With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted a missile attack over its capital and bomb-laden drones targeting a southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults it has blamed on Yemen’s rebel Houthis. The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen’s yearslong war announced the Iran-allied Houthis had launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones toward the province of Jizan, with a fourth toward another southwestern city and other drones being monitored. No casualties or damage were initially reported. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis. The attack comes amid sharply rising tensions in the Middle East, a day after a mysterious explosion struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman. That blast renewed concerns about ship security in the strategic waterways that saw a spate of suspected Iranian attacks on oil tankers in 2019. The state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV broadcast footage of what appeared to be explosions in the air over Riyadh. Social media users also posted videos, with some showing residents shrieking as they watched the fiery blast pierce the night sky, which appeared to be the kingdom’s Patriot missile batteries intercepting the ballistic missile. Col. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the Houthis were trying in “a systematic and deliberate way to target civilians.” The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a warning to Americans, calling on them to “stay alert in case of additional future attacks.” Flight-tracking websites showed a number of flights scheduled to land at Riyadh’s international airport diverted or delayed in the hour after the attack. A civil defence spokesman, Mohammed al-Hammadi, later said scattered debris resulted in material damage to one house, though no one was hurt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. As Yemen's war grinds on, Houthi missile and drone attacks on the kingdom have grown commonplace, only rarely causing damage. Earlier this month the Houthis struck an empty passenger plane at Saudi Arabia's southwestern Abha airport with a bomb-laden drone, causing it to catch fire. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread international criticism for airstrikes in Yemen that have killed hundreds of civilians and hit non-military targets, including schools, hospitals and wedding parties. President Joe Biden announced this month he was ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, including “relevant” arms sales. But he stressed that the U.S. would continue to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against outside attacks. The Houthis overran Yemen’s capital and much of the country's north in 2014, forcing the government into exile and months later prompting Saudi Arabia and its allies to launch a bombing campaign. __ Associated Press writer Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report. Isabel Debre, The Associated Press
(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters - image credit) Schitt's Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O'Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. "The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it," he said. "Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow." The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. "This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt's Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," Dan Levy said. "In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated." Earlier, O'Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating "an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien." "Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada," she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson's turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt's Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: "We don't say goodbye, we say see you down the road." Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was "in the presence of giants," naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying "he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices." Through tears, Ledward added: "I don't have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love." In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin. O'Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen's Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the "community of storytellers" for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes' version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda's father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he "could not feel more blessed." The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen." Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler's hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. "She's the reason I made this film," said Chung. "Minari is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on," said Chung. Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. "Netflix saved our lives," said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night's first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya's acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, "You did me dirty!" once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn't mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood's awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year's ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes' shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that "the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists." This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes' best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. "We must have Black journalists in our organization."
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels arriving at the International Space Station later this year. NASA's Kate Rubins and Victor Glover put the first set of mounting brackets and struts together, then bolted them into place next to the station's oldest and most degraded solar wings. But the work took longer than expected, and they barely got started on the second set before calling it quits. Rubins will finish the job during a second spacewalk later this week. The spacewalkers had to lug out the hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and struts in 8-foot (2.5-meter) duffle-style bags. The equipment was so big and awkward that it had to be taken apart like furniture, just to get through the hatch. Some of the attachment locations required extra turns of the power drill and still weren't snug enough, as indicated by black lines. The astronauts had to use a ratchet wrench to deal with the more stubborn bolts, which slowed them down. At one point, they were two hours behind. “Whoever painted this black line painted outside the lines a little bit," Glover said at one particularly troublesome spot. “We’ll work on our kindergarten skills over here,” Mission Control replied, urging him to move on. With more people and experiments flying on the space station, more power will be needed to keep everything running, according to NASA. The six new solar panels — to be delivered in pairs by SpaceX over the coming year or so — should boost the station’s electrical capability by as much as 30%. Rubins and Glover tackled the struts for the first two solar panels, due to launch in June. Their spacewalk ended up lasting seven hours, a bit longer than planned. “Really appreciate your hard work. I know there were a lot of challenges,” Mission Control radioed. The eight solar panels up there now are 12 to 20 years old — most of them past their design lifetime and deteriorating. Each panel is 112 feet (34 metres) long by 39 feet (12 metres) wide. Tip to tip counting the centre framework, each pair stretches 240 feet (73 metres), longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan. Boeing is supplying the new roll-up panels, about half the size of the old ones but just as powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They’ll be placed at an angle above the old ones, which will continue to operate. A prototype was tested at the space station in 2017. Rubins' helmet featured a new high-definition camera that provided stunning views, particularly those showing the vivid blue Earth 270 miles (435 kilometres) below. “Pretty fantastic," observed Mission Control. Sunday’s spacewalk was the third for infectious disease specialist Rubins and Navy pilot Glover — both of whom could end up flying to the moon. They’re among 18 astronauts newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon-landing program. The next moonwalkers will come from this group. Last week, Vice-President Kamala Harris put in a congratulatory call to Glover, the first African American astronaut to live full time at the space station. NASA released the video exchange Saturday. “The history making that you are doing, we are so proud of you,” Harris said. Like other firsts, Glover replied, it won't be the last. “We want to make sure that we can continue to do new things,” he said. Rubins will float back out Friday with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to wrap up the solar panel prep work, and to vent and relocate ammonia coolant hoses. Glover and Noguchi were among four astronauts arriving via SpaceX in November. Rubins launched from Kazakhstan in October alongside two Russians. They’re all scheduled to return to Earth this spring. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Hyatt Hotels Corp called symbols of hate "abhorrent" on Sunday after the design of a stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during World War Two. High-profile Republicans including former President Donald Trump were attending the four-day event in Orlando, Florida, as conflict rages between Trump allies and establishment politicians trying to distance the party from him. A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to "reconstruct a mythic 'Aryan' past," according to the Anti-Defamation League.
OBERSTDORF, Germany — Canadians Antoine Cyr and Graham Ritchie raced to a solid seventh-place finish at the Nordic World Ski Championships on Sunday. Ritchie, of Parry Sound, Ont., and Gatineau, Que., native Cyr posted a time of 15:18.80 in the skate-ski team sprint. The duo was 17.06 seconds off the pace set by gold medallists Erik Valnes and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway. Ristomatti Hakola and Joni Maki of Finland finished second, and Russia's Alexander Bolshunov and Gleb Retivykh took bronze. On the women's side, Dahria Beatty of Whitehorse and Maya MacIsaac-Jones of Athabasca, Alta., finished 12th overall after failing to qualify for the finals. At 22 years old, Cyr and Ritchie were the youngest team in the men's finals on Sunday. “This is eye opening and very cool for us to have Canada right there in the mix,” Ritchie said in a release. “It hasn’t sunk in yet really, but we have the confidence and thought we could do it. It is pretty cool.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
(File photo from Joe Raedle/Getty Images - image credit) Saskatchewan health officials recorded 141 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths linked to the virus on Sunday. The Saskatoon region saw the most positive tests with 38, followed by the Regina zone at 19 and the northwest region at 17. Other Sunday case totals by zone: Far northwest: 16 Far northeast: 14 North central: 13 South central: eight East central: eight Northeast: three West central: two Southeast: one Far north central: one The Saskatoon zone recorded the most COVID-19 cases on Sunday at 38. The west-central and southeast regions saw the least with one case each. Another 1,662 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered Saturday, bringing Saskatchewan's immunization total up to 78,226. The majority of the shots, 656, were given in the southeast zone, which covers Fort Qu'Appelle and Broadview. Other Saturday vaccination totals by zone: Northwest: 314 Far northeast: 218 North central: 214 East central: 112 West central: 102 Regina: 24 Far north central: 22 The province also updated data to include an extra 936 doses given in the southeast, 49 in the west-central zone and another 78 in the east central region on Friday. Despite no vaccinations recorded in the Saskatoon region Saturday, it continues to lead with 14,920 total doses administered. As of Sunday, 78,226 people in Saskatchewan have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19-related hospitalizations saw a slight increase to 154 on Sunday — up three people from the day before. Nineteen patients are under intensive care in the Saskatoon, Regina and northwest regions. As of Sunday, a total of 1,543 cases are considered to be active in Saskatchewan. Since the pandemic began, the province has recorded 28,647 cases of COVID-19.
Usually every summer people come from across southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba for a fireworks spectacle at Moosomin Regional Park. There’s tens of thousands of people, food and drink, bands performing, and of course, the fireworks. The Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition is a beloved event in Canada and draws competitors from all over the globe, as far as China and the Philippines—it’s the largest event in southeast Saskatchewan. It’s a world-class competition that’s on the same level as some of the best international fireworks competitions. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours are invested into the competition each year with it all coming together as the fireworks mesmerize over Moosomin Lake. From the competitors to the planners to the performers to the vendors to all the spectators it draws, it’s one of the most important weekends of the year for the local economy. In 2020, the event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic restricting gathering sizes and international travel—it would have been the 11th year of the fireworks in Moosomin. For the second straight summer, the competition looks unlikely to go forward. Although August is still months away, preparation for such a large event begins early and Karen Hebert, head of the fireworks committee, says that without knowing what will be allowed down the road, there’s just no way of planning such a substantial gathering. “Until we can gather a large amount of people it’s just definitely not an option,” she said. “Our crowds are in the thousands so whenever the guidelines open up, is when we’ll be able to look at something like this, but until then, it’s definitely not an option at all. For now it’s off the table unless things open up, I can’t see that happening.” Another factor working against the event right now is that it’s an international competition and non-essential travel is not recommended, meaning any competition would need to be strictly Canadian. “With the parameters that are in place right now, I just can’t see things being able to open up enough and then also even if we could gather people, would we have to have two Canadian companies? Because do you want to bring other countries in? And with the travel restrictions, at this point in time it’s not an option.” Hebert doesn’t believe any fireworks event will be able to happen this summer based on how things are looking in Canada with the slow rollout of the vaccine and says all they can do is sit and wait with no control over what’s to come. “There’s really nothing we can do about it and at this point in time,” she said. “I can’t see the fireworks being able to happen in 2021 unless some major changes happen, but the way we’re going right now and with the lack of vaccines, I just can’t see things opening up very much.” Alternate options for the event are under consideration if things open up more, but it’s a logistically tough situation to work with, says Hebert. “Our main fireworks contact with the Canadian company is Peter (Palmer of CanFire Pyrotechnics) and he called me last fall hoping we could do something smaller, but at that time people would have had to drive in and park somewhere to see it and we don’t have a facility in order to handle that,” she said. The best chance of a fireworks show for this summer at Moosomin Lake would be if gathering restrictions open up and a smaller scale event is possible within the guidelines. “If we can host something then we’d for sure look into that,” she said. “We’ve discussed different options, but until we can actually gather people, none of those can be planned out.” In a normal situation, nearly a full year of planning goes into the competition to ensure entertainment, vendors, and competitions are set, but given the circumstances, the committee hasn’t been able to do anything in preparation for the summer of 2021. “We would have already started planning,” she said. “Once we put the previous year’s to bed, we’d maybe take the rest of the month off and then we’d start again by September to get ready for the next year. We need to book our bands and entertainment and all of that stuff so we would have already had a lot of prep work done at this point in time.” At this point, Hebert doesn’t even think 2022 is a sure thing for the fireworks competition because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and nobody knowing what the “new normal” will look like as the world recovers from Covid-19. “This is just the reality of our new Covid life,” she said. “What are they going to do for large concerts and large gatherings of people? I don’t know when that will return or what that could even look like in the future. Nobody can really say anything, we really know nothing.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
(Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit) A total of 61 students from three cohorts from W.J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School have been dismissed by the local health unit after receiving notice of three confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Saturday news release. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) said it learned of the confirmed cases on Saturday and informed the affected students that they are not to return to school on Monday. "We have been working with the health unit by providing lists of students and staff who may have been directly affected. The health unit is contacting any individuals, both students and staff, who may have been affected, and will give directions for them to follow," the statement reads. A voice message was sent to the school community informing parents that those who have not been contacted by the health unit have "not been identified as close contacts and their children may continue attending school as usual. Follow-up letters will be sent home with students." The whole school was previously dismissed due to an outbreak late last year. The school board urges parents to continue monitoring their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning and to keep them at home and call their health care provider for further direction if they are sick. "We want to assure parents that we are cooperating with the health unit and doing everything we can to make sure that we continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments for their children," the statement reads. More information can be found on the school board's websiite.
One of the town’s timeless traditions returns for the first time this year on March 6. The Orangeville Winter Farmer’s Market is scheduled to be held at the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre’s B-rink at 6 Northmen Way to allow for expand social distancing. This is not a permanent move. They will be downtown again. “People are trying to support the market,” said Alison Scheel, general manager of the Orangeville Business Improvement Area (OBIA). “ (Online orders) grow steadily every market Saturday. It started slow, but it picked up.” The B-rink location offers plenty of space for safe social distancing and can accommodate 50 people at one time. It will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday. Products include maple syrup, honey, falafels, cheese, bread, lamb meat, chicken, baked goods and prepared meals. The market was once held downtown near town hall, where vendors attracted mainly casual shoppers who happened to live nearby. It will return. The market was closed in January and February because of the mandated governmental shutdown. They were still providing preorder and pickup options for interested customers. Scheel said they average about 300 to 350 people every market Saturday as it is only held two times a month. The entrance to the market is located south of the parking lot. There will be no access through the main door. Most vendors will attend every other market, but some will alternate or change from market to market. Scheduled vendors include Bennington Hills Farm, Rasmi’s Falafel and Wild Culture Ferments, along with others. They will all be positioned at least 10 feet apart. “Customers leave their contact information at the door for contact tracing purposes,” said Scheel. “Everyone in the building has to wear a mask, and the vendor has to distance.” Organizers will not permit customers to touch the products or produce, as most items will be pre-bagged. For more information, visit www.downtownorangeville.ca and click on the farmers' market tab. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE — Canadian Jeff Gustafson captured his first-ever Bassmasters Elite Series win in emphatic fashion Sunday. Gustafson, of Kenora, Ont., recorded a five-fish limit weighing 14 pounds, three ounces for an overall total of 63 pounds. Gustafson finished seven pounds, one ounce ahead of runner-up Steve Kennedy to capture the US$100,000 winner's cheque. "This is the lifelong dream for me," Gustafson said. "I've loved bass fishing and bass tournaments ever since I was a little kid. "It's a lot of sacrifice doing this. The travel and time away from home, that part of it isn't glamorous. So to finally get it — awesome." Gustafson, in his third season on the Bassmasters Elite circuit, was one of three anglers to weigh a five-fish limit all four days but the only one to record double-digit weights each day. He took the opening-round lead Thursday after registering 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Throughout the tournament, Gustafson did most of his damage early, catching his limit — or close to it — shortly after the start of fishing each day. But action Sunday was delayed roughly 90 minutes due to fog, creating questions whether Gustafson's fish would still be there once the final round opened. Gustafson quickly provided the answer, registering a five-fish limit before noon. Gustafson had some tense moments with his third fish, a three-pound smallmouth bass. He attempted to lift it into his boat in windy conditions, only to have it squirm loose and back into the water. Gustafson successfully landed it on his second try before quipping: "That might've been the ugliest fish catch of all time but it's in my livewell." Gustafson began Sunday's final seven pounds, 14 ounces ahead of Kennedy. Gustafson becomes just the second Canadian to win a Bassmaster Elite Series event. Chris Johnston, of Peterborough, Ont., accomplished the feat last year. Both Johnston and his older brother, Cory, of Cavan, Ont., competed in the semifinal round Saturday. Cory Johnston finished 45th overall (18 pounds, nine ounces) while Chris Johnston was 50th (13 pounds 12 ounces). The top-10 anglers after Saturday's round qualified for Sundays final. All three Canadians are in their third season on the Elite Series. The trio qualified last year for the Bassmaster Classic, the circuit's premier event that offers a US$300,000 prize for the tournament winner. This year's Classic will be held in June on Lake Ray Roberts in Fort Worth, Tex. Gustafson was 24th in the season-opening event on the St. John's River in Palatka, Fla., two weeks ago. The next tournament is March 18-21 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 and it has already begun to send back jaw-dropping images of the surrounding area.
(Reed Cowan - image credit) A former WE Charity donor is calling for the RCMP and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to investigate the charity's finances after learning a Kenyan school he was told he funded bore a plaque with the name of another donor. Reed Cowan, an American television journalist, said he believes two groups were told that they had funded the same school. He is calling for the charity to return all funds raised in the name of his deceased son, Wesley, 4, who died in 2006 following an accident. "I demand that every penny paid to WE and Free the Children by the groups I brought there for what feels like a sham experience be immediately reimbursed. Every penny," he said in a video statement posted on YouTube on Saturday. Cowan said he has repeatedly asked for an accounting of where his money went and has never received that information. NDP MP Charlie Angus has also sent letters to the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency, asking both organizations to investigate WE Charity's finances following what he describes as "explosive" allegations from Cowan at the parliamentary ethics committee on Friday. In a statement issued Sunday afternoon, WE Charity said it was confident it conducted itself appropriately at all times and any investigation would reach the same conclusion." Charity co-founder offers 'mea culpa' to plaque swapping Cowan describes helping raise millions of dollars for the charity. He said he was told by senior staff at WE Charity that he was the sole fundraiser of a school in Kenya, which went on to display a plaque bearing Wesley's name. Cowan, an American TV journalist, wipes away tears while testifying remotely in front of the parliamentary ethics committee on Friday. The committee is probing WE Charity's ties to the family of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as to the family of former finance minister Bill Morneau. However, Cowan recently learned that the plaque was removed and swapped out for another donor's name — even though Cowan said he was told repeatedly that the school was "Wesley's" and that he was the sole donor to the project. "I have on video many WE Charity staffers saying, 'This is Wesley's school. This school.' So why, in recent months, was this school photographed as bearing the plaque of [another donor]?" Cowan said. He said he discovered a video online of another group being celebrated for opening the school. Cowan said he raised the subject with WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger, who he said offered "a little bit of a mea culpa." 'I feel like my son was the victim of fraud' Cowan testified in front of the parliamentary ethics committee on Friday as part of an ongoing probe into WE Charity's ties to the family of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as to the family of former finance minister Bill Morneau. He was emotional during his testimony, wiping away tears as he described learning that his son's plaque had been removed. "[It] feels to me like returning to my son's grave and finding it broken, open, defiled and empty," Cowan told the committee. "If there is a pattern of duplicitous relations with donors ... how do I feel about it? I feel like my son was the victim of fraud." Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, are flanked by WE Charity co-founders Craig Kielburger, left, and his brother, Marc, at WE Day celebrations in Ottawa in 2015. Following Cowan's testimony, WE Charity sent a statement to CBC News saying, "Mr. Cowan's experience was unfortunate but exceedingly rare." It also said Cowan "misconstrued" the online video appearing to show another group being celebrated for opening the school Cowan funded. The video "shows a group of international volunteers building the schoolhouse that was in fact dedicated to Mr. Cowan's son when it was completed," WE Charity said in a statement. Donor denies any confusion Cowan took exception to WE Charity's statement, denying any confusion on his part. "I think they want me to be confused. And I think they want all of you, as donors, to be and stay confused. At least for me, the confusion is lifting," he said. Cowan said WE Charity co-founder Marc Kielburger spoke to children in Florida with him in 2009, and they told students about Wesley's school in Kenya. Cowan said he recently learned that by then, the plaque had been swapped out for another plaque. "He was in the room fundraising with me in front of thousands of kids ... the plaque for Wesley had already been taken down by that point and he never told me," Cowan said. WE Charity also said on Friday that Cowan's fundraising paid for four schools. Cowan said he was told each school cost between $10,000 and $12,000 and that his fundraising ought to have paid for 24 schools. Additional concerns about donor transparency Cowan is the latest person to raise questions about the way WE Charity used donor funds. CBC's The Fifth Estate spoke with more than a dozen former employees who had concerns that the organization was not always transparent with donors. One donor, James Cohen, said WE Charity originally told him his organization's donation would pay for the entire cost of a borehole in Kipsongol, Kenya. Another donor shared an email sent by WE Charity saying her group's donation "is actually enough money to implement a clean water system" in that same village. The WE organization told the Fifth Estate there was no donor confusion. In a letter, it pointed to emails where Cohen later understood he was paying for a water kiosk and not the entire borehole. In his committee testimony, Cowan referred to a Bloomberg article from December that said staff joked that WE plaques "should be made of Velcro because they were swapped so frequently." Cowan is calling on other donors to speak publicly about their experience. "I'm calling on all of you, those tens of thousands of donors, to step up like I've had to do," he said. "To step forward and join me in asking for accountability. For demanding to see that what exists on the ground in Kenya and elsewhere reflects the huge money that was raised by children." For tips on this story please contact Kate.McKenna@cbc.ca or call 514-710-5413 or Harvey.Cashore@cbc.ca at 416-526-4704
Dufferin OPP say one man has died from his injuries after his car collided with another vehicle that failed to stop at a stop sign in Amaranth. At about 8:26 a.m. Feb. 20, the OPP’s Dufferin detachment responded to a collision on County Rd. 12 and 20th Side Rd. in Amaranth. The initial investigation determined a silver sedan was being driven southbound on County Road 20 when it went through a stop sign and collided with a red sedan heading eastbound on 20th Side Road. The driver and passenger in the silver sedan sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken a local hospital.. The driver of the red sedan, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, suffered fatal injuries as a result. He has been identified as Scott Hambleton, 60, of Grand Valley. Police continue to investigate the collision and ask anyone with information to contact them at 1-888-310-1122. Those who have witnessed the collision and wish to speak to victim services can call Caledon/Dufferin Victim Services at 905-951-3838. Editor's Note: Feb. 23, 7 p.m.: this article has been edited from a previously published version to accurately detail the roads on which the collision occurred. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
(Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit) A P.E.I. restaurateur is calling on Islanders to take self-isolation requirements more seriously, and wants governments to impose harsher penalties on those who don't. Kevin Murphy, president of the Murphy Hospitality Group, says he doesn't blame the province for disallowing in-room dining as a circuit-breaker measure announced Saturday. But he said the restaurant industry continues to suffer the impacts of other people's carelessness. "It's getting very frustrating for the restaurant industry when these protocols are not being followed, and this is the impact it's having on our island, our industry, our restaurants," he said. "And … it's really time that these are taken seriously. And we have to make examples of people that want to continually break the protocol because it's us that are paying in the business community and it's been going on a year." The province has fined dozens of people for violating public health measures, but Murphy suggests more needs to be done. He said while his restaurants will remain open for takeout, he has laid off some staff for the third time this year. "No one takes this into account when they see this, that there's hundreds, if not thousands of Islanders that are laid off today and tomorrow. "And when it's two weeks, three weeks or four weeks, you know, their income and their life, the quality of life, it's just tough for them." Mike Perry, owner of The Breakfast Spot, says closing restaurants has a trickle-down effect on other businesses. Mike Perry, the owner of the The Breakfast Spot in Summerside, which was identified as a COVID-19 exposure site, said he had planned to open on March 6 after a deep cleaning but now must wait until at least March 14 under the new rules. "It's devastating. We've lost this weekend's sales, next weekend sales and the following," he said. It's just so difficult for all of us here, every restaurant. — Mike Perry "It's just so difficult for all of us here, every restaurant. And it ripples down into other businesses as well that depend on the traffic that we create as a restaurant, [such as] more people coming into town. "And it's devastating for many, many businesses." Speaking to CBC News before Premier Dennis King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison placed the Island into a 72-hour modified red zone with tighter restrictions late Sunday, Perry said the circuit breaker was the right thing to do, and suggested perhaps government should have done even more. "It looks like it's spreading quickly. I think the government has to do what they can." More from CBC P.E.I.
Cannabis consumers may have a second place to purchase legal products as a store will open up soon. Hempire House, located at 59 First St., will open on Monday, March 1. The name is derived from two elements of the industry. “The name Hempire House was chosen to reflect our admiration for cannabis and its many benefits,” said Sharlene Lochan, an owner of the business. “Along with the empire we strive to build in the industry and our community, we decided to add the word 'house' to show our local roots as the store is a 100-year-old converted heritage home. The property allowed for us to create a modern boutique space all while still keeping that small-town charm alive.” The first 35 customers will receive complimentary gift bags as part of their shopping experience that day. Proprietors attest the company is family-owned by two brothers and their wives who are practitioners as well. “We take much pride in the fact that we are the only locally owned and operated (cannabis) business in Orangeville,” said Lochlan. “We have a vested interest in the community as it’s our community as well.” They plan to have educational information for interested and experienced participants and sensory jars where customers can select products with a magnifying glass. After the pandemic ends, the plan is to add an interactive component to it where users can smell the buds. They have hired staff and will continue training them while completing finishing touches before opening their doors to customers. “It was exciting to bring the employees on board and let them know about our vision, ideas for the company as well as how we would like to be viewed on a community level,” said Lochlan. They wanted to be at the forefront of the industry as it continues to expand further amidst legalization. They discussed their passions and aligned what can be made into a business. They then decided to make a boutique store with a fusion of small-town charm. It was a 13-month process as the company began their initiative in January of last year. They completed consulting with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and had their final inspection by provincial auditors last July. “It’s been a lengthy and intricate process,” said Lochlan. “We worked closely with the AGCO as well as OCS (Ontario Cannabis Store) to ensure we have been compliant, and we are following all the rules and regulations during the application process.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
PARIS — Captain Jose Fonte rescued a point for Lille with a thumping late header in a 1-1 home draw with Strasbourg on Sunday to ensure his side stayed top of the French league. Lille is two points ahead of defending champion Paris Saint-Germain and three ahead of third-place Lyon, which drew 1-1 at Marseille in Sunday's late game. Lyon took the lead in the 20th minute through striker Karl Toko Ekambi, who swept the ball into the corner after being set up by midfielder Lucas Paqueta. But Paqueta's handball just before halftime gave seventh-place Marseille a penalty, and Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik confidently equalized for his second goal in three games since joining from Napoli. Lyon forward Memphis Depay shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area 10 minutes into the second half and, with 20 minutes left of an even contest, Paqueta was sent off for a slightly late tackle on Dimitri Payet. Even with 10 men Lyon looked the more dangerous side, and Depay finished well in the 83rd only for his goal to be correctly ruled offside — much to the Netherlands forward's frustration. Earlier, Strasbourg stunned Lille when it took the lead through striker Ludovic Ajorque in the 35th minute, finishing powerfully from Frederic Guilbert's cross. Both sides wasted chances before the 37-year-old Fonte rose at the back post to meet Benjamin Andre's pinpoint cross from the left. Strasbourg did not come for a draw and almost scored a dramatic winner in the fifth minute of injury time, but Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan made a superb save to keep out striker Habib Diallo's low shot from 10 metres. Down south in Monaco, substitute Stefan Jovetic and striker Kevin Volland hit late goals as fourth-place Monaco beat Brest 2-0 to stretch its unbeaten league run to 12 games and stay in the title chase. Brest goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur justified his recall by saving Wissam Ben Yedder's first-half penalty — Monaco's first failed penalty this season — and making a great save to stop central defender Guillermo Maripan's powerful header from a corner in the 74th minute. But he was beaten one minute later when Jovetic advanced to the edge of the penalty area and let fly with a powerful shot into the bottom right corner. Volland showed good timing to clip midfielder Aleksandr Golovin's low free kick over Larsonneur and inside the right post in the 89th. Monaco is one point behind Lyon and two behind PSG, which routed rock-bottom Dijon 4-0 on Saturday. OTHER MATCHES Substitute Armand Lauriente scored two second-half goals as Lorient rallied to beat Saint-Etienne 2-1 and climb out of the relegation zone into 17th place. Sixth-place Lens went 2-0 down inside 10 minutes away to midtable Angers but hit back to earn a 2-2 draw, with striker Arnaud Kalimuendo scoring an injury-time equalizer. Also, it was Nimes 1, Nantes 1 and Reims 0, Montpellier 0. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce an extra 1.65 billion pounds ($2.30 billion) to fund the country's fast vaccination rollout as part of his annual budget statement on Wednesday, the finance ministry said. "Protecting ourselves against the virus means we will be able to lift restrictions, reopen our economy and focus our attention on creating jobs and stimulating growth," Sunak said in a statement. Britain has so far given a first vaccination more than 20 million people, or more than one in three adults, Europe's fastest vaccination rollout.
Two political parties have joined forces to petition the federal government to look into the environmental impact of a planned sewage treatment plant near a local river. The Dufferin Caledon Green Party, along with the Dufferin Caledon Conservative Party, are opposed to constructing the proposed Erin wastewater treatment plant. The petition is calling for a federal environmental impact assessment of the proposed plant. Stefan Wiesen, president of the DC Green Party and Kyle Seeback, Conservative MP for Dufferin Caledon, has agreed to sponsor the petition to the federal government and will work together to solicit the 500 signatures required to present it to parliament. This is an effort to address some residents' concerns about the environmental impact of the proposed plant on the West Credit River, a spawning ground for native Brook Trout. They are concerned the temperature of the proposed effluent being pumped into the West Credit River will have a warming effect on the spawning grounds, thus negatively threatening the reproductive future of Brook Trout in the river. It is expected the plant will discharge up to 7.2 million litres of treated warm temperature effluent into the West Credit River daily. The trout needs cold water to survive and spawn. Anything over 19 degrees Celsius can negatively impact the fish. Furthermore, opponents say many harmful substances to humans and animals remain in the treated water as it exits the plant. This follows a protest held over the weekend to convince Erin council to cancel the wastewater treatment plant plans. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit) Social housing advocates and a provincial network of women's shelters are calling on the provincial government to give domestic violence survivors easier access to safe housing in Quebec. According to Gaëlle Fedida of the Alliance des maisons de 2eme étape pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale (Alliance MH2), the province is currently dealing with a dangerous shortage of resources in its second-stage homes — shelters where women stay after they head to an emergency shelter but before they find permanent housing. She said the issue is even worse in western regions, including the Laurentians, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie and Lanaudière, and the consequences of this shortage can be deadly. "Second-state shelters are designed to prevent domestic violence and to prevent domestic homicides," Fedida said in a news conference Sunday. "We know that this spring we will be overwhelmed by the demand and we won't be able to answer all the needs in sheltering the ladies. This is really a big big concern for us." The MH2 says it asked for an additional 106 additional units in its second-stage homes, but more than a year later, the government has yet to approve them. "We're waiting for these units that we desperately need to speed up access to our services," said Fedida. On top of the current shortage of space, Alliance MH2 expects to see a surge in demand once the pandemic ends. In a Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale survey of women served by some of the province's women's shelters, 43.5 per cent of respondents said they were attacked more frequently during the province's COVID-19 lockdown last spring and 43 per cent said they did not ask for help because their partner was always home. Even with those units in place, social housing group Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) says only about 66 per cent of women who leave their second-stage homes manage to find affordable housing for themselves afterward. That's why the two groups are also calling on the province to fund the construction of 50,000 social housing units for women and children who survived domestic violence, over the next five years. "The needs are growing with the pandemic because the housing shortage is still going on and, as we've seen, women are more vulnerable," said Catherine Lussier of FRAPRU.