Lawyers for former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial opened their defense Friday arguing that the trial is "constitutional cancel culture" by Democrats trying to retain power. (Feb. 12)
Lawyers for former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial opened their defense Friday arguing that the trial is "constitutional cancel culture" by Democrats trying to retain power. (Feb. 12)
(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 safety: 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 to the tune of 84 per cent," Sharma said. 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. 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. 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. An analysis of results from 2,000 adults older than 60 years suggested the vaccine was similarly effective and well tolerated in this age group. 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.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An explosion struck an Israeli-owned cargo ship sailing out of the Middle East on Friday, an unexplained blast renewing concerns about ship security amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The crew and vessel were safe, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British navy. The explosion forced the vessel to head to the nearest port. The site of the blast, the Gulf of Oman, saw a series of explosions in 2019 that the U.S. Navy blamed on Iran against the backdrop of steeply rising threats between former President Donald Trump and Iranian leaders. Tehran denied the accusations, which came amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, identified the vessel as the MV Helios Ray, a Bahaman-flagged roll-on, roll-off vehicle cargo ship. Another private security official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, similarly identified the ship as the Helios Ray. Satellite-tracking data from website MarineTraffic.com showed the Helios Ray had been nearly entering the Arabian Sea around 0600 GMT Friday before it suddenly turned around and began heading back toward the Strait of Hormuz. It still listed Singapore as its destination on its tracker. A United Nations ship database identified the vessel’s owners as a Tel Aviv-based firm called Ray Shipping Ltd. Calls to Ray Shipping rang unanswered Friday. The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet was “aware and monitoring” the situation, Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich told The Associated Press. She declined to immediately comment further. While the circumstances of the explosion remain unclear, Dryad Global, said it was very possible the blast stemmed from “asymmetric activity by Iranian military." As Iran seeks to pressure the United States to lift sanctions and return to the 2015 atomic accord, the country may seek “to exercise forceful diplomacy through military means,” the Dryad report said. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident. In the summer of 2019, the U.S. military blamed Iran for suspected attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most strategic shipping lanes. The explosions came after the U.S. attributed a series of confrontations in the region to Iran, including the use of limpet mines — designed to be attached magnetically to a ship’s hull — to attack four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah, and the bombing of an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia by Iranian-backed fighters. Hostilities between the nations escalated after Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord and reimposition of harsh sanctions on Iran. In response, Iran has gradually and publicly breached the nuclear deal with world powers to create leverage over Washington to return to the deal, which saw Tehran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions. Jon Gambrell And Isabel Debre, The Associated Press
(Brittany Spencer/CBC - image credit) P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison gave more details Friday morning about three places where people in Summerside may have been exposed to COVID-19. But in contrast to the circuit-break tightening measures imposed after a cluster of cases in Charlottetown in December, Morrison did not announce any new public health restrictions in relation to the five new cases and four public exposure sites this week. Morrison's office confirmed Thursday that there were three new cases in the Summerside area, all men in their 20s with no known recent history of travel outside Prince Edward Island. On Friday she said people who were at the Iron Haven Gym at the County Fair Mall in Summerside during the following times are considered close contacts of one of the cases. They must self-isolate immediately and get tested as soon as possible. 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20. 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23. People who were at the gym during these times are also being asked to contact public health. Morrison said it has been hard to contact some of the people who were using the gym on those two days because phone numbers attached to their names were inactive when tracers tried them. This Domino's Pizza location in Summerside is one of three sites where members of the public may have been exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the past week. Two Summerside restaurants, the Breakfast Spot and Domino's Pizza, were also identified as places of potential exposure. In the case of the restaurants, diners are not being considered close contacts, but these people should get tested as soon as possible and be vigilant in watching for any symptoms. Breakfast Spot potential exposure time: Saturday, Feb. 20, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Domino's Pizza potential exposure times: Wednesday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Anyone living in Summerside who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 is being urged to get tested and self-isolate until results come back. Close contacts must stay in self-isolation regardless of any negative test results, Morrison stressed. She added that it is difficult for people to hear they have come in close contact with a COVID-19 case. If you know someone who is self-isolating please reach out, from a distance, to offer support. - Dr. Heather Morrison "It impacts businesses, it impacts families, people's income, and day-to-day life," she said. "If you know someone who is self-isolating please reach out, from a distance, to offer support." Morrison said that given what is happening in neighbouring Atlantic provinces, this new cluster is not unexpected, but its origin is a concern. "At this point, these cases have not been linked to travel," she said. "We know there must be a travel link in some way related to these cases, but we do not know the source." New testing sites, hours added As well as contact tracing, Morrison said another big focus is testing people in the Summerside area. The testing clinic in Slemon Park, just outside Summerside, opened at 8 a.m. Friday, and there was a long lineup of vehicles already at opening time. Dr. Heather Morrison says members of the public may have been exposed to COVID-19 at a Summerside gym and two Summerside restaurants. It will stay open until 8 p.m. and Morrison said hours for the weekend are still being finalized. An announcement on those hours will come later Friday. The testing centre in O'Leary is also open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday for people who have COVID-19 symptoms. At midday Friday, the province said two new testing sites were being added because of long lineups at Slemon Park. They are: Harbourside Health Centre at 243 Heather Moyse Drive in Summerside, open from 2 to 8 p.m. Borden Testing Site at 20 Dickie Road in Borden-Carleton, open from noon to 8 p.m. Two charges laid in separate case On another note, Morrison said one of two women diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in the week is being charged with two infractions of the Public Health Act in relation to a public exposure at Toys R Us in Charlottetown. Both women had travelled within Atlantic Canada, and those doing so are supposed to be self-isolating upon their return. Morrison said contact tracing has been completed in connection with the two women, and all tests conducted so far have been negative. Their close contacts will remain in self-isolation and will be retested in few days, she added. Five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported on P.E.I. this week, bringing the current total of active cases to six. In total, the province has seen 120 cases since the pandemic began, but no hospitalizations or deaths. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
LONDON — Prince Harry, who decamped from England to Southern California last year, rapped the theme song to the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” during a late-night talk show appearance in which he said he didn’t walk away from his royal duties. During a segment on the CBS television network’s “The Late, Late Show with James Corden” that aired early Friday, Harry said he decided to step away from his work as a front-line member of the royal family to protect his wife and son — and his mental health. “It was stepping back rather than stepping down,” he told Corden. “It was a really difficult environment, which I think a lot of people saw, so I did what any father or husband would do and thought, ‘How do I get my family out of here?’ But we never walked away, and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away.” The appearance marked Harry’s first interview since his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, stripped the prince and his wife, the former actress Meghan Markle, of their remaining royal duties earlier this month. Corden’s coup trumped Oprah Winfrey, whose interview with the couple is scheduled to air March 7. The Queen announced her decision on Feb. 19, saying it wasn't possible for the couple to “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service" after they stepped away from the work of the Royal Family. Harry and Meghan replied by saying “service is universal" and underscoring their commitment to the U.K., a response seen by some as disrespectful to the queen. Whatever issues have divided the royals, Harry suggested he and Meghan remain in touch with the monarch and her husband, Prince Philip. Harry told Corden that the monarch gave Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, a waffle-maker for Christmas and that the senior royals had seen the toddler “running around” in California via Zoom. The prince also offered a glimpse of the couple's life in the wealthy Santa Barbara County enclave of Montecito, where they generally watch the game show “Jeopardy" and Netflix programs before going to bed. Archie’s first word was “crocodile,” Harry said. During the lighthearted segment, which didn't touch on the royal couple's commercial ventures, Corden and the prince tour Southern California on an open top bus. At one point they arrived outside the mansion where the opening sequence of Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince” was filmed. “If it was good enough for the Fresh Prince, it’s good enough for a real prince,” Corden says, walking up the drive. “Do you remember the song?” “Now this is the story, all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down, now take a minute,” Harry raps before turning to Corden for help. “And sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the prince of town called…,” Corden chimes in. “Bel-Air,” Harry finishes off the song. Corden then jokingly tried to convince Harry to buy the sprawling mansion, placing a video call to Meghan to seek her support. She demurred. “I think we’ve done enough moving,” she said. Meghan then asked “Haz” how his tour of Los Angeles was going, prompting Corden to ask Harry about the nickname. “I didn’t know we were calling you Haz now,? Corden said. “You’re not my wife,? Harry responded with a shrug, as both men chuckled. Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
The tattoo industry, like many others, have been hit hard during COVID. Obviously not being an essential service, the pandemic has shutdown thousands of tattooers’ livelihoods. Tattooing has grown to become a $3 billion industry worldwide, with 38% of Canadians having at least one tattoo. Revenue growth for the Tattoo Artists industry is expected to decline 9.5% as a result of the pandemic and overall economic downturn. All tattooers have been forced to close up shop during the lockdowns as their work requires close contact and sitting with people for prolonged periods. Sjeli Pearse, a local tattoo artist who is currently living and working in Toronto, shares her experience with SaultOnline as she is currently closing up her studio. “We recently made the hard decision to let go of our location,” Pearse shares that for more than half of her lease she has not been able to work in her rented space due to the pandemic, “it’s hit the community really hard in Toronto especially because the lockdowns have been so much longer.” “At this point we really can’t trust that we will open, or that we will be allowed to stay open, or that clients will even have money to get tattooed.” Although the tattoo industry usually weathers economic downturns well, COVID has stopped them from providing their services. They already have to maintain sterilized work spaces and be extremely aware of their shop environment. Adapting their practice to COVID safety measures will be a necessity in order for tattooers to reopen and return to business. Follow SaultOnline as we follow this industry going forward. Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com
NORTH HURON - Shaelin and Shelby Green, representing Green’s Meat Market, made a special request at the North Huron council meeting on Feb. 16. The pair asked councillors to make an exception to the delay in hooking up to the township’s water and sewage system. “Green’s Meat Market, along with many other businesses on the border of North Huron and Morris-Turnberry, have been placed in the middle of a crossfire due to the lack of ability to come to an agreement on cross border services,” they told council. The Greens stated that since the business’s devastating fire last June, they “have received a tremendous amount of support from Morris-Turnberry and believe it is time we receive the same from North Huron.” Reeve Bernie Bailey had a response ready for the delegation, thanking them for taking the time to come and talk to them and expressed condolences for the business’s loss. “But I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear, but I’m going to tell you what you need to know,” he said. Bailey said that he had spoken with “their dad,” shortly after the fire and at that time, he had hoped that Morris-Turnberry would “surely have reached an agreement six months from now,” when the building was ready to open. He told them that several attempts had been made to Morris-Turnberry council, but all he heard was “no” to any agreement. “North Huron values your business, and we recognize the contributions your business makes to our community,” Bailey told the delegation. “We very much want your business to be back in operation.” Bailey encouraged the Greens to approach the Morris-Turnberry council and present a delegation to them regarding the subject. Once an agreement is in place, North Huron would “gladly work with Greens.” Bailey said North Huron council will do everything in their power to get Green’s Meat Market back up and running, but “I have to have an agreement to make it legal.” In an interview with the Wingham Advance Times after the Feb. 16 meeting, Bailey said he believes Morris-Turnberry doesn’t care at all about Green’s Meat Market and their troubles, saying “they get their taxes, no matter if Green’s is operating or not.” The Greens “approached the wrong council,” he said, adding, “they need to approach Morris-Turnberry.” The legal aspects of hooking up the water and sewage alone are hurdles Bailey can’t jump. “Without an agreement, we are not authorized to work on Morris-Turnberry land,” he said. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
(Submitted by Jane Ekong/ Submitted by Juliet Bushi/ Submitted by Michael Ifeanyi - image credit) Over the course of Black History Month, we are hoping to learn more about the rich dynamics of the Black experience in Regina through the stories of people from different backgrounds and professions. Read other pieces in the series: Dr. Jane Ekong says that when she arrived in Regina 38 years ago, there were so few Black residents, "we were kind of a novelty." The retired psychologist, who is originally from Nigeria, said many of the Black people in Regina were professionals: physicians, business owners, football players and others. These Black professionals made a mark on the community. This includes Ekong, who served as a trustee on the Regina Public Schools board, co-founded the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum and currently runs a charity called Amakon Women Empowerment Non-Profit Corp., which caters to women and children. Despite this, she and fellow members of Regina's burgeoning Black community encountered racism in the workplace and in their day-to-day lives. "I heard from some people that they had problems getting a place because people did not want to rent to them," Ekong said. Dr. Jane Ekong receives a plaque of service from the Regina Public School Board. Nearly four decades later, the Black population in Saskatchewan's capital city is still small, but is growing. Black people made up three per cent of Regina's population in the 2016 census and a larger portion of the professional sphere. Ekong said she is happy to see a lot more people of colour in Regina in recent years, but that discriminatory practices still exist in workspaces throughout the city. Racism in the workplace Obianuju Juliet Bushi can attest to the continued existence of discrimination in the workplace. Bushi moved to Regina in 2007 from Grande Prairie, Alta., after transferring to the University of Regina to continue her studies. She found her career in education after discovering she would not be able to practise medicine as an international student because, at the time, she needed to be a citizen or permanent resident to do so. She's now a sessional lecturer at the First Nations University of Canada and a board trustee at the Regina Catholic School Division. Prior to finding her passion for teaching and a job that she thoroughly enjoys at the university, Bushi had many experiences in other places that she describes as "horrible." The one that left her the most hurt came at a Crown corporation. She remembers what she described as incessant discrimination starting after her manager transferred her to a different department and she was offered a position that she was overqualified for. She had previously been in a temporary position, which was coming to an end. If she didn't get another internal position, she'd be out, so she took the offer despite it only requiring a diploma when she had her Master's degree. She said it was "the worst idea." Juliet Bushi has found her passion with teaching and a job that she thoroughly enjoys at First Nations University. Bushi remembers being frustrated by her manager, who she said micromanaged her and once called her "a slow learner." She said her colleagues also gave her a tough time. "My coworkers would have meetings and not include me and whenever I asked my manager about it, she would say, 'You're new so it's easier not to include you.' There was no training provided for me. I was asked to job shadow two of my coworkers leaving the department and they were very bitter about it," she said. Bushi recalls an incident when she turned around to find one of her colleagues making faces at her while she was asking questions. "I remember thinking 'Oh my God, I need help,'" she said. Bushi ended up leaving the position after her manager reviews prevented her contract from being renewed. Building a positive community Michael Ifeanyi and his colleagues grabbing a meal together. Michael Ifeanyi has had a very different experience with a Saskatchewan Crown corporation. He joined SaskPower in 2018 as a customer service representative and within nine months he was promoted to the position of project resource planner. Ifeanyi, the only person of colour on his team of six, said he has yet to have a racist encounter in the office in the three years since. "My team was welcoming and over the years we've got to know each other very well," he said. Ifeanyi credits team bonding exercises with helping him come out of his shell and do his best work. For him, sharing and hearing personal experiences from teammates has built a community and a safe place at work. Making lemonade out of lemons Jane Ekong serving a pancake breakfast to students at Jack MacKenzie School. Ekong has made a habit of addressing racist comments and calling out racist behaviour when it occurs, but also refusing to dwell on them or let them distract her. "Whenever I face discrimination, I speak to it and move on," she said. "If I let it fester in my mind and spirit, it does me no good. It will make me become like the person who perpetrated that against me." She also seeks opportunities to educate people and make them realize that "we are all human and we all hurt the same." Her advice to young professionals in the city who are facing racism is they should not bottle up the anger and they should make themselves indispensable wherever they are found. "If you are good at what you do, even though people may not like your face and they may not like your accent or your colour, when they need something in your area of expertise they are more likely to swallow their pride and come to you." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
HURON COUNTY – The early excitement of having an office for the OPP in downtown Wingham is fading; the project is on hold for the foreseeable future. “We are still in the process of trying to find a suitable space for a possible Extended Service Office (ESO) office in Wingham. Nothing has been established at this time,” OPP Constable James Stanley told the Wingham Advance Times. Meanwhile, the Huron County OPP announced opening a new Extended Service Office (ESO) in the Town of Goderich on Feb. 18. The new office is located at 33 David Street. In a press release, the OPP say the new office will “enhance police visibility in the community and allow officers to carry out their administrative duties while remaining deployed in Goderich.” Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Hamilton police say they have arrested a man and woman after finding the body of a dead baby. Police say they were called early Wednesday morning with a tip about "suspicious circumstances" at a home. Investigators say that following that information they found a body of what appears to be a newborn child buried in the building's basement. A post-mortem examination will take place over the coming days to determine the cause of death. The 34-year-old man and 24-year-old woman were charged on Thursday with criminal negligence causing death and Interfering with a dead body. Police say they expect to be at the scene for several days. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit) Weeks after Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson requested the government send grief counsellors to his electoral district, Health Minister Julie Green says she will look into sending a mental health team to the district's four communities. In early February, Green urged anyone seeking mental health services to use same-day counselling services available through the health department but stopped short of committing to send in new resources. On Thursday, she said she will investigate if she can deploy mental health teams that typically travel to communities without resident counsellors. While a child and youth counsellor position is filled at the Mangilaluk School in Tuktoykatuk, there are vacancies in community counselling, said Green. Health Minister Julie Green says she will look into sending mental health teams to Nunakput. Jacobson said mental health issues are coming up in Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok, Sachs Harbour and Paulatuk. He said a lot of people are hurting from depression to all the deaths that have occurred over the last year," said Jacobson. "We have to start trying to help them, heal them and try to move forward. When are we gonna get these travel teams into Nunakput?" he said. "We need a team to come in to work with the community on the depression, alcoholism, everything ... anything they want to talk about to get off their chest. We need help." The Kids Help Line is available to youth by text or call, Facebook and online chat, said Green. If you are under 25 years old and you need someone to talk to, you can call the Kid's Help Phone 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868. Texting and online chat options are also available 24/7. To text with a counsellor, text CONNECT to 686868. To live chat, visit https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/ and click the "chat" button OR download the Always There app.
(Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier - image credit) This column is an opinion from Graham Thomson, an award-winning journalist who has covered Alberta politics for more than 30 years. Before delivering the new provincial budget Thursday, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews bought himself new cowboy boots. A pair of ballet shoes would have been more appropriate. Toews's budget does a lot of dancing, much of it on eggshells. This is a budget that is afraid of suffering another embarrassing pratfall like the one performed last year when Toews tabled an overly optimistic budget in February that predicted solid economic growth, higher employment and a balanced budget by 2023 — and was quickly rendered obsolete with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. "When I was actually presenting the budget, it felt like Rome was burning behind me," said a slightly traumatized Toews at the time. This year's budget might be entitled, "Protecting lives and livelihoods" but, "Once burned, twice shy" would work, too. It's a conservative document, not in terms of spending and deficits, but in terms of predictions. The budget uses the word "uncertainty" so often it's like a nervous twitch, as in, "A great deal of uncertainty remains about vaccination roll-outs and the speed and breadth of global economic recovery." WATCH | Finance minister, Opposition leader discuss 2021 budget: "Uncertainty" is the word of the day. And it's going to be the word of the year as we continue to muddle through the minefield that is COVID 2021. The government learned an important lesson last year: don't raise expectations. Toews's economic outlook this year includes an $18 billion deficit, in addition to last year's $20 billion shortfall caused in part by a price of oil that went negative at one point. The accumulated debt will hit $115 billion this year and reach an astronomical $132 billion in two years. That's not including the $1.3 billion at risk in the Keystone XL pipeline gamble. The debt is climbing so high, so fast, the government is starting to couch the debt in terms of its relationship to the total provincial economy. This is called the net-debt-to-GDP ratio and it's a term beloved by pernickety economists — and by politicians trying to mask the size of their government's record debt. Right now Alberta's ratio is 24.5 per cent, which is pretty good compared to Ontario, for example, at 50 per cent. But just two years ago, our ratio was 11 per cent. Yes, there are few encouraging numbers in this budget. The government is spending four per cent more on health care and is setting up a $1.25-billion contingency fund to fight the pandemic. Premier Kenney is not slashing spending or cutting services as he seemed to suggest much of last year with his warning of a "fiscal reckoning" to come. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney promised there would be no new taxes in the budget. This is not a fiscal-reckoning budget or even an austerity budget. It is not the fiscal plan of a self-assured government. This is the keep-your-head-down-budget of a government under siege from COVID-19 and an unhappy public that seems to be increasingly dissatisfied with the UCP. The fiscal outlook is so uncertain that Toews doesn't even pretend to have a plan to balance the budget, unlike last year when he confidently predicted no more deficits starting in 2022, right before he felt the flames of COVID setting his prognostications on fire. 'Right-sizing' But if Toews is not outright slashing, he is planning to do some whittling and that has public-sector unions nervous. "One area where we can no longer delay is addressing a public -ector salary structure in Alberta that has for decades been an outlier compared to other provinces," said Toews, who has previously warned unions that if they don't accept concessions, they'll face more job cuts. Toews calls this "right-sizing" public-sector compensation, a term sure to infuriate workers and do nothing to quell labour unrest. "Perhaps if governments had shown more restraint in previous years, we would not have had to confront this issue," added Toews, who might be taking a jab at the former NDP government but really should be aiming at a succession of previous Conservative governments. True to form, Toews also pointed the finger of blame at the federal Liberal government: "The biggest obstacle to recovery may be our own national government, which has layered on regulatory requirements, created investment uncertainty, chased away the investment that maintains family-supporting jobs, and is now increasing the costs for our most vital national economic drivers." What the Kenney government tends to gloss over is that after the pandemic hit, most of the financial aid delivered to beleaguered Albertans came from Ottawa. Not only did the federal government deliver $11 billion in direct transfers to the Alberta treasury last year, it sent an additional $23 billion to individual Albertans and businesses via programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Albertans are no doubt relieved that, as Kenney promised, there are no new taxes in the budget. But you have to wonder if that's just a matter of time. The pandemic might have forced the government into spending record amounts of money but our fiscal problems didn't begin and end there. COVID's rampage through our economy demonstrated once again how over-reliant we are on the capricious price of fossil fuels. There will be a "fiscal reckoning" in our future, sooner or later.
La prise de parole d’Aïssa Maïga en 2020, destinée à rendre visible et politiser les « non-Blancs » dans le cinéma français, a jeté un trouble.
Digital assets under management across exchange-traded products doubled this month to a record $43.9 billion, researcher CryptoCompare said on Friday, underscoring soaring interest in securities that track digital currencies. Bitcoin has leapt over 60% this year, hitting an all-time high of $58,354 this month as mainstream companies such as Tesla Inc and Mastercard Inc embraced cryptocurrencies. Still, daily trading volumes across all varieties of exchange-traded products involving cryptocurrencies slumped 38% in February from a month earlier to $936 million, CryptoCompare said in a research report.
The head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Mark Machin, has resigned after his trip to the United Arab Emirates for vaccination against COVID-19 flouted Canadian government's travel advice and drew criticism. CPPIB on Friday named John Graham, currently senior managing director and global head of credit investments, as the new chief executive officer of the country's largest pension fund. Machin, 54, becomes the second senior Canadian corporate executive to resign after attempting to jump vaccine queue, underscoring the frustration among some about the country's slow vaccine roll out.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two U.S. Navy warships operating in the Mideast have been struck by coronavirus outbreaks, authorities said Friday, with both returning to port in Bahrain. A dozen troops aboard the USS San Diego, an amphibious transport dock, tested positive for COVID-19, said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea also has “confirmed several cases of COVID-19," she said. “All positive cases have been isolated on board, and the (ships) remains in a restricted COVID bubble,” Rebarich told The Associated Press. “The port visit and medical support have been co-ordinated with the host nation government and Bahrain Ministry of Health.” The San Diego sails with nearly 600 sailors and Marines aboard, while the Philippine Sea carries some 380 sailors. The 5th Fleet patrols the waterways of the Mideast. Its vessels often have tense encounters with Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Gulf through which 20% of all oil traded worldwide passes. The Navy’s largest outbreak so far in the pandemic was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which had to be sidelined in Guam for nearly two months last year. More than 1,000 sailors tested positive and one died. Eventually all of the 4,800 crew members were sent ashore in Guam for weeks of quarantine, in a systematic progression that kept enough sailors on the ship to keep it secure and running. The failure of the ship’s leaders to properly handle the outbreak exploded into one of the biggest military leadership crises in recent years. The ship’s captain, who pleaded for faster action to protect his crew from the rapidly spreading virus, was fired and the one-star admiral on the ship had his promotion delayed. Earlier this month, three sailors tested positive as the aircraft carrier was conducting operations in the Pacific. The sailors and those exposed to them were isolated, and the Navy said it is “following an aggressive mitigation strategy,” including masks, social distancing, and proper handwashing and hygiene measures. Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
Syria said U.S. air strikes against Iranian-backed militias in the east of the country on Friday were a cowardly act and urged President Joe Biden not to follow "the law of the jungle". An Iraqi militia official close to Iran said the strikes killed one fighter and wounded four. U.S. officials said they were limited in scope to show Biden's administration will act firmly while trying to avoid a big regional escalation.
Court found government was entitled to use an emergency law to introduce the measures forcing residents indoors from 9 pm to 4:30 amView on euronews
LOS ANGELES — Lady Gaga's dog walker was shot and two of the singer's French bulldogs were stolen in Hollywood during an armed robbery, police said. The singer is offering a $500,000 reward. The dog walker was shot once Wednesday night and is expected to survive his injuries, according to Los Angeles Police Capt. Jonathan Tippett, commanding officer of the department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division. The man was walking three of Lady Gaga's dogs at the time, but one escaped. That dog has been recovered safely. Tippett told The Associated Press that the dogs belong to pop star Lady Gaga. It's not yet clear if the dog walker was targeted because of his celebrity client, the captain said. Lady Gaga is offering the reward for the return of her dogs — whose names are Koji and Gustav — with no questions asked, according to her representative. An email address for tips, KojiandGustav@gmail.com, has been set up. The singer is currently in Rome to film a movie. Police were initially called to North Sierra Bonita Avenue, a street off the famed Sunset Boulevard, around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday following several 911 calls reporting a man screaming and the sound of a gunshot, said Capt. Steven Lurie, commanding officer of the department’s Hollywood Division. The victim, whose name has not been released, was walking the dogs when a white Nissan Altima pulled over and two men tried to steal the animals, police said. “Two suspects exited the vehicle and demanded the victim turn over the dogs at gunpoint. The victim struggled with the suspects and was shot once by one of the suspects,” a police statement said. The suspects nabbed two of the three dogs and drove off in the Nissan sedan, the statement said. Video captured by the doorbell camera of a nearby home shows the white sedan pulling up next to the dog walker and two men in dark clothing getting out. Although most of the action is hidden by a front-yard fence, it appears the men struggle with the shouting walker. One man then pulls what appears to be a gun and a shot is heard before the men pile into the car and flee. The walker is heard repeatedly screaming: “Oh my God! I’ve been shot!” He cries “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding out from my chest!” as someone runs out of the house to his aid. There was little evidence of the previous night's violence on Thursday afternoon in the upscale neighbourhood known as the Sunset Square historic district. There were faint blood spatters on sidewalk grasses and an errant black glove typically used by police left in the street. Neighbors, some of whom had doorbell security cameras, declined to comment on the shooting. French bulldogs can cost thousands of dollars. A woman in San Francisco was beaten in January at gunpoint as three men stole her gray French bulldog puppy named Chloe, police said. Gaga has remained among the biggest pop stars in the world since breaking through with her 2008 album “The Fame,” known as much for her shape-shifting persona on stages and red carpets as for her danceable music and powerful vocal pipes. She has won 11 Grammy Awards, headlined the Super Bowl's halftime show and has now become a bona fide Hollywood star after co-starring in 2018’s “A Star is Born” with Bradley Cooper and winning an Oscar. ___ AP Writers Mesfin Fekadu in New York and Andrew Dalton and photographer Chris Pizzello in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced a $7-million satellite program to locate and track people who are fishing illegally near Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. “Illegal fishing threatens the health of our fish stocks and takes resources away from hard-working, law-abiding fishers,” said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan in a press release. “We're investing in one of the leading, most innovative systems on the planet to ensure our fish stocks are protected, our fisheries remain lucrative, and the law is upheld at sea.” The Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to detect “dark vessels,” ones that have turned off their location transmitting devices in order to avoid being caught, according to DFO. It’s estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, representing up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually at a cost to the global economy of $10 billion to $23 billion a year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. DFO awarded Ontario-based space technology company MDA — the maker of the Canadarm — with a three-year contract to supply the technology for the program. It will provide data and analysis to officials in Ecuador and the Forum Fisheries Agency, which represents 15 small island nations in the Pacific region, so they can spend their resources on enforcement to protect their fish stocks, DFO says. MDA says the program will combine data from multiple satellite missions, including the Canadian Space Agency Earth observation satellite, RADARSAT-2. The Dark Vessel Detection program is part of the $11.6 million Canada committed to ocean health at the 2018 G7 meeting. DFO kicked off a smaller-scale program in June to track vessels in the Bahamas and Costa Rica, which saw “significant” fines to five foreign vessels, according to the department. Canada has been under fire for having illegal seafood in its supply chains. Oceana Canada says the country has “inadequate traceability standards” to monitor its seafood supply chain. As a result, the Canadian economy is losing up to $93.8 million in tax revenue each year due to illegal and unreported fishing, according to an Oceana Canada report released in November. Meanwhile, Canadian fishers are missing out on up to $379 million in lost revenue, per the report. The ocean conservation organization has been calling on the feds to develop a boat-to-plate traceability system that would track information about seafood products and disseminate it throughout supply chains. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Jordan and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to tackle it in their 2019 mandate letters, but no timeline for this plan has been released. This task, however, wasn’t included in Jordan’s or Hajdu’s subsequent 2021 letters. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
BERLIN — A Bavarian radio station apologized Friday for a host's comments comparing popular South Korean K-pop band BTS to the coronavirus, saying his choice of words had gone too far but was in no way meant to be “hurtful or racist.” The statement came after legions of fans accused the station's Matthias Matuschik of racism for his comments on the band's cover of Coldplay's “Fix You,” taking to social media using the hashtags #Bayern3Racist, #Bayern3Apologize and #RassismusBeiBayern3 which translates as “racism at Bayern3.” “Racism is not an option,” wrote one user, @Vroseeeee1 in a blunt tweet in English, German, Korean and Spanish. The uproar came after a live show Wednesday, in which Matuschik derided BTS's version of “Fix You” as “blasphemy” and compared the band to COVID-19, describing them as “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well.” He then dug his hole deeper as he tried to roll back the comment somewhat, saying “I have nothing against South Korea, you can’t accuse me of xenophobia only because this boyband is from South Korea... I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car around.” Then he went on to say that in penance for the cover, BTS “will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years.” BTS, which debuted in 2013, became the biggest boy band in the world, selling out stadiums worldwide and delivering a video message at the U.N. General Assembly this year. Their songs, filled with intimate, socially conscious lyrics, are credited for their success. Unlike other K-pop bands that carefully maintain the personas created by their labels, BTS is known for its active engagement with fans — known as ARMY — through social media. BTS has over 33.1 million followers on Twitter. Offence at the comments didn't only come from South Korea, with many social media users in Germany and elsewhere immediately condemning them. “I know which radio station I won't be listening to anymore, bye @Bayern3,” wrote user @fairesvmns in a German-language post that included audio of Matuschik's comments. “I really don't need racism of this shape and form in 2021.” Many South Koreans living abroad expressed concerns that the remarks could incite anti-Asian violence, already on the rise in many places. “This is not just about #BTS, it is about so many Asian people who are dealing with extreme racism especially due to pandemic,” Hansl Chang, a South Korean who lives in Germany, tweeted. In the station's apology, it said that while Matuschik was “presenting his opinion in an ironic, exaggerated way and with exaggerated excitement, his words went too far and hurt the feelings of BTS fans. “But he — and he has assured us of this — in no way intended this. He just wanted to express his displeasure over the aforementioned cover version.” It noted that Matuschik has been involved in helping raise aid for refugees and has a “constant campaign against right-wing extremism” and has shown he is against xenophobia or racism in any form. “That does not change the fact that many of you found his statements to be hurtful or racist,” Bayern3 said. “We apologize for this in every way possible. We will work on the matter with Matthias and the team in detail again in the next few days.” ___ Juwon Park in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report. David Rising, The Associated Press