Members of George Floyd's family expressed relief and joy following the conviction Tuesday of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin. (April 20)
Members of George Floyd's family expressed relief and joy following the conviction Tuesday of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin. (April 20)
REGINA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can expect a “one-dose summer" as more COVID-19 vaccines are delivered, but Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says people in his province can expect better than that. "The fact of the matter is, we’re not going to have a Trudeau summer here in Saskatchewan," Moe told a news conference Tuesday. “We’re going to have a one-dose spring and quite likely a two-dose summer, as we are planning to have second doses available to everyone in the province by sometime in the middle of July.” About 40 per cent of Canadians are vaccinated with at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Saskatchewan is running ahead of national numbers, with about 50 per cent of adults — and more than 70 per cent of those aged 40 and over — having already received their first dose. That 70 per cent marker is one of the key thresholds in the first step of Saskatchewan's reopening plan, which Moe said he expects will come into effect on May 30. That will be three weeks after 70 per cent of adults over 40 have had a first dose, and the province expects all Saskatchewan adults will be eligible to be vaccinated by that date as well. Moe said this gradual reopening plan meets the province’s public health and economic needs, even if the initial vaccination threshold is lower than the federal government’s recommendation to vaccinate 75 per cent of adults before loosening restrictions. “I think it’s important for us to recognize — and important for the prime minister to recognize — that we’re not going to just turn a switch and the economy comes on when we hit 75 per cent or some magic number,” said Moe. “You need to gradually reopen the economy, bring people back into their communities and allow people time to reintegrate back into what life used to be like.” The province is expecting to start administering second doses later this month. There were 186 new infections reported Tuesday, and four more deaths due to the virus. The province said there were 2,064 active cases and 162 people in the hospital, with 38 in intensive care. After hundreds of demonstrators attended protests over COVID-19 restrictions in Regina and Saskatoon over the weekend, Moe reminded those who are frustrated that vaccines — not protests — are the best way to get those measures lifted. “The absolute, bar-none, best way to have the public health measures removed is to make your appointment, go receive your first vaccine and as soon as you’re eligible … get your second shot,” he said. With "a very, very few" number of Oxford-AstraZeneca shots left in the province, Moe said health officials are also tweaking some of their vaccine rollout plans. Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said the province is no longer using AstraZeneca vaccines for first doses due to a lack of supply. “We simply don’t have enough of the vaccine in the province,” he said. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said he is following ongoing studies about the efficacy of mixing and matching vaccines. “There is good information emerging — and we will be confirming the same over the next two weeks — that Pfizer especially as a second dose is perfectly safe and effective if your first dose was AstraZeneca,” he said. “And if we have AstraZeneca at that time, it can be offered as well. (But) either vaccine is fine and, likely, based on supply, Pfizer would be the second dose." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021. — By Julia Peterson in Saskatoon The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. There are 1,299,572 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 1,299,572 confirmed cases (78,039 active, 1,196,819 resolved, 24,714 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 5,373 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 205.34 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 49,623 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 7,089. There were 32 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 321 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 46. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 32,867,352 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,156 confirmed cases (81 active, 1,069 resolved, six deaths). There were 15 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 15.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 48 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 250,666 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 187 confirmed cases (eight active, 179 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 5.01 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 150,343 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 4,152 confirmed cases (1,591 active, 2,490 resolved, 71 deaths). There were 118 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 162.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,145 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 164. There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 681,459 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 2,015 confirmed cases (137 active, 1,837 resolved, 41 deaths). There were two new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 17.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 57 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight. There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 316,040 tests completed. _ Quebec: 359,456 confirmed cases (7,817 active, 340,637 resolved, 11,002 deaths). There were 660 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 91.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,981 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 854. There were nine new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 43 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.31 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,622,017 tests completed. _ Ontario: 497,092 confirmed cases (31,151 active, 457,599 resolved, 8,342 deaths). There were 2,073 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 211.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,400 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,914. There were 15 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 199 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 56.62 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,378,482 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 42,779 confirmed cases (3,837 active, 37,945 resolved, 997 deaths). There were 329 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 278.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,966 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 424. There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 72.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 722,766 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 43,481 confirmed cases (2,064 active, 40,911 resolved, 506 deaths). There were 186 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 175.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,475 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 211. There were four new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of seven new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.93 per 100,000 people. There have been 800,782 tests completed. _ Alberta: 211,836 confirmed cases (24,998 active, 184,719 resolved, 2,119 deaths). There were 1,449 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 565.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,183 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,883. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 20 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.92 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,320,308 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 136,623 confirmed cases (6,217 active, 128,782 resolved, 1,624 deaths). There were 515 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 120.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,270 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 610. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 30 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.55 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,581,120 tests completed. _ Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (two active, 80 resolved, two deaths). There were two new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,129 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 112 confirmed cases (61 active, 51 resolved, zero deaths). There were 10 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 135.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 41 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 20,761 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 586 confirmed cases (75 active, 507 resolved, four deaths). There were 14 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 190.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 51 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 13,403 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 11, 2021. The Canadian Press
As a lengthy, bitter fight over mask requirements for students neared its conclusion, the chairperson of a Florida school board announced that she would agree to lift a mandate that had been in place since September even though she preferred leaving it in place until the end of the academic year. Parents hurled insults in response. “Communist! Democrat!,” opponents of making children wear masks in school shouted as Ueberschaer and the district superintendent said at a May 3 meeting that they still considered masks advisable. “This is Santa Rosa County, America, not China!” Moments later, the Santa Rosa school board voted unanimously to make masks optional for all grades effective immediately, joining dozens of other U.S, communities in declaring that masks were or would soon no longer be mandatory for students. The debates have been emotional and highly divisive around the country, in some cases leading to the involvement of police. A few beleaguered school boards, caught between the demands of anti-mask parents and the appeals of employee unions, eliminated student mask rules only to reverse or revise the decisions. Where many see a continued need to protect children who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19, opponents argue that masks make students uncomfortable and mandates impinge on freedom. “The mask is a personal choice, and I wore it at the beginning, but I just decided that it wasn’t about the mask anymore,” said Cynthia Licharowicz, a Milton, Florida, parent who opposed Santa Rosa County’s rule. "So I decided to take it off, and I wanted my child to have the same choice.” The dustups highlight competing risk narratives 14 months into the pandemic: Even as a number of U.S. schools remain closed to minimize infections, districts in states from Alabama to Wyoming decided to ditch student mask mandates. Many more are likely to do the same before the next school year starts, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance that schools “should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.” Some public health experts are alarmed. While the Food and Drug Administration this week approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 12, it’s unlikely that many young adolescents will be vaccinated before the end of the academic year. Data from the CDC shows infection rates among U.S. residents ages 14-17 are now higher than for Americans, while the rates among children 6-13 are getting closer to the national average. “We know that masks work to reduce transmission,” Gigi Gronvall, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said. “This is really not the time to remove one of the best tools we have to reduce transmission.” Many parents in school districts where masks have become voluntary also are concerned. School districts in the South, Midwest and West have done away with mandatory masks. In Arkansas, a law will make it illegal by the end of the summer for schools, or any government entity to require masks. “I am so frustrated....I don’t see any harm in wearing masks, and there is potential harm in not wearing a mask,” said Christie Black, the mother of a kindergartner and a third grader in Mesa, Arizona, who was puzzled by the decision of the state's largest school district to make masks optional indoors starting earlier this month. There’s little U.S. data about the spread of the coronavirus in schools where students didn't wears masks since most reopened schools required them, said Adam Hersh, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah. Mask supporters point to worrying examples, including high transmission at a maskless summer camp in Georgia. Evidence from earlier in the pandemic found children less likely than adults to be infected with the coronavirus and less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19. The CDC has said that while schools haven't been associated with substantial spread, outbreaks in schools not following infection-prevention measures “tend to result in increased transmission among teachers and school staff rather than among students.” Black continues to send her two children to school with masks but says “they flung their masks off” as soon as they saw classmates no longer covering their faces. “I feel like because the governor and the school board caved to peer pressure, it’s now up to my children not to cave to peer pressure,” Black said. “It just feels like we're more concerned with our own freedom and rights than doing what’s best for the most vulnerable.” In Santa Rosa, east of Pensacola, mask opponents dominated public debate even though surveys of parents and teachers showed divided opinions in the 28,000-student district. A small majority of teachers wanted to require masks at least through the end of the school year, while a small majority of parents wanted the requirement lifted immediately. The school board’s April 20 discussion about the issue nonetheless grew so heated that sheriff’s deputies escorted multiple attendees out of the meeting, including at least one who was shouting profanities at board members. Jennifer Hensley, a Santa Rosa County parent and middle school teacher, was the only member of the public at the meeting who spoke in favor of keeping the mask mandate versus the 18 who spoke against the requirement. She said she was worried about the health of her fellow teachers and of her 15-year-old daughter, who has an autoimmune disorder. “The atmosphere was so charged,” Hensley recalled later. “I don't think they were expecting that level of emotion to be involved.” Critics of the mask policy started organizing months earlier. Hailei Smead, a mother of three students, runs a Facebook group called Santa Rosa County Parents SPEAK UP that was created in September to oppose mask requirements and has nearly 900 members registered. Smead said her fifth-grade daughter was repeatedly isolated in the school office for refusing to wear a mask and eventually obtained a medical exception allowing her to forego a face covering. Smead declined to state the medical reason. “It’s not society’s job to protect every other individual,” Smead said. “It’s your own job to protect yourself and your own family.” Santa Rosa County district leaders emphasized they were following public health guidance, but state officials undercut that position even as public pressure built locally. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on April 14 urged local superintendents to make masks optional for the 2021-2022 school year. On April 29, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees rolled back a series of health advisories that had been cited by the Santa Rosa district. So the school board called the May 3 meeting at which its five members voted to revoke the mask mandate. “I still strongly recommend the use of facemasks, especially for those who are not fully vaccinated,” board chair Ueberschaer said before the vote, raising her voice to be heard over shouting parents. “My hope is that the families will have a conversation with their children that face masks are now a personal choice, and that students should respect the choice of their peers.” Some of the insults hurled at Ueberschaer, a longtime school volunteer who is of Asian descent. included references to China. “It truly does make me sad that face masks have morphed from a virus-prevention strategy to a political statement," she said. Jeff Amy And Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Veterinarians nationwide are dealing with a COVID pet boom. They are so backlogged they can't take new patients, even when extending hours and hiring additional staff. (May 12)
Gerald (Spike) Peachey, a longtime Downtown Eastside resident and safe drug use advocate, has died at the age of 55. Sarah Blyth, executive director of the Overdose Prevention Society, says Peachey represented the Downtown Eastside community with his activism. "He was a really, really big champion of overdose prevention," said Blyth, who met Peachey almost 10 years ago. Blyth told Early Edition host Stephen Quinn that Peachey was one of the first volunteers at the Overdose Prevention Society, he spoke as an advocate for many organizations, and was a contributor at Megaphone Magazine. Sarah Blyth, executive director of the Overdose Prevention Society, is pictured in Vancouver on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC) Another friend of Peachey's, Kevin King, who is a founding member of OPS, described Peachey as "a warm, gentle character, with a heart of gold." King says Peachey's death came as a complete shock to him as he had seen him the day before. "He was always a big activist for removing the stigma of being an addict. And basically his main goal was to be able to walk side by side with normal people just like anyone else and not be judged or looked down upon," King said. Kevin King, a founding member of OPS, is pictured in Vancouver on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC) Peachey even took a shot at city council when he ran as an independent candidate in 2018 with the slogan "put a Spike through Vancouver City Hall." "He cared really deeply and he did go to every different community. I mean, he campaigned harder than most people," Blyth said. Nicholas Crier got to know Peachey through Megaphone Magazine in 2016. He says he will always remember him for his eccentric style and personality. "Prayers to his family and all of his friends, probably hundreds of friends in the world. He'll be severely missed here. And we won't forget you or your hair or your top hat." Crier said. Nicolas Crier is pictured in Vancouver, British Columbia on Monday, May 11, 2021. Crier was a friend of Gerald 'Spike' Peachey.(Ben Nelms/CBC) As the overdose crisis continues to worsen in B.C., Blyth says the loss of Peachey will be felt by everyone in the community. "We really can't afford to lose voices like Spike because, you know, there's still so much stigma." In April, B.C. marked five years since declaring a public health emergency due to overdose deaths. The provincial government announced soon after that they are taking steps to become the first province in the country to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. Jessica Hannon worked closely with Peachey at Megaphone Magazine. (Ben Nelms/CBC) Jessica Hannon, former executive director with Megaphone Magazine, worked closely with Peachey over the years. She believes that the thousands of overdose deaths during the crisis could have been avoided if it weren't for the stigma around drug use. "We need to keep pushing forward. We need to say this is not acceptable and that people deserve better and we need decriminalization that is led by drug users," Hannon said. "I think that's what I'll remember about Spike, is that he would want us to keep fighting." Listen to Sarah Blyth talk about Gerald (Spike) Peachey's advocacy to eliminate the stigma of drug use:
MIRROR, Alta. — RCMP say they ticketed four people after an anti-lockdown rally was attended by hundreds in central Alberta over the weekend. A "Save Alberta Campout Protest" was held Saturday outside the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta., to support owner Chris Scott as health officials had closed his business earlier in the week. Alberta Health Services had said they received hundreds of complaints about the cafe and that it had not been complying with COVID-19 restrictions. Scott, who also organized the rally, stood on a stage in the rain and rallied the crowd to challenge measures meant to curb the spread of the virus. He was arrested a few hours later and RCMP say they ticketed four people under the Public Health Act for attending the gathering. A court decision last week gives health authorities and the RCMP the power to take legal action to stop any planned protests of public health restrictions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDEN, Texas (AP) — A man shot two West Texas sheriff's deputies dead and critically wounded a city employee answering a dog complaint, authorities said Tuesday. Sgt. Justin Baker of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the suspect was taken into custody after Monday night's attack in Eden, a town of about 1,300 people roughly 210 miles (338 kilometers) southwest of Dallas. Jeffrey Nicholas, 28, has been booked into Tom Green County Jail in nearby San Angelo with a bond set at $4 million and charged with capital murder of a peace officer. No attorney for Nicholas was listed in jail records. The two Concho County sheriff's deputies and a city employee arrived at the home shortly after 8:40 p.m., Baker said. While making contact with people at the residence, “an altercation occurred and quickly escalated to gunfire,” he said. The Lubbock Police Department said in a statement that it was “heartbroken” to learn of the deaths and that its officers on Tuesday would escort the deputies’ bodies to a forensics lab in Lubbock, which is about 200 miles (322 kilometers) northwest of Eden. Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that “our hearts are broken.” “This terrible loss is a solemn reminder of the risks our brave law enforcement officers face while protecting our communities,” Abbott said. The Associated Press
MOSCOW (AP) — Under Kremlin orders, the U.S. Embassy has stopped employing Russians, forcing the embassy to cut its consular staff by 75% and limit many of its services. The order went into effect on Wednesday, bringing the sharply deteriorating U.S.-Russia relationship to an intensely personal level. Because of the cuts, the embassy can offer only very limited services, such as considering “life-and-death” visa applications. That leaves Russian businessmen, exchange students and romantic partners adrift because they won't be able to obtain visas. Even Americans will be unable to register their newborns or renew their passports. For Anastasia Kuznetsova, a 20-year-old engaged to marry a Californian, it's a crushing blow. She had already spent about two years seeking a fiancee's visa. The notoriously laborious process for Russians to get U.S. visas had already been slowed by COVID-19. “I felt destroyed, much more depressed than I was before," said Kuznetsova, who last saw her fiance in January on a trip to Mexico. “We have no idea when it’s going to continue working and if we will be able to see each other even during these years.” Thomas H V Anthony, an American living in Russia, was already frustrated because of a delay in registering the birth of his daughter, a record of the child's claim to U.S. citizenship. “My expectation was as things get better with the situation with the pandemic, gradually the consulate would open more and more and more,” he said. “It was a big shock to suddenly get an email from them, about two weeks ago, saying effective on the 11th we will no longer be offering any consular services.” For Anthony, this means his daughter, who was born before the pandemic, will not be able to travel to visit her grandparents in the United States in the foreseeable future. The embassy has made no statements on whether it is taking measures to beef up the consular staff with new employees from the United States. Embassy spokespeople could not be reached for clarification on how the mission will handle other jobs also filled by locals, such as security. An order signed last month by President Vladimir Putin called for creating a list of “unfriendly” countries whose missions could be banned from hiring Russians or third-country nationals. The list includes the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Poland and several other European countries, but the United States is the first for which the ban is being enforced. The move followed U.S. sanctions imposed over Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies. Each country expelled 10 of the other's diplomats. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the ban on local employees is in line with convention. “We rarely employ any local personnel in the country where our diplomatic mission is. And thus we have the full right to transfer this practice onto the regulations which manage the work of the U.S. Embassy and their general consulate in the Russian Federation," he said last month. Yulia Kukula, a university student who was accepted for a PhD program in sustainable energy at Arizona State University, may have found a laborious and costly way around the problem of getting her visa to attend university. After searching online for advice from others in her situation, Kukula was able to sign up for an interview for a visa at the U.S. consulate in neighboring Kazakhstan. But that's a 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) trip from Moscow, and the interview isn't until October. The United States once had three other consulates in Russia — in Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok and St. Petersburg — which somewhat eased the travel burden for people seeking visas. But those consulates have closed or stopped providing visas amid diplomatic spats in recent years, in what Alexis Rodzianko, head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, called “a visa war.” That had already placed a burden on the companies in his chamber whose executives needed to travel. “Now it looks like it's impossible for the indefinite future,” he said. The travel restrictions of the pandemic have shown that videoconferencing can't entirely replace the in-person contact of business travel, he said. “They're especially good for people who already know each other and they're much less effective for people getting to know each other,” he said. He also sees a larger problem if the visa halt lasts for long. He worries that because the U.S. and Russian governments are adversaries, a lack of contacts between people on both sides could lead to “dehumanization,” adding, “which is very dangerous because that's what you need to fight a war.” Kuznetsova, who had hoped to celebrate her wedding in the United States this year and had even quit her university in Russia in preparation for the move, feels trapped as a small piece in a large geopolitical dispute. “I understand that there can be problems between countries, it’s normal, it’s happened throughout all of history, but it’s not normal to divide people and separate them, especially when it’s families and the lives of people,” she said. Daniel Kozin And Jim Heintz, The Associated Press
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel killed a Hamas commander and vowed no let-up in its Gaza barrages on Wednesday as Palestinian militants rained rockets far across the border and Washington dispatched an envoy to try to calm their most intense hostilities in years. At least 65 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the enclave's health ministry. Six people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.
The doctor leading Saskatchewan's fight against COVID-19 is pointing to new data that suggests vaccines have been tremendously effective in keeping people living in the province from getting infected. In an analysis conducted up to May 8, researchers found that out of the 309,276 Saskatchewan residents who received a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to and including April 17, only 263 became infected with the coronavirus more than three weeks later. That amounts to a "breakthrough rate" of 0.085 per cent. "The vaccine effectiveness is 99 per cent and higher," Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said during a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday. "This is quite remarkable, actually. That's just one dose. The vaccine is protecting us so well." Tuesday's disclosure was the first data of its kind to emerge from Saskatchewan about "breakthrough" infections in vaccinated people. So far, the province has innoculated residents with the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Shahab said the findings reinforce the need for all Saskatchewan residents to get vaccinated and follow up with a second dose. Saskatchewan is aiming to fully vaccinate all residents by the end of July, at which point it's hoped the province will be in the third and final step of its plan to gradually lift or ease public health measures enacted in the last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That plan sets out various vaccination benchmarks before rules can be relaxed, based on single-dose vaccination targets. At least one of Shahab's counterparts has confirmed her province will not echo Saskatchewan's plan. "We do need to look at a number of different factors, so it's not going to be just based on immunization, but that will be one of the important factors," Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, said earlier this week. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has said elements of the reopening plan may be put on pause if there's a concerning spike in cases or hospitalizations. On Tuesday, in the wake of vaccine efficacy data, Moe called on the federal government to come forward as quickly as possible with advice on what people can and can't do once they're fully vaccinated. "I suspect many Canadians are going to be asking the same questions of the federal government," Moe said. "If I travel abroad to a certain country, what are the requirements with respect to quarantine, testing? On my return to Canada, should those [requirements] be the same for someone that is unvaccinated versus someone that is vaccinated? "We would ask them to provide some guidance."
It was once the set for the Jackie Chan movie Shanghai Noon — and now you have a chance to own it. The Last Chance Saloon and Rosedeer Hotel were built in 1913 in Wayne, Alta., now a ghost town about 150 kilometres northeast of Calgary. The historic hotel is one of the oldest remaining in the province, and the saloon is a frequent stop for thirsty tourists. The property has endured the passage of time as a popular destination for those travelling through Alberta's badlands. It's also said to be haunted. And for an asking price of $925,000, the building is now up for sale, but owner Dave Arsenault told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday that he remains attached to it. Patrons enjoy a meal at the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alta., on Sept. 19.(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press) "I know there's a big responsibility here, just keeping up the historic value of the place going," Arsenault said. "We're the last remaining building from the old glory days … so it's really an important location in Drumheller." Property remained as coal mining faded In the early 1900s, the community of Wayne had 2,500 residents, whose work was primarily related to 12 active coal mines in the area. The hotel and saloon were built in the "serene and beautiful" Rosebud River Valley about 108 years ago, under a different name, and nourished and housed miners through the boom years, Arsenault said. Eventually, the coal mining industry faded. But the property remained. Arsenault became part of its history when he bought it eight years ago. The hotel and saloon are in the Rosebud River Valley, which Arsenault describes as serene and beautiful.(Submitted by ReMax Now) He put his own spin on the place — fixing up the hotel rooms, decorating with historical memorabilia, and using the saloon as a venue to celebrate a passion for live music. However, circumstances have changed for Arsenault, who said the property is no longer viable for him because of a divorce. And there are other factors, too. "I am getting old, and we are quite busy," Arsenault said. Musicians, mediums and paranormal groups For now, it's still business as usual at the hotel, which is open under Alberta health guidelines during COVID-19. Arsenault is saddened knowing he will eventually leave it behind but said it's a viable business — and a huge draw for musicians and show-goers. It's also a popular spot for paranormal groups and mediums on the hunt for a brush with the supernatural. "There's still all kinds of energy here, and we feel it all the time," Arsenault said. "I've had my own experiences. Like pipe tobacco — I smell that in our former billiard room every now and then, and there's no reason for that. "And just things out of the corner of your eye, and a female spirit is what I seem to see every now and again." However, Arsenault isn't worried ghosts could deter a prospective buyer. "To be honest, that's added value," he said. "People do come for that." With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
VICTORIA — Two police departments in the Victoria area and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating the discovery of skeletal human remains in a local waterway.Victoria police say investigators were called to the Gorge Waterway after recreational divers found the partial remains of a human skull bone in early February.Police say in a release that forensic testing by the coroners service suggests the remains are historical in nature, not ancient or archeological.The police statement does not state the differences between those types of remains but says the Saanich Police Department dive team, Victoria Police forensic investigators and the coroners service are working jointly to identify them.Victoria police say they were discovered in waters near the Tillicum Bridge and more information will be released when it's available.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Norman Lloyd, whose role as kindly Dr. Daniel Auschlander on TV’s “St. Elsewhere” was a single chapter in a distinguished stage and screen career that put him in the company of Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin and other greats, has died. He was 106. Lloyd's son, Michael Lloyd, said his father died Tuesday at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. His credits stretch from the earliest known U.S. TV drama, 1939′s “On the Streets of New York” on the nascent NBC network, to 21st-century projects including “Modern Family” and “The Practice.” “If modern film history has a voice, it is Norman Lloyd’s,” reviewer Kenneth Turan wrote in the Los Angeles Times in 2012 after Lloyd regaled a Cannes Film Festival crowd with anecdotes about rarified friends and colleagues including Charlie Chaplin and Jean Renoir. The wiry, 5-foot-5 Lloyd, whose energy was boundless off-screen as well, continued to play tennis into his 90s. In 2015, he appeared in the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck.” His most notable film part was as the villain who plummets off the Statue of Liberty in 1942′s “Saboteur,” directed by Hitchcock, who also cast Lloyd in the classic thriller 1945’s “Spellbound.” His other movie credits include Jean Renoir’s “The Southerner,” Charlie Chaplin’s “Limelight,” “Dead Poets Society” with Robin Williams, “In Her Shoes” with Cameron Diaz and “Gangs of New York” with Daniel Day-Lewis. On Broadway, Lloyd played the Fool opposite Louis Calhern’s King Lear in 1950, co-starred with Jessica Tandy in the comedy “Madam, Will You Walk” and directed Jerry Stiller in “The Taming of the Shrew” in 1957. He was also part of Welles’ 1937 modern-dress fascist-era production of “Julius Caesar” that has gone down in history as one of the landmark stage pieces in the American theater. Norman played the small but key role of Cinna the Poet, opposite Welles’ Brutus. Stage magazine put Welles on its June cover and proclaimed the production “one of the most exciting dramatic events of our time.” Born Nov. 8, 1914, in Jersey City, New Jersey, Lloyd jumped into acting as a youngster in the 1920s. On stage, he was a regular with Welles’ Mercury Theater, the groundbreaking 1930s troupe that also featured Joseph Cotton and Agnes Moorehead and formed the basis of Welles’ classic film debut, “Citizen Kane.” His other plays included “Crime,” directed by Elia Kazan and featuring his future wife, Peggy Craven. The couple were married for 75 years, until Peggy Lloyd’s death in 2011 at age 98. TV viewers knew him best as the memorable calm center of St. Eligius hospital on the 1982-88 NBC drama series “St. Elsewhere.” His Dr. Daniel Auschlander was originally only supposed to appear in a few episodes, but Lloyd became a series regular and stayed with the show for the entire run. The series would inspire such shows as “E.R.” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Lloyd worked steadily as a TV actor and director in the early 1950s, but the political liberal found his career in jeopardy during the Hollywood blacklist period aimed at communists or their sympathizers. In 1957, Hitchcock came to his rescue, Lloyd told the Los Angeles Times in 2014. When the famed director sought to hire Lloyd as associate producer on his series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” but was told “There is a problem with Norman Lloyd,” Hitchcock didn’t back down, Lloyd recalled. “He said three words: ‘I want him,’” Lloyd said. He was immediately hired and eventually worked as executive producer on another series, “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” His other TV credits include roles in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Paper Chase,” “Quincy M.E.,” “Kojak” and “The Practice.” In 2014, in recognition of his 82 years in show business, and reaching the age of 100, the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed that his birthday of Nov. 8, would be honored as “Norman Lloyd Day.” ____ Kennedy reported from New York. AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. contributed to this report. Lynn Elber And Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
New Brunswick Public Health reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and issued a reminder about the importance of getting tested, even though the entire province is back at the yellow alert level for the first time since mid-March. Seven of the new cases are in New Brunswick, while the other two involve residents who are isolating outside the province, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said in a statement. Since Tuesday, 22 people have recovered from the respiratory disease, putting the active number of cases at 123 — the lowest it's been since late March. Seven people are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including three in an intensive care unit. Another four people are hospitalized out of province. "Although the entire province is in the yellow alert level, we must all continue to do our part to slow the spread by following public health guidance and by getting vaccinated once we are eligible," said Russell. "Don't take any chances with your health or the health of your family, friends and members of your community. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please get tested." Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to book an appointment. A section of the Edmundston region, Zone 4, which had been at the orange COVID alert level, joined the rest of the province at the yellow level, on Monday at midnight.(CBC) The breakdown of the new cases is as follows: Moncton region, Zone 1, two cases: A person 30-39 A person 60-69 One case is a contact of a previously confirmed case and the other is an out-of-province travel case. Bathurst region, Zone 6, five cases: A person 20-29 Three people 50-59 A person 60-69 Three cases are travel-related, including one which is out-of-province, one is a contact of a previously confirmed case and the other one is under investigation. Miramichi region, Zone 7, two cases: Two people 60-69 Both cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases. New Brunswick has had 2,024 confirmed cases of COVID since the pandemic started. There have been 1,859 recoveries so far and 41 COVID-related deaths. A total of 308,173 COVID tests have been conducted, including 1,483 on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, 287,609 New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's 41.5 per cent of the eligible population, aged 12 and older. Special care home resident who died had 2 vaccine doses Four of the five residents of a special care home in Grand Falls who died in a COVID-19 outbreak had received at least one dose of vaccine, and one of them had both doses, the Department of Health has confirmed. On Monday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell had declined to say whether any of the victims at Pavillon Beau-Lieu had been vaccinated, citing confidentiality. But on Tuesday, Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said in an emailed statement that "4 of the 5 were immunized with at least one dose and one of the 4 was immunized with two doses." He did not offer any explanation for the sudden change in position. The COVID outbreak at Pavillon Beau-Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls, in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, has grown to 53 cases, including 38 residents and 15 staff. (Submitted by Madeleine LeClerc ) "I can also confirm that a first-dose clinic was held on Feb. 20th and a second-dose clinic on April 23rd at Pavillon Beau-Lieu." Macfarlane did not say how much time elapsed between the inoculation of the residents who died and their onset of symptoms. Russell has repeatedly stressed the vaccine takes at least two or three weeks to "really kick in," and the maximum protection is reached only two to three weeks after receiving the second dose. The outbreak was declared on April 21 after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed. The deaths of the residents, aged from their 70s to their 90s, were reported on May 2, May 3, May 5, May 6 and May 8. A total of 38 residents and 15 staff at the 60-bed facility have now tested positive. The outbreak involves the highly contagious variant first reported in South Africa. Macfarlane did not say which vaccine the residents who died received. Every resident in a long-term care home "was offered" a vaccine, he said. "The majority of staff and residents have now received at least one dose." On Monday, Education Minister Dominic Cardy told the COVID briefing that second-dose clinics have been held at 75 per cent of all long-term care homes in the province. The remainder will take place by the end of the month, he said. More than 63 per cent of all long-term care home staff have received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, while nearly 36 per cent have received two doses "and are now fully vaccinated," Cardy said. 136 KVHS students isolating There are 136 Kennebecasis Valley High School students in isolation, awaiting the results of their COVID-19 tests, according to Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane. No information has been released about how many staff or family members are also isolating after a positive case was confirmed at the Quispamsis school on Saturday. Macfarlane did not say if the case origin has been determined, whether a COVID variant is involved, or if any other positive cases have been identified. The school, which reopened Tuesday, has more than 1,000 students in grades 9-12, according to its website. Isolation ends for Hampton school close contacts Dr. A. T. Leatherbarrow Primary School in Hampton reopened as expected Tuesday, after families were notified of a positive case of COVID-19 at the school Sunday, confirmed Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane. "Individuals previously identified as a contact of a person in the school have been instructed by Public Health to end their isolation," he said in an emailed statement. Macfarlane did not respond to any other questions. Roughly 230 students and staff at the kindergarten to Grade 2 school had been asked to self-isolate with their families until midnight Monday while contact tracing was conducted. UNB Magee House update "A handful" of people at Magee House, the University of New Brunswick Fredericton residence with a COVID-19 outbreak, are still self-isolating, said Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane. "All should have their isolation period completed by May 16," he said in an emailed statement. The outbreak at the 101-unit apartment-style residence was declared on April 27, after six cases were confirmed. Residents told CBC News they were notified about the first positive case on April 22. At least 13 cases have since been linked to the outbreak that involves the highly contagious COVID variant first recorded in India. No public update on case counts have been provided since May 4. Isolation for those who tested negative throughout the outbreak ended Saturday at 11:59 p.m. "Regional medical officers of health have the purview to extend isolation as required," Macfarlane said of the others. An unknown number of adults and possibly children who live in UNB's Magee House residence in Fredericton are expected to remain in quarantine until Sunday because of the outbreak of the coronavirus variant first reported in India.(Maria Jose Burgos/CBC) Public Health believes the elevator in the seven-storey building was the source of transmission in the outbreak, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell told CBC News. "Surfaces definitely were the cause, based on all the investigations around the ventilation system, et cetera, and in questioning the cases, et cetera," said Dr. Jennifer Russell. "So our final conclusion, based on the fact that we did not find anything else, that is our best hypothesis and conclusion at this point in time." About 180 people live in the building, which is designed for mature students, some of whom have families. Health officials previously said the risk of contamination from recirculated air had been deemed "minimal." A Public Health inspector and UNB engineers found "there was a teeny tiny chance that there could have been some cross-contamination with one particular component" of the ventilation system, Russell had said. "So that was shut off [April 27]. And they won't be turning it back on until we give the go-ahead." Atlantic roundup Nova Scotia reported 149 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, putting the total active cases at 1,621. Seventy-five people are in hospital, including 15 in intensive care. Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 81 active cases. Prince Edward Island has had no new cases since Monday, and has nine active cases. Latest exposure notifications Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the Fredericton region, Zone 3: My Home Consignment, 5 Acorn St., Fredericton — May 8 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., May 7 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., May 6 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and May 5 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sobeys, 1180 Prospect St., Fredericton, — May 8 between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Lunar Rogue, 625 King Ave., Fredericton — April 28 between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell — May 6 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and April 28 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Public Health is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even it they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to book an appointment. Previous exposure notifications Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 6 while on the following flights: Air Canada Flight 396 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 6:50 a.m. Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:43 p.m. Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the following regions: Moncton region: Pumphouse, 5 Orange Ln., Moncton, on May 4 between 8 and 10 p.m. Staples, 233 Main St., Moncton, on May 5, between noon and 8 p.m. Walmart Supercentre, 477 Paul St., Dieppe, on May 6, between 7 and 10 p.m. Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 7, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Greco Pizza, 120 Killam Dr., Moncton, on May 5, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., May 3, between 5:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., and May 2, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 4, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université Ave., Moncton, on May 7, between 2-9:30 p.m., and May 6, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saint John region: Foodland, 1 Market Sq., Quispamsis, on May 3, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Fredericton region: Lunar Rogue, 625 King St., Fredericton, on April 28, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell, on May 6, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and April 28, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Preliminary results of an ongoing study in the United Kingdom suggest alternating the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines causes more frequent mild to moderate symptoms, but there are no other safety concerns from mixing those vaccines. However, researchers at the University of Oxford have not yet determined how a combination of shots would affect the immune system's response compared with sticking with the same COVID-19 vaccine for both the prime and booster shots. They say in a peer-reviewed letter published in The Lancet on Wednesday that an increase in short-term adverse reactions occurred after the Pfizer vaccine was followed four weeks later by AstraZeneca, or vice versa, as part of the study that began earlier this year. Chief investigator Matthew Snape, associate professor in pediatrics and vaccinology at Oxford, said initial data are being released to inform people about symptoms as several countries consider mixing vaccines. "The results from this study suggest that mixed dose schedules could result in an increase in work absences the day after immunization, and this is important to consider when planning immunization of health-care workers," Snape said in a EurekAlert! statement issued by the service, which provides science-related releases. Researchers also noted that while the study participants were aged 50 and over, it's possible that adverse reactions may be more prevalent in younger people, though they did not provide any details. Results on whether immune response to mixed doses would be affected are expected to be released by the Oxford team in the coming months. Snape said they've adapted the ongoing study to assess if early and regular use of acetaminophen in Tylenol, for example, reduced the frequency of fever and mild to moderate pain. The study recruited 830 people to evaluate four combinations of vaccination: a first dose of AstraZeneca followed by either a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine or another dose of AstraZeneca, or the Pfizer vaccine followed by a second shot of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer. Research was expanded last month for a new study with 1,050 volunteers who received either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine before randomly getting either the same vaccine for their second dose or the Moderna or Novavax vaccine. Horacio Bach, an infectious diseases expert at the University of British Columbia, said the small size of the initial study does not make it possible to know whether some people would get severe reactions from mixing the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. AstraZeneca, for example, was tested in about 32,000 people but rare blood clots were not detected until millions of people received the vaccine, which a national vaccine panel in Canada has suggested should be sidelined in favour of the "preferred" Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Bach said it's possible that knowing about an increase in adverse reactions from mixing vaccines could deter some people from getting a second dose, though symptoms following vaccination from even the seasonal flu shot vary widely. Three Canadians — in Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec — have died from a rare blood clot associated with AstraZeneca. On Wednesday, even as the federal government announced it's expecting to receive hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine, Nova Scotia and Manitoba said they would limit its use to second doses after similar restrictions on Tuesday in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. Some of the provinces have used up their AstraZeneca supply. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday the province is expecting to use some of its forthcoming supply of AstraZeneca for second doses and more doses had been distributed to pharmacies in the Island and Interior health regions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
A Coquitlam, B.C., man who was sent to jail for being a "straw purchaser" of guns for Lower Mainland criminals earlier this year told investigators he was abducted and forced into buying the weapons. B.C.'s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit announced Ashton Dickinson's sentencing in March, but the exact details of the case have never been published. The CBC obtained an audio recording of the provincial court judge's ruling this week — to highlight the way police say legitimately purchased guns are making their way into the hands of gangsters. The case details both the way people without criminal records are being used to buy weapons for people who do, and the plight of a troubled reservist who claimed he didn't know where to turn when he was threatened. "The accused testified that he'd been abducted by a group of people who forced him to do things that he didn't want to do and he didn't know how to get out of it," Judge Shehni Dossa said as she detailed the circumstances of the case. "He realizes that he could have gone to the police. He could have said 'no.' But that would have serious consequences to him and to those around him that he cared about, so he went along with what they asked." 'An incredible amount of duress' Dickinson was sentenced to three years and handed a 10-year weapons prohibition in February after pleading guilty to one count of transferring restricted handguns — weapons trafficking — and possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm. Police have repeatedly pointed to so-called "straw purchasers" as a source for the weapons that are fuelling the Lower Mainland gang wars — culminating in brazen daytime shootings like the one that claimed Karman Grewal's life at Vancouver's airport on Sunday. An officer from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C (CFSEU) is pictured during a press conference in B.C. The unit has applauded the prosecution of so called 'straw' gun purchasers.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Dickinson had no criminal record when police were called to his residence on Valentine's Day 2019 in response to a report of a domestic assault. His former girlfriend claimed he had tried to shoot himself in the head, but the weapon misfired. Dickinson dropped the gun, fled the house and was later located by police, turning himself in. Police then searched his house and found long guns, ammunition, a ballistic vest, and ammunition for a variety of firearms investigators estimated would have cost $30,000. According to Dossa's ruling, Dickinson gave a series of detailed statements to police in which he admitted to acting as a straw purchaser, buying the guns over a period of eight months, starting in August 2018. He gained experience with weapons and got a purchase and acquisition licence after serving with the Royal Scottish Regiment in Edmonton, which is why he was able to buy guns. He claimed his abductors drove him to various gun stores and ordered him to buy the firearms. Dickinson had a total of 41 weapons registered to his name at the time of his arrest. He told police he had intended to shoot himself with one of them. "Regarding the transfer of restricted firearms, he stated that he was under an incredible amount of duress and fearful of the repercussions if he did not do as he was told," Dossa said. "There are now 40 handguns which have been transferred to persons who are not registered ... which creates a greater risk of harm, injury and death in the community." 'You've entered a guilty plea. You understand that?' Before pleading guilty, Dickinson attempted to argue he had been under duress at the time of the crimes. He changed his plea to guilty after the judge rejected that argument. His lawyer said the accused was still upset about the way he had been treated by the justice system. "I can understand the frustration and the explanation, but they're not defences because you've entered a guilty plea. You understand that?" Dossa told him before giving her decision. Guns are shown in this file photo from a weapons seizure in 2018. Police say a large number of illegal weapons on B.C. streets are purchased within Canada.(Christer Waara/CBC) Dickinson is the second straw purchaser to be sentenced in B.C. courts in recent years. In 2018, Christina May Stover was sentenced to three and a half years after entering guilty pleas to four counts of trafficking in firearms — including three restricted semi-automatic handguns. The 42-year-old security guard also pleaded guilty to breaching a bail condition that required her to turn in any remaining weapons — an impossibility, given the fact they were already out of her control. A spokesperson for the CFSEU said a more recent investigation involving three unnamed individuals highlighted in a media release this winter is expected to be delivered for charge approval later this month. In 2017, a task force on illegal firearms claimed that historically, most guns involved in crimes had been smuggled into Canada from the United States. But in the three years prior to the issuing of the report, 60 per cent of crime guns came from within Canada. Dossa pointed out that Dickinson was extremely remorseful and hoped to work in software design in the future. He lost a number of jobs because of his bail conditions, which required him to disclose the criminal charges to a supervisor and to abide by a curfew. The judge declined to order the taking of a DNA sample. But she said she had no choice but to send Dickinson to jail. "The transfer of so many handguns is a serious offence," she said. "Regrettably, the police have not been able to locate any of the weapons."
Tanya Froh has already seen her beloved Little Britches rodeo fall victim to the pandemic once. The president of the High River Agricultural Society doesn't want to see it happen a second time — possibly the result of a rogue rodeo and rally held earlier this month near Bowden, Alta. It's a possible ripple effect rodeo organizers, competitors and stock contractors fear from the so-called "No more lockdowns rodeo rally," which drew hundreds and resulted in a charge against the organizers for violating the Public Health Act. Some say the event — marked by anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers — made their sport look bad, and that it reinforced long-held stereotypes about Western Canada. "It could be seen as a bit of a black eye," said Froh. "There were so, so many people that are unhappy with how that has gone." It was an unfortunate event, said one former rodeo competitor who didn't want his name used, that showcased some "hillbillies and rednecks." The pandemic has hit the rodeo community hard with cancelled events, fans shut out and sponsorships put on hold. Rodeos can be a lifeline for some small, rural communities, and the sport has been slowly coming back to life. Zeke Thurston rides Peigan Warrior in the saddle bronc event at the 2019 Calgary Stampede. Despite the pandemic, the sport has been slowly coming back to life in 2021 — but there's concern a recent, rogue event could threaten that. (The Canadian Press) But there's concern the Bowden event could threaten that recovery. Amateur rodeos — involving high school kids and "weekend warriors" as old as 60 — have been held this year under a special exemption from Alberta Health Services (AHS). The indoor and outdoor events have to follow a number of protocols, including no spectators, mandatory mask use and physical distancing. Many amateur rodeo organizers are reluctant to talk about their events — fearing that, by drawing attention to themselves, they could either lose an existing exemption or jeopardize a future application. Tanya Froh, president of the High River Agricultural Society, hopes reaction to the 'No more lockdowns rodeo rally' doesn't jeopardize other events.(Facetime) Alberta High School Rodeo, the Chinook Rodeo Association, the Foothills Cowboy Association and the Wildrose Rodeo Association — all of which have recently, or soon will, run events — either declined to comment or didn't respond to interview requests. The Chinook association posted a statement on its website distancing itself from the Bowden event, saying it is focused on working with AHS and others to see the return of the sport. Many stock contractors, the companies that provide the animals for rodeo events, were also reluctant to comment on Bowden. "I distance myself from it. I want nothing to do with it," said Dustin Duffy, whose family has run Duffy Rodeo for 40 years, when pressed. He preferred talking about his efforts to get the sport back on track. Duffy has been part of a group working with AHS to establish protocols that could see pro and amateur rodeos and other western events return with small crowds this year. He says they're waiting for the third wave of the pandemic to subside before they can get a clearer picture of what the season might look like. Competitor Colt Cornet says it was important for him to show support for the organizers of the Bowden event.(Facetime) "If we follow our protocols, and we follow the guidance of the government … we are working as a partner with the government to get this stuff back going," he said. The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), which oversees dozens of events that generate $5.7 million in prize money for competitors, has already cancelled several events this year. It also said it had nothing to do with the Bowden event. The CPRA is instead focused on following the existing rules with an eye to hopefully seeing those restrictions eased. "The world is divided in terms of people that are sick and tired of sitting at home and want to go and compete. I get that," said Jeff Robson, the CPRA's general manager. He says the group is planning to livestream some events without fans, but nothing has been finalized. 'Felt like normal' The Bowden event has some supporters. Colt Cornet, 21, a professional tie-down roper from Brant, Alta., competed there. He says it's how he makes his living and how he pays his bills and he wasn't going to miss the opportunity to compete. "People were genuinely happy to be at a rodeo event and so were the contestants," he said. "It was nice to be back to what felt like normal again." Cornet said he was there to compete rather than send a political message. Davey Shields, Jr., a former professional bareback rider who won the Calgary Stampede four times, says if he was still competing there's a good chance he would have taken part too. "I think people need to start standing up, if they want things to change. If they don't stand up, nothing's gonna change, the government's just gonna keep running us over," he said his home near Calgary. Meanwhile, Froh and her team at the High River Agricultural Society are working with AHS to secure an exemption for the Little Britches rodeo, which they are hoping to host June 12. But there's a lot of uncertainty. The society submitted its exemption application more than a month ago and, aside from getting a confirmation that their application has been received, there's been no word. "We've heard nothing," said Froh. "We're hoping that we get to carry on as we were." Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.
China is framing tough new rules to clamp down on a booming private tutoring industry, aiming both to ease pressure on school children and boost the country's birth rate by lowering family living costs, sources told Reuters. The clampdown will also have the effect of cooling China's cutthroat tutoring market for kindergarten through to the 12th grade, or K-12 pupils, that has grown exponentially in recent years to around $120 billion. At least one major company providing tutoring services has put a billion-dollar private fundraising round on ice amid increasing scrutiny from Beijing and looming industry uncertainty, according to three separate sources.
Next week, Ontario will stop sending 50 per cent of its COVID-19 vaccine supply to hot spot neighbourhoods, instead allocating doses evenly across the province. But Toronto officials say the hot-spot strategy is a success story that needs to continue. In April, the provincial government began targeting communities with high rates of COVID-19 infections — the majority in Toronto — by supplying them with 25 per cent of doses. It ramped up that effort in the first two weeks of May to 50 per cent of doses. By May 10, 53.2 per cent of people over 18 years of age in hot spots had received at least one dose, compared to 46.9 per cent of people in lower risk neighbourhoods, according to provincial data released Wednesday. Toronto has administered more than 1.5 million vaccine doses and at least 70 per cent of residents over 50 have been vaccinated, Mayor John Tory said. The city has also seen double-digit increases in hot-spot vaccination rates. For example, in 13 postal codes, the rate for all adults jumped from less than 14 per cent to more than 48 per cent. "We have been consistently advocating for continuation of extra supply allocated to hot spots," said Tory Wednesday. "It's best to hit the hardest where it is hitting people the hardest and we can produce the results to justify the allocation." The province said it increased the supply of vaccines to those areas by one million doses as a "time-limited response to reduce COVID-19 case, hospitalizations and deaths." It will return to allocating doses by population in the last two weeks of May, as it opens eligibility to people aged 30 and up May 17 and all adults over 18 on May 24. Ontario expecting influx of doses The province is expecting an influx of doses from the federal government, which will translate to more supply at the city level. For May, Ontario will receive close to four million doses. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Wednesday that while the hot-spot approach is working, the increased vaccine supply "will continue to make it easier than ever for those who are most at risk of COVID-19 to receive a vaccine." Toronto's Fire Chief Matthew Peg, head of emergency management, said this week clinics are administering 90,000 doses with the extra hot spot supply. Next week that will drop to 60,000 doses, he said. "Pop-up and mobile vaccine clinics have emerged as a real success story," said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa. "Putting resources in the hot-spot communities actually not only benefits those communities directly but it's frankly a big benefit for the entire province of Ontario." The province's own science advisory table has recommended allocating 50 per cent of doses to hot spots for the entire month of May. Toronto's Board of Health passed a motion May 10 calling for the province to follow this advice. Toronto reported 814 new cases and 1,081 hospitalizations. More than 260 patients are in intensive care, and 20 more people have died. Toronto is opening up an additional 5,000 appointments for next week as residents over 40 will be allowed to get their dose at the city's mass vaccination sites. Almost all other spots are nearly fully booked. It is also adding five more postal codes as hot spots to target with pop-up and mobile clinics.
Ottawa's medical officer of health and the city's mayor say if local COVID-19 indicators keep declining, there's a chance the province could allow students to return to in-person classes by the end of May. At a news conference Wednesday, Dr. Vera Etches and Mayor Jim Watson called for a regional approach to reopening, noting that indicators in the city's wastewater and the recent downward trend in hospitalizations are encouraging. They said they'd shared those positive trends with the Ontario government. "It's looking positive to be able to open schools toward the end of May if the rate of COVID continues to come down in our community," she said. WATCH | The likelihood of schools reopening this month: However, she warned the current infection rate — about 75 per 100,000 people — is about twice what the rate was when schools reopened in February. High levels of COVID-19 in the community, Etches said, increases the risk of it getting into schools. "We have to continue to be cautious. The level of protection from vaccines isn't enough to stop a resurgence at this point," she said. "The stay-at-home order is what's working right now to bring levels down." 'Makes good sense' Ottawa may be in a better position to open schools sooner than other hard-hit places like Peel Region and Toronto, said Mayor Jim Watson. "Opening the schools on a regional basis makes good sense," Watson said. "The first priority for all of us here is to get our school system back up and running at least so the kids can have at least a month of in-class learning." City public health officials have also said schools will likely provide an important venue for vaccinating children against the virus. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one Health Canada has authorized for use in children as young as 12 so far. Ontario schools were moved to remote learning following the delayed spring break in April 2021.