Bruce the duckling finds the cutest possible way to cuddle with his owner. Check it out!
Bruce the duckling finds the cutest possible way to cuddle with his owner. Check it out!
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s woeful home form is developing into a full-blown crisis after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory on Thursday inflicted a fifth straight league loss at Anfield on the Premier League champions — the worst run in the club’s 128-year history. With Liverpool's title defence already over, this was billed as a battle for a Champions League place and Mason Mount’s 42nd-minute goal lifted Chelsea back into the top four. Chelsea’s previous win at Anfield, in 2014, effectively ended the title hopes of Brendan Rodgers’ side. This one was a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s side is four points adrift of Chelsea and with Everton and West Ham also ahead. Liverpool has now gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield. The hosts failed to register an effort on target until the 85th minute and Georginio Wijnaldum’s weak header was never going to beat Edouard Mendy. They have taken one point from the last 21 on offer at home since Christmas and scored just two goals, one of which was a penalty. None of Liverpool's established front three — Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino — impressed but the sight of Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, being substituted just past the hour mark was baffling. The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea, by contrast, looked full of threat with Timo Werner — a player Liverpool was interested in but decided it could not afford last summer — a constant problem. Despite one goal in his previous 17 league outings, he caused problems with his movement, drifting out to the left then popping into the middle to give Fabinho a real headache on his return to the side. The Brazil midfielder, replacing Nat Phillips after he became the latest centre back to pick up an injury, was partnering Ozan Kabak in Liverpool’s 15th different central-defensive starting partnership in 27 league matches. Faced with a statistic like that, it is perhaps understandable why there was a lack of cohesion at the back and Werner should really have profited. He fired one early shot over and then failed to lift his effort over Alisson Becker, back in goal after the death of his father in Brazil last week. Even when Werner did beat Alisson, VAR ruled the Germany international’s arm had been offside 20 yards earlier in the build-up. Liverpool’s one chance fell to Mane but Salah’s first-time ball over the top got caught under his feet and Mane missed his shot with only Mendy to beat. Chelsea was still controlling the game and caught Liverpool on the counterattack when N’Golo Kante quickly sent a loose ball out to the left wing, from where Mount cut inside to beat Alisson having been given far too much time to pick his spot. All five of Mount’s league goals have come away from home. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spent the first five minutes of the second half screaming at his players to press harder and play higher up the pitch but Liverpool’s players were equally vocal when Firmino’s cross hit the raised arm of Kante from close range. No penalty was awarded. Andy Robertson cleared off the line from Hakim Ziyech after Alisson parried Ben Chilwell’s shot as Chelsea continued to look more dangerous. Klopp’s attempt to change the direction of the game saw him send on Diogo Jota for his first appearance in three months, along with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jota’s first touch was a half-chance from a deep cross but he was not sharp enough to take it. Werner, meanwhile, was doing everything but score as Alisson’s leg saved another shot as he bore down on goal. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
HARDCOVER FICTION 1. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press) 2. “A Court of Silver Flames” by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury) 3. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig (Viking) 4. “The Sanatorium” by Sarah Pearse (Viking/Dorman) 5. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (Riverhead) 6. “The Kaiser's Web” by Steve Berry (Minotaur) 7. “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” by V.E. Schwab (Tor) 8. “The Russian” by Patterson/Born (Little, Brown) 9. “Faithless in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin’s Press) 10. “Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder” by Joanne Fluke (Kensington) 11. “Kingdom of Shadow and Light” by Karen Marie Moning (Delacorte) 12. “The Return” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing) 13. “Missing and Endangered” by J.A. Jance (William Morrow) 14. “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham (Doubleday) 15. “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman (Atria) HARDCOVER NONFICTION 1. “Believe It” by Jamie Kern Lima (Gallery) 2. “The Pegan Diet” by Mark Hyman (Little, Brown Spark) 3. “Walk in My Combat Boots” by Patterson/Eversmann (Little, Brown) 4. “Think Again” by Adam Grant (Viking) 5. “Just As I Am: A Memoir” by Cicely Tyson (HarperCollins) 6. “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown) 7. “Keep Sharp” by Sanjay Gupta (Simon & Schuster) 8. “The Sum of Us” by Heather McGhee (One World) 9. “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (Crown) 10. “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House) 11. “Intuitive Fasting” by Will Cole (Rodale) 12. “Winning the War in Your Mind” by Craig Groeschel (Zondervan) 13. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (Dial) 14. “Four Hundred Souls” by Kendi/Blain (One World) 15. “Magnolia Table, Vol. 2” by Joanna Gaines (William Morrow) MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS 1. “The Numbers Game” by Danielle Steel (Dell) 2. “Camino Winds” by John Grisham (Dell) 3. “By the Neck” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle) 4. “A Quiet, Little Town” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle) 5. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” (TV tie-in) by Julia Quinn (Avon) 6. “Reckless Road” by Christine Feehan (Berkley) 7. “Journey of the Pharaohs” by Cussler/Brown (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 8. “A Timeless Christmas” by Alexis Stanton (Hallmark) 9. “Western Stars” by Nora Roberts (St. Martin’s Press) 10. “Hush” by Patterson/Fox (Grand Central Publishing) 11. “A Secret Amish Crush” by Marta Perry (Love Inspired) 12. “Perfect Partners” by Debbie Macomber (Mira) 13. “The Lost and Found Bookshop” by Susan Wiggs (Avon) 14. “From the Shadows” by B.J. Daniels (HQN) 15. “Revenge” by Patterson/Holmes (Grand Central Publishing) TRADE PAPERBACKS 1. “The 20th Victim” by Patterson/Paetro (Grand Central Publishing) 2. “Burn After Writing” (pink) by Sharon Jones (TarcherPerigee) 3. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” (TV tie-in) by Julia Quinn (Avon) 4. “Fair Warning” by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing) 5. “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel) 6. “28 Summers” by Elin Hilderbrand (Back Bay) 7. “The Girl from the Channel Islands” by Jenny Lecoat (Graydon House) 8. “Camino Winds” by John Grisham (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 9. “The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook” by Jeffrey Eisner (Voracious) 10. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay) 11. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury) 12. “Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift Omnibus” by Yang/Gurihiru/Heisler (Dark Horse) 13. “The Order” by Daniel Silva (Harper) 14. “Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Vol. 7” by Aidairo (Yen) 15. “The Body” by Bill Bryson (Anchor) The Associated Press
Some universities in Ontario have started planning for a return to in-person learning this fall as COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up. The pandemic forced schools to quickly move classes online last year but several said ongoing immunizations have sparked hope that a return to physical classrooms in September will be possible. In London, Ont., Western University said it expects to return to face-to-face instruction and resume on-campus activities when the fall semester begins. "As vaccines become more readily available over the spring and summer and as the Western community continues to remain vigilant both on and off campus, we're increasingly confident of these plans," university president Alan Shepard said in a statement. Shephard noted that the university has seen the benefits of remote work and online instruction over the past year. "As we plan for the fall, we’ll be looking at ways to incorporate the best of what we’ve learned into the curriculum and into our work where it makes the most sense," he said, adding that the university would be working with the local public health unit as it makes its fall plans. Western has had several COVID-19 outbreaks at its campus residences, with the most recent one declared on Tuesday after seven cases at its Essex Hall residence were confirmed. In Kingston, Ont., Queen's University also plans to resume some on-campus learning in the fall. "As part of the hope to be back to some degree of normalcy by fall, the university is planning that many small classes, labs, and tutorials will be offered in-person, with appropriate safety protocols in place," it said in a statement. The university said it expects most large classes will still be delivered remotely if COVID-19 restrictions remain in place throughout the fall, but it was hopeful that the winter term would bring more in-person learning. "Depending on the vaccine distribution timeline, government regulations, and public health guidance, Queen’s is cautiously optimistic that on-campus activities will return to normal in the winter term," it said. The University of Toronto said it would follow public health guidelines in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., where its campuses are located. It was optimistic, however, that an increase in vaccinations and falling case counts would allow for more in-person activities to resume in the fall. "Last year taught us a lot about the importance of planning and preparedness, and the need to be flexible in unpredictable circumstances," the university said. Ryerson University in downtown Toronto said it had not yet made a decision for fall learning, noting that it was planning for a number of scenarios. "We will not ask anyone to come to campus until our government and public health agencies have told us that it's safe to open and that the safety and well-being of our community can be assured," said spokeswoman Lindsey Craig. Both Toronto and Peel Region, where Mississauga is located, are currently under a stay-at-home order and have been the top COVID-19 hot spots in Ontario throughout the pandemic. As universities make their plans, at least one student said the thought of in-person learning in the fall was somewhat stressful. Kacey Niu, a first-year Western student, said she has been living in Toronto with family while learning online. "My dad actually doesn't want me to sign a lease (to live in London) until July or August because he still doesn't think they could make it happen," the 18-year-old said. "He’s definitely worried about students not being careful." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
One of Canada's top public health officials sought to reassure Canadians today that a recommendation from a federal vaccine advisory committee to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses is a sound one. Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months due to limited supplies. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said the advice is based on real-world data that shows doing so would lead to more people being protected from COVID-19 in a shorter time period. "This recommendation is based on clinical trial reports and emerging real-world evidence from around the world. Data shows that several weeks after being administered, first doses of vaccines provide highly effective protection against symptomatic disease, hospitalization and death," Njoo told a technical briefing today. Confusion over conflicting advice Njoo's comments appeared to be addressing the confusion created by the fact that NACI's recommendation conflicts with those issued by Health Canada when it granted regulatory approvals for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Regulatory documents provided by Health Canada upon approval of each vaccine state that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech should be taken three weeks after the first, the second Moderna shot should come four weeks after the first, and the second AstraZeneca dose should be delivered between four and 12 weeks after the first. All of those recommendations are in line with the product monograph provided by the manufacturers. Adding to the confusion, NACI recommended on Monday against giving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people 65 and older, although Health Canada has authorized it for use in adults of all ages. But Njoo said the discrepancies can be explained by the fact that Health Canada is a regulator and NACI is an advisory body made up of medical experts. "You have likely noticed that NACI's recommendations are sometimes different, possibly broader or narrower than the conditions of vaccine use that Health Canada has authorized. As the regulator, Health Canada authorizes each vaccine for use in Canada according to factors based on clinical trial evidence, whereas NACI bases its guidance on the available and evolving evidence in a real-world context, including the availability of other vaccines," Njoo said. "What we expect is that NACI recommendations will complement — not mirror — those of Health Canada." WATCH: Njoo comments on NACI recommendation to delay second COVID-19 vaccine doses The issue burst into the open on Monday when B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Some medical experts questioned that decision. Canada's chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, said doing so without proper clinical trials amounts to a "population level experiment." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., told the Washington Post that the science doesn't support delaying a second dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. He said there isn't enough evidence to determine how much protection is provided by one dose of those vaccines, and how long it lasts. Despite those warnings, several provinces followed Henry's lead and even more have indicated they intend to stretch the dosage interval. While it appeared to some at the time that Henry was moving faster than the science, Njoo said that NACI's experts briefed provincial medical officers of health over the weekend on the results of their analysis before releasing their recommendations publicly. NACI concluded that stretching the dosing interval to four months would allow up to 80 per cent of Canadians over the age of 16 to receive a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, without compromising vaccine effectiveness. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. As for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Njoo said it is safe and that evidence shows it provides protection against very serious disease and death in people of all ages. He said Health Canada has a rigorous scientific review process and only approves vaccines that meet high standards for safety, efficacy and quality. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said expert advice will continue to change as more data becomes available from ongoing mass vaccination campaigns, and she urged provinces and territories to consider recommendations and evidence from both bodies when making decisions about their vaccine strategies. "The messaging would be simpler if we had one set of data and we had one message and it never changed, but that's not what science does," said Sharma. Decision on Johnson and Johnson imminent At today's briefing, health officials also indicated that a regulatory decision on whether to approve Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is expected soon. "The review of the Johnson & Johnson submission is going very well, it's progressing, and we're expecting to have that completed and a decision in the next few days. I would say in the next seven days or so," said Sharma. The company has said its vaccine is 66 per cent effective at preventing moderate to severe illness in a global clinical trial, and much more effective — 85 per cent — against the most serious symptoms. Canada has agreed to purchase up to 38 million doses if it is approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in that country last Saturday. The approval of a fourth vaccine would give a significant boost to Canada's vaccine rollout. Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is widely seen as one of the easiest to administer because it requires only one dose and can be stored for long periods of time at regular refrigerator temperatures. Njoo said additional vaccines, coupled with the NACI recommendation on dosage intervals, could allow Canada to meet the goal of inoculating all adults who want a vaccine "several weeks" before the current target date of the end of September. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading Canada's COVID-19 vaccine logistics, said that while more vaccines would be good news, the current target remains the end of September.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Jean Andrade, an 88-year-old who lives alone, has been waiting for her COVID-19 vaccine since she became eligible under state guidelines nearly a month ago. She assumed her caseworker would contact her about getting one, especially after she spent nearly two days stuck in an electric recliner during a recent power outage. It was only after she saw a TV news report about competition for the limited supply of shots in Portland, Oregon, that she realized no one was scheduling her dose. A grocery delivery service for homebound older people eventually provided a flyer with vaccine information, and Andrade asked a helper who comes by for four hours a week to try to snag her an appointment. “I thought it would be a priority when you’re 88 years old and that someone would inform me," said Andrade, who has lived in the same house for 40 years and has no family members able to assist her. “You ask anybody else who's 88, 89, and don’t have anybody to help them, ask them what to do. Well, I’ve still got my brain, thank God. But I am very angry.” Older adults have top priority in COVID-19 immunization drives the world over right now, and hundreds of thousands of them are spending hours online, enlisting their children’s help and travelling hours to far-flung pharmacies in a desperate bid to secure a COVID-19 vaccine. But an untold number like Andrade are getting left behind, unseen, because they are too overwhelmed, too frail or too poor to fend for themselves. The urgency of reaching this vulnerable population before the nation's focus turns elsewhere is growing as more Americans in other age and priority groups become eligible for vaccines. With the clock ticking and many states extending shots to people as young as 55, nonprofits, churches and advocacy groups are scrambling to find isolated elders and get them inoculated before they have to compete with an even bigger pool — and are potentially forgotten about as vaccination campaigns move on. An extreme imbalance between vaccine supply and demand in almost every part of the United States makes securing a shot a gamble. In Oregon, Andrade is vying with as many as 750,000 residents age 65 and older, and demand is so high that appointments for the weekly allotment of doses in Portland are snapped up in less than an hour. On Monday, the city's inundated vaccine information call line shut down by 9 a.m., and online booking sites have crashed. Amid such frenzy, the vaccine rollout here and elsewhere has strongly favoured healthier seniors with resources “who are able to jump in their car at a moment’s notice and drive two hours” while more vulnerable older adults are overlooked, said James Stowe, the director of aging and adult services for an association of city and county governments in the bistate Kansas City area. "Why weren’t they the thrust of our efforts, the very core of what we wanted to do? Why didn’t it include this group from the very outset?” he said of the most vulnerable seniors. Some of the older adults who have not received vaccines yet are so disconnected they don't even know they are eligible. Others realize they qualify, but without internet service and often email accounts, they don't know how to make an appointment and can't get to one anyway — so they haven't tried. Still others have debilitating health issues that make leaving home an insurmountable task, or they are so terrified of exposure to COVID-19 that they'd rather go unvaccinated than risk venturing out in public to get a shot. In Kansas City, Missouri, 75-year-old Pat Brown knows she needs the vaccine because her asthma and diabetes put her at higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. But Brown hasn’t attempted to schedule an appointment and didn’t even know if they were being offered in her area yet; she says she is too overwhelmed. “I don’t have no car, and it’s hard for me to get around places. I just don’t like to go to clinics and have to wait because you have to wait so long,” Brown said, adding that she is in constant pain because of spinal arthritis. “I couldn’t do it. My back would give out...and I don’t have the money to take a cab.” The pandemic has also closed senior centres, libraries and churches — all places where older Americans might remain visible in their communities and get information about the vaccine. And some public health departments at first relied on mass emails and text messages to alert residents they were eligible, thereby missing huge chunks of the senior population. “Do you think everyone has internet access? Do you really think everyone has email?” Denise LaBuda, spokeswoman for the Council on Aging of Central Oregon, said. “We just don’t know where they all are. They have to raise their hand — and how do they raise their hand?” To counter access disparities, the Biden administration said Wednesday that it will partner with health insurance companies to help vulnerable older people get vaccinated for COVID-19. The goal is to get 2 million of the most at-risk seniors vaccinated soon, White House coronavirus special adviser Andy Slavitt said. Slavitt says insurers will use their networks to contact Medicare recipients with information about COVID-19 vaccines, answer questions, find and schedule appointments for first and second doses and co-ordinate transportation. The focus will be on reaching people in medically underserved areas. Non-profits, churches and advocates for older people have already spent weeks figuring out how to reach disadvantaged Americans over age 65 through a patchwork and grassroots effort that varies widely by location. Some are partnering with charities like Meals on Wheels to distribute vaccine information or grocery-delivery programs like the one which alerted Andrade. Others are mining library card rosters, senior centre membership lists and voter registration databases to find disconnected older people. Reaching out through organizations and faith groups that marginalized older Americans already trust is key, said Margaret Scharle, who developed a vaccine outreach toolkit for her Roman Catholic parish in Oregon. The “low-tech” approach, which other charities started using, relies on door-knocking, paper brochures and scripted phone calls to communicate with residents over 65. “Once you’ve been blocked so many times in trying to make an appointment, you might give up. So we are working as hard as we can to penetrate the most marginalized communities, to activate networks that are already existing,” said Scharle, who after the initial contact offers assistance with scheduling appointments and transportation. In Georgetown, South Carolina, a rural community where many of the 10,000 residents are the descendants of slaves, the local NAACP chapter is using its rolls from a November get-out-the-vote drive to get the oldest citizens out for the vaccine. Chapter president Marvin Neal said they are trying to reach 2,700 people to let them know they are eligible for a shot and to offer help booking appointments. Many of those individuals don’t have internet service or transportation, or suffer from medical issues like dementia, he said. “Some are not even aware that the vaccine is even in their community, that’s the challenge,” Neal said. “It’s like they’re just throwing up their hands in the air and hoping somebody steps in. Because all the ones I have talked to want the vaccine. I haven’t had one yet that didn’t say, ‘Sign me up.’” Outreach workers are also identifying holes in the system that prevent the most vulnerable seniors from accessing shots. For example, a dial-a-ride service in a rural part of Oregon doesn't take passengers beyond their town limits, meaning they can't get to their county's mass vaccination site. In the same region, only the largest city has a public bus system. Such obstacles underscore what outreach workers say is a huge demand for mobile vaccine clinics. Some local governments and non-profit organizations are partnering with paramedics and volunteer groups that specialize in disaster response to inoculate the hardest-to-reach seniors. In South Carolina, pharmacist Raymond Paschal purchased a van and a $3,000 refrigerator to start a mobile clinic for underserved areas, but his independent pharmacy in Georgetown can't get ahold of any vaccine. “There’s a lot of people falling through the cracks,” Paschal said. “These older people who have still not received their vaccine, they’re going to have all this younger generation they have to compete with. So we’ve got to get to these older people first.” ____ Hollingsworth reported from Kansas City, Missouri. Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia. Associated Press reporter Sara Cline in Portland, Oregon contributed to this report. Gillian Flaccus, Heather Hollingsworth And Russ Bynum, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A U.S. program created after the 2003 anthrax attacks to help detect biological weapons provided protection in less than half the states and couldn't detect many of the known threats, according to a report released Thursday. The program known as BioWatch, which described itself in a mission statement as a nationwide early warning system, was capable of detecting only six of 14 biological agents known to be potential threats. It also left detection equipment exposed and unguarded, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security found. “Without implementing changes to address BioWatch’s challenges, the United States’ ability to prepare for, detect, and respond to a potential bioterrorism attack is impeded, which could result in significant loss of human life,” the inspector general concluded. BioWatch, which is run by a component of Homeland Security, was created in 2003 in response to the deadly mailing of anthrax-laced envelopes to news media and government offices two years earlier. It has faced criticism for years. Intended to supplement existing surveillance programs, BioWatch consists of air sampling equipment and lab facilities around the nation. It was meant to reduce the time it takes to recognize an attack by monitoring for known biological agents. It costs about $80 million per year to run, according to previous government reports. The inspector general noted, however, that it has detection capability in just 22 of the 50 states. Contrary to billing, “BioWatch does not operate a nationwide early warning system,” the report said. Previous reviews in recent years have faulted the program's computer network security and said it lacked reliable data about its capabilities for detecting an attack, among other problems. The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, which runs BioWatch, in 2019 ranked lowest across 420 government agencies, for employee satisfaction and commitment, according to a report by the General Accountability Office. The new report, based on an audit of the program conducted last year, found that BioWatch no longer carries out routine full-scale exercises, which in previous years had uncovered a range of problems with preparedness for a possible attack. The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office generally concurred with the findings in the report and said it is working to address problems raised in the audit. But its director also defended the overall value of the program. BioWatch is integral to the office's mission "and serves as the department's best tool to effectively prepare for, detect and respond to bioterrorism threats,” David Richardson, an assistant secretary at DHS who runs the office, wrote in a letter accompanying the report. To address its coverage of the U.S., the office said it plans to work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which conducted the 2003 assessment upon which the office based the deployment of its monitoring equipment. The list of which states have the equipment, and which do not, was redacted from the report. It does note, however, that inspectors found security deficiencies at six of 17 locations in three states: Massachusetts, Illinois and Florida. The report included photos showing the portable equipment without any kind of security around the sensor or the power source. It said the equipment could be “unplugged, tampered with, vandalized, or stolen." In 34 out of 35 jurisdictions, inspectors found BioWatch equipment could not always collect air samples to test because of security breaches or unplugging. The Homeland Security office said it would work with the organizations that host the equipment to improve security and planned to “enhance” biological detection capabilities. It also scheduled a full-scale exercise for late last month and said it would share the information with other involved organizations by April. Ben Fox, The Associated Press
Ontario’s police watchdog has found that a Peel Regional police officer acted lawfully in the November 2019 shooting of a teen police say was in the process of robbing a Mississauga bank. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) ruled that there is no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence when he shot the armed 16-year-old in the lower back. According to the SIU, the teen had demanded cash from staff at an HSBC location on Dundas Street East, and the officer confronted him while he was masked, armed with a firearm and carrying a backpack full of cash. “I am unable to reasonably conclude that the (subject officer’s) resort to lethal force fell outside the limits of legal justification,” SIU director Joseph Martino wrote. The suspect suffered significant internal injuries in the incident. According to the SIU account, the officer and three other officers were in the area shortly before 4 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2016, when a motorist alerted them to the robbery nearby inside the Chinese Centre. The SIU states the teenager, donning a hooded-jacket over his head and his face covered with a black t-shirt had walked into the bank brandishing a semi-automatic pistol. A bank employee offered up some cash and coins to the teen, who took the money and demanded more, states the SIU’s report. The officers entered the bank with their firearms drawn, prompting the teen to run toward the west wall of the bank. The subject officer fired a single shot striking the teen in the lower mid-back. Still standing after being shot, the teen dropped his firearm, then was taken to the floor and handcuffed. Police later discovered that the weapon was not loaded, “which is of no consequence,” Martino wrote. “It was an actual firearm which the subject officer would have had every reason to believe was loaded and ready to be fired in the hands of the (teenager).” Martino made special note of the fact that although the gunshot wound to the teen’s back could suggest he was facing away from the officers, he had ignored police commands to remain still and posed an immediate risk to people in the bank. The subject officer declined to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes, as is his legal right. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
BRISTOL, Conn. — Former Italy and Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero is joining ESPN as a soccer analyst. The 46-year-old Del Piero, who retired after the 2014 season, will debut on ESPNFC this Saturday during postgame coverage of the Serie A match between Juventus and Lazio. Del Piero scored 27 goals in 91 appearances from 1995-2008, helping Italy in the 2006 World Cup title. He played for Padova (1991-93), Juventus (1993-12), Sydney (2012-14) and Delhi Dynamos (2014). He becomes part an ESPN soccer analyst group that includes Jürgen Klinsmann, Frank Lebeouf, Kasey Keller and Taylor Twellman. Del Piero also will continue as an analyst with with Sky Sports Italia. ____ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
This year the War Amps Key Tag Service will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. Launched in 1946, the Key Tag Service was developed to provide returning war amputee veterans work for competitive wages and generating funds for the associations’ programs like the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP), by providing service to Canadians. To date, the Key Tag Service has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners and continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities. The Key Tag Service is free, but donations enable the association to operate its many programs for amputees, children and veterans. “I was born a left arm amputee and was enrolled in The War Amps Child Amputee Program at a very young age,” explained War Amps Regional Representative Christine McMaster. “The CHAMP Program helped me connect with other amputees like myself. Together we helped each other. Together we learned that we could do anything and our amputation was not going to stop us.” Each key tag has a confidentially coded number that allows the finder of lost keys to call the toll-free number on the tag or place them in any Canadian mailbox, and the War Amps will return the keys to their owner, free of charge. The War Amps Key Tag Service is not supported by government grants and its many programs benefitting amputees, veterans and children are made possible through the public’s support and donations. The War Amps Child Amputee Program, or CHAMP, offers comprehensive services such as financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support to child amputees and their families. “We’d like to thank the public for helping to make the Key Tag Service a success,” said spokesperson Rob Larman, Graduate of the Association’s Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. “Your support funds essential programs for children, veterans and all amputees across Canada.” The War Amps 2021 Key Tags will be mailed to Eastern Ontario residents distributed to residents in the K postal code zone beginning March 8th. Residents interested in donating to the War Amps can do so by visiting waramps.ca or by calling 1 800 250-3030. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
TORONTO — Cash-strapped municipalities in Ontario will receive an additional $500 million to help address pandemic-related costs.Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said on Thursday the money can be used to pay for community services and ongoing capital projects.The province said the new funding comes in addition to nearly $1.4 billion received from the federal government and given to communities earlier in the pandemic.Clark said the new funding will be split between 444 municipalities in the province.Toronto Mayor John Tory thanked the federal and Ontario governments for their financial support."I am continuing up to and including today to have discussions with the other governments about further support," Tory said in a statement. "The funding provided this week, just days after City Council approved the 2021 budget, demonstrates all governments are working together to protect services and keep capital projects and jobs on track."Ontario municipalities are not allowed to run deficits by law, so they have laid off thousands of staff and contemplated deep service cuts to offset pandemic-related costs.Local leaders have said that without continued financial aid from the federal and provincial governments they will be forced to raise taxes.The Residential Construction Council Of Ontario has advocated for further financial support for municipal infrastructure projects throughout the pandemic. Nadia Todorova, interim executive director of RCCAO, said that her organization was "delighted" at the news and added that it was good timing as municipalities are finalizing their 2021 budgets."This kind of funding is also vital for municipalities as it provides them with a financial certainty so they can proceed with state-of-good-repair projects across Ontario, " said Todorova.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Current promotional program fees for Hinton’s pool at the recreation centre have been reduced by 50 per cent until at least April 6, 2021. On April 6, Council will review the fees and make adjustments as they see fit. The recent increase in fees made it difficult for some families to afford using the facility, stated council during the regular council meeting on March 2. The fees were implemented by administration to make up for lost revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions only allowing one household to use the pool area at a time. “A full facility rental rate is very cost prohibitive. The daily rates are established on more than one to three occupants in the pool or other recreation facility at a time. It’s not enough to offset the cost of operating,” said CAO Emily Olsen. Administration created the promotional program to allow at least some costs to be recouped through an additional fee. Daily rates stay the same but the program offsets the costs of lifeguards on duty, administrative staff, and minimizes the losses seen with the daily rate, Olsen explained. “It was a creative response or solution to allow opening under the restrictions as best as we can to promote health and wellness in the community and allow for families and individuals to utilize the facility,” said Olsen. Reservation fees for 30 minute increments were $10 for pass holders and $20 for non pass holders. This will now be half the price. Currently, there are half hour or one hour time slots available at the pool from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm and 6:30pm to 7:30pm. To abide by provincial COVID-19 restrictions, these reservations allow one individual or one household access to the entire main pool and steam room for fitness purposes. “I appreciate the work that administration has put into opening the facility and trying to come up with an operating plan and pricing that keeps it within the 2021 budget, but we also have some unallocated MOST funds that I feel might be able to offset these additional costs,” said Coun. Tyler Waugh. Council made a direction to recoup lost revenue from the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) Program. The Town of Hinton, along with many other municipalities, received funding through MOST from the provincial government to help offset the COVID-19 related losses for 2020. A portion of the MOST funds was put into a reserve and council is set to make a decision on how to use these funds in April. Not all councilors were immediately on board with spending MOST dollars on subsidizing the pool rates as there are several other initiatives that require support from the funds. “I certainly struggle with limiting the types of people that have access to a public facility, especially one that encourages better physical and mental health. That said, I’d rather be open than closed, I like that we’re going to have an opportunity to get some data on usage and potentially more creative solutions down the road as restrictions continue to change,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson. He suggested looking at the data to discount certain time blocks at the pool that see less usage. Mayor Marcel Michaels stated that many families were priced out of using the facility, and that making a decision on lowering the rates was pressing. By lowering the rate, the pool may also see better usage, he added. Without a report or knowing the financial repercussions of lowering the rates Coun. Trevor Haas and Coun. Albert Ostashek felt it was difficult to slash the rates in half at this meeting. Olsen noted that while it will have a financial impact, it’s unclear what that impact will be. “We’re looking for a price point that can hit the economic reality of the citizens in our community and I think that’s what we’re struggling to find,” said Coun. Ryan Maguhn. High rates won’t generate any usage and revenue in the facility, Maguhn added. Olsen added that Step three of Alberta’s plan to lift restrictions is also set for three weeks from now, which may change restrictions for the pool. Laura Howarth, Hinton director of community service noted that the Town offers support for families that need support. “We work with FCSS or people contact us directly. Please encourage families that you are aware of that really want to come to the rec centre but it’s not affordable, and any other time it’s not affordable either, we definitely have the opportunity and are willing and supportive of those families,” Howarth said. To reserve a spot at the pool, register online at hinton.ca/rec or contact Customer Service at 780-865-4412. Reservations have to be made one day prior to the time slot. Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice
There are now seven more cases at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). The cases are still contained to the same unit where the initial 14 were identified over the weekend, said Richard Dionne, president of the CNCC Local 369. The corrections officer said he could not share the total number of inmates in that wing, but noted that the area remains isolated. "I don't know the full count and I can't give it to you anyway for security reasons," said Dionne, speaking to MidlandToday. He said he was thankful that no staff cases have been identified at this time. "Hopefully, it stays that way," said Dionne. "The health unit came in the other day to offer voluntary staff testing. I don't know how many staff got tested, but none of those that did, to my knowledge, have come back positive." He said the same safety protocols are being followed with staff wearing increased PPE when interacting with inmates and those incarcerated being provided with masks if needed. "There haven't been any additional measures put into place right now," said Dionne. As for the virus possibly spreading in the air, he said, every unit functions independently in terms of ventilation. "I'm very hopeful we can contain it to the one unit and not have it spread to the entire institution," Dionne said, adding the stress level among staff remains high. "The workload has increased just based on the way that the operation changes because we're limiting day-room use and following protocol around higher use of PPE. And it's also the same for inmates, he added. "They just get more and more frustrated being locked down," Dionne said. "Increased cell time is never good for anyone. That's been put out there by a number of professionals that time locked in the cell by yourself or with one other person isn't beneficial." A request for comment from the province was not received by publication time. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's chief electoral officer is defending a decision to hand-deliver some special ballot kits to people in his St. John's neighbourhood. Bruce Chaulk says he doesn't see any problem delivering ballots to about six people, including Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Liberal Finance Minister Siobhan Coady. He says he noticed the addresses were on his way home and didn't go out of his way. Elections NL moved to special mail-in ballots after cancelling in-person voting on Feb. 12, following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital region. Memorial University of Newfoundland political science professor Amanda Bittner says the optics are bad. She says some rural residents fear they may not be able to deliver their ballots on time while Chaulk is hand-delivering ballots to people who live in his upper-middle-class neighbourhood. Ballots must be postmarked by March 12, and Chaulk says some people are hand-delivering theirs to Elections NL to make sure they are received on time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Emmy Laine, 4, holds a sign she made for Calvin Young, who works at the Dominion grocery store in Conception Bay South.(Submitted by Patty Laine) The pandemic lockdown has landed people back in their bubbles, with many once again daydreaming of days out in the world, and time spent with friends and family. And for one little girl, that means she's missing her friend, Calvin, her favourite clerk at her local grocery store. Four-year-old Emmy Laine missed Calvin Young so much, in fact, she and her parents made a sign that they hoped would find its way to him. It's message was simple: "I miss Calvin from Dominion." Patty Laine, Emmy's mother, submitted the photo first to a Facebook live show by the Swinging Belles, St. John's-based children's performers who were doing a special "shout-out" show from their living room, inviting the audience to share signs for loved ones. Laine then posted the photo on Facebook group Conception Bay South Community Voice, in the hopes it would make its way to Young — which it did. The post garnered a few dozen comments, including from Young's sister, who made sure he saw it. I'm certainly not surprised that the whole area of C.B.S. has some serious love for Calvin. - Patty Laine When the two got to chat over the phone, Emmy's message was a simple shouted, "I love you, Calvin!" "I love you too, sweetie, and you know what? I miss you a lot too. And I loved your poster," Young told Emmy, when the two were connected over the phone during an interview with CBC's St. John's Morning Show. Laine said she and her daughter hadn't seen Young since Christmas time, and with the lockdown in place for the Avalon Peninsula, Emmy can't go to the grocery store with her mother. Young said he's also been off work for a little while, and it was a nice surprise to see the poster from Emmy. "I just love what you did, I'm so happy … and you made me feel so special, and you know what? You're a special little girl to me, too. I always loved to see you come into Dominion with your mom and dad," Young told Emmy. LISTEN | Patty and Emmy Laine chat with Calvin Young, Emmy's much-missed favourite grocery store clerk: 'She's just amazing' Young remembers when a chatty Emmy first came through his checkout line. "That first day that she came through with her mom, just something about her, she said hi and she had this smile and was so friendly, and I said, 'Oh my, look who we have here! Hi! What is you name?'" Young recalled. "From there she just started talking to me and she's just amazing. Emmy, you're so sweet." A number of regular customers of the C.B.S. Dominion had some nice things to say about Young, pictured, in a Facebook post by Patty Laine.(Submitted) Patty Laine said that chat went a long way to cement Young in her daughter's memory. "Emmy's always been a very talkative, outgoing little girl, and she just I guess really took to Calvin, and Calvin really paid attention to what she has to say and will remember things from one visit to the next, and she just really soaks it up," Laine said, adding that Young even remembered her daughter's birthday from a passing comment. "That stuff's so important to her." During their phone chat, it was clear Emmy missed updating Young on what's been going on with her; she interjected with an excited, "Calvin, I made muffins!" and, "Calvin, I have a scooter now!" It seems as though Young has something of a reputation with people who frequently shop at the Dominion store in Conception Bay South, too. Laine said when she posted the photo of Emmy and her poster on the community Facebook page, people began sharing and commenting their own stories of Young. "There was a lot of similar comments about people waiting in longer lineups just to get to talk to Calvin and people really looking forward to seeing him again, so yeah it really brought out all of Calvin's fans," Laine said. "I'm certainly not surprised that the whole area of C.B.S. has some serious love for Calvin." For his part, Young said it was a pleasant surprise to see so many people thinking fondly of him. "It was very appreciated.… I'm very famous, really," he said with a chuckle. 'It's just like seeing a friend' Local celebrity status aside, Young said he's always made a point to chat with kids who come in to shop for groceries with their parents. It lets them know they're important, too, while also making the errand a little less of a hassle. "I know grocery shopping can be a bit of a stressful thing to be doing, especially when you've got to bring the children, so I like it when I can talk with the customer and then focus on the kids, because it sort of makes them feel a little bit that it's great, it's a bit exciting to shop with Mommy to do groceries," Young said. I'll be waiting and looking forward to you dropping by again. - Calvin Young "So I do my best to notice the kids and speak with them when they come through with their parents, and … I know they brighten up." Laine said it definitely makes shopping with a young child go smoother. "It's just like seeing a friend," Laine said. "It's like an event to her, and personally it makes grocery shopping a lot easier for me, as well." In the meantime, Young and the Laine family are looking forward to a day when they can all see one another again. "She certainly misses you, Calvin. You're very special to her," Laine told Young. "When COVID is over maybe Mommy and Daddy will bring you out again shopping and we'll get to meet again, how's that?" Young told young Emmy. "I'll be waiting and looking forward to you dropping by again. You always made my day." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
GATINEAU, Que. — The CRTC says that consumers with smartphone-financing plans of three years or longer will be protected by a policy that caps cancellation fees. Since 2019, Canada's major mobile phone carriers have increasingly offered plans that separate instalment payments for mobile phones from the monthly service fees. That same year, a CRTC consultation noted that if wireless service plan ended after two years, but payment plans for the new handset ended after three years, the one-year difference may be costly for Canadians who wished to switch plans or carriers. Now, the commission says its consumer protection rules, called the Wireless Code, will apply to the longer device financing plans just as it applied to subsidized mobile phones. The Wireless Code says Canadians can cancel their cell phone service contracts after two years with no cancellation fees, even if the consumer had agreed to a longer term. The Wireless Code also caps the size of early cancellation fees and gives guidelines on how much the fees should be reduced each month. The CRTC says it has requested that the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services begin separately tracking complaints about device financing plans, and that the wireless carriers will have a month to update contracts to reflect today's announcement. "We want to ensure that device financing plans are not being used to keep customers with their current provider at the end of their service contract," CRTC chief executive Ian Scott said in a statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Nous devons favoriser le dialogue avec la jeunesse québécoise francophone, anglophone et allophone et l’accompagner dans cette découverte de la richesse de la langue française.
The Toronto Raptors are once again severely short-handed heading into Thursday's game against the Celtics in Boston. For the second straight night, the Raptors will be without five players, head coach Nick Nurse and six other members of the coaching staff due to the NBA's health and safety protocols. Starters Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby will not be available, as well as Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw. Without the key players and members of the coaching staff, the Raptors were thumped 129-105 by visiting Detroit on Wednesday with assistant coach Sergio Scariolo in charge for the second straight game. Meanwhile, Jalen Harris has returned to Toronto's G League affiliate, Raptors 905. Harris and Donta Hall were added to the Raptors from the 905 squad Wednesday. Thursday's announcement was expected. General Manager Bobby Webster said in an availability Tuesday that it was unlikely that any player or member of staff who missed Wednesday's game would be available for the contest in Boston. The NBA goes into its all-star break after Thursday's action, which will offer a welcome respite for the Raptors. Toronto's next game is March 11 against Atlanta. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press