The spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first found in the U.K. has some Canadian doctors wondering if our current distancing recommendations are enough.
The spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first found in the U.K. has some Canadian doctors wondering if our current distancing recommendations are enough.
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
The young founders of Green Ummah had big plans for 2020, including a major push in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to get Ontario’s mosques and other Islamic institutions to think more about sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic thwarted much of the newly formed non-profit’s ambition, prompting the law students and other young people involved to shift focus as they seek to build the green movement within Canada’s Muslim communities, which number around one million people. “For us now, it’s about uplifting our youth, youth of colour, Muslim youth, youth that haven’t always fit the narrative when it comes to the environmental movement,” said Aadil Nathani, a co-founder of Green Ummah (ummah is the Arabic word for community, and typically describes the global Muslim community). Environmentalism has long been dominated by mostly white conservationists, and the broader movement has only recently begun to directly engage with more marginalized communities, which are often most acutely impacted by climate change. “We’re trying to get Muslim kids of all racial and ethnic backgrounds and cultures outside and connecting with nature, because at the end of the day, if you have a connection with nature, you're going to be more inclined to act in a sustainable way and (an) environmentally friendly way,” said Nathani, who grew up in Toronto and last year graduated from law school at the University of Windsor. Green Ummah is being aided in that effort by Nature Canada, one of the country’s oldest nature conservation charities, which has in recent years turned its focus to a similar goal. “We are really trying to amplify the voices that are in the spaces already,” said Camille Koon, the organizer for Nature Canada’s NatureHood program, which works with Green Ummah and more than a dozen other groups across the country to help young people and their families in urban environments connect with nature. “Our organization is trying very hard to make sure that we are building towards a holistic and inclusive movement for climate justice,” Nathani said. To that end, Green Ummah will this weekend host what it is calling Canada’s first Muslim-led environmental conference, a digital event bringing together a range of scholars, experts and green practitioners sparking conversation about how Islam relates to the environment. The event, running from noon until 3:30 p.m. on March 6 and 7, is a pay-what-you-can affair that will feature U.S. imam Saffet Catovic, who contributed to the drafting in 2019 of a fatwa, or Islamic legal opinion, by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) on fossil fuel divestment. Around 80 people have so far registered to join, including people from the United States, South Africa, and Australia. Saturday’s panels and speakers will address Muslims directly on how to integrate green principles into their daily lives and the religious backing for environmental protection. “It’s a responsibility, according to the Qur’an, that God gave us to look after the planet, and to me, that’s also a huge burden and one that we’ve lost track of, we haven’t stayed on top of, but tides are hopefully changing,” Nathani said. On Sunday, the focus will turn to making sure the green movement makes space for marginalized voices and opportunities for Muslim/Indigenous solidarity. “It’s very important not to lose touch with the fact that we don’t only have these principles from Islamic traditions, we can also try to build bridges between Muslim groups in Canada and Indigenous people in Canada who have been taking care of Turtle Island for longer than we’ve been here,” Nathani said, noting the similarity between the Indigenous seven generations principle and exhortations in Islam for its adherents to act as khalifa, or guardians, of the planet. Mosques, as the central hub of a devout Muslim’s social life, can have an outsized influence on their congregation’s behaviour, Nathani said. “We need the mosques to really be more eco-friendly, and to really start pushing the environmental message, the green message,” he said. “If we can show that there is a religious backing, and we can get everyone to know their religious responsibilities, then Muslim people will be more inclined to act,” he said. Nathani said specific steps the community can take to lessen its environmental impact could be as simple as encouraging worshippers to use less water during the cleansing process conducted prior to praying, which observant Muslims do five times a day. Community leaders can also go further by, for example, creating community gardens or installing bike racks so those who live beyond walking distance from the mosque don’t have to drive, as well as including climate education in sermons, lectures and informal conversations. “The time to act is now, the time to act was actually yesterday, but it’s never too late to start changing your own habits, to start influencing your family and their habits and your wider community and their habits.” Green Ummah is also putting the finishing touches on a four-module curriculum it expects to test out in a handful of Islamic schools across the province starting in September. The courses provide an introduction to climate science and how to be more green, a deeper dive in the connection between Islam and the environment, a critique of environmental racism, and the relationship between Islamic and Indigenous green principles and the law. Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
American attitudes toward China have soured significantly in the past three years, with 70% of those surveyed for a report published on Thursday saying Washington should stand up to Beijing over its human rights record even if it damages economic ties. Nearly 9 in 10 respondents to a Pew Research Center survey of more than 2,500 Americans conducted in February said they saw China, the world's second largest economy, as a competitor or enemy rather than a partner, the U.S.-based center said. "Americans want more focus on human rights – even at the expense of economic ties – in bilateral relations with China," the report said.
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” “Minari,” “Da 5 Bloods” and “One Night in Miami” are among the films AARP is honouring at its annual Movies for Grownups Awards, the non-profit organization said Thursday. Director Lee Daniels’ “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” starring Andra Day as the jazz singer, was named best picture, while the Korean American family drama “Minari” got best intergenerational film. Spike Lee’s Vietnam-themed “Da 5 Bloods” picked up best buddy picture and Regina King’s “One Night in Miami...,” about the fictional meeting of Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown, got best ensemble. “We focus on films made by and for grownups,” said Tim Appelo, the film and television critic for AARP. “When we started this a couple of decades ago, it was hard to find first movies about people of our age. I’m very pleased to see that we’ve got a bumper crop of movies and performances to choose from this year.” George Clooney is being honoured this year with the career achievement award. The 59-year-old both directed and acted in his most recent film, “The Midnight Sky.” “He’s the Cary Grant of our day, but he’s also a fast-rising director,” Appelo said. “He’s perfect because he’s just a slam dunk argument against ageism.” Jodie Foster too is singled out for her supporting performance in “The Mauritanian,” for which she also won the Golden Globe this week. Appelo said that the 58-year-old has said that she’s glad to be her age and is looking forward to playing characters in their 60s and beyond. “That’s a big theme of ours, that life opens up after you turn 50,” Appelo said. Aaron Sorkin is a double honoree for writing and directing “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The top acting awards went to Sophia Loren, for “The Life Ahead,” and Anthony Hopkins, for “The Father.” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” are two films Appelo said are particularly significant because of their historical value to a 50-plus audience. He also noted that this year included several important and nuanced depictions of Alzheimer’s, including in “The Father” and in “Supernova,” with Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, which was named best grownup love story. For the first time the organization is also recognizing television shows and performances. Catherine O’Hara took best actress for “Schitt’s Creek,” Mark Ruffalo got best actor for “I Know This Much is True” and “This Is Us” was named best series. Netflix's “The Queen's Gambit” got best limited series. The virtual awards show will be broadcast by Great Performances on PBS on March 28 at 8 p.m. ET. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
There are five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, pushing the province to more than a thousand total cases since last March. Of the cases, four are in the Eastern Health region. All of the new cases in the Eastern Health region are either close contacts of previous cases or travel-related. There is a new positive case in the Western Health region, and it's related to international travel. There have been 33 new recoveries. The total number of active cases is now 121, while the total number of cases in the province in the past year is now 1,002. There are eight people in hospital. Of these patients, two are in intensive care. Meanwhile, passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 8996 that departed Halifax and arrived in St. John's on Thursday, Feb. 25 should call 811 to arrange to get a COVID-19 test. Positive case closes Trepassey Community Health Clinic One of the new cases announced on Thursday in the Eastern Health region is a health-care worker at the Trepassey Community Health Clinic. Contact tracing by Public Health officials is underway. The clinic is closed for the day, following a positive test for the virus, according to a media release from Eastern Health. Since testing positive, the person has been isolating themselves at home. Patients who have appointments at the clinic will be rebooked and anyone who requires immediate care should call either the Ferryland Health and Community Service Clinic at 709-432-2930 or the St. Mary's Health Centre at 709-525-2980. Anyone who has one symtpom of COVID-19 can complete the online self-assessment tool at www.811healthline.ca to arrange testing. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Lennox & Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) 55 Plus Activity Centre, located in Greater Napanee, is receiving an influx of funding to support the health and well-being of local seniors during COVID-19. The organization helps seniors remain independent, in their homes and active within their community by providing quality, integrated services. MPP Daryl Kramp has announced that SOS will be receiving $42,700.00 for 2020-21 operations and maintenance and also a grant of $7,995.52 for a total of $50,695.52, according to a release from his office, dated Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021. “This is a local organization which has helped multiple generations of local seniors stay in touch and engaged for many years and that says a lot about the community it serves,” said MPP Kramp. “These funds will be important both as they operate now and as they look forward to resuming their important in-person community roles.” Kramp says this year’s investment will focus on virtual programs such as teleconferences, online videos, one-on-one phone calls to help seniors stay connected from home, and support projects such as: According to the release, the seniors population in Ontario is the fastest growing age group. By 2023, there will be 3 million Ontarians over the age of 65. Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility says the past year has been especially challenging for Seniors. “Given the social isolation that COVID-19 has brought to many seniors, it is important that we look to programs that will keep them safe and connected,” said Minister Cho. “Our government’s investment in Seniors Active Living Centres helps older adults stay virtually engaged with their friends, family and communities while combatting social isolation during the pandemic.” This year’s ongoing funding has supported the application of safety control measures against the spread of COVID-19, and provided more remote and virtual programming, according to the release. Learn more about Lennox & Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) on their website. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
NEW YORK — Instead of finishing your leftovers, you let them go bad and buy takeout. It’s a familiar routine for many — and indicative of habits that contribute to a global food waste problem that a new United Nations report says needs to be better measured so that it can be effectively addressed. The U.N. report estimates 17% of the food produced globally each year is wasted. That amounts to 931 million metric tons (1.03 billion tons) of food. The waste is far more than previous reports had indicated, though direct comparisons are difficult because of differing methodologies and the lack of strong data from many countries. “Improved measurement can lead to improved management,” said Brian Roe, a food waste researcher at Ohio State University who was not involved in the report. Most of the waste — or 61% — happens in households, while food service accounts for 26% and retailers account for 13%, the U.N. found. The U.N. is pushing to reduce food waste globally, and researchers are also working on an assessment of waste that includes the food lost before reaching consumers. The authors note the report seeks to offer a clearer snapshot of the scale of a problem that has been difficult to assess, in hopes of spurring governments to invest in better tracking. “Many countries haven’t yet quantified their food waste, so they don’t understand the scale of the problem,” said Clementine O’Connor, of the U.N. Environment Program and co-author of the report. Food waste has become a growing concern because of the environmental toll of production, including the land required to raise crops and animals and the greenhouse gas emissions produced along the way. Experts say improved waste tracking is key to finding ways to ease the problem, such as programs to divert inedible scraps to use as animal feed or fertilizer. The report found food waste in homes isn’t limited to higher income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Roe of Ohio State noted that food sometimes is wasted in poor countries without reliable home refrigeration. In richer countries, people might eat out more, meaning food waste is simply shifted from the home to restaurants. Roe said cultural norms and policies also could contribute to waste at home — such as massive packaging, “buy one, get one free” deals, or lack of composting programs. That's why broader system changes are key to helping reduce waste in households, said Chris Barrett, an agricultural economist at Cornell University. For example, Barrett said, people might throw away food because of a date on the product — even though such dates don’t always say when a food is unsafe to eat. “Food waste is a consequence of sensible decisions by people acting on the best information available,” he said. To clarify the meaning of labeling dates, U.S. regulators have urged food makers to be more consistent in using them. They note that labels like “Sell By”, “Best By” and “”Enjoy By" could cause people to throw out food prematurely, even though some labels are intended only to indicate when quality might decline. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a family of four wastes about $1,500 in food each year. But accurately measuring food waste is difficult for a variety of reasons including data availability, said USDA food researcher Jean Buzby, adding that improved measurements are part of a government plan to reduce waste. Richard Swannell, a co-author of the U.N. report, said food was generally more valued even in richer countries just a few generations ago, since people often couldn’t afford to waste it. Now, he said, awareness about the scale of food waste globally could help shift attitudes back to that era. “Food is too important to waste," he said. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Candice Choi, The Associated Press
The U.S. Senate is considering including in a new bill to boost competitiveness against China $30 billion in funding for previously-approved measures to supercharge the country's chipmaking industry, a congressional source said on Thursday. The source, who is involved in the effort, said that the Schumer-led package is likely to have provisions curbing China's access to U.S. capital markets, a focus of the Trump administration's crackdown on Beijing. A spokesman for U.S. Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, who is spearheading the new package, did not respond to a request for comment.
The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation and the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark are researching the possibility of combining and streamlining the groups and their programs under one organization. No concrete decision or plan has been made yet, with an eight to 10 month discussion period underway. Museum General Manager Zena Conlin says an amalgamation taskforce has been created, with board members from each group meeting every month to map out the pros and cons. “We’re exploring all the avenues on the best way for everybody to work together,” said Conlin, “and to ensure sustainability for the organizations and for the area.” Geopark Executive Director Manda Maggs says the idea to combine the two was prompted by suggestions from the Peace River Regional District, which has funded the organizations in the past. “I know they’re keen to have us explore this, but both organizations have their own separate mandates, and their own separate memberships,” said Maggs of the regional district. “Right now we’re identifying what those advantages will be. There would obviously be some advantages, as we already work together closely.” Since 2014, PRRD has granted $660,000 to the Geopar,k and more than $1.3 million to the museum since 2013. Both organizations appeared before the regional board on Jan. 28, presenting year-in-reviews. firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
OTTAWA — Health Canada says it won't require new clinical trial data from vaccine makers on booster shots being developed to target new variants of COVID-19. Instead, the regulator will rely more heavily on lab tests on blood samples, which can show how many antibodies develop following vaccination. Those antibodies are a good indicator of how well the human body will fight off an infection. The decision should help the regulator authorize the boosters for use in Canada much quicker and is in line with the process used to approve new flu vaccines each year. At least three variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating in Canada and are believed to spread more easily and possibly cause more serious illness. Having vaccines adjusted to target those new strains is a critical part of managing the COVID-19 pandemic. But Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said there won't be corners cut on safety in evaluating new boosters. "They still need to demonstrate that the vaccine that comes out is still safe, effective and high quality," she said in an interview with The Canadian Press earlier this week. Canada has authorized three vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, and all are working on various boosters against variants. The documents supporting Thursday's decision note that demanding full clinical trials, as was the case for authorizing the original vaccines, would create a serious delay. "This may also be problematic from a public health perspective since delay in updating a vaccine, where needed, bears the risk that the virus is evolving even further, potentially making a new vaccine version outdated at the time of approval again," the document says. Coronaviruses don't mutate as quickly as flu viruses, but do change as they spread among people and the more they spread, the more they change. "So a virus is not going to mutate as much when it can't replicate," Sharma said. The existing vaccines have shown reduced effectiveness against the variants of concern, though Sharma cautions the vaccines are still useful even against the variants. The vaccines Canada has authorized are performing well in countries like the United Kingdom and Israel, where the B.1.1.7 variant is now dominant. That variant is thus far the most common of the three variants of concern in Canada, accounting for more than 90 per cent of about 1,430 variant cases confirmed so far. Many provinces are now screening all confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the variants of concern, and as many as 10 per cent of all confirmed cases are fully sequenced to look for any mutations to the original virus. The B.1.351 variant that first arose in South Africa is the most concerning to date in its potential to evade existing vaccines. As of Wednesday, there were 103 confirmed cases of it in Canada. South Africa stopped using AstraZeneca's vaccine altogether after lab tests suggested it wouldn't be very effective against mild illness for B.1.351, which is dominant in that country. That decision has contributed to growing concerns that AstraZeneca's vaccine is less desirable but Sharma said the details aren't that simple. "Now, if you look at severe disease, or more severe cases, it actually looked like it was still quite protective," she said. "But in a country where that is your dominant circulating stream, and in a country where they had potentially had access to another vaccine shortly, they made the decision that maybe they weren't going to go ahead with that," she said. If B.1.351 becomes a dominant strain here, and current vaccines don't show effectiveness against it, they'll be pulled, Sharma said. "We wouldn't leave a vaccine on the market if we think that it wouldn't be effective for the overall population." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Unifor president Jerry Dias says Air Canada continues to promise refunds for passengers whose flights were cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline has made the pledge repeatedly during negotiations with the federal government over an aid package for the battered sector, said Dias, who noted talks are ongoing. "I spoke to the CEO of Air Canada last night. So I know that this commitment has been made for quite a while." Air Canada took issue with Dias's take, saying no such conversation took place within the past week or beyond. The airline said that discussions are ongoing, but no deal has been reached. The Finance Department did not respond immediately to questions about the refund commitment. Then-chief executive Calin Rovinescu said in November the airline would not hesitate to reimburse customers stuck with unused tickets if the conditions of a federal bailout were reasonable. After a halting start nearly four months ago, talks ramped up over the past month, reaching a pace that he called a negotiation. Any deal would include a resolution on passenger refunds, a plan for returning service to regional markets and financial support for the aerospace sector, Rovinescu said last month. Air Canada says there are no updates since then, with no agreement yet in place. Dias said only about 4,000 of the union's 15,000 aviation workers remain fully employed a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, lending urgency to discussions in Ottawa. “We can’t get more urgent than now," he said. "Frankly, getting a little frustrated hearing that it’s imminent, just around the corner. Like, it’s been a year — I’ve grown two beards since hearing this." Ottawa has put reimbursement of travellers on the table as a key demand in exchange for financial relief for airlines, on top of asking carriers to maintain regional routes. Air Canada posted a staggering $1.16 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2020, a result that caps what Rovinescu called the bleakest year in aviation history. "While there is no assurance at this stage that we will arrive at a definitive agreement on sector support, I am more optimistic on this front for the first time," Rovinescu said on a conference call with analysts Feb. 12, three days before he passed Air Canada's controls to new CEO Michael Rousseau. Unifor and two pilot unions are calling for federal loans totalling $7 billion at one per cent interest over 10 years. Unifor is also asking Ottawa to waive a fuel tax for Canadian carriers and suspend additional landing and gate fees on passenger and cargo flights. Air Canada, Rouge, WestJet, Swoop and Sunwing agreed in January to suspend service to Mexico and the Caribbean at the request of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help fight viral spread. The moves resulted in the temporary layoffs of thousands of airline workers. Last month Air Canada announced it will temporarily lay off 1,500 unionized employees and an unspecified number of management staff as it cut 17 more routes to the U.S. and international destinations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:AC) The Canadian Press
DÜSSELDORF, Germany — It's been a year since Bayern Munich fans last saw their team play at home. In that time the team has become German, European and world champion. The anniversary will be marked Saturday by another empty-stadium edition of “der Klassiker” against Borussia Dortmund. When Bayern fans were last allowed into the Allianz Arena on March 8, 2020, there was celebration in the air. Bayern was marking its 120th anniversary in throwback white jerseys with wine-colored sleeves and faded-out sponsor logos. Bayern was unbeaten in 14 games ahead of what turned out to be a nervy 2-0 win over Augsburg eventually sealed by Leon Goretzka's goal in stoppage time. That unbeaten run eventually hit 33 games, including the 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final in August, just one of many TV-only triumphs for Bayern fans in 2020. “The curious thing is that since last spring, our team has actually been delivering the best football it’s played for a long time, permanently at a top level,” honorary club president Uli Hoeness said Thursday. "I have the impression that our players are on a personal mission to please the fans out there in this pandemic. They are succeeding magnificently.” When the German league briefly experimented with a limited fan return in September and October, the Allianz Arena stayed empty because coronavirus cases were rising in Munich. The only games Bayern has played in front of its own supporters were at the European Super Cup in Hungary and Club World Cup in Qatar. For much of this season, it looked as if Saturday's game between Bayern and Dortmund would be another addition to the rivalry's recent history of one-sided Bayern wins. Dortmund is fifth and has spent much of the season floundering under first Lucien Favre and then interim coach Edin Terzic. Dortmund has come good just at the right time, though, and could have a shot at upsetting Bayern. Terzic's team has won its last four games, including a 3-2 victory over Sevilla in the Champions League and a 1-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach and its coach Marco Rose, the man taking over Terzic’s job at the end of the season. Jadon Sancho scored the winning goal against Gladbach but also picked up a thigh problem which left him on the Dortmund bench with ice strapped to his leg. He's a doubt against Bayern, a blow after Sancho reignited his season with six goals and five assists in his last nine games in all competitions. Left-back Raphael Guerreiro's fitness is also in doubt. Bayern has a reminder of the coronavirus' impact as defender Benjamin Pavard started rebuilding his fitness in his first training session Wednesday after spending time in isolation following a positive test for COVID-19. There's more riding on the game for Bayern than just bragging rights over Dortmund. Slip-ups last month against Arminia Bielefeld and Eintracht Frankfurt meant Bayern's lead over second-place Leipzig was slashed from seven points to two. Leipzig plays earlier Saturday at Freiburg, so Bayern's players will know before kickoff if they must beat Dortmund to reclaim the top spot. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports James Ellingworth, The Associated Press
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
WASHINGTON — The Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the U.S. Capitol for another two months, The Associated Press has learned. Defence officials say the new proposal is being reviewed by the Pentagon. The request underscores the continuing concerns about security and the potential for violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. And it comes as law enforcement was on high alert Thursday around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building. The potential plot is tied to the far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on March 4, the original presidential inauguration day. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said she learned that the request for a 60-day extension was made in the last 36 hours, and that the Guard is now seeking volunteers from states around the country to fill the need. Defence officials confirmed that the request is under review at the Pentagon, and that the Guard has started checking states for availability of their troops, in an effort to be prepared if final Defence Department approval is given. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The more than 5,000 Guard members currently in Washington, D.C., are all slated to go home on March 12, ending the mission. Slotkin said some members of Congress have been concerned about whether there is a solid plan to provide security for members and staff going forward. “We want to understand what the plan is,” she said. “None of us like looking at the fencing, the gates, the uniformed presence around the Capitol. We can’t depend on the National Guard for our security.” She said there has to be a plan that provides the needed security for the buildings and personnel by the Capitol Police and local law enforcement. Slotkin said it was telling that House members hastened to complete major votes Wednesday so they wouldn't have to be in the building where many fled violent rioters in January. Lawmakers, she said, “don't feel totally secure” in the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police officials have also told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months. Slotkin said, however, that she was going to her office to work on Thursday. “I'm not going to let these guys scare me away,” she said. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
The explosive interview will air Sunday, March 7.
Many people have turned to outdoor activities to stay active during the pandemic, and according to cycling industry insiders, that's made it a challenging year to keep up with demand. Bike shops in Calgary are experiencing surging sales and low inventory, with some estimated delivery dates being pushed into 2022. Jeremy Cobb, who has been biking most of his life and struggling to order bike parts this year, said it's a bit exasperating as an avid cyclist, but not surprising. "It's been frustrating," he said. "[But] I think people are trying to be safe, and trying to find things to do as a family and outdoors." No seasonal sales slowdown Scott Clarke, the sales manager of Ridley's Cycle in Kensington, said this winter has been the busiest he has seen in what is usually a seasonal industry. In a typical year, students come to work at the bike shop in the summer before heading back to school in the fall; a few seasonal layoffs usually follow, he said. Scott Clarke, left, the sales manager of Ridley's Cycle, said this winter has been the busiest he has ever seen. Bow Cycle has one of the largest inventories of bikes in Calgary, and owner John Franzky, right, said they're running low. (Terri Trembath/CBC) But this year, there was no sales slowdown in August, and Ridley's Cycle actually did some hiring in the fall to keep up. "Right now, it's get what you can, for us. Get in stock what you can, and keep stock levels high," he said. "Bike companies are producing more than they ever have, demand is up over what they're producing, so things are pumping through much, much quicker. So, we're getting to the point where we're having a lot of bikes pre-sold." A new challenge to manage It's not only Ridley's Cycle that is struggling to keep stock levels high. Bow Cycle has one of the largest inventories of bikes in Calgary, and owner John Franzky said they're running low. "On the business side, it's kind of exciting to have those challenges at work, so it's a new challenge to manage," Franzky said. "The hard part is, [at] Bow Cycle, we're not used to saying no to people." The demand that has left the store low on just about everything has been a blessing and a curse, Franzky said. "You can't really compare a year like this. And let's be honest, hopefully we don't have to compare another year like this," Franzky said. "But what it's done in the outdoor business, the boom it's been seeing, bicycle industry included — it's pretty unreal."
County council agreed to support a movement for improvements at long-term care (LTC) homes, though disagreed with local advocates’ desire to end for-profit homes. Council voted to write a letter of support for the Haliburton-CKL (City of Kawartha Lakes) Long-Term Care Coalition. The advocacy group is joining with others across the province to push for improvements, including amending the Canada Health Act to include LTC, guaranteeing four hours of direct care per day for residents, stronger enforcement and a culture change. Councillors spoke in favour of those ideas. But the coalition’s desire to end private LTC did not garner support and was specifically excluded in the resolution. “The first four points that you have, I think, are a bold initiative and a great start,” Coun. Brent Devolin said. “The supply going forward, will public initiatives alone be enough to look after all of us?” Coalition co-chair, Bonnie Roe, cited the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide organization also calling for the end to for-profit long-term care. Its May 2020 analysis found COVID-19 deaths in homes with outbreaks were higher in private (nine per cent) versus non-profit (5.25 per cent) or publicly-owned (3.62 per cent). The Canadian military also released a report about terrible conditions at homes it intervened in last May, which prompted the province to start an independent commission. Four of those homes were privately-owned. “There are some for-profits that are excellent, but generally speaking, they do not follow the standards,” Roe said. “People are asking, ‘why are there private profits attached to us as a society caring for our elders’?” co-chair, Mike Perry, said. “Why was that ever seen as a profit-making venture?” Warden Liz Danielsen said the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus has identified LTC as a priority. But she added the caucus is not yet in favour of ending private facilities. Coun. Carol Moffatt said she can attest to the challenges of eldercare and there is a drastic need for better support for health workers. “More people to do the job,” Moffatt said. “We also maybe need to be careful of what you wish for in terms of potential downloading. How do we all as a province push for the changes that are required, without it going off the cliff and then landing in the laps of municipalities for increased costs?” Perry thanked council for the support. “There’s so much common room and so much common ground for this moving forward,” he said. “That’s where we find hope in all this tragedy recently." Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
LATCHFORD – Latchford Mayor George Lefebvre has let his frustration be known when it comes to the current situation surrounding insurance for municipalities. Municipal insurance rates have been on the rise and the matter has been a growing concern across the province. One specific area that Lefebvre says he has an issue with is the fact that the legal system allows municipalities to be sued for accidents that occur on major highways, which he feels shouldn’t have any bearing on the municipalities. Lefebvre says those frivolous lawsuits alone are enough to help drive up the rates when the insurance companies are forced to defend the municipalities. A highway accident is “something that has absolutely no bearing (on us) whatsoever,” he said at Latchford council’s regular meeting on February 18. “We all know, we’ve seen a number of these accidents recently. Two of them have occurred in Temagami on Highway 11 and they’re suing the Town of Latchford. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Some people on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), crossing the railroad track and caught trespassing on the pipeline and trespassing on the tracks, flipped the ATV and sued the Town of Latchford. Now where the hell is the justice in that?” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the province’s Attorney General have been looking into the matter of rising municipal insurance costs for the past couple of years, but actions were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One municipality reported seeing their premium increase from $120,000 to $225,000. Englehart was among the lowest, seeing their insurance rate go up eight to nine per cent this year while the Municipality of Charlton and Dack saw an increase of 36 per cent. Latchford clerk-treasurer Jaime Allen told The Speaker in an email message that the town’s rate increased by 13.5 per cent. “We had to change our provider several years ago to attempt to control the increases, so (we) fully appreciate and support the effort by the other municipalities,” said Lefebvre later in an email interview. Back at their regular meeting on January 21, Latchford council passed a resolution to support Charlton-Dack’s resolution that stands up against rising municipal insurance rates. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will review a decision to order a new trial for an Alberta man convicted of murder. Russell Steven Tessier was charged with first-degree murder in 2015, eight years after Allan Gerald Berdahl's body was found in a ditch near Carstairs. Berdahl died from gunshot wounds to the head, and there were tire tracks, footprints and two cigarette butts near the scene. Tessier was convicted in 2018 but Alberta's Court of Appeal later ordered a new trial. The appeal court said the trial judge made legal errors concerning the voluntariness of statements Tessier made to police. As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for agreeing to hear the case. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Peace River Regional District directors approved construction for a water spray park at their Feb. 25 meeting. The spray park was suggested by residents in 2016, and $350,000 has been set aside for the project in the regional district’s 2020 budget. The spray park will be located on the northeast corner of the Chetwynd and District Recreation Grounds. It’s estimated the park would cost $90,000 a year to operate. Construction will rely on receiving grant funding for the capital costs, with $40,000 being covered by the District of Chetwynd for water and sewer infrastructure. To date, $106,000 in donations has been collected for the park. email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News