Nina Ambrose was “devastated” when lockdown rules meant she couldn't visit her father.
Nina Ambrose was “devastated” when lockdown rules meant she couldn't visit her father.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
A man is dead after he crashed his vehicle into the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place early Sunday, Toronto police say. Police said they were called to the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue at 4:19 a.m.. The man was driving at high speed and slammed into the gates. He was pronounced dead at the scene.Police have not released his age. Officers are currently investigating the crash.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona's personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologistDr. Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighbourhood.Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona's relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor's office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday.It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona's medical records.Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.The Associated Press
Les producteurs laitiers se disent satisfaits de l’annonce de la ministre de l’Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau sur la deuxième année de l’indemnisation promise pour les concessions faites dans le cadre des accords commerciaux ainsi que l’échéancier pour le solde des paiements. La ministre Bibeau a annoncé le paiement des indemnisations promises et réclamées depuis plusieurs mois par les producteurs et l’opposition à la Chambre des Communes. Ils recevront le reste des versements sur une période de trois ans dès 2020, soit environ 38 000 dollars par an pour un producteur ayant 80 vaches. Les producteurs laitiers du Canada (PLC) avaient besoin de plus d’assurance pour « investir et accroître leur efficacité » selon un communiqué. Ils aimeraient être mieux préparés pour faire face à l’intensification de la concurrence des produits laitiers importés et fabriqués à partir de lait produit ailleurs à la suite des concessions accordées par les accords commerciaux auxquels Ottawa a souscrit sur la scène internationale. « Ces investissements importants à la ferme ne peuvent être effectués qu’avec un certain degré de certitude par rapport aux compensations promises par le gouvernement. La réduction des délais pour les paiements est une reconnaissance par le gouvernement de l’importance de la concurrence étrangère à laquelle nous sommes confrontés. C’est pourquoi l’annonce d’aujourd’hui est si importante », a déclaré Pierre Lampron, président des producteurs laitiers du Canada. Passer à la dernière étape du plan Les PLC envisageaient de réaliser en 2020 trois étapes de leur plan de travail avec le gouvernement. Il s’agit de l’obtention du paiement de la deuxième année du programme de rémunération de huit ans, l’élaboration d’un échéancier des paiements pour les années restantes ; et l’élaboration d’un plan pour l’indemnisation complète et équitable pour l’ACEUM. « Nous tournons maintenant notre attention vers le dernier point de notre plan de travail, soit l’indemnisation pour l’ACEUM, et nous avons hâte d’entamer les discussions avec la vice-première ministre Freeland et la ministre Bibeau », a ajouté M. Lampron, reconnaissant à l’endroit du premier ministre Justin Trudeau qui a donné suite à son engagement. Les producteurs canadiens ont concédé d’importantes parts de marché dans l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG), l’Accord de Partenariat transpacifique global et progressiste (PTPGP) et plus tard L’Accord Canada–États-Unis–Mexique (ACEUM). « La capacité de réussite du secteur a été mise en péril par la signature de ces trois accords commerciaux », a repris le PLC, signalant que d’ici 2024, 18 % de notre production laitière nationale aura été transférée à des producteurs étrangers qui fourniront du lait pour les produits laitiers importés qui se retrouveront sur les tablettes des épiceries canadiennes. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's COVID-19 active outbreak list continues to grow, with the province adding multiple sports teams and identifying two medical units to the list over the last few days.In non-household settings, the provincial government confirms an outbreak when two or more people test positive for COVID-19.On Thursday the Raymore Rockets Hockey Team was identified as having an active outbreak, as were Regina's Doogz Diggers Hockey Team, the Bro-Ci-Tops Hockey Team and the Southey Marlins Hockey Team. Gailenes Child Care and cast members of the Turvey Centre's Louis Riel play in Regina, and Standard Motors in Swift Current were also identified as sites of active COVID-19 outbreaks on Thursday. On Friday, more sports teams were identified as having active outbreaks, including Prince Albert's U15 Bantam Thunder Hockey and U18 Lehner Electric Foxes Hockey teams.The Lloydminster Men's Shelter, Regina's PTI Transformers Inc. and Prince Albert's River Breeze Personal Care Home and St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral were also identified as sites of active outbreaks on Friday.An outbreak was declared at the Shellbrook Curling Club, which was also the subject of a recent exposure alert released by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.On Saturday the Regina General Hospital's hemodialysis unit reported a COVID-19 outbreak, as did the dialysis unit at Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital and Fairview School in Swift Current.
ROME — Rescuers on Sunday retrieved the body of an elderly woman, the third fatality in the Sardinian town of Bitti, which was partially buried a day earlier by mudslides after torrential rainfall. The Italian news agency LaPresse said that the corpse of the 89-year-old victim had washed downhill from near her home to the town basketball court. On Saturday, the bodies of the two other victims were found. One was a rancher who was caught up in the raging muddy waters on his way home; the other was a 90-year-old man in his home. The mud in the streets reached the second floor of many buildings. Rescue crews and residents on Sunday, walking on top of the heavily packed mud, found themselves flanking upper-story balconies in the town of 2,700 people in east-central Sardinia in the province of Nuoro. The floodwaters and mounds of mud overturned and smashed cars, leaving vehicles half-buried in dirt and debris. Geologists noted that the storm-triggered calamity was the latest of several similar ones, including one in November 2013 that claimed 19 lives, to afflict the Mediterranean island. They stressed that many inhabited areas were developed on geologically unstable terrain. Sardinia Gov. Christian Solinas on Sunday lamented what he said was “excessive bureaucracy” in the failure to implement projects, funded in the wake of the 2013 flooding, to make areas of the island geologically safe. The Associated Press
Ontario reported another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday. The new cases include 503 in Peel Region, 463 in Toronto and 185 in York Region. There are 1,443 more cases marked as resolved. The Ontario health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting that 3.7 per cent of the tests processed are positive.Public health officials said this week that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Ottawa: 79. * Durham Region: 73. * Waterloo: 63. * Hamilton: 60. * Windsor-Essex: 37. * Halton: 31. * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30. * Simcoe Muskoka: 30. * Niagara Region: 28. * Middlesex-London: 20. * Thunder Bay: 19. * Southwestern: 17. * Eastern Ontario: 10. * Brant County: 10.(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry'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.)The seven-day average for the number of new cases reported per day has reached a new high of 1,548, the highest it has been since the pandemic began. There are also 586 people in hospital, nine fewer than on Saturday. However, Saturday's hospitalization data saw an increase of 54 over a single day. Those hospitalizations are also nearly double what they were a month ago. There are 155 people in intensive care units as of Sunday and 99 of those individuals are on a ventilator, the same number as Saturday.The number of deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began has reached 3,648. A total of 503 of those deaths occurred this month.Of Sunday's deaths, one person was in his or her 50s, four people were in their 60s, three people were in their 70s and there were 10 people in their 80s and six in their 90s, respectively. 11 infections linked to Vaughan sports centreYork Region Public Health says that 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor soccer games at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.The public health region issued a notice on Sunday to alert the public about a cluster of confirmed cases that emerged after a group of 20 to 25 people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. "While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.Everyone who played soccer over both days are considered high-risk and have been told to isolate for 14 days. York Region was moved to the province's red control zone on Nov. 16, which prohibits the playing or practising of team sports except for training. York Region continues enforcement blitzOfficials also continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province's "red" zones. The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued tickets at 16, a news release said.An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges.Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 "compliance education activities," the release said.New regions moving into more restrictive zones MondayOn Friday, Ontario announced that five more regions would be moved into more restrictive zones on Monday at 12:01 a.m.They include: * Red-Control * Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. * Orange-Restrict * Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. * Yellow-Protect * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. * Lambton Public Health. * Northwestern Health Unit.
Pour compenser les pertes engendrées par les accords de libre-échange, les producteurs laitiers recevront le reste des versements dus en trois ans dès cette année et ceux de la volaille se contenteront d’une enveloppe de 691 millions de dollars sur 10 ans selon la ministre fédérale de l’Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau. Les producteurs de lait seront les premiers à passer à la caisse à travers la Commission canadienne du lait qui se chargera de la distribution des fonds. Le gouvernement fédéral leur avait promis l’année dernière une aide de 1,75 milliard de dollars sur une période de huit ans. Selon l’exemple de la ministre Bibeau, un producteur laitier ayant 80 vaches touchera environ 38 000 dollars par an, soit en moyenne 468 millions de dollars pour près de 10 400 fermiers au Canada. Quelque 4800 producteurs de volailles et d’œufs attendent des versements de ce programme d’aide destiné à la mise en marché pour apaiser leurs tensions de trésorerie. L’Accord de partenariat transpacifique (PTPCG), l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) et l’Accord Canada–États-Unis–Mexique (ACEUM) ont coûté aux producteurs et transformateurs près de 10 % de part de marché pour le seul secteur laitier selon le député bloquiste Louis Plamondon. Seuls ces producteurs laitiers ont reçu un premier versement pour les deux premiers accords et sont toujours dans l’attente du second chèque pour l’année 2020. Il n’y a pas encore d’échéancier précis pour le nouvel accord Canada-Etats-Unis-Mexique, a précisé la ministre Bibeau en conférence de presse, annonçant des « des compensations pleines et équitables pour le nouvel ALENA. » Elle a réitéré l’engagement du fédéral à protéger le système sous gestion de l’offre afin que la production canadienne exposée à la concurrence internationale ne paie pas trop cher. « Nous avons conclu une entente avec le Royaume-Uni. Comme promis, aucune part de marché sous gestion de l’offre n’a été cédée. Notre engagement est ferme. Aucune autre part de marché sous gestion de l’offre ne sera sanctifiée par notre gouvernement dans les accords commerciaux à venir », a-t-elle soutenu, plaidant pour les communautés rurales et la sécurité alimentaire. « Uniquement pour les producteurs laitiers, ce sont des manques à gagner permanents de l’ordre de 450 millions de dollars par année que les concessions leur coûtent. Pour l’ensemble des productions et de la transformation sous gestion de l’offre, on est clairement au-dessus du demi-milliard de dollars », avait indiqué jeudi le porte-parole du Bloc Québécois en matière d’agriculture, Yves Perron, à l’introduction d’un projet de loi sur les futures négociations commerciales. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Sunday that his “top priority” is a plan for COVID-19 vaccines, adding “there is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible.”
A resident in a Victoria assisted living facility says the return to stringent COVID-19 prevention measures is leading to increased anxiety and isolation for the seniors who live there. Judith Hodgson lives with her husband, Camil Dufort, at Ross Place Retirement Residence, where she says everyone has been asked to stay in their suites. "Our meals come to the door in boxes, not always warm," she said. "Many of us have no 'essential visitor,' and many of us will not see family or a friend at Christmas. But we all hope this will help COVID numbers to go down."Hodgson's concerns echo those raised in two separate reports released this month by the B.C. Care Providers Association and by British Columbia's Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.Terry Lake, CEO of the B.C. Care Providers Association, says there have been no cases to date of visitors bringing COVID-19 into long-term care. Mackenzie urged easing visitor restrictions after a survey by her office found the restrictions were harming the health of long-term care home residents. In an interview with CBC On the Island host Gregor Craigie, Hodgson said that over the summer months, when COVID-19 cases declined and restrictions eased, residents enjoyed increased freedom and renewed social connections."We went back to the dining rooms. There were only two at a table," Hodgson said. "We resumed some exercises in hallways and some people went out to visit with families and friends."Those days of relative freedom ended with the arrival of B.C.'s second wave of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Hodgson worries about the loneliness of her fellow residents. Many are in their 90s or older and are missing the ability to visit with family members. Others are heartbreakingly alone.Hodgson said neighbours in the building try to support each other through phone calls, elbow bumps when they meet in the hallway, and small, distanced happy-hour dates. But she said it's hard to summon the energy and optimism that helped get her through the first wave of the pandemic. The couple is also coping with a non-COVID-related health setback, after Dufort, 88, suffered a small stroke. "For three days I haven't been out except to pick up my mail and I'm kind of a social person. And so I'm finding it really difficult," she said. "All I want for Christmas is a hug." She would also like to talk to an anti-mask protester."We just want to meet one of these people who refuses to wear a mask and talks about their personal freedom, and bring them in to live in a facility for a week and see what they would think," Hodgson said. "They are thinking about their freedom," she said. "Well, I think my rights end where yours begin, I'll put it that way."To listen to the full interview with Judith Hodgson, tap the link below: With files from CBC Radio On The Island
NEW YORK — Testing a novel release strategy, Universal Pictures' animated sequel “The Croods: A New Age” had one of the best opening weekends of the pandemic, grossing $14.2 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.Whereas new releases have traditionally lasted around 90 days in theatres, Universal has mapped out a shorted theatrical window in deals with major chains AMC and Cinemark that gives the studio the option to move new releases to premium video-on-demand after just 17 days. “The Croods: A New Age” is expected to shift to the home before Christmas for a $20 rental. For an industry reeling from the pandemic, it's part of wider changes seeping through the industry.“The Croods: A New Age” grossed $9.7 million Friday-Sunday, which rivals even the weekend start for “Tenet” in October. Warner Bros. didn't break down the three-day weekend figures for “Tenet,” which began preview screenings in the U.S. on a Monday, but said it grossed $20.2 million in its first week in U.S. theatres plus its first two weeks in Canadian theatres.While the opening for “The Croods: A New Age” was something Hollywood hadn’t seen in months — a movie that outperformed expectations — it was still only a sliver of what the industry usually sees in the typically busy holiday movie season. Last year, “Frozen II” led all films over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend with $123.7 million, while “Knives Out” scored $41.7 millionSince “Tenet” opened, most larger releases have been postponed or detoured to digital, sometimes while still playing in theatres overseas. The Walt Disney Co. steered “Mulan” to a premium purchase on Disney+, but opened in China and elsewhere. Next month, Warner Bros. will release “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously on HBO Max and in theatres. Disney has uprooted the Pixar animation “Soul” to its streaming platform.That's left smaller films to lead what's left of the box office — about 40% of the normal number of theatres. Most have tapped out around $4 million on opening weekend. The Kevin Costner and Diane Lane film “Let Him Go” debuted with $4.1 million in ticket sales from 2,454 locations earlier this month. The body-swap horror movie “Freaky,” with Vince Vaughn, has been No. 1 the last two weekends after debuting with $3.7 million.One of the biggest differences is that Universal spent more heavily to market the $65 million “Croods” sequel from DreamWorks Animation. It played in 2,211 locations, or about half the usual amount for such a release.Overseas, the film grossed $20.8 with almost all of that — $19.2 million — coming from China.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPJake Coyle, The Associated Press
New HIV infections are at their lowest rate since the disease first hit British Columbia, according to top researcher Dr. Julio Montaner.Last year, on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Montaner declared the epidemic of HIV/AIDS over in B.C. because infection rates had fallen so low. This year, despite concerns that COVID-19 restrictions would get in the way, the spread of HIV has declined even further. Montaner is the executive director and chief physician at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the head of the HIV/AIDS Program at St. Paul's Hospital.He was instrumental in turning HIV infections from a death sentence to a manageable condition. Now, he is concerned the success he has helped create in B.C. is not happening elsewhere. "The rest of the country and the rest of the world are falling behind," said Montaner. In April, after pandemic restrictions came into place, Montaner and others were concerned. HIV testing rates fell and people struggled to access health care. After four decades of hard work on the AIDS pandemic, to Montaner, it was "unthinkable."Now, he worries, we squandered the opportunity to prepare for the second wave of COVID this past summer, when new COVID infections were low. "We wasted the summer celebrating our success without taking responsibility collectively that we need to be cautious," he said. "I am very concerned that the way things are going with shutdowns and lockdowns and competition for health-care resources."Montaner worries B.C. is not up to speed on contact tracing, hasn't managed to expand testing and implement rapid testing, approaches he calls "game-changers" in controlling HIV."We don't seem to learn from the past," he said. "It's very frustrating."Fight against HIV/AIDS 'in peril'Montaner is hopeful incoming U.S. President Joe Biden will show leadership internationally on HIV/AIDS.He blames the lack of leadership under President Donald Trump, the financial crisis, and now COVID, for stalling the global effort. "We have the threat of COVID today that, unfortunately, has taken all of the oxygen out of the room and made it so HIV services are in jeopardy." said Montaner. He says the next step is to "recapture the imagination" of world leaders who have let HIV/AIDS fall off the agenda. "We know what to do. All we have to do is implement it." To hear the complete interview with Dr. Julio Montaner on CBC's The Early Edition, tap the audio link below:
TORONTO — Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. According to the previously unpublished information from Correctional Service Canada, only two per cent of reviews by independent external decision-makers resulted in inmates moved out of isolation, and then not always right away. "There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate, for example, if the inmate refuses to leave or a transfer is pending for a suitable placement," the service said. "Our goal is to ensure they can be safely returned to a different environment, which in most cases is to a mainstream population." The data, viewed with skepticism by critics, indicate that external reviewers weighed in 1,475 times as of Nov. 1. Of those, 905 were triggered by inmates isolated for longer than the legally allowed stretches. One year ago, after the courts had repeatedly struck down administrative segregation used to isolate prisoners who posed a threat to themselves or others, the government implemented a new system called structured intervention units. Key changes included allowing inmates out of their cells for at least four hours a day, giving them a daily minimum of two hours of meaningful interaction with others, and putting an external oversight mechanism in place that can result in binding directives. Since then, reviewers have looked at the confinement conditions of about 740 individual inmates. The aim was to see whether authorities were abiding by the new rules, such as giving prisoners a chance to be out of their cells and interact with others. Overall, the reviews concluded authorities took all reasonable steps to meet their obligations in 79 per cent of the cases, the service said. Critics, however, have called the new system rebranded solitary confinement. For example, criminologist Anthony Doob, who led a government advisory committee on the issue, and colleague Jane Sprott, concluded the government was failing to live up to the legislated requirements. Among other things, their analysis found a sizable percentage of inmates had spent more than two months in confinement and few had received the mandated four hours daily out of their cells and two hours of human contact. Dr. Adelina Iftene, an assistant law professor at Dalhousie University, said the new data raise questions about the review process or IEDMs. "Either there is a lack of clarity on what exactly are the role and powers of the IEDMs, or the IEDMs are tigers without teeth, or the IEDMs are not fulfilling their role," Iftene said. "The implication remains that there may still be no effective oversight of placements in the SIUs." The tiny number of reviews resulting in directives to move an inmate from confinement also raises questions about the quality of the information fed to reviewers, Iftene said. "Did they know that so many people were effectively experiencing solitary confinement?" she said. "If so, how is it possible that they recommended removal from the SIUs only in two per cent of cases?" Whether individuals’ rights are being upheld is a yes or no question, Iftene added. There are no “reasonable steps.” Correctional Service Canada defended its approach, saying the new system is part of a "historic transformation" that can't happen overnight. "It takes time to instill cultural and transformational change," the service said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
NAIROBI, Kenya — Ethiopia's announcement that it has completed its military offensive in its defiant Tigray region “does not mean the conflict is finished,” the U.N. refugee chief said Sunday, adding he is very concerned about the fate of nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees there amid reports that some have been abducted.If confirmed, such treatment of refugees in camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea “would be major violations of international norms,” Filippo Grandi told reporters. “It is my strong appeal for the prime minister of Ethiopia for this situation to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”Nearly a month of fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray regional ones has threatened to destabilize Ethiopia, the linchpin of the strategic Horn of Africa, and its neighbours. The involvement of Eritrea in the conflict has been alleged by refugees and the now-fugitive Tigray leaders but, like much in the sealed-off region, has not been verified.Meanwhile, in a rare report from inside the Tigray capital of Mekele, the International Committee of the Red Cross said a major hospital in northern Ethiopia, Ayder Referral Hospital, is lacking body bags while some 80% of its patients have trauma injuries.“The influx of wounded forced the hospital to suspend many other medical services so that limited staff and resources could be devoted to emergency medical care,” it said.Hospitals and health centres in the Tigray region are running “dangerously low” on supplies to care for the wounded, it added. Food is also running low, the result of the Tigray region being cut off from outside aid for almost a month.The ICRC also said 1,000 Eritrean refugees have arrived in Mekele from their refugee camps near the Eritrean border, looking for food and other help.Eritrea, which watchdogs call one of the world's most repressive countries, has remained almost silent on the allegations by the Tigray regional leaders that it has been involved in the conflict at the invitation of Ethiopia and its Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose government has denied it.Overnight, the U.S. Embassy in Eritrea said six explosions were heard in the capital, Asmara. It followed an embassy report of another “loud noise, possibly an explosion” on Friday, nearly two weeks after the Tigray regional leader confirmed firing missiles at the city.The latest explosions came just hours after Abiy declared victory in his government’s fighting against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has run the northern Tigray region. The army said it was in “full control” of Mekele but the government said TPLF leaders remain on the run.The U.S. has accused the TPLF of seeking to “internationalize” the deadly conflict in which aid groups say several hundred people have been killed, including civilians.Communications remain almost completely severed with the Tigray region of 6 million people, and the U.N. has been unable to access it with aid. Fears are growing about the atrocities that might emerge once transport and other links are restored.It has been impossible to verify claims made by the warring sides.Nearly 1 million people have been displaced, including about 44,000 who fled into Sudan. The camps that are home to the 96,000 Eritrean refugees have been in the line of fire.“We need first and foremost access” to Tigray, Grandi said, adding that his U.N. colleagues in Addis Ababa are in discussions with the government there. Abiy's government has promised a “humanitarian corridor" managed by itself, but the U.N. has stressed the importance of neutrality.Asked about refugees' allegations that Ethiopian security forces have blocked people from fleeing the conflict into Sudan, the U.N. refugee chief said his team had not raised that issue with Ethiopia's government. But refugees told him about the “many checkpoints” and pockets of insecurity they faced as they fled.“We have not heard of any systematic sealing-off,” Grandi said. “But certainly there are growing difficulties."Most people travelled with nothing, Grandi said, and many are farmers who were forced to flee at harvest time, creating a “very difficult situation for them.”Even before it declared victory in the conflict, Abiy's government was urging the refugees to return and promised to protect them. But many of the refugees have said they were running from the deadly violence of Ethiopian forces and attacks from the direction of nearby Eritrea.“Of course, I'm not encouraging people to return,” Grandu said, adding that refugees told him they fear possible retaliation and intercommunal violence and need security assurances before they can go home.The U.N, refugee agency is asking for almost $150 million in aid over the next six months to support up to 100,000 refugees.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
Mummers might already wear masks, but they still have to abide by other COVID-19 restrictions. Having thousands of people disguised in doilies stroll down the streets of St. John's just doesn't jive with a recommendation from provincial health officials to only go mummering with close contacts this year. The annual Mummers Parade is moving online, along with most of the regular festival events leading up to it."Everything that we do, typically, is back. It's just in a digital platform," said Mummers Festival Executive Director Lynn McShane.No parade in pandemicA typical parade day starts with a "rig up," where people pick through tables of clothes to find a costume. This year, starting at 1:30 p.m. NT on Dec 12, organizers will be on Facebook Live offering up tips and ideas for what to wear.The parade itself will be replaced by a video of people in their mummering best. The festival is asking anyone who wants to be in it to dress up, record themselves, and send in a snippet by Dec 1.The parade day stream will end with a virtual concert.McShane said hosting most of the festival on the internet opens up possibilities for who can take part. "People who are not residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are just loving the opportunity to be able to join in from afar," she said. There are presentations, panel discussions and crafting lessons planned in the two weeks ahead of the parade.All the events and most of the required supplies are free, but donations are encouraged.Bring your own boot"The thing with mummering is eventually you take off your mask, so in terms of this year and COVID, I don't know if it offers much protection," Ryan Davis said in an interview ahead of his online ugly stick workshop Saturday. In past years, he's taught people how to put the instrument together in person.Festival volunteers predrilled the sticks and punched holes in bottle caps to ease at-home assembly. Participants could register and pick up a kit in St. John's containing all the ugly stick essentials at no charge — they just needed to have an old boot or sneaker for the bottom.For people who didn't have a kit from the festival, Davis offered up alternatives.He said they're not an essential mummering accessory, but they do amplify the experience."It's actually great if you want to go mummering because you don't want to take your nice guitar or your fancy instrument," Davis said."This is something you can beat up and beat around, so in that way, it's great for mummering."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A poet and creative writing instructor from Vancouver Island University has chronicled her experience of being Black in Nanaimo in a song, as part of a project called Re-Imagine Nanaimo. Sonnet L'abbe was asked how she would like to see the city of Nanaimo in 20 years and, as part of her response, she said she'd like it to include more people who look like her. "When Nanaimo asked what my vision would be for the next 20 years, I just want to encourage more people of colour and more Black people to come. Join me," L'abbe said to host Kathryn Marlow on CBC's All Points West. L'abbe has performed her song Nazaneen as part of the city's ongoing Re-Imagine Nanaimo project, which envisions what the city will look like in 2040. While the project is looking at sustainability, transit and housing, L'abbe said she wanted to open up the conversation to include the texture of the community."It felt like an opportunity to keep conversations about Black lives front and centre and to remind people about the Black community on the island while also just expressing my love for Nanaimo," she said. Listen to Nazaneen:L'abbe, who describes herself as a mixed race Black person of colour, moved to the mid-island city from Toronto a few years ago. Nazaneen addresses a fictitious Black woman who is considering making a similar move. While the song gushes over the affordability of Nanaimo's real estate and cedar-lined trails, it also notes there is no "good jerk chicken" and that "when I went to the Queens/for the reggae scene/all the dreadlocked rastas were white.""I think they're hearing the humour. I think they're hearing the love, and I think they're also hearing the opportunity, or to hear a part of a conversation that they might not have heard before," said L'abbe.L'abbe says observing that smaller towns don't have the same diversity as larger cities isn't "striking," but her own experiences of Nanaimo have been largely welcoming."The openness of people and peoples' willingness to talk, and my own exposure to, I don't know, the Chicago Blues, has been warm and surprising and it has changed me a lot, too," she said. "It has been so welcoming here."Listen to the interview with Sonnet L'abbe on CBC's All Points West:For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
TOKYO — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.Japan’s Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to Games organizers.The sources were granted anonymity because Games organizers have not publicly divulged the losses incurred as a result of thje postponement.The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organizers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about $650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.Tokyo is becoming very expensive.The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.Tokyo said the Games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.The $2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.The IOC and organizers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a skeptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.The Olympics are to open July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and ten of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.IOC president Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many spectators from abroad will be allowed to attend.Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.—-More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Wade, The Associated Press