeping sane, healthy in COVID-19 lockdown

    Are you climbing the walls yet?Living and working in the same space with family in ever-present proximity — even with the occasional walk and blast of Netflix — is a shock to the system, especially when no one can tell you when it will be all over.Submariners and soldiers know exactly how you feel and they've got a few ideas for keeping you sane and healthy over the long haul."I can relate to what families are going through," said former colonel Mark Gasperotto, a combat engineer who fought in Afghanistan.The current conditions, in some respects, are not unlike troops confined to tents in the high Arctic in winter warfare exercises, or the teams of soldiers holed up in remote observations posts, he said."In a COVID environment when you're isolated in your home — sure you can go out for walks — you're really spending most of your time in close quarters with one another. So, that redefines the nature of the relationships; what people do to get along; what they do to work together. Everything takes on a much greater collective importance."The importance of meal timeIt is a similar — perhaps even more restricted experience — for submariners and even sailors in surface warships, said retired vice-admiral Bruce MacLean.There are, MacLean was quick to add, absolute and obvious differences between a family stuck at home in isolation, riding out the coronavirus pandemic, and a warship crew on mission in some far-flung region of the globe."Home is — for most people — likely the safest haven you can have," he said.The experiences collide, however, when it comes to the coping, team work, routine and even discipline that's needed to come out the other side.MacLean, a former submariner, said there are "anchors" that get a ship's company through the day — and one of the most fundamental is meals."I remember when I was a commanding officer, the first person I would talk to when I went aboard was the senior cook and his team because the routine at sea when you're gone day in and day out absolutely revolves around meals," he said. A good meal, shared together with a chance to talk, is important and healthy. "It's cohesion, it's routine and it's structure," said MacLean. "On a warship, there's a job to do, there's a routine to do it and there's a structure in place on a 24/7 basis, whether it's cleaning or meals, maintenance or the operations."Routine and responsibility Making a daily plan of chores and activities and dividing the workload among family members is essential, said Gasperotto, who along with his wife, has two teenage daughters, both of whom are vested with the responsibility of motivating all of them to keep up with physical fitness and to stay in touch with other family members and friends. "We have a routine and we're all responsible for our own portions of that."Breakfast is usually followed by a quick huddle where they talk through issues and problems.MacLean said dialogue is one of the most important lessons of his former life that is applicable to the circumstances of today."The lines of communication, whether it's within a house or a submarine are vital," said MacLean. "A sense of humour and a sense of keeping things at the right level is also very fundamental in a submarine environment." It is also important, being in a confined space, that people consciously seek out a balance involving work, leisure, exercise, entertainment and crucially time to yourself, he said.Taking precautionsThat equilibrium must be deliberately and consciously sought out, said Gasperotto, who is also a big advocate of taking precautions whenever someone ventures outside of the home to the grocery store or another public venue where they can run into other people.     Upon returning home, members of his family run through a mild decontamination procedure, including hand washing and wiping things down, just to be safe.Keeping the virus out of your home is of the utmost importance, Gasperotto said."These things should be done to a high degree of competence and a high degree of consistency There's a level of discipline required in everyday activities that typically isn't the case in normal times."The hardest things for families in isolation, as it is for sailors confined to a ship, will be keeping perspective and not letting events in the outside world get to you, said MacLean."If you were to watch the news every day, continuously, I think the anxiety level can go up pretty dramatically," he said. "So, how do you focus on the things you have to do on a day-to-day basis versus the stuff you don't have as much control over? It takes us back to routine and structure and having that daily plan."Watch: Understanding the limits of COVID-19 models Having said all that, both men recognize, unlike soldiers and sailors, most people simply can't just order their family around. There is no obligation to obey.MacLean called that the "big caveat," which takes leadership, patience and a plea for teamwork."I relate back to when our twin daughters were growing up, I would have loved to run our family like a military unit or submarine and basically invoked the National Defence Act and Queens Regulations and Orders," MacLean said with a chuckle."The reality is it just doesn't work that way. In a family, you have to be so much more adaptable and so much more flexible."

  • 'We think about our boys every single day': Photo project marks 2nd anniversary of Humboldt Broncos bus crash
    News
    CBC

    'We think about our boys every single day': Photo project marks 2nd anniversary of Humboldt Broncos bus crash

    The ice inside Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Sask., is gone. This community's central gathering place, home of its Humboldt Broncos, sits empty.Spring hockey camps have been cancelled due to COVID-19. The novel coronavirus also forced the cancellation of Monday's public service marking the two-year anniversary of Broncos bus crash."Hockey's on the back burner. Everybody's lives are more important than the game of hockey right now," Broncos head coach Scott Barney said."But we haven't forgotten. We'll never forget."The need for physical distancing hasn't stopped families and city officials from finding other ways to honour the 16 people who died and the 13 who were injured after a bus taking the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team to a playoff game collided with a transport truck at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018.On Monday afternoon, a guest book will be available on the city's website. The city's Facebook page will go live at 4:50 p.m. CST, the exact time of the 2018 crash, to show the bells of St. Augustine Church ringing, followed by a minute of silence.'We had to scale things back'Mayor Rob Muench said they're doing their best to come together, even if it's online."We had to scale things back, but we're remembering those whose lives were lost or changed forever," Muench said.The streets of the central Saskatchewan city of 6,000 won't be completely empty.Rene Cannon and her family billeted three of the players in their home that year. Adam Herold and Logan Hunter were killed in the crash. Xavier Labelle was severely injured.This week, Cannon called local photographer Marla Possberg with a plan. Cannon also called other billet families in Humboldt. On Monday afternoon, Possberg will drive around, stopping outside each billet house. From a safe distance, she'll take pictures of each family standing on their front step in Broncos jerseys.Cannon will compile the photos and send the online album to the 29 Broncos families across Western Canada.Cannon said she considers those three young men members of her own family. She wanted to do something special."It is going to be an incredibly difficult day. We think about our boys every single day," Cannon said.Scott Thomas, who lost his son Evan in the crash, said his family is anxious to see the photos of the Humboldt billet parents.Thomas said he and his family also plan to take part. They'll ask a neighbour to take their picture on their porch and will add it to the others.Thomas hopes the anniversary will remind everyone to appreciate their loved ones. "It just really makes you realize how precious life is and how it can be taken from you any time. I'm hugging my daughter a lot more," Thomas said. The Thomas family plans to fire up the barbecue Monday and prepare Evan's favourite meal of steak, baked potatoes and a light beer."This one is definitely more sombre. It could be the (coronavirus) situation. We've got nothing but time," Thomas said. "But it's pretty real that he's not coming home."

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