In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 10 ...
What we are watching in Canada ...
UNDATED — COVID-19 cases are threatening to overwhelm hospitals in several parts of Canada, with hospitalizations nearing or reaching record highs in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick.
Former CEO of the University Health Network and Ontario deputy health minister Dr. Bob Bell says every Western country dealing with COVID's fast spreading Omicron variant has a stressed hospital system right now. But he says Canada will pursue lockdowns and restrictions sooner than places such as the United States because it has a lower tolerance for measures like death.
Meanwhile, despite the concerns of both parents and children over surging COVID cases, students in Alberta are headed back to class today.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has promised thousands of test kits will be delivered to students and parents over the next few days. However, Edmonton Public Schools and the Alberta Teachers' Association have said there are still kids who won't get them until days after they return to classes, which could further exacerbate the lightning spread of Omicron cases.
In Quebec, those aged 40 and over can now book appointments for a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — a day after the province set an all-time high of 2,436 hospitalizations linked to coronavirus infections.
Also starting today, staff at National Microbiology Laboratory facilities across the country are being asked to work from home if possible.
A statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada says the move is aimed at protecting the essential workforce conducting critical on-site diagnostic and lab research.
The work from home order covers staff at the lab sites in Winnipeg, Guelph, Ont., Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. and Lethbridge, Alta.
Also this ...
REGINA — Most people in a new Canada-wide survey say equal representation in government is important, but they don't support employers taking demographic characteristics into account in hiring and promotion decisions.
The survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan was done by phone between Dec. 1 and Dec. 24. It asked 1,000 people about equality, diversity and inclusion in workplaces and government.
The majority of respondents said they support various minority groups being in government, including women (89 per cent), Indigenous people (86 per cent), persons with disabilities (83 per cent), visible minorities (81 per cent) and members of the LGBTQ community (68 per cent).
The survey also asked if employers should only consider qualified candidates or if they should also take into account demographic characteristics when hiring.
About 60 per cent of those surveyed said employers should only consider how qualified a candidate is, even if it results in less diversity.
"It's the inverse of what folks were saying in the previous battery of questions, saying it's important that these groups be represented," research director Jason Disano told The Canadian Press in a phone interview from Saskatoon.
"Folks like the idea in theory, but when it comes to real-world implications or potential ramifications on them as an individual, that's when they say, 'Wait a minute, maybe let's take a step back from this. I support the idea, but I don't support specific actions to do it.'"
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
NEW YORK — Hospitals are working to save the lives of multiple people gravely injured by inhaling smoke in a fire that is already New York City’s deadliest in three decades.
Dozens of people were hospitalized, and as many as 13 were in critical condition after Sunday’s blaze, which killed 19 people.
Investigators determined that a malfunctioning electric space heater started the fire in the 19-story building.
Authorities say nine of the dead were children.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said an investigation was underway to determine how the fire spread and whether anything could have been done to prevent or contain the blaze.
What we are watching in the rest of the world ...
GENEVA — Senior U.S. and Russian officials are formally launching special talks on strategic stability as part of a flurry of diplomatic activity in Europe this week aimed at defusing tensions over a Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov led a delegation arriving by Swiss police escort at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva for the latest round of face-to-face talks with Wendy Sherman, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, and her team.
The meeting is part of “Strategic Security Dialogue” talks launched by Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin during a June summit in the Swiss city.
Also this ...
BANGKOK — A legal official says a court in Myanmar has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison after finding her guilty of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions.
Suu Kyi was convicted last month on two other charges and given a four-year prison sentence, which was then halved by the head of the military-installed government.
The cases are among about a dozen brought against the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate since the army seized power last February, ousting her elected government.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say the charges against her are contrived to legitimize the military’s actions and prevent her from returning to politics.
In entertainment ...
UNDATED — Bob Saget, a comedian and actor best known for his role on the sitcom “Full House,” has died. He was 65.
The Orange County, Florida, sheriff’s office says it was called Sunday about an “unresponsive man” and found Saget dead in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando.
Detectives found no signs of foul play or drug use. Saget was in Florida as part of his “I Don’t Do Negative Comedy Tour.”
Saget was also the longtime host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and the narrator of “How I Met Your Mother.”
Tributes pouring in from friends and fellow comics have noted both his humor and kindness.
Also this ...
NEW YORK — One of the co-creators of Woodstock has died.
Michael Lang died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Saturday in New York, according to a spokesperson. He was 77.
Lang was one of four partners who put together "three days of peace and music'' in upstate New York in 1969.
About 400-thousand people showed up to see Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix in what became a cultural highlight for a generation of music fans.
Lang also helped stage Woodstock 94 and Woodstock 99, but his plans for Woodstock 2019 were scrapped for financial reasons.
Lang said at Woodstock 99 he may not sit back and enjoy the music at his festivals, but he definitely enjoyed being absorbed in what he created.
In sports ...
MELBOURNE — Tennis star Novak Djokovic has won a court battle to stay in Australia to contest the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated against CIOVID-19, but the government has threatened to cancel his visa a second time.
A judge reinstated Djokovic’s visa, which was canceled after his arrival last week because officials decided he didn’t meet the criteria for an exemption to an entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated.
The judge also ordered the government to immediately release Djokovic from a Melbourne quarantine hotel where he has spent the last four nights.
But a government lawyer told the judge after the ruling that the immigration minister would consider whether to cancel Djokovic's visa again.
SYDNEY — Felix Auger-Aliassime clinched the ATP Cup title for Canada on Sunday with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 singles victory over Roberto Bautista Agut to give his country an insurmountable 2-0 lead against Spain.
Denis Shapovalov opened the match for Canada with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Pablo Carreno Busta.
“The emotions are unbelievable," Auger-Aliassime said. “There’s no better feeling than winning. We left everything out there."
The results capped a remarkable turnaround for the Canadians after they dropped their first four matches at the annual team competition.
The 16 teams in the field were divided into four groups, with the winners of each group advancing to the semifinals.
Canada opened with a 3-0 loss to the United States before rebounding with wins over Germany and Great Britain to finish first in Group C.
Auger-Aliassime, from Montreal, and Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., won a deciding doubles match against Russia to knock out the defending champions.
And with the title on the line, they played their best tennis Sunday to defeat two-time finalists Spain.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2022
The Canadian Press