The number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Ontario’s schools is lower per capita than in the province’s general population and in the schools of neighbouring Quebec, the government says. But is Ontario doing enough testing and contact tracing to stop possible spread of COVID-19 in schools? Stephen Lecce, the province’s education minister, has boasted in recent weeks that the Progressive Conservatives’ back-to-school strategy is working, but epidemiological studies and experts suggest it’s difficult to make that claim without more testing. A study from Alberta released last week added to mounting evidence that younger people infected with COVID-19 either show mild symptoms or none at all, meaning they could potentially be silently spreading the virus in schools and then taking it home. “I think to say schools are the safest place for kids in terms of this virus is not a statement that is backed by the evidence at this point,” said Gabrielle Brankston, a PhD student at the University of Guelph who has been compiling data on COVID-19 in Canada. Just under 36 per cent of the almost 2,000 young people who tested positive for COVID-19 during a first test in Alberta did not have any symptoms associated with the virus, according to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last Tuesday. That proportion of asymptomatic cases among young people is much higher than the 15 to 20 per cent range estimated in previous pediatric reviews, said Dr. Nisha Thampi from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and other medical experts who reviewed the findings. The discrepancy may be due to Alberta’s strategy of testing close contacts of known cases since early April, the study noted, but probably still doesn’t capture all the asymptomatic transmission. “It is important to note that this is likely an underestimation of the true prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection, as those without symptoms are much less likely to seek testing than those with symptoms,” authors James King, Tara Whitten, Jeffrey Bakal and Finlay McAlister wrote in the study. The Alberta research follows a massive contact tracing study of two states in India done by Princeton and other U.S. universities that warned in September children may be key spreaders of the virus. Ontario recorded a record number of cases (1,855) on Friday as the province’s labs processed more than 58,000 tests the previous day, or nearly 10,000 more than the previous busiest day of the year. There have been a total of 1,180 cases in Ontario schools reported in the last 14 days, the province says, while its overall count is just under 1,400 new cases each day on average over the last week. (Around 1.5 million students are in Ontario classrooms currently, while the province has a population of about 14.5 million people.) Six Ontario schools are currently closed and 14 per cent (or 671 of 4,828 sites) have a reported case. Public health officials say that’s not too bad. “Parents should have a fair bit of confidence in schools being as safe as possible,” said Dr. Brent Moloughney, the associate medical officer of health at Ottawa Public Health, which fought off a sharp spike in cases in the capital in late September and early October. He said that public health is aiming for constant improvement, though, and that with where we are now in the outbreak, “we need to be spending a bit more time trying to further break chains of transmission, and I think schools are one of those settings.” Moloughney said that means upping testing in schools, with a focus on the highest-risk contacts of known cases. “Let's get them tested, or more of them tested, and let’s see what that tells us so that can inform the next step,” he said. That’s exactly what the government just said it will do, launching a targeted voluntary test campaign to reach asymptomatic students and staff where COVID-19 is running rampant, including in Toronto and Ottawa, so as to more easily track and prevent its spread in classes. Tracing contacts of known cases has long been a challenge, but the University of Guelph’s Brankston said she and several peers responded to a call for volunteers to help with contact tracing early in the pandemic, but none had been called up for the labour-intensive task of trying to map transmission pathways. “I was quite willing to offer my time to do it,” she said. “And I know several graduate students in epidemiology who (volunteered and) haven’t been called,” she said. “There’s an untapped resource there.” Marit Stiles, the Opposition NDP’s education critic, said the report out of Alberta adds to her party’s concerns about the Ontario government’s handle on COVID-19 transmission in schools. “It confirms the lack of confidence educators and parents have in Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce's totally inadequate plan to protect kids, teachers and staff and lessen the virus's spread from schools to the wider community,” she said. Stiles said an NDP government would have capped class sizes and moved quickly to spend billions of dollars available to increase testing and improve contact tracing and screening in schools. But while acknowledging the paucity of available data, other public health experts say Lecce is likely correct to assume low-level or modest transmission. “We simply are not seeing widespread outbreaks in schools,” said Barry Pakes, the director of the public health and preventive medicine residency program at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “There are many single cases, some with two cases, but if the numbers of students who have COVID-19 were much larger than we know of, we would actually be seeing more related morbidity and mortality inside and outside of the schools,” he said. Pakes advised against diverting recently approved rapid tests to schools, noting the high false positive rates in low-prevalence settings as well as logistical challenges and possible stigma. “It would really take away critical infrastructure and resources from other areas,” he said.Alastair Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
A new council was sworn in in La Ronge with three councillors returning to the table and three new councillors joining them for the 2020-24 council term. Jordan McPhail and Hugh Watt have been re-elected, with Joe Hordyski returning to council following a mayoral loss in 2016, and Abby Besharah, Viviana Ruiz and Ryan Veteri joining them as new councillors as well as new mayor Colin Ratushniak. This will be McPhail’s second term on council after first being elected in 2016 and his first as the deputy mayor. The deputy mayor is chosen by the council, and McPhail said he was honoured that his fellow councillors were chosen. There is a learning curve when you join municipal politics, he said, so now that he understands how the council works and operates, he has hit his stride. McPhail was first encouraged to run by community members who thought we would be a good person for the job. Being solutions based and community-focused with a focus on grassroots activism, McPhail’s interest in politics was already there, so he decided to take their advice, and that of his family and friends, and dive into municipal politics. The 2016 term was a “trial by fire,” he said, since everyone was new to the table except for the former mayor Ron Woytowich. Joining him at the table this term are a diverse group of people who want to bring a new perspective and a focused plan for La Ronge’s future to the council. “We have a very good, strong group of people that have very thoughtful discussions that are mainly focused on the policy and the strategic direction of our community. I'm very optimistic for the next four years.” Veteri has been a long time volunteer in the community, he said, so getting this seat on council has been very exciting. Living in La Ronge since he was a teenager, Veteri said he has seen La Ronge at its worst years and wanted to contribute to making the community better. As an advocate for the homeless, Veteri said he wants more programs like scatter sites and food banks. The council needs to start taking better care of those in need in their community, he said, and a community project that would see tiny homes built for housing would be something that Veteri would like to work towards. “We could reach out to the provincial and federal government and press them for funding for such a project to happen.” Veteri is honoured to have the support of the people of La Ronge. He will work hard for his community, he said, and he will be readily available to address people’s concerns either through Facebook, email or phone. Besharah has lived in La Ronge since 2013 and has worked as an urban and regional planner for the last seven years, she said. Being elected to council and becoming part of the decision-making process will be a welcome change, however, she has always pushed for positive change within the government. With her background in government bureaucracy, Besharah saidshe hopes to help inform fellow council members about government policy so they can make informed decisions. Besharah was interested in how diverse this coming council team was in terms of diverse voices at the table. The last council was “pretty homogeneous,” she said, with men in similar fields making up the council. With the new council having a more diverse look to it, Besharah is expecting some lively debates about what is best for the town coming their way, she said. As an advocate for public spaces, Besharah said there is plenty the town can do to improve spaces for people to increase physical activity among the residents and beautify spaces to attract more tourism. Looking forward to the next term, Besharah said that more needs to be done to deepen communication between the town and its residents.Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The value that Wall Street places on access to billions of bytes of data, rather than old-school stock picking, became abundantly clear Monday as two of the biggest providers of such information become one in the biggest takeover of the year.S&P Global announced that it would acquire IHS Markit, based in London, for about $44 billion in an all-stock deal.Data collection has become pivotal on Wall Street as algorithms and high-speed trading drive global markets. And growth has been explosive for the companies that can provide that information instantly and in bulk.IHS and Markit merged just four years ago to create a $13 billion company. The company has almost tripled in value since then, and is now worth close to $37 billion.The size of the deal announced Monday eclipsed Nvidia's acquisition of rival chipmaker Arm Holdings for $40 billion in September, and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone acquisition of a subsidiary for nearly that much in the same month.The newcomer IHS Markit is being acquired by a company with roots dating back to the 19th century, when Henry Varnum Poor published the History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States to provide transparency for investors.IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80% of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.Each share of IHS Markit common stock will be exchanged for a fixed ratio of 0.2838 shares of S&P Global stock. Current S&P Global shareholders will own approximately 67.75% of the combined company, while shareholders of IHS Markit, based in London, will own about 32.25%.The transaction puts IHS Markit's enterprise value at $44 billion, including $4.8 billion of debt.The combined company will be headquartered in New York, where S&P Global is based, with a substantial presence in key global markets across North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.Douglas Peterson, the CEO of S&P Global, will hold that title at the combined company. Lance Uggla, Chairman and CEO of IHS Markit, will become a special advisor to the company for a year after the deal closes.The transaction is expected to close in the second half of next year. It needs the approval of both companies' shareholders.Shares of IHS Markit rose more than 7% at the opening bell Monday. S&P Global's stock was essentially flat.Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
From the bench on her front porch, Jan Jang had a perfect view of the small cove just over the bank from her St. Chad’s home. The home, originally from the nearby Flat Islands, was floated to the area in the 1950s. From her perch, the British Columbia resident could trace the likely path the house took when it entered the cove. It would have likely entered the cove pulled by a singular boat and around Damnable Island in the centre before being hauled out of the water and eventually into its current place. Jang and her husband Ed purchased the property shortly after a vacation to the province some 12 years ago. "We saw the view and we knew immediately,” she said. Saltbox in design with white siding and black trim, the home sits in the middle of a gravel road. On a nearby hill, there is a flagpole, a cracked concrete foundation holding it in place. The back of the property has a small garden and wooden archway covered in overgrown vines. “That is the common house (of the time),” said 85-year-old former Flat Islands resident Everett Saunders. “I didn’t know what a bungalow looked like until I left.” The Flat Islands were amongst the earliest reported settlements in Bonavista Bay, with the first mention of residence recorded in 1806. The community was made up of four islands, Flat Island, Coward Island, North Island and Berry Head. Families with the surnames Hallett, Dyer, Morgan, Samson and Saunders, amongst others, built a life there, 21 miles from Bonavista in the middle of Bonavista Bay. There were two churches — a Church of England Church on Flat Island and the Methodist Church on North Island. Each island had a school, while there was a post office with a wireless telegram and a nurses station on Flat Island. The fishery ruled on Flat Islands as people made their living at the height of the Labrador fishery. There were often 25 to 30 schooners in the nearby waters. In the 1920s, the islands had some 900 full-time residents. Resettlement began in 1954 when the first home was floated to Glovertown. Others were disassembled, moved and then reconstructed at their destination. The collapse of the Labrador fishery forced families to move to the mainland for steady work. By 1957, most of the population was preparing to leave. Saunders left in 1958 and headed for St. John’s. In 1979, he moved to Eastport and he has been going back to the island ever since. His parents moved to Eastport, while others made lives in places like Glovertown, St. Chad’s, Burnside and St. John’s. “There was a lot of living on the island,” said Saunders, who left when he finished school at the age of 17. “It was quite different.” It was Thanksgiving weekend when the Jangs happened across the place that would become their longtime summer home. They were frequent visitors to the province and spent their time renting places while travelling around the island. It got to the point when they were visiting so frequently they decided it would be in their best interest to buy a summer home. They had finished a stay in St. John’s and were headed towards Lark Harbour on the west coast when Jan had the impulse to go to the Eastport Peninsula, where they had visited before. There, they stumbled upon St. Chad’s and fell in love with a quaint home along the shore of a secluded cove. It had a faded ‘House For Sale’ sign on the lawn. “We looked at each other, we looked at the view and we looked at the house,” said Jan, recalling the moments before their decision to buy. After some renovations, they were ready to make it their five-week Newfoundland home every summer for a dozen years. The house was built by Stephen Hallett in the early 1900s, although Jan isn’t sure of the exact date. It was 1958 when it was floated from Flat Island across Bonavista Bay and into St. Chad’s. A picnic table dedicated to The Dickers sits on the site. Several years ago, Saunders took the Jangs out to see where the house had been. For a couple of years, Saunders showed off his boyhood home while running a tour boat business out of the Eastport. His family home is gone now, but he still routinely makes day trips to the area for berry picking or just to walk around. When he ties his boat to the old family wharf and takes his first steps on the island, the world he knew plays out in front of him. He knows the location of every rock and the beginning of every path. He remembers Mr. Decker, his apple tree and how he'd get angry when Saunders and his friends would swipe an apple or two. If someone asks to head out, Saunders is sure to take them for a run to the islands. Lately, people have requested passage to the islands as they seek to say goodbye to loved ones. Saunders figures there have been three or four occasions where he's accompanied people as they scatter the ashes of those who once called the Flat Islands home. Saunders understands their wishes. “It was a great place," he said. "I'm so contented when I'm out here." The Jangs knew that type of contentment in St. Chad’s, but they sold their home earlier this fall. It wasn’t something they wanted to do, but health issues had made it increasingly difficult to travel the long distance between British Columbia to Newfoundland. It was a bittersweet decision, but one they felt was necessary. They’ll miss their Newfoundland haven. “We loved the house,” said Jan Jang. “It was a dear little house.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
When the father of Yosif Al-Hasnawi, a Hamilton teen who was shot and died on Dec. 2, 2017, found out his son had died, he asked the paramedic who treated him, "Do you believe him now or not?"Majed Al-Hasnawi was quiet and solemn when he took the stand on Monday in the trial of two paramedics charged with not providing proper care to his son. Christopher Marchant, 32, and Steven Snively, 55, are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life in connection with the 19-year-old's death. The pair believed he'd been shot with a BB gun, the court has heard, but he was shot with a hollow point bullet from a .22-calibre handgun. Through the help of an Arabic interpreter, Al-Hasnawi told a Hamilton courtroom about that night, which started with him and his children at a Main Street East mosque. Yosif had done a reading that night from the Qur'an, which Al-Hasnawi said his son was "very, very good" at. The children would often come and go from the mosque, he said. 'I put on my shoes and ran outside'At some point in the evening, one of his sons, Mahdi, gestured to him and said, "Yosif got shot."Al-Hasnawi said he repeated the question in total shock. His son said Yosif was OK, and the father rushed out."Right away I put my shoes on and ran outside," he said, describing how he flew toward Main Street East and Sanford Avenue South in Hamilton's lower city, where his oldest son lay on the sidewalk, dying. A police officer by a crowd of people stopped Al-Hasnawi from getting close, but let him approach when he found out he was the father. Al-Hasnawi said the officer told him Yosif was shot with a BB gun, "because if it was a bullet...they would've seen its shell." But there wasn't one. 'Tell your son to stop acting'Al-Hasnawi said he could see a "hole or opening" above Yosif's belly button. The father passed a paramedic and remembers him saying Yosif was OK, but to "tell your son to stop acting." When the defence brought up a transcript from a previous interview with police, Al-Hasnawi had said the officer said something similar too. Jeffrey Manishen of Hamilton, who represents Marchant, pressed Al-Hasnawi on whether he thought both police and paramedics said the comment, and Al-Hasnawi said they did."It's the paramedics who assess the situation," Al-Hasnawi said. "Whatever the police officer is going to say...it's not going to affect my son's life.Al-Hasnawi said he knelt by his son."You're going to be fine. Be patient, we're going to get you to the hospital," he remembered saying to him.Yosif was tired, confused, and his body tight, he said, adding Yosif replied weakly, "let them take me to the hospital."Al-Hasnawi told the courtroom that the way paramedics evaluated and treated his son seemed to show they thought, "there's no danger in the matter." That's why he told his son he would all right. Father remembers 'excessive' pressure to abdomenAl-Hasnawi said the "taller paramedic" would approach Yosif multiple times to lift his shirt and squeeze the wound with his fingers. He also described the paramedic putting Yosif's leg one over the other as the teen lay on his back. Then the paramedic would lift and bend his legs repeatedly, he said, so that Yosif's knees went into his own chest, like a "sport exercise." The father called the pressure excessive. He could tell it hurt his son, Al-Hasnawi said, because of Yosif's tight expression.The defence noted that he didn't talk about this action in his first two interviews with police a few years ago, but brought it up in May 2018 with the paramedic supervisor.The father remembered telling Yosif, "you're going to be fine. Don't be scared." But Yosif responded that he couldn't breathe.To the stretcherThe court has heard from a Hamilton officer at the scene, Const. Christopher Campovari, that Al-Hasnawi was frantic and asking the paramedics why they weren't taking his son to hospital.When a paramedic asked him if Yosif took any drugs or substances, Al-Hasnawi said he replied, "no. He's a medical student."He remembers the "shorter paramedic" saying, "if he's a medical student, he wouldn't be here."The father said the tallest paramedic lifted his son off the ground in a "shameful" and "humiliating" way, so that he was hanging before walking him to the stretcher and "throwing" him on it.Const. Michael Zezella of Hamilton Police Service told the court last week that he and Marchant tried to lift the teenager, but couldn't do it. Zezella said another person pulled him off the ground.Al-Hasnawi doesn't remember the stretcher going into the ambulance or it leaving. What he does remember is leaving from the scene to go to St. Joseph's Hospital, and finding out that his son had died.'I don't talk to you'When asked by Crown Scott Patterson what he thought of the paramedic's treatment, Al-Hasnawi replied, "I was not satisfied."He said he approached the taller paramedic, and "asked him if he believed that my son was in danger or not" now that he had died. He asked him this multiple times, and a nurse told the father to sit quietly. Later on, he asked the paramedic again, "Do you believe him now or not?" He remembers the paramedic asking to have a conversation outside."I don't talk to you. You're not human," Al-Hasnawi remembers saying. Defence suggests trauma makes it hard to rememberEach lawyer compared Al-Hasnawi's descriptions on Monday to his responses in police interviews on Dec. 19, 2017 and Feb. 12, 2018, as well as a May 2018 interview with the EMS supervisor.Al-Hasnawi said he hadn't read the interviews to jog his memory because it reminds him of the disaster. He watched a video of the February one, though.They both suggested that Al-Hasnawi's ability to properly remember would be affected because the event was traumatic. Michael DelGobbo, Snively's lawyer, called it the worst night of the father's life.Al-Hasnawi told DelGobbo, "I would forget everything, except this incident," but also said to Manishen that it would be "possible" to make a mistake.'I was in pain'When DelGobbo questioned why he didn't include the pushing-knees-into-chest description in the first two interviews, Al-Hasnawi said he forgot. It was hard to concentrate — the "beginning of the disaster," he said — and he wouldn't have remembered everything. "I was in pain. I just wanted to get over it," he said.He also asked Al-Hasnawi why he said in an interview that "they" lifted up his son, when he recalled on Monday that it was only one person. Al-Hasnawi said in Arabic, the word can be used for a single person.But when Manishen asked him to confirm he used the phrase "both of them," he said, yes.Both lawyers asked questions about the paramedic's inquiry about drugs. Al-Hasnawi said it didn't offend him, and when Manishen asked if he told the paramedic that drugs were against his religion, he said there wasn't any conversation like that.When Manishen asked if Al-Hasnawi though police were rude, he said he did, but understood they wanted to "do their job" and preserve the crime scene. He noted they apologized after.Manishen will continue his cross-examination of Al-Hasnawi tomorrow. About 23 minutes passed from the time the paramedics arrived until they left for St. Joseph's hospital on Charlton Avenue. The teen was pronounced dead at 9:58 p.m.Monday marked the start of the trial's second week. So far, the court has heard from two police officers and a firefighter who were on scene that night. Ambulance dispatchers also testified that the communications centre was busy and understaffed on the night of the shooting.Majed Al-Hasnawi was a witness for the Crown. The trial in Hamilton superior court is expected to last five weeks, and Justice Harrison Arrell will render a verdict. The Crown attorneys are Scott Patterson and Linda Shin.The person who shot Al-Hasnawi, Dale King, was acquitted last year of second-degree murder. That case is being appealed.
A company has started selling the first blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, a leap for the field that could make it much easier for people to learn whether they have dementia. It also raises concern about the accuracy and impact of such life-altering news.Independent experts are leery because key test results have not been published and the test has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — it's being sold under more general rules for commercial labs. But they agree that a simple test that can be done in a doctor’s office has long been needed.It might have spared Tammy Maida a decade of futile trips to doctors who chalked up her symptoms to depression, anxiety or menopause before a $5,000 brain scan last year finally showed she had Alzheimer’s.“I now have an answer,” said the 63-year-old former nurse from San Jose, California.If a blood test had been available, “I might have been afraid of the results” but would have “jumped on that” to find out, she said.More than 5 million people in the United States and millions more around the world have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. To be diagnosed with it, people must have symptoms such as memory loss plus evidence of a buildup of a protein called beta-amyloid in the brain.The best way now to measure the protein is a costly PET brain scan that usually is not covered by insurance. That means most people don’t get one and are left wondering if their problems are due to normal aging, Alzheimer’s or something else.The blood test from C2N Diagnostics of St. Louis aims to fill that gap. The company's founders include Drs. David Holtzman and Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine, who headed research that led to the test and are included on a patent that the St. Louis university licensed to C2N.ABOUT THE TESTThe test is not intended for general screening or for people without symptoms — it’s aimed at people 60 and older who are having thinking problems and are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s. It’s not covered by insurance or Medicare; the company charges $1,250 and offers discounts based on income. Only doctors can order the test and results come within 10 days. It's sold in all but a few states in the U.S. and just was cleared for sale in Europe.It measures two types of amyloid particles plus various forms of a protein that reveal whether someone has a gene that raises risk for the disease. These factors are combined in a formula that includes age, and patients are given a score suggesting low, medium or high likelihood of having amyloid buildup in the brain.If the test puts them in the low category, “it’s a strong reason to look for other things” besides Alzheimer’s, Bateman said.“There are a thousand things that can cause someone to be cognitively impaired,” from vitamin deficiencies to medications, Holtzman said.“I don’t think this is any different than the testing we do now” except it’s from a blood test rather than a brain scan, he said. “And those are not 100% accurate either.”ACCURACY CLAIMSThe company has not published any data on the test’s accuracy, although the doctors have published on the amyloid research leading to the test. Company promotional materials cite results comparing the test to PET brain scans — the current gold standard — in 686 people, ages 60-91, with cognitive impairment or dementia.If a PET scan showed amyloid buildup, the blood test also gave a high probability of that in 92% of cases and missed 8% of them, said the company’s chief executive, Dr. Joel Braunstein.If the PET scan was negative, the blood test ruled out amyloid buildup 77% of the time. The other 23% got a positive result, but that doesn't necessarily mean the blood test was incorrect, Braunstein said. The published research suggests it may detect amyloid buildup before it's evident on scans.Braunstein said the company will seek FDA approval and the agency has given it a designation that can speed review. He said study results would be published, and he defended the decision to start selling the test now.“Should we be holding that technology back when it could have a big impact on patient care?" he asked.WHAT OTHERS SAYDr. Eliezer Masliah, neuroscience chief at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, said the government funded some of the work leading to the test as well as other kinds of blood tests.“I would be cautious about interpreting any of these things,” he said of the company’s claims. “We’re encouraged, we’re interested, we’re funding this work but we want to see results.”Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer’s Association said it won't endorse a test without FDA approval. The test also needs to be studied in larger and diverse populations.“It’s not quite clear how accurate or generalizable the results are,” she said.___Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — In the land of lexicography, out of the whole of the English language, 2020's word of the year is a vocabulary of one. For the first time, two dictionary companies on Monday — Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com — declared the same word as their tops: pandemic. A third couldn't settle on just one so issued a 16-page report instead along the same lines, noting that a world of once-specialized terms entered the mainstream during the COVID-19 crisis. The year, Oxford Languages said in the report last week, “brought a new immediacy and urgency to the role of the lexicographer. In almost real-time, lexicographers were able to monitor and analyze seismic shifts in language data and precipitous frequency rises in new coinages." Its Oxford English Dictionary and others found themselves madly updating well beyond routine schedules to keep up. Such publication updates are usually planned far in advance. Because the coronavirus pandemic brought on gargantuan language changes, according to Oxford Languages, “2020 is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single `word of the year.'” Not so at Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, both of which also noted enormous shifts toward many other related words but announced just one nonetheless. Pandemic “probably isn’t a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement. “Often the big news story has a technical word that’s associated with it and in this case, the word pandemic is not just technical but has become general. It’s probably the word by which we’ll refer to this period in the future,” he said. John Kelly, senior research editor at Dictionary.com, told the AP before breaking the news that searches on the site for pandemic spiked more than 13,500% on March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency. The daily spike, he said, was “massive, but even more telling is how high it has sustained significant search volumes throughout the entire year." Month over month, lookups for pandemic were more than 1,000% higher than usual. For about half the year, the word was in the top 10% of all lookup on Dictionary.com, Kelly said. Similarly, at Merriam-Webster.com, searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than spikes experienced on the same date last year, Sokolowski said. Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population, he said. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski said. The word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for “universal” and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1660s, he said. That was after the plagues of the Middle Ages, Sokolowski said. He attributes the lookup traffic for pandemic not entirely to searchers who didn’t know what it meant but also to those on the hunt for more detail, or for inspiration or comfort in the knowing. “We see that the word love is looked up around Valentine’s Day and the word cornucopia is looked up at Thanksgiving,” Sokolowski said. “We see a word like surreal spiking when a moment of national tragedy or shock occurs. It’s the idea of dictionaries being the beginning of putting your thoughts in order.” The pandemic, Kelly said, made us all worthy of watercooler chatter with Dr. Anthony Fauci as our knowledge grew about all things pandemic, aerosols, contact tracing, social distancing and herd immunity, along with the intricacies of therapeutic drugs, tests and vaccines that can help save lives. “These were all part of a new shared vocabulary we needed to stay safe and informed. It’s incredible,” said Kelly, who works with a team of lexicographers to come up with words of the year based primarily on site traffic. Merriam-Webster began designating a word of the year in 2008, with “bailout.” The company's word of the year for 2019 was “they,” when a shifting use of the personal pronoun was a hot subject and lookups increased by 313% in 2019 over the previous year. Dictionary.com has been in the word of the year game since 2010, with “change.” Its word of the year in 2019 was “existential" in a year that climate change, gun violence, the very nature of democracy and an angsty little movie star named Forky from Disney's “Toy Story 4” helped propel search spikes. Oxford went with two words last year: climate emergency. Kelly, Sokolowski and Oxford Languages noted other worthy search trends beyond the pandemic. After the May 25 death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, words around racial justice experienced spikes, including fascism, anti-fascism, defund and white fragility, Kelly said. “There was no way for us to leave that out of the conversation this year,” he said. Oxford included a range in its report, from “karen” to “QAnon.” But it was all things pandemic that ultimately won the annual word sweepstakes. Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, chief executive for Dictionary.com, said one key ingredient in the hunt for the site’s word of the year is sustained interest over time. Pandemic met that standard. “This has affected families, our work, the economy,” she said. “It really became the logical choice. It’s become the context through which we’ve had dialogue all through 2020. It’s the through line for discourse.” Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey is calling for collaboration between Canada's premiers and the federal government as the country moves toward a distribution plan for a COVID-19 vaccine.Furey, during an appearance on CBC's Rosemary Barton Live Sunday, spoke about his conversation with fellow Canadian Premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — calling the conversation a 'good, healthy, informative call' — and stressed the importance of working together through the pandemic."We need to be working collectively as a country, as Canadians," Furey said. "This is a disease that knows no boundaries.""In terms of jurisdictional arguments, I'm less concerned about that," he added. "I'm more concerned about working in a collaborative fashion to ensure that Canadians get protected, and the most vulnerable within the Canadian population are protected first and foremost."> I'm very comfortable and confident that we have some of the best health care workers across the country here in Newfoundland and Labrador. \- Andrew Furey As COVID-19 hotspots grow in areas like Ontario and Alberta, Furey said the safest way to tackle vaccine distribution would perhaps be per capita — but said the countrys most vulnerable should be a top priority."We know now that there are populations and segments of the population that are more impacted than others with respect to COVID-19," he said."I think it's very important and crucial that we follow the evidence there. And I would strongly argue for a pan-Canadian guideline on who gets the vaccine, obviously with some modifications for local jurisdictions."Watch: Premier Andrew Furey talks the Atlantic Bubble, a COVID-19 vaccine and more on Rosemary Barton Live:In a moment of openness from the Premier, who has previously worked as an orthopedic surgeon, Furey said he has had moments during the pandemic where he thought about returning to the medical community."I was on the front lines of the COVID unit here in St. John's. I saw first hand those moments of anxiety... and saw the nurses and the staff and the orderlies and the doctors show up not knowing what to expect," he said."As I drive by the hospital every day, I wonder 'Should I be laying down the MHA pin and picking up the stethoscope again for the short term?' But I'm very comfortable and confident that we have some of the best health care workers across the country here in Newfoundland and Labrador."Furey watching economic update "with great interest"Ahead of the federal government's 2020 economic update, Furey said he will be focused on announcements since the province projected a $2.1 billion deficit earlier this year."I'll be watching with great interest," he said. "For my particular province, and I'm sure this is consistent with Alberta and Saskatchewan in terms of an energy sector, we're looking at sectors that could be supported in other ways."Furey said he will also be looking for updates relating to child care, an industry the Premier has been focused on since his leadership nomination."It's something that's near and dear to our heart, and I believe it's a good tool to emerge from this economic crisis," he said.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning people about a "large number" of COVID-19 cases linked to curling clubs in Regina.A news release sent on Sunday said anyone who visited the Highland Curling Club between Nov. 13 to 23, or the Caledonian Curling Club between Nov. 16 to 24, must immediately self-isolate and call HealthLine 811 if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms.The release also said anyone who was at either club when the exposures occurred should consider getting tested, even if they don't have symptoms.SHA also said on Saturday there's an increased risk of COVID-19 exposures at curling clubs in Christopher Lake and Shellbrook.Letter sent to club membersThe Highland Curling Club has paused its season after a COVID-19 outbreak at a bonspiel held at the club, according to a letter on the rink's website.The outbreak happened at a seniors and masters bonspiel held at Highland Curling Club in Regina from Nov. 13 to 15. The tournament included divisions for senior men and women in the 50 and up category, as well as a masters division for men aged 60 and older.In the letter, general manager A.J. Scott said it was an "extremely isolated" event. "The rink was closed to the public and kept exclusively for the athletes competing in the event," the letter said. "We only ran two sheets at any single time, as well as made sure to run only the men's or women's divisions at one time. The teams all respected our safety protocols we have here at the rink and routine scheduled cleaning was done more than every 60 minutes as well as after every draw."In the middle of the tournament, a team pulled out due to flu-like symptoms. Scott wrote that the club asked the remaining teams "if they felt safe and confident enough to want to continue play," and all the teams said they did, so the tournament finished as planned.Shortly after the bonspiel, the club was notified that members of the team that pulled out had COVID-19.The club's website says curling has been postponed until Dec. 7 while the facility gets a "professional deep cleaning."
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week as part of negotiations to end a longtime boycott of Qatar.Kushner, along with Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz and former special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, will try to negotiate with Gulf leaders over the dispute, a White House official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the trip.Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar in June 2017 as part of a wider political dispute over Doha's support of Islamists, its relationship with Iran and other matters. The four countries also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing off the small country’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country is also home to the sprawling Al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts some 10,000 American troops and the forward headquarters of the U.S. military's Central Command.This may be Kushner's last trip to the region as President Donald Trump has only a few more weeks in office. President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated Jan. 20.Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Edward Blake Rudkowski was a member of Nunatsiavut, and before that the Labrador Inuit Association, for 34 years. He ran successfully to represent Labrador Inuit living outside the land claim as an ordinary member in 2017, was re-elected in 2018 and was named the Speaker of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, the legislative branch of the Inuit government. That was, until Nov. 20, when Blake Rudkowski was told he was no longer a member of Nunatsiavut, his status as a beneficiary was revoked and he could no longer hold the political office he had been elected to. Blake Rudkowski told SaltWire Network he was told he didn’t meet the eligibility requirements and was just over 17 per cent Inuit. According to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, there are a number of requirements that can lead to a person being a beneficiary, including that a person is one-quarter Inuit, is a descendant of someone who settled permanently in the land claim area prior to 1940 with no Inuit ancestry or is adopted by a beneficiary. “To be clear, they didn’t tell me I wasn’t Inuit,” he said. “They said I wasn’t Inuit enough.” He says he would like to know what formula they use to come up with that determination, and what factors were taken into account to determine it. He’d also like to know why that number matters more than what was determined when he was first accepted as a member of the Labrador Inuit Association 34 years ago. His status as a beneficiary of Nunatsiavut had been challenged two years ago and he’d been going through the process ever since. “Immediately after the election, literally the day after, there were two challenges to my membership eligibility,” he said. “I’d been dealing with this behind the scenes since then.” He said the two people who challenged his membership were political rivals — one a person he had beaten in an election and another a former politician — and the timing of it seemed curious to him. “It felt like membership was being used as a tool of political retribution,” he said. Having Nunatsiavut beneficiary status challenged is like coming in as a new applicant and is a daunting task that, successful or not, can take up a lot of time. In 2013 an amendment was made to the Nunatsiavut Beneficiaries Enrolment Act that allows any member to challenge the membership of another. Blake Rudkowski said this allows people to try to use membership as a tool to try to harm their enemies. “What this does is it allows someone who is a malcontent or has a beef with someone else a vehicle to exact some sort of retribution. At minimum, even if it's not successful, it can cause someone a significant amount of mental anguish.” What this has created, Blake Rudkowski said, is a climate where some people are afraid to speak up about issues they have with the government for fear they may have their rights as a beneficiary stripped away, or at the very least have it challenged. When he was in government, it appeared there were an increasing number of memberships being challenged, he said, to the point where people were asking whether a full review was underway. He said he also heard complaints that the process was inconsistent, which he believes to be the case. “You have a lot of cases where it’s one brother in, one sister out, one cousin in, one cousin out, so there’s an inconsistency across the board which speaks to the fact that maybe there’s a problem with the process. That’s been a long-standing critique of many beneficiaries, there’s an inconsistent application of the rules.” Blake Rudkowski said he doesn’t know what steps he’ll take next, and while it appears his career as a politician in Nunatsiavut has come to an end it won’t be the last time people see him the political arena. The Nunatsiavut Government put out a statement Monday about Blake Rudkowski’s removal, saying he was removed from the government once his eligibility as a beneficiary had been revoked. “First Minister Tyler Edmunds reminds beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement that the Nunatsiavut Government plays no role whatsoever in determining the membership of any individual,” the statement read. “The beneficiary enrolment process is independent from the Nunatsiavut Government.” SaltWire asked to speak to someone with the Nunatsiavut Government about the requirements and the process, but an interview was not available before deadline.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
For Diane Melanson, the wait for medicare coverage in New Brunswick has been long and complicated.Melanson, 75, said confusion over her citizenship status is holding up approval of her coverage. And as a result, she and her family have had to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills for surgery she had after breaking her hip last winter."The next morning after the operation, the doctor was at the foot of my bed with my fiancé here and asking him for his money, so medicare didn't cover it," Melanson said. That's when Melanson's niece Susan Belliveau stepped in and paid the bills, which added up to nearly $7,000."I would have paid anything in order for my aunt to be OK," Belliveau said.Melanson was born in Minto in 1945 and lived there until her family moved to the U.S. when she was 15. In 1969 she became a naturalized U.S. citizen, and because of the laws at the time, she unknowingly lost her Canadian citizenship. "I thought once you were born in a country, you're in, you're in," Melanson said. "If I'm Canadian, I'm a Canadian. I became a naturalized American but I didn't denounce my Canadian citizenship."But in 2009, that legislation was changed under Bill C-37, and Melanson's Canadian citizenship was restored and corrected so that technically, she had never lost it at all. But Melanson, who moved back to Minto almost three years ago, said medicare is requiring proof of citizenship before it will cover her. Belliveau has been helping her through the process. "In February, when she applied for her medicare," said Belliveau, "they asked for all of her documentation … and when they found the naturalization papers, they sent a letter saying, 'We can't give you (coverage) until you prove that you are a Canadian citizen.'"Belliveau said they then sent in Melanson's birth certificate, but it wasn't accepted as proof. Medicare said it still required further proof of citizenship. But with the help of a patient advocate, Melanson did receive a temporary medicare card in March, which helped cover about a third of her medical bills.Don Chapman also lost his citizenship as a child when his family moved from Vancouver to the U.S. He's been advocating for citizenship rights for decades."This woman falls in the cracks, not so much as 'Is she a citizen?' as to interpretation, and somebody in the province is not understanding the federal legislation," he said. Belliveau said she has been in touch with medicare several times since February but still hasn't been able to secure full coverage. In early November, Immigration and Citizenship Canada wrote a letter confirming Melanson's citizenship. That letter was sent to medicare but still Melanson and Belliveau have not heard about Melanson's status. "It's kind of hard on the nerves," said Melanson. "It tears at you after a while."Melanson's temporary coverage is set to expire Dec. 7.
LONDON — British singer Rita Ora apologized Monday for breaking lockdown rules by holding a birthday party, saying it was “a serious and inexcusable error of judgment.”The Sun newspaper ran photos of Ora and others, including models Cara and Poppy Delevingne, arriving at the Casa Cruz restaurant in London’s Notting Hill area on Saturday.Under lockdown rules that end Wednesday, all pubs and restaurants in England must close except for takeout and delivery, and people are barred from meeting indoors with members of other households.Ora said on Instagram that she had held “a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.”“It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK,” she wrote.Ora, whose hits include “Anywhere” and “I Will Never Let You Down,” said she now realized “how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.”Reports of the party attracted widespread criticism.Asked about the event, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, said it was “important that everybody in society sets an example by following the rules. That is for every member of the public, including celebrities.”(backslash)Britain has Europe's worst coronavirus death toll, at over 58,000 people.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
Arizona officials have certified Joe Biden’s narrow victory over President Donald Trump in the state. Biden won Arizona by 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast, a margin of just under 10,500 votes. (Nov. 30)
Depuis de nombreuses années, ils sont des milliers d’internautes à suivre le quotidien de Maxime Fortin, d’Alma, via sa chaîne YouTube. Humour, conseil beauté, l’étudiante en administration des affaires âgée de 20 ans veut maintenant se concentrer à aider à sa manière les jeunes qui ont grandi avec elle en partageant des conseils et des histoires sur sa vie d’adulte. Trucs pour réussir les curriculum vitae, partage de son expérience sur le marché du travail, les vidéos faits par la YouTubeuse jeannoise présentent depuis quelque temps un contenu plus mature. « J’essaie maintenant d’apporter le plus de bénéfices possible avec mes vidéos. Avant, avec par exemple mes revues de maquillage, ça n’apportait pas grand-chose à mes abonnés. Maintenant, j’essaie vraiment de les aider à ma manière, en leur donnant par exemple des conseils sur le marché du travail ou les études. Je sais qu’il y en a beaucoup qui sont à la même place que moi, donc si ça peut les aider, je suis contente », partage en riant la YouTubeuse qui cumule 43 000 abonnés, dans un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Depuis qu’elle a 13 ans, l’étudiante à l’Université Laval publie des vidéos hebdomadaires sur sa chaîne YouTube. Si une personne la suit depuis ses tout débuts, elle peut certainement voir que le contenu fait par la jeune femme a évolué au fil du temps. Elle s’est concentrée au fil du temps sur la mode, la beauté et même l’humour, avant de se lancer dans un contenu plus axé sur sa vie d’adulte. « Maintenant, je documente plus ma vie, je montre qu’est-ce que je fais à l’école, mon parcours scolaire, des vidéos sur les finances pour vraiment toucher ce qui m’intéresse en aidant les gens de mon âge », continue-t-elle. Il est important de savoir que Maxime n’a pas récolté des milliers de visionnements du jour au lendemain. Il a fallu plusieurs années de travail acharné pour arriver à ce que son passe-temps soit rémunéré. Sans se considérer comme populaire, la jeune femme admet qu’elle est de plus en plus reconnue pour ses vidéos qui lui apportent des opportunités qu’elle n’avait pas avant. Elle se rappelle d’ailleurs le moment où sa compagnie préférée l’a appelé pour une demande de partenariat. « Le premier contrat que j’ai eu avec une compagnie que j’aimais beaucoup, c’est là que j’ai réalisé que les efforts que j’ai mis pendant plusieurs années ont servi. J’ai vu que je pouvais être rémunérée pour ce que je faisais. C’était la compagnie Simons, qui me demandait de faire un vlog par rapport à ma rentrée au cégep. J’étais tellement fière qu’une compagnie que j’adore me connaisse », s’est-elle réjouie. Conseils Si une personne souhaite se lancer sur les réseaux sociaux, la YouTubeuse a quelques conseils. Premièrement, elle rappelle qu’il est important d’être soi-même. Trop souvent, les gens qui se lancent se créent un personnage, ou ils font seulement ce que les autres ont fait avant, mais Maxime est persuadée que ce que les internautes aiment est la personnalité réelle d’une personne. Elle ajoute aussi qu’il ne faut pas se décourager, qu’il est important de mettre des efforts constants dans son projet et de ne jamais cesser d’y croire. Elle est la preuve qu’il est possible de réussir à percer même en région éloignée. « L’avantage d’Internet, c’est que tu peux le faire de partout. Ce n’est pas parce que tu es d’une petite ville du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean que ça ne peut pas fonctionner. Des contrats, tu peux en avoir, peu importe où tu habites. Tu peux faire ça de chez toi, même si tu es aux études », souligne-t-elle. Projets Maxime Fortin ne compte pas arrêter les vidéos YouTube et la création de contenu de sitôt. « Je me fais souvent demander ce que je vais faire si un jour je n’ai plus de chaîne YouTube. C’est vrai que ça évolue vraiment rapidement, mais il est certain que si la plateforme me le permet et mes abonnés aussi, j’ai l’intention de continuer le plus longtemps que je peux », admet-elle. Toutefois, elle se concentre également sur ses études en administration des affaires et en marketing. Elle se voit travailler dans une agence durant quelques années. Son plus grand objectif est de lancer un jour son entreprise. Elle ne sait pas encore en quoi exactement se spécialisera son entreprise, mais elle a la fibre entrepreneuriale bien ancrée en elle. On peut suivre Maxime sur sa chaîne YouTube et sur Instagram.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
PODGORICA, Montenegro — Montenegro will follow through with its decision to expel the Serbian ambassador, the country's foreign ministry said on Monday, despite a call from the European Union to reverse it.Just days before the inauguration of a new, pro-Serbian government, Montenegro’s outgoing cabinet on Saturday proclaimed the Serbian diplomat persona non grata, citing his “long and continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Montenegro.”Serbia initially reacted by ordering the Montenegrin ambassador to leave the country, but on Sunday went back on its decision.The EU enlargement commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, has called on Montenegro to do the same, saying “respect for good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation are cornerstones of EU enlargement.”But Montenegro's foreign ministry chided Varhelyi for offering advice before having full knowledge of what led to the country's decision.“Unfortunately, Commissioner Varhelyi has, before making the suggestion, failed to consult with partners and friends in Montenegro’’ about the basic information that led to the expulsion of the Serbian ambassador, the ministry said in a statement.Montenegro, the small Adriatic state of some 620,000 people, is considered the first in line of all the Western Balkan states to join the EU. Although also formally seeking the membership, much bigger Serbia has been forging close political, economic and military ties with China and Russia.The diplomatic incident added to already tense relations between Montenegro and Serbia that were part of one country before an independence referendum in 2006 led to Montenegro splitting off.Montenegro remains deeply divided among those seeking closer ties with traditional Slavic allies Serbia and Russia, and those who view Montenegro as an independent state allied with the West.The long-ruling pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists was defeated in an August election by a pro-Serb coalition whose government is set to take office this week. The DPS-led government defied Serbia and Russia to join NATO in 2017.The outgoing authorities have accused Serbia of aiding pro-Serb political forces in Montenegro with the goal of installing allies in power and regaining influence.____This story corrects the spelling of the last name of the EU official to Varhelyi.Predrag Milic, The Associated Press
The first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna Inc became the second vaccine maker likely to receive U.S. emergency authorization. The Food and Drug Administration's outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to consider authorizing Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine. "So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people's arms before Christmas," Azar said on CBS' "This Morning."
LONDON — Britain’s culture minister thinks the Netflix TV series “The Crown” should come with a disclaimer: It’s a work of fiction.Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden weighed in amid criticism of the historical liberties taken by the drama about the British royal family.“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction. So as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”Dowden is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his view. Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.Questions of historical fidelity were not a major issue during earlier seasons of the show, which debuted in 2016 and traces the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which began in 1952.But the current fourth season is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade that many Britons remember vividly. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and the late Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 traumatized the nation.Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter has called the series a “hatchet job” on Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and his first wife Diana. The troubled relationship of the couple, played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin, is a major storyline in the series.Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has also said the show should carry a notice that “this isn’t true but it is based around some real events.”“I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair,” he told broadcaster ITV.Some Conservatives have criticized the program’s depiction of Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Britain’s first female prime minister, who died in 2013, is portrayed as clashing with Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth to an extent that some say is exaggerated.“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan, whose work also includes recent-history dramas “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.In a 2017 discussion of “The Crown,” Morgan said “you sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, said the suggestion that “The Crown” carry a disclaimer was “reasonable and yet pointless.”“It invariably doesn’t have an effect,” he said. “There are studies that show that people believe fiction when it’s presented as fact — even if you tell them it’s not fact.”Fielding said it was no surprise that Charles and his allies were annoyed with the heir to the throne’s depiction as “a bit of an idiot.” But he said making a fuss about it only amplifies the attention.Historians are used to railing at inaccuracies in dramas such as the Academy Award-winning “Darkest Hour,” which included an invented scene of Winston Churchill meeting ordinary Londoners on an Underground Tube train during World War II.“Mixing historical fact and fiction has been around since Shakespeare. This is not new to films, it’s not new to TV,” said Fielding, co-author of “The Churchill Myths,” which examines Britain’s wartime leader in popular culture.“I don’t recall the culture secretary complaining about the ridiculous presentation of Winston Churchill in ’Darkest Hour,” he said. “Because it went with the myth, with the idea of Churchill the hero, nobody complained."“Nobody’s bothered if fact and fiction are all mangled up, so long as it’s saying nice things,” he added.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
2400 $. 3500 $. Qui dit mieux? 4500 $. Alors qu’il y a une quasi-pénurie de chiots chez les éleveurs et dans les SPCA, ces adorables petites bêtes se vendent à des prix exorbitants sur les sites de petites annonces. Ceux qui œuvrent dans le secteur des animaux domestiques ne se gênent plus pour dénoncer ce qu’ils qualifient d’«usines à chiots modernes» qui font vraisemblablement aujourd’hui des affaires d’or. Les prix élevés s’expliquent par une demande qui dépasse largement l’offre. En ce moment, les éleveurs responsables – ceux qui sont respectueux de la génétique, du comportement, que l’animal est vacciné et qu’il est en bonne santé – ont des listes d’attente pour les deux prochaines années, résume Jean-Marc Léveillé, le président d’ANIMA-Québec, une organisation qui certifie les élevages. «Si un éleveur est capable de répondre à la demande, c’est parce qu’il y a une femelle quelque part qui fait de la gestation en quantité industrielle pour pouvoir produire des chiots, tranche-t-il. L’opportunité se traduit par de l’abus.» Acheter ces animaux à travers les petites annonces, «c’est la pire façon d’entretenir ce qu’on appelle les usines à chiots», a estimé M. Léveillé en entrevue, une opinion est partagée par les nombreux intervenants du secteur, dont plusieurs SPCA, avec qui La Presse Canadienne s’est entretenue. Les usines à chiots recrutent désormais des particuliers qui agissent comme des sous-traitants qui conservent une part des ventes. «On va te prêter une femelle, illustre Jean-Marc Léveillé. On va la mettre en gestation. Vous allez voir des petits chats ou des petits chiens apparaître. Ça va être l’fun.» Cette proposition, bien que ludique, passe toutefois sous silence le fait que les femelles seront «drôlement malmenées» avec plusieurs portées chaque année. Alors, quoi faire si on veut un animal domestique? «Notre recommandation, en ce moment, c'est de ne pas adopter», répond le Dr Michel Pepin de l’Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec du tac au tac. «Tous les chiens que vous allez retrouver sur Kijiji et Les Pacs, c'est toujours assez suspect, affirme-t-il. Et les chiens sont beaucoup trop chers pour ce qu'ils valent en ce moment.» Acheter un chien chez un «bon éleveur» a généralement pour avantage qu’il est suivi par un vétérinaire. «Chaque race à ses problèmes, a expliqué Dr Pepin. Les chiens sont suivis jusqu'à l'âge de deux ans. Ils ont eu des radiographies. Il y a un certificat comme quoi ils sont en santé. Souvent, il va être déjà stérilisé. Il va y avoir des garanties aussi. Tu vas avoir son arbre généalogique. Tu sais qui est le père, la mère.» Et ce n'est pas que la génétique, renchérit Dr Pepin. «Il y a tellement de problèmes depuis quelques années de chiens qui mordent, d'agressivité. C'est parce que ces chiens ont été élevés parce qu'ils sont beaux, mais les comportements, on s'en sacrait. S'ils n'ont pas vu d'enfants, ils n'ont pas vu d'humains avant deux, trois mois, ils ont été vendus rapidement quand ils sont jeunes, ça va être des bombes à retardement.» Plusieurs annonces actuellement disponibles sur Kijiji, une plateforme de petites annonces en ligne qui se décrit comme étant «la plus grande au Canada», devraient soulever des drapeaux rouges selon Jean-Marc Léveillé d’ANIMA-Québec. Par exemple, le cas d’un vendeur offrant un croisement entre un Border collie et un Caniche royal à 3500 $. «Orienté sur le look, un prix hors norme et aucune information sur l’élevage, les vaccins, les problèmes, le caractère», a-t-il noté. Et que dire d’une autre annonce où «Jp» de Saint-Eustache vend pour un prix «non négociable» de 6000 $ une femelle Bouledogue français qui n’est pas opérée. «Possiblement vendue pour cause de tares génétiques. Aucune alimentation fournie. Prix dérisoire. Ne devrait pas dépasser les 2500 $.» Les prix demandés pour des chiens sur les petites annonces sont ridiculement élevés de l’avis de plusieurs éleveurs qui soulignent aussi que les acheteurs n’ont «aucune idée» de ce qu’ils achètent réellement, même si on leur dit que c’est un chien pure race. «C’est comme si qu’on disait qu’une auto vaut 400 000 $, s’insurge Julie Sansregrets, une éleveuse de Braques hongrois, à Saint-Lazare, à l’ouest de Montréal. C’est démesuré. Ça ne vaut pas ça. La seule raison pour laquelle ils sont à ce prix-là, c’est à cause de la demande.» Selon elle, un chien croisé «ne vaut pas plus de 500 $», soit l’équivalent de ce que les soins vétérinaires coûtent environ. Quant à un chien pure race, lorsque ça en est vraiment un, il pouvait coûter environ 2500 $ avant la pandémie, a-t-elle indiqué. L’écart de prix s’explique par le coût de l’achat de sperme, payer pour le service d’accouplement du mâle, l’étude de l’arbre généalogique du chien, rémunérer l’aide d’autres éleveurs et organiser un programme de socialisation rigoureux. Elle suggère aux futurs acheteurs d’aller se renseigner sur le site du Club canin canadien à propos de ce qu’ils doivent rechercher chez un éleveur. Louise LaBranche, une éleveuse de la région de Sherbrooke, tient un discours similaire, estimant être «choquée» de voir les gens se faire avoir. Selon elle, les petites annonces, «c’est le festival des usines à chiots, des éleveurs de fond de cour». «Ils ne font pas de tests génétiques, lance-t-elle. Ces gens-là, ça accouple. Je viens d’aller faire un examen à Québec. J’ai fait deux heures et demie de route pour tester un mâle qui va être reproducteur.» À notre demande, Kijiji, a calculé que les recherches des mots «chaton», «chien» et «chiot» ont augmenté de 106 % à 141 % lors de la première vague de la pandémie. Un peu comme la courbe des cas de COVID-19, les recherches ont par la suite diminué durant l’été avant de réaugmenter presque d’autant au cours des derniers mois. En entrevue avec La Presse Canadienne, Kent Sikstrom, un porte-parole de l’entreprise torontoise, a d’abord dénoncé les «individus sans scrupules, les fraudeurs, les criminels», qui opèrent des usines à chiot. Il a indiqué que Kijiji impose des frais pour publier ce type d’annonce, ce qui, dit-il, permet d’identifier les vendeurs et décourage les personnes malhonnêtes puisque ces dernières seraient réticentes à fournir leurs coordonnées de paiement. De plus, la plateforme a recours à l’intelligence artificielle pour repérer les annonces suspectes et qu’une équipe de modérateurs travaillent également dans l’ombre. Bien que Facebook, un autre joueur majeur dans le secteur, interdit l'achat ou la vente d'animaux sur sa plateforme «Marketplace», M. Sikstrom a expliqué que Kijiji veut offrir un endroit aux «innombrables» refuges, éleveurs et familles où ils peuvent publier une annonce pour trouver un toit à leurs animaux. Le porte-parole a toutefois été incapable d’identifier un refuge ou une SPCA qui publie des annonces sur son site. Il a d’abord cité ANIMA-Québec, qui n’est pas un refuge et dont le grand patron assure n’avoir «pas du tout travaillé» avec Kijiji au fil du temps et qui «décrie fortement toute vente d’animaux sur Kijiji». M. Sikstrom a ensuite nommé la SPCA de l’Ontario, avant de préciser que l’organisme diffuse une campagne éducative. En fait, toutes les SPCA du Québec et tous les éleveurs avec qui La Presse Canadienne a discuté du sujet ont dénoncé les sites de petites annonces. La SPCA de l’Ontario a pour sa part refusé d’accorder une entrevue et de dire si elle croit que Kijiji devrait permettre la vente d’animaux. Dans une déclaration écrite en anglais, l'organisme confirme que Kijiji fait la promotion de ses programmes, ses services, ses événements spéciaux et des animaux mis en adoption sur son site web dans le cadre d'un partenariat. La SPCA a aussi indiqué qu'elle conseille Kijiji et qu'elle est satisfaite du travail fait par l'entreprise pour promouvoir des façons responsables de reloger les animaux. - Texte de l'Initiative de journalisme local.Michel Saba, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
Windsor-Essex is handling more than a dozen COVID-19 outbreaks across various sectors, including two in hospitals, the local health unit reported Monday. There are now 17 outbreaks across several sectors in Windsor-Essex, including one at Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) and another at Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare that were both declared on Sunday. Between the outbreaks and more than 400 active cases, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed noted the strain public health is experiencing as the region moved into its first day of the province's red COVID-19 category Monday. Ahmed said resources are "limited" and that the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is one of the "lowest funded on a per capita basis in the province of Ontario." "There are some disadvantages from a resourcing perspective that we are dealing with but our staff are dedicated and motivated," Ahmed said. "It's a monumental task given what we are dealing with. Just by the case rate, roughly our case rates are similar to what the city of Toronto is dealing with and you can imagine what kind of infrastructure and supports they have." During the health unit's daily briefing Friday, chief nursing officer Theresa Marentette said they are reaching out to the Ministry of Health for additional support and hiring at least 17 new staff members to join their COVID-19 team. The outbreak at WRH is taking place on the 7th floor at the Ouellette Campus after four staff members tested positive. All patients were swabbed on Friday and have come back negative, though a re-swabbing will be performed, the health unit said Monday. Many staff members have also been tested and received negatives at this time. The floor is a medical, non-surgical area that has 60 beds and makes up more than 10 per cent of the hospital's bed capacity, the hospital said in a news release. There will be no admissions or transfers from the 7th floor, unless a patient is being discharged home or for medical necessity. Meanwhile, the outbreak at Hotel Dieu is taking place on the 3rd floor of its rehabilitation tower, the hospital said in a news release Sunday. Three staff and two patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and are associated with the outbreak.More than 400 active casesOn Monday, the health unit reported 41 new cases for the region. Of these, five are close contacts of a confirmed case, five are local health-care workers, five are community acquired, one is an agri-farm worker and 25 are still under investigation. There are 424 active cases in the region, 89 of which were reported over the weekend. The new cases come as Windsor-Essex enters the red "control" zone of the province's COVID-19 public health restrictions framework. The new designation — one stage short of the lockdown tier — comes with further limits on dining and other activities.The number of new cases and outbreaks has put a strain on local public health resources, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Monday. As a result, he said that anyone who has been in contact with a positive case should start to trace back their steps and develop a contact list before they are contacted by public health to speed up the process. There are seven workplace outbreaks, including: * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active, one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.Begley now has 49 cases, 40 are students and nine are staff members. W. J. Langlois has seven cases, with four students and three staff members confirmed positive. As of Tuesday, Begley will technically be out of its 14-day isolation period, though the school is closed until further notice.Ahmed said that unless told otherwise, students should remain in isolation. He said they are working to discharge cases and students. He also said that the health unit is working with the board to develop a return to school plan that will likely see students incrementally head back to class. There are four long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak, including: * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases. Meanwhile, officials with the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance say they are preparing for a possible second wave of the virus.Hospital officials told reporters Monday they are watching closely as the number of infections rise In neighbouring regionsBut right now, Chatham-Kent has just 18 active cases of COVID-19, including one hospitalized patient at CKHA.