Check out how the Beckhams did Halloween 2020.
Check out how the Beckhams did Halloween 2020.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden will likely wear a walking boot for the next several weeks as he recovers from breaking his right foot while playing with one of his dogs, his doctor said.Biden suffered the injury on Saturday and visited an orthopedist in Newark, Delaware, on Sunday afternoon, his office said.“Initial x-rays did not show any obvious fracture,” but medical staff ordered a more detailed CT scan, his doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said in a statement. The subsequent scan found tiny fractures of two small bones in the middle of his right foot, O’Connor said.“It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks,” O’Connor said.Fractures are a concern generally as people age, but Biden’s appears to be a relatively mild one based on his doctor’s statement and the planned treatment. At 78 he will become the oldest president when he’s inaugurated in January; he often dismissed questions about his age during the campaign.Reporters covering the president-elect were not afforded the opportunity to see Biden enter the doctor's office Sunday, despite multiple requests. Leaving the doctor's office to head to an imaging centre for his CT scan, Biden was visibly limping, though he walked without a crutch or other aid.Biden sustained the injury playing with Major, one of the Bidens’ two dogs. They adopted Major in 2018, and acquired their first dog, Champ, after the 2008 election. The Bidens have said they’ll be bringing their dogs to the White House and also plan to get a cat.Last December he released a doctor's report that disclosed he takes a statin to keep his cholesterol at healthy levels, but his doctor described him as “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”___Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be?Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year.“That probably isn't a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press.“Often the big news story has a technical word that's associated with it and in this case, the word pandemic is not just technical but has become general. It's probably the word by which we'll refer to this period in the future,” he said.The word took on urgent specificity in March, when the coronavirus crisis was designated a pandemic, but it started to trend up on Merriam-Webster.com as early January and again in February when the first U.S. deaths and outbreaks on cruise ships occurred.On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, lookups on the site for pandemic spiked hugely. Site interest for the word has remained significantly high through the year, Sokolowski said.By huge, Sokolowski means searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than lookups experienced on the same date last year.Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski noted. The word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for “universal” and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1660s, he said.That was after the plagues of the Middle Ages, Sokolowski said.He attributes the lookup traffic for pandemic not entirely to searchers who didn't know what it meant but also to those on the hunt for more detail, or for inspiration or comfort.“We see that the word love is looked up around Valentine's Day and the word cornucopia is looked up at Thanksgiving,” Sokolowski said. “We see a word like surreal spiking when a moment of national tragedy or shock occurs. It's the idea of dictionaries being the beginning of putting your thoughts in order.”Merriam-Webster acted quickly in March to add and update entries on its site for words related to the pandemic. While “coronavirus” had been in the dictionary for decades, “COVID-19” was coined in February. Thirty-four days later, Merriam-Webster had it up online, along with a couple dozen other entries that were revised to reflect the health emergency.“That's the shortest period of time we've ever seen a word go from coinage to entry,” Sokolowski said. “The word had this urgency.”Coronavirus was among runners up for word of the year as it jumped into the mainstream. Quarantine, asymptomatic, mamba, kraken, defund, antebellum, irregardless, icon, schadenfreude and malarkey were also runners up based on lookup spikes around specific events.Particularly interesting to word nerds like Sokolowski, a lexicographer, is quarantine. With Italian roots, it was used during the Black Death of the 1300s for the period of time a new ship coming into port would have to wait outside a city to prevent disease. The “quar” in quarantine derives from 40, for the 40 days required.Spikes for mamba occurred after the January death of Kobe Bryant, whose nickname was the Black Mamba. A mass of lookups occurred for kraken in July after Seattle's new National Hockey League franchise chose the mythical sea monster as its name, urged along by fans.Country group Lady Antebellum's name change to Lady A drove dictionary interest in June, while malarkey got a boost from President-elect Joe Biden, who's fond of using the word. Icon was front and centre in headlines after the deaths of U.S. Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.The Merriam-Webster site has about 40 million unique monthly users and about 100 million monthly page views.Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
The leader of Ethiopia's rebellious northern forces said on Monday he was still fighting close to the regional capital of Mekelle after it was captured by government troops. Debretsion Gebremichael, who heads the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), also told Reuters in a text message that some Eritrean soldiers fighting alongside the Ethiopian federal forces had been taken prisoner by his side. Billene Seyoum, the spokeswoman for the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, told Reuters that responding to "delusions of a criminal clique" was not the government's focus.
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, inking contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021. The most recent development from Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the national distribution effort. But various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: — Nova Scotia The province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang said Friday there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year. Strang said a detailed provincial plan, to be released once the federal government has shared more specifics on its end, will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He said he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. — Quebec The province will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1, say senior politicians. Premier Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but did not release details. Legault said the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options, currently in development through pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon, and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is among those leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy. Early speculation on the number of doses the province could receive was put to rest earlier this week when federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works. But Ford has forged ahead, naming former chief of national defence Gen. Rick Hillier to oversee the province's vaccine rollout. Hillier said on Friday he hopes to have a plan developed by year's end, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery. "We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said. — Alberta The province's top medical official has said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also said a number of hurdles and unknowns remain as the province works to devise its vaccination scheme. "These (vaccine) numbers, of course, depend on many factors,'' Hinshaw said on Nov. 18. "They depend on the final pieces of the trials that are underway going well. They depend on ensuring that the safety and the effectiveness of the early vaccines can be assured. All of those checks and balances must be cleared." On Friday, Hinshaw said the province is working with Ottawa to get vaccine, but it is "a bit of a moving target" on when vaccines might be available. "But our goal is that whenever vaccine is available, we will be ready to start immunizing individuals on that highest priority list." — British Columbia Provincial health officials announced on Wednesday that a vaccine strategy for the province is already in the works. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, said Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines. Henry said front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations. She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing. "It's very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best," Henry said. "There's a lot of discussion that needs to happen." Henry said the province hopes to have vaccines in hand by January. — Yukon Premier Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He said the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers. Silver said rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he said he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier said he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. “How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies right across the nation?” he said. Silver said the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 30, 2020:There are 370,238 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 141,038 confirmed (including 7,033 deaths, 122,014 resolved) _ Ontario: 114,746 confirmed (including 3,648 deaths, 97,319 resolved) _ Alberta: 56,444 confirmed (including 533 deaths, 40,219 resolved) _ British Columbia: 30,884 confirmed (including 395 deaths, 21,304 resolved) _ Manitoba: 16,483 confirmed (including 301 deaths, 7,010 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 8,239 confirmed (including 45 deaths, 4,589 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,271 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,078 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 481 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 363 resolved) _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 333 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 297 resolved) _ Nunavut: 177 confirmed (including 65 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed (including 68 resolved) _ Yukon: 42 confirmed (including 1 death, 29 resolved) _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved) _ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Total: 370,238 (0 presumptive, 370,238 confirmed including 12,032 deaths, 294,383 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A new report on food bank use across Ontario shows there was a surge in demand for those services when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the province over the winter. The latest study released today by Feed Ontario says the number of people accessing food banks had already gone up over the previous year when the global health crisis began, which exacerbated existing issues. The organization included a special analysis of the impact of the pandemic alongside its usual report on annual food bank use, which gathers data from 130 member food banks and 1,100 affiliate agencies. The annual report looks at data from April 2019 to this April, while the pandemic analysis covers data from 71 members and 339 affiliates between March 17 — when Ontario declared a health emergency — and September. It says all food banks reported a significant increase in the number of first-time users in the first four months of the pandemic. And 20 per cent of food banks surveyed reported seeing a "continued surge" in the number of people accessing their services on an ongoing basis — an increase of five to 54 per cent — even beyond that period. Government intervention in the form of income support programs or eviction bans helped reduce the demand for food banks in many regions later in the pandemic, the report says, as did the emergence of community initiatives such as meal programs. "What this means is that lowered numbers are not always representative of a decrease in need, but rather a redistribution of community support services that fall outside of our network’s data collection and surveying," the organization says in the report. It also notes that some people, notably seniors, were too afraid to leave their homes to access community services, which may have contributed to the decrease in demand. Food banks in Burlington, Cornwall, Kanata, Orillia and Windsor surveyed close to 200 or their visitors in September and found each said the pandemic had made the challenges they already faced much more difficult, the report says. "Many survey respondents reported incurring increased debt to help pay for monthly necessities, as well as choosing to go without food in order to pay the bills," the document says. "Perhaps most staggering is that one out of two survey respondents reported that they are worried about facing eviction or defaulting on their mortgage in the coming months." The number of people accessing Ontario's food banks between April 1, 2019 and March 31st of this year went up more than five per cent compared with the previous year, to 537,575, according to the report. Feed Ontario says its data shows the primary drivers of continued growth in food bank use are inadequate social supports, precarious employment and a lack of affordable housing. More than 65 per cent of food bank users in the last year listed social assistance programs such as Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program as their primary source of income, the report says. Food banks continued to see a rise in the number of employed adults using their services, with an eight per cent increase in the last year and a 44 per cent increase over the last four, it says. "This continuing trend is largely the result of a rise in casual, contract, and part-time employment, which makes it difficult for wageworkers to secure sufficient income each month, changes to Ontario’s labour laws, including the removal of paid sick days, and the inadequate support and accessibility of worker support programs," the document says. The report says more than 86 per cent of food bank users in the last year were living in rental units or social housing and spent most of their income on rent. What's more, food banks have seen a 27 per cent increase in the last year in the number of users living in precarious housing such as emergency shelters or staying with friends and family, the report says. The organization does not collect data on race but acknowledged racialized communities face systemic hurdles as well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
A slew of travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be extended into January, the federal government said Sunday, as case counts continued to rise steadily across the country.In a statement, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the measures would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021 for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.The rules were first imposed near the start of the global outbreak."We have introduced a number of policies to keep Canadians safe but must remain flexible and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation," Blair said in a statement.The ministers said restrictions for visitors crossing the border from the U.S. are currently in place until Dec. 21, but may be extended. Among the new rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.But the ministers also said they're looking to make it possible for "high-performance, amateur sporting organizations" to hold major international events on Canadian soil.They said the successful applicants would need to present a public health plan as well as show they've secured the support of provincial and territorial governments and health authorities.The Department of Canadian Heritage will issue authorizations in consultation with the Health Agency of Canada, the ministers said.The announcement comes as COVID-19 case counts continued to mount, though at levels slightly below the record-setting daily tallies seen in several regions in recent weeks.Public health officials in Quebec reported 1,395 new cases on Sunday, while Ontario recorded 1,708 new infections -- pushing the provincial totals since the pandemic began to 141,038 and 114,746, respectively.Cases also have gone up steadily in Atlantic Canada, with New Brunswick reporting 14 new diagnoses on Sunday and Newfoundland and Labrador recording four additional infections.Public health officials in Nova Scotia logged 10 new cases, all in the province's central zone, which includes Halifax.Manitoba reported 365 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 11 new deaths -- almost all of which were linked to outbreaks in care homes. Health officials said nine of the 11 deaths were people in their 80s and 90s, one was a man in his 60s and one was a man in his 70s.The case count in Nunavut also rose by 13, while Saskatchewan reported 351 new infections. Alberta reported its second highest number of new COVID-19 cases, logging 1,608, with nine more deaths. Canada's top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the highest rate of infection is among people aged 80 and over, while more outbreaks are happening in long-term care homes."Cases are increasing among older adults," Tam said in a statement.Both Quebec and Manitoba reported new, significant outbreaks at such facilities.A Montreal public health agency on Sunday transferred 20 residents of a long-term care home to two local hospitals after a COVID-19 outbreak drew widespread concern this week.Officials said 30 residents had tested positive for COVID-19 at Maimonides Geriatric Centre. Ten residents there have died during the pandemic’s second wave, according to the latest Quebec Health Department data.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.The Canadian Press
WATERLOO — Anne Dagg arrived at Fleur de Lys Ranch in 1956. She was 23, and determined to study wild giraffes. She had driven alone for about 1000 miles through apartheid-era South Africa in a second-hand Ford Prefect with a radiator that needed to be topped up almost every 20 minutes. Then the car she called Camelo, after the giraffe’s scientific name, Camelopardalis, broke down in the dark five miles from her destination. “I started to pray,” she says. “I had to walk, I was so scared.” In a letter to home, she described how she got out of the car, locked it and started to walk along the road in the dark. She couldn’t even see in front of her. But the trial was worth it. “The next morning I saw my first giraffe,” she says with glee. Dagg stayed at Fleur de Lys with her host, Alexander Matthew, for most of the year, observing the giraffes and taking careful notes. “It was heaven,” she says. When Dagg returned to Canada, she earned her PhD in animal behaviour at the University of Waterloo. But she was a woman, and in 1972, after working as an assistant professor of zoology at the University of Guelph and publishing 20 research papers, she was denied tenure by the dean. “I was really angry,” she says. “I was just really annoyed that so many people really didn’t care about the actual information, they just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a woman.” After that, day-to-day life in Waterloo was sometimes surreal for Dagg. “It was weird because no one was ever interested,” she says. “I’d say, ‘I’ve been up Mount Kilimanjaro,’ and there’d be a pause, and you would know they’re thinking, ‘what a liar.’” “I just went with it because there’s nothing else I could do.” Dagg channelled her energy into promoting equality for women and protection for animals, and raised her children with the same values. She continued to write, while working part time in the Independent Studies department at the University of Waterloo. Every Valentine’s Day she took her daughter, Mary, with her to protest the sale of furs in front of department stores in Kitchener, Waterloo and Toronto. They also protested when a circus came to town. “A couple circuses, Barnum and Bailey at the time, came to the Kitchener Auditorium,” says Mary. “I remember the two of us went out with a bunch of other people from similar organizations.” They shouldn’t be treating the elephants and tigers that way, she says. “You can have a circus without using animals, so we would protest that.” Mary also remembers her mother petitioning to ensure the animals at Waterloo Park were treated well, especially the bears and cougar. “They used to have these tiny little cages,” says Mary. “I remember mom just pushing and pushing with The Record. ... Just saying, you’ve got to get these poor animals out of these cages, they’re just so small.” Today, Dagg lives in the Luther Village on the Park community not far from where she and her husband raised their children. An elegant glass environmental award crowds a shelf with a Boggle board game. Robert Bateman paintings share the walls with children’s drawings and a careful giraffe sketch from a teenage fan. A stuffed giraffe takes up a whole corner, while her Doctor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo casually leans against the couch. A giraffe charm hangs from a light fixture and catches the sun. “A lot of them have just been given, which is very kind,” she says. “Then you have to find a home for them.” In her office are neat rows of books: all the books Dagg wrote or collaborated on during her years pursuing science on her own. “It makes me very proud, because that’s a lot of work.” “When other parents would be tired and maybe they would just want to sit and watch TV, or just relax or something, mom would be up in her office working away,” says Mary. “We’d all be doing our homework and mom was either down reading a book or upstairs ...” “... writing a book,” finishes Dagg. For about 30 years Dagg’s accomplishments remained in relative obscurity, until she was tracked down by a group of giraffe biologists in 2010. Unbeknownst to Dagg, she was — and still is — considered a foundational expert in the field by the academic giraffe community. In 2018, a documentary on her, “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes,” was released and her work finally received widespread recognition. After the documentary was released she received awards and national attention. Universities bestowed honorary degrees. The University of Guelph made a formal apology and created a scholarship in her name. The Toronto Zoo named a newborn giraffe after her. Last year she was appointed to the Order of Canada. Dagg still seems a little surprised and tickled by the limelight, but first and foremost she cares about the fate of giraffes. Giraffes are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the world’s most comprehensive resource for the status of species conservation. Habitat loss, illegal hunting and poaching, civil unrest and military activity are all listed as leading threats to giraffe populations. Since 1985, giraffes’ numbers have declined from nearly 152,000 to about 97,500 in 2015. Giraffes’ numbers are much lower than other high-profile African species. For example, chimpanzees’ overall populations are estimated between 170,000 and 299,700, and African elephants at 415,000. To help giraffes survive, Dagg, her daughter, Mary, and their team are launching the Anne Innis Dagg Foundation. Once the documentary about Dagg’s life was released, the Daggs were flooded with requests from people asking how they can join her cause and help save giraffes. “When people watch the movie,” says Mary Dagg, “they just come out going, ‘Wow, what an amazing woman,’ and the next one is, ‘How can I help? How can I make a difference?’ “We realized that what they really want to do is connect with Anne and stuff that Anne is informed with and engaged with. I read somewhere that when you make a donation, you’re not necessarily making a donation toward a cause, you’re donating to a person who has a cause,” Mary says. Dagg’s living room is now a command post for giraffe activity. Cart tables are set up as makeshift desks and covered with stacks of papers, books, binders, articles, and newspaper clippings. Mary Dagg has taken a year’s leave to help launch the foundation. Their goal is to peacefully help preserve the world’s giraffes. For the Daggs, this means a focus on promoting education about giraffes and conservation in African countries including Tanzania, where the giraffe is the national animal. In November, the foundation worked with the Wild Nature Institute to hire an environmental scientist based in Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania. This position of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg Environmental Education Co-ordinator is tasked with visiting schools and communities to raise awareness about giraffe conservation. Tree planting is emphasized to teach the importance of habitat conservation and school trips are organized to take the children to see giraffes in the wild, something many of them have never seen, says Mary. So far 12 schools in Tanzania are scheduled to be visited — four secondary and eight primary. Other funds raised will go toward rangers who track poachers, as well as helping train and support “sniffer” dogs to detect giraffe parts being smuggled across the Tanzanian and Kenyan border, says Mary. With overall numbers down by about 40 per cent in 30 years, giraffes can use all the help they can get. Conservation biologists and experts don’t think they will survive without more direct human intervention. “It’s a very complicated problem. But you’ve got to start somewhere,” says Dagg. “If we don’t smarten up, we could lose the giraffe.” Learn more at anneinnisdaggfoundation.org Leah Gerber’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows her to report on stories about the Grand River Watershed. Email firstname.lastname@example.orgLeah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
VAL D'OR, Que. — Marshall Lessard scored twice as the Val-d'Or Foreurs beat the Rimouski Oceanic 5-1 in Val-d'Or on Sunday afternoon.The Foreurs raced to a 3-0 lead before Rimouski's William Dumoulin scored in the second period to cut the deficit to two goals. Val d'Or, however, got two more goals to put the game away. In addition to Lessard, Justin Robidas, Marc-Olivier Racine-Roy and Maxence Guenette also scored for Val d'Or. William Blackburn stopped 23 shots for Val-d'Or. Matthew Dunsmoor combined with Raphaël Audet for 26 saves for Rimouski. Val-d'Or outshot Rimouski 31-24.DRAKKAR 4 HUSKIES 0ROUYN-NORANDA, Que. -- The Baie-Comeau Drakkar defeated the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 4-0 in Rouyn-Noranda on Sunday afternoon. Felix Gagnon, Xavier Fortin, Julien Letourneau and Julien Hebert each scored a goal for the Drakkar in the victory.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.The Canadian Press
BANGKOK — Thailand’s indefatigable pro-democracy activists took to Bangkok's streets again Sunday, this time to protest the army as they push forward with their campaign for sweeping reforms, including to the nation's monarchy.Around 800 protesters marched to the base of the 11th Infantry Regiment, which is closely associated with the country’s royal palace. Their number grew to well over 1,000 as they settled in for speeches by protest leaders.An advance group of protesters had already pulled away two decrepit buses that had been used to block the entrance to the base and removed strands of razor wire. A large contingent of riot police, several rows deep, stood their ground in front of the gate but no violence was reported by the end of the rally.The protesters believe that the army undermines democracy in Thailand, and that King Maha Vajiralongkorn wields too much power and influence in what is supposed to be a democratic constitutional monarchy.The student-led protesters for months now have been demanding reforms to make the monarchy more accountable, even though criticism of the institution has long been considered taboo and comments judged defamatory of the king and key royals are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.“People should be able to criticize the king. People should be able to inspect what he does. In this way, people will respect and love him more,” said activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who served seven years in prison for defaming the monarchy and is facing criminal charges in connection with this year’s protests.The protesters also want Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down and the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic.As the army chief in 2014, Prayuth led a coup ousting an elected government. His military junta oversaw the rewriting of the constitution, which shifted power from elected politicians to unelected bodies, and he was returned to power after elections held under the new rules last year.Prayuth faces a legal challenge on Wednesday, when the constitutional Court is to rule on whether he illegally stayed in army housing after he retired from the military at the end of September 2014. If found guilty, he could be forced out of the prime minister's post. Protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak urged the crowd to rally outside the court on the day of the verdict.The site of Sunday's protest was symbolic for several reasons.Last year, the 11th Infantry Regiment was shifted from the army’s chain of command and made part of the Royal Security Command, answerable directly to the king. The action was one of several denounced by protesters as an example of the palace taking powers that should not be allowed under constitutional rule.Although it was a bloodless army revolt in 1932 that ended the absolute monarchy and installed constitutional rule, the military and the palace have been closely allied for decades. By promoting and defending the royal institution, the army lays claim to being the protector of the nation, while the palace can count on the army to put down any threats to its position of privilege.There have been 20 military coups since 1932, the most recent ones in 2006 and 2014. Because it is based in Bangkok, the 11th Infantry Regiment has been a key player in coups, or opposing them, according to the prevailing political climate.While most coups are bloodless, the army has not hesitated to use force to crush threats to the established order.In 2010, more than 90 people were killed and almost 2,000 injured during nine weeks of protests that saw part of central Bangkok occupied by protesters who were eventually cleared out by the army. Prayuth, then a senior army general, was involved in the crackdown.In announcing plans for Sunday’s protest, a group from Bangkok’s Thammasat University explained on Twitter that the regiment was targeted “because this unit suppressed people in 2010 and it was the main force for the previous coups.”Near the end of the rally, protesters threw red paint in the direction of the army base — some splattering on shields held by the police — to symbolize the 2010 bloodshed.___Associated Press journalist Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul contributed to this report.Grant Peck, The Associated Press
A group of Quebec artists are coming together to perform a benefit in honour of Joyce Echequan — an Atikamekw woman who shared a live video of abuse she faced from Joliette hospital staff hours before her death.The concert, called Waskapitan, was pre-recorded in Joliette last week and will be made available online as of Thursday Dec. 3.The lineup includes Elisapie, Ariane Moffatt, Florent Vollant, Patrick Watson, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Richard Séguin, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Richard Desjardins, Boucar Diouf and Patrice Robitaille.While the event is being released on demand for free, all funds raised through donations will go to the Lanaudière Native Friendship Centre."Waskapitan in Atikamekw means 'let's come together' and I think we need that more than ever," said Elisapie, who is co-organizing the event.She said this is an opportunity to raise money for expanded services at the Friendship Centre, showcase Indigenous culture and, most of all, pay respect to Echequan's memory."It really shook everybody, it really shook me as a mother, as a human being, as a woman," she told CBC.Jennifer Brazeau, director of the Lanaudière Native Friendship Centre, said that artists have a unique power to reach out and bring people together."We believe this is one of the vectors of change that we can implant after the tragedy to look toward how we can rebuild our communities," she said.She's also hoping the message will reach beyond her local community."We didn't want the issue to be solely the responsibility of Joliette. The events happened here in Joliette [but] this is an issue across the country."The concert will feature both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists including some collaborations, added Elisapie."There will be times when there will be a real musical sharing of cultures. That's what we really wanted to highlight. We have to learn to be closer, to be curious, to be there for each other," she said.The show will be available online from December 3 to January 3.
Deaths from malaria due to disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization warned on Monday. More than 409,000 people globally - most of them babies in the poorest parts of Africa - were killed by malaria last year, the WHO said in its latest global malaria report, and COVID-19 will almost certainly make that toll higher in 2020. "Our estimates are that depending on the level of service disruption (due to COVID-19) ... there could be an excess of malaria deaths of somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 in sub-Saharan Africa, most of them in young children," Pedro Alsonso, director of the WHO's malaria programme, told reporters.
At the start of the school year, Cornell University implemented a strategy of regular testing and robust contact tracing on campus. The plan was expensive, but it’s prevented any major COVID-19 outbreaks at the New York institution.
An injunction that would have paused the provincial government's inquiry into alleged foreign-funded campaigns against Alberta's energy industry was dismissed in the Court of Queen's Bench on Thursday. Justice Karen M. Horner said she agreed with the province and the commissioner that there is no evidence that the release of information from the inquiry will negatively impact the reputation of Ecojustice, an environmental law charity that filed for the injunction. Ecojustice had filed the injunction because they said inquiry commissioner Steve Allan had not put in place a defined process in which organizations could respond to the inquiry, something the organization argued could result in "irreparable reputational harm". However, in September the inquiry posted rules for gathering information from different parties. The United Conservative Party government launched the inquiry in July 2019. Then justice minister Doug Schweitzer appointed Allan, a Calgary insolvency accountant, as the inquiry's commissioner. In November 2019, Ecojustice filed a legal challenge against the controversial inquiry alleging it was created for "partisan political purposes" outside the authority of the Public Inquiries Act and had been tainted by bias from the outset. The court hearing for the challenge was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Devon Page, executive director of Ecojustice, said he was disappointed to learn of the judicial response to the injunction, however because of the application the court has asked the two parties to consider a second hearing date. "If we get a main hearing on this for the release of the report, we are in exactly the place we want to be, so at the end of the day it may not mean much, " he said. He said they are considering a court date either in December or February. The province has on several occasions amended the scope and scale of the inquiry and has granted extensions for its submission. Originally the inquiry was supposed to be filed in July 2020, but now the inquiry is due on Jan. 31 and the province is legally obligated to release it 90 days after submission. Page said there is a chance for the province to release the report early and if that happens it would be "consistent with what the intent has been from the outset, to not actually conduct a fair process, conduct something that is pre-conceived and conclude the witch hunt, again for the purpose of wanting to go after people who criticize the Alberta oil and gas," he said.
SALT LAKE CITY — A mysterious silver monolith that was placed in the Utah desert has disappeared less than 10 days after it was spotted by wildlife biologists performing a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep, federal officials and witnesses said. “We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the ‘monolith’ has been removed from Bureau of Land Management public lands by an unknown party,” on Nov. 27, BLM spokesperson Kimberly Finch said in a statement. The agency did not remove the structure, she said. The Utah Department of Public Safety said biologists spotted the monolith on Nov. 18, a report that garnered international attention. It was about 11 feet (3.4 metres) tall with sides that appeared to be made of stainless steel. While Utah officials did not say specifically where the monolith was located, people soon found it on satellite images dating back to 2016 and determined its GPS co-ordinates, prompting people to hike into the area. Reporters with The Salt Lake Tribune hiked to the spot on Saturday and confirmed that it was gone. Spencer Owen of Salt Lake City said he saw the monolith Friday afternoon and camped in the region overnight, but as he hiked to the area again on Saturday people passing him on the trail warned him it was gone, the Tribune reported. When he arrived at the spot, all that was left was a triangular piece of metal covering a triangular-shaped hole in the rocks. “I was really bummed,” said Owen, who posted a video on his Instagram. “It was so pretty and shiny. I wanted to go see it again.” Riccardo Marino and his girlfriend Sierra Van Meter were travelling from Colorado to California on Friday and decided to stop and see the object after finding the GPS co-ordinates online. “This was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we couldn't miss out,” Marino told KUTV. On the way, they passed a long-bed truck with a large object in the back and he said he joked “oh look, there's the Utah monolith right there,” he said. When they arrived at the spot, it was gone. Steve Adams said he left Helper, in central Utah, at 7 a.m. Saturday to drive to the area. When he arrived and asked someone for directions he was told the tower was gone. He and some friends made the hike anyway. “It was pretty disappointing,” he told the Tribune. “We were really excited to go down and have an adventure to see it. It feels like it was everybody’s and then it was nobody’s. It’s gone.” Riccardo Marino The Associated Press
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars fired general manager Dave Caldwell on Sunday after the team’s 10th consecutive loss and sending a clear message that the small-market franchise is headed in a new direction.It was a move many thought owner Shad Khan should have made at the end of last season. But Khan gave Caldwell another chance to make Jacksonville a playoff contender for just the second time in his eight-year tenure.Caldwell came up well short of the owner’s winning expectations, making Khan’s decision an easy and somewhat expected one.Khan will keep coach Doug Marrone and his staff in place to finish out the season and likely let the next general manager decide his fate. It would be stunning to see Marrone return in 2021.“I’ve met with Dave Caldwell to express my appreciation for his service to the Jacksonville Jaguars as our general manager," Khan said in a statement that followed the team's 27-25 loss to Cleveland. "Dave was exceptionally committed and determined to bring a winner to Jacksonville, but unfortunately his efforts were not rewarded with the results our fans deserve and our organization expects."Our football operation needs new leadership, and we will have it with a new general manager in 2021.”The Jaguars are 39-87 since Khan gave Caldwell his first GM job in 2013, falling a few plays shy of the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 2018 and miring mostly in mediocrity since. The Jaguars (1-10) have dropped 16 of their last 19 games, including 11 by double digits.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLMark Long, The Associated Press
A church in Langley B.C., just east of Vancouver has been fined $2,300 for contravening a recent provincial health order that prohibits in-person, faith-related gatherings, which was aimed at limiting the spread of COVID19.On Sunday, Langley RCMP said they asked congregants at the small church in a strip mall to disperse. When they didn't, police issued the fine.Congregants Tanya Gaw and Kari Simpson said bylaw officers issued the fine at the 8:30 a.m. PT service.The bylaw officers returned later accompanied by three RCMP officers. There, the officers were confronted by churchgoers, but police didn't issue another fine.Earlier this month, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suspended all in-person faith-related gatherings as part of a wider effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.Worshippers were told not to attend services at their gurdwara, synagogue, church, mosque or temple. Simpson said many churchgoers disagree with the health directive."This is probably ground zero for the churches standing up," Simpson said, from the parking lot in front of the church. "There is a movement afoot to ensure that more churches also start to defy Bonnie Henry's orders."Simpson and Gaw said they doubt the validity of Henry's orders, and question why liquor stores should remain open as an essential service, but not churches. Gaw said rising levels of depression and anxiety are signs that people need places like churches to remain open. "The church is the community for many people," she said. Gaw said she thinks the rising number of COVID-19 cases is due to faulty testing, which is causing false positives. "The deception to the public is instilling this unbelievable fear," she said. "All of it needs to stop. And we're pleading with the government to to just stop the whole thing." The province's latest report on test positivity shows that 8.5 per cent of tests performed through its Medical Services Plan— B.C.'s medical insurance plan — across the province were positive, a figure that rose to 11 per cent in the Fraser Health region.The provincial health order suspending faith-related gatherings has drawn criticism from faith leaders, including Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller, who said the move was "puzzling" considering parishes like those under his leadership have not been vectors of transmission.But Henry said on Friday that transmissions were happening at places of worship.Meantime, two other churches in the Fraser Valley also said they're continuing to offer in-person services despite the health order.2 Chilliwack churches also gatheringThe Free Grace Baptist Church and Free Reformed Church in Chilliwack both held services last week. On Sunday, the Free Grace Baptist Church again held a service.Lindsay Britton lives across the street from the Baptist church. Britton said he phoned police Sunday morning because people were gathering there. He was concerned they would spread more of the coronavirus into his community"I think we have to take a firmer stand," he said. The two churches' leaders argue that restricting the gatherings violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Both said they consider in-person worship an essential service and that, as commanded by God, they are required to attend public worship.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):6:20 p.m.Alberta is reporting its second-highest number of new COVID-19 cases. The province is reporting 1,608 new cases today. The figure is down slightly from the record single-day high of 1,731 diagnoses reported the day before.The province says there are also nine additional deaths linked to the virus over the past 24 hours.\---3:30 p.m.Saskatchewan is reporting 351 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths today. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the province stands at 45. Saskatchewan's daily COVID-19 updates have noted this weekend that community transmission can happen quickly. The updates state that 17 nurses in one hospital were recently required to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts to positive cases linked to sporting events and general community transmission.\---2:30 p.m.Nunavut health officials are reporting 13 new cases in the territory. The number of local active cases, however, declined today due to 32 people who have recovered.That figure now stands at 112. The territory reports that everyone with active COVID-19 is doing well, with mild to moderate symptoms.\---2:15 p.m.Manitoba is reporting 365 new COVID-19 cases today and 11 new deaths. Those who died range in age from their 60s to their 90s, and the province says almost all were linked to outbreaks in care homes. Manitoba's daily COVID-19 update says an outbreak has been declared in the acute care inpatient unit at The Pas Hospital, and the site has been moved to critical on the provincial pandemic response system.\---2:00 p.m.The number of COVID-19 cases continues to creep up across most of Atlantic Canada. New Brunswick is reporting 14 new cases of the novel coronavirus today, the highest in eastern Canada. Elsewhere Nova Scotia says it's identified 10 new diagnoses, nine of which are in the province's central zone, while Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting four new cases.Health officials IN Prince Edward Island held a rare weekend news conference today, but say there are no new cases in the province. \---11:10 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,395 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths linked to the virus. Health officials say four of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours and eight others took place between Nov. 22 and 27. Hospitalizations went down by 13 today for a total of 665, including 92 people in intensive care - a decrease of one compared to the previous day. Quebec has now reported 141,038 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 7,033 deaths.\---11:00 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,708 new cases of COVID-19 today and 24 new deaths related to the virus.More than half of the new cases remain in Toronto and Peel Region, which recorded 463 and 503 respectively.The two regions are the only ones currently under lockdown under the province's tiered, colour-coded pandemic response framework.The province is moving five regions to higher alert levels tomorrow, which means tougher COVID-19 restrictions.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — The British Columbia cabinet minister appointed to lead the province's COVID-19 pandemic recovery says he plans to mount a large team effort from inside and outside of government to spur economic success.Ravi Kahlon, a former Canadian Olympian in field hockey, said he will look to involve ministries, businesses, communities and workers in an effort to provide immediate help to struggling businesses and steer towards a post-pandemic future focused on innovation."We have to have everyone working together," he said in a recent interview."You look at how businesses have worked together with government to deliver pieces during the pandemic," said Kahlon. "That's the same mentality we're going to need when we get out. We can put critical pieces in place, incentives and supports, so that we can bounce back at a rate which most people in B.C. expect."Premier John Horgan appointed Kahlon as jobs, economic recovery and innovation minister last week, saying he piled enormous responsibilities onto the two-term New Democrat from suburban Vancouver and expected results.Horgan appointed his cabinet following last month's election where the NDP won a majority government, capturing 57 of 87 seats.Kahlon, 41, who previously served as a parliamentary secretary in the forests ministry and led the reintroduction of B.C.'s Human Rights Commission, said he will consult broadly on the recovery."My view with everything is the government doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas," he said. "There are good ideas in the community. There are good ideas in the business community, good ideas from local elected officials." Horgan issued mandate letters to the ministers and parliamentary secretaries stating the government's overall goals: people first, clean environment, Indigenous reconciliation, equity and anti-racism, health and strong economy.He also provided each of the 37 ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries with individual mandate goals. Among the goals for ministers are: free transit for children 12 years old and younger, drop the seven per cent provincial sales tax on e-bikes and consider public condominium insurance if the issue of skyrocketing rates is not resolved by 2021.Horgan asked Kahlon to "deliver initiatives that will directly support small businesses and build an inclusive economic recovery across B.C."Prof. Tom Koch, a medical geographer at the University of B.C. who specializes in mapping diseases, said Horgan's cabinet should spend more time fighting today's pandemic than looking to a recovery."The priority of looking forward to me is a little premature," he said. "It has to be done ... but the question immediately is what are we doing about hospitals and about hospital capacity and what are we doing about trying to rein in those areas where accelerators are occurring."B.C.'s most recent COVID-19 infection report saw a record daily high of 911 cases Friday, while the death toll is nearing 400 people.Koch said economic recovery should play a part in Horgan's cabinet and government direction, but at this time when cases are surging, the premier appears to be saying, "do we basically want to start planning the victory parade in the second quarter."Kahlon said he expects businesses, communities, governments and people to work together to battle the pandemic."I think the pandemic is going to push societies to a place where innovation will be critical and I think we're well-positioned in B.C. to be not only leaders in Canada but I think world leaders."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
ÉCONOMIE. Malgré le ralentissement économique occasionné par la pandémie, les entreprises manufacturières qui transforment le métal font encore face à des problèmes de pénurie de main-d'œuvre révèle un sondage. Une problématique bien réelle pour le secteur manufacturier qui a un impact sur les capacités de production des entreprises. Plus spécifiquement, trois quarts de la centaine d’entreprises sondées par les organismes PERFORM, le Comité sectoriel de la main-d'oeuvre dans la fabrication métallique industrielle, le Réseau de la Transformation Métallique du Québec (RTMQ) et Sous-Traitance Industrielle Québec (STIQ) indiquent rencontrer des difficultés de recrutement de main-d'oeuvre et près de la moitié considèrent qu'elles sont plus fréquentes depuis le début de la pandémie. Les soudeurs, soudeurs-assembleurs ainsi que les journaliers sont des perles rares recherchées par près de 50% des répondants. Pour plus des trois quarts d'entre eux, la requalification de travailleurs provenant d'autres secteurs d'activité pourrait être une solution à envisager ainsi que le recours à la formation. Également, la majorité de ces entreprises ont vu leur production diminuer depuis le début de la pandémie. Plus du quart affirment avoir enregistré une baisse de production supérieure à 25 %. Quelques-unes associent cette baisse aux difficultés économiques que traverse actuellement l'industrie aérospatiale alors que d'autres l'attribuent au manque criant de la main-d'oeuvre. Les deux tiers des entreprises déclarent enregistrer une baisse de leur carnet de commandes, dont le tiers l'estime supérieure à 20 %. En contrepartie, 15 % d'entre elles constatent une hausse de leur volume de production, imputée à la forte demande pour les produits du domaine de la construction, ainsi que pour les équipements médicaux et le matériel lié à l'horticulture. Pour faire face à la crise sanitaire, le gouvernement du Québec a mentionné à quelques reprises sa volonté d'encourager la fabrication au Québec. Plus de la moitié des entreprises considèrent avoir la capacité de réaliser ce défi dès maintenant, alors que seulement un tiers estiment que cela sera possible d'ici les cinq prochaines années. Pour ce faire, elles affirment qu'il est impératif de trouver des solutions à la problématique liée à la rareté de la main-d'oeuvre. Pour plusieurs, des investissements en capitaux seront requis afin d'augmenter la productivité de leurs installations en investissant dans des équipements de pointe. Par ailleurs, la pandémie risque de compromettre la pérennité d'environ 30 % des entreprises répondantes. Ce pourcentage est identique à celui obtenu lors d'une enquête similaire menée en mai dernier. Note encourageante, un transfert de 5 % a eu lieu de la catégorie « risque très élevé/élevé » à celle « risque moyennement élevé ». Enfin, les deux tiers des répondants demeurent « optimistes ou très optimistes » en ce qui concerne la relance de l'économie au cours des six prochains mois. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal