FKA twigs remembers some unusual rules when she was dating actor Shia LaBeouf.
FKA twigs remembers some unusual rules when she was dating actor Shia LaBeouf.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) 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
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Businesses all across Canada are having difficulties keeping shelves stocked as the demand continues to soar. According to the Statista market forecast, puzzle sales in Canada will hit over $85 million US by the end of the year. Here in Fox Creek, the demand is just as high, but with innovative thinking, the Fox Creek Library resolved that issue for residents. The library now has a collection of puzzles to borrow, the same as you would sign out a book. All you need is your free library membership card, and the puzzle can be taken home for the 21-day loan period. The collection consists of around 50 puzzles presently and varies in degrees of difficulty and size. For those up to the challenge, they even have box collections with multiple puzzles inside—no matter what level of puzzle, they have something for everyone. Whether you like animals, nostalgic pictures, beautiful outdoor scenery, mountainscapes or cottages in the country, take your pick. You can check out their Facebook page, choose a puzzle and call the library at 780-622-2343 to make a reservation for curbside pick up. Like many other toys and fashions, Puzzles seem to have made a full circle in their popularity from decades when they were all a rave. The puzzle was first invented in 1766 by cartographer and engraver John Spilsbury. A map of Europe was placed onto a hardwood sheet and dissected the boundaries, thus creating a puzzle. Once complete, the puzzle was used for teaching children all about geography. It wasn't until the early 1800s when manufacturers picked up on the idea and began doing their puzzles. The puzzles back then were developed out of large, bulky wood pieces, cut by hand, then painted. The manufacturing of cardboard puzzles appeared about 80 years later but didn't become popular until the Great Depression. Since that time, puzzles have steadily improved in designs, the product used and how they're manufactured. On a fun note, a gigantic commercial puzzle available was manufactured in 2020 and contained 54,000 pieces. For those who have patience and love to puzzle, clear out your home and prepare for this beast. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
Health Canada has approved the third vaccine to help combat the spread of COVID-19. After a months-long review, Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University-AstraZeneca for use in Canada. On February 26, the federal agency approved its use for adults over the age of 18. The department’s regulators concluded the shot has an efficacy rate of 62 percent. While it is less effective than Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at preventing infection, the shot is 100 percent effective in preventing the severe outcomes of COVID-19. This includes serious illness, hospitalizations and death, according to the regulators. Additionally, it can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures. Canada has secured access to 22 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Most are expected to arrive between April and September. “This is very encouraging news. It means more people vaccinated, and sooner,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Because for AstraZeneca, just like we were for Pfizer and Moderna, we are ready to get doses rolling.” According to Trudeau, with these new doses, Canada now stands to receive about 6.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines by the end of March. That’s enough to vaccinate just over 3.2 million people fully. Also awaiting approval is a vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which is the only vaccine submitted to Health Canada for review, requiring only one dose. “The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. It doesn’t have any booster doses in the regimen that’s been applied for Health Canada approval,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health. Colby said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears to have a bit of a slow start to its immune response. However, it continues to build for a substantial amount of time and the longer you follow the vaccinated population, the better the numbers look. “I’m really hoping Health Canada approves it soon. Because a single dose product that only needs refrigeration, wow, we can really work with that and get it distributed in a widespread way,” said Colby. He added that the other vaccines that need freezing are very effective, but they’re cumbersome to transport and deal with. Despite the other vaccines requiring two doses, Colby said there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. So there isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines.” Approval for two more vaccines, made by Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are still under review. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Asymptomatic testing is set to begin in local schools in early March. The Directors of Education at the local public and Catholic school boards said the testing is voluntary, and where it will take place is still being determined. Following consultation with the Public Health Units in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton, Education Director of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, Deb Crawford, said GVT Lab and Imaging Services would be doing the testing. While Chatham and Sarnia’s sites are yet to be determined, March 5, 2021, will be the first day of testing. Crawford said the private company has dedicated two teams to test students and staff for seven weeks from March 5, 2021, to April 16, 2021, including conducting targeted testing on Friday evenings and Saturdays. According to the Education Director of the Lambton Kent District School Board, John Howitt, school communities will get all of the information about where the testing sites are and how to register for appointments once the asymptomatic testing plan is complete. “We’re facilitating the testing within our facilities, but we are at an arm’s length from it,” said Howitt. “There will be communication as well to public health on the results so that public health can follow up on any confirmed cases that do come out of the testing.” Public School Board Director John Howitt previously said the plan is to have tests complete on staff and students at three public schools each week. This could include testing on weekends and evenings, but Howitt stressed the testing is not mandatory. “The weekly target is for approximately two percent of the population who are attending face-to-face learning,” said Howitt. Parental consent forms must be signed before the student testing is done. “This is not a School Board initiative, although it’s happening with our students,” said Howitt. “It might happen outside of the school day, including on weekends or in the evening.” According to Dr. David Colby, the local schools have done a great job keeping students and staff safe. “At the beginning of the pandemic, everybody thought the driver for community infection would be school children, and that has turned out absolutely not to be the case,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health. “That’s not been the experience anywhere. Colby said there has been great success with the planning that has been done with School Boards to avoid transmission within schools. He added the schools are very organized to isolate cohorts if there are any school environment cases. “In almost all cases that have been positive in schools, it has been family contacts that have resulted in students being positive, not transmission in the school environment,” said Colby. The Province of Ontario announced expanded asymptomatic testing in early February to keep schools and child care settings safe. According to the Provincial Government, the tests will offer an additional layer of protection and help keep schools and child care centres safe by identifying cases that might otherwise have gone undetected; reducing transmission of COVID-19 from the community into schools and within schools, and reducing barriers and making it easier to get a test in your community. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Kingston Arts Council (KAC) is asking the Kingston community to support artists during this long pandemic, and beyond. The organization says the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global community, and its impact on our arts sector has been extensive and heartbreaking. Over the last year, Kingston’s artists – despite their own struggles, anxieties and hardships – have stepped up to offer their neighbours virtual dance parties and porch-side plays, art kits delivered to doorsteps, and plexiglassed performances, online concerts and Instagram poetry, KAC said in a press release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. KAC says these offerings of expression, reflection, connection, and conversation have uplifted spirits and helped to heal our continually breaking hearts. “As always, our artists have been here for us,” KAC said in the release. “And now, Kingston, we’re looking to you to be here for our artists. They need your support.” Artists have always been essential for our community’s well-being, and they will be essential for our recovery, the organization said. ASK your artist friends and neighbours how they are doing and how you can help. Get to know Kingston’s amazing creative community. ENGAGE with Kingston’s artists by searching #ygkarts on social media. Follow, share, subscribe, comment, and show them some love! BUY local art if you have the means to do so. Attend virtual performances and film screenings, purchase books by Kingston authors and poets, take online classes and workshops, buy and enjoy local music, and give Kingston-made art and crafts as gifts. (Join KAC Executive Director Kirsi in her commitment to only purchase or make local art as gifts in 2021, and use the hashtag #onlyygkarts to share what you give and receive!) VISIT our local galleries and arts retailers, when it is safe to do so. Check out the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning’s comprehensive guide of Kingston’s art galleries and other places to enjoy and purchase the incredible work of our local artists: https://www.tettcentre.org/blog/showcasing-your-artwork-locally LEARN about how artists are faring in the pandemic and envisioning the future of the arts by taking a look at these recent survey results and viewing the insightful and inspiring artist presentations from our December 4 Essential Arts event. READ about the Basic Income movement to learn how a Basic Income program would help artists and other precarious workers, and consider signing the petition in support of Bill C-273, Canada’s first Basic Income bill. EMAIL Kingston’s MP Mark Gerretsen and MPP Ian Arthur to voice your concerns, support, and ideas for how our governments can better support artists. REACH OUT to the Kingston Arts Council to learn more about how you can help. “Artists are relentless, necessary, cooperative, awesome, important, undervalued, underpaid, the future, inspiring, the force, indomitable, together, transformative, cute, resourceful, talented, determined, scrappy, amazing, resilient, vital, brave, full of surprises and ESSENTIAL… …and artists need your support,” said KAC. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
MILAN — AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out again with injury and could miss his side’s Europa League match against Manchester United. Ibrahimovic had to come off on Sunday in the second half of a 2-1 win at Roma after injuring a muscle in his left thigh. The Swedish forward will be re-evaluated in 10 days. That is the date of the trip to Old Trafford for the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 against his former club. The 39-year-old Ibrahimovic will definitely be out for the Serie A matches against Udinese and Hellas Verona. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — COVID-19 has all but stalled a promised shift in how Canadians appeal rulings on their requests for federal income supports. The department overseeing the work, Employment and Social Development Canada, says the change won't happen as originally scheduled next month because of pandemic-related risks. In 2019, the Liberals promised to partially restore the system that existed before the previous Conservative government created the Social Security Tribunal in 2013. The Liberals planned to bring back board hearings for the first layer of appeals inside the Social Security Tribunal, and retain a single arbitrator for the second, final, layer. Three sources with knowledge of the government's plans tell The Canadian Press the required legislative changes were to be in last year's budget, which was shelved due to the pandemic. The legislative change are expected to be in this year's budget bill, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to detail private conservations, or because they were not authorized to speak publicly about matters not yet public. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has eased slightly more restrictions tied to COVID-19. Libraries can now open at 15 per cent capacity and gyms can now host indoors low-impact group activities, like Pilates and tai chi. Kenney had been expected to ease rules in other areas, such as retail capacity and hotels, but he says the COVID numbers have hit a plateau and they need more time to assess just to be safe.
GENEVA — A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death. The world’s singular focus right now should be to keep transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible, said Dr. Michael Ryan, director of WHO's emergencies program. “If we’re smart, we can finish with the hospitalizations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic” by the end of the year, he said at media briefing. Ryan said WHO was reassured by emerging data that many of the licensed vaccines appear to be helping curb the virus' explosive spread. “If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic.” But Ryan warned against complacency, saying that nothing was guaranteed in an evolving epidemic. “Right now the virus is very much in control," he said. WHO's director-general, meanwhile, said it was “regrettable” that younger and healthier adults in some rich countries are being vaccinated against the coronavirus before at-risk health workers in developing countries. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said immunizations provided by the U.N.-backed effort COVAX began this week in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, but lamented that this was happening only three months after countries such as Britain, the U.S. and Canada began vaccinating their own populations. “Countries are not in a race with each other,” he said. “This is a common race against the virus. We are not asking countries to put their own people at risk. We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere.” But WHO stopped short of criticizing countries who are moving to vaccinate younger and healthier populations instead of donating their doses to countries that haven't yet been able to protect their most vulnerable people. “We can't tell individual countries what to do,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO adviser. Tedros also noted that for the first time in seven weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases increased last week, after six consecutive weeks of declining numbers. He described the increase as “disappointing,” but said it wasn't surprising. Tedros said WHO was working to better understand why cases increased, but that part of that spike appeared to be due to the “relaxing of public health measures.” ___ AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng reported from London. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Maria Cheng And Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec’s mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 began in earnest in the Montreal area Monday with long lines and grumbling from some seniors upset at the wait times to get a first injection. Hundreds of people, many holding walkers or in wheelchairs, waited in lines inside Montreal's Olympic Stadium; some were discouraged, others were angry. "It's a catastrophe," Jean-Yves Plourde, 75, said moments after being vaccinated against the virus that has killed more than 10,000 people in the province, mostly seniors. Plourde said his appointment was for 11:45 a.m. but he wasn't vaccinated until 1:20 p.m. "For the elderly, it seems to me that this is not a nice way to act," he said. Another man in line nearby commented: "This is badly organized." Others were visibly relieved after they had received a shot. "I will be able to get out of the house and see my grandchildren," said a delighted Pasqualina Mancini, 72. The province announced last week it was booking appointments for seniors aged 85 and up across the province, or 80 and above in Montreal. But by Monday morning, public health officials announced they were widening eligibility to those 70 and older in Montreal, Laval and the Cote-Nord region, while the age limit was lowered to 80 in three other regions, including Quebec City. At the Olympic Stadium, some of those awaiting shots were in line close together, not respecting physical distancing rules. Folding chairs had been set up along the queue, and motorized shuttles transported some seniors around. The operation has the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 people a day, Julie Provencher, a spokeswoman with the regional health authority, said in an interview. She asked people not to be too harsh because it was the first day. She also asked people not to arrive too early for their appointment to avoid creating long lines. Provencher said given the size of the operation, things were going relatively smoothly. "For the first day of the biggest mass vaccination in the history of humanity, I think it's going OK," she said. "People are happy when they get out; it's clear there is a delay." The campaign began as health officials on Monday reported the lowest number of new, daily infections since September: 613 COVID-19 cases. Officials reported six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one that occurred within the previous 24 hours. Hospitalizations rose by 11, to 612, and 122 people were in intensive care, a rise of five. As of Monday morning, 200,000 appointments had been booked, Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter. Quebec began accepting appointments last Thursday. Quebec expects to receive 100,620 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, with no deliveries of the Moderna vaccine scheduled. The Health Department said 6,308 doses of vaccine were administered Sunday, bringing the total so far to 438,815. Some regions started vaccinating members of the general population late last week, but the campaign is expected to speed up considerably with the opening of mass vaccine clinics in the Montreal area. Outlying regions are expected to ramp up vaccinations after the March break holiday, which takes place this week. Quebec has so far concentrated its vaccination effort on health-care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in facilities such as long-term care and private care residences. The province has chosen to delay giving second doses in favour of administering a first jab to as many people as possible, but Dube said last week it will provide second doses beginning March 15. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Stephanie Marin and Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Travis Alkins never met Nadire Atas and she doesn’t know him from a hole in the ground. But that didn’t stop the southern Ontario woman from including the East Ferris carpenter in a tangled web of lies posted online to get back at her enemies. And despite a ground-breaking Superior Court of Justice decision in January and the arrest of Atas in Toronto last month, her dirty deeds continue to smear the reputations of 150 victims. See: Caplan v. Atas, 2021 ONSC 670 “I just want to make sure people know it's not true and how easily people can be tarnished by somebody they don't even know just by posting something online,” Alkins said, referring to how he and others are labelled as pedophiles and whatever else that might embarrass them. “And you can't get it removed.” Go ahead and Google his name for yourself to see what the married father of two children and local small business owner is up against. First to pop up are posts on websites like thecheatalert.com, adulterers.org and catfished.net with his name, business and local communities screaming across the screen in bright big letters: “Pedophile…Beware of this monster.” Look a little further down the list of Internet search suggestions and there’s even a Wordpress story with his name and photo inserted in an actual pedophile ring article. “Hopefully people don’t believe everything they read on the Internet these days but I’d like to get it clear that I am not associated with it at all,” Alkins said. The court ruling and the Atas story has made headlines in the New York Times and has been covered by the CBC, but victims like Alkins are too numerous and not mentioned specifically. Another court judgment expected later this month will name all 150 in an attempt to exonerate them. Also part of the ruling, Atas is required to hand over the passwords and alias names she used to find and remove as many of the anonymous postings as possible. But they doubt they can get them all off the Internet. Many of the websites are protected by American “freedom of speech” laws where online platforms are not responsible for what is published. And some of them are set up to charge fees for removing content, something akin to “blackmail.” Travis Alkins was targeted because his wife Melanie has an aunt who worked for a law firm that was hired to repossess property Atas lost as she went bankrupt. The court found she scoured the law firm’s available staff lists and then went after their relatives. “Her targets included people she was seeking revenge on, including my Aunt, whom she believed to have ruined her life,” said Melanie Alkins, describing how they were included. “Ms. Atas found my Aunt's family member’s names through my Grandfather’s obituary online, then searched on social media for images, and inserted them into fake news articles.” The Alkins first noticed the posts in 2017 but didn’t realize what was going on and who was doing it at first. Her aunt was targeted as part of her work in 2008 and hadn’t realized how far it had reached into her extended family. “I didn't know really about Travis being attacked until my niece reached out to me and said, ‘Do you know anything about this or what we can do about it?’ And I said, ‘Well, actually, I know who it is and we are doing something about it,’” Christina Wallis of Wallis Law in Belleville, ON recalled. “This has been a nightmare for my family members and others,” Wallis said, describing how she left the original law firm and moved away from Toronto as an attempt to get away from the links to posts about her but it didn’t work. Wallis said Ontario law needs to catch up to the Internet because most of the defamation law and court precedents were written before the world wide web. “Our Libel and Slander Act in Ontario is very, very old and has not been updated. It's really written for the times of newspaper print. It doesn't deal with the Internet,” she said, noting the few judgments that do reference the Internet don’t include proper ways of making things right. “The remedies aren't there to stop this and it's not properly addressed. “So the hope is that this case prompts the government to take a look at the defamation laws in Ontario and maybe throughout Canada and take a look at the impact that the Internet has on defamation and maybe change those laws.” See: Ontario Superior Court recognizes new cause of action addressing internet harassment The official judgment is still being hammered out, Wallis said, but it will declare Atas as the poster of these defamatory posts, including a list of the website URLs and victims, and that they are not true. Atas, she said, will also be ordered to remove them with a schedule and designates available to ensure it’s done because she’s banned from using any device connected to the Internet. Wallis said there’s still a long road ahead of them, adding they are still dealing with contempt charges when Atas didn’t follow previous court injunctions and the ruling also will be likely appealed. “This should not be allowed to happen and people should not be allowed to falsely put things on the Internet that destroys or adversely affects people's lives,” Wallis said. “I think free speech is important and people should be able to comment, but they need to do so responsibly.” Wallis feels bad about her work impacting those connected to her, such as her niece and her husband. “I vouch for Travis's character,” she said. “He's an upstanding citizen. He's a business man in this community. He's a family man. He's a wonderful person. And I am so sorry that this has happened to him as a result of my dealings in my law practice as I am other family members. It's just tragic. And if I can help clear his name, I want to do that.” The Alkins are tired of it all and looking forward to not having to worry what people might find online. “It has been four years now since we first noticed the Internet attacks against Travis,” Melanie Alkins said. “We tried to have them removed, with no success. This has been extremely upsetting and stressful, as we do have young children … it’s difficult to even know how far her damage has reached.” Travis Alkins said the situation gets more serious as his children get older and have their friends over and begin to play more sports. These kinds of rumours spread among parents behind the scenes and could end up hurting his children. He also hoped to help coach their teams and it’s not clear how this impacts the required police reference checks. “I'm not one to look for attention, so this is kind of hard for me, but it is what it is and I would like to get it clear that I am not associated with it at all,” he said. None of his customers or people they know have approached them and said they saw what’s online yet, he said. “They might not say anything because it is kind of an awkward topic,” he said. Wallis said it’s a lot more complex than people would initially think. “A lot of the websites are really extortion sites,” she said, explaining how someone can put these lies on a variety of platforms that republish them over and over again. “They take these posts from other websites and they post them on their own site. And then they contact the victim and say they’ll remove this posting if you pay us, for example, $5,000. “And so these websites are really extortion sites and some people do pay, and then they say, ‘OK, there's more postings. So if you want those removed, we require more money. Look how successful we were. We got the last one,’” she said. “We need the laws changed now throughout North America and not just in Canada, but United States as well, to stop this type of activity that's ruining people's lives,” Wallis said. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
The television audience for Hollywood's virtual Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday fell sharply from last year's event, according to preliminary estimates on Monday. Ratings data reported on Monday by The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline showed that only about 5.4 million Americans watched the three-hour telecast on the NBC network. NBC has yet to release any figures and did not return a request for comment.
CALGARY — It's been bananas at a Calgary not-for-profit as it tries to find a use for more than 300 cases of the long, yellow fruit, which were donated all at once last week. Audra Stevenson, interim CEO of the Leftovers Foundation, says the group's goal is to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste. She says the priority is to get as many fresh bananas as possible to organizations that can use them, like homeless shelters. Stevenson says there will likely be one pallet left of bananas that are past their prime, but they can still be used in baked goods or ice cream. She says food artisans are on standby to grab whatever is left once service agencies get their fill of fruit. Stevenson says the pandemic has made it harder than usual for distributors to predict food orders because no one is sure when restaurants will be opened or closed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for the Huawei executive facing extradition to the United States says there's evidence showing the case against her is "manifestly unreliable" and he wants that evidence admitted to the record. Meng Wanzhou's lawyer Frank Addario says emails between staff at the telecom giant and international bank HSBC show the bank was well aware that Huawei controlled another company called Skycom, therefore Meng wasn't responsible for any violation of U.S. sanctions again Iran by the bank. He told the B.C. Supreme Court hearing that staff at HSBC knew that Skycom was sold to Canicula, that Canicula was Skycom's parent company and that Huawei controlled the Canicula account. Addario is asking the judge to admit affidavits including emails and bank account information into evidence to support the defence team's case at Meng's committal hearing, to be heard in May. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in 2018 on a request by U.S. officials who allege she misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, causing HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran. Both she and Huawei deny the allegations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — An Edmonton chiropractor has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting six female patients between 1981 and 1990. Ronald Harry Latch, who is 67, was facing multiple counts of sexual assault, sexual interference and gross indecency against eight girls and women. He was charged in March 2019 after one of his victims reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted as a child in the 1980s when she attended his clinic for appointments. Seven other women came forward to police and reported they had also been sexually assaulted. Latch pleaded guilty today to six counts in the Court of Queen's Bench. Latch admitted in an agreed statement of facts to massaging some of the patients' breasts and using a vibrating tool between others' legs. The case is to return to court for a pre-sentence report on June 2. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021 The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario's long-term care minister said she didn't go public early last year with concerns about COVID-19 spreading in nursing homes because she didn't consider herself an authority on the emerging threat. Merrilee Fullerton faced criticism from all three opposition parties Monday after newly released transcripts showed she told Ontario's long-term care commission she was aware of the dangers the novel coronavirus posed to the sector long before it was declared a global pandemic but kept those concerns within government. The minister, who is a physician, said while she was worried about a number of issues and discussed them with cabinet colleagues and the province's top doctor, she was no expert. "As a long-term care minister, I understand my role," she said. "I'm not the chief medical officer. I'm not a public health expert. I'm not a scientist ... I'm a retired family doctor who cares very deeply about long-term care and the residents and the staff." Fullerton testified before the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission last week, with the transcript posted online Sunday night. The commission heard that Fullerton and her deputy advocated for stronger measures than what the government was willing to put in place. "You were ahead of the chief medical officer of health in many respects, from your notes anyway," John Callaghan, the commission lawyer questioning Fullerton, told her. For instance, Fullerton's notes from the time suggest she was concerned about asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes as early as Feb. 5, 2020. That possibility wasn't publicly acknowledged by the government until much later. Fuller told the commission her personal history gave her insights into the situation that other politicians may lack. "I had suspicions early on only — well, because I'm a family doctor and spent many years dealing with the elderly," she said. "They may not present with typical symptoms, and so you always have to be watching." NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Fullerton should have spoken out earlier, suggesting that could have saved lives. "The amount of tragedy that Ontarians have had to deal with as a result of this is unforgivable and it is unforgettable," she said. "So there's a lot of responsibility to go around here." Horwath said Fullerton's testimony also pokes holes in Premier Doug Ford's pledge from the early days of the pandemic to create an "iron ring" around nursing homes. "This iron ring never materialized, it never existed," she said. Liberal Party health critic John Fraser said Fullerton should have spoken out publicly. "It's definitely clear right now that she should have fought harder," he said. "There was a lot at stake." Fullerton said Monday that she did not consider resigning from her role in protest because she felt she could make urgently needed changes to the sector. "Why would I resigned from a position where I felt I could be a strong voice and move something that had been neglected for so many years?" she said. "Why would I resign from that duty, from that responsibility, from that obligation?" COVID-19 has devastated Ontario's long-term care system, causing the deaths of 3,865 residents and 11 staff members so far. The commission also heard that Fullerton refused to suggest the risk of COVID-19 was low in a video filmed in early March. Her notes from the pandemic's first wave, read out during the interview, also show that she advocated for locking down long-term care homes before the province did so, and was concerned about staff not wearing personal protective equipment at all times the week before the province made it mandatory. Fullerton told the commission she was also advocating for essential caregivers to be allowed back into long-term care homes as early as May. Such caregivers — usually family members — weren't allowed back into the facilities until July, and even then, the Ministry of Long-Term Care has said, the rules were being applied inconsistently until adjustments were made in September. But she said others — particularly Dr. David Williams, the chief medical officer of health — said the risk of essential caregivers bringing COVID-19 into the facilities was too great. "I was very eager to get caregivers back into the homes, because I believe it was well-being and emotional well-being," Fullerton said. "However, others understood differently and had their reasons for understanding the risks that they did, and so it was left." The commission is set to present its final report on April 30. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Shawn Jeffords and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — The Tony Awards could bring Cynthia Erivo another Emmy. Days after the British performer belted Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” during a red carpet interview at the 2019 Tonys — explaining that it’s her guilty pleasure song — she got a call from the producers of the National Geographic series “Genius: Aretha.” “I was like, ‘I beg your pardon,’” she continued. “In my head I’m like, ‘There is another film happening and I’m excited to see that, so what is this?’” NatGeo had already completed series on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and wanted to focus on the life of Franklin, who died 2018 and was arguably the greatest singer of all time. When Erivo, 34, went to meet with the producers, she had a bit of an epiphany. “Nothing else was playing in the hotel, it was just mood music,” she said. “All of a sudden ‘Day Dreaming’ comes on as I go to sit down. I’m like, ‘Am I the only one that noticed that?’” Laughing with a huge smile on her face, she continued: “I was like, ‘Either you planned that or someone’s trying to tell me something.’’” Fast forward two years and Erivo is playing the Queen of Soul in the eight-episode series debuting March 21. “Respect,” a film about Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson, will be released in August. In an interview with The Associated Press, edited for clarity and brevity, the Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner talked about meeting Franklin, playing icons on-screen and more. AP: What does Aretha mean to you? ERIVO: She means the world to me. As a singer, I truly believe that my job is to communicate and tell the stories that sometimes are difficult for people to tell for themselves ... Aretha did that with her eyes closed. She had a wonderful way of communicating the things that she had been through, through song. AP: She has this thing by which she can take someone else’s song and make it her own. ERIVO: Totally and it’s such a special thing. Not only does she take the song and make it her own, she takes the song and you forget it was someone else’s. That to me, it’s a really special thing that she was able to do. I don’t know that people realize that “Respect” wasn’t her song first. She finds messaging in songs, in music that you didn’t realize were there in the first place. I don’t know how, but she always managed to find a way into a song that you didn’t know existed. I know that this might not be a popular opinion but when she did her version of (Adele’s) “Rolling in the Deep,” I was like, “Huh, never heard this song like this before. Didn’t think about this song like this before.” At that point because she was an older woman singing this song, you’re like, all the experience that this person must have gone through to get to this point, I didn’t hear this before. Now I’m hearing it with her voice. She was one of a kind, truly. AP: Did you get a chance to meet her? ERIVO: I met her the first time when she’d come to a performance of “The Color Purple.” I didn’t know she was there. When I saw her, I felt like an idiot because I was just in shock. There is Miss Aretha Franklin standing in front of me and I’ve just finished singing a show in her presence, oh my goodness. How do I do this? She was funny and lovely. She sang the last line of “I’m Here” back to me. That was a moment I had to put my heart back together. I was like, “This is happening for real.” She was wonderful. When you meet someone like that, you don’t think they’ll remember your face. I met her again at the Kennedy Center Honors. I was singing the very first time I did it. She remembered me. She said, “You’re the girl who was in that play. You can sing. You can sing.” I was like, “Yes that’s me. Thank you very much.” I remember she was wearing red. My favourite thing about that day was when I saw the recording of it, when it finally aired, during my performance they pan to Aretha and she’s singing along with her eyes closed. AP: How do you feel about the people who say, “Cynthia doesn’t really look like Aretha?” ERIVO: No, in the same way that Diana Ross didn’t really look like Billie Holiday, but she did an incredible, incredible job when she did “Lady Sings the Blues.” ... I don’t think anyone does look like Aretha. If you found someone who looks like Aretha who couldn’t do the work, who can’t sing the songs, then that’s where you have a problem. I’d rather someone that doesn’t look like her but can give me the essence. AP: Are you excited to see the Jennifer Hudson version? ERIVO: I am. I know that they were close, and I know that they had a conversation. This is something she had been dreaming of doing. I am excited to see it. AP: How’s it been playing real-life icons on-screen? ERIVO: It’s a huge honour and it’s part of what I want for my lifetime — to be able to tell these stories of women whose stories wouldn’t get the chance to be told, whose stories deserve to be told. The more I can do that whether it be Harriet, Aretha or a woman you don’t know about who I’ve done the research to find out about, I want to keep bringing these stories to the forefront because they deserve to be told. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
Mass vaccinations will be the key to controlling a potential third wave in Chatham-Kent, says the region’s top doctor. Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said the highly transmissible variants are keeping public health officials on their toes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other health officials have warned a third wave could be the worst yet, but Dr. David Colby remains optimistic. “I really think that widespread vaccination will have a significant impact to blunt the effect of the third wave,” said Colby. “The worrying factor are these variants, and that’s really what is fueling the speculation about a third wave.” Colby said there are three variants of concern. “The common variant, the B.1.1.7 variant, remains susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines that we have,” said Colby. “We need to push ahead with our vaccination program and get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” The interval between the first and second doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, Colby said it could be up to 45 days as there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. “There isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. He added that most of the protection happens with the first dose, while the second dose is to consolidate protection and ensure that it lasts for a longer time. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines,” said Colby. On Feb. 23, the John D. Bradley Convention Centre opened its vaccination clinic. There were 700 appointments for health-care workers and essential caregivers on the first two days. Colby said the clinic is running smoothly. “It’s such an important step for Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “The Bradley Centre clinic is really doing very, very well, and they hit the ground running.” While he could not go into detail regarding more vaccine shipments, Colby said we’re heading in the right direction. “All indicators that we have right now point to the fact that vaccine supplies will be stable or increasing over the next while,” said Colby. Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall is warning the public about recent robocalls claiming to be for booking vaccinations. These calls can be dangerous as they are really aimed at collecting people’s personal information. She said these calls are not official and should be ignored. Marshall said a live person will make all vaccination booking calls. “People will be contacted by a live person, and no one should be giving out their personal information like social insurance numbers and those kinds of things on the phone,” said Marshall. CK Public Health said Chatham-Kent Police are aware of the issue, and there is no need to report these calls to them at this time. Colby said people who can’t travel to Chatham would have an opportunity to get vaccinated at pop-up clinics across the municipality when they are set up. Paramedics will be vaccinating individuals who are housebound when they’re identified through their doctors. The homeless population falls under Phase 2. Additionally, Colby said there are mechanisms in place to get to those who are missed. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News