Watch as Molly the dog zooms across the pool cover with the perfect background music. Priceless!
Watch as Molly the dog zooms across the pool cover with the perfect background music. Priceless!
When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has agreed to live in the seat of state government in Charleston, ending a long-running challenge over his residency. A Kanawha County judge Monday signed an order dismissing a 2018 lawsuit filed by a former state lawmaker. Through his attorney, Justice said he intends to reside in Charleston “consistent with the definition of ‘reside’ in the Supreme Court of Appeals’ opinion," according to the dismissal order signed by Senior Status Circuit Judge Dan O'Hanlon. “The parties agree that Respondent’s voluntary agreement to reside at the seat of government within the meaning of the Constitution renders this case moot and that the case should be dismissed,” O'Hanlon wrote. In allowing the lawsuit to proceed in November, the state Supreme Court rejected arguments from Justice that the courts could not force him to live in the state capital. The challenge has been a thorn in the side of Justice, a two-term governor who defended living in Lewisburg even though the state constitution says the governor “shall reside at the seat of government” in Charleston. The justices wrote that courts had the right to compel the Republican governor to comply with the constitution. Justice's lawyers had appealed to the Supreme Court after the lower court declined to throw out the case. Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle brought the suit after bipartisan criticism that Justice lived 100 (160 kilometres) miles away from Charleston, near his resort, The Greenbrier. Both sides had argued over the definition of “residency.” Sponaugle claimed the common sense meaning of the word “residency” holds that the governor needs to sleep in Charleston. But Justice's lawyers have said the term was vague and the matter was a political question outside the court's purview. While defending the constitution's residency clause, the justices also said the governor "failed to meet his burden to show that the circuit court exceeded its legitimate powers.” Under the terms of the dismissal order, Justice, a billionaire businessman and richest person in the state who owns a complex business empire of coal and agricultural entities, agreed to pay $65,000 to Sponaugle for attorney fees and costs. John Raby, The Associated Press
Nio, which makes the ES8 and ES6 electric sport-utility vehicles, said it expects to deliver 20,000 to 20,500 vehicles in the first quarter - up 15% to 18% from the fourth quarter. The forecast, however, is slower than the 42% growth it reported between the third and the fourth quarter, in line with seasonal slowing in auto sales in China overall. Last April, Nio received a $1 billion funding injection from the Chinese government, which has also helped the company tame recalls and stem falling sales.
TORONTO — Some Ontario seniors braved frigid temperatures Monday to get a COVID-19 vaccine as several regions in the province moved ahead with their plans to vaccinate the general public. With the broad launch of a provincial booking portal still two weeks away, some local public health units used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. In York Region, where bookings opened Monday morning for shots that could be administered as early as the afternoon, dozens of seniors and their caregivers lined up outside a sports centre to get the vaccine. Some huddled together for warmth - a winter weather advisory was in effect for the region - as the line to enter the centre in Richmond Hill moved slowly. Hassan Abbas Kara was saving a place in line while his grandmother waited in a car. “I don't want her to wait in the cold, so it’s a little thing I can do right now to help her," he said. Atta Hussain, 82, said the process was "beautiful" and well organized, and expressed relief after receiving his shot. "We thank everybody who is participating," he said. York Region said its vaccination clinics were fully booked just two hours after they started taking appointments. A spokesman said approximately 20,000 appointments were made Monday across five locations in the region. Clinics were also offering shots to those 80 and older in Windsor-Essex County, and to those 85 and older at a hospital in Hamilton, where officials warned of long wait times amid high call volumes to its COVID-19 hotline. Hamilton's top doctor apologized for backlog on the phone line and asked people who don't live in the city to not call about appointments. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. "Some of them are already vaccinating the over-80-year-old people that are living within their regions," Elliott said Monday. "I think that's something that we should be celebrating not denigrating." Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said he's happy some public health units are offering shots already, but argued it could cause issues later when health units that have already started making appointments on their own systems have to switch over to the provincial one. The province also said Monday that it has asked the federal government for guidance on possibly extending the intervals between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses to four months. It pointed to British Columbia's decision to do so and said there's growing evidence suggesting intervals between the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses can be safely extended. Monday also saw two Ontario regions - Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka - return to lockdowns as a result of rising COVID-19 cases. Restrictions on businesses and gatherings were loosened in seven other health units: Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce. Municipal officials in Simcoe Muskoka raised concerns about pressure on small businesses and the effects of yet another lockdown on the public during a public meeting with the health unit on Monday. The region's top doctor said he's heard concerns about the strict measures from people in areas with fewer cases. Dr. Charles Gardner said he'll be in touch with the province's chief medical officer about whether a full lockdown is required for the region. In Thunder Bay, which entered a lockdown after reporting more COVID-19 cases in February than all of 2020, a local hospital reported it was expanding its COVID-19 and intensive care units to meet the needs of the community. Meanwhile, a spokesman for federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the Public Health Agency of Canada was reviewing a funding application for an isolation site in Thunder Bay after the city said it could no longer afford to keep it running. Ontario reported 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths from the virus on Monday. - With files from Cole Burston This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Donwood Park public school is temporarily shutting its doors because of a COVID-19 outbreak that include four cases of variants or concern. Erica Vella has details.
MADRID — It was a tactical change that didn't last more than 15 minutes, but it was just long enough to cost Real Madrid a chance to fight for the Spanish league lead in the derby against Atlético Madrid next weekend. Coach Zinedine Zidane's attempt to push Madrid forward by switching formations midway through the game against Real Sociedad backfired on Monday, leading to a 1-1 home draw that kept the defending champions from getting within range of the city rival going into the derby at Atlético's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday. Madrid conceded after Zidane changed a 4-3-3 formation to 3-5-2 at halftime, leaving Madrid more exposed defensively. It needed an 89th-minute equalizer by Vinícius Júnior to salvage the draw. “We changed to three defenders because I didn't like how we were pressing forward, but then we changed it back quickly,” Zidane said. “Maybe it hurt us. I was trying to change the dynamic of the game.” The draw halted Madrid’s four-game winning streak in the league and left the club five points from its city rival, which has a game in hand. Madrid has the same points total as second-placed Barcelona but trails on goal difference. A win would have moved Madrid within three points of Atlético entering the derby. “We had our chances but couldn't capitalize on them and in the end we lost two points at home,” Zidane said. “We can't forget that we were up against a great rival and it played very well.” Sociedad, which had won three in a row in the league, stayed in fifth place, six points from fourth-placed Sevilla in the final Champions League place. “We leave with a bad taste in our mouth,” Sociedad forward Cristian Portu said. “We deserved more. Usually an away draw against Real Madrid is a good thing, but not with the way that the game developed.” Madrid, still without injured players such as Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos, struggled against Sociedad’s well-organized team at Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium. Portu opened the scoring for the visitors with a header into the top corner in the 55th minute, taking advantage of some soft defending by Madrid left back Ferland Mendy. “There was some disconnection after the change to three defenders,” Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. “We were a bit lost and they had more space. In the end, Mendy couldn’t get to the cross in time and they scored a great goal.” Zidane said he made the tactical change because he wasn’t happy with how the team had been playing. “It was only for about 10 or 15 minutes and then I changed it back to a 4-3-3 formation and we played better,” he said. Vinícius Júnior, in his 100th match with Madrid, equalized with a shot from inside the area. Madrid forward Mariano Díaz came close by hitting the crossbar earlier in the game, and midfielder Casemiro also wasted a couple of good opportunities with second-half headers that flew wide. It was Madrid’s first draw at home in the league, adding to three losses. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
ASHFORD, Conn. — A police investigation into the fire that tore through the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for seriously ill children in Connecticut could not determine the cause but found no indication it was set intentionally, officials said Monday. The Feb. 12 fire at the Ashford camp, which was founded by the late actor Paul Newman, destroyed buildings including a large wood-frame structure that was made to look like the centre of an old western town. The investigation was closed with the cause of the blaze listed as undetermined. “Due to the catastrophic damage caused by the fire, the exact area of fire origin could not be identified,” Connecticut State Police said in a news release. “It is the opinion of investigators that the fire started in one area, however, and quickly spread through the buildings that comprised the camp’s Main Street area and housed the wood working shop, the arts and crafts area, the camp store and the cooking zone.” The camp plans to replace the lost structures with a larger, single-level complex. The camp was built in 1988 to accommodate about 300 children each summer. The charity now serves about 20,000 kids a year on site and through community and hospital-based programing. The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida officials are recommending that the state's antiquated unemployment processing system be replaced after a review confirmed what had long been known: a broken system full of glitches that was incapable of handling the unprecedented deluge of jobless claims spawned by the coronavirus outbreak. The state's Department of Economic Opportunity is recommending that the current system, known as CONNECT, be discarded and replaced with a more robust and modern system that employs cloud-based technology that could allow the system to more nimbly respond to increased demands. The department, which oversees the state's unemployment system, is asking lawmakers for $73 million over the next two years to modernize the system that left hundreds of thousands of jobless Floridians without unemployment checks for weeks and sometimes months. The director of the agency, Dane Eagle, told lawmakers Monday that Florida was not alone in its struggles. “We are far behind in where we need to be,” he said. “Florida is not the only state to experience these challenges." But as the unemployment rate surged when businesses closed, Florida was among the slowest states — if not the slowest — in getting unemployment checks to those with no other income to pay mortgages, rents and other necessities. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who likened the benefits claim system to an “old jalopy” breaking down at the Daytona 500, ordered the inspector general to investigate. The Economic Opportunity Department launched a review of its own, and the results were presented Monday to the legislative select committee on pandemic preparedness and response. The report makes clear that the system was neither prepared nor responsive at a time of crisis, when some 1.3 million Floridians, at the peak of unemployment in April, tried to access benefits through online portals that continually crashed or phone systems that only added to frustrations. The long awaited inspector general’s report could be released in a matter of weeks. The inspector general’s findings are current being reviewed by economic opportunity officials. The CONNECT system prompted concern from the start. Soon after the online portal launched in October 2013, it was beset by system crashes that prevented people from claiming benefits. Despite previous audits that identified numerous glitches, many of the problems were never addressed. Those same system failures prevented people from accessing the system. Critics warned that the system was doomed to fail. “Unfortunately, as it turns out, we were absolutely correct," said Democratic state Rep. Evan Jenne, the House minority co-leader. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3.1 million people have filed unemployment claims in Florida. The state has paid out more than $23.1 billion in benefits — less than a fourth of that from the state's reemployment assistance program. The rest of the funds came from federal pandemic relief packages, some of it earmarked to supplement meagre unemployment checks and to provide benefits to gig workers and others who were not eligible for traditional state benefits. The state's electronic portal was initially unable to process claims filed by freelancers and other independent contractors, adding to confusion, frustration and anger. The state eventually put in place a parallel electronic system to handle claims from nontraditional workers. In fact the state's electronic portal was so overwhelmed that state officials reverted to filing claims on paper forms. As part of its just-completed review, the Department of Economic Opportunity is also asking lawmakers for authority to establish an Office of Accountability and Transparency, but it was unclear in a presentation submitted to the pandemic committee exactly what its role would be. In addition, it wants to create a Reemployment Assistance Modernization Strategic Planning Office to oversee the modernization effort. The new money requested by the Economic Opportunity Department adds to the $39 million COVID-19-related outlays in its current year budget. The $73 billion being requested for the next two years would nearly double the department’s budget during the same time period. A more modest $8 million is also being requested to supplement the department's typical annual budget of $41.3 million in the three years after. Before the pandemic, the Reemployment Assistance System budget was about $12 million annually. Meanwhile, the state’s Unemployment Benefit Trust Fund has been dramatically depleted. Its balance is now just $777 million -- less than a fifth of the $4 billion it had before the pandemic. Bobby Caina Calvan, The Associated Press
Toronto began vaccinating members of its police force against COVID-19 on Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. "It is approximately 2,250 frontline members who were moved in to the current phase by the province," said Connie Osborne. Toronto Mayor John Tory said some police officers are involved frequently in calls that require enforcing COVID-19 restrictions and performing CPR. "You have a certain number of them that are daily, in many respects, involved in that kind of a call, similar to the way firefighters are and similar to the way, obviously, the paramedics are," said Tory. "They're simply medical first-responders." A day earlier, the city said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The identification of both police officers and the homeless as priority groups came amid ongoing criticism of Ontario's vaccine rollout, which some have said has been too slow and lacking in details. The province did not immediately respond to request for comment on the identification of police officers as a priority group. Last week, the province said Ontarians aged 80 and older will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the third week of March, although it noted that the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. The government also said essential workers will likely begin getting their shots in May if supply allows, but noted it was still deciding who will be in that group. Toronto's fire chief, who leads the city's COVID-19 response, said Monday that the city's plan to vaccinate those aged 80 and older depends on supply. "We are limited right now and controlled by the availability of vaccine," said Matthew Pegg. In neighbouring York Region, residents aged 80 and older started getting their COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday after the region opened up its own booking system. Toronto's top doctor said her city had a large number of people in the highest priority groups that it had to vaccinate before targeting those aged 80 and older in the general population. "Because we are such a large city, we have many health-care institutions," said Dr. Eileen De Villa. "We have a significant number of people to actually cover as part of the provincial prioritization framework." Ontario reported 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 280 of those in Toronto. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
After two full weeks of virtual events and activities, Bonhomme Carnaval has come to an end and the identity of this year's mascot has been unveiled. The annual carnival wrapped up with a virtual concert and unveiling of the Bonhomme last Saturday, Feb. 27. Emma Bertrand, a dance teacher at Dansons La Ronde and Melissa Kelly Dance Academy, was this year's Bonhomme Carnaval. The carnival was held virtually this year. Centre Culturel La Ronde’s executive director Lisa Bertrand said she didn’t expect such a big turnout and she was very happy with how many people tuned in online. “I’m super happy that the community supported (us). With the window contest, teachers and the principals were so supportive and the French community as well,” she said. “When I mentioned doing a virtual carnival to the board, I didn’t think it was going to be as much work as it was but I’m very, very happy with the result.” The evening show featuring the Lapointe family and Dayv Poulin and the reveal of Bonhomme reached 6,794 people on Facebook and garnered 1,770 engagements, 189 comments and 35 shares. Bertrand said the cooking workshops, as well as the Sip and Paint workshop, were a “great hit.” For the next year’s carnival, the centre is looking into offering virtual events again. “If we have our building, it will definitely be at our Centre Culturel La Ronde. If not, I’ll do a couple of events virtually. It was different and we had a lot of participation,” Bertrand said. “It was fun because we did have people from Montreal that joined, a few people from Cochrane, Iroquois Falls.” Hosting the carnival from a technical perspective has been challenging, Bertrand said, but it was also fun getting together virtually, seeing interactions between people and receiving love and support from the community. “It was virtual but we definitely felt the love,” said Bertrand. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
WASHINGTON — The White House is making it abundantly clear it has no plans to share America's COVID-19 vaccines with Canada or Mexico. Press secretary Jen Psaki has been indicating for weeks that the Biden administration would not allow the export of doses manufactured in the U.S. any time soon. Today, with Mexico planning to explicitly ask for help, Psaki ruled the possibility out entirely. She says President Joe Biden is focused first on making sure the vaccine is available to every American. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was expected to ask Biden directly for doses when the two meet virtually later today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly stopped short of making a similar request in his virtual meetings with Biden last week. "No," Psaki said today when asked whether the U.S. would be willing to share its supply of vaccine doses. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are available to every American. That is our focus." Psaki hinted last week that the White House position could change later this year once more Americans are vaccinated and the doses are no longer in such short supply.Johnson and Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine began shipping out today after it received emergency authorization over the weekend from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That now makes three vaccines that are available in the U.S., along with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health Canada has yet to approve the Johnson and Johnson shot, but gave the green light last week to a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
LIVERPOOL, England — Everton ended its worst home run since 1958 by beating Southampton 1-0 in the English Premier League on Monday and keeping its Champions League dream on track. Richarlison scored for the third consecutive match inside the first 10 minutes, and Everton held on to move within two points of fourth-placed West Ham with a match in hand. But the pain for Saints continued with one draw and eight defeats in their last nine league matches, leaving them seven points above the bottom three and wondering where their next win will come from. Saints would have thought they had a chance against Everton considering their host's poor home form — three successive defeats — but their only real opportunity fell to Moussa Djenepo in the final 10 minutes, and he blazed wide when well placed. It was an escape for Everton, which faded after having a second goal ruled out for offside midway through the first half. Richarlison's angled finis in the ninth minute was only his fifth in the league but, since the start of last season, Joao Pedro (30) and Paris St Germain’s Neymar (19) are the only Brazilians to score more goals in the top five European leagues than him. Playing in a two up front with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has 13 league goals, Richarlison took his chance brilliantly. Gylfi Sigurdsson, in the side for James Rodriguez who was left out as a precaution with a minor injury, capitalized on the space given to him by Mohammed Salisu going down in an aerial challenge with Calvert-Lewin and teammate James Ward-Prowse. The Iceland forward slid through a pass for Richarlison, who was making the same centre-to-right diagonal run which saw him score at Anfield last time out, to round Fraser Forster. It was the first time since since December 2019 he has scored in three successive league matches. Michael Keane had a header ruled out by VAR for offside as Southampton’s intention on holding a perilously high line at free kicks caused it more than a few problems but, strangely, rather than be emboldened, the hosts became more reticent and it could have cost them. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Rough estimates from Newfoundland and Labrador's elections authority indicate it could be April before a winner is declared in the province's chaotic pandemic vote — almost two months after the original election day. Elections NL spokeswoman Adrienne Luther said Monday she expected her office will begin counting votes later this week, and last election's experience indicates it could take a while. "There's no easy way to estimate a date of conclusion because it's entirely dependent on how many (mail-in ballots) we get back," Luther said in an email. The provincial election was derailed in February by an outbreak of COVID-19 in the St. John's metro region. Voting day was Feb. 13, but less than 12 hours before the polls opened, Elections NL cancelled all in-person voting after health authorities announced a provincewide lockdown. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by March 12 in order to count. Mail-in ballots take a lot of time, Luther said. Elections NL staff must verify the name and address of each ballot, she added. On average, her office opened and processed about 5,000 mail-in votes a day during the 2019 election, she said. "An estimate right now is that it will take approximately 20 straight days — we will be working full weekends — to do around 100,000 votes," Luther said. And that's on top of the 68,000 ballots that are already in the Elections NL office waiting to be counted, she said. Those ballots were cast before the outbreak upended the election and chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk has said there are at least 12,000 mail-in ballots among them. Luther's office anticipates about 120,000 people requested a mail-in ballot before the Feb. 19 deadline. Some of those may have requested ballots for several people in a household, and some may not be returned at all. "Historically, we have had a very high rate of return on (mail-in ballots) but this election has been anything but predictable," Luther said. If Elections NL maintains its rate of counting about 5,000 ballots a day, then it will take at least 24 days to count 120,000 ballots, not including the ballots received before the vote was delayed. That means residents of the province could have to wait until April to learn who won the election. In the meantime, Chaulk is finalizing the process and protocols for scrutineers to oversee the process, Luther said. "At this point," she said, "one scrutineer per party will be permitted in the building where counting will take place." Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey, who called the election on Jan. 15, has said in previous interviews his government will remain in "caretaker mode" until someone is declared the winner. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
Compass, which runs an integrated software platform that serves real estate agents in the residential real estate market, has been lifted by the COVID-19 pandemic as more people prefer to buy and sell homes online. Compass was founded in 2012 by Ori Allon, a former director of engineering at Twitter Inc, and Robert Reffkin, who worked at Goldman Sachs earlier.
Starting today, Montreal's transit corporation is installing 76 defibrillators across all of its Metro stations. The long-awaited project will cost $306,379, take about five weeks and comes six years after a coroner's report recommended that each Metro station have a first-aid kit and resuscitation equipment. "In a few weeks, no matter where an incident occurs in a Metro station, a defibrillator will be accessible within five minutes, which can make a huge difference to the chances of survival," said Philippe Schnobb, chairman of the STM board of Directors, in a news release. Philippe Déry, a spokesperson for the STM, told CBC News that, until now, there have been no defibrillators in Montreal Metro stations. Currently, an ambulance technician assigned to Berri-UQAM is equipped with an AED (automated external defibrillator) and can respond to emergencies at neighbouring stations. That service will continue to be available after the defibrillators are ready for use. "Since the STM operates in an urban and denser environment, our customers and employees have always been able to count on first responders (firefighters) and on the pre-hospital emergency care offered by Urgences-santé," said Déry. "The project this winter is going further than the coroner's report by equipping not only stations but also service vehicles and many other work sites." 'Simple to use' Since 2010, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada has called on all public institutions to provide emergency care equipment, says Salim Grim, manager of the foundation's resuscitation program in Quebec. For bystanders worried they may cause more harm than good by using an AED, Grim says they shouldn't hesitate to reach for a defibrillator since the device instructs the user. "When someone is in cardiac arrest, citizens have to understand that the person is almost dead," Grim said. "It's simple to use. If the AED is recommending a shock, it's not the decision of the person. It's the recommendation of the machine. There is no chance to hurt someone. The most important thing is to do something."
A local conservation group is aiming to get phragmites at Wye Marsh. The invasive species is spreading and crowding out native vegetation that is at the centre of the food web supporting the biodiversity at the marsh, said Kate Harries, president of MTM Conservation Association (MTM). The MTM is a volunteer board responsible under contract of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for managing crown land at Marl Lake, Tiny Marsh, and Matchedash Bay, she explained to Tiny council during a presentation at a recent council meeting. Harries was looking for in-kind and financial support in the amount of $6,000 over the next three years for a project aimed at tackling the issue. She said the group is looking for $3,000 from the township for year one, two-thirds of that in year two and one-third in the last year. The association, Harries said, is budgeting an expense of $32,666 for each of the three years. This funding, she explained, is made up of support from Tiny Township and other community partners, such as Ducks Unlimited Canada. She said she will be applying for a federal grant seeking $22,166 annually for the three-year program. "We've identified a federal fund we feel we have a good chance of getting a grant from to cover a three-year project," she said, talking about the EcoAction Community Funding Program. Step one of the project will be to map the spread in the Wye Marsh, Harries said. "At present, an educated guess is that we have approximately 140 hectares of invasive phrag and the marsh could be plugged within eight years," she added. In some Southern Ontario wetlands, Harries said, the invasive plant grows in dense fields leaving nowhere for waterfowls to nest and trapping any turtles that wander into the stand. She said MTM started forming a plan of attack last year in collaboration with the Severn Sound Environmental Association and the Invasive Phragmites Control Centre. "The time to evaluate the problem is when the ice is in and you can walk out there and look at the phrag," said Harries. "Our first opportunity was in early February." For that visit, she said, the group invited Janice Gilbert, executive director, Invasive Phragmites Control Centre, to visit the location. "She's pioneered the use of truxors, amphibious vehicles in cutting the phrag out where it's growing in water," said Harries. "They can do in three days what it could take a crew of people a whole season." She said Gilbert is positive about the potential of an intensive three-day attack with herbicide and truxors this August. Volunteers can then work before and after to take out the less dense patches of phragmites. Harries explained to MidlandToday that the herbicide Gilbert is proposing is a form of glyphosate. "We didn't want any herbicide sprays," said Harries. "But Janice said there's no other way of dealing with the phragmites when it's growing along the dyke. We've tried digging it out of the dyke structure, but it's too tough. The roots are totally entangled." This, she said, is like having to choose between the evil of the phragmites and the evil of herbicide. "They do it very carefully with backpack sprayers and it's spot application, which looks at exactly the spot you're targeting," said Harries. "We would need to get a permit from the provincial government to use that. There's certainly a lot of concern among ourselves because we're very conscious of the need to be carefully of the amphibians in the area." After listening to the proposal, council was immediately on board with the idea, provided they could find some money, having recently approved their budget. Tim Leitch, director of public works, said there was money in his department for just such a project. "We do have money we just set aside for phrag control in the township and my recommendation would be to utilize that amount for this," he said. "I think this is a great opportunity for us to get involved with." Coun. Cindy Hastings asked if MTM would be able to cover the remaining 50% with another grant and what percentage of the 50% could be covered by in-kind contributions? "As far as I know, there's no limit," said Harries. "But when we get somebody like the Invasive Phragmites Control Centre in with the truxors, they are providing some in-kind services, but they need to be paid in cash." Since the grant application had to be submitted by March 3, council ratified its decision at its regular council meeting. The motion stated that Council would supports the phragmite removal project by providing a letter of support and $3,000 in cash for 2021 and offer additional support either through the Mayor's Charity Golf Tournament or through an in-kind donation. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
VANCOUVER — Axel Schuster's first season as sporting director of the Vancouver Whitecaps was anything but boring. Despite navigating a series of unprecedented challenges, he believes the club finished last year with a solid foundation they can build on as training camp opens this week. "We spoke about it. We still think we did some sustainable, good steps," Schuster said. "Obviously we didn’t really meet our expectations at the very end, but it was close and now we have a new bar and we want to jump over this.” Last year, Schuster navigated the club through a season full of stops and starts as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the Major League Soccer schedule and forced all three Canadian clubs to relocate south of the border. The Whitecaps lived at a hotel in downtown Portland for more than two months and played at Providence Park, home of the rival Portland Timbers. The 'Caps ended the unusual campaign outside of the playoffs for the third year in a row with a 9-14-0 record. All of the upheaval took its toll on the group, Schuster said. “It took us too long to come back into shape and into structure, to be that team that we wanted to be at the beginning of the season, that we had been in the first two games," he said. “I will stress and challenge my team and my coaches to say ‘We want to be a big step better than last year.’” There'll be more hurdles this season, however. The team is holding its training camp in Vancouver but plans are in the works to relocate to Salt Lake City due to border restrictions. There's hope the team can return to Vancouver before the end of the season if conditions improve. COVID-19 has also made it difficult to organize pre-season games, Schuster said. The club isn't planning on playing any exhibition matches until they arrive in Utah ahead of the season kick off on April 17. One positive note heading into 2021 is the team's relatively low turnover. Two dozen players from last year's roster are back, including last year's leading goal scorer Lucas Cavallini. The team will also get back goaltenders Maxime Crepeau and Thomas Hasal, who both suffered season ending injuries in 2020. Crepeau went down with a fractured thumb in July and Hasal followed in September with a concussion and stress fracture in his left tibia. Having so many returning players means the club can skip the rebuilding process this pre-season, said coach Marc Dos Santos. It's a very different starting point from what the 'Caps have seen in the past two years, where the club attempted to integrate a number of new players before the season began. "It gives you a better chance to succeed," Dos Santos said Monday after the team's first voluntary group training session. "At the end of the day, when I look at the teams that succeed in MLS, they're groups that have been together for a good amount of time. They're groups that there's a chemistry between guys, there's a core that's important that comes back year after year. And that's where we have to get as a club." A few new faces will filter into the training facility in the coming weeks. Colombian striker Deiber Caicedo has yet to join the group after signing a three-year deal in January. Draft picks Javian Brown, a Jamaican right back, and David Egbo, a Nigerian forward, are still finishing up immigration paperwork. And goalkeeper Evan Newton is in Vancouver, finishing his quarantine and is expected to begin training soon. Adding to the team this off-season was tougher, Schuster said, not only because of the pandemic, but because he and Dos Santos are confident in the squad's existing core. "That makes it more complicated to add more quality because you only want to add more quality, you want to add better players," he explained. "So obviously the recruitment process is also more complicated because you have to go to another shelf in the store, in the market to find the right players." Still, there are likely more pieces to come. There's talk that the Whitecaps are looking to sign Bruno Gaspar, a 27-year-old right back with Portuguese side Sporting CP. Schuster declined to comment on any pending deals, but said he is still working hard on bolstering the team. "We feel even better knowing that there are more to come," he said. "We are hopeful that we get them." No matter who's on the roster this year, the club's objective will be clear, Schuster said — play hard and make it into the post-season. "The goal is to go straight to the playoffs and be a playoff team," he said. "We want to be a team that competes to win every single game." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
Une photo du premier ministre François Legault et de son épouse Isabelle Brais visant à vanter la saison des sucres au Québec a été trafiquée par une microbrasserie pour en faire sa promotion. L'image originale a été mise en ligne sur la page Facebook du premier ministre dimanche matin. On le voit tenir une boîte de livraison de produits d'érable sur laquelle on retrouve le logo de l'initiative «Ma cabane à la maison», lancée par l’Association des cabanes à sucre du Québec. Un peu plus de 24 heures plus tard, la même image s'est retrouvée sur la page de la microbrasserie Farnham Ale & Lager, mais avec les logos du fabricant de bière. L'entreprise a ainsi utilisé sans son autorisation l'image du premier ministre pour faire la promotion de ses produits avec un message faisant référence au couvre-feu en vigueur dans la province pour lutter contre la pandémie de la COVID-19. Au bureau du premier ministre, on confirme que personne au gouvernement – ni M. Legault, ni Mme Brais – n'a autorisé l'utilisation de l'image pour cette publicité. Une demande devait être formulée auprès de la microbrasserie afin qu'elle retire ce montage de ses réseaux sociaux. L'image s'y trouvait toujours en début de soirée, lundi. Au moment de publier, la direction de Farnham Ale & Lager n'avait pas répondu à nos demandes de commentaires. Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
Artificial intelligence chip designer Wave Computing Inc said on Monday it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following an auction of the company and will rebrand the firm as MIPS. The company traces its origins back to MIPS Computer Systems Inc, cofounded more than 35 years ago by Stanford University professor John Hennessy, who is now chairman of Alphabet Inc. MIPS was the commercial home of an earlier academic effort to create an architecture for computer processors that remain in wide use today by firms such as Intel Corp's Mobileye self-driving car unit. Wave Computing filed for bankruptcy in April.