A coalition of advocacy groups in Chinatown is calling on the City of Vancouver to keep the historic neighbourhood thriving through the pandemic.Susanna Ng, co-owner of New Town Bakery and Restaurant, says business at the eatery has changed drastically since the start of the pandemic. While Ng says they are surviving with a contingent of loyal customers, most neighbourhood seniors who used to hang out in the cafe have stayed away."We haven't seen them since we re-opened in May," Ng said. Other establishments have reduced hours or shuttered completely, like Goldstone Bakery, a beloved community hub.Michael Tan, the co-chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Legacy Stewardship Group, says struggling businesses can pull the neighbourhood into a "vicious cycle." "When you have stores starting to close or, you know, reduce their hours, it's a negative effect because ... there's less traffic, there's less foot traffic, less people visiting," Tan told host Michelle Eliot on CBC's The Early Edition.According to information Tan's group obtained from city staff, 17 per cent of Chinatown businesses are empty compared to the citywide average of 10 per cent."We're hurting a little bit more than most neighbourhoods in Vancouver," he said.That's why Tan's group has written a letter to Vancouver city council asking for measures to help support Chinatown businesses and arts organizations.These measures include reducing street parking rates, opening up a city-owned parking lot to free parking, temporarily widening curbs, increasing street cleaning and investing in the community stewards program. Tan says his group has received positive feedback from a number of councillors on the measures. "What they've indicated to us thus far is they are ready to take some of these measures to city council in the next month or so. So we are expecting very quickly for them to move," he said. He says these measures are urgently needed to help these business survive, and also preserve the less tangible community connections inherent to the neighbourhood."It's not just about those goods and services," he said. "It's the conversations that take place, [it's] that living culture and when we lose places like that, that's losing that cultural heritage."
In April, in the midst of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown in Poland, Katarzyna found out that the baby she was carrying had a severe genetic disorder and would probably die before birth or shortly after. "I knew how difficult it can be to get a legal abortion in Poland, so I chose to be stubborn," said 38-year-old Katarzyna, who lives in a small town in central Poland and already has two daughters, one of them disabled. "I don't think I could survive this sense of helplessness and the contempt from the medical community if something went wrong again," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the subject of abortion is largely taboo in Poland.
France ordered the temporary closure of a mosque outside Paris on Tuesday, part of a crackdown on Muslims who incite hatred after the decapitation of a teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. The Grand Mosque of Pantin, a low-income suburb on the capital's northeastern outskirts, had shared a video on its Facebook page before the attack that vented hatred against history teacher Samuel Paty. Police plastered notices of the closure order outside the mosque as the authorities promised a tough response against the disseminators of hate messages, preachers of radicalised sermons and foreigners believed to pose a security threat to France.
Some American travellers may have been targeted during an overnight stop in Haines Junction, Yukon, last week.Americans travelling through Canada to Alaska have reported being harassed because of the licence plates on their vehicles.There have been ongoing complaints from Canadians who say Americans should not be allowed into the country during the COVID-19 pandemic or that some are not following the rules.Todd Fuhrmeister and his partner are now in Alaska after driving up from Utah. He was transferred to a military base there.They stopped in Haines Junction Thursday night where they checked into the Raven's Rest Inn, he said.They parked their SUV and trailer with a car on it alongside the access road in front of the hotel.Fuhrmeister said when his partner went out to the vehicle in the morning, she saw the back window of the SUV had been smashed.He said nothing was stolen. He wasn't going to call police, but said the hotel owner did. An RCMP officer spoke with Fuhrmeister and took some information. The hotel owner also arranged for some construction workers to tape down a plastic covering over the smashed window, Fuhrmeister said. He said they did a great job."I didn't expect it to last, but it will be like this until I get moved in my new house and can get a new one from the junkyard," he said.He and his partner followed the rules for travelling through Canada, he said, and wore masks when around other people.The people they talked to along the way were all pleasant to them. And he said the Yukon government employees at the checkstop outside Watson Lake were "very polite."The RCMP officer in Haines Junction mentioned there had been similar incidents targeting vehicles with American plates in Whitehorse, Fuhrmeister said.He said he doesn't blame Canadians for what happened."My guess is someone who is ignorant about the situation saw an opportunity to express their anger," said Fuhrmeister."It's the actions of an individual, or small group of people that don't represent anyone else."The RCMP says it is investigating the incident.
Thousands of northeast homes left with trashed siding, broken windows and damaged roofs could be at risk of further damage if they're left unrepaired over the winter months, according to a Calgary home inspection expert.Four months on from the violent summer hailstorm that caused $1.5 billion in property damage, less than half of the 70,000 insurance claims submitted have been resolved and thousands of homes are still far from being fixed. Many won't be.Driving through the upper northeast of the city is still a shocking experience, with home after home, neighbourhood after neighbourhood, still sporting hail-ravaged siding and boarded up windows.There are some signs of progress but it's painfully slow and with winter closing in things could soon get worse for homeowners with unresolved damage."The siding is an integral part of the house, it works as a system," said Darcy McGregor, a home inspector in Calgary for more than 30 years."The siding protects the building envelope underneath it. The paper that's underneath keeps moisture from getting into the wood frame. Short-term exposure is OK, but not great, and insulation is quite resilient but it's not bullet proof and it will begin to break down," said McGregor.He said with no siding, damage to the exposed barrier that sits underneath it could eventually cause serious problems."The first things would be a reduction in the R-value of your insulation and if it's long term or it doesn't dry you can eventually start getting rot and that's definitely something you don't want," said McGregor.As well as siding peppered with golf ball-sized holes and cracks, some homes have siding that was stripped off altogether by the hail. Many have broken and boarded up windows in various stages of repair, which can also cause problems with the cold and moisture getting in."Boarding them up you can keep most of the water out but it really needs glass in there to do that properly," said McGregor."There's other things that happen. The exterior envelope is an air barrier and helps prevent air from moving through and carrying moisture and on the inside you have a vapour barrier preventing moisture from inside the house getting out but it also reduces the air flow. It does mess up the building science of the house when you're missing these components," McGregor said."Sooner or later, it's starting to get to the point where you could have some damage and if it goes through the winter you could end up with bigger problems."McGregor said damaged roof shingles are less of an immediate issue, unless there are holes left behind from the hail that could cause leaks. He said some damaged roofs can still be good for a year.As the snow falls, many residents are still working with their insurance companies and navigating the insurance system, not much further forward than they were in the summer months.Some discovered their insurance policies aren't good enough to cover them. Others say they can't afford large deductibles or the repairs needed to fix or even protect their homes from further damage."Tarps don't look nice but if you can't afford repairs you have to do whatever you can to protect things as best you can," said McGregor, who advises tarping off damaged areas to stop snow getting into homes until repairs can be made.McGregor also advises people to check on the quality of products like vinyl siding and roofing tiles when working with contractors. The politicians have been and gone. They've listened to concerns and seen the damage, but nothing has changed. That's left residents feeling and frustrated at the lack of any meaningful help and financial support from any level of government. Provincial disaster relief funding ignored the main issue for homeowners, which is hail damage and help with paying deductibles. The disaster relief only covered overland flooding, which impacted just a tiny portion of homes. For the fourth costliest disaster in Canadian history, residents say the response from the province has been essentially non-existent."We are still in the same situation," said Savanna resident Muhammad Rizwan, who was left with damage to the siding at the side of his home."My friends, their house still doesn't have windows, so what happens when it's –35 C? Where will they go? Will they have to go to a hotel, can they afford that?," said Rizwan.Rizwan said residents are being squeezed three ways right now, by the storm damage, the pandemic and the economy."The stress level is getting up and up and up, just like a pressure cooker," said Rizwan.Rizwan said on top of everything else, language issues and communication are difficult for many immigrants and newcomers to the city who settle in northeast neighbourhoods."We're very disappointed in the provincial government. It's not supporting at any step, at any part. People were expecting them to step up," Rizwan said."When mother nature hits something it's the government's role to support the people, the government is for the people, not for certain people," he added.Rizwan said with the freezing weather already closing in, many people are now giving up on help arriving, focusing on making it through what's going to be a long, cold winter.
MONTREAL — Nurses and other health-care workers blocked two major bridges in Montreal and Quebec City Monday, escalating pressure tactics to push the province to address working conditions they say have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quebec continues to report more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, and Nancy Bedard, president of the Federation interprofessionnelle de la sante du Quebec, said many nurses are taking sick leave, retiring or quitting. "It was already extremely difficult before the pandemic," Bedard said in an interview. "(But COVID-19) came and exasperated health-care professionals even further." Members of the union, which represents about 76,000 health-care workers, blocked traffic Monday morning on Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge and on the Quebec Bridge in the provincial capital. The union is negotiating a new collective agreement with the province. The protests came amid growing concerns around whether Quebec's health-care network will be able to withstand the pressure of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quebec reported 1,038 new cases of COVID-19 as well as six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus Monday, bringing the total to 94,429 cases and 6,044 deaths since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations also increased by five compared with the prior day, for a total of 532, and 92 of those patients were in intensive care, an increase of four. The effects of the pandemic are being felt in hospitals, long-term care homes and in other health-care facilities across the province, some of which were already struggling with staffing shortages before COVID-19 hit. Jason Harley, an assistant professor in the department of surgery at McGill University, conducted a survey of 64 nurses and 55 physicians in the McGill University Health Centre network in August, comparing their stress levels before and after the pandemic began. Harley said the survey, completed with fellow McGill professor Tina Montreuil and funded by the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity, found significant increases of stress, anxiety, depression and burnout among the workers. Fifty per cent of nurses and 20 per cent of physicians surveyed were considering quitting, while they said difficulties finding a work-life balance and keeping up with management strategies to manage the pandemic were among their biggest stressors. "There's no question that our health-care professionals, they need support," Harley said. "It's critical for our society that . . . our health-care system, is able to continue to function, especially in this period of time when it's under extra strain and in turn, the people who are providing us with care are under additional strain." Gatineau Hospital in the Outaouais region was forced to temporarily close its intensive care unit last month due to a nursing shortage. Patrick Guay, president of the local health-care workers' union, said at the time that the closure marked the culmination of months of problems. "If one (nurse) leaves to go eat, that means a single nurse must take care of four patients. It's unthinkable and unsafe," he said. Meanwhile, the health agency for the Quebec City region said in an email Monday it is currently looking to fill 948 jobs across its network. That includes 172 vacant nursing and 120 auxiliary nursing positions, 66 vacancies in food services and 60 others in housekeeping, spokesman Mathieu Boivin said. Ahead of their protests on Monday, Quebec health-care workers said they wanted smaller patient-to-caregiver ratios and more stable and complete work teams. Bedard said 1,700 workers have quit since March 1. "There are people quitting every day," Bedard said. "The way the government has treated health-care professionals during the pandemic has really been the final straw for many of them." Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel said she was "disappointed" the health-care workers chose to protest the way they did, adding that contract talks will continue. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020. Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Canadian Press
Officials preemptively shut down a wedding scheduled to take place at the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar for fear of it becoming a superspreader event.
MINNEAPOLIS — Seven years after his death to cancer at age 18, a Minnesota singer-songwriter has returned to the top of the iTunes chart with his inspirational tune “Clouds.” The Star Tribune reports that “Clouds” by Zach Sobiech took over iTunes’ No. 1 slot from Justin Bieber on Sunday, two days after the Hollywood movie of the same name based on Sobiech’s life premiered on Disney+. The ranking is based on downloads of the song. The profits will add to the $2 million already raised for cancer research via Sobiech’s namesake foundation. The single first climbed to the top of iTunes in 2013, shortly after the Stillwater-area teenager's death. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer four years earlier. By that point, the YouTube video that led to the song’s ascent had been viewed 4 million times. It's up over 15 million now. The song also went to No. 26 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and No. 3 on the rock singles chart. The movie is an adaptation of the memoir “Fly a Little Higher” by Zach’s mother, Laura Sobiech. The Associated Press
Two schools in Lambton-Kent have probable COVID-19 cases, according to Chatham-Kent Public Health. Harwich Raleigh Public School and Blenheim District High School each have a probable case of COVID-19, the health unit said in a news release Monday. The school board said 54 students from Harwich Raleigh and 17 students from Blenheim District were sent home based on direction from public health. Public health said it is working with both schools to contact any individuals who may have been in contact with the possible cases.Both schools remain open at this time.
Montreal teens and children are being sought for a potentially ground-breaking study to determine how widely COVID-19 is spreading among young people and how the pandemic is affecting their mental health. A research team based at the Université de Montréal is looking for youth between the ages of two and seventeen in the following neighbourhoods to take part: Beaconsfield, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montréal-Nord and the Plateau.The researchers are working with daycares and schools in those neighbourhoods to find parents and guardians willing to let their children participate in the study. In order to collect blood samples from the children, they will distribute a finger-prick test that can be used at home. The samples will be tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which indicate whether someone has had COVID-19.Parents will be informed of the results of the antibody test, but the researchers caution it is still unclear if antibodies confer immunity to the virus. "We know children are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and can transmit the infection, but much uncertainty remains," Kate Zinszer, the Université de Montréal epidemiologist leading the study, said in a statement. "This study will give us a good idea of how many children on the island have previously had COVID-19, which can help inform public health measures."Participants will also be given a questionnaire, which will be used to examine how the pandemic has affected their mental health.Backed by public health officials The study is being funded by a $720,000 grant from the federal government's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, which is researching immunity across the country. This is the first study funded by the task force to focus specifically on youth."We need to understand what's been happening with kids and their experiences in the pandemic, like the physical distancing we've been asking them to do," said Dr. Catherine Hankins, who co-chairs the task force.The study has the backing of both federal and municipal public health officials. "The findings ... will help us make decisions on interventions such as school closures," Dr. Mylène Drouin, the head of public health in Montreal, said in statement.Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said the results will also help decision-makers better understand how social factors, like economic background, influence who is at risk of catching the disease."This study in Montreal will help inform decision-making to prevent COVID-19 infection in children and teenagers," she said.A list of schools and daycares participating in the study is available at encorestudy.ca.
Police say two men have been charged in connection with the hit-and-run death of a Vancouver Island man more than a year ago.Oceanside RCMP said after a "lengthy, complex" investigation, two people have been arrested and charged for the death of a 32-year-old man found dead on a Parksville street in Aug. 2019.The victim was identified as Spencer Alexander Moore in a 2019 obituary.In a statement, police said Ryan John Grob, 35, has been charged with dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving, failure to remain at the scene of a collision and obstruction of justice. Travis Zackery Taylor, 31, has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police allege Taylor was a passenger in the vehicle Grob was driving.Acting detachment commander Sgt. Stephen Rose said the duration of the investigation shows how much effort is required to propose charges to Crown prosecutors."I am very pleased with the concerted efforts of our team that has resulted in charges being laid in this matter," Rose said in a statement.Police previously said the victim was found in the early morning hours of Aug. 24, 2019, on Hirst Avenue at McMillan Street in Parksville, north of Nanaimo.Police said Taylor has been released on conditions. Grob has been in custody and has a court appearance Monday.'Amazing son, brother and uncle'Moore's obituary described him as a "Parksville boy all of his life.""Spencer grew into a wonderful and much loved young man," the obituary read. "In the short span of 32 years, Spencer touched the lives of many people in such a genuine and loving manner; his loss will be hard to accept."He was called an "amazing son, brother and uncle" mourned by his father, brother, uncle, aunt, nieces and friends.
Four members of Canada's artistic swimming team, training in Montreal, are speaking out about what they call a toxic environment.Last month, allegations of abuse and harassment from swimmers and people outside the program led to the shutdown of the senior national artistic swimming team's training centre, pending a review by an external firm.Due to their fear of reprisals, Radio-Canada has agreed to protect the swimmers' identities and to refer to them as Caroline, Sarah, Patricia and Rose."It's been going on for too long within that organization," said Caroline. "There is a toxic environment in artistic swimming."According to the swimmers, the alleged incident that sparked last month's shutdown was troubling to several athletes.During a conversation with team members, head coach Gabor Szauder is said to have made what were qualified as racist and hateful remarks."He was talking about what's happening in China, the Black Lives Matter movement and Muslim people," said Rose."He said all Muslims were extremists," said Patricia. "And then he added: 'When is the last time you saw a white person crash a plane?'"When one of the swimmers confronted him about the comment, Szauder allegedly became verbally aggressive."He answered: 'This is a free country. I can say whatever I want. Who are you to tell me what hate speech is? Are you God?'"Verbal abuseAnother swimmer, Sion Ormond, isn't surprised by these events. She says she retired two months ago because, amongst other reasons, the atmosphere at the training centre had become unbearable."The abuse that I witnessed regularly at the pool — It was just something that I did not want to be a part of anymore," she said.Ormond claims she and some of her teammates were victims of verbal abuse last year in China, during a competition."He said that if we kept swimming like that, he would hit us so hard, we wouldn't know what happened," she added.Those comments were allegedly addressed to substitutes with the entire team present after a pre-competition warm-up deemed inadequate by the head coach."Maybe it was like ten minutes before our competition swim," said Rose. "And there were various adults who were there that witnessed what was said."The coach apparently explained his comments after the fact, but the swimmers say they were not satisfied."He just said that we all misunderstood what he had said and that he was going to hit us really hard with a hard workout," explained Patricia.Screams and tearsAccording to the swimmers, Szauder would often zero in on one athlete to pick on.Patricia recalls one incident in Hawaii during training camp."There was a girl that was publicly shamed for her weight, in front of the whole team. The staff was there. It was made clear to us that she was being publicly shamed. He verbalized that to us," said Patricia."I felt sick listening to the conversation," Rose said. "It was a really inappropriate way to handle that type of subject."Ultimately, the swimmers say these types of incidents became a burden, affecting the mood at the centre. They say Szauder is prone to mood swings and can get carried away, causing tears and anxiety."There's been times when he's yelled at girls to the point that they have panic attacks in the pool, in the gym," Patricia said."And then he will continue to yell at them and harass them and swear at them. He will call them babies and tell them to stop crying, to compose themselves."The coach is also alleged to have made sexist comments on more than one occasion."He told us that girls should learn how to cook and clean, to take care of our men, or else they won't want us," Sarah said. "And that was all men looked for in a woman."They also say Szauder made comments of a sexual nature.Ormond recalls one incident that took place in Prince George, B.C.."He said: 'Sion, zip up your hoodie before I get too excited," Ormond said. "It was in front of multiple athletes. This is a 47-year-old man."Ormond is emotional as she recounts what happened. She claims she only found the courage to tell her parents about it after her retirement."I knew how inappropriate that comment was, that it never should've been said and I was scared," she said. "I was afraid of what my dad would either say or do. I was afraid he would get involved and I would be perceived as a troublemaker."Fingers pointed at Canada Artistic SwimmingThe four swimmers are critical of Canada Artistic Swimming for not taking the situation seriously enough, when incidents were reported.Caroline says she often heard the same thing."We were constantly told: 'You know, he comes from Eastern Europe.'""They would often meet with us after the fact to tell us we weren't resilient enough and could not deal with anxiety and stress in training situations," said Patricia. "It only made us more and more fearful to report it."Canada Artistic Swimming declined Radio-Canada Sports' interview requests, citing the ongoing review that is being carried out by an outside firm.In a written statement, coach Szauder denied the allegations. He says he is confident that the report will ultimately negate any sort of misconduct on his part.The four swimmers say if nothing changes, they will seriously consider following Ormond's lead and retiring — with the next Olympic Games less than a year away.
YEREVAN, Armenia — Reports of renewed shelling on Monday challenged the new cease-fire in the conflict over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces has raged for over three weeks. Saturday's truce was the second attempt to try to end the fighting that has killed hundreds since Sept. 27, when clashes resumed in a conflict that has simmered for decades. A cease-fire brokered by Russia earlier this month quickly frayed as both sides blamed each other for repeated violations. Azerbaijan on Monday morning accused Armenian forces of firing at its positions in the Azerbaijani regions of Tovuz, Dashkesan and Goygol that lie outside of the conflict zone. Azerbaijani officials also said three villagers and a reporter were wounded in the Agdam region of Azerbaijan, which they said was being shelled throughout the day, along with the Terter region. The state-run Armenian Unified Infocenter said Azerbaijan shelled the town of Martuni and several villages in Nagorno-Karabakh overnight, and the Nagorno-Karabakh military said Azerbaijan resumed shelling in some areas. Separately, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev announced that the country’s forces have taken control of 13 villages in the Jabrayil region near the Iranian border. Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. By then, Armenian forces not only held Nagorno-Karabakh itself but also captured substantial areas outside the territory's borders. According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 729 of their troops have been killed since Sept. 27, along with 36 civilians. Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, but says 61 civilians have died so far and 282 were wounded. The recent fighting involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones and has continued despite repeated international calls for ending hostilities. It is the biggest escalation in years over Nagorno-Karabakh and raised concerns of a wider conflict involving Turkey, which has publicly supported Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia. On Oct. 9, Moscow hosted foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. After more than 10 hours of talks, they announced a cease-fire deal, which was violated minutes after it took force. The new truce followed conversations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which he urged them to abide by the Moscow deal. Despite the agreement, both sides have reported attacks, including on civilian infrastructure. Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General's office said Armenian forces targeted an oil pipeline in the country's Khizi region, far from the conflict zone, with a missile on Sunday that was “neutralized” by the Azerbaijani army. The pipeline between Baku and the Russian city of Novorossiysk “is of strategic importance in Azerbaijan-Russia economic co-operation," the statement said. Armenian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian dismissed the claim as a “blatant lie.” Lavrov again called for an immediate end to hostilities and admitted that existing agreements failed to “drastically change the situation on the ground.” After the talks in Moscow, “the hostilities continued, strikes on civilian infrastructure continued, on populated settlements. It is unacceptable,” Lavrov said. In order for a cease-fire to hold, a mechanism needs to be put in place in order to monitor how the sides comply with the truce, and Russia was working on developing it with Armenia and Azerbaijan, he said. “I hope such a mechanism would be agreed upon shortly," Lavrov added. Pashinian said he was “prepared to make all the necessary efforts” to resolve the conflict peacefully, including going to Moscow and talking with Aliyev. Pashinian alleged that Azerbaijan “disagrees" that the conflict should have a peaceful resolution. Aliyev, asked by Tass if he was prepared to do the same, said: “We are always prepared to meet in Moscow or any other place in order to put an end to the confrontation and find ways of resolving" the conflict. He added that Baku is prepared to halt the fighting “as soon as tomorrow ... if Armenia acts constructively on the negotiation track.” —- Associated Press writers Daria Litvinova in Moscow and Aida Sultanova in London contributed. Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is appealing a Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador decision upholding restrictions banning most travel from other provinces because of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced by the Newfoundland and Labrador government this spring. Cara Zwibel, director of the CCLA’s fundamental freedoms program, says the appeal was filed Monday after a careful review of the decision showed there were questions about the court’s ruling that though the restrictions violated mobility rights, the violation was justified. “We think there needs to be a careful look at the evidence on which that decision was based, and also the legal analysis that the court used in making that decision,” Zwibel said in an interview Monday. Halifax resident Kim Taylor sued the Newfoundland and Labrador government after she was initially denied an exemption to the province’s travel ban after her mother died in St. John’s in early May. Lawyers for Taylor and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which was granted intervener status in the case, argued that the province overstepped its authority and violated Taylor’s charter rights. In September, Justice Donald Burrage agreed that Taylor’s right to mobility was infringed, but he found the infringement was a justified response to the pandemic. Based on the evidence, the CCLA does not believe it was justified, Zwibel said. When the travel ban was introduced, there was already a rule in place requiring everyone entering the province to quarantine for 14 days, Zwibel said. Public health officials argued the ban was needed because they were concerned people weren't following the isolation requirements. Zwibel said there wasn't any evidence to back up this concern, like tickets issued to people found breaking the rules. “To us, the suggestion is that this concern about people not self-isolating was a concern, but it wasn’t a fact. And we don’t want our courts to make decisions based on governments’ fears about what might happen, we want it to be based on evidence,” she said. The CCLA also has questions about some of the modelling presented this summer when the case was in court. The modelling was done after the travel ban decision was made, “largely in response to the litigation,” Zwibel said. The methods behind the modelling were questioned in court, but those discussions did not appear in the judge’s discussion of his ruling, she said. Both the original suit and Monday's appeal are about ensuring governments are making good decisions, especially in a global pandemic, she said. “Governments are under a lot of pressure to get it right and it’s not always easy or straightforward, and that’s how a democracy like ours works," she said. "The courts take a look at what governments are doing and say whether they’re acting within the bounds of the law and the bounds of the Constitution.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020. The Canadian Press
Some issues at the centre of a violent dispute over a First Nation lobster fishery in Nova Scotia date back to a decision about treaty rights made 20 years ago. The National’s Andrew Chang talks to Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack and Colin Sproul, who heads the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association.
OTTAWA — Canadians continue to experience mental health difficulties due to the pandemic, with one in four saying their stress level is higher than during the first COVID-19 wave, according to a new poll. The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that only 19 per cent of Canadians say their mental health is better now than in March and April as infection rates tick up and autumn sets in. However, about 54 per cent said their mental state is about the same as when the coronavirus first struck the country. Participants cited concerns about the length and severity of the pandemic as their biggest source of anxiety, followed closely by social isolation and family health. "If we cannot see extended family during the holidays and rekindle that positive energy that we get from family and friends, it might lead to a long winter," said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque. "It’s almost like, when is this thing going to end?" Still, the proportion of Canadians who peg their mental health at very good or excellent has remained fairly consistent since March, ranging between 35 and 46 per cent. Last week saw the percentage at 36, according to the survey. "It’s amazing that we did not go through more peaks and valleys," Bourque said. "The number is not that positive, but that trend line seems to be hanging on, as if it's resilience." Canadians proved less upbeat than their American counterparts, of whom 24 per cent said their mental health had improved since the outbreak began while only 16 per cent felt worse off, despite high case numbers across swaths of the United States. Virtually half of Americans surveyed said their mental health was very good or excellent, compared with about one in three Canadians. "I think ideologically there’s a whole segment of America that’s … trying to downplay the pandemic," Bourque said. "Some Americans just seem to think it will just go away. The president himself promised a vaccine in the next few weeks, right?” Conducted Oct. 16 to 18, the online poll surveyed 1,512 adult Canadians and 1,001 Americans. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A British socialite’s testimony in a lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse activities can be made public, an appeals court ruled Monday. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its conclusions in a series of orders it released regarding 2016 depositions by Ghislaine Maxwell. Her lawyers had appealed a judge’s July ruling to allow release of the transcripts of two depositions in which she answered questions before the lawsuit was settled. The judge had concluded that there was a presumption of public access to deposition materials. A three-judge appeals panel that heard arguments last week concluded that Maxwell’s arguments for secrecy were meritless. Maxwell, 58, is scheduled for trial next July on charges that she helped recruit girls, including one as young as 14, for Epstein to abuse in the 1990s. She has pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail since her early July arrest. If convicted, she could face up to 35 years in prison. Epstein killed himself in a federal jail last year as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. A lawyer for Maxwell had argued that the depositions shouldn’t be made public because they are evidence in the criminal case brought against her. The depositions were taken in April and July 2016 in a civil case brought by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre. Maxwell's lawyers said the depositions should remain secret because they form the basis of perjury charges in the indictment against Maxwell. Maxwell was asked during one deposition whether Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages. “I don't know what you're talking about,” Maxwell responded, her lawyer noted in making his arguments for secrecy. Excerpts from seven hours of depositions were ordered released along with over 2,000 pages of other documents. Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for Giuffre, in a statement called the 2nd Circuit ruling "an important step towards vindicating the public interest in understanding the scope and scale of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring and the efforts made to conceal it.” Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers for Maxwell and the Miami Herald, which intervened to secure the public release of documents. ___ Associated Press Writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report. Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
Party leaders in Saskatchewan are campaigning today in Saskatoon, where the NDP leader plans to cast an advanced ballot for Monday's election. Elections Saskatchewan says there will be five days of advance voting. Meili is to cast his vote in the afternoon, following a campaign stop in Prince Albert to highlight the ways his party believes the city has been let down by the Saskatchewan Party government.
The Indian army said it apprehended a Chinese soldier Monday in the remote Ladakh region, where the two countries are locked in a monthslong military standoff along their disputed mountain border. Wang Ya Long from China’s People’s Liberation Army, was apprehended inside Indian-controlled Ladakh’s Demchok area and was to be released soon, the army said in a statement. It said the soldier “had strayed” across the de facto border along the eastern section of what’s known as the Line of Actual Control, a loose demarcation separating Indian- and Chinese-controlled areas.
This year's flu vaccine rollout will also be used as a lesson for how a possible COVID-19 vaccine could be delivered to the Saskatchewan public."It's an all-hands on deck approach," said Dr. Kevin Wasko, a physician executive with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA)."We can trial a new way of doing things so when a COVID vaccine becomes available we can have a widespread response across the system."The flu vaccine became available to the public on Monday. This year it is available at more than 550 locations across the province.Vaccines will be made available at acute care centres, emergency departments, family physicians and in home care, as well as at traditional mass clinics and pharmacies."There might be some initiatives that we've tried that are new and different that work very well, while there may be others that didn't work so well and that we may not want to repeat when the COVID vaccine becomes available," Wasko said.The province has put in its largest ever order (596,000 doses) of the flu vaccine.More locations will hopefully translate into more people getting the vaccine, said Dr. Tanya Diener, the SHA's medical health officer in Regina."By increasing our influenza immunization coverage we can actually protect our population and thereby avoid what we call a twindemic (where large numbers of the population come down with influenza and COVID-19 at the same time)."Diener said it is important for everyone to get the vaccine, but especially for young people, the elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying conditions.Wasko said plans are in place for home-care providers and family physicians to deliver the flu vaccine.SHA recommends calling ahead to see if you need an appointment. That applies whether you are going to your own doctor, walk-in clinics, pharmacies or mass clinic sites.In Saskatoon the mass clinic site has been moved from Prairieland Park to SaskTel Centre and is by appointment only. About 30 of the private boxes at SaskTel Centre are being used for the vaccinations.Bring a mask and your health card, and follow COVID-19 guidelines such as physical distancing and washing of hands. Do not go to a clinic if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.Clinics will run from Oct. 19 until Dec. 23, though the vaccine will still be available until the end of March.Go to 4flu.ca to find an immunization clinic near you.
About 3,000 retirees rallied in the Belarusian capital of Minsk for a third straight Monday to demand the resignation of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko as mass protests of a disputed election continue to roil the country. On Monday, the country’s Interior Ministry threatened to use firearms against them “if need be,” saying the rallies “have become organized and extremely radical.”
BANGKOK — Thai authorities worked Monday to stem a growing tide of protests calling for the prime minister to resign by threatening to censor news coverage, raiding a publishing house and attempting to block the Telegram messaging app used by demonstrators. The efforts by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government to drain the student-led protests of support and the ability to organize comes as demonstrations have grown in the capital and spread around the country, despite an emergency decree, which bans public gatherings of more than four people in Bangkok, outlaws news said to affect national security and gives authorities broad power to detain people. Thousands of mostly young protesters massed in northern Bangkok on Monday evening, as they have in various locations in the capital over the past six days to push their demands, including a controversial call for reform of the monarchy. At one point, they raised their arms in unison and flashed a three-fingered salute, a sign of resistance borrowed from “The Hunger Games” movie series. As night fell, they held their cellphones up, and the points of light dotted the crowd. Elsewhere, protesters gathered outside a prison where more than a dozen demonstrators were being held. The protesters charge that Prayuth, an army commander who led a 2014 coup, was returned to power unfairly in last year’s general election because laws had been changed to favour a pro-military party. The protesters say a constitution written and passed under military rule is undemocratic. But their more recent demand for checks and balances on the monarchy has deeply angered conservative Thais — and broken a taboo since the monarchy is considered sacrosanct and tough laws protecting it from insult mean its role is not usually discussed openly. It has also raised the risk of confrontation in a country where calls for political change have a history of being met with military intervention or even violence. Authorities have used water canons to disperse protesters in recent days and detained some. Several protest leaders who were arrested for trying to stage an overnight rally last week outside the prime minister’s office were freed by an appeals court Monday. Protest-related charges are still pending against them. Authorities are now increasingly turning to censorship to try to clamp down on the demonstrations after protesters heckled a royal motorcade last week in a once unthinkable scene. With protests continuing, a top official with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission confirmed reports that the agency had been ordered to block access to the messaging app Telegram. Suthisak Tantayothin said it was talking with internet service providers about doing so, but so far the encrypted messaging app favoured by many demonstrators around the world was still available in the country. Police also searched the office of a publishing house that handles books by Thai and foreign scholars with sometimes controversial perspectives. Same Sky publishing house said police took away copies of three titles that had been sold at a recent book fair in a bundle it called Monarchy Studies, and asked their publisher to come for questioning at their station. Deputy police spokesman Kissana Phataracharoen also confirmed an order signed by the chief of police that could allow officials to block access to news sites that give what he called “distorted information.” Under existing laws, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society are empowered to ban broadcasts and block internet content. Police themselves can also do so under the emergency decree, which went into effect Oct. 15. Kissana spoke after a leaked copy of the censorship request circulated on social media. The order calls for blocking access to the online sites of Voice TV, The Reporters, The Standard, Prachatai, and Free Youth, and removing their existing content. It also proposes a ban on Voice TV’s over-the-air digital broadcasts. All the outlets have been broadcasting live coverage of the protests. Voice TV and Prachatai are openly sympathetic to the protest movement, and Free Youth is a student protest organization. As of Monday, none had been blocked. At least one local cable TV provider, however, has been censoring international news broadcasts during their segments on the Thai protests. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand said it was “deeply concerned” by the censorship threat, adding that it “makes the government appear heavy-handed and unresponsive to criticism, and could stir up even more public anger.” “Bona fide journalists should be allowed to report important developments without the threat of bans, suspensions, censorship or prosecution hanging over them,” the club said in a statement. Despite the spread of protests outside the capital, Prayuth, the prime minister, told reporters the state of emergency will remain only in Bangkok for now. In addition the emergency decree making protests illegal, authorities have also tried in vain to keep people from gathering by selectively shutting down stations on Bangkok’s mass transit lines. It has also warned that it will take legal action against those who promote the protests on social media, including by taking photographs there or checking into them on social media apps. Despite that, protest-related hashtags remain the most used on Twitter. One of the many student groups involved in organizing the protests, Free Youth, recently said its Facebook account might soon be blocked and asked people to sign up for Telegram. Within about a day, it had 200,000 subscribers on the app. Prayuth said Monday that the government is open to an extraordinary session of Parliament to seek a solution to the current situation. It was not clear when that might be held. Grant Peck And Chris Blake, The Associated Press
U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at public health officials, especially infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, over the COVID-19 pandemic as his election campaign enters the final stretch.
In the crucial battleground of Pennsylvania, suburban white women turned off by U.S. President Donald Trump could swing the balance of power in favour of Joe Biden and Trump knows it.