Demi Lovato is looking back — quite publicly — at the overdose that nearly killed her in July 2018.
Demi Lovato is looking back — quite publicly — at the overdose that nearly killed her in July 2018.
Tuesday's Games NHL Buffalo 4 New Jersey 1 Pittsburgh 3 Washington 2 (OT) Chicago 6 Columbus 5 (SO) Ottawa 5 Montreal 4 (SO) Nashville 2 Detroit 0 Edmonton 4 Vancouver 3 --- AHL Rockford 3 Cleveland 2 Toronto 5 Stockton 1 --- NBA Detroit 105 Orlando 93 Cleveland 112 Atlanta 111 Brooklyn 127 Sacramento 118 Golden State 114 New York 106 Philadelphia 109 Toronto 102 Dallas 110 Boston 107 Milwaukee 139 Minnesota 112 L.A. Clippers 135 Washington 116 Denver 111 Portland 106 --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
BANGKOK — Regional diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar's political crisis gathered pace Wednesday, while protests continued in Yangon and other cities calling for the country's coupmakers to stand down and Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government to be returned to power. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited the Thai capital, Bangkok, as part of her efforts to co-ordinate a regional response to the crisis triggered by Myanmar's Feb. 1 military coup. Also making the trip to neighbouring Thailand was the foreign minister appointed by Myanmar's new military government, retired army colonel Wunna Maung Lwin, said a Thai government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release the information. Another Thai official said Wunna Maung Lwin met with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai as well as Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, himself a former army chief who first took power in a military coup. That official also spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information. There was no immediate word whether Marsudi also met the Myanmar diplomat. Indonesia and fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are seeking to promote some concessions by Myanmar's military that could ease tensions before there is more violence. The regional grouping, to which Thailand and Myanmar also belong, believes dialogue with the generals is a more effective method of achieving concessions than more confrontational methods, such as sanctions, often advocated by Western nations. Opposition to the coup within Myanmar continued Wednesday, with a tense standoff taking place in the country's second-biggest city, Mandalay, where police holding riot shields and cradling rifles blocked the path of about 3,000 teachers and students. After about two hours, during which demonstrators played protest songs and listened to speeches condemning the coup, the crowd moved away. On Saturday, police and soldiers shot dead two people in Mandalay as they broke up a strike by dock workers. Earlier the same week they had violently dispersed a rally in front of a state bank branch, with batons and slingshots. Also Wednesday, about 150 people from a Christian group gathered in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, to call for restoration of democracy and the release of Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders held since the coup. International pressure against the takeover also continues, with more than 130 civil society groups issuing an open letter to United Nations Security Council calling for a global arms embargo on Myanmar. The letter released Wednesday cited concerns about Myanmar’s citizens being deprived of a democratically elected government and ongoing violations of human rights by a military with a history of major abuses. “Any sale or transfer of military-related equipment to Myanmar could provide the means to further repress the people of Myanmar in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law,” the letter said. In addition to a sweeping arms embargo, the letter said any Security Council measures should make sure there is “robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.” There have been past arms embargoes on Myanmar during periods of military rule but not on a global basis. China and Russia, both members of the security council, are among the top arms suppliers to Myanmar, and would almost certainly veto any effort by the U.N. at a co-ordinated arms embargo. How effective the regional efforts at resolving Myanmar's crisis could be remains unclear. If Indonesia's Marsudi met in Thailand with her Myanmar counterpart it would have allowed them to talk face-to-face while sidestepping possible controversy stemming from a visit to Myanmar by Marsudi. Critics of the coup, especially in Myanmar, charge that such a visit would be tantamount to recognizing the military regime as legitimate and its takeover as legal. There had been news reports that such a visit was imminent. Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Wednesday that Marsudi left open an option to visit the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw, but had put off any plan for the time being. A statement from his office said that taking in account current developments and following consultations with other ASEAN countries, “this is not the ideal time to conduct a visit to Myanmar.” Demonstrations were held outside Indonesian embassies in Yangon and Bangkok on Tuesday in response to a news report that Jakarta was proposing to fellow ASEAN members that they offer qualified support for the junta’s plan for a new election next year. Faizasyah denied the report. Tassanee Vejpongsa, The Associated Press
Strong exports and solid construction activity helped the German economy to grow by a better-than-expected 0.3% in the final quarter of last year, but stricter lockdown measures at home and abroad are clouding the outlook for Europe's largest economy. The data, published by the Federal Statistics Office on Wednesday, marked an upward revision to its earlier estimate for a 0.1% expansion over the previous quarter. Adjusted for calendar effects, the German economy shrank by 5.3% last year, a much smaller contraction than in many other European countries, helped by a strong fiscal response to the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taiwan chipmakers are buying water by the truckload for some of their foundries as the island widens restrictions on water supply amid a drought that could exacerbate a chip supply crunch for the global auto industry. Some auto makers have already been forced to trim production, and Taiwan had received requests for help to bridge the shortage of auto chips from countries including the United States and Germany. Taiwan, a key hub in the global technology supply chain for giants such as Apple Inc, will begin on Thursday to further reduce water supply for factories in central and southern cities where major science parks are located.
Hyundai Motor Co will replace battery systems in some 82,000 electric vehicles globally due to fire risks - a costly $900 million recall that lays bare the thorny issue of how car and battery makers split the bill when problems arise. The recall is one of the first mass battery pack replacements conducted by a major automaker. The recall mostly concerns the Kona EV, Hyundai's biggest-selling electric car which was first recalled late last year for a software upgrade after a spate of fires.
Things could look different in the annual meeting season starting next month, when companies are set to face the most investor resolutions tied to climate change in years. Those votes are likely to win more support than in previous years from large asset managers seeking clarity on how executives plan to adapt and prosper in a low-carbon world, according to Reuters interviews with more than a dozen activist investors and fund managers. In the United States, shareholders have filed 79 climate-related resolutions so far, compared with 72 for all of last year and 67 in 2019, according to data compiled by the Sustainable Investments Institute and shared with Reuters.
New laws are on the horizon for Canada’s aquaculture industry, but environmentalists are wary the proposed legislation might not be enough to protect the country’s oceans. Canada’s $1.2-billion aquaculture industry is now regulated under a patchwork of federal and provincial laws and regulations. Confusion over that regulatory maze has fuelled a years-long effort by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to develop aquaculture-specific legislation. The new laws would update rules on everything from licensing to the industry’s environmental impact. “We have concerns around the act that (with) the direction it is going, it may actually exempt or replace or undermine some of the other legislative protections around wild fish biodiversity,” said Stan Proboszcz, science and campaign adviser for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. Currently, the Fisheries Act contains strong provisions aimed at protecting wild fish and wild fish habitat. Largely developed in the Trudeau government’s early years — an effort to restore protections gutted by former prime minister Stephen Harper — the rules established rigorous habitat protections, Proboszcz said. But he’s worried the proposed aquaculture laws could exempt fish farms from some of these protections. Of greatest concern to Proboszcz and other advocates are open-pen salmon farms, the largest industry in Canada’s aquaculture sector. In use on both coasts, open-pen nets pose a risk to wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon largely because the farms risk exposing wild populations to pests and disease. For instance, a 2012 report by Justice Bruce Cohen found that fish farms along salmon migration routes on the B.C. coast were contributing to the rapid decline of Fraser River salmon. Almost a decade later, in 2020 — and months after the river saw historically low returns — DFO decided to remove open-pen fish farms from the species' key migration route. Environmentalists in both the Atlantic provinces and B.C. have also been concerned for years about the farms’ impact on surrounding ecosystems because excrement, excess feed, and other waste leach beyond the floating pens — despite environmental protections under the Fisheries Act. “The open-pen salmon farming industry is in part governed by the protections of the Fisheries Act,” said Proboszcz. “We think that’s the way it should stay — we spent … years revising the Fisheries Act to protect habitats, to protect wild fish, and we don’t want to see an aquaculture act come in that amends those protections.” In a statement, DFO said the proposed act “would be derived from relevant sections of the Fisheries Act” and “would clearly and appropriately prohibit specific harmful activities … by maintaining the environmental prohibition currently found under the Fisheries Act.” But in a January letter, Watershed Watch and a coalition of other environmental organizations noted that less-stringent provincial aquaculture laws could leave open a loophole to these protections. The Atlantic provinces have some jurisdiction over aquaculture in their waters thanks to agreements between the federal and provincial governments. “The super obvious (concern) is that there doesn’t appear to be any requirement for a national standard of regulation,” said Simon Ryder-Burbidge, marine conservation officer with the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre. “In the course of developing a federal act, you would want to mandate some kind of national standards for the protections of ecosystems at the federal level,” but the proposed act would keep the current system — where jurisdiction over fish farms is split between the federal and provincial governments — intact. “The proposed (aquaculture) act will not impede on existing areas of provincial jurisdiction,” DFO confirmed in a statement. Those aren’t Ryder-Burbidge and Proboszcz's only worries, however. Both noted that DFO’s dual responsibility to regulate and promote Canada’s aquaculture industry is a significant conflict of interest that shouldn’t be enshrined in the planned law. “We do not want to see any sort of legislation or regulation that facilitates the government’s promotion of aquaculture as an industry,” said Proboszcz. Similar concerns have been raised for years: Justice Cohen noted it in the 2012 Cohen report on Fraser River sockeye. More recently, Chief Don Tom, vice-president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, noted the issue was central to controversy around fish farms in B.C.’s Discovery Islands. In response, the ministry said it is “committed to the conservation of wild salmon stocks” and aims to create an act that “provides greater clarity for the sector’s management and helps further enhance environmental protections.” Still, Ryder-Burbidge remains concerned. “At the end of the day, the protection of marine species falls at the foot of the federal government. We want to see them step up and take action to protect wild … salmon and other species,” he said. Marc Fawcett-Atkinson/Local Journalism Initiative/Canada's National Observer Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
VANCOUVER — Dominik Kahun scored twice Tuesday as the Edmonton Oilers clawed out a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver (8-13-2) had a 3-0 lead late in the first period, thanks to goals from Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson. Kahun sparked the comeback for Edmonton (13-8-0) with goals late in the first and early in the third. Connor McDavid buried a power-play tally to tie the game, and Tyler Ennis scored to seal the win. Leon Draisaitl registered three assists. Edmonton’s Mike Smith had 30 saves, while Thatcher Demko stopped 25-of-29 shots for Vancouver (8-13-2). The victory extends Edmonton's win streak to four games. It was another disappointing result for the Canucks, who have just two wins in their last 12 games. Ennis broke a 3-3 deadlock 13:25 into the third period. Stationed at the side of the net, he took a puck that had bounced off his shin and tipped it in behind Demko. McDavid knotted the score with a power-play tally 4:23 into the third. Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler had been sent to the box for tripping just nine seconds earlier. When Demko dove to make a stop, McDavid was quick to capitalize, popping a shot in over the sprawled-out netminder from the side of the net. Edmonton had already cut Vancouver's lead to a single goal less than a minute into the third when Kahun's shot from the face-off dot sailed in over Demko's glove. It was the Czech forward's second goal of the night and fourth of the season. After a slow start to the game, the Oilers came close to whittling away the Canucks lead in the second frame. Draisaitl unleashed a blast that tested Demko mightily four minutes in. The goalie hugged his post tightly to ensure an errant puck didn't sneak through, not letting up until the whistle sounded. Near the end of the frame, McDavid fired a shot off the cross bar. Play continued for a few moments before officials decided to check the play to see whether the puck had, in fact, gone into the Vancouver net before bouncing back out. A video review confirmed there was no goal. Vancouver started the scoring race just 1:06 into Tuesday's game. Horvat sprinted down the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot from near the goal line. The puck slid under Smith's pads and into the net to the goaltender's apparent disbelief. Myers extended Vancouver's lead seven minutes later with a blast from the top of the face-off circle. His shot ticked off the stick of Edmonton's Tyler Ennis and sailed in over Smith's shoulder to put the Canucks up 2-0. A scramble in front of the Oilers net ended with another Vancouver goal midway through the first. Canucks defenceman Jordie Benn sent the puck to the front of the net and, through a crowd of sticks, Miller was able to deflect it back to Pettersson at the top of the crease. Falling to the ice, the Swedish centre batted a backhanded shot past Smith. It was Vancouver's third goal, coming on its ninth shot of the night. Edmonton responded just before the first intermission. Kahun got a shot off from low in the face-off circle and Demko appeared to make the stop. But the Canucks netminder couldn't hold on to the puck, which dribbled out from under his arm and into the net. The Oilers and Canucks will face each other again in Vancouver on Thursday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
The social network's commitment to the news industry follows Google's $1 billion investment last year, as technology giants come under scrutiny over their business model as well as the proliferation of misinformation on their platform. Facebook on Tuesday restored Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented week-long blackout after wringing concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content. The brief blackout shocked the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the tech giants.
Have fun learning the alphabet with handmade clay superheroes and stop motion animation technology for all kids in the world. Thanks for watching!
(Regina Police Service/Supplied - image credit) The Regina Police Service is looking for a woman who has not been in touch with family or friends "for an unusual amount of time" officials said. Rose Molly Starr-Goforth, 34, of Regina was last seen on Saturday in the 1200 block of McTavish Street. She was last seen wearing black pants, black boots and a red "Columbia" jacket. There is no indication she has come to harm, police said in a press release, but her lack of contact with family is unusual for her and is concerning. Starr-Goforth is described by police as five foot six, and weighing about 160 pounds. She has long brown hair with brown eyes and crooked teeth, police said. She also has pierced ears and tattoos including a tattooed bracelet on her left wrist, a heart and wings on her left shoulder and upper arm, and a skull and rose tattoo on her neck. Anyone who has seen Starr-Goforth, or knows of her whereabouts is asked to contact Regina police at (306) 777-6500 or Crime Stoppers.
Barry Martin had hoped to spend his golden years messing around with some wood. When the 65-year-old, originally from Lewisporte, and his wife moved back to Newfoundland in 2020, he had his sights set on using retirement as a way to progress his woodworking hobby. To that end, Martin purchased a home just off the Bay d’Espoir Highway — about 15 kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway — that would help him accomplish those goals. The home needed some work and to help with that, he bought a portable Frontier sawmill to help. That mill was going to help with some smaller wood-working projects as well. “I purchased a home that was not quite finished, there were lots of trees on my property so I decided to purchase a small portable sawmill to finish my home and to be able to afford to pursue my recreation of woodworking,” Martin wrote in an email to SaltWire Network. That was fine until he ran into a problem. He applied for a licence to operate the mill at the back of his property, but it was denied. Martin thought this was peculiar because one of his neighbours has a similar mill on their property, as do many others in his area. The mill he bought is 12 feet long and four feet wide. “(The department) rejected my application here because they said I was living on a recreational property, so I couldn’t have one,” he told SaltWire during a follow-up interview. “Who is to determine what my recreation is?” Martin asked if it’d be possible to have a licence for as long as it took for him to finish his home. That was also denied. Martin said he was advised by a representative with the forestry department that he could purchase a piece of Crown Land at the back of his property and he would be granted a licence. However, that application was turned down as well. He was told that he could not have his mill within 300 metres, almost 1,000 feet, of any property in his region. “It seems like they can make rules whenever they want and however, they want,” said Martin. “My neighbour can have one, he is only 100 feet from me, but I can’t have one.” One of his neighbours recently had their licence renewed. He was also told the dust and noise created by his mill would be too much in the area. Martin lives adjacent to the Newfoundland Trailway and doesn’t believe his sawmill creates as much dust and noise as the recreational vehicles that use the railbed. “When I set up the sawmill, I just tried it out and my neighbour said he couldn’t hear it,” said Martin. “It is silliness what (the provincial government) is saying because of the noise and dust.” Martin has reached out to Elvis Loveless, the minister of fisheries, forestry and agriculture, the Office of the Premier and others in government hoping to find a resolution to his problem. The provincial government declined to comment on a specific application but did detail information regarding the application process. “Sawmill licences are issued under Section 79 of the Forestry Act. Any applicant wishing to operate a sawmill on Crown Land must first secure the appropriate title,” a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture wrote in an email. “The operation of a sawmill within a Cottage Development Area is considered to be in conflict with the intent of a recreation cottage area. “In such a circumstance, the Crown Lands Division would consider an application for an alternate location outside the cottage area.” Moving the mill and setting it up on another parcel of land away from his property doesn’t appeal to Martin. He fears having it vandalized or stolen. Not being able to finish his home is causing problems for his family. Condensation builds up in his home and there is water dropping down from a light fixture. “I was denied the opportunity to do that when other people can do that,” said Martin. “Why am I being treated so differently?” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to work toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050. "We're launching a high-level, climate-ambition ministerial and to align our policies and our goals to achieve net zero emissions by 2050," Biden said in a speech following a bilateral meeting with the Canadian leader. U.S. Special Climate Change Envoy John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, will host the ministerial.
ROME — Italy on Wednesday pressed the United Nations for answers about the attack on a U.N. food aid convoy in Congo that left a young ambassador and his paramilitary police bodyguard dead. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told lawmakers in Rome that Italy has asked both the U.N. and the U.N. World Food Program to open an investigation into the security arrangements for convoy, which was attacked two days earlier. The minister said Italy also will spare no effort to determine the truth behind the killing of Ambassador Luca Attanasio and Carabiniere paramilitary officer Vittorio Iacovacci. A WFP Congolese driver, Moustapha Milambo, was also killed in the attack. “We have formally asked the WFP and the U.N. to open an inquest that clarifies what happened, the motivations for the security arrangements employed and who was responsible for these decisions,” Di Maio said. The trip was undertaken at the U.N.’s invitation, according to Di Maio. The two Italians had “entrusted themselves to the protocol of the United Nations,” which flew them on a U.N. plane from Kinshasha to Goma, 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) away, Di Maio said. The Italian embassy in Kinshasha, Di Maio noted, has two armoured vehicles at the ambassador's disposal for moving around the city and the country. But for Monday's mission, to visit a WFP school food project in Rutshuri in eastern Congo, Attanasio was travelling in U.N. vehicles. Only hours earlier, Di Maio, flanked by Premier Mario Draghi, met the arrival of the bodies of the two Italians at a Rome military airport. Autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday and a state funeral for both men was set for Thursday in Rome. A special team of Carabinieri investigators, dispatched by Rome prosecutors, arrived Tuesday in Congo on what Di Maio said would likely be multiple missions to determine what happened. Attanasio, 43, who leaves a widow involved in volunteer projects in Congo and three young children, "was in love with his profession, with Africa and his family,'' Di Maio said. He noted that the Carabiniere was nearing the end of his security detail in Congo and was soon due back in Rome. The World Food Program, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for its efforts to feed refugees and other malnourished people worldwide, is headquartered in Rome. "For this reason, I immediately asked WFP in Rome and the United Nations, involving directing the Secretary General (Antonio) Guterres, to supply a detailed report on the attack on the convoy,'' Di Maio said. WFP has said the road had been previously cleared for travel without security escorts. U.N. security officials based in Congo usually determine road safety. On Tuesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York that the U.N. had launched an internal review concerning the “security around the incident.” Di Maio said the attackers numbered six, had light arms and apparently spread obstacles on the road and fired shots in the air to stop the convoy. “The noise of the shooting alerted soldiers of the Congolese Armed Forces and the rangers of Virunga park, less than a kilometre (half-mile) away, headed to the place of the incident.” Di Maio quoted the local governor as saying that to force the victims to go into the bush, they killed the WFP driver. When the ranger patrol arrived, Di Maio said, citing the Congolese interior minister’s account, the attackers “fired upon the Carabiniere, killing him, and at the ambassador, gravely wounding him.? Attanasio died of his wounds shortly afterward. Italy will reinforce its commitments to aid Africa, Di Maio said, calling that the “best way to honour the memory? of the two slain Italians. "A policy that puts Africa at the centre of Italian diplomatic, European and international attention, this is the commitment Luca believed in and in which we believe in,'' the foreign minister said. Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press
MULGRAVE – One might say it was an ambitious plan, to create a meal delivery service to support older, vulnerable adults in Guysborough County experiencing challenges related to food security during the pandemic. Given that the county is geographically large and has a population of whom half are more than the age of 55, the idea took some planning to get off the ground. But with government funding – from the federal New Horizon Program, N.S. Dept. of Communities, Culture and Heritage Program and N.S. Department of Seniors – the board of directors of the Mulgrave and Area Medical Centre and a project advisory committee got Community Food Connections on the road delivering meals free of charge to the kitchens of more than 160 program participants. The original program funding was expected to last until the end of February, but last week Medical Centre Board Chair Al England told The Journal that funding had been secured to keep the program running until the end of June, which “will allow for a greater impact with respect to those that are utilizing the program – or there may be others that may be in need as well that could find some benefit in signing up for the program. “We are really happy with that aspect of it, really grateful to our provincial and federal partners in respect to the overall funding of the project … the extension will allow us to exhaust the funds that were provided … There’s still a lot of concern, a lot of caution; people are fearful and anxious,” said England noting that along with providing quality meals, the program also offers a chance to socialize for people who may be reluctant or unable to leave their homes. The program started delivering meals to homes across Guysborough County – District of St. Mary’s, Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Town of Mulgrave – in November. England said they have delivered more than 4,100 meals; mainly to program participants identified by project advisory committee members who work with older adults and suggested the names of those who would benefit the most from the program. To be eligible for the program, participants had to be 55 or older, a resident of Guysborough County and have difficulty getting to a grocery store due to health or transportation challenges, mobility issues, financial concerns, or other barriers and difficulties. Brent Lundrigan is the program coordinator and spends a lot of time on the road delivering meals from the hub location in Mulgrave to areas as far afield as Liscomb and Canso. He delivers frozen meals to program participants and manages intake of people eligible for the program. Since November, Lundrigan, a native of Mulgrave, has become familiar with a lot of back roads and brought smiles to many as he made his deliveries across the county. For more information about the Community Food Connections program, call Lundrigan at 902-777-5685. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Simcoe County paramedics are breathing a collective sigh of relief now that they’ve been able to access the COVID-19 vaccine. “I’m very happy and very relieved and very appreciative,” said Simcoe County paramedic Danielle Desrochers, who has been anxiously waiting for the shot, which she finally received Thursday. “It’s been such a scary time to be a paramedic, to go into all these calls.” Local paramedics initially expressed concern that they weren’t among earlier groups invited to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But they said they received an outpouring of support after expressing those worries. “We’re all very excited about this,” said Sean Sharp, a paramedic who serves as second vice-president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 303, which represents local paramedics. He received his first shot on Friday and believes all of Simcoe County’s paramedics have now been offered the first of two shots. Paramedics had earlier said they were worried because they regularly expose themselves to the virus and possibly the virulent variants. Even though they’re fully adorned in the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), Sharp said they could still be at risk without immunity through a vaccine. Paramedics did attend the Roberta Place long-term care facility in south-end Barrie throughout the deadly outbreak of the B.1.1.7 UK variant, and they regularly transport people with COVID-19. For local paramedics, the positive messages they received on social media proved inspiring. “There’s been an amazing amount of support from the community,” Sharp said. “It’s given us a lot of motivation. “I’m relieved that we were all offered this. There were members, local paramedics, who were getting scared," he added. Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
VANCOUVER — Two more units have been added to a COVID-19 outbreak declared at Vancouver General Hospital. A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says outbreaks are underway on inpatient units T-14-G and T-11-G in the highrise tower of the hospital's Jim Pattison Pavilion. The health authority says the outbreaks are in addition to one declared Sunday in unit T-10-C in the same tower. The statement says, in total, 16 patients and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Visits to all three units have been suspended, except for end-of-life compassionate visits, and the hospital says infection prevention and control protocols are underway to prevent further transmission. Coastal Health says the rest of the hospital, including the emergency room, remain open and operating as usual. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
BERLIN — A former member of Syrian President Bashar Assad's secret police was convicted Wednesday by a German court of facilitating the torture of prisoners in a landmark ruling that human rights activists hope will set a precedent for other cases. Eyad Al-Gharib was convicted of accessory to crimes against humanity and sentenced by the Koblenz state court to 4 1/2 years in prison. It was the first time that a court outside Syria ruled in a case alleging Syrian government officials committed crimes against humanity. German prosecutors invoked the principle of universal jurisdiction for serious crimes to bring the case that involved victims and defendants who were in Germany. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the verdict represented a “historic juncture” that would send “real messages to all those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people and gives hope to the victims and their families that right will prevail.” The group, which has documented the decade-long war, urged Syrian refugees in Europe to come forth with any evidence and documents to courts to help more such cases. Al-Gharib could have faced more than a decade behind bars, but judges took into account mitigating factors, including his testimony in court. The 44-year-old was accused of being part of a unit that arrested people following anti-government protests in the Syrian city of Douma and took them to a detention centre known as Al Khatib, or Branch 251, where they were tortured. Al-Gharib went on trial last year with Anwar Raslan, a more senior Syrian ex-official who is accused of overseeing the abuse of detainees at the same jail near Damascus. Raslan is accused of supervising the “systematic and brutal torture” of more than 4,000 prisoners between April 2011 and September 2012, resulting in the deaths of at least 58 people. During the trial, al-Gharib testified against Raslan, implicating him in more than 10 deaths of prisoners. A verdict in Raslan's case is expected later this year. The court also considered photographs of thousands of alleged victims of torture by the Syrian government. The images were smuggled out of Syria by a former police officer, who goes by the alias of Caesar. “Today’s verdict is the first time a court has confirmed that the acts of the Syrian government and its collaborators are crimes against humanity,” said Patrick Kroker, a lawyer with the European Center for constitutional and Human Rights, which represented multiple survivors at the trial. “Testimony by torture survivors and intelligence officers, as well as the Caesar photos, prove the scale and systemic nature of enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence in Syria," he said. "The relevance of this evidence extends far beyond the proceedings in Koblenz.” Delivering the oral verdict, the presiding judge made it clear that al-Gharib's crimes were part of the Syrian government’s systematic abuses against its own population. Syrian officials did not testify during the 60-day trial. The court concluded that al-Gharib's unit, which was under Raslan's command, was involved in chasing down and detaining at least 30 people following a demonstration in Douma, and then bringing them to the detention centre where they were tortured. Al-Gharib, who had the rank of sergeant major until he defected, left Syria in 2013 and came to Germany in 2018. Both men were arrested a year later. Some rights groups have raised questions about the trial, noting that government defectors like Al-Gharib may not realize that statements they make during asylum applications may be used against them. Mohammad Al-Abdallah, director of the Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center and a former prisoner in Syria, said Al-Gharib was a low-ranking officer with little value in the case against him. He suggested that putting defectors like Raslan and Al-Gharib in prison would please the Assad government, "because this will deter anyone else from defecting or joining the opposition or supplying information to human rights groups.” But Wassim Mukdad, a Syrian survivor and co-plaintiff in Raslan's trial, said while al-Gharib was "just one small cog in the vast Syrian torture apparatus” the verdict against him was important. “I hope it can shed light on all of the Assad regime’s crimes,” he said. "Only then will the trial really be a first step on this long road to justice for myself and other survivors.” The European Center for constitutional and Human Rights, which supports 29 survivors in the case against Raslan, of whom 14 are represented as co-plaintiffs in that case, is working to bring further cases against Syrian officials to trial in Germany, Austria, Sweden and Norway. ___ Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report. Frank Jordans, The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Fry's Electronics, the go-to chain for tech tinkerers looking for an obscure part, is closing for good. The company, perhaps even more well known for outlandish themes at some of its stores, from Aztec to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," said Wednesday in an online posting that the COVID-19 pandemic had made it impossible to continue. Fans immediately took to Twitter to post images and memories (good and bad). The chain was concentrated on the West Coast, but had 31 stores in nine states. It was founded 36 years ago. The pandemic has done heavy damage to retailers, but Fry's was already getting hammered by online competition and a battle between heavy-hitters Best Buy and Amazon.com. Fry's Electronics Inc. said its operations have ceased and the wind-down of locations will begin immediately. Customers with electronics being repaired in-store store are being asked to pick them up. The stores online presence appears largely to have been shut down. The Associated Press
Which would you prefer? In Serbia, people can select any of four jabs: the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, China’s Sinopharm, Russia’s Sputnik V and Oxford-Astrazeneca's.View on euronews