In 1991, Bart Simpson and his family held the No.1 spot on the UK singles chart, with smash hit “Do The Bartman.” (Feb. 16)
In 1991, Bart Simpson and his family held the No.1 spot on the UK singles chart, with smash hit “Do The Bartman.” (Feb. 16)
President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a U.S. intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi's murder.
(Submitted by Gerald McKenzie - image credit) First Nations in Saskatchewan have continued to be hit hard by COVID-19 in the first two months of 2021. According to Indigenous Services Canada, during the first seven weeks of 2021, there were 2,779 new cases in reserves in Saskatchewan — more than in any other province. By comparison, in that same time period, there were 2,290 cases on reserves in Manitoba and 2,389 in Alberta. In a Wednesday news release, Indigenous Services said it is "closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country." However, there is some good news — active case counts are declining, and there has not yet been a confirmed case of any of the new coronavirus variants of concern on reserve. Vaccine deliveries are also ramping up, and as of Feb. 23, Indigenous Services reported that more than 103,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Indigenous communities throughout Canada. In Saskatchewan, as of Feb. 14, the federal department estimates that vaccine uptake in First Nations communities was at or above 75 per cent. Indigenous Services also said it is working to support the vaccine rollout for Indigenous adults living in urban areas. "ISC is working closely with [the] National Association of Friendship Centres, as well as provinces and territories, First Nation, Inuit and Métis partners, and other urban community service organizations to support planning efforts," the department said in its news release this week. "This includes working to identify barriers, challenges and opportunities for increasing vaccine uptake and ensuring the vaccine is available in culturally safe and accessible locations." According to the department, vaccine clinics for Indigenous adults are currently being planned for Saskatoon and Regina.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced scoring attack in a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire CentreJuuso Valimaki, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames, who ended Ottawa's three-game win streak.Drake Batherson, Colin White and Brady Tkachuk replied for the last-place Senators. Ottawa (7-15-1) remain in the NHL basement with 15 points.Calgary (10-10-2) moved into a fourth-place tie with Montreal in the North Division with 22 points. The Canadiens were scheduled to play the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.The Flames opened the scoring four minutes into the game. The speedy Johnny Gaudreau zipped around a couple of Ottawa players before sending a backhand saucer pass to Valimaki for the one-timer.The Flames scored again 37 seconds later as Backlund flipped a rolling puck past a handcuffed Matt Murray.The Sens goalie stopped 27-of-33 shots on Saturday.Perhaps in an effort to spark his teammates, Austin Watson fought bruising Flames forward Milan Lucic on the ensuing faceoff. Lucic, who had a 35-pound weight advantage, won the decision.Calgary took advantage of some sloppy defensive play ahead of its third goal. Josh Norris turned the puck over deep in the zone and Lindholm snapped it in at 11:05.Batherson extended his goal-scoring streak to five games with a power-play effort at 13:05. He beat David Rittich with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle.Another Senators' defensive lapse proved costly early in the second period as Chris Tierney coughed up the puck down low. Gaudreau fed it to Monahan for the power-play goal at 4:02.A Calgary shorthanded goal followed at 9:36. Mangiapane hit the post with a redirect attempt before tapping in the rebound. White responded 40 seconds later by scooping a loose puck off the faceoff and snapping it past a screened Rittich. The netminder posted 31 saves in Calgary's win.The lone goal in the third period came when Brady Tkachuk scored on the Ottawa power play at 10:00.The Senators dumped the Flames 6-1 on Thursday night. The teams will face off again Monday in the finale of Ottawa's five-game homestand. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 858 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 287 003 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 268 645 sont rétablies. Elles font également état de 13 nouveaux décès, le nombre total de décès s'élève à 10 385. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 21 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 599. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 7, pour un total actuel de 112. Les prélèvements réalisés le 25 février s'élèvent à 28 226. Finalement, 15 902 doses de vaccin ont été administrées dans la journée d'hier, pour un total de 418 399. Jusqu'à maintenant, 537 825 doses ont été reçues. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Thousands of flag-waving marchers demonstrated Saturday in Tunisia's capital in a show of support for the majority party in parliament. The demonstration follows political tensions between Tunisia's president and its prime minister, Hichem Mechichi. Mechichi has sought to reshuffle his Cabinet but has seen some of his proposed ministerial appointments blocked by President Kais Saied. Marchers in Tunis chanted “The people want national unity.” The demonstration was called by the Islamist Ennahdha party that holds the largest block of seats in Tunisia's parliament. Tunis,Tunisia, The Associated Press
MILAN — The fedora Humphrey Bogart wore in “Casablanca” may have secured Borsalino’s place in fashion and cinematic history, but it will be something like the cow-print bucket hat that will help ensure its future. The storied Italian hatmaker still makes its felt hats by hand in a Piedmont region factory, using the same artisanal techniques from when the company was founded in 1857 and some of founder Giuseppe Borsalino’s original machinery. It is updating its offerings for next fall and winter, with a focus on customization and youth-trends. The new collection displayed during Milan Fashion Week takes inspiration from the Arts & Crafts design movement in mid-19th century Britain. Hat pins with leaf and floral motifs allow women to uniquely shape the hats, to take up an oversized brim, say, or to create an elegant fold in the crown. A leopard fedora can be paired with a long chain, to wear over the shoulder when going in and out of shops, while a clochard has an optional leather corset. “You cannot change a hat so much,’’ Giacomo Santucci, Borsalino’s creative curator, said. “You can change the attitude of the hat.” Unisex styles, including baseball caps, berets and bucket hats, come in updated new materials - including a spotted cow print, black patent leather and rainproof nylon. Such genderless looks are becoming an increasingly important part of the collection, Santucci said. “The hat is no longer a tool to cover yourself, but to discover yourself,’’ he told The Associated Press. The company, which relaunched three years ago, was in the process of scaling up production from 150,000 hats a year to a goal of half a million when the pandemic hit. “To be honest, it is such a small company, in a way it is very simple to react,’’ said Santucci, who is also the current president of the Italian Chamber of Buyers. “The smaller you are, the more reactive and prompt." Beyond new styles, that means getting people talking. Santucci, who was Gucci CEO during the Tom Ford era, created a new film for this season, featuring Milanese women who chose hats to match their styles, striding through the centre of the city. Last season’s film featured dancers from Alessandria, site of the original Borsalino factory, dancing through the factory floor. "My strong belief is that fashion is becoming more and more a discussion,'' Santucci said. New social media platforms like Clubhouse are giving people the chance to create a limited and select group to discuss relevant topics, which Santucci said has been key during the isolation imposed by the pandemic. He also has pursued collaborations with ready-to-wear brands, including Borsalino X Valentino. “Brands are changing. It is getting closer to entertainment, to give people the chance to engage with the brand, to understand it better. Not only to understand what was done in the past, but to really interact and to have the chance to be part of the same community,’’ Santucci said. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
(Government of P.E.I. - image credit) Prince Edward Island is reintroducing some public health restrictions — including no indoor dining at restaurants —after six new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday. The restrictions will begin Sunday and be in effect until at least March 14, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, said in a COVID-19 briefing Saturday. P.E.I. has had 12 cases in the past four days, and a handful of potential exposure sites have been identified. "This outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better," Morrison said. Other "circuit-breaker" measures announced Saturday include: Takeout only at restaurants. Personal gatherings limited to household members plus 10 "consistent" people. Organized gathering limit of 50 for activities including concerts, worship services, and movie theatres Weddings and funerals limited to 50 individuals plus officiants. Not eligible for multiple gatherings. No funeral or wedding receptions. No sports games or tournaments, though practices are permitted. Gyms, museums, libraries and retail stores can operate at 50 per cent capacity. No changes to current measures for long-term care facilities. Unlicensed and licensed child-care centres can operate at 100 per cent capacity, with physical distancing. The Chief Public Health Office has asked all people aged 14-29 in the Summerside area to get tested this weekend even if they are not experiencing symptoms. People with symptoms are asked to get tested at clinics in Slemon Park or on Park Street in Charlottetown. By 3 p.m. Saturday, Morrison said close to 1,000 tests were done at the temporary clinic at Three Oaks High School. The clinic is open until 8 p.m., and will be open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone in the Summerside area aged 14-29. Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside was identified Saturday as a possible exposure site. The new cases, five men and one woman, are all in their 20s. Five are close contacts of previous cases. Four new exposure sites were also identified on Saturday — Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside, Pita Pit locations in Summerside and Charlottetown, and Burger King in the Summerside Walmart. Premier Dennis King said the province does not know if the new cases are variants, but the assumption is they are. He said it's not the news he wanted to deliver, but said circuit breakers have proven effective in the past. "I think it's discouraging from the perspective for all Islanders simply because we've done very, very well to date and we can see the finish line, but we do seem to be stuck in this tangled spider's web of COVID that it won't really let us firmly out of its grip." P.E.I. has had 126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Thirteen remain active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. The Atlantic bubble remains suspended, as well. Here is a list of possible public exposure sites on PEI. Public health officials are urging anyone who was at these locations on these dates and at these times to immediately self-isolate and get tested. Pita Pit, Summerside: Feb 19, 11 a.m.-9 pm.; Feb 21, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Feb 22, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Feb 23, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Feb 24, 2-4 p.m.; Feb 26, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Callbeck's Home Hardware, Summerside: Feb. 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (all dates) Burger King, Granville Street, Summerside: Feb 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Feb 17, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Feb 18, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb. 20, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.; Feb 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Feb 22, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb 23, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 24, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb 25, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Dominos Pizza, Summerside: Feb 17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Feb. 18, 4-11 p.m.; Feb. 19, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Feb 20: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Feb. 21, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 22, 4-11 p.m.; Feb 23, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 24, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Shoppers Drug Mart, Summerside: Feb 21, 10-11 a.m. Dollarama, Summerside: Feb 20, 3-4 p.m. Superstore, Montague: Feb 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; Feb 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tailgate Bar & Grill, Montague: Feb 25, 9:30-11:30 p.m. Iron Haven Gym, Summerside: Feb. 20, 6-8 p.m.; Feb 23, 6-8 p.m. Toys R Us, Charlottetown: Feb 23, 10 a.m.-12 noon Taste of India, Charlottetown: Feb 20, 4-10 p.m.; Feb. 21, 3-9 p.m.; Feb 22, 3-9 p.m.; Feb 23, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Breakfast Spot, Summerside: Feb 20, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. New Brunswick reported two new cases on Saturday as the active total, 41, continues to drop. New Brunswickers can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect. Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as tighter restrictions came into force to stem a recent increase in case numbers. The province has 39 active cases. Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases, as well as another death. It has 217 active cases. More from CBC News
(Photo submitted by Lisa Gregoire - image credit) Community. Connection. Curling. And haven't we all been missing it. Today we celebrate Curling Day in Canada and no doubt this year, it's a little bit different. Watch and engage with CBC Sports' That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube It's almost unfathomable to consider at this time last February thousands of people across this country were taking to pebbled sheets across the land to celebrate the roaring game. There were no masks. No six-feet of separation. People were gathering together, giving each other high-fives, smiling – the good old days. Who could have ever predicted that just a week later the world would shut down and some 365 days later we'd still be in this waiting place. But today, we celebrate again. In backyards, on outdoor lakes and even on icy streets, curling fans are finding ways to take part in the game they so deeply love. Still apart. But still finding ways to connect. Because at the heart of curling, and what has always made it such a loveable game, is that connection to people and community. WATCH | That Curling Show gets you set for the final 2 days of the Scotties: All across this frozen tundra curling rinks dot the landscape – and in many of the villages, towns and cities the curling rink is the heartbeat of the community. It's a gathering place for the young and old to come together for that Tuesday Beer League or weekend bonspiel. To make shots. To miss shots. And then to head to the lounge after the game and talk about it all. This is a special sport. It's a sport that's laced with Canadian Olympic, world and national champions, who, after playing the biggest games of their careers, will join fans at the post-game party. That accessibility to the best athletes of the game is not seen in any other pro sport today. It's a game rooted in humility. It's quirky. It's quintessentially Canadian. And the people who take part in hucking chunks of granite down the ice while others clear the path with brooms, all while the rock-chucker and skip or third scream loudly, is what makes this game great. This year's Scotties has been a welcomed escape. That sweet sporting escape hundreds of thousands of people across Canada rely on this time of year – and for a while it looked like it may not happen. But inside the Calgary curling bubble the drama has once again played out. Sure, it probably hasn't been to the calibre curling fans and curlers are used to, but can you blame them? These teams hadn't been the ice for weeks and in some cases months leading to the national championship. But they're figuring it out as they go and now with just a few games left before a champion is crowned, the curling is right where we'd expect it to be. WATCH | Rachel Homan makes incredible triple raise takeout to score 2: Curling Canada is one of the few national sport organizations to take on this monumental task – to pull off an event in the midst of a pandemic. And while it wasn't a perfect process by any means in terms of selecting teams and having no playdowns, they've pulled it off without a positive case. And the curlers once again showed grace and patience and flexibility amidst this ever-changing world. The fans are the ones who have benefited from the tenacity and perseverance of Curling Canada and the top women curlers in this country. This is just the beginning too. After the Scotties it's onto the Brier. Then mixed doubles national championship. Then the men's world championship. And then two Grand Slam events. WATCH | Ben Hebert gives his predictions for the Scotties championship round: It was a long wait to get curling back. But it's been well worth the wait. The future of the sport in the country is a tad murky right now, with curling clubs having to close their doors, unsure of what might lie ahead. But the curling community always seems to find a way when it matters most. The curling community has always rallied around one another in triumph and tragedy. And there's no question the curling community will come together once again.
A Vancouver-area health authority says people at three schools in the region have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern. A news release from Fraser Health says it is working with the Surrey school district to manage COVID-19 exposures at Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Frank Hurt Secondary School and M.B. Sanford Elementary School. It says the cases involving an unspecified COVID-19 variant appear to be linked to community transmissions, but the schools will remain open. The health authority also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital on Friday. It says five patients at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 after evidence of transmission in a medicine unit. It says the emergency department remains open and no other areas have been impacted. Meanwhile, an outbreak at the CareLife Fleetwood long-term care home in Surrey was declared over. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Tay residents could have multiple ways to cast their ballots in next year's election. Council, at its recent meeting, was leaning toward a combination of mail-in, online and in-person methods for the 2022 municipal election. However, no decisions were made since a staff report is still pending. There is no urgency around the matter, said Cyndi Bonneville, township clerk. "The bylaw to authorize is required on or before May 1 in the year of the election," she said, adding, "staff is recommending council make a decision well in advance of the new year so staff can budget and implement the method council approves." Coun. Jeff Bumstead had questions around the problems faced by online voting systems. "Thinking back to the last election, we got our results but other municipalities that had online voting did not. Any thoughts on that?" he asked staff. Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, said the issue then was due to the supplier. "They had a third-party arrangement with a data centre hosting provider where they had purchased unlimited bandwidth and capacity, so they could have millions of people connect to their server at the same time," he said. "Unfortunately, the configuration switch at that facility had a bandwidth limit in place and there was a technical configuration error. I'm most certain that error won't happen (again), maybe different problems may happen in the future. "We do use similar providers and rely on internet technologies to do tabulation, so even with non-online voting methods, we could run into circumstances causing delays." A staff report outlines that voting by mail costs $56,238, an amount that includes vote-by-mail kits, software support and postage. Other costs, including advertising and labour, were not listed in the report. The report was also missing costs around online/telephone voting. Further to a costing request for online voting, Mayor Ted Walker said, council could consider a combination of approaches. "The results of (a recent) survey were in favour of in-person and online," he said. "We can even do a combination where we could have internet voting as our advanced vote, right up to and including election day. We could also have opportunity for people to come in and vote in-person at the polling station if they want." Coun Paul Raymond agreed with the combination approach. "I don't think we're going to have one voting method," he said. "I think we're going to have to accommodate different groups of people and what they're accustomed to. One thing the pandemic has provided is a lot more use with technology. People are a lot more comfortable with it" The report listed some pros and cons of the mail-in and telephone methods. Vote-by-mail: Pros Cons Telephone/Internet voting: Pros Cons Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit) Some Halifax restaurants are questioning the latest COVID-19 restrictions, with at least one taking dining rules a step further. On Friday, the province announced new restrictions in the Halifax area to act as a circuit-breaker as case numbers moved higher. Four new cases were reported on Saturday, bringing the total of active cases to 39. As of Saturday, restaurants and bars must stop serving food and drink by 9 p.m. and must close by 10 p.m. The rules will be in place for at least one month. But Brendan Doherty, co-owner of the Old Triangle pub in downtown Halifax, said it seems like an "empty restriction" that won't accomplish much beyond hurting businesses during an already slow season. "We do feel like something extra does need to be done at the moment, we do need to be more cautious," Doherty said. "And … there are many tools in the tool chest that could have been used. "We decided to be proactive and put our heads together and say, 'You know, what can we do given the circumstances that actually gives a chance to help the situation we're currently in?'" To go that extra step, the pub will limit the number of people allowed at a table to six, which is below the 10-person cap mandated by the province. The business will be closed on St. Patrick's Day after Doherty said the government rejected a proposal for a pandemic-era plan on how to navigate the day. The pub is also working to bring in a sick-day program, Doherty said, so staff that feel unwell and go to get a COVID-19 test will still be paid for their scheduled shift. He said the move is important because this time of the year is always rough in the service industry, even without a global pandemic. Doherty said he doesn't want staff to feel financially obligated to come to work if they're not feeling well. Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang give a COVID-19 briefing earlier this week. Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, has consistently asked Nova Scotians to stay home if they have any symptoms of the virus. On Friday, Premier Iain Rankin said it's important to keep having discussions about paid sick days for people who need time off for testing. He said the point was raised when he reached out to speak with an opposition leader, but did not specify which one. "I met with him to discuss options so that we can support our workforce," Rankin said during the COVID-19 briefing. "It is something that we'll continue to discuss moving forward." The Nova Scotia NDP proposed a bill last year that would have allowed all workers, unionized or not, to be able to accrue up to six paid sick days per year, an idea the Liberals rejected during the spring sitting at Province House. Resources available now There is a federal program, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which provides $450 after taxes per week for up to two weeks. But some critics, workers' advocates and public health professionals say the program is flawed, and is an insufficient replacement for having employers guarantee paid sick leave. Doherty said he's not a health professional and doesn't know what the ideal plan would be to address the spread of COVID-19. But he suggested that zeroing in on travellers coming into the province, and big-box stores or businesses with far more customers in close proximity, might be more effective. He added that he's heard from many other restaurant and bar owners about their disappointment with the lack of communication and collaboration with the province, which Doherty said is different from earlier in the pandemic. Obladee, a wine bar in downtown Halifax, echoed that sentiment with a social media post on Saturday. It called on the government to show its evidence to support the 9 p.m. restrictions, and pointed out that their industry was given less than 24-hours notice before the changes went into effect. "Meaningful consultation with public stakeholders improves decision making and is a matter of transparency and fairness," the post said. "These decisions have major impacts on the livelihoods of thousands of Nova Scotians. We can do better." During Friday's briefing, Strang said cutting an hour of service is an attempt to balance public health risks while ensuring bars and restaurants can stay open. Any setting where people are in close proximity for a long period of time, without masks, carries a "significant risk" of virus transmission, Strang said. He said that the restriction sends a "very strong signal" that patrons need to limit their dining and drinking habits. "The restaurants themselves are not problematic, they're doing a very good job," Strang said. "But how the public are using the restaurants, the frequency, the going to restaurants [at] different times with different groups of people — the choices people are making when they go out to dine, is problematic." MORE TOP STORIES
Once again, the West Parry Sound Pool project is making waves in Whitestone’s online community. Following a question-and-answer document posted on the municipal website on Feb. 25, a Whitestone ratepayer named Bruce Morris shared the link with Whitestone Community Chat on Facebook where it soon drew discussion. “Even after all of the knowledge of how the majority of ratepayers are against the project and all of the data to show why it is a waste of time and money, I guess the mayor has decided to create this draft of fiction,” wrote Morris in the comments. Another ratepayer stated that the Q&A document was not impartial and should be dismissed. “The will of the majority of Whitestone ratepayers must be taken into consideration not the will of Parry Sound and some members of council,” said Sue Krusell. Whitestone’s councillor Joe Lamb was quick to comment on the Facebook post stating that he did not agree with the document being published as is. “I was asked for input on these questions and answers,” wrote Lamb. “I will post separately my input to the mayor.” The document says that it is answers to questions raised by Whitestone ratepayers regarding the proposed West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Centre project and the municipality’s participation in the project. In a separate post on the Whitestone Community Chat, Lamb posted his opposition to the Q&A document posted on the municipal website. “Mr. Mayor, in addition to my earlier comments, I have reviewed each one of the 25 questions and ‘your’ responses,” said Lamb. “I must reiterate these are just your responses, they simply cannot be ‘from council’ because they are absolutely misleading.” It is not known at this time when Whitestone will make a decision on its involvement in the West Parry Sound pool project however it has been stated that the municipality will hold another public meeting before it makes its decision. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe says Matthews won't play due to a wrist injury that he's been dealing with for much of the year. Matthews has 31 points (18 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games for the Leafs this season. Toronto (15-4-2) will get some other key pieces back in the lineup — forward Joe Thornton returns from a lower-body injury, defenceman Jake Muzzin slots back in after missing two games with a facial fracture and goalie Jack Campbell is available after dealing with a leg injury. The Leafs currently sit atop the all-Canadian North Division, but the Oilers (14-8-0) are just four points back. Saturday's game kicks off a three-game series between Edmonton and Toronto. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Award-winning Canadian film director Tyler Simmonds has suffered from mental health issues since his teenage years. He decided to use his craft to push for dialogue and discussion on mental health and mindfulness — especially within the Black community.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting its sixth death from COVID-19 as the province continues to battle an outbreak of a virus variant first detected in the United Kingdom. Health authorities say the latest death was a man over the age of 70 in the Eastern Health region. The province also recorded four new confirmed cases in the same region, including two females and two males with one between the ages of 20 and 39 and three between the ages of 40 and 49. Officials say contact tracing is underway and anyone considered a close contact has been advised to quarantine. Newfoundland has been in lockdown since Feb. 12, when officials first announced an outbreak in the St. John’s area was fuelled by the mutation of the novel coronavirus. The province has 271 active cases of COVID-19 and there are currently 10 people in hospital with six in intensive care. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2022. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — With the nation's financial system on the brink of collapse, all but three Republicans voted against the massive stimulus package designed to protect millions of Americans from financial ruin. It was early 2009, just weeks after Joe Biden was sworn in as vice-president, and the vote marked the beginning of a new era of partisan gridlock in Congress. And for beleaguered Republicans coming off a disastrous election, it was their first step back to political power. Democrats voted alone to stabilize the economy, and two years later, a Republican Party unified only by its unwavering opposition to Barack Obama's presidency seized the House majority. Now, just weeks into the Biden presidency, the GOP is gambling that history will repeat itself. Early Saturday morning, 210 House Republicans joined two Democrats in voting against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package that would send $1,400 checks to most Americans and hundreds of billions more to help open schools, revive struggling businesses and provide financial support to state and local governments. Senate Republicans are expected to oppose a similar measure in the coming weeks, arguing that the bill is not focused enough on the pandemic. But with near-unanimous Democratic support, the measure could still become law. It's far too soon to predict the political fallout from the first major legislative fight of the Biden era. But as the nation struggles to recover from the worst health and financial crises in generations, strategists in both parties agree that it's risky for Republicans to assume their 2009 playbook will lead to the same ballot-box success this time around. “I think that the Republicans’ misread here is that it is the same, or that they can just oppose it and there’s no ramifications,” said John Anzalone, the Biden campaign’s chief pollster. “It’s a different world.” Veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz said Republicans now bear the burden of clearly articulating their opposition — a task made more difficult by the distraction of former President Donald Trump's high-profile war against the Republican establishment. “The definer of the legislation wins this battle,” Luntz said. “This could end up being the most important vote of 2021.” There are reasons to believe that politics have changed since Republicans last unified against a sweeping stimulus package, not the least of which is Trump's omnipresence in the party. At the same time, the scale of the economic devastation and disruption wrought by the coronavirus pandemic dwarfs that of the 2008 financial crisis. At its peak, roughly 9 U.S. million jobs were lost in the Great Recession, compared with 22 million jobs lost to the coronavirus. A year after the pandemic began, nearly 10 million U.S. jobs remain lost, more than 20 million children are out of school, half a million Americans are dead, and roughly 100,000 businesses are feared closed forever. Polling suggests that an overwhelming majority of voters — including a significant number of Republicans — supports the Democrats' pandemic relief plan. And the business community along with state and local leaders in both parties are crying out for help. On the eve of the House vote, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt joined 31 other Republican mayors in a letter encouraging leaders in both parties to approve the package. “The major part of the bill that relates to cities is sorely needed,” Holt told The Associated Press, citing pandemic-related cuts to his city's police and fire departments. “I don’t know any blue or red state or blue or red city that doesn’t have a revenue shortfall due to COVID-19’s fallout.” In another deep-red state, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice also broke with Washington Republicans and said Congress should “go big or go home” on the new stimulus package. “We have tried to underspend and undersize what was really needed to get over the top of the mountain,” the Republican governor told reporters during a Friday coronavirus briefing. “You got a lot of people across this nation who are really hurting.” Yet no Republican in Washington voted to support the sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package early Saturday. Moderate Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon were the only two lawmakers to cross party lines, joining 210 Republicans to vote against the legislation that ultimately passed 219-212. “The swamp is back,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said shortly before the final vote, decrying what he called extraordinary “non-COVID waste” and a “blue state bailout.” “Most states are not in financial distress,” McCarthy said. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, traditionally a Republican ally, declined to support or oppose the Republican position. Neil Bradley, the chamber's executive vice-president and chief policy officer, said there is a need for a rescue package that is “targeted, timely and temporary.” “There’s a lot to like in the plan,” Bradley told The AP. “But there's also a whole lot of elements that fail the test of targeted and timely and temporary.” The chamber, like congressional Republicans, opposes Democratic efforts to boost the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly by 2025 from its current $7.25 floor. The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the progressive priority could not be included in the Senate version of the bill, although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is considering a provision that would penalize large companies that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour. Whether the minimum wage provision is included or not, Senate Republicans are expected to oppose the final package. While there could be political fallout from the GOP's strategy in next year's midterm elections, Republican officials privately concede they are more concerned about the intense intra-party feud pitting Trump and his loyalists against leading establishment Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. That divide is playing out this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, where Trump himself is expected to attack his party's establishment on Sunday as he returns to the public stage for the first time since leaving the White House. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, another CPAC speaker and a 2024 Republican presidential prospect, said party unity is paramount moving forward. “I think that Republicans need to recognize that what brings us together right now is the left-wing agenda of the Biden-Harris administration," Cotton told The AP. "The more that we focus on what they’re trying to accomplish in the Congress and through the president's executive actions, the more united we will be, and the more we will move public opinion in our direction.” Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political powerhouse, opposes the Democratic-backed package as well, but its president, Tim Phillips, says it’s unclear whether the GOP strategy will be enough to unite the deeply fractured Republican Party. “This feels a lot like 2009 — that united the Republican caucus and the activist base in a way that probably nothing else could have,” Phillips said. “It served them well in 2009. I wonder if that’ll happen this time.” Steve Peoples, The Associated Press
(English River First Nation website - image credit) Living in a remote northern community doesn't stop Noel McIntyre from helping to keep the Dene language alive in Saskatchewan. The 77-year-old knowledge keeper and others have shared stories virtually in February through an Aboriginal Storytelling Month project organized by the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre. February saw First Nations and Métis storytellers share tales online though schools and libraries around the province this year. "It is very important for me," said McIntyre, who is from English River First Nation, around 320 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert, in Treaty 10 territory. "When I tell a story, I tell my story in my first language, and then that way people that understand will be able to carry on that story. It will keep that story alive." The Saskatchewan government listed Dene among the top five fastest-declining mother tongues in the province between 2011 and 2016. McIntyre says he notices the depletion of the language in his own community. Storytelling helps to preserve knowledge Besides the language, storytelling also plays an important role for cultural and treaty teachings. "I'm quite familiar with that," said McIntyre. "I tell that story so people will know exactly what happened ... when we were signing the treaty." McIntyre has survived both cancer and attending a residential school. After retiring as an RCMP member and working at an uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan, he now has the time to focus on sharing stories with others. "Before I go, it'd be nice for me to [share] all the knowledge that I have," said McIntyre. "And the only way I can spread it out is by storytelling." Winter is the traditional time of the year for storytelling in First Nations cultures. While SICC's Saskatoon Storytelling Week — part of the Indigenous cultural centre's storytelling month — has wrapped up, telling stories continues to play an important role in McIntyre's life. "Storytelling is something that you learn, that's passed on from your elder," he said. "My grandpa was really good at storytelling. So I listened to him and I picked up what he's saying, and I try to pass on what he told me about what he's seen and what he's done. And then his legacy will carry on." Camelia Wolverine, also from English River First Nation, has been helping to connect elders from the community with the storytelling project since 2019. She agrees it's important to revitalize the Dene language. "Then we can identify of who and what we are," said Wolverine. "Language is the main component … [of] our life."
(CBC - image credit) Some restaurant owners in Griffintown, who are already struggling to stay afloat during the lockdown, are now on the hook for damages and missing items after a series of reported break-ins earlier this month. Robert Goldberg, co-owner of Mauvais Garçons, said his restaurant was broken into on Feb. 11. According to Goldberg, the suspect threw a large rock through the window of the restaurant on William Street mere minutes after the restaurant had closed up shop for the night around midnight. "I don't know if they were watching us or what," Goldberg told CBC. He said the suspect appears to have come from a side alley and entered the restaurant through the broken window. The contents of the cash register, as well as a tablet, were stolen and the suspect fled through the back, Goldberg said. This is the first time Mauvais Garçons has been broken into since it opened four years ago, but Goldberg wasn't completely shocked by the incident. Staff at Mauvais Garçons have decided to keep the rock used in the break-in as a token of the restaurant's resilience. He said several restaurants in the area, including one right next to his, had been broken into over the past two months. "We were almost kind of expecting it, so we started leaving the lights on to try and scare them away," he said. At least five restaurant owners in and around Griffintown told CBC News they were broken into this past month. "It's terrible timing. You know it's already really tough for restaurants right now just to survive," said Goldberg. "We're like scratching for every dollar we're trying to earn and then we just lose it in repairs or whatever was stolen." Goldberg estimates the restaurant will have to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 out of pocket for the repairs. The owners are also fitting the building with bars on the windows to prevent this from happening again. In an effort to stay positive, Goldberg and his staff have kept the rock used in the break-in as a token of the restaurant's resilience. "His name is Dwayne Johnson. We named him. He's a member of the family now even though he did us wrong," said Goldberg. Antonio Diaz, manager of Bird Bar, believes the break-ins might be happening because the streets are empty during curfew hours. Bird Bar, a restaurant on Notre-Dame Street, dealt with a similar incident earlier this month. According to manager Antonio Diaz, someone broke in on Valentine's Day. The person reportedly broke the glass, stepped into the restaurant and ran off with wine, liquor bottles, tablets and some of the employees' T4 slips. "It's not like we're making any money. Right now, anything that we have to put into the restaurant comes out of the owner's pockets," said Diaz. "If we're breaking even, we're lucky." Diaz estimates the damages at that restaurant to be upwards of $3,000. "It's been bad news after bad news after bad news, so we're kind of wondering when this is all going to end," he said. Both Diaz and Goldberg believe the province's curfew, which was put in place to help curb the pandemic, might be a contributing factor. "I think the curfew is a big part of it because the streets are empty," said Goldberg. He would like to see more police surveillance in the area and is calling on fellow restaurateurs to be vigilant in the coming weeks. Montreal police would not comment on the break-ins but, in a statement, said the SPVM has several officers patrolling the area during curfew hours.
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 as stricter rules take effect to stop the spread of the virus. Provincial health officials say three of the most recent cases are in the Halifax region and are close contacts of previously identified patients, while the fourth case in eastern Nova Scotia is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The latest infections bring the total number of active cases to 39 as new measures to control the virus take effect in Halifax and some neighbouring municipalities. Nova Scotia's chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang says while the number of new cases is low, he remains concerned that some recent cases do not have an obvious source of infection. He says the new restrictions will act like a "circuit breaker" to stop the potential spread of a new coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom. The new measures include closing restaurants and bars by 10 p.m. as well as restrictions on visitors to long-term care homes. All sporting games, competitions, tournaments and in-person performances have been banned, though sports practices and training or arts and culture rehearsals can continue with a cap of up to 25 people without spectators. Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel within the province, especially to and from the Halifax area. Premier Iain Rankin reiterated the need for stricter restrictions despite the low number of new cases on Saturday. "While today's case count is lower than the last two days, I am still greatly concerned about the trend we have been seeing in recent case numbers in Halifax," he said in a statement. "We must follow the public health restrictions to reverse the recent trend. No matter whether you live in Halifax or elsewhere in the province, I encourage you, even if you don't have symptoms, to book an appointment at one of the primary assessment centres or drop into a pop-up testing site." The new measures cover areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Lantz, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards. The new rules took effect at 8 a.m. Saturday and will be in place until March 26, with an extension possible. Meanwhile, the province has also changed rules for rotational workers. They will now be required to undergo three COVID-19 tests during their modified 14-day quarantine. Irving Shipbuilding, one of the largest employer's in the province, temporarily suspended production at the Halifax shipyard for the day Friday after a member of its workforce tested positive for COVID-19. The company is holding a pop-up testing site to test its employees this weekend. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press