Country star Luke Combs has apologized for appearing with Confederate flags, saying he is now aware of how painful that image is.
Country star Luke Combs has apologized for appearing with Confederate flags, saying he is now aware of how painful that image is.
Another type of COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on Friday. The new vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University. Canada also approved the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Afterwards, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced that Canada has secured two million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India. AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive by mid-May. “The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing a highly diverse and extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive them,” Anand said in a release. “We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September. I am grateful for the collaboration of our partners in India to finalize this agreement, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the weeks ahead.” The two million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses. The application for authorization from AstraZeneca was received on Oct. 1, 2020 and from from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements. These are the first viral vector-based vaccines authorized in Canada. These are also two-dose regiments and can be kept refrigerated for at least six months. Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.. These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order on the importation of drugs for COVID-19 The process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canadian standards. Health Canada has placed terms and conditions on the authorizations requiring the manufacturers to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to be demonstrated through market use. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, but death taxes are only a remote possibility for most people. The vast majority of Americans won’t ever have or give away enough to owe estate or gift taxes. Far more people could be affected if a tax break that benefits heirs is eliminated. While campaigning for president, Joe Biden proposed doing away with something called the “step-up in basis” that allows people to minimize or avoid capital gains taxes on inherited assets. But no legislation has been proposed yet, and such a change could have a tough time getting approved by a divided Congress. “Right now, we’re telling folks to start thinking about this stuff, but we’re not rushing out to take action,” says certified financial planner Colleen Carcone, a director of wealth planning strategies at TIAA. HOW STEP-UP IN BASIS LOWERS TAXES Although most estates don’t owe estate taxes, anyone who’s inherited a house, stock or other property has likely benefited from the step-up tax break that gives such assets a new value at the owner’s death. Say your savvy aunt paid $7,000 for a single share of Berkshire Hathaway stock in 1990. That’s her tax basis. If she sold the stock for its closing price of $362,000 on Feb. 10, she would owe tax on the $355,000 gain. If she generously gave you the stock and you sold it on Feb. 10, you’d owe the same amount of tax because you’d also get her tax basis. Now, let’s say that instead of giving you the stock, she left it to you in her will and she died Feb. 10. The stock would get a new basis for tax purposes of $362,000. All the gain that occured during her lifetime would never be taxed. If you sold the stock later, you would owe tax only on the gain since her death. Some kinds of inheritances, such as annuities or retirement accounts, don’t get the step-up. But it’s no exaggeration to say that far more people benefit from our estate tax system — by inheriting homes and other assets with a stepped-up tax basis — than have to pay any estate taxes. WHO PAYS GIFT AND ESTATE TAXES NOW This year, an estate has to be worth more than $11.7 million to trigger federal estate taxes. Less than 0.1 per cent of the people who died in the U.S. last year were expected to leave estates large enough to owe any tax, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. People who have to pay gift taxes are pretty rare as well. There’s an annual exclusion, or an amount you can give away to as many people as you want each year without having to file a gift tax return. The exclusion limit is $15,000 for 2021 — you can give up to $15,000 each to an unlimited number of people without having to report the gifts. Even if you do have to file a gift tax return, you wouldn’t actually owe gift taxes until the amount you gave away in your lifetime — over and above the annual exclusion amounts — totalled more than $11.7 million. These historically high limits are scheduled to end in 2025, which means in 2026 the estate and gift tax exemption limits would revert to $5 million per person, adjusted for inflation. Biden wants the exemption to drop to $3.5 million per person. People in some states already face lower limits. The 12 states that impose their own estate taxes — Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — and the District of Columbia have lower exemption limits than the feds. Massachusetts and Oregon have the lowest exemption amounts, $1 million. Six states — Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — also levy taxes on people inheriting. Different tax rates and exemption limits apply, depending on the relationship between the inheritor and the person who died. Immediate family members usually pay the least, if anything, while distant relations and nonrelatives pay more. WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW: KEEP GOOD RECORDS The idea of eliminating the step-up in basis has been proposed in the past, but it faced headwinds in part because the practice benefits a wide range of voters. Since there’s no concrete proposal to change the step-up, there’s not much people can do to prepare for change other than what they should be doing anyway, which is keeping careful records. That means “tracking the basis” of what they paid for any assets as part of routine estate planning. If you buy shares of a stock in a taxable account, for example, hang onto records showing those purchases. The cost of any improvements you make to a home or other real estate also can increase its tax basis and potentially reduce taxes later. “The one thing that we do think folks should start doing today is really starting to think about the record-keeping,” Carcone says. _________________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Estate Planning https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-estate-planning Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
“Later,” by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime) Stephen King gets a lot of credit for creating the monsters under kids’ beds (here’s looking at you, Pennywise), but not enough for this simple fact: The guy gets kids. Their fears, certainly, but also their voices, the way they see the world differently than adults. To a long list that includes Danny Torrance from “The Shining” and Gordie Lachance from “The Body,” we can now add Jamie Conklin, the star of King’s most recent novel, “Later.” Published under the Hard Case Crime imprint, which also distributed “The Colorado Kid” (2005) and “Joyland” (2013) — “Later” is narrated by 22-year-old Jamie, looking back on his formative years. He begins his story at age 6, when he first figured out he could see and talk to the dead. It’s that gift which propels the plot of this slim novel. Encouraged by his mother’s NYPD girlfriend, Liz, Jamie gets tied up in the pursuit of a serial bomber in New York. It’s not giving too much away to say he helps crack the case, but to say what happens after that would spoil all the fun. There’s classic King here for fans. Imagine the carnage on any given day in the Big Apple and then imagine being a young man seeing the mangled dead walking around in the afterlife, with holes in their heads “as big as a dessert plate and surrounded by irregular fangs of bone.” But even amid the gore and escalating tension, King finds moments to make Jamie relatable. As Liz and his mom argue at the scene of a crime, we pop inside Jamie’s head before he screams at them. “One of the worst things about being a kid, maybe the very worst, is how grownups ignore you when they get going" on their own issues, writes King. In the end, the story Jamie narrates to readers climaxes in a thrilling whodunit, while uncovering truths about Jamie’s life that might have been better left buried. For as the novel’s cover declares: “Only the dead have no secrets.” Rob Merrill, The Associated Press
Toronto Mayor John Tory on Monday outlined the city's vaccination plan, which will see vaccines spread out across 49 hospital sites, 46 community health centres and 249 pharmacies. He called it the "largest vaccination effort" in the city's history, but added people need to continue to abide by public health measures to keep each other safe.
The European Commission will propose this month an EU-wide digital certificate providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination that could allow Europeans to travel more freely over the summer. The EU executive aims to present its plans for a "digital green pass" on March 17 and to cooperate with international organisations to ensure that its system also works beyond the European Union. "The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism," Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet on Monday.
PARIS — A Paris court on Monday found French former President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling and sentenced him to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence. The 66-year-old politician, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted for having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved. The court said Sarkozy will be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet. Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. The verdict is expected on Monday in a landmark corruption and influence-peddling trial that has put French former President Nicolas Sarkozy at risk of a prison sentence if he is convicted. Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, firmly denied all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place at the end of last year. The 66-year-old politician is suspected of having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved. This is the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has gone on trial for corruption. Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for actions during his time as Paris mayor. Sarkozy’s co-defendants — his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog, 65, and now-retired magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 74 — also deny wrongdoing. Prosecutors have requested two years of prison and a two-year suspended sentence for all three defendants over what they said was a “corruption pact.” “No pact has ever existed,” Sarkozy told the court. “Neither in my head, nor in reality.” “I want to be cleared of that infamy,” he added. The trial focused on phone conversations that took place in February 2014. At the time, investigative judges had launched an inquiry into the financing of the 2007 presidential campaign. During the investigation they incidentally discovered that Sarkozy and Herzog were communicating via secret mobile phones registered to the alias “Paul Bismuth.” Conversations wiretapped on these phones led prosecutors to suspect Sarkozy and Herzog of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about another legal case, known by the name of France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. In one of these phone calls with Herzog, Sarkozy said of Azibert : “I’ll make him move up ... I’ll help him.” In another, Herzog reminded Sarkozy to “say a word” for Azibert during a trip to Monaco. Legal proceedings against Sarkozy have been dropped in the Bettencourt case. Azibert never got the Monaco job. Prosecutors have concluded, however, that the “clearly stated promise” constitutes in itself a corruption offence under French law, even if the promise wasn't fulfilled. Sarkozy vigorously denies any malicious intention. He told the court that his political life was all about “giving (people) a little help. That all it is, a little help.” “I was 100 billion miles away from thinking we were doing something we did not have the right to do,” he said. Sarkozy said he did not get confidential information from Azibert. Prosecutors believe Sarkozy was at some point informed that the secret phones were being wiretapped and that it is the reason why he did not ultimately help Azibert get the job. The confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and his client has been a major point of contention in the trial. “You have in front of you a man of whom more that 3,700 private conversations have been wiretapped... What did I do to deserve that?” Sarkozy said. Sarkozy’s defence lawyer, Jacqueline Laffont, argued the whole case was based on “small talk” between a lawyer and his client. “You don’t have the beginning of a piece of evidence, not the slightness witness account, the slightness declaration,” she told the court. Sarkozy withdrew from active politics after failing to be chosen as his conservative party’s presidential candidate for France’s 2017 election, won by Emmanuel Macron. He remains very popular amid right-wing voters, however, and plays a major role behind the scenes, including through maintaining a relationship with Macron, whom he is said to advise on certain topics. His memoirs published this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks. Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign. His conservative party is suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million), almost twice the maximum authorized, to finance the campaign, which ended in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande. In another investigation opened in 2013, Sarkozy is accused of having taken millions from then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to illegally finance his 2007 campaign. He was handed preliminary charges of passive corruption, illegal campaign financing, concealment of stolen assets from Libya and criminal association. He has denied wrongdoing. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
ZAGREB, Croatia — Zlatko Kranjcar, a former Croatia national team coach who led his team to the 2006 World Cup and also played internationally for Yugoslavia before the country's breakup, has died. He was 64. The Croatian soccer association said Monday that Kranjcar died in a Zagreb hospital after a short and serious illness. Croatian media reported that Kranjcar died early Monday after he was hospitalized last month. Kranjcar launched his career at Dinamo Zagreb in the 1970s, playing as a centre forward. He later moved to Austrian club Rapid Vienna, where his career peaked. Kranjcar also played for the Yugoslav national team and later served as the first captain for an unofficial Croatian national team in 1990. Croatia became independent in 1991 and played its first official match since the breakup in 1992. Kranjcar coached the Croatian team from 2004-06, leading his country to the World Cup in Germany. Croatia finished third in its group behind Brazil and Australia and was eliminated. Croatia's state HRT television described Kranjcar as “one of the best players in the history of Dinamo.” “Thank you for everything, for the memories, trophies, for creating Dinamo's great history, for soccer romance and most of all friendship and good spirit and warmth that you spread among all of us," Dinamo Zagreb wrote on its website. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in a message of condolences to the family that Kranjcar was “one of true greats of the Croatian soccer.” “The Croatian sports family has lost a true soccer icon,” Plenkovic said. Kranjcar has also coached a number of international clubs and foreign national teams. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) Carol Henzie says the provincial and federal governments need to do more to protect people like her parents after they were exposed three times to COVID-19 in a Pointe-Claire home for independent seniors. "The people that are supposed to be caring and taking care of our parents and our seniors are exposing them to the virus," said Henzie, citing Feb. 18 as the third time her parents were put at risk. "We're supposed to protecting our seniors, and we're not." Her parents live in Maywood Pointe-Claire and she recently found out that an in-home care worker from a local CLSC tested positive for the disease just a few days after visiting her mother and father. Now her mother has tested positive, and is in quarantine with her husband. They had both been vaccinated earlier in the week and, so far, Henzie said her father is doing just fine. "Neither of us have any symptoms," said Terrence Henzie. "We neither have a cough or cold or sneezing or wheezing. Nothing of the kind." Preliminary data from the Institut national de santé publique du Québec suggests the vaccines are 80 per cent effective after two weeks for health-care workers and after three weeks among the residents of long-term care homes. Carol Henzie said she holds public health accountable for her parents being exposed. She wants to see all health-care workers tested regularly for the disease if they work with seniors. CIUSSS says it is following regulations Hélène Bergeron-Gamache, a spokesperson for the West Island regional health board, said the CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal follows the provincial directives for screening health workers. "We strongly encourage our employees to get tested preventively and on a regular basis," she said in an email. "To facilitate access, mobile screening clinics are located in some of our facilities." Quebec 85-years-old and over lined up for their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Laval last week, but most who live in long-term care homes have already been vaccinated. The agency also follows infection prevention and control rules, providing all employees with the appropriate equipment and training they need to safely provide quality care and services, Bergeron-Gamache said. "Remember that, with community transmission still present, no one is safe from contracting the virus," she said. Quebec long-term care homes struggled through pandemic Long-term care homes — in particular CHSLDs, where residents have significant health or mobility issues — were hit hard by COVID-19 last spring as both staff and visitors brought the highly contagious disease into facilities. There has been a chorus of calls for reform since the early days of the pandemic, as its impact on long-term care homes has brought to light many issues with the way both private and public residences are managed. Francine Ducharme, a geriatrics researcher and nursing sciences professor at Université de Montréal, recently helped prepare a report on long-term care for the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 that showed Canadian seniors' homes have allowed staff-to-patient ratios to drop. The homes have also increasingly shifted to lower-paid care aides and personal support workers, who are often given "variable and minimal formal training," according to the report. A separate report by Quebec's ombudsman revealed the majority of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the province between March and June 2020 were among long-term residents — 3,890 in all. In some cases, ombudsman Marie Rinfret noted, overworked staff could not meet residents' basic needs such as being fed, changed or comforted as they died.
Tina Fey asked the tough question 10 minutes into the three-hour Golden Globes broadcast Sunday: Could this whole night have been an email? Well, maybe. We wouldn’t have gotten to see the awkwardness of Daniel Kaluuya’s acceptance speech (almost) cut before it began, Don Cheadle giving a tie-dyed sweatshirt clad Jason Sudeikis the wrap-up signal, or Catherine O’Hara’s husband playing her off with his iPhone — a funny bit hampered by bad sound. But we also wouldn’t have gotten to tear up along with Chadwick Boseman’s widow Taylor Simone Ledward or see the sweetness of Mark Ruffalo’s kids standing proudly behind him when he won, or Ethan Hawke’s sitting with him when he didn’t. We also wouldn’t have gotten swept away by Norman Lear’s heartfelt remarks. It helped that Lear’s setup looked professionally produced. Many did not. Celebrities, we’ve all learned over the past year, have bad lighting and shoddy internet connections too, even on an awards show night. The 78th Annual Golden Globes came in limping Sunday, not just because of the strangeness of producing a live, bicoastal show a year into a pandemic, but because in the week leading up to the event, the 87-person organization behind the endeavour, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was given an unflattering spotlight in a series of exposes in The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. The most stinging revelation was that there are zero Black members in their ranks. Whether or not they would address it was perhaps the biggest question going into the night. Hosts Fey and Amy Poehler said they needed to change. And three members of the HFPA came out on stage to say they intended to. The remoteness of it all allowed them to control the controversy on their own terms, or at least manage it. For the show, it was a silver lining. For the audience, it felt like a punt. In a normal year, every nominee and guest would have been asked about it on the red carpet. All the celebrities who posted that Time’s Up message on their socials would have had to say something. Sunday, there was no one to ask. The HFPA may have just bought themselves another year to get their act together. Although their nominations are occasionally absurd, the ultimate winners often aren’t. “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao became the first woman to win best director since Barbra Streisand in 1984. Boseman won too. As did “Minari” and Lee Isaac Chung (who also shared an especially sweet moment with his young daughter), even if it was relegated to the foreign language category. Kate Hudson, who proved to be a trouper despite all the fun made of her nomination and film, did not. Unfortunately, as the night wore on, more and more winners found themselves played off by the show, including most of “The Crown.” Worse, the cut off music was bad. The evening had its inspired comedic moments too, most of which came from hosts Fey and Poehler who in their fourth time leading the show seamlessly played off of one another with almost 3,000 miles between them. Though it was easy to forget that they were on different coasts, they were always ready with a well-timed gag acknowledging that they weren’t. They also mocked the weirdness of it all, about halfway through exhaustedly recapping the meagre GIF and meme moments thus far — Cheadle, Tracy Morgan mispronouncing “Soul” as sal and Sudeikis’ hoodie. “Those are the messy things we love about the Globes,” Poehler said. The show has always been touted as a party, boozy, glamourous and unruly with hosts who are welcome to poke fun and occasionally even cross the line. The booziness perhaps has been overstated of late — most are far too savvy to get drunk on camera before their category. Besides, that’s what the after parties are for. But there was a lot lost here, even as the show tried to manufacture moments between the nominees with awkward semi-public five-way conversations before commercial breaks. “This is so weird,” said Lily Collins, to the heads on the five disconnected screens around her. She could have been speaking for all of us. Cutting away to the nominees after a joke or a related win was rarely successful and often stilted, although the later categories seemed to learn from the mistakes of the earlier ones. But it made it even more frustrating that the show failed to use their in-person talent more creatively. Yes, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo got a fun “Barb and Star” moment, as did Maya Rudolph and Kenan Thompson. But they also got Tiffany Haddish to show up and all she got was one quip about Eddie Murphy’s mansions. The NBC tie-ins, too, seemed more shameless than usual. The Golden Globes have in years past been a frivolity that's still a pretty watchable, star-studded show. It occasionally even captured the zeitgeist in surprisingly meaningful ways. Audiences expect the worst and sometimes find it. But there are also grace notes in all the silliness— remember the sea of black to support the newly formed Time’s Up a few years ago and that Oprah speech? And maybe it’s that tension that has kept the Globes audience relatively stable. Whether or not this year will hold up when the numbers come in remains to be seen, but it would be a surprise. And does it matter? It’s not as though anyone involved is planning to relive this experience. “We all know that awards shows are stupid,” Fey said early on. Yes, they are. But maybe it’s just the stupidity we all need after a very tough year. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
Filming a polar bear just inches from its nose, close enough to see its breath fog up the lens, was a career highlight for Jeff Thrasher. The CBC producer is part of the team behind "Arctic Vets," a new show that follows the day-to-day operations at Assiniboine Park Conservancy in Winnipeg."It was breathing warm air onto the lens. I was thinking, 'Wow, there's nothing between me and this polar bear,"' Thrasher said, who filmed the shot using a GoPro camera up in Churchill, Man. The show is also the first time cameras have been allowed in the Winnipeg facility, which houses Arctic animals like seals, polar bears and muskox."I've filmed many, many things in my career and that's right up there," Thrasher said. There are 10 half-hour episodes in the new series that features expeditions to Manitoba's subarctic, emergency animal rescues and daily life at the conservancy. The first episode follows veterinarian Chris Enright to Churchill just as polar bears are starting to migrate up the coast of Hudson Bay. When a bear wanders too close to town, Enright works with the local Polar Bear Alert Team to catch it and lift it by helicopter to a safe distance away. In the same episode, back in Winnipeg, the team trims the hooves of resident 800-pound muskox, Chloe.Although being around Arctic animals is part of Enright's daily life, he hopes the show will help bring southern Canadians a little closer to the North."This is our norm. But it's not the norm for a lot of people, so the show is a good opportunity to tell these stories," he said. "We have herds of caribou that rival migrating animals on the Serengeti, but people in the South don't necessarily know about that. And that's really unfortunate, because there's some incredible wildlife in the North."Enright also hopes the show will urge Canadians to think about protecting the country's Arctic ecosystems, which face the critical threat of climate change."There's a lot of concern with the effects of climate change and over the next 50, 100 years what's going to happen. As southerners, there are things we can do to protect and conserve those ecosystems," he said. The COVID-19 pandemic also hit in the middle of filming, which Enright said prevented the team from travelling into Nunavut.Jackie Enberg, an animal care supervisor and Heather Penner, an animal care professional, are also featured in the show for their work with polar bears."It's not just animal care or vet care, or conservation and research. It's all of it. We all have a great passion to educate and share and help inspire other people to make a difference, whether it's to make changes in your lives or just talk about," Penner said.Enberg said the bears featured in the show were rescued when they were a few years old. "They're here because they could not survive in the wild," Enberg said. "We just ultimately hope people will fall in love with polar bears as much as we have," Penner said. "Arctic Vets" premiers Friday, Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem. By Emma Tranter in Iqaluit, NunavutThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.---This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously reported that "Arctic Vets" premiers Friday at 8 p.m. In fact, it airs Friday at 8:30 p.m.
(Dan Taekema/CBC - image credit) Windsor police say officers made an arrest Friday in the killing of a 55-year-old man. Police said a 33-year-old Windsor man was arrested without incident at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday in the area of Erie Street West and Ouellette Avenue. He has been charged with first-degree murder and possession of fentanyl, police said in a news release on Saturday. The investigation into the death of Lamont Rhue, 55, is ongoing and police are seeking tips from the public. He was found dead in a home in the area of Louis Avenue and Cataraqui Street on Tuesday afternoon. Officers are looking to speak with anyone who had contact with the victim on or before Tuesday, Feb. 23. Those in the area who have surveillance cameras are being asked to check their footage from 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, to 2 p.m. the following day. More from CBC Windsor
JUNEAU, Alaska — Scientists in Alaska have discovered 10 cases of a new coronavirus strain that researchers have said is more contagious and potentially more effective at evading vaccines. The B.1.429 variant, first discovered in California, was identified in Alaska in early January and has since been detected nine more times, according to a report released on Wednesday by scientists assembled by the state to investigate new strains. At least six groups of B.1.429 cases have been detected statewide this year, the report said. Scientists and public health officials have expressed concerns about multiple new strains of the coronavirus, which they say could prolong the pandemic even as governments scale up their vaccination efforts, KTOO-FM reported. State public health officials also said they have identified two cases of the more contagious B.1.1.7 strain, first discovered in the United Kingdom, along with one case of the P.1 strain, which was first seen in Brazil. The P.1 strain is also more contagious, and vaccines may be less viable against it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates the P.1 and B.1.1.7 strains as “variants of concern.” The CDC has not yet designated the B.1.429 variant first found in California as a variant of concern. The Associated Press
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) THE LATEST: Every eligible adult in B.C. should receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July, the province said. B.C. has extended the acceptable time between the first and second dose of a vaccine to four months. B.C. recorded 589 new cases and seven more deaths on Friday. A total of 1,478 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths were announced on Monday. There were 42 new variants of concern identified in B.C. over the weekend. There are now 236 people in hospital due to COVID-19 with 65 in intensive care. A total of 1,363 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are currently 4,464 active cases of coronavirus in the province, Public health is monitoring 8,210 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. So far, 275,681 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. — around four per cent of the population — with 83,777 of those being second doses. Every eligible adult in British Columbia should be able to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by late July after the approval of a new vaccine and a decision to delay second doses. Health officials announced the accelerated timeline Monday as the province moved into the second, seniors-focused phase. Seniors 80 and older, Indigenous seniors 65 and older, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations living and working in congregated settings, and staff providing in-home support to seniors will begin getting their shots this month. The province's vaccination plan is focused on inoculating high-risk and most elderly populations by April, followed by younger age groups in the spring and summer. Also on Monday, the province announced it is immediately extending the time between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control — and countries around the world such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand — shows "miraculous" protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Variants in schools Fraser Health said on Sunday that additional testing is underway at two Surrey schools after one person at École Woodward Hill Elementary and two at Surrey Traditional Elementary tested positive for a variant of concern. One class at Woodward Hill is already isolating and will remain in isolation until March 4. Two classes at Surrey Traditional will self-isolate until March 4. Both schools remain open. Mass testing of classrooms at two other Surrey schools affected by a variant case, James Ardiel Elementary and Tamanawis Secondary, identified no new cases. On Friday, Fraser Health announced that positive variant cases have been confirmed at an additional three schools: Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Frank Hurt Secondary School and M.B. Sanford Elementary School. Police say they fined the Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, B.C., for not following provincial health orders. Churches in court Three Fraser Valley churches were in court Monday seeking to overturn provincial health orders barring in-person religious gatherings. The orders were put in place by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry last year as a way to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and were last extended on Feb. 10. In January, pastors with Langley's Riverside Calvary Chapel, Abbotsford's Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church and the Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack filed a petition claiming Henry had violated their guaranteed constitutional right to expression and religious worship by shutting down all in-person religious gatherings and worship services while allowing restaurants and businesses to remain open. Wastewater tool Metro Vancouver on Monday launched an online tool allowing residents to track the viral load of COVID-19 that researchers have found in untreated water at the region's wastewater treatment plants. The region said the data is meant to help health authorities better understand how present the virus might be in a given area and to evaluate the effectiveness of public health restrictions. Residents can click on a specific wastewater treatment plant on a map to see a snapshot of the COVID-19 virus trend for that area. Case breakdown Cases of COVID-19 variants continue to increase in B.C. with 42 more identified over the weekend for a total now of 158. A total of 1,478 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths were announced on Monday. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 236 people, 65 of whom are in intensive care. A total of 1,363 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are currently 4,464 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 8,210 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 74,776 people who tested positive have recovered. So far, 275,681 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. — around four per cent of the population — with 83,777 of those being second doses. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 4 p.m. PT Sunday, Canada had reported 866,503 cases of COVID-19, with 30,731 cases considered active. A total of 21,994 people have died. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Shares of Twilio were up nearly 2% at $399 in premarket trade. Twilio also said that private-equity firm Carlyle Group Inc, which is currently the major owner of Syniverse, will maintain its majority interest in the telecom services company. The companies will pursue additional potential financing transactions in the form of public market transactions or additional equity investment, Twilio said.
LONDON — Prince Philip was transferred Monday to a specialized London heart hospital to undergo testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition as he continues treatment for an unspecified infection, Buckingham Palace said. The 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II was moved from King Edward VII's Hospital, where he has been treated since Feb. 17, to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, which specializes in cardiac care. As Philip was moved into a waiting ambulance for the transfer, people held up open umbrellas to shield him from photographers and the public. The palace says Philip “remains comfortable and is responding to treatment but is expected to remain in hospital until at least the end of the week.’’ Philip was admitted to the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in London after feeling ill. Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to COVID-19. Both he and the queen, 94, received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in early January. The Bart’s Heart Centre is Europe’s biggest specialized cardiovascular centre, the National Health Service said. The centre seeks to perform more heart surgery, MRI and CT scans than any other service in the world. Philip, who retired from royal duties in 2017, rarely appears in public. During England’s current coronavirus lockdown, Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
(Submitted by Chip Taylor - image credit) A new report says monarch butterfly populations in Mexico have decreased, but according to one expert, the number of butterflies Canada will see this year depends on what happens this month as they embark on their migrations north. The presence of the monarch butterfly in the Mexican hibernation forests declined by 26 per cent due to a reduction of its habitat, according to the recent report by WWF-Telmex Telcel Foundation. According to the report, the species occupied 2.1 hectares in December 2020 compared to the 2.83 hectares in December 2019. These numbers are unsurprising to Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. "They were about as I expected," he said. "But that tells us that we are dealing with a population that fluctuates with the weather conditions, but it's also dependent on the amount of habitat available. Had there been a lot more habitat available last year in the form of nectar plants, then it's likely we would have seen a higher population," he said. Taylor said that monarchs need nectar plants and milkweed, which he said Canada provides a lot of. The presence of the monarch butterfly declined by 26% in the Mexican hibernation forests due to a reduction of its habitat, according to a recent report by WWF-Telmex Telcel Foundation. "As we get into Canada ... we get a lot more common milkweed. And one of the things that happens in Canada is that the monarchs who have reached Canada in May and June develop a population of common milkweed and that population tends to move along the lakes and eventually move through Point Pelee in fairly large numbers," he explains. Every fall, Point Pelee plays host to thousands of monarch butterflies on their migrations. The insects make their way across Lake Erie to the mountains of Mexico, roughly 3,000 kilometres south, for the winter. In late spring, their offspring return to Canada, and the cycle continues. According to Parks Canada, monarchs have a life span of about a month but the ones who emerge late in the summer are born to migrate and stay alive for over six months to make the journey. Taylor said it's hard to predict what the population of the monarch butterfly will be like this spring until he sees how conditions are like in Texas. "The Canadian situation is highly dependent on what happens in March in Texas. So if the returning butterflies are abundant and they have good conditions in Texas, there are good conditions as they move north in May and June and they encounter good conditions in Canada, the population does well," he said. "If they get off to a bad start in Texas. It's going to be a bad year in Canada." - Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch Taylor said the butterflies have already left the overwintering sites in Mexico and should reach Texas in about two weeks. "The question is, what are they going to find when they get there?" He asks, pointing to the massive winter freeze that took place just weeks ago. "The question I'm asking all my colleagues in Texas is that vegetation going to come back in time, so they're going to be milkweeds above ground and nectar plants for the butterflies to feed on," he said. Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch, says how conditions will look in Canada is highly dependent on how conditions will be like in Texas in two weeks. Taylor said he's watching the weather and monitoring plant development carefully and can better predict how things will look in two weeks. "What we've learned in the past is that what happens in March in Texas has a big influence that that determines everything that happens, including what happens in Canada, on the rest of the year," he said. "So it's very important for the population to get off to a good start. If they don't, if the population doesn't get off to a good start, then it's very likely that it's never going to be able to recover. There just aren't enough generations," he said. What you can do Taylor says people can help preserve the monarch butterfly by creating a lot of habitat for the species. Point Pelee National Park also encourages local residents to plant a butterfly garden with native plants, milkweed for monarch butterflies and caterpillars. "Create a habitat and they will come, they will use it," Taylor said.
BERLIN — Germans flocked to the salons Monday as hairdressers across the country reopened after a 2 1/2-month closure, another cautious step toward normality as Germany balances a desire to loosen restrictions with concerns about more contagious virus variants. The move came after many German elementary students returned to school a week ago, following a decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors. They will confer again on Wednesday to decide how to proceed with the rest of Germany’s coronavirus restrictions, which at present run until Sunday. Some German states also allowed businesses such as florists and hardware stores to open on Monday. Most stores have been closed nationwide since Dec. 16. Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities have been closed since Nov. 2 and hotels are allowed only to accommodate business travellers. At his Liebe zum Detail ("Love of Detail") salon in Cologne, manager Marc Nicolas Bruehl said he is fully booked for the next four weeks. “There is a certain ambivalence about it, because on the one hand we are of course happy to be able to open up again and to earn money ourselves again," he said. "On the other hand, the increasing numbers and the emerging (virus) mutations are of course also something that concerns us.” Customer Udo Matzka, 64, said he was “totally happy that I can be here today.” “I wouldn't have thought how systemically relevant a hairdresser can be," he said. There are increasing calls for restrictions to be further relaxed, but also a desire to remain cautious. A steady decline in daily new infections has stalled, and even been reversed in some areas, as a more contagious variant first discovered in Britain spreads. “This week will set the course for the coming months,” said Bavarian governor Markus Soeder, an advocate of a cautious approach. He called the virus situation “unstable” and said authorities must not “fly blind into a third wave.” “It's really important that we make smart decisions this week,” he said. “Smart decisions means that the mood must be taken on board — we must find the right balance between caution and opening, and we absolutely must not lose our nerves ... and simply fulfil all wishes.” Germany’s disease control centre reported 4,732 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours and another 60 deaths, bringing Germany's overall pandemic death toll to 70,105. The number of new cases over seven days stood at nearly 66 per 100,000 residents — far below its peak of nearly 200 just before Christmas but also well above the level of 35 at which, under existing plans, the government wanted to loosen rules further. Germany had given 4.9% of its population a first vaccine shot as of Sunday, while 2.5% had received a second jab — relatively slow progress that has drawn sharp criticism. Bavaria and two neighbouring states, meanwhile, plan to give 15,000 vaccine doses to the neighbouring Czech Republic, which currently has the highest infection rate in the 27-nation European Union. Soeder said the “symbolic measure” ultimately helps Germany, because Czech authorities want to use it in high-risk areas near the border and vaccinate cross-border commuters. He also suggested that virus hotspots along the border should receive a greater share of available tests and vaccines to help contain the spread there. Most of the German counties with high infection rates are near the Czech border. ___ Daniel Niemann in Cologne and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Geir Moulson, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Department of Health and Human Services has reported fewer than 100 influenza cases in the state during this flu season, down from close to 400 cases at this time last year. While 13 state residents died with the flu last season, so far this season, only two flu deaths have been recorded in Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported on Sunday. The 2018-19 flu season yielded almost 12 times more flu cases in the state compared to the ongoing 2020-21 season, said Carrie Edmonson, a state nurse epidemiologist who compiles the state’s weekly “flu snapshot” report. Flu death data for the entire U.S. population is hard to compile quickly, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials maintain a count on how many children die from influenza. One pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season compared to 195 deaths in the 2019-20 season. During the 2019-2020 influenza season, the CDC estimated that influenza was associated with 38 million illnesses, 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths across the country. “This is the lowest flu season we’ve had on record,” according to a surveillance system that is about 25 years old, said Lynnette Brammer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials such as Edmonson have said that public health orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus have also prevented the flu from spreading. Officials also attribute the flu's decline to less influenza testing and increased flu vaccinations, the newspaper reported. The Associated Press
An Indian trade group representing 150,000 mobile phone stores on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to investigate Amazon's business practices in the country and impose a daily cap on a single seller's online smartphone sales. In a letter sent to Modi, the group cited a Reuters special report published last month that revealed Amazon has for years given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers on its Indian platform, using them to circumvent the country's strict foreign investment regulations. The report was based on internal Amazon documents dated between 2012 and 2019.