Florida authorities say two women who dressed up to make themselves appear as older adults in an attempt to get coronavirus vaccinations were turned away and issued trespass warnings. (Feb. 19)
Florida authorities say two women who dressed up to make themselves appear as older adults in an attempt to get coronavirus vaccinations were turned away and issued trespass warnings. (Feb. 19)
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Washington targeted seven mid-level and senior Russian officials along with more than a dozen government entities.View on euronews
SAN FRANCISCO — Teresa Parada is exactly the kind of person equity-minded California officials say they want to vaccinate: She's a retired factory worker who speaks little English and lives in a hard-hit part of Los Angeles County. But Parada, 70, has waited weeks while others her age flock to Dodger Stadium or get the coronavirus shot through large hospital networks. The place where she normally gets medical care, AltaMed, is just now receiving enough supply to vaccinate her later this month. Parada said TV reports show people lining up to get shots, but “I see only vaccines going to Anglos.” “It’s rare that I see a Latino there for the vaccine. When will it be our turn?” she said. Gov. Gavin Newsom has repeatedly called equity his “North Star" for vaccinating a diverse state of nearly 40 million. He partnered with the federal government to set up mass vaccination sites in working-class neighbourhoods in Oakland and Los Angeles. And it's a big part of why he tasked insurer Blue Shield with centralizing California's patchwork vaccine system, asking the hospital chain Kaiser Permanente to assist. Yet officials at community health centres that are considered the backbone of the safety net for the poor in the U.S., focused on health equity, say they are not receiving enough doses for their patients — the very at-risk residents the state needs to vaccinate. In California, nearly 1,400 such centres offer free or low-cost services to about 7 million people, many in communities with a higher concentration of low-income families and few providers who take Medicaid, which is known in California as Medi-Cal. Many of their clients speak a language other than English, work long hours, lack transportation and want to go to the medical care professionals they trust. Dr. Efrain Talamantes, chief operating officer for AltaMed Health Services, said it was disheartening to watch initial doses go elsewhere while his patients continued to test positive for the virus. “There is a clear disparity every single time there’s a resource that’s limited,” he said. Most states are grasping for ways to distribute limited vaccine supply, resulting in a hodgepodge of methods in the absence of a federal plan. Tennessee is among the states dispensing doses based on county populations, while California allocates them by eligible groups including teachers and farmworkers. The free-for-all has allowed people with the most resources to score scarce vaccinations. Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, said it seems obvious that the best strategy to get vaccines to hard-hit communities is to turn to the places where residents already get care. But big-box administrators tend to think of community health centres as less efficient because of their smaller size, she said. “We’re not very imaginative in the way we deliver vaccine efficiently. Our only creative solutions are to build mass vaccination sites, and maybe give people preferential access to those sites,” she said. As California has ramped up vaccination efforts through mobile and pop-up clinics at churches, work sites and schools, state data show how relatively few shots have gone to Latinos and Blacks compared to their populations. African Americans have received 3% of vaccine doses while they make up 6% of the state. Latinos, who make up 39% of the state, have received 17% of doses. Blue Shield officials say they plan to keep open health centres that are already administering vaccines, but the clinics worry they won't get enough doses. State vaccine spokesman Darrel Ng said the governor's plan for equitable vaccination includes setting aside vaccines for “disproportionately impacted communities and ensuring that providers who serve these communities are part of the network." He said in a statement that it includes sending mobile clinics to places like Black churches. Andie Martinez Patterson, vice-president of government affairs at the California Primary Care Association, said while large-scale health systems can vaccinate people quickly, they likely won’t reach the targeted residents. Community health centres have worked hard to persuade their patients to take the shot, said Alexander Rossel, chief executive of Families Together of Orange County, adding his centre has inoculated 95 per cent of its patients age 65 and over. Health centres watched in dismay as vaccine for health care workers initially went to larger hospitals in December. Then they watched as more affluent, internet-savvy English speakers with time to navigate web portals and drive long distances for appointments flocked to inoculation arenas. When Orange County started opening large-scale vaccination sites in mid-January, community health centres asked for doses too, said Isabel Becerra, chief executive of the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers. “We don’t have transportation. We don’t speak English. We don’t understand the technology you’re asking us to use to register and get in line. So, can we vaccinate the 65 and older population in the comfort of their own facilities?” she said. Jodie Wingo, interim president of the community health association for Riverside and San Bernardino counties, said member clinics were scaling up to inoculate more of their 500,000 patients. But now they’re receiving only a few dozen doses at a time. “Everybody is working toward equity, yet it doesn’t look equitable. At all,” she said. AltaMed, in Los Angeles and Orange counties, recently started receiving 3,000 doses a week from the two counties. The supply should allow clients like Parada, who is originally from Mexico, to receive her vaccine this month. AltaMed will send a vehicle to take her to a clinic for the shot that will protect her when she heads out, double-masked, to shop for the family. “I’m the one who has to go out. I have to protect myself,” she said. Amy Taxin And Janie Har, The Associated Press
Regina– The Government of Saskatchewan is clearly leaning towards a first-dose COVID-19 vaccination strategy, getting as many people vaccinated with their initial dose as possible, before following up with a booster shot much later to maximize immunity. Doing so would maximize the number of people immunized as quickly as possible, allowing nearly all Saskatchewan residents to receive their first shot by June and allowing things to begin to return to normal. However, that would mean stretching the period between doses from the three or four weeks, as they are supposed to be administered, to as much as four months. Premier Scott Moe and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab referenced this strategy numerous times during the regular COVID-19 briefing held at the Legislature on March 2. Shahab pointed to “great information from the (United Kingdom), from Quebec, from (British Columbia), on how effective one dose is for as long as four months.” He expects future recommendations from partners, including the federal government, to support delaying the second dose up to four months. “And what that will do is that will really accelerate our first dose program, and if you're able to do that, we can see most of our population 18 and older, potentially getting your first dose by June,” Shahab said. “And I think that would really help us in really putting the pandemic behind us. And like the premier said, I think we all need to then … be ready to take any vaccine that is available, when our age cohort comes up in the sequencing.” Shahab posed the question of how you can maximize the population benefit with a known supply of vaccines. He said, “The way we can maximize that is giving one dose to the vast majority of people by June, and then completing the second doses July onwards. And this will help us prevent a potentially devastating, variant fueled, third wave. “And we'll also maximize population-level protection, at no sacrifice to individual protection, because that is critical as well. Right now, the aim is clinical protection, which means hospitalization, death, at a clinical individual level, but as more and more people get vaccinated, you know, obviously we want to see the population impact of that as well, that kind of community immunity impacts. And the most efficient way to get that, based on strong scientific advice, is to give everyone one dose.” Moe said a four-month interval between first and second doses would mean virtually all Saskatchewan residents could be provided with their first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by the end of June. If you add AstraZeneca and perhaps Johnson & Johnson vaccines (the second has not yet been approved in Canada, but has been approved in the United States), Moe said, “Then we're starting to look at something in early June, where we could have everyone in the province provided with the opportunity to receive their first dose of vaccine.” “Understanding the efficacy of that first dose, and some of the data that is coming in, and continues to come in, and the protection that it provides, this really is a game changer for the dates that we can really strongly have some serious discussions about the measures that we have in place and what that looks like, over the course of the next number of weeks as opposed to having that conversation over the course of the next number of months,” Moe said. Oldest first Key to this first dose strategy is getting the oldest people in Saskatchewan vaccinated first, which the Province has already been working on. To that end, Moe announced that first doses have been delivered to every long-term care facility in Saskatchewan, and 91 per cent of their residents had been vaccinated. The remaining nine per cent either refused or were unable to take if at this time. A further 53 per cent of those long-term care residents had received their second shot and are now considered fully vaccinated. Moe called it an important milestone along the way to the pandemic being over. “We've also delivered vaccines to 90 per cent of the personal care homes in the province. About 78 per cent of the residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, and about 43 per cent have now received both shots,” Moe added. The province is expected to receive about 112,000 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna in the month of March, and a further 15,000 doses of the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine next week. That vaccine, which is approved for ages from 18 to 64, will likely be used for that age group, although Shahab pointed out that one should accept whatever vaccine is available when it is their turn, and that the United Kingdom has been using it for people 65 and older with success. However, by the time Saskatchewan gets larger volumes of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of its population 65 and older should have already been vaccinated with the other vaccines. Moe said Saskatchewan has been leading the nation in getting shots in arms, with over 100 per cent of doses received having been administered, as compared to 86 per cent for the next leading province. He said there is very little wastage. Appointments Moe said appointments for vaccination will be soon available online or by telephone, meaning eligible residents over 70 years of age will soon be able to book appointments. “We expect to launch that appointment system next week, so for everyone who is waiting to get your shot, and is in the Phase 1 category, we are working to get you vaccinated as quickly as possible.” Moe said case numbers and hospitalization numbers continue to stabilize, with the seven-day average of new cases now 144, down 55 per cent from our peak in January. Hospitalizations are around 154, down from a high of 238. Vaccinations of elderly residents should lead to a continued decline in serious cases and hospitalizations, Moe said, noting, “The truth is that the vaccines are working. They are reducing transmission. They are reducing serious outcomes. And that's very encouraging for all of us.” Relaxation of measures Moe noted that many people have asked for a relaxation in current public health measures, in particular those limiting household gatherings. He said, “I would say to this is we're very close to making, and finalizing, these decisions. I've spoken to Dr. Shahab about this frequently. He just wants to see the new case and hospitalization numbers remain stable for a few more days. If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week. We'll be taking a close look at all of the other public health orders that are set to expire on March, the 19th. “So I'm asking everyone in this province to hang tight for just a few more days. The next number of weeks, not months, we're going to start to see things change, and change significantly. Spring is coming. Vaccines are on the way. We are on the path to getting life back to normal, as we know it, but we're just not quite there yet. So please, the next number of days and weeks keep doing what you're doing to keep yourself safe to keep those around you safe and to keep your family safe.” Moe added, “When it is your turn, and when you are offered a vaccine, there is only one answer that should come out of your mouth and that is ‘Yes.’ “They're all equally effective, the vaccines that are that are available, and a vaccine in our arm is far better than a vaccine that's sitting on the shelf, or not being administered to someone here in the province,” Moe said. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter, the country's chief law officer, identified himself on Wednesday as the subject of a historical rape allegation, declaring his innocence and strongly denying the claim. On Tuesday, police in New South Wales state, where the alleged assault occurred, said there was insufficient evidence to investigate the claim and closed the matter. Seeking to end swirling speculation about the identity of the unnamed cabinet minister since the allegation was first reported last week, an emotional Porter said he was the subject of the claim.
ORLANDO, Fla. — “Trump needs you,” one fundraising email implored. “President Trump’s Legacy is in your hands," another pleaded. Others advertised “Miss Me Yet?” T-shirts featuring Donald Trump's smiling face. While some Republicans grapple with how fiercely to embrace the former president, the organizations charged with raising money for the party are going all in. The Republican National Committee and the party's congressional campaign arms are eager to cash in on Trump's lure with small donors ahead of next year's midterm elections, when the GOP hopes to regain control of at least one chamber of Congress. But there's a problem: Trump himself. In his first speech since leaving office, the former president encouraged loyalists to give directly to him, essentially bypassing the traditional groups that raise money for GOP candidates. “There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again," Trump said Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. “And that’s through Save America PAC and donaldjtrump.com.” The comment was particularly notable because Trump is generally loath to ask for money in person. It amounts to the latest salvo in the battle to shape the future of the GOP, with Trump making clear that he holds no allegiance to the party's traditional fundraising operation as he tries to consolidate power. That could help him add to an already commanding war chest, aiding his effort to influence the party. Save America has more than $80 million cash on hand, including $3 million raised after the CPAC speech, according to a person familiar with the total. Some of that money could help Trump settle scores with incumbent members of Congress who have crossed him. In his Sunday speech, Trump read aloud the names of every Republican who voted against him and called for them to be defeated. He's already endorsed a Republican challenger to GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach Trump over the U.S. Capitol riot. “Trump’s call to give directly to him shows that the normal organs of the party ... are going to have to fight for relevance in the 2022 cycle,” said Dan Eberhart, a longtime Republican donor who has given large sums to all three as well as to Trump’s campaign. Bill Palatucci, a RNC member from New Jersey, called Trump's comments “unwelcome" and “counterproductive" and voiced concern that the GOP would suffer further losses, like Georgia' Senate runoff elections in January, if they don't work together. “Listen it’s a free country. Anybody can form a federal PAC or a super PAC and there's always lots of competition for dollars. But the crossing the line there is then to also tell people to not give to the important committees of the national party," said Palatucci. “There’s got to be a willingness on the former president to look beyond his own self-interest." The RNC and spokespeople for the House and Senate campaign committees declined to comment. But others sought to downplay the apparent tensions. They noted, for instance, that Trump is scheduled to speak at the RNC's spring donor retreat — a major fundraising source — in April in Palm Beach. And Trump told the party’s chair, Ronna McDaniel, in recent days that he wants to continue fundraising for the RNC, according to a person briefed on the conversation who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations. Before making his money pitch on Sunday, Trump's team quietly updated its fundraising filings. They converted his Save America leadership PAC to an entity that can also support other candidates, and turned his main Donald J. Trump for President campaign committee into the Make America Great Again, or MAGAPac. Money raised through Trump's website now goes to Save America JFC, a joint fundraising agreement between the two. While Trump left office as a deeply unpopular figure, he remains a powerful draw for small-dollar, grassroots donors, a reality that has been abundantly clear in fundraising appeals over the last week. Over the course of a single hour last Thursday, the RNC, both GOP congressional campaign committees and the Republican State Leadership Committee, which tries to elect Republicans to state office, blasted supporters with urgent fundraising appeals that included urgent references to Trump. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee warned this week that its “limited edition” T-shirts featuring Trump were almost sold out. Regardless of Trump's next move, the GOP is unlikely to remove him from its sales pitch anytime soon. “Our digital fundraising strategy is simple: raise as much money as possible," said Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for the RSLC. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Point-of-entry testing — performing an immediate COVID-19 test on everyone who crosses the border into Newfoundland and Labrador — has become a major point of diversion between Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and the other main contenders in the provincial election. Crosbie has demanded for months the province adopt the practice, and has made it a central plank of his campaign platform. Both the Liberals and the NDP have said they would defer to the judgment of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, who still believes it would be a pointless exercise. When asked last week whether Crosbie would defer to the judgment of the province’s top public health official, the party issued a statement. “The Liberals have chosen to hide behind talking points instead of evaluating science,” the statement said. “We will conduct a wide-ranging, comprehensive jurisdictional review of point-of-entry testing and work with public health to implement in a safe manner. All final decisions will be made by public health officials.” The final sentence of that statement seems to contradict the central assertion that a Crosbie administration will implement border testing, unless a) he believes Fitzgerald will see the light, or b) he plans to replace her. It’s a point the other parties have highlighted. "(Fitzgerald) is making her decisions based on the science, and that is how health decisions should be made — not by politicians,” NDP Leader Alison Coffin said recently. "Point-of-entry testing, for example, is a snapshot of a person's health at any given time and not the level of their symptoms two days later." The Liberals under Andrew Furey have taken an even more combative tone. “Mr. Crosbie is rejecting the evidence-based decision-making of the (chief medical officer of health) and her team, who have guided Newfoundland and Labrador incredibly well throughout this pandemic,” the party said in response to Crosbie’s promise. “In order for Mr. Crosbie to implement point-of-entry testing in Newfoundland and Labrador, he would first have to reopen the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act, remove the decision-making authority from the (chief medical officer of health) and politicize decisions concerning the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.” Lost in much of this is why the province does not see the merit in border testing in the first place. Public Health officials offered a technical briefing for reporters in late November, but the logic offered then seems to have evaporated in the face of increasing demands by special-interest groups such as rotational workers. The fact the federal government now demands pre-boarding test results from all incoming travellers, at the travellers’ own expense, has also served to deflate the chief medical officer of health’s position. And some provinces are also experimenting with the idea. But one of the central points of Newfoundland’s position was efficient and effective use of resources. At November’s briefing, officials pointed out that some provinces implemented a kind of random testing regime, rather than a targeted one. And they discovered the extra load hindered their ability to react swiftly to positive tests with contact tracing. Their turnaround times became so long that they had to get help from other provinces to reduce the backlog. With thousands of people arriving in the province per week, they said, only a fraction of one per cent would be caught with testing, and the risk of false negatives would mean quarantine still has to happen anyway. Crosbie speaks of a comprehensive review, but as officials with Public Health pointed out last fall, border testing in itself has long been known to be insufficient. As for looking at the science, the most expansive study of any significance is one being conducted by McMaster University researchers out of Pearson airport in Toronto. The full report is not yet peer-reviewed, but preliminary results unveiled in early November have pretty well dominated all arguments for and against the practice. In a nutshell, thousands of international passengers were asked to volunteer to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and then take kits home to test again at Day 7 and Day 14. Of those passengers that tested positive for COVID-19 at any point — which was between one and two per cent of them — about 70 per cent were caught at the airport. Another 25 per cent tested positive on Day 7, while only five per cent tested positive on Day 14. Dr. Marek Smieja, one of the researchers, says none of the passengers they recruited were symptomatic on arrival — not surprisingly, since most airports screen passengers for symptoms before boarding. Smieja said he and his colleagues hoped the study would inform decisions about quarantine, but added some length of quarantine is still the most effective preventive measure. “Our main message really was asking what’s the value … of continuing quarantine until Day 14?” he said in an interview with The Telegram. “If you could test at Day 7, could you safely allow people to come out of quarantine.” Around the same time the McMaster results were released, Newfoundland and Labrador did exactly that with low-risk rotational workers. Smieja said another advantage of early testing is taking the guesswork out of symptoms, since many people can be contagious without even knowing it. “In some ways, the testing regime captures a small number of people who are shedding virus who might not otherwise have been captured who might then have to isolate for 10 more days,” he said. “Up to half of the people never become symptomatic and yet can still be shedding virus, and we actually think that’s a major reason this virus has been so hard to control around the world.” But he admits a negative test at the border can’t be a ticket to freedom. “We have to be very, very careful that a negative test does not mean that you’re out of quarantine,” he said. “That’s the danger with any sort of testing, is if people have had an exposure, get a test and they’re negative, well, they could become positive a few days later. So that’s where some sort of sensible duration of quarantine is still required.” And that’s exactly what Fitzgerald’s argument has been. “If you get a negative test when you’re coming into the province, it may give you a false sense of reassurance that, ‘Oh, I don’t have COVID,’ and we all know that not everybody will test positive when they’re first checked,” she said in November. Fitzgerald reiterated her skepticism as recently as February, but admitted that the arrival of the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant may change things. “This variant is a game-changer, so we have to, as I’ve said from the beginning, if evidence changes, if science changes, if the epidemiology changes — which it clearly has now — then we have to evolve with that,” she said. “With these variants now, testing will not be replacing quarantine,” she added. Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Penticton city council has voted unanimously to deny B.C. Housing a temporary-use permit that the agency needs to continue to run an emergency winter homeless shelter past March 31. The decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon where the mayor and councillors discussed the future of the 42-bed shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street in the Okanagan city's downtown. Upon hearing the news of the rejected permit, B.C. Housing Minister David Eby said he was "profoundly disappointed" and told CBC News he would do everything in his power to ensure that the people currently staying at the shelter do not end up living in a tent encampment. The move comes amid growing frustration from Penticton's mayor and council over issues with the city's homeless population and B.C. Housing's three supportive housing projects. Penticton's mayor and city councillors expressed frustrations about dealing with B.C. Housing on the issue of an emergency winter shelter during an online council meeting Tuesday.(City of Penticton ) In late January, Penticton asked the agency for an independent audit of how it runs them before considering a fourth such building in the city. And last month, Mayor John Vassilaki attributed the Penticton RCMP's heavy caseload and an influx of homeless people to the three supportive housing projects. 'We made it very clear it was just temporary' In October, city council granted B.C. Housing a temporary-use permit expiring on March 31 to allow the operation of an emergency winter shelter on Winnipeg Street to be run by the Penticton and District Society for Community Living. The space was needed because the COVID-19 pandemic meant the existing Compass House shelter could not be expanded as a winter shelter as it was in previous years, according to a city staff report. Earlier this year, B.C. Housing applied for a permit to operate the shelter for a year past the March 31 deadline, citing the need for more shelter space. At its Tuesday meeting, Coun. Katie Robinson said the shelter is not in an appropriate location for a long-term accommodation, as it is in the middle of the city's downtown and close to seniors housing. "We made it very clear [in October] that it was just temporary and I believe that it is incumbent upon us to go forward and do what we said we were going to do, which is shut it down on March 31," Robinson said. "I think communication is so sadly lacking here with B.C. Housing that it kind of somewhat boggles the mind at times that they don't have any conversations with us whatsoever." 'Profoundly troubling' Housing Minister David Eby said he met with Penticton mayor and council twice in the past five weeks to discuss the issue and said council assured him it would grant the permit to keep the shelter open. Eby said it's imperative to keep the shelter open until B.C. Housing builds an additional supportive housing project — something he says the agency is ready to begin once it gets approval from the city. "I cannot imagine a city council in B.C. in the middle of a pandemic who would think that is a good idea to evict 42 people from a homeless shelter into the nearest park," he said. "This is profoundly troubling for me as the minister for housing dealing with encampments in two cities already and not particularly excited about showing up in Penticton with a truck load of tents for the people who are evicted by a shortsighted city council." Eby said he will do everything in his power to compel Penticton to keep the shelter open, including using a procedure called paramountcy which allows the provincial government to circumvent the city's wishes. "This issue has become my No. 1 priority, making sure that the residents in this shelter are safe and sheltered and also making sure that the residents of Penticton don't have to deal with what Vancouver and Victoria are dealing with right now, which is a large-scale encampment in the park."
The European Union aims to increase the region's COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 2-3 billion doses per year by the end of 2021, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton was quoted as saying on Wednesday. In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera he also urged member states to implement their vaccination policies quickly "because the capacity to produce doses is increasing from week to week", he said. Breton said that while around 43 million doses have been delivered to the EU so far, only 30.2 million have been administered, adding the bloc was targeting deliveries of 95-100 million doses by the end of March.
Oshawa City Council is fighting to ensure a bar doesn’t end up at 711 stores. Council is sending a letter of objection to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission opposing the application by the 711 corporation for a licence to allow for the addition of a bar at 61 of its convenience stores across the province, including one in Oshawa at 245 Wentworth St. W. “I can tell you I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never seen an application for a licence with such a potential for negativity in a local community,” says Councillor Brian Nicholson. “What we’re talking about is placing a bar inside a convenience store and that people will be sitting and drinking right next to your children.” He notes the location of this 711 store, located at the corner of Wentworth Street West and Cedar Street, is just north of a plaza with restaurants and laundry mats, as well as a shopping centre with a restaurant and a beer store to the west. Nicholson adds the store is located in a high density area with a number of apartment buildings in the area and a school down the road. “You couldn’t design a worse possible place for adding a bar,” he adds, noting the city has worked hard to improve this stretch of road. “This would be a step backwards by the community.” Councillor John Gray agreed with Nicholson, noting it makes no sense. “Let’s keep the bars as bars. It doesn’t make sense to me that you can spike your slurpy. That is just a dumb idea,” he says. Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri says he’s glad council is on board with this, noting it’s important that council get ahead of the curb on this. “Anyone that’s travelled across Europe recognizes this is a model that exists there and maybe that’s where it came from but I don’t know if we’re ready for this and I don’t think it fits the kind of outlook for a small convenience store setting,” he says. However, council doesn’t just oppose the application by the 711 corporation, they’re opposed to all applications in variety stores. “I think this motion is right on, but let’s be proactive and decide now that it’s not just good in 711 – it’s not good in any convenience store,” says Councillor and Deputy Mayor Bob Chapman. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is taking shape at the slowest pace of any in modern history, with just over a dozen nominees for top posts confirmed more than a month into his tenure. Among Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. And among the 15 core nominees to lead federal agencies, 10 have been confirmed, or about two thirds. According to the Center for Presidential Transition, about a month into their first terms, the previous four presidents had 84% of their core Cabinet picks confirmed. On Tuesday, Biden's Cabinet was thrown into further uncertainty when his nominee to lead the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration after her nomination faced opposition from key senators on both sides of the aisle. The delay in confirmations means some departments are left without their top decision-makers as they attempt to put in place policies to address the overlapping crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said there are a number of “big decisions” at HHS and across the federal government that are waiting on leadership from the top. “It’s very unfortunate. And in the middle of a huge health crisis, it’s the wrong thing to do,” she said. “Civil servants are capable, but they need leadership. And they’re used to having leaders.” Shalala was confirmed two days after President Bill Clinton was sworn in, and said she had her chain of command ready to go and could immediately dig into a long list of decisions and policy changes. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the Biden administration’s HHS nominee, will get a committee vote Wednesday, and he’s expected to receive easy confirmation. But Shalala pointed to a laundry list of issues — from oversight of hospitals, health care companies and nursing homes during the pandemic to issues surrounding drug pricing, telemedicine and child care services — that urgently need his input. Lacking a department head, she said, “just slows everything down.” Matt Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit organization that tracks presidential transitions, said federal departments tend to act more conservatively around decision-making and shifting policies without the top brass in place. “Missing the top person means that it’s pretty difficult to actually address the very big questions and to make big changes," he said. “And there’s a natural conservatism in place when people don’t know yet what the top person is going to really want.” The slow pace in confirmations partly results from the delay in the transition process resulting from President Donald Trump's attempts to dispute his loss in the 2020 presidential race and from what the Biden White House says was a lack of co-operation from Trump administration officials. Senate Democrats did not win a majority of seats in the chamber until the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff elections, and then it took nearly a month for Democratic and Republican leadership to agree on a resolution governing the organization of the upper chamber, which further delayed committee work. And Democrats privately acknowledge that Trump’s second impeachment trial also slowed down the process some, eating up a week of valuable time in the Senate and bogging lawmakers down with other work beyond reviewing and processing Biden’s nominees. Still, Biden transition spokesman Andrew Bates said that after the delays “stemming from the previous administration’s resistance to the will of the American people,” the relatively smooth confirmation progress in recent weeks “is both welcome and appreciated.” He added, however, “it is hardly enough, and nominees with strong bipartisan support — and who are critical to defeating the pandemic and turning our economy around with the creation of millions of jobs — remain needlessly obstructed by individual members. That must change.” The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy and public health decisions. Biden does have in place his director of national intelligence, and his top brass at the departments of State, Homeland Security and Defence, as well as his treasury secretary. But in addition to waiting on Becerra at HHS, the administration lacks top leaders at the Justice Department, Housing and Urban Development and the Small Business Administration, departments that will be key to some of Biden's top priorities and the implementation of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill, if it's passed into law later this month. And the delay in confirming top posts also means a delay in confirming and seating deputy secretaries and undersecretaries, who are often in charge of the nitty gritty in implementing major policy. Shalala noted, for instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will offer guidance on how insurers should cover coronavirus costs and implementation on aspects of the COVID-19 aid bill, and currently only has an acting administrator. She also noted HHS has deputies who oversee everything from refugee resettlement to child care programs. And Tanden's withdrawal Tuesday raises further questions about the Biden administration's budget process. The White House has yet to offer a timeline for releasing its budget, citing the transition delays and a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration. That puts them behind most recent presidents, who typically submit written budget toplines to Congress by the end of February, though Trump didn’t submit his until mid-March. The Biden administration has not been completely hamstrung by the slow pace of confirmations, however. The White House has issued a number of executive orders outlining policy reviews and changes that are underway at federal departments, and civil servants are working through key policy decisions, even without Senate-confirmed leadership in place. For instance, while Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Miguel Cardona, was just confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, the department's acting head last month put out guidelines requiring states to administer standardized tests despite the pandemic. And Stier noted that the Biden administration has installed hundreds of non-Senate-confirmed staff across the federal government, helping to provide guidance even without department heads in place. Biden himself swore in more than 1,100 non-Senate-confirmed staff throughout the federal government on the first day of his presidency, a number Stier said was unprecedented. "It ameliorates the problem in that you then have in place people who can provide guidance to the career team about what the administration’s positions and priorities are," Stier said. ___ Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Matthew Daly, Collin Binkley and Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report. Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late on Tuesday that new sanctions imposed by the United States were evidence of a "hostile anti-Russian lunge" and said it would retaliate to what it described as another blow to U.S.-Russia ties. In President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison opposition politician Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
A sharp spike in bond yields last week caught some hedge funds unaware, and saw macro and long-short funds in general give back February profits to end the month modestly up, several market participants said. Hedge funds, which target returns that outperform the markets, take positions in a variety of assets such as bonds, currencies and equities, depending on the strategy employed. The sharp rise in yields - which saw ten-year Treasury yields hit a one-year high of over 1.6% on Thursday - came after a tumultuous January when some funds got burned by holding short positions in stocks caught up in the GameStop trading frenzy.
En 1933, malgré la requête de 83 électeurs pour l’éclairage des rues, le conseil municipal du village de Saint-Jérôme de Matane maintient le non-éclairage. Il invoque la mauvaise situation financière, ce qui nécessite de sévères compressions budgétaires. En 1932, il avait décidé de ne pas renouveler son contrat d’éclairage avec la Compagnie de Pouvoir du Bas-Saint-Laurent. En 1935, le village adopte le règlement no 135 pour pourvoir à l’éclairage et le budget passe de 50 $ à 600 $ annuellement. En 1858, bénédiction d’une cloche Julie Clotilde pour la nouvelle église Saint-Jérôme. En 1890, le maire Dr Jean-Pierre Pelletier et le conseil municipal répondent favorablement à la demande du marchand Narcisse Généreux demandant l’établissement d’un seul dépôt pour la vente de liqueurs enivrantes. On tenait que les liqueurs spiritueuses soient pour des fins médicales et pour usage du service divin seulement. En 1891, visite de l’école modèle de L’Assomption-de-Notre-Dame par l’inspecteur D. Bégin. – Un peu de décorum ne coûte rien et ça donne du prestige et de la fierté. Complice avec le secrétaire-trésorier, le notaire Joseph-Étienne Gagnon, le maire Dr Jean-Pierre Pelletier a fait écrire pour la première fois, au procès-verbal, l’expression son honneur le maire. Cependant, on ne la retrouvait qu’au début du texte du procès-verbal lors de la prise des présences. En 1913, un règlement impose une amende de 20 $ lors d’une première offense et de 40 $ pour une seconde offense à quiconque ouvrira son magasin entre le samedi soir et le lundi matin dans la municipalité de Sandy Bay (Baie-des-Sables). En 1947, fermeture du bureau de poste le dimanche. En 1952, requête au gouvernement provincial pour asphalter la rue Thibault, de l’hôpital à la route nationale. En 1958, règlement # 292 pour prohiber la vente de publications à caractère obscène . – Engagement de Georges-Henri Durette comme chauffeur de camion à incendie. – Les conseils des comtés de Matane, Matapédia, Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup et Témiscouata obtiennent de la Régie provinciale de l’électricité une enquête sur les tarifs de la Compagnie de Pouvoir du Bas-Saint-Laurent, propriété de Jules-A. Brillant. En 1980, le député de Matane à Ottawa, Pierre de Bané, est nommé ministre de l’Expansion économique régionale. En 2016, le gouvernement du Québec annonce la création de zones industrialoportuaires à Matane, Rimouski et Gros-Cacouna. Romain Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Monmatane.com
Former Oshawa hockey legend Dale Hawerchuk was one of four to be inducted into the Durham District School Board’s (DDSB) hall of fame. The board announced four new inductees into the 2021 Definitely Durham Hall of Fame at its most recent board meeting. The inductees included Hawerchuk, who passed away in August 2020 after a battle with cancer, Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, songwriter Geoff Warburton, and Olympian and Pan American Games medalist Jessica Phoenix. Hawerchuk, one of Canada’s hockey stars, demonstrated excellence on the ice during his 16-year NHL Hall of Fame career and exemplified greatness through his charity work. “Dale was an inspiring leader, teacher and builder with an unmatched commitment to helping others,” states the DDSB, adding he believed it was his responsibility and that of his family to do whatever they could to give back, never expecting acknowledgement in return. Hawerchuk passed away in August 2020 after an ongoing battle with cancer. Hawerchuk’s sister, Dayna, accepted his award on his behalf. “As a former DDSB attendee and proud sister, I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of my brother, Dale,” she says, adding she’s sure her brother would have been honoured to receive this nomination, as he was very thrilled by the park being named after him. “I’ve always been very proud of my big brother, not just his athletic skills, but as a human being,” Dayna continues. “He’s always been very family oriented, as well as thoughtful, kind, considerate. Outside of his talent though, to be remembered as a kind, humble and generous person… you can’t ask for more than that.” Elliott built a successful career in business and law, working first as an auditor at one of Canada’s largest banks before co-founding a law firm. She later pursued a commitment to public service; she was elected MPP for Whitby-Ajax in 2006, and re-elected four more times. She was also appointed Ontario’s first-ever patient ombudsman, and has spent the last six years as the Ontario deputy premier and minister of health. Elliott, who grew up in Whitby, says she is a “very proud graduate” of DDSB schools and credits her education to where she is today. “Every step along the way at every school I was offered encouragement to continue learning, to ask questions, to see the bigger picture,” she says. “I learned to see the bigger picture, to push myself, to make sure I do the research, to do the job thoroughly and properly, and so much more.” She notes she’s grateful for the teachers that made a huge impression on how she does her work today. “This has a great deal of meaning for me and I want to thank you very, very much for including me in this award,” she adds. Warburton is a songwriter from Pickering whose love of music inspired him to learn the guitar, frequently playing alongside family members in church on Sundays. During his years at university, Warburton met singer/songwriter Shawn Mendez, which led to a longstanding collaboration, and most notably, a pair of multi-platinum singles, one of which was nominated for song of the year at the 2019 Grammy awards, states the DDSB. “It’s an honour to have been recognized along with these other inductees and a privilege to have grown up attending both Vaughn Willard Public School and Pineridge Secondary School,” he says. “I’ve had so many supportive teachers and coaches over the years who have invested so much into my life and I couldn’t thank you enough.” Phoenix, who grew up in Uxbridge, is a two-time Olympian and five-time Pan American Games medalist, equestrian mentor, coach, and inspirational public speaker. She competed in her first equestrian competition in 1996, achieving the champion Ontario training level with her horse, Let’s Boogie, and quickly moved on to compete nationally and internationally while being named to Canadian teams in several Olympics, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games. In her spare time, Phoenix shares her story with students, teaching them the values of dedication and commitment to achieve one’s dreams. “To be able to grow up in Durham Region and go to these incredible schools, and to now watch my children going to the same incredible schools, is just a dream come true,” says Phoenix, adding she and her sister being able to do the Rise school tour in Durham Region and speak to hundreds of students has a great deal of meaning to her as well. “Thank you for this honour,” she adds, noting she will be sporting her award in the barn next to all her other medals. Plaques of the Definitely Durham Hall of Fame Inductees will be featured on the wall in the atrium outside the board room at the education centre. “Our Hall of Fame holds tributes to all of our inductees and offers a reminder to everyone who passes by of the possibilities for success in which we are share,” says Board Trustee Scott Templeton. He notes the board pays tribute to the inductees as outstanding role models for the students of today and into the future. “To this year’s inductees, we say thank you for raising the bar high and for providing us with examples and reminders of our collective goal that DDSB students can and will meet the great future success.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
An anti-government activist accused of burning a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn was arrested on Wednesday police said, the latest among dozens of people charged in recent months for insulting the monarchy. Musician Chaiamorn "Ammy" Kaewwiboonpan, 32, admitted after his arrest that he had torched the king's portrait as a gesture of defiance and to vent frustration at the detention of fellow activists awaiting trial for royal insult. Chaiamorn is charged under a strict lese majeste law that carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison if found guilty, as well as arson and computer crimes.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is considering two sites in Arizona and another one in New York in addition to Austin, Texas, for a new $17 billion chip plant, according to documents filed with Texas state officials. The documents dated Feb. 26 also estimated tax abatements concerning the plant will be about $1.48 billion over 20 years from Travis County in Texas and the city of Austin, up from the $805.5 million previously mentioned. Samsung is in talks with the sites at Arizona and New York, with each offering property tax abatement and "significant grants and/or refundable tax credits" to fund infrastructure improvements, the documents said.
A group of Chinatown advocates are calling on Vancouver Coastal Health to involve them in the COVID-19 vaccination effort and provide more information in Chinese to seniors as Phase Two of vaccinations starts in B.C. Vancouver Coastal Health says translated information will be available in Phase Three of the vaccination plan, expected in mid-April. In Phase Two, starting Monday, seniors aged 90 or over and Indigenous people who are 75 or over will be able to make appointments to get vaccinated starting the following week. Michael Tan is the vice-president of the Chau Luen Society, which operates an apartment building for Chinese seniors at Keefer Street and Gore Avenue in Chinatown. He says his group wants to see Vancouver Coastal Health do more to support vaccination in the community based on what it saw during an initial push in February to vaccinate people living in the Downtown Eastside. That vaccination program targeted people living in shelters or supportive housing or people who are unhoused. For the elderly Chinese people who lined up for vaccinations, many of whom don’t speak much English, it could have gone better, Tan said. “There was an extreme lack of translated information, volunteers or even staff that could provide linguistically accessible information relating to the vaccination,” Tan said, adding that it also wasn’t ideal for the seniors to be waiting in line outside in the rain and cold. Tan said Chinese seniors are vulnerable to misinformation questioning the safety of vaccines, so it’s important to provide accurate printed information in Mandarin or Cantonese. Seniors are often seeing misinformation through WeChat, a Chinese-language social media app. “That’s their only way to access the news through the internet, and they get clippings from friends,” Tan said. Tan estimates that 1,900 seniors living in independent housing in Chinatown and Strathcona will be eligible for the next round of vaccinations. He said he expects seniors who have trouble speaking or understanding English will also need help with making appointments to get vaccinated over the phone or online. Tan is urging Vancouver Coastal Health to make a plan to vaccinate people where they live, in spaces like building lobbies or common rooms of the independent living buildings operated by societies like his. He said he and other Chinatown advocates have been searching for translated material on the Vancouver Coastal Health and provincial Health Ministry websites, but haven’t been able to find anything. After Tan started speaking to the media about the issue, Vancouver Coastal Health staff asked him for feedback on translated materials they are preparing. But the health authority has not yet committed to mobile vaccination clinics, Tan said today. In a letter sent to Vancouver Coastal Health last week, Tan asked it to “provide vaccination information printed on flyers translated into Chinese and direct your staff to liaise with providers of seniors’ living residences like Chau Luen Society, seniors’ outreach groups like the SRO Collaborative and Yarrow Intergenerational Society, and also City of Vancouver staff so that these vulnerable seniors can access COVID vaccine information and the vaccination process itself, in a timely and safe manner. “A co-ordinated effort to ensure vulnerable seniors in Chinatown/Strathcona have translated information and access to the COVID vaccine is urgently needed.” In response to questions from The Tyee, Vancouver Coastal Health said it will be working “closely with community partners, providers and agencies to ensure all eligible residents have access to the information they need regarding COVID-19 vaccines. This will include the translation of pertinent information about the vaccine and how individuals can register for vaccination once they are eligible, in addition to other translation supports.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee