COVID-19 cases are rising in Uganda, sparking concerns that humans may pass the disease on to the country's endangered mountain gorilla population.
COVID-19 cases are rising in Uganda, sparking concerns that humans may pass the disease on to the country's endangered mountain gorilla population.
Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration at the news that Canada will not receive any new doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week, though the general overseeing Ontario's vaccine rollout plan remains hopeful the distribution delay won't impede plans to immunize the general population by early August. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Ford called the news that Canada will receive no new Pfizer vaccines next week "troubling" and "a massive concern." "Until vaccines are more widely available, please stay home, stay safe and save lives," he said. The news comes as the province recorded another 1,913 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with officials cautioning that Toronto Public Health — which consistently logs the most new infections each day — is "likely underreporting" its number of cases. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the artificially low total of 550 new cases reported by the city was due to a "technical issue," but did not provide any further details. For reference, over the three previous days, Toronto Public Health logged 815, 1035 and 903 cases, respectively. Other public health units that saw double- or triple-digit increases were: Peel Region: 346 York Region: 235 Durham Region: 82 Windsor-Essex: 81 Waterloo Region: 79 Middlesex-London: 73 Halton Region: 71 Hamilton: 63 Niagara Region: 52 Simcoe Muskoka: 48 Ottawa: 41 Huron-Perth: 37 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 31 Lambton: 28 Southwestern: 22 Eastern Ontario: 14 Chatham-Kent: 13 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) Over 200,000 Ontarians vaccinated so far At a technical briefing for media Tuesday morning, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force offered a rough breakdown of which groups received a first dose of vaccine: About 83,000 long-term care residents, staff and caregivers. About 25,000 retirement home residents, staff and caregivers. More than 99,000 health-care workers in other sectors. With the more than 200,000 vaccines administered, Ontario has completed the first round of immunization at all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex — the four regions with the highest transmission rates of the virus. The first round of immunizations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in Ottawa, Durham and Simcoe-Muskoka. Still, Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton cautioned, "The rise of community spread during the second wave is posing a serious threat to our long-term care homes." The province aims to finish vaccinating those at all remaining long-term care homes by Feb. 15. At Tuesday's technical briefing, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force also addressed how the province is responding to Pfizer's announcement last week that it was slowing down production of its vaccine, resulting in delivery delays for Canada. WATCH | An exasperated Premier Ford appeals to incoming U.S. president for vaccines: The impact in Ontario will vary week to week, officials said, with an 80 per cent reduction in the number of doses that were originally expected the week of Jan. 25; 55 per cent the week of Feb. 1; and 45 per cent the week of Feb. 8. In turn, the province will reallocate its available doses of the Moderna vaccine to more regions, while also extending the interval between doses of the Pfizer vaccine in some situations to ensure that everyone who has had a first shot will have access to their second. Residents and staff at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will receive a second dose in 21 to 27 days, the province says. All others who receive the Pfizer vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 42 days after the first. For those who receive the Moderna vaccine, the 28-day schedule will remain in place. As for whether the province still expects to immunize the general population of Ontario by late July or early August, General Rick Hillier said that will come down to whether there are any further hiccups with vaccine availability, but that he remains optimistic. Toronto to halt operations at mass vaccination clinic Following the announcement of the delay, the province asked the City of Toronto late Tuesday to immediately stop operating a "proof-of-concept" mass vaccination clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The clinic, which began operating only on Monday, had aimed to vaccinate 250 people per day, but the city noted that was entirely dependent upon vaccine supply. People scheduled to receive the shot at the clinic over the next three days have had those appointments cancelled, Toronto Public Health said in a statement. "The City's Immunization Task Force is continuing to plan for city-wide immunization clinic roll-out and will continue to work with the province to determine next steps once vaccine supply is re-established," the city said. Just over 34,000 new tests processed Meanwhile, Ontario's network of labs processed just 34,531 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 6.8 per cent. Testing levels often fall over weekends, but there is capacity in the system for more than 70,000 tests daily. The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 2,893, the lowest it has been since Jan. 4 this year. For the seventh time in eight days, the numbers of cases reported resolved outpaced new infections. There are currently about 27,615 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said there were 1,626 patients in hospitals with COVID-19. Of those, 400 were being treated in intensive care, the most at any point during the pandemic, and 292 required a ventilator to breathe. Notably, a daily report generated by Critical Care Services Ontario and shared internally with hospitals puts the current number of ICU patients with COVID-19 at 418, with 303 still on ventilators. Public health units also recorded 46 additional deaths of people with the illness, bringing the official toll to 5,479. Twenty-nine of the further deaths were residents of long-term care. A total of 254, or just over 40 per cent, of long-term care facilities in Ontario were dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. The province said it administered another 14346 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, and that 224,134 people have been given a first dose. A total of 25,609 people in Ontario have gotten both shots.
WASHINGTON — Hours from inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden paused on what might have been his triumphal entrance to Washington Tuesday evening to mark instead the national tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic with a moment of collective grief for Americans lost. His arrival coincided with the awful news that the U.S. death toll had surpassed 400,000 in the worst public health crisis in more than a century — a crisis Biden will now be charged with controlling. “To heal we must remember," the incoming president told the nation at a sunset ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. Four hundred lights representing the pandemic's victims were illuminated behind him around the monument’s Reflecting Pool. “Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights into the darkness ... and remember all who we lost,” Biden said. The sober moment on the eve of Biden's inauguration — typically a celebratory time in Washington when the nation marks the democratic tradition of a peaceful transfer of power — was a measure of the enormity of loss for the nation. During his brief remarks, Biden faced the larger-than life statue of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War president who served as more than 600,000 Americans died. As he turned to walk away at the conclusion of the vigil, he faced the black granite wall listing the 58,000-plus Americans who perished in Vietnam. Biden was joined by Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, who spoke of the collective anguish of the nation, a not-so-subtle admonishment of outgoing President Donald Trump, who has spoken sparingly about the pandemic in recent months. “For many months we have grieved by ourselves,” said Harris, who will make history as the first woman to serve as vice-president when she's sworn in. “Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together.” Beyond the pandemic, Biden faces no shortage of problems when he takes the reins at the White House. The nation is also on its economic heels because of soaring unemployment, there is deep political division and immediate concern about more violence following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Biden, an avid fan of Amtrak who took the train thousands of times between his home in Delaware and Washington during his decades in the Senate, had planned to take a train into Washington ahead of Wednesday's Inauguration Day but scratched that plan in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. He instead flew into Joint Base Andrews just outside the capital and then motorcaded into fortress D.C. — a city that's been flooded by some 25,000 National Guard troops guarding a Capitol, White House and National Mall that are wrapped in a maze of barricades and tall fencing. “These are dark times," Biden told supporters in an emotional sendoff in Delaware. "But there’s always light.” Biden, who ran for the presidency as a cool head who could get things done, plans to issue a series of executive orders on Day One — including reversing Trump's effort to leave the Paris climate accord, cancelling Trump's travel ban on visitors from several predominantly Muslim countries, and extending pandemic-era limits on evictions and student loan payments. Trump won’t be on hand as Biden is sworn in, the first outgoing president to entirely skip inaugural festivities since Andrew Johnson more than a century and a half ago. The White House released a farewell video from Trump just as Biden landed at Joint Base Andrews. Trump, who has repeatedly and falsely claimed widespread fraud led to his election loss, extended “best wishes” to the incoming administration in his nearly 20-minute address but did not utter Biden's name. Trump also spent some of his last time in the White House huddled with advisers weighing final-hour pardons and grants of clemency. He planned to depart from Washington Wednesday morning in a grand airbase ceremony that he helped plan himself. Biden at his Delaware farewell, held at the National Guard/Reserve Center named after his late son Beau Biden, paid tribute to his home state. After his remarks, he stopped and chatted with friends and well-wishers in the crowd, much as he had at Iowa rope lines at the start of his long campaign journey. “I’ll always be a proud son of the state of Delaware,” said Biden, who struggled to hold back tears as he delivered brief remarks. Inaugural organizers this week finished installing some 200,000 U.S., state and territorial flags on the National Mall, a display representing the American people who couldn’t come to the inauguration, which is tightly limited under security and Covid restrictions. The display was also a reminder of all the president-elect faces as he looks to steer the nation through the pandemic with infections and deaths soaring. Out of the starting gate, Biden and his team are intent on moving quickly to speed distribution of vaccinations to anxious Americans and pass his $1.9 trillion virus relief package, which includes quick payments to many people and an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Biden also plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on the first day of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status. That would be a major reversal from the Trump administration’s tight immigration policies. Some leading Republican have already balked at Biden's immigration plan. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is often a central player in Senate immigration battles. Many of Biden's legislative ambitions could be tempered by the hard numbers he faces on Capitol Hill, where Democrats hold narrow majorities in both the Senate and House. His hopes to press forward with an avalanche of legislation in his first 100 days could also be slowed by an impeachment trial of Trump. As Biden made his way to Washington, five of his Cabinet picks were appearing Tuesday before Senate committees to begin confirmation hearings. Treasury nominee Janet Yellen, Defence nominee Lloyd Austin, Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken and Director of National Intelligence nominee Avril Haines were being questioned. Yellen urged lawmakers to embrace Biden’s virus relief package, arguing that “the smartest thing we can do is act big.” Aides say Biden will use Wednesday's inaugural address — one that will be delivered in front of an unusually small in-person group because of virus protocols and security concerns and is expected to run 20 to 30 minutes — to call for American unity and offer an optimistic message that Americans can get past the dark moment by working together. To that end, he extended invitations to Congress' top four Republican and Democratic leaders to attend Mass with him at St. Matthew's Cathedral ahead of the inauguration ceremony. ___ Madhani reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Darlene Superville, Alan Fram and Alexandra Jaffe contributed reporting. ___ This story has been corrected to show that flags on the National Mall represent people who couldn't come, not COVID deaths. Bill Barrow And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Lumentum Holdings will spend $5.7 billion in cash and stock to buy Coherent and expand its reach into lasers and photonics. The San Jose, California, company said Tuesday that it would pay a 49% premium to the closing price of Coherent shares on Friday. The deal includes $100 in cash and slightly more than one share of Lumentum for each Coherent share. Shares of Coherent jumped 34% after markets opened Tuesday, while Lumentum’s stock fell more than 10%. Santa Clara, California-based Coherent Inc. provides lasers and laser-based technology for scientific, commercial and industrial uses. Lumentum said the deal will help speed its push into the market for lasers and photonics outside of communications and 3D sensing applications. The deal still needs approval from regulators and shareholders of both companies. Lumentum and Coherent expect it to close in the second half of the year. Coherent’s stock price jumped more than $52 to $204.12 Tuesday morning, while broader indexes rose less than 1%. Shares of Lumentum fell $11.36 to $94.96. The Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. — Two Virginia Democratic lawmakers are spearheading a push to repeal a decades-old law that allows the state to hold certain sex offenders at psychiatric facilities indefinitely after their criminal sentences if they are deemed “sexually violent predators.” Critics say civil commitment laws are fundamentally unfair and violate the constitutional prohibition against punishing someone twice for the same crime. Supporters counter that the laws protect society from repeat offenders who are unable to control their behaviour. Sen. Joe Morrissey and Del. Patrick Hope, both Democrats, are co-sponsoring legislation that would end the state’s authority to civilly commit sex offenders. “It is as archaic and as Neanderthal a process as I can imagine," said Morrissey, a defence attorney and lead patron of the bill that would repeal 1999's Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act. “We don't sentence people because of what they might do,” he said. “That's abhorrent to everything that our democracy and our criminal justice system believes in.” Twenty states and the federal government now have civil commitment laws, which have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Morrissey's bill is drawing criticism from Republicans and raising eyebrows among some Democrats who believe the state should retain the ability to commit the most serious sex offenders. “The civil commitment of sexual predators appears to be well within constitutional bounds, and there is no reason to believe it’s not working to make sure that dangerous people do not have access to future victims as long as they remain a threat to the public,” said House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert. The process begins with an initial screening by the Department of Correction. Based on that, offenders deemed likely to reoffend are given a psychological evaluation and additional review by an interagency committee. That group then makes a recommendation on whether the state attorney general should seek civil commitment. A judge or a jury makes the ultimate decision on whether to commit or release an offender. Offenders who are committed are sent to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, where about 405 people are currently housed and a 258-bed expansion is underway. Attorney General Mark Herring's office says inmates are placed in a “secure, intensive, inpatient sex offender treatment program,” while critics say it's a place where sex offenders are forced to serve a second prison term. Offenders are entitled to an annual review hearing for the first five years and every two years after that, when a court decides whether the person remains sexually dangerous and needs to stay at the facility or can be released with monitoring and supervision. Since 2003 — when the law was first funded by the legislature — through October 2020, Virginia had a total of 689 civil commitments after final disposition as a sexually violent predator. During that same time period, the state granted 410 conditional releases from civil commitment. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services said the recidivism rate for people released from the centre is currently estimated at about 2%. “If you look at our discharge numbers, despite claims, people are not held here indefinitely. They receive good treatment and it results in a reduction in recidivism and safety in the community," said Facility Director Jason Wilson. Critics say the process of deciding who will be committed is rife with speculation by state-hired experts trying to predict who will commit crimes in the future. Galen Baughman has spent years trying to repeal civil commitment laws around the country. Baughman spent 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to nonviolent sexual misconduct involving offences that occurred when he was 14 and 19. As he was completing his sentence, the state moved for civil commitment, and he was held for another 2 1/2 years while awaiting a trial. The jury found he was not a “sexually violent predator” and he was released on probation. Four years later, he was arrested on a technical probation violation after he exchanged text messages with a teenage boy he met at the funeral of a mutual friend. Baughman, who is gay, said there was no sexual content in his text messages with the heterosexual boy. The state moved to revoke his probation, and a judge sentenced Baughman to 21 months in jail. When the state then tried to civilly commit Baughman for a second time, a psychologist hired by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services found that Baughman was not a "sexually violent predator." But Attorney General Mark Herring then retained another psychologist who said Baughman met the criteria to be labelled sexually dangerous. In 2019, the jury, which was not allowed to hear testimony from two defence psychiatrists or from the first expert who found that Baughman was not dangerous, found that Baughman was eligible for commitment as a sexually violent predator. Baughman has asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to hear his appeal. “This is anyone's worst nightmare — getting locked up, with no exit, with the government claiming it's ‘treating’ you," he said. "The state is trying to punish you for what you might do in the future. This turns the Constitution upside down.” Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press
Recently Yorkton This Week wrote an article about political figures taking Christmas vacations outside of Saskatchewan, entitled ‘Saltcoats Mayor and Municipalities of Sask. president in Hawaii’. As a result of this article, and a myriad of similar articles from other news sources, Cabinet Members have been stepping down from their position; not only in Saskatchewan but across the nation. Restrictions allow for the freedom of going on a flight, even an international one, but they also demand a strict set of protocols when passengers depart and arrive back in Canada. Thousands of Canadians have travelled to Hawaii since December 1st, according to a report cited by the Calgary Herald. A recent article by Stephanie Babych reported, “Since Dec. 1, 2,824 visitors have jetted to Hawaii from Calgary’s airport, according to an online portal from the U.S. state on Sunday. More than 80 percent of these travellers cited ‘pleasure/vacation’ as their reason for the trip. Another 2,058 travellers departed from Vancouver International directly to Hawaii, 21 from Lester B. Pearson International and 15 from Edmonton International.” Certain members of the public have voiced their concern regarding politicians travelling during a time when restrictions are heightened. While restrictions have increased, travel is allowed if strict protocols are followed. Of these nearly 5000 Canadians who travelled, most were not asked to leave their positions of employment. Gordon Barnhart, President of the Municipalities of Sask. and Mayor of Saltcoats was contacted to hear first hand his side of the story by the Four-Town Journal, to which Barnhart shared the experience of he and his and his wife, Naomi when travelling during COVID-19 and the nature of their Christmas vacation to Hawaii. Mr. Barnhart offered, “For the last nine years, Naomi and I have spent Christmas and January in Maui. This year with COVID-19, we took extra precautions to ensure that our health and the health of those around us would be safe.” Explaining the precautions he had to meet in order to travel, Gordon said, “ In order to enter Maui, it is required by Hawaiian state law that you have a Covid test done at pre-approved labs in Calgary. We took extra precautions to ensure we were free of Covid before flying to Calgary. We took the test with a negative result. After registering this result with the Hawaiian Ministry of Health, we received clearance to board the Air Canada flight to Maui.” The Mayor of Saltcoats added, “It was reassuring to know that all 182 passengers on that flight were Covid free. We all wore masks and followed the health requirements. On arrival in Maui, with the lab test results in hand, we were welcomed and were not required to self-isolate.” Now that he is safe and healthy in Hawaii, he has been able to enjoy cycling, swimming and the beautiful sunshine. “Other than a weekly visit to grocery stores, we do not have direct contact with anyone.” Gordon said, “This is our usual lifestyle in Maui even before Covid. The stat on new Covid cases for the island of Maui has been in the range of 30 new cases per day. By taking the usual precautions and the low Covid count, we feel very safe here. We will again take the Covid test and will self isolate for 14 days on returning to Saskatchewan.” Mr. Barnhart understands the importance of being cautious and staying protected. “We are both supporters of taking precautions to stop the spread of Covid. With the above-mentioned testing and careful lifestyle, we believe that we have done our very best to protect ourselves and those around us.” Responsibility is a priority for Barnhart, which he demonstrated by informing all members around him that needed to be privy to his flight plans. Gordon explained, “Before leaving for our vacation, I discussed with the Saltcoats Council and Administration how we could keep in contact while away. While in Maui, we both have been keeping up with work by email and phone, FaceTime and zoom. As Mayor of Saltcoats, I am in touch with Councillors and Administration on a daily basis. Arrangements have been made for me to fulfill my administrative duties by distance and I have been able to Chair Council Meetings by Zoom. I take my role as Mayor very seriously and believe I have been able to fulfill my duties to the best of my ability while still taking a holiday with my wife.” The Municipalities of Saskatchewan President ended by saying, “We look forward to meeting our friends and colleagues in person on our return and after the required period of self-isolation.” Even though the Barnhart family travelled, they followed all COVID protocols of pre-testing, social distancing, masking in public areas and self-isolation, Gordon was still able to conduct his responsibilities to the Municipalities of Saskatchewan as well as to the community of Saltcoats. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
La multinationale québécoise Premier Tech et la société Virentia s’installent officiellement dans le Parc industriel et portuaire de Bécancour. Une toute nouvelle usine de transformation de la luzerne est en train de sortir de terre. Elle sera opérationnelle dès septembre, au plus tard. Il aura fallu que les journalistes s’en mêlent pour que Premier Tech dévoile l’étendue des projets qu’elle caresse avec Virentia dans le Parc. D’autant que le duo s’affaire depuis plusieurs mois à déboiser le terrain et à y couler ses fondations. Le président-directeur général de la Société du Parc, Maurice Richard, laissait depuis plusieurs mois entendre qu’il se tramait bien des projets chez lui. «C’était un peu à Virentia de décider de son timing», poursuit Jean Bélanger, président-directeur général de Premier Tech. Trop tard, le chat est sorti du sac. «Car l’entreprise qui s’implante et qui est à finaliser son projet est Virentia», poursuit Jean Bélanger. «Premier Tech est l’un des actionnaires. On est en discussions avec le gouvernement du Québec pour un accompagnement financier et avec des banques pour le financement à long terme. La compagnie Virentia n’est pas encore opérationnelle et commerciale. Elle n’a pas de revenus», précise M. Bélanger. «Nous ne sommes pas les initiateurs du projet. Nos coactionnaires ont lancé la recherche, le développement des procédés, la mise à l’échelle. On s’y est joint il y a quelques années pour accélérer le projet», affirme M. Bélanger de Premier Tech. Un projet en deux phases 45 M$ seront investis dans la première phase du projet. Une fois terminée, l’usine de Virentia devrait employer une cinquantaine de personnes. Si la vélocité commerciale du projet atteint le rythme espéré, près 250 M$ seront investis sur l’horizon 2023-25. Un certain secret entoure encore toute la production. L’entreprise Virentia aurait mis au point des procédés industriels brevetés qui lui permettent d’extraire des produits alternatifs de la luzerne et d’en préserver les ingrédients actifs. Ces extraits vont entrer dans la composition de produits destinés à la consommation humaine et animale, de même qu’à l’industrie des cosmétiques. «On est capable d’en extraire des protéines, des molécules, des composés et des ingrédients actifs. Ce procédé est protégé par une série de brevets assez complexes qui font l’objet d’une gestion serrée en terme de dévoilement. C’est une protéine alternative végétale chloroplaste très pure» qui peut entrer dans la composition de suppléments, de barres énergétiques, ou de smoothies apéro exemple. Mais aussi, dans la fabrication de bio-insecticides et biofongicides destinés aux champs et aux serres. Ce seront des produits biologiques et sans risques pour la santé humaine et animale, très santé et naturels, explique M. Bélanger. «Il fallait trouver le procédé pour l’isoler, en maintenir les qualités et développer un produit qui va très bien voyager». Nul doute que le marché de l’exportation est dans la mire du tandem Premier Tech/Virentia. Les agriculteurs du Centre-du-Québec se réjouissent. L’usine a conclu des ententes de production avec 29 producteurs de luzerne biologique de la région. Une rumeur court voulant que l’usine ait un très fort tirant d’eau qui demanderait à la Ville de Bécancour d’investir près de 20 M$ dans ses installations d’eau potable. «On n’est pas dans des débits hors-norme, de mémoire l’usine consommerait l’équivalent d’une centaine de maisons». Rappelons que le Parc industriel n’a pas atteint sa pleine capacité et la société d’État compte bien déployer ses ailes, dès que le financement des futures Zones d’Innovation sera confirmé. D’autres projets pourraient peut-être justifier de tels besoins et investissements. (Parution originale: Le Courrier Sud)Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Depuis la rentrée pour les écoles primaires, c’est une majorité d’enfants et de parents qui se sont montrés soulagés de la tournure des événements. Des petits bouts de chou masqués se rendent dans les rangs d’école à la hâte, envoyant la main à des parents qui reprennent le télétravail dans la quiétude qui leur a manqué. Ils sont confiés à des professeurs du primaire qui se disent, pour certains, enthousiastes et prêts à transmettre leurs « savoirs essentiels ». C’est le cas de Nathalie Déry, de l’école De Bourgogne à Chambly. « Je suis très heureuse de retrouver mes petits loups! Tout se passe très bien et je croise les doigts pour que l’on reste ouverts jusqu’à la fin de l’année! » Le maintien de la semaine de relâche Récemment, le ministre de l’Éducation et député de Chambly, Jean-François Roberge, a confirmé au journal que le calendrier scolaire serait maintenu tel quel et que, par conséquent, la semaine de relâche également. Malgré la fermeture temporaire de plusieurs classes pendant l’automne, ce sont 98 % des classes qui étaient restées ouvertes de manière régulière. Mais au printemps, les écoles ont été fermées sur une période de deux mois et demi, forçant un recul scolaire important. Afin de permettre aux enseignants de concentrer leurs efforts sur le rattrapage de la matière manquée et de faire baisser la pression, on a retiré les examens ministériels de fin d’année pour miser sur le savoir dit « essentiel », que l’équipe du Ministère sera chargée d’identifier. Le maintien de la semaine de relâche viserait ainsi à assurer un congé salutaire aux travailleurs de l’éducation, aux élèves et à leurs familles. Pour les syndicats des enseignants, jusqu’ici tout va bien, la semaine de relâche est un congé nécessaire. Au sujet de la ventilation, par contre, ils ne se montrent pas rassurés. La qualité de l’air, sujet sensible Rappelons que l’enjeu déterminant, qui est présentement débattu quant à la rentrée scolaire, est la qualité de l’air dans les écoles du Québec. En entretien avec le journal, le président du Syndicat de Champlain, Éric Gingras, s’est dit « perplexe », émettant des doutes quant aux déclarations du Ministère à ce sujet. « On a pété la balloune avec la ventilation. Depuis septembre, nous faisons valoir que l’aération est essentielle mais difficile dans les écoles. La majorité d’entre elles sont remplies à pleine capacité. Ce que l’on nous propose de faire n’est pas adapté à la réalité. Pour le Centre de services scolaire des Patriotes, où l’on est en construction pour l’agrandissement de l’école, il y a quelque chose qui ne marche pas et que l’on dénonce depuis septembre. L’anxiété du retour à l’école repose sur l’aération. Malheureusement, on ne nous a rien annoncé de nouveau à ce sujet. » Se voulant rassurant, le ministre a expliqué qu’à la suite des tests mesurant le taux de CO2, effectués sur l’échantillon de 330 classes, « la moyenne, c’est de 804 ppm, la cible est de 1000, mais on peut en tolérer jusqu’à 5000 en milieu de travail. Vous comprenez que si l’on peut en tolérer 5000, quand l’éducation a une cible très exigeante de 1000 et que la moyenne est à 804, et moins il y en a, mieux c’est, je pense que ça, c’est rassurant (...) Ce (que le Dr Massé) est venu nous dire essentiellement, c’est qu’il faut bien ventiler nos classes, mais qu’installer des purificateurs d’air, c’est une mauvaise bonne idée ». Du côté du Centre de services scolaire des Patriotes (CSSP), on promet d’annoncer au personnel des écoles les détails concernant les tests de la qualité de l’air « qui devront être effectués dans les établissements scolaires, tel qu’annoncé par le ministre de l’Éducation ». M. Roberge indique que des informations propres aux services de tutorat mis en place seront communiquées au cours des prochaines semaines également. Une mise en garde de la CSQ Du côté de la Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ), on a fait part, dans un communiqué du 10 janvier, de l’intention d’adopter des mandats de grève dans l’ensemble des syndicats d’ici la fin du mois de janvier. « Le ras-le-bol et la colère sont généralisés chez nos 125 000 membres du secteur public, et cela se traduit par d’importants appuis à la grève (...) Le ministre semble dire que leur présence dans les classes et le bruit que ces appareils produisent seraient dérangeants pour la concentration des élèves. Je pense qu’il saute un peu trop vite aux conclusions et qu’il met en doute trop facilement le bon jugement du personnel pour ce qui est de choisir le meilleur emplacement pour ces purificateurs. Rappelons-nous qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, le ministre doutait de la nécessité de porter des masques en classe, alors que son point de vue a changé depuis. La question des purificateurs d’air mérite sans nul doute d’être plus réfléchie également », amène Sonia Ethier, présidente de la CSQ.Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
The death of a Windsor-Essex retirement home resident who died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is being investigated. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said he could not provide details due to patient privacy concerns. He said when it comes to adverse reactions, there can be a correlation or there can be two completely isolated events. "Sometimes it's just the timing of one event versus the other," he said. He stressed that based on the international data, the vaccine is safe and the most effective way of preventing COVID-19. "Vaccine safety is a big topic in Canada as we know there are a number of reporting requirements that are there to make sure that the safety of these vaccines are monitored very closely at the local level, at the provincial level, at the federal level," he said. He said any time there is any type of vaccine administered and an "adverse event" occurs, it is reported to the health unit. There are multiple agencies involved in the investigation, including public health, the retirement home and the coroner's office. The health unit recorded 173 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 15 deaths.
Le débat sur le collège électoral oppose ceux qui souhaitent un président choisi selon le vote populaire à ceux qui pensent que les intérêts des petits et des grands États doivent être équilibrés.
NEW YORK — Goldman Sachs said its profits more than doubled from a year earlier thanks to a surge in both trading and advising revenue. The New York-based investment bank said it earned a profit of $4.36 billion, or $12.08 per share, up from a profit of $1.72 billion, or $4.69 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The earnings were significantly better than the $7.45-per-share profit that analysts were expecting. Goldman's results reflect that Wall Street had a strong year, despite the pandemic and millions of Americans out of work. After plunging sharply in March and April, the stock market went basically straight up for seven months as investors tried to look beyond the near-term death and pain and focus on where the U.S. economy will be in a year or two years' time. Goldman’s profits were driven higher by its investment bank and trading desks, the cornerstone to the bank’s business models. Investment banking revenue was up 29% from a year earlier to $2.73 billion. The bank saw higher underwriting revenues — fees the bank collects to take companies public or underwrite debt they want to offer — as well as trading revenue, which rose 23% from a year earlier. The banks also saw revenue gains in its wealth management arm as well is nascent consumer banking business, which focuses on consumer loans, savings accounts as well as handling the underwriting for Apple’s credit card. Like its competitors, Goldman also moved some of the money it had set aside to cover credit losses out of its reserves. However Goldman’s exposure through consumer and business loans is significantly smaller than commercial banks like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo so it wasn’t a significant part of its overall results. The stellar quarter also will result in stellar bonuses for Goldman’s well-compensated employees. The bank set aside $13.31 billion to pay out bonuses and payroll this year, up 8% from a year earlier. Most of Goldman’s top employees make most of their money in year-end bonuses. Ken Sweet, The Associated Press
The Ontario government plans to ramp up inspections at big-box stores. But confusion over the rules remain. Marianne Dimain reports.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — General Motors is teaming up with Microsoft to accelerate its rollout of electric, self-driving cars. In the partnership announced Tuesday, the companies said Microsoft’s Azure cloud and edge computing platform would be used to “commercialize its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.” Microsoft joins General Motors, Honda and other institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing its valuation to about $30 billion. Cruise, which GM bought in 2016, has been a leader in driverless technology and got the go-ahead from California late last year to test its automated vehicles in San Francisco without backup drivers. “Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.” General Motors has been aggressively revamping its image, saying the industry has reached a history-changing inflection point for mass adoption of electric vehicles. The 112-year-old Detroit automaker this month unveiled a new corporate logo to signify its new direction as it openly pivots to electric vehicles. It wants to be seen as a clean vehicle company, rather than a builder of cloud-spewing gas-powered pickups and SUVs. GM scrapped its old square blue logo for a lower case gm surrounded by rounded corners and an ‘m’ that looks like an electrical plug. Shares in GM jumped more than 8% in early trading, to $54.07. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Toronto police have charged a man with second-degree murder in the death of a man from Minnesota. Police say a man was found suffering from stab wounds on Jan. 13. They say he was pronounced dead after arriving in hospital. The force identified him as 25-year-old Mohamed Jeylani from Minnesota. Police say Guled Mohamad, a 24-year-old Toronto man, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. They say he was set to appear in court on Tuesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Prior to 2021, recruiting firm Randstad's annual list of the upcoming year's most in-demand jobs would typically feature roles such as truck drivers, heavy duty mechanics and welders. However, the COVID-19 pandemic’s sweeping effect on the economy has upended those trends, and roles such as customer service representatives, essential retail workers, security analysts and architects are expected to be some of the most sought after positions in 2021, according to industry experts. Carolyn Levy, president of Randstad Technologies, said the boom in e-commerce has created demand for a variety of jobs to ensure goods can get from business to consumer, such as warehouse workers, delivery drivers and procurement specialists. Meanwhile, the rush for corporations to digitize their workspaces has bolstered an already strong demand for IT workers in the country. “In Canada in general the IT sector was a hot area, and now it’s going to be even more prevalent,” said Levy, who said the field may shift away from previous practices of hiring for short-term contracts. “There are going to be more permanent opportunities just to support the way of living and our new reality as we work more remotely in general.” Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president with the recruiting agency Robert Half, said intense growth around the IT sector is driven by organizations that have realized they have to pick up the pace as the corporate world and consumer interactions move online. “While some companies might have been thinking about digital transformation and doing it in bits and pieces before, the pandemic has forced them to have to act quickly,” said Vasilopoulos “(Organizations) are ramping up technology initiatives to modernize their IT infrastructure to both support remote teams, but also to position the business to thrive in how they interact with their customers.” She pointed out that roles in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and development operations will also be in high demand in the long-term. A report by Robert Half pointed out that certain sectors had unemployment rates that are much lower than the national unemployment rate of 12.3 per cent. In the second quarter of 2020, those sectors included business, finance and administrative (8.2 per cent), natural and applied sciences (4.9 per cent) and social science, education and government service (7.3 per cent) Both recruiting firms said the prevalence of remote working will have long-term effects on hiring and work life, with Robert Half estimating that 79 per cent of all employees are currently working from home. Randstad pointed out that people looking to find remote work can expect high demand for jobs around administrative work, human resources, digital marketing, accounting and data analysis among others. Levy said internal workplace surveys from some companies show that between 70 per cent to 90 per cent of employees say they’d like to work from home at least three days a week once the pandemic subsides and companies will have to repurpose offices as a result. Businesses have to ask, “If we no longer need all of this space, how can we repurpose it to make it more meaningful?” said Levy, who added that managers also have to change their leadership strategies to work best with remote staff. “Thinking that leaders understand how to drive culture without four walls is a really big assumption. There’s a lot of development that people need to create meaningful connections and to learn how to completely run a remote office.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press
Two members of Canada's snowboard delegation preparing to compete at an international event in Switzerland have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the entire Canadian men's slopestyle team to miss the event. They have been put into isolation and will not be competing in the annual Laax Open — an event that has massive Olympic qualifying ramifications this year. "This is to inform you that two members of the Canadian delegation have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Laax Open, which is hosting FIS Snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle competitions this week," the governing body posted to one of its press releases. "At this point, the Canadian men's slopestyle team has been put into isolation and will not participate in the Laax Open. In agreement with the FIS Event Task Force, all competitions will proceed as scheduled." Details are limited around what restrictions and protocols were in place to ensure the safety of the athletes competing, but on the International Ski Federation website it says, "a huge amount of time, energy, and infrastructure has been put in place to ensure the riders on hand are able to get down to business in the safest and most secure way possible at this all-important Olympic qualifying event." Canada's top snowboarders were there to compete in the event —Mark McMorris, Seb Toutant and Max Parrot are all part of Canada's men's slopestyle team and are in Switzerland. They had been posting to their social media in recent days about preparing for the event. They are all now in isolation. Toutant won this event last season and was one of the favourites to win this year's event. Event still going forward While the Canadian team is out, the event is still going forward as scheduled. The men's slopestyle qualification is taking place Tuesday, followed by the men's and women's semifinals on Wednesday, and finals on Friday. The men's field includes 60 competitors from around the world — that number is now smaller due to the Canadians being out of the event. This all comes just weeks before Calgary is planned to host hundreds of international skiers and snowboarders. The 2021 freestyle ski, snowboard and freeski world championships, as well as a number of World Cup events, are provisionally being rescheduled to be held starting Feb. 24 and running until the middle of March. At this point, the Government of Alberta still has not approved the event. Canada's snowboard and freestyle organizations are working with the appropriate Canadian authorities to obtain the necessary approvals. "We continue to work in close collaboration with key partners around the potential of creating a winter sport bubble in Calgary to host multiple international FIS Freestyle, Freeski, Snowboard events this winter," the federations wrote in an email to CBC Sports at the beginning of January. There would be a number of events taking place over a month of competition including slopestyle, big air, halfpipe and freestyle ski moguls, dual moguls, aerials, and aerials team events. With freestyle and snowboard events being cancelled across the world, the Calgary World Cup races could wind up playing a major factor in qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bank of America’s fourth-quarter profits fell 18% from a year ago, as lower interest rates weighed down its results. However the bank was able to release more than $800 million from its credit reserves, a sign that it sees the U.S. economy improving in the coming months. The North Carolina-based bank said Tuesday that it earned a profit of $5.47 billion, or 59 cents a share, down from $6.99 billion, or 74 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts were expecting BofA to earn 56 cents a share, according to Zacks Investment Research. Like its Wall Street competitors, Bank of America was able to release hundreds of millions of dollars from its loan-loss reserves — money the bank had set aside earlier in the pandemic to cover loans that might be now be unpayable. But as the economy has relatively improved, banks have been able to free up some of those reserves. In the quarter, BofA released $828 million from its credit reserves. This type of release goes straight to a bank’s bottom line, but it’s largely because the money was moved out of an escrow-like account and was now free to be used again. Low interest rates were the biggest drag on BofA’s results compared to last year. The Federal Reserve sharply cut rates once the pandemic hit. Bank of America’s balance sheet is heavily weighted toward short-term interest rates, so it was hit harder than the rest of its competitors. Interest revenue in the quarter dropped from $12.14 billion to $10.25 billion. In a separate release, Bank of America's board of directors announced the bank would buy back $2.9 billion worth of stock in the upcoming quarter as well as pay a quarterly dividend of 18 cent per share. Share buyback had been on hold through much of last year when the Federal Reserve required all large banks to hold onto cash to brace for the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Ken Sweet, The Associated Press
Airfare in and out of Labrador has never been what people would call cheap, and since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and airlines scaled back operations across the country, it’s only gotten harder and more expensive to fly to the Big Land. The problem isn’t unique to this province, and neighbouring Quebec has similarly been hit with the loss of many routes, especially in rural areas. A group of entrepreneurs from Quebec recently decided to do something about it and formed a co-operative, the Cooperative de Transport Regional du Quebec (TREQ), with plans to offer low-cost flights to and from a number of airports in Quebec and at least one in Labrador. Mirka Boudreau, the North Shore representative and vice-chair of the board of directors for TREQ said it seemed like an obvious choice for them to include Wabush in their plan. “Wabush is such a strategic airport for the region,” she said. “It seemed like a no brainer to include it, with all the mining activity there and the amount of people from Quebec and Labrador who use it.” Boudreau said the co-op's board, which includes representatives from different regions of Quebec, first met in November 2020 and started working out the idea. They’ve been working hard on financing, she said, and expect that to all be in place soon. Since it’s a co-op, she said, they aren’t looking to make money from the venture and therefore can offer flights at lower costs than people are used to seeing. The prices will also be set and won’t change depending on things like time of year or length of time before travel. Since it’s a co-op, Boudreau said, things like price changes would have to be voted on and justified to members. The maximum cost they currently have listed on the website for a round-trip ticket would be $425, with others as low as $199. She stressed the goal of the operation is to provide a service for members and not to make profit. “Around the board, we are all entrepreneurs,” she said. “We are not co-op people. This is good because while the goal of a co-op isn’t to make money, we are all entrepreneurs and are really strategic in our decisions.” People from any region of Labrador will be able to join the co-op, Boudreau said, and travel from Wabush to different parts of Quebec. Boudreau said she expects a large number of people from Labrador to be interested in the flights, and Wabush Mayor Ron Barron agrees. Barron said that from everything he has seen and heard about the plan so far, it seems like a good idea. “People will certainly use it,” he said. “Who wouldn’t? At those prices, they won’t have any problems at all filling those flights. The market is here.” Barron said the airport sees a lot of passenger and commercial traffic and the recent decision by Air Canada to pull out of the region left a big gap. While TREQ is only offering flights to Quebec, Barron said it will be an improvement and allow people to get to major airports for reasonable rates. Boudreau said they hope to get the service up and running soon, with plans to hire pilots this month and start offering lifetime memberships for $10 in February. If everything goes well, she said, the first flights are planned to be in the air by May. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Nova Scotia Liberal Party leadership candidate Randy Delorey says he will introduce a low-income seniors dental program and assistance for buying hearing aids if he becomes premier next month. The Antigonish MLA and former health minister released a list on Tuesday of plans to help seniors. Nova Scotia Liberal Party delegates will elect a new leader and premier on Feb. 6. In an interview, Delorey said the idea for the dental program stems from a constituent who recently needed emergency dental care. "When it gets to that point, obviously, it's often associated with a lack of preventative care up front," he said. "The motivations are very similar to that of a youth dental program, which is focused on preventative care up front and services to help manage dental health going forward. So at the seniors population I think that's a gap, and I think we can support them more." N.S. offers no support for hearing aids The Community Services Department currently offers people on income assistance partial coverage for emergency dental work under certain conditions, but nothing for preventative care. Delorey said it would take some time to develop the approach before he could say when the program would be ready, but he'd like to see it done quickly. Another shortfall he's pledging to address is funding for low-income seniors who require hearing aids. Nova Scotia and Manitoba are the only provinces in the country not to make some money available and Delorey's plan calls for at least $500 to go toward the expense. When it comes to long-term care, Delorey is committing to permanently do away with rooms that have more than two beds, a promise he first made as minister following a report on long-term care delivered in September. The Liberal government has only started in recent years to announce plans for and construction of new long-term care beds, choosing first to focus on major funding increases for homecare. Other candidates' LTC plans Delorey said he stands by the decision to focus on homecare first and then see how that would affect needs within the long-term care sector. More than 1,500 people were on the wait-list as of November. "None of the modelling or anticipation that predated those efforts [on homecare] would be able to inform the path that would be needed for infrastructure for long-term care facilities," he said. "It's a difficult balance to strike but we, again, did need to make those [homecare] investments first." Delorey's fellow candidates have also talked about the need for increased long-term care support. Halifax Citadel-Sable Island MLA Labi Kousoulis has committed to building enough new long-term care beds so people no longer have to wait in hospital for a placement, as well as addressing staffing concerns. Timberlea-Prospect MLA Iain Rankin has said a major increase in financial support for long-term care would be among his top priorities should he become premier. MORE TOP STORIES
On Monday, January 11, 2021, Mayor Atkinson called the Spy Hill council meeting to order at 8:30 A.M. First, a town worker gave her a report of what has happened with public works in the village. Carrying on, the council reviewed the minutes of the last meeting. Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to accept; motion carried. With the additions added to the agenda, the council moved on to review the bank reconciliation. Councillor Jack made a motion to accept the bank reconciliation which was carried. The council reviewed the town’s accounts payable prior to Councillor A. Perrin making a motion to accept; motion carried. The December financial statement was reviewed prior to Councillor A. Perrin making a motion to accept them; motion carried. The Revenue Sharing Grant was discussed next and all requirements have been met. Councillor B. Parrin made a resolution for the grant which was carried. OLD BUSINESS The council has been approved for the landfill closure. The plan was submitted five months ago and the council will meet the requirements to continue. NEW BUSINESS The position of deputy mayor was decided to be done quarterly and alphabetically with a motion by A. Perrin; motion carried. A. Perrin was appointed as council representative with the fire department. Annual Public Disclosure forms were signed and submitted. Next, the council reviewed the annual rates charged by the village, Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to increase Councillor remuneration by $25 per month; motion carried, Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to change to Plan B for insurance coverage after a discussion on the various rates being charged by the village Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to accept the annual rates which were carried. The next meeting will be held on February 19th at 8:30 A.M. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
OTTAWA — The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 11:20 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says any Canadians who still have international trips planned need to cancel them. The variants of the novel coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil could change the situation rapidly and he warns that Canada could impose new restrictions on the border at any time, without warning. --- 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting a significant drop in new COVID-19 infections today with 1,386 new cases. The province also reported 55 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 16 that occurred in the prior 24 hours. Health officials say hospitalizations rose by nine, to 1,500 and 212 people were in intensive care, a drop of five. Quebec has reported a total of 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the virus. --- 10:50 a.m. Prince Edward Island is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases involve a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. There are now seven active reported cases in the province. P.E.I. has reported 110 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. --- 10:35 a.m. Ontario is reporting 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 today, likely under-reported due to a technical error in Toronto. Health Minister Christine Elliott says that Toronto is reporting 550 new cases of the novel coronavirus. Over the past three days, Toronto reported 815 new cases, 1,035 new cases and 903 new cases. There were 46 more deaths linked to the virus in Ontario. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press