Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet takes on a lot more responsibility when fellow guard Kyle Lowry isn't on the floor. He explained what that means after Toronto's win against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet takes on a lot more responsibility when fellow guard Kyle Lowry isn't on the floor. He explained what that means after Toronto's win against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hello, royal watchers. This is a special edition of The Royal Fascinator, your dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. The revelations just kept coming Sunday night as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave Oprah Winfrey — and a worldwide television audience — their view on why they had to leave the upper echelons of the Royal Family. The reasons were many, but amid all they had to say, there was one statement that stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: Meghan's declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. In an interview Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said Harry told her neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about Archie's skin colour. "I think it's very damaging — the idea that a senior member of the Royal Family had expressed concern about what Archie might look like," Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian, said in an interview late Sunday night. Meghan told Winfrey the concern had been relayed to her by Harry, and when questioned further on it, Harry refused to offer more specifics, saying it's a "conversation I'm never going to share." And that, Harris suggests, speaks to the seriousness of the matter. "It's very clear that Harry didn't want to go into details feeling that it would be too damaging for the monarchy." WATCH | Royal Family expressed concerns about son's skin colour, Meghan tells Oprah: It will take time to digest the impact of all that Harry and Meghan had to say to Winfrey. But some early comments in the British media this morning suggest Harry and Meghan's account will have a profound impact. "They have revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview," the BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote in an online analysis. "But Harry describing his brother and father as 'trapped,' and Meghan revealing that she repeatedly sought help within the palace only to be rebuffed is a body blow to the institution." 'A damning allegation' The Guardian reported that Harry and Meghan telling Winfrey of conversations in the Royal Family about Archie's skin colour is "a damning allegation that will send shockwaves through the institution and send relations with the palace to a new low." Many themes and issues developed over the two-hour broadcast, which sprinkled lighter moments — they're expecting a girl, they have rescue chickens and Archie, age almost two, has taken to telling people to "drive safe" — with much more serious concerns, including the lack of support they say they received, particularly as Meghan had suicidal thoughts. WATCH | Meghan had suicidal thoughts during royal life: "A theme that emerges again and again, and it's something that Harry explicitly states in the interview, is the Royal Family being concerned with the opinion of the tabloid press," said Harris. "This may very well have influenced decisions not to speak out about the way Meghan was being treated and that may have influenced some other decisions as well." One of those might be the question of security, something that was of considerable concern to the couple when they learned royal support for it would be withdrawn. "The Royal Family has frequently in the past received bad press regarding minor members ... receiving security,"said Harris. 'Negative headlines' "There were a lot of negative headlines regarding Beatrice and Eugenie continuing to receive security and their father's [Prince Andrew's] insistence they receive security despite being comparatively minor members of the Royal Family who do not undertake public engagements representing the Queen." There was also a sense out of Sunday's interview that issues that troubled the Royal Family in the past may still be a worry now. "Even in the 21st century after all of the problems that the Royal Family encountered in the 1990s with the breakdowns in the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew … there still doesn't seem to be a consistent means of mentoring new members of the Royal Family," said Harris. Meghan said she had to Google the lyrics for God Save the Queen, and was filled in at the last minute about having to curtsy to Elizabeth just before meeting her for the first time. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, pose for a picture at a Buckingham Palace reception following the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards ceremony in London on June 26, 2018. Both Meghan and Harry spoke warmly of the Queen during the interview Sunday night.(John Stillwell/Reuters) Throughout the interview, Harry and Meghan repeatedly expressed respect and admiration for the Queen, if not for how the Royal Family as an institution operates. But there is considerable murkiness around just who may be responsible for some of the more serious issues they raised. "We know they respect the Queen and have a good personal relationship with the Queen. We know that Meghan had a conflict with Kate but says Kate apologized and Meghan forgave her and she doesn't think Kate's a bad person," said Harris. Lacking 'specific details' "But when it comes to who made racist comments about Archie's appearance or who was dismissive directly of Meghan's mental health, [on] that we don't have specific details." High-profile royal interviews such as this — particularly one by Harry's mother Diana, in 1995 — have a track record of not turning out as the royal interviewees may have intended, and it remains to be seen the lasting impact of this one. Harris sees parallels with Diana's interview, as she "spoke frankly" about a lack of support from the family, and felt that she had been let down by Prince Charles. Meghan spoke with Winfrey before they were joined by Harry.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Harry talked of hoping to repair his relationship with his father — "I will always love him but there's a lot of hurt that happened" — but said he felt really let down, and noted a time when his father wasn't taking his calls. Harris expects the interview will prompt further critical scrutiny of Charles, and Harry's older brother Prince William. The relationship with William has already been under intense scrutiny, and is clearly still a delicate matter for Harry, who hesitated noticeably before responding as Winfrey pressed him on it. "Time heals all things, hopefully," Harry said. How Buckingham Palace responds to all this remains to be seen. Generally, the public approach in matters such as this is silence, and a determination to be seen as carrying on with regular duties. Whether a member of the family might make a more informal comment — say in response to a question from someone at a public event — also remains to be seen. WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry: But from what did emerge Sunday evening, there is a sense that whatever efforts the House of Windsor has made to put a more modern face on the monarchy, they appear not to have yielded the fruit that might have been hoped. "There's been some elements of modernization, but it's very clear that the institution has difficulty adapting to the needs of individuals who marry into the Royal Family," said Harris. "It's clear that Meghan came away from her experiences feeling that she was not supported or mentored in her new role." Sign up here to have The Royal Fascinator newsletter land in your inbox every other Friday. I'm always happy to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, feedback and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Problems with the newsletter? 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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday said the city's government “fully welcomes” changes to the city’s electoral system that will substantially increase central government control over Hong Kong politics and exclude critics of Beijing. Chinese authorities have said the draft decision before China's National People’s Congress would mean the largely pro-Beijing committee that elects Hong Kong’s leader would also choose a large part of the legislature to ensure the city is run by “patriots.” The Election Committee would also have the right to vet candidates for the Legislative Council, weeding out any people suspected of being insufficiently loyal to China and the ruling Communist Party. Currently, half of Hong Kong’s legislature is directly elected by voters, although the mass resignation of opposition legislators to protest the expulsion of four of their colleagues for being “unpatriotic" means the body is now entirely controlled by Beijing loyalists. “There are loopholes in the electoral systems, there are also flaws in the systems in Hong Kong,” Lam said at a news conference after she returned from the National People's Congress in Beijing. “I fully understand that this is not a matter that can be addressed entirely by the government.” “I’m glad that the central authorities have, again, exercised its constitutional powers to help address this problem for Hong Kong,” she said. She declined to elaborate on the views she had shared with the central authorities regarding electoral reforms, and said many pieces of legislation in Hong Kong would have to be amended. The NPC, China’s ceremonial legislature, will all but certainly endorse the draft decision, though it may not take immediate legal effect. The planned electoral changes have drawn criticism in Hong Kong and abroad, including from the United States. On Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price denounced them, saying, “These are a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Hong Kong’s freedoms, and the democratic processes, limiting participation, reducing democratic representation, and stifling political debate in order to defy the clear will of the people of Hong Kong and to deny their voice in their own government and governance." On the same day, China rallied its allies at the U.N., with Belarus — a country whose security forces have cracked down brutally on opponents of longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko — speaking in support of the changes. “That a large number of developing countries have once again joined hands to raise their voices for justice at the U.N. Human Rights Council fully reflects that facts speak louder than words and will always prevail," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a briefing on Monday. “China’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering." Unconfirmed reports say the legislation will also expand the size of the Legislative Council from 70 to 90 and the Election Committee from 1,200 to 1,500. Seats on the Election Committee now reserved for directly elected district counsellors will also be eliminated, further cementing Beijing's control over the body. Lam also said she could not confirm whether legislative elections — already postponed last September for one year, ostensibly because of the coronavirus pandemic — would be further deferred due to the electoral reforms. She said central government authorities are “very sincere and very committed in trying to move towards the objective of universal suffrage,” which was promised to Hong Kong under the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution that was drawn up when the British handed Hong Kong to China in 1997. Universal suffrage would give Hong Kong voters the right to vote for the city’s leader, although only candidates approved by Beijing would be allowed to run. Hong Kong has in recent months cracked down on dissent, and most of the city's prominent opposition figures — including pro-democracy activists and former lawmakers — are in jail or in exile. About 100 people, most of whom are pro-democracy activists and supporters, have been charged under the city's sweeping national security law since it was implemented in June. The NPC imposed the law on Hong Kong, bypassing the Legislative Council, saying it was necessary to restore order after increasingly violent anti-government protests in 2019. The legislation criminalizes secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces to intervene in the city's affairs and terrorism. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
NEW DELHI — Thousands of female farmers held sit-ins and a hunger strike in India's capital on Monday in protests on International Women's Day against new agricultural laws. The demonstrations were held at multiple sites on the fringes of New Delhi where tens of thousands of farmers have camped for more than three months to protest against the laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of big corporations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the laws are necessary to modernize agriculture. About 100 women wearing yellow and green scarfs sat cross-legged in front of a makeshift stage in Ghazipur, one of the many protest sites. Holding the flags of farm unions, they listened to female farm leaders speak from the stage and chanted slogans against the laws. At least 17 took part in a day-long hunger strike. “Women are sitting here, out in the open, in protest, but Modi doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about mothers, sisters, and daughters. He doesn’t care about women. That’s clear,” said Mandeep Kaur, a female farmer who travelled 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) from Chhattisgarh state to participate in the protests. Multiple rounds of talks between the government and farmers have failed to end the stalemate. The farmers have rejected an offer from the government to put the laws on hold for 18 months, saying they won’t settle for anything less than a complete repeal. They fear the laws will make family-owned farms unviable, eventually leaving them landless. Women have been at the forefront of the protests, which have posed one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took office in 2014. Many accompanied thousands of male farmers who arrived at the protest sites in late November and have since organized and led protest marches, run medical camps and massive soup kitchens that feed thousands, and raised demands for gender equality. “Today Modi is sending wishes to women across the country on International Women’s Day. Who are these women he is sending wishes to? We are also like his daughters, but he clearly doesn’t care about us,” said Babli Singh, a farm leader. International Women’s Day, sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, celebrates women’s achievements and aims to further their rights. Women often embody what agricultural experts call an “invisible workforce” on India’s vast farmlands that often goes unnoticed. Nearly 75% of rural women in India who work full-time are farmers, according to the anti-poverty group Oxfam India, and the numbers are expected to rise as more men migrate to cities for jobs. Yet, less than 13% of women own the land they till. Demonstrations were also held at Jantar Mantar, an area of New Delhi near Parliament where about 100 women held placards denouncing the new laws and calling for their withdrawal. “Today we are finding ourselves under attack at all fronts. As women, as peasants, as workers, as youth and students," said women rights activist Sucharita, who uses one name. “We are opposed to the laws that have been passed in favour of corporations." ___ Associated Press video journalist Shonal Ganguly contributed to this report. Neha Mehrotra And Rishi Lekhi, The Associated Press
First lady Jill Biden says nearly two dozen women the State Department is honouring for their courage made an “intentional decision” to persist and demand justice despite their fear. The 21 women being recognized Monday with the department's International Women of Courage Award include seven from Afghanistan who are receiving posthumous honours. The first lady says that the women's stories make it easy to think of them as “mythical heroes or angels among us” but that they're also humans who want to enjoy life's simple pleasures. “Some ofthese women have spent their lives fighting for their cause. Others are just starting out on a journey they didn’t ask for,” Biden says in remarks prepared for the ceremony, which were obtained by The Associated Press. “Some were called to service, and some couldn’t escape it,” Biden says. “They are fighting for their own lives and for their children. Theywant to right the wrongs of our past, tobuild a brighter future for everyone. Theyaren’timmune to fear. No one is.” Biden says that in the course of ordinarylives, each of the women made “an extraordinarychoice.” “You see, courage isn’t really found,” Biden says. "It doesn’t conjure away our doubts. It’s an intentional decision made.” The ceremony is being held virtually and not at the State Department because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 14 living awardees are from Belarus, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela. “These womenmade an extraordinary choice, to persist, to demand justice, to believe that, despite the obstacles and fear they faced, there is a future worth fighting for," Biden says. Monday is International Women's Day. Touching on the past year, the first lady says the pandemic shows “how the things that connect us — our love for family and friends, our hope that we will be together soon — transcend language and distance.” She says that diplomacy, “at its best, is a recognition of this connection” and that the United States, under President Joe Biden's leadership, will support women around the world. “We will make the choice to lead, to be bold and to lift up the women and girls everywhere who light our way,” Biden says in her prepared remarks. “For 15 years, we have honoured women around the world who have made the extraordinary choice to fight for something bigger than themselves.” “Today, we recommit to being worthy of that courage, to understanding that our lives are tied together in immeasurable and powerful ways and to choosing, every day, to honour that connection,” she says. “We will stand with you as we build a brighter future for us all.” Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
From the crack of the baseball bat in Florida to clinking of cocktails in San Francisco bars, the sounds of spring are in the air as Americans start to return to many of the beloved pastimes they were forced to abandon 12 months ago. Over the past weekend, New Yorkers watched movies on the big screen, San Franciscans dined indoors, and baseball fans cheered on their favorite big-league players as spring training resumed in Florida. "It feels awesome," said civil engineering specialist Matt Skelton, 39, leaving a concession stand on Saturday afternoon clutching a bag of popcorn at TD Ballpark in Florida's West Coast city of Dunedin, seasonal home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
Bishop Richard Howell Jr. thundered from his North Minneapolis pulpit Sunday that the city "is under great stress right now" as the George Floyd murder trial tests how much, if anything, will change in the U.S. almost 10 months after the killing sparked global outrage. Jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose knee pressing on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes was captured on graphic video last May, is expected to get underway this week. "This officer coldly refused to respond to his plea and kept his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck, snuffing the very life out of him," preached Howell as his congregants shouted out their acknowledgement. "A senseless, cold, hideous act of hate, bigotry and brutality," said Howell, who is opening his church to those who may struggle watching the live-streamed trial. WATCH | Security high in advance of trial in George Floyd's killing: Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family's lawyer, told CBC News that the upcoming case is "one of the most important civil rights cases in the last 100 years. It is the Emmett Till of today." Till, a 14-year-old Black teenager, was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly flirting with a white woman in a grocery store. His killers were swiftly acquitted. "Mississippi or Minnesota, I don't see much difference," Deborah Watts, one of Till's cousins, said at a Minneapolis news conference on Friday surrounded by dozens of families whose relatives have been shot or killed by police. "Emmett Till was murdered in August 1955, and we are still fighting for justice. "Something is wrong with that ... we have not made much progress." Last summer, millions of people protested across the U.S. against Floyd's killing in scenes not witnessed since the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Protests against racial injustice and police brutality spread to Canada and many cities internationally. WATCH | Lawyer for George Floyd's family discusses upcoming trial: Crump said the video of Floyd — handcuffed, face down on the pavement, gasping for breath — is "ocular proof" of a man being "tortured to death by the very people who are supposed to protect and defend." "The world had gotten used to seeing reality TV, but we were still shocked," he told CBC News from his office in Tallahassee, Fla. The criminal trial against Chauvin will be prosecuted by the state of Minnesota. While Crump is not directly involved in this case, its outcome will inevitably impact the family's civil case against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers involved in Floyd's death. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, with the potential addition of a third-degree murder charge. The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week ordered the judge in the case to reconsider a request by prosecutors to reinstate a third-degree murder charge, which means jury selection will not begin until at least Tuesday. Three other officers involved in Floyd's death go on trial in August. Increased security around courthouse Cameras in the courtroom will capture the trial and live stream it for broadcast on some TV channels — a first for Minnesota. The trial is being compared to that of the Los Angeles police officers who were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King 30 years ago, as well as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which commanded large TV audiences. "The killing of George Floyd by Officer Chauvin is akin for many Americans to some type of public lynching, the likes of which we haven't seen for decades," said Kami Chavis, a law professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. "I don't want people to underestimate the power and the importance of this case and what might happen," she said. "It's a huge signal, I think, to law enforcement about what they can and can't do." The Hennepin County courthouse and many federal buildings in Minneapolis are barricaded and surrounded by concertina wire ahead of the trial.(Sylvia Thomson/CBC) The Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis is now surrounded by three rings of cement barriers, three-metre high fencing and concertina wire. The state has allocated $36 million US to security and has activated the Minnesota National Guard. Staff in the building, which includes the county government office, have been told to stay home. The courtroom has been modified to accommodate physical distancing due to COVID-19, restricting the number of people allowed inside. One person per family, four each for the defence and prosecution teams and two media members are allowed in at a time. Masks are mandatory, but cannot have anything written on them. Challenges in selecting a jury Three weeks have been allotted to jury selection as lawyers try to screen potential jurors for bias, a complicated task in such a highly publicized case. Activists in Minneapolis say Chauvin is the fourth police officer to be prosecuted in the death of a citizen in Minnesota. Two were acquitted, while one other was convicted in the death of a white woman. "For the most part, officers are pretty sympathetic figures in a lot of these cases. And juries give a great deal of deference to what police officers do. So that will be a challenge as well," Chavis said. The courtroom for Chauvin's trial has been modified to allow for physical distancing due to COVID-19.(Hennepin County) One of those acquittals involved the death of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police in July 2016 in a St. Paul suburb while stopped at a traffic light with his girlfriend and a four-year-old in the car. The officer, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter, was acquitted — but fired from the force. Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, sent a message to legislators during Friday's emotional news conference. "We're gonna have to be brutally honest about what's going on in this country", she said. "To the State of Minnesota: we are not going to shut up, we are not going to sit down, we are going to stand in unity and we're going to bring it to you". 'Many other people were murdered before George Floyd' The death of Floyd, who was originally from Texas, has propelled the fight against anti-Black racism and police brutality back into the forefront.. Artwork of the 46-year-old's face has popped up on billboards, buildings and in museums, and his death has become a lightning rod for thousands of Black families whose relatives have been stopped, shot or killed by police in their communities. "What happened after George Floyd's death — the riots, the uproar — did not happen as a result of one man's life. It happened because many other people were murdered before George Floyd. And nothing happened. Nothing changed", Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, told CBC News. Garraway's fiancé, Justin Teigen, died following a run-in with police 12 years ago. According to St. Paul police, Teigen was fleeing police and did not die in their custody. A mural showing his face along with dozens of others, including Floyd's, covers the side of a building in North Minneapolis. It serves as a visual reminder of the more than 400 people who've been killed in altercations with police in Minnesota in the last 20 years, according to the Communities United Against Police Brutality advocacy group. "If George Floyd did something wrong, if all the rest of our loved ones did something wrong, [police] were to arrest them. Not take their lives, not destroy our lives," Garraway said. Toshira Garraway, who founded Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, stands in front of a mural of Minnesotans who have died after police encounters.(Sylvia Thomson/CBC) Crump said the Floyd family is "very, very anxious" and wants "a conviction to the fullest extent of the law." He said anything less has the potential to unleash more unrest. Violence and riots last summer in the days after Floyd's killing burned blocks of the city, with damage estimated at $350 million US. Minneapolis is bracing against heightened tensions when the case goes to the jury, which is expected to happen late April or May. "Historically in America, the police have not been held accountable for killing African Americans," said Crump, who has taken on dozens of cases where Black men and women have been shot or injured by police. "The George Floyd case will be a referendum on how far America has come in this quest for equal justice under the law."
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Mar. 8 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA - Canada is set to receive more than 900-thousand COVID-19 vaccine doses this week as pharmaceutical companies ramp up deliveries to make good on their contractual obligations by the end of the month. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the country will receive nearly 445-thousand shots from Pfizer-BioNTech, the same number as last week. The two pharmaceutical companies had promised to deliver four-million doses by the end of March, but recently upped that commitment to 5.5-million shots. Major-General Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing the national vaccine rollout, says Canada will also receive 465-thousand shots from Moderna this week. Moderna is stepping up its delivery schedule from once every three weeks to once every two and is promising to deliver 2 million doses by the end of March. The government is not expecting any deliveries of the recently approved vaccines from AstraZeneca-Oxford or Johnson and Johnson until next month. --- Also this ... OTTAWA - A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there's still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. The poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with women far more likely than men to say equality remains elusive in a host of fields. Overall, 63 per cent of respondents to the poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said equality between men and women has not been achieved. A majority said equality has definitely or "to some extent" been achieved at home, in social settings, in the media, at work, in sciences and in politics, while just 44 per cent said the same of sports. However, male respondents were far more likely than women, by as much as 20 percentage points, to say equality has been achieved in those areas. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey's wide-ranging interview with Meghan and Harry produced several revelations, from Meghan saying she experienced suicidal thoughts, to Prince Harry saying he felt “trapped” in royal life and the couple revealing that they're expecting a daughter. The two described painful palace discussions about the colour of their son’s skin, losing royal protection and the intense pressures that led the Duchess of Sussex to contemplate suicide. Meghan, who is biracial, told Winfrey there were discussions among the royal family about how dark her son's skin would be. Both she and Prince Harry were critical of the royal family and those who work for them, but both refused to criticize Queen Elizabeth II. Meghan said the queen has “always been wonderful to me.” The interview special aired on CBS last night and will be shown today in Britain. --- And this ... MINNEAPOLIS — The fate of a former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe will be decided by 12 residents of Hennepin County who will be picked after extensive grilling about their views. Jury selection begins today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death, which ignited global protests. Picking a jury is expected to take at least three weeks, as prosecutors and defence attorneys try to weed out potential candidates who may have biases. Legal experts say the key will be finding jurors who can put aside their opinions and decide the case based on the evidence. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... BAGHDAD - Pope Francis today wrapped up his historic whirlwind tour of Iraq that sought to bring hope to the country's marginalized Christian minority with a message of coexistence, forgiveness and peace. The pontiff and his travelling delegation were seen off with a farewell ceremony at the Baghdad airport, from where he left for Rome following a four-day papal visit that has covered five provinces across Iraq. At every turn of his trip, Francis urged Iraqis to embrace diversity — from Najaf in the south, where he held a historic face-to-face meeting with powerful Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to Nineveh to the north, where he met with Christian victims of the Islamic State group's terror and heard their testimonies of survival. His visit witnessed scenes unimaginable in war-ravaged Iraq just a few years ago. --- Also this ... TANGON - Myanmar security forces continue to clamp down on anti-coup protesters today, firing tear gas to break up a crowd of around 1,000 people who were demonstrating in the capital, Naypyitaw. The protesters deployed fire extinguishers to create a smoke screen as they fled from authorities. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marching in Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, dispersed on their own amid fears that soldiers and police were planning to use force to break up their demonstration. Large-scale protests have occurred daily across many cities and towns in Myanmar since the country's military seized power in the Feb. 1 coup, and security forces have responded with ever greater use of lethal force and mass arrests. On Sunday, police occupied hospitals and universities and reportedly arrested hundreds of people involved in protesting the military takeover. --- In entertainment ... TORONTO - House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two about good timing, but she didn’t predict her first Grammy nomination would happen so soon. The Grand Forks, B.C.-raised DJ says she figured it might take 10 years before her name would be listed among the nominees. But this year her piano-fuelled ode to classic house, titled “Both of Us,” competes for best dance recording. It’s an achievement that comes after the DJ left behind a career in environmental toxicology to pursue making club beats. She says she made the unusual leap after realizing that if she didn’t do it now, she might not ever. “Both of Us” is up against some of the industry’s biggest names, including Diplo, Disclosure and Montreal-raised Kaytranada. The Grammy will be handed out during Sunday’s pre-broadcast ceremony, which streams online. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 8, 2021 The Canadian Press
Receipts, like memories, tend to fade with time. That’s just one reason to digitize and track tax-related information. The right apps and habits can save space, time, money and hassle — but only if you use them. “Apps should make things easier, not more complicated,” says Clare Levison, a certified public accountant in Blacksburg, Virginia. “The definition of a good app is what works for you, not the one that’s the trendiest.” USE TOOLS YOU ALREADY HAVE Apps don’t have to be elaborate. The camera on your phone, for example, can capture receipts and other documentation. Levison recommends regularly transferring those images to a designated folder in your photo app to make them easier to find later. “You don’t want those photos mixed in with all your other selfies and whatever,” Levison says. Similarly, you can create folders in your email account to collect tax-related documents. If you’re an active investor, for example, you can put your trade confirmations there (or set up a filter so the confirmations are routed there automatically). If you purchase supplies for your business online, a folder can collect emailed receipts. Another commonplace tool that can be helpful, especially for anyone claiming business expenses or mileage, is a calendar app. These records can help document meetings with clients, business travel and other potentially deductible events. “The IRS auditor always asks for a copy of my calendar,” says Leonard Wright, a San Diego CPA who’s been audited four times. Calendar records should be kept for at least seven years, which is how long the IRS typically has to audit you. (There’s no time limit if the agency suspects tax fraud, however, so be sure your choice of electronic calendar lets you retain enough history. ) You also need to regularly download monthly statements from your financial institutions, says Kelley C. Long, a CPA and personal finance specialist in Chicago. If the IRS suspects you’ve underreported income, it may ask for bank and brokerage statements. If you use a credit card for business or other tax-related purposes, those statements can help support your deductions. While the institutions are required to keep your records for several years, you may have to pay fees to access older statements. BE SURE YOU’RE STORING FOR THE LONG TERM Ideally, your computer and phone are already being backed up into the cloud so that you can access your data if the devices are lost, stolen or destroyed. If not, you want to make sure that at least your tax information is regularly transferred to a secure cloud storage system or other safe, off-site location. The key is to keep information safe and accessible, which means choosing electronic over paper wherever possible. Paper is bulky, inefficient and vulnerable to all kinds of disasters, including fire and flood. Ink can fade, particularly on receipts needed to document expenses (credit card or bank statements typically aren’t considered enough documentation without the accompanying receipts). “I usually tell business owners, ‘No receipt, then no deduction,’” says Bob Fay, a CPA in Canton, Ohio, who is also a consumer financial education advocate for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “This is a short message that sticks with them as they have so much on their plate every day.” But the time the IRS gets around to asking for those receipts, all you may have left is flimsy, unreadable paper if you haven’t captured a digital version, Levison says. Also, paper documents can cost you more. “People still give their CPAs literally a shoebox,” Long says. “What your CPA does then is pay one of their interns to scan all that stuff into their systems and they charge you for that.” CONSIDER SPECIALIZED APPS TO MAKE IT EASY Sometimes, specialized apps can make sense. Scanner apps can help you capture tax-related paperwork, and some have optical character recognition that allows you to turn images into editable — and searchable — files. If you have an iPhone or iPad and itemize your expenses, ItsDeductible and iDonatedIt can help you track charitable gifts throughout the year and find values for noncash donations, such as clothes and household goods. (These apps don’t have Android versions.) Apps that create expense reports, such as Expensify or Everlance, can help gig workers and other self-employed people track business-related costs. Wright, the much-audited CPA, swears by apps that help track mileage, such as MileIQ, TripLog or Everlance. “Many of these apps are easy to maintain and allow you to track and distinguish between business or personal use,” Wright says. “They’re so simple you can do that while you’re in line at the supermarket.” But it’s crucial to develop the habit of using the apps and other processes you set up, says CPA Tim Todd of Lynchburg, Virginia. Otherwise, you’re not creating the digital paper trail you’ll need to survive an audit. Plus, you could be costing yourself money. “Keeping records in real time can also help make sure you don’t forget those items come tax time,” Todd says. ____________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Tax prep checklist: What to gather before filing http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-tax-prep-checklist Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Child soldiers and other victims of convicted Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda should get a total of $30 million compensation, International Criminal Court judges ruled on Monday, in their highest ever reparation order. The judges said Ntaganda did not have the resources to pay the compensation himself. Instead they asked the tribunal's own Trust Fund to help set up and finance vocational and other programmes to support victims of his crimes.
Some residents in Toronto's east end say Metrolinx is finally consulting them about the impact of a GO expansion project that will affect a green space near their homes known as Small's Creek Ravine. The residents, who live in the area of Danforth and Woodbine avenues, will be invited to join a working group set up by Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, before the project gets underway in their area. That working group will focus on the future of a path that provides a loop of the ravine. Metrolinx plans to widen a railway embankment to support a four-track, electrified Lakeshore East line. Trees will be removed from Small's Creek Ravine to enable crews to build a retaining wall and a new culvert as part of the project. The ravine, much loved by neighbourhood families, is tucked behind Copeland Avenue, between Coxwell and Woodbine Avenues, south of the Danforth. "We're optimistic. The fact that they're now suggesting they're going to include us in the discussions is a step forward," Mitch Robertson, a resident and a member of Save Small's Creek group, said on Sunday. "I think Metrolinx has not done a good job of communicating with any community groups so far. However, we do hope that this is a turning point. We want to be there from the beginning to discuss how this can actually be done so that everybody wins." Robertson said he doesn't think Metrolinx's latest plan offers any concessions, but the group is interested in presenting its ideas with the aim of preserving as much nature as possible. He noted that the group is not opposed to a fourth track or additional train service. Mitch Robertson, a resident and a member of Save Small's Creek group, says: 'I think Metrolinx has not done a good job of communicating with any community groups so far. However, we do hope that this is a turning point. We want to be there from the beginning to discuss how this can actually be done so that everybody wins.'(Keith Burgess/CBC) In the fall, residents had raised concerns about the expansion project's environmental impact, saying it means the loss of 268 trees because of clear cutting that will occur on either side of the ravine. Residents have tied ribbons around the trees to be cut down as a visible reminder of what will be lost. There is concern about the impact on the ravine's wildlife, local ecosystem and walking path. Residents believe Metrolinx did not consider neighbourhood use of the ravine by residents, community and school groups when it drew up its plans. "There's a limited amount of space like this in the city," Robertson said. Metrolinx to plant 2,000 more trees in community In an email to CBC News on Friday, Metrolinx says it has decided to add about 2,000 more trees to the community and to form the working group that will include residents, the city and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. That working group will determine a "potential solution" for reconnecting the path on the north side of the ravine that will be severed once the culvert is in place. Currently, the path on the north side connects with wooden steps on either side of the ravine and to the path on the south side that cuts through the often muddy bottom of the ravine. Anne Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx, says: 'We recognize the importance of the ravine and the natural refuge it offers residents and families. We will be restoring and enhancing the area with native species that will provide a better functioning ravine feature for both the community and wildlife that use it.'(Keith Burgess/CBC) Anne Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx, said in the email that construction work in the Small's Creek area will not begin until October 2021. Construction initially was set to begin in January. "In the coming weeks, Metrolinx will work with the contractor and community leaders to minimize tree removals as much as possible. A site tour will be held with the contractor to walk them through the ravine and talk them through what has been heard," Aikins said in the email. "We recognize the importance of the ravine and the natural refuge it offers residents and families. We will be restoring and enhancing the area with native species that will provide a better functioning ravine feature for both the community and wildlife that use it." Aikins said Metrolinx's restoration plan for the ravine includes a variety of plantings of native vegetation. There will be a minimum of 260 trees, 932 shrubs and 4,000 smaller plants planted to support naturalization, she said. "As many as possible of the approximately 2,000 trees Metrolinx is committed to planting will be in the Small's Creek area, in partnership with the TRCA and City of Toronto," Aikins said. Majority of trees to be cut down are invasive species Arborists consulted by Metrolinx have found that the ravine has many invasive species, which are crowding out the native vegetation and reducing the habitat that supports local wildlife. Small's Creek Ravine, much loved by neighbourhood families, is tucked behind Copeland Avenue, between Coxwell and Woodbine Avenues, south of the Danforth. (Keith Burgess/CBC) Of the 268 trees to be removed, 205 are invasive species, including Manitoba maple and Norway maple, she said. "The planting of native trees and other vegetation will help to restore the ecological function of the ravine," she added. "If not all of the 2,000 additional trees can be planted in Small's Creek due to space, we're committed to planting them elsewhere in the community. Places like parkettes, the nearby waterfront, and school fields are all locations up for discussion. In the coming months Metrolinx will be reaching out to the community to figure out where these trees can be planted and come up with some creative ideas for distribution," she said. In an interview, Aikins said of its latest plan: "We took that back to our arborists and to our contractor, and said: 'Let's try and do better.' We've come up with an alternative — it's not perfect for them, I know — but it's a better alternative with more trees." Resident says appreciation for ravine has grown Celeste Shirley, a resident whose property borders the ravine, said the popularity of the ravine has grown since residents raised concerns and since the pandemic started. She said foot traffic in the ravine has increased by about 20 per cent in recent months. "It's brought a lot of people to the ravine. I'm hearing more children there. There's an appreciation of the ravine that wasn't there before," Shirley said. "If they take out the path at the bottom of the ravine, we will only be able to go across the top," she added, saying that the loss of part of a loop through the forested area will be significant. Coun. Brad Bradford, who represents Ward 19, Beaches-East York, said the local residents have made a difference by speaking out. "We've seen the power of community-led change here. The folks at the Save Small's Creek group have really rallied to make sure their voices are heard, and they have forced themselves to the table," he said.
Nancy Heffell started with two bags of frozen lobster and the hope to raise $300. The manager of the Bakin' Express in Richmond wanted to do something after 47 residents at La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous in neighbouring Wellington were displaced by a fire in their long-term care facility in January. She decided to put a donation jar out on the counter. "There was only $5. Then there was $10. What's that goign to do? So I went into my freezer and I looked and I had two great big bags of lobster," she said. "I was telling my customers. Like, what can I do? And all of a sudden everybody started giving me lobster, they gave me potatoes, they gave me onions." That's how the idea for Heffell's lobster chowder fundraiser began. It quickly became a community effort with friends, locals and other businesses donating vegetables, fish, rolls and desserts to go with the meal. "It just blew up because everybody decided that they wanted to help, and they did," she said. In the end, she raised $5,500 in the community of 3,000 for the residents at Le Chez-Nous. Bakin' Express was able to sell the fundraiser chowder through the drive-thru, even during the province's COVID-19 lockdown.(Nicola MacLeod/CBC) "It was an amazing thing, just to see everybody for these people. A lot of my customers here, they have people at the Chez-Nous," she said. "Just take one person with an idea and everybody rolls with it." Storms and lockdown Heffell faced some challenges. On the first day of sales, Feb. 8, the entire province was hit with a storm and on the second day, March 1, the entire province went into lockdown. Then there was another storm. She was able to make modifications and press on, selling through the drive-thru when in-room dining closed. "So everybody came out once again," she said. "I was so impressed." Situated on the side of the highway in Richmond, cars honk 'hello' when they drive by.(Nicola MacLeod/CBC) Heffell said customers came from Richmond, Evangeline and from surrounding communities as far away as Summerside. "It was like family.. I knew a lot of them. Some I was related to," she said. As for how she makes her chowder, the 27-year Bakin' Donuts veteran has some musts: a roux base, lobster paste and lobster juice. "It gives the flavour … If you're going to have water, it's not going to be the same thing," she said. "I don't think each pot was the same, it's a pinch of this and a pinch of that and I hope this is good. I had taste testers." Heffell said the money will now be used to help residents who lost things in the fire and perhaps did not have insurance. "They lost their hearing aids, they lost their slippers," she said. "All their personal belongings, they have nothing." Coming together Heffell said the rallying is about more than people wanting some seafood chowder. She has been the manager of the restaurant for five years and also lives in an apartment above the Bakin' Express with her four cats. She said the restaurant serves as a gathering place for the community. "A lot of people come here just to hang out, they drink coffee, they have their breakfast, and a lot of them stay for a couple of hours," she said. "I would say these are probably my closest friends, most definitely. "This is where I belong." More from CBC P.E.I.
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year's census until 2022 over pandemic-related health concerns that could erode the quality of data relied on by policymakers across the country. An agency document noted the plan for the 2021 census was developed in a "normal operating context" where tens of thousands of staff and temporary hires would interact with each other and Canadians. In a pandemic, the document noted, that plan had "a high probability of failure." The behind-the-scenes look at how Statistics Canada rethought this year's census operation is contained in 50 pages of internal reports and presentations obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. The agency ultimately decided to forge ahead with the census for this year using a plan that relies more heavily on Canadians filling out census forms online than on face-to-face interactions. Jan Kestle, president and CEO of Environics Analytics, said the census needed to go ahead as planned this year to get a baseline reading on how families, communities and businesses are faring to guide decision-making for a post-pandemic recovery. "It's not like we're in a period where there's something weird for a month. We have lived for a year (with the pandemic) and we're going to live with the implications of this for a long time," she said. "Having a census that's as good as it can be, is extremely important to the economic recovery, and the health of Canadians." Census results can help reshape electoral ridings and determine federal funding to provinces for health care, and to cities for infrastructure. Local officials use the census to decide where to plan new transit services, roads, schools and hospitals. A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data. "This is a large piece of machinery that does not turn on a dime," said Michael Haan, an associate professor of sociology from Western University, and director of the school's Statistcs Canada Research Data Centre. "If they were going to shift courses by perhaps extending the census for a year, or whatever they may have chosen to do, they needed to have those deliberations well in advance of the census moment." Waiting until 2022, after the widespread distribution of vaccines, could lead to a more "normal" operation , officials wrote in one document, adding that results would better reflect typical trends rather than "an atypical year of widespread societal disruption." But it would also miss some impacts of COVID-19, including connecting detailed income data from the Canada Revenue Agency to different neighbourhoods to see the full effects of pandemic aid programs. "We have a bit of a sense of this already, but nothing as accurate and as complete as the census for giving a true picture of how much hardship the (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) may have saved us," Haan said. In July, officials said no to adding any pandemic-specific questions to the census form because it was "not the right vehicle" for collecting the information. As well, adding a question on short notice could be problematic since every question has to be thoroughly tested. "When you introduce new subject matter into a questionnaire, you run the risk of changing the way people respond to other questions," Haan said. It also takes the agency months before it can release the data for public consumption, meaning the information could be far out of date by 2022 given the fluidity of the pandemic. Statistics Canada's plan for this year's census relies more on online responses and telephone follow-ups than going door-to-door, opening up the internet option to everyone in the country for the first time. Geoff Bowlby, director general at Statistics Canada responsible for the census, said the agency expects about eight in every 10 people to respond to the census online. Enumerators going door-to-door will be masked and get responses from outside the home rather than inside as in previous census cycles, Bowlby said. Hundreds of workers hired as administrators for enumerators are going to work from home rather than temporary office space, he added. Some work can't be done remotely, such as in the scanning centres that turn paper returns into digital data. Bowlby said the agency has adjusted the number of workers in the facility, split them into cohorts, and put in a health and safety plan that includes the provision of N95 masks. "At the end of the day, we do expect to have high response to the census and that data will be of high quality, the same quality that Canadians expect from the census, and it will be a safe operation," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
As Newfoundland and Labrador's vaccination plan rolls out, bolstered by added time between doses and the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine, some essential workers in the province are still wondering when they'll get vaccinated. Raelene Cull, a produce manager at a Dominion grocery store in St. John's, says she hasn't been given any indication of when she and her co-workers might be vaccinated. "Assuming by the way the list is going, we will be in Phase 2, but … considering where they put us, we don't know if we're on that list or not," she said. "They haven't actually [come] out and said that, so who do they consider front-line workers?" Cull said it's been a topic of discussion among her co-workers about when they might get vaccinated. "People are wondering and asking, 'did you hear anything, are we the ones in [Phase] 2?'" she said. "People are curious, for sure." Timeline should speed up In the province's vaccination plan, the final section of Phase 2 includes "frontline essential workers who have direct contact with the public and cannot work from home during Alert Level 5," with vaccines rolling out from April to June. The decision to leave as much as four months between shots and additional supply from AstraZeneca could speed up that timeline, however. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says that people over 70 years of age are the priority at the moment and that there will be more information on the rollout of vaccines for essential workers coming soon.(Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) During Friday's provincial COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive in the province next week, much of which will go to first responders. While there's no clearly defined list of who will be included as of yet, Fitzgerald said future shipments of the vaccine will be designated for front-line essential workers. "As we move through and we get more AstraZeneca, then we'll be offering it to those who, essentially, have to go to work, the people who had to go to work through Alert Level 5 and be in contact with the public," she said. Fitzgerald said at a previous briefing that more information will be made available time goes on and the vaccine rollout continues. Cull said she'd be happy to get the vaccine when she gets the opportunity, but it still leaves her with some concern for the rest of her family. "It'd be great for me, but like I was told, you can still be a carrier, so my other family that is not considered essential workers, am I bringing it home to them?" she said. "Just because you're vaccinated, you get the shot, that doesn't mean your family's protected and you're going home to them every single day." Health Minister John Haggie and Fitzgerald have said they don't know yet whether someone with the virus can pass it on. That's why people who are vaccinated still need to wear masks and physically distance. Some early research has suggested, however, that it might be harder for someone to spread the virus if they get infected after getting the shot. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Janet Perry isn't dependent on supermarkets or industrial operations for her maple fix; she's been tapping trees in her own backyard and boiling down that experience into memories for years. "We can even enjoy [the maple syrup] all year round," Perry told CBC Radio's In Town And Out. "It brings back the memories and the joys of what we did." She said her fondness for the sugary treat dates back to a childhood spent on her family's farm. Now, after a few trips to the local hardware store, and with jars on hand, she taps trees at her home in Manotick. For those thinking of attempting their own do-it-yourself sugar bush, Perry suggests drilling the spigot approximately two to three centimetres into the tree. The angle of the spigot is also important, she said. Keep it pointed slightly upwards. Boil it down or drink it straight After collecting the sap – with one of her trees bringing in more than a litre of the sticky substance – she and her husband use a propane cooker to begin the outside boiling process. They then finish boiling it inside, using the "spoon test" to know when the sap hits the magical temperature and is ready to be turned into syrup. "Take up your sap with a spoon, you pour it off, and it should start to become viscous and drip slowly off," she said. Perry said she doesn't limit herself to finished maple products. "My grandkids love to drink just the sap straight," she said. "You just need a cup." As a science teacher at Frederick Banting Alternative High School in Stittsville, Perry incorporates tree tapping in the classroom and enjoys teaching her own grandchildren about the delights of tapping trees. It's a way to get outdoors, she said, adding she finds even the smell of boiling sap enough to improve her mood — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. "My spirits would jump like 10 notches. Just incredible."
Dozens of Canadian Muslims joined a virtual conference this weekend, organized by Green Ummah, a new grassroots community group in Windsor that launched last year, aimed to encourage the Muslim community to become more environmentally conscious. The two-day weekend event offered participants the opportunity "to start the conversation about what we as Muslims can do to engage with the environment and help build a healthier planet," said Mariam Rajabali, a board member for the group. She said the conference was success and up to 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions. "There's so many people that we heard from in our networking sessions that said 'we do these things at home and we feel alone. We don't get an opportunity to really voice this with our family and friends.' And this is a space where they can share ideas ... whether it's taking reusable grocery bags to the grocery store, leaving them in your car before you get there, or ... using cleaner cleaning supplies so that they're not polluting the earth," she said. One of the agenda items up for discussion was how the Muslim community can build an allyship with the Indigenous community. Rajabali says the conference was success and up to 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions. This is a screengrab of the panel discussion on Sunday.(Tahmina Aziz/CBC) "It's our responsibility to look to them and ask the questions that we need to ask and support them in their initiatives," Rajabali explained. "They've been looking after this earth for far longer than we, as youth, have just started doing and really relying on that guidance and supporting them in their initiatives," she said. She said the pandemic set the group back in some of the initiatives it had planned, but the organizers are working on events all aimed to educate, provide resources and make knowledge accessible to the wider Muslim community. One of the events they hope to launch in September is a "curriculum project" targeting youth. "In order for us to make it sustainable change, we need to start looking at people at a young age, and we need to start building some of these behaviours and patterns within our everyday life. So we're hoping that by influencing the younger generation, we can get more people on board with the environmental movement," Rajabali said. She said the conference also allowed an opportunity for people to connect and brainstorm ways to be more environmentally friendly. She hopes they take what they've learned and apply it in their local communities. "We're hoping that by bringing all these people together that we can have a successful Ramadan campaign, that we can encourage our mosques to take the next step to be greener, that we can encourage our local community spaces to be greener as well," she said. Small changes make a big difference, says Rajabali Rajabali said one big takeaway she had from the conference that she wants to share with others is the large impact small changes can make. "It's the small things that we're finding that are making the bigger difference. People talk about planning a year from now, two years from now. What we want to get across to people is changing the little things that you're doing today," she said. "Instead of, you know, putting your leftovers in a Styrofoam container, consider putting it in a reusable Tupperware. Doing things that you can do within the next hour is much more sustainable as a practice if you do it over time rather than trying to plan for the next 10 years."
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday March 8, 2021. There are 886,574 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 886,574 confirmed cases (30,268 active, 834,067 resolved, 22,239 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,489 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 79.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,880 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,697. There were 26 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 245 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 35. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 25,159,921 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,006 confirmed cases (91 active, 909 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 19 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,814 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 141 confirmed cases (26 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 16.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine 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 112,416 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,659 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,565 resolved, 65 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 366,679 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,455 confirmed cases (36 active, 1,391 resolved, 28 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.61 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 242,695 tests completed. _ Quebec: 292,631 confirmed cases (7,100 active, 275,059 resolved, 10,472 deaths). There were 707 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 699. There were seven new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 122.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,452,036 tests completed. _ Ontario: 308,296 confirmed cases (10,389 active, 290,840 resolved, 7,067 deaths). There were 1,299 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 70.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,069. There were 15 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,205,314 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,225 confirmed cases (1,130 active, 30,188 resolved, 907 deaths). There were 56 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 81.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 366 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 52. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 541,269 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,709 confirmed cases (1,517 active, 27,794 resolved, 398 deaths). There were 116 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 128.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,062 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 152. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 590,938 tests completed. _ Alberta: 135,837 confirmed cases (4,949 active, 128,974 resolved, 1,914 deaths). There were 300 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,333 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 333. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,445,307 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 83,107 confirmed cases (4,975 active, 76,752 resolved, 1,380 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 96.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,653 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 379. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.81 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,969,444 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero 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 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,232 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero 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 zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,849 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 381 confirmed cases (25 active, 355 resolved, one deaths). There were four new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 63.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,852 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday March 8, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 57,567 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,387,189 doses given. Nationwide, 565,719 people or 1.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 6,298.772 per 100,000. There were 316,360 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,938,570 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.24 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 4,472 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,757 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.279 per 1,000. In the province, 1.61 per cent (8,427) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 5,850 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 41,470 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,105 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 13,281 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 83.724 per 1,000. In the province, 3.32 per cent (5,273) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 1,170 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 15,885 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 10 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.61 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,657 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 38,676 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.631 per 1,000. In the province, 1.48 per cent (14,395) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 11,700 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 73,680 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 52.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. In the province, 1.56 per cent (12,142) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 9,360 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 56,135 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 16,124 new vaccinations administered for a total of 548,136 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 64.06 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 638,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.85 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 30,192 new vaccinations administered for a total of 890,604 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.63 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (271,807) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 183,460 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 1,086,745 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.95 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 2,106 new vaccinations administered for a total of 89,728 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 65.162 per 1,000. In the province, 2.20 per cent (30,334) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 124,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.87 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,428 new vaccinations administered for a total of 91,884 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 77.924 per 1,000. In the province, 2.38 per cent (28,011) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 18,540 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 93,145 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 98.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,717 new vaccinations administered for a total of 290,391 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 65.967 per 1,000. In the province, 2.07 per cent (90,937) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 51,480 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 326,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 311,208 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.646 per 1,000. In the province, 1.69 per cent (86,865) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 385,080 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 21,097 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 505.547 per 1,000. In the territory, 18.75 per cent (7,826) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,100 new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 35,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 84 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 60.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. In the territory, 10.10 per cent (4,558) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,200 new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 35,300 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 78 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 56.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,911 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 359.216 per 1,000. In the territory, 13.28 per cent (5,144) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 2,500 new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 26,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 68 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 52.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order on Monday directing the Department of Education to review policies implemented by Donald Trump's administration, including changes to Title IX regulations that prohibit sex discrimination in federally funded institutions, according to administration officials. Biden focused on gender equity during his campaign and promised to strengthen Title IX if he won the White House. He also will sign a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council, according to two administration officials who briefed reporters on the plan. Biden’s transition team announced his plans to create the council before he took office. The order directing the review of Title IX could pave the way to a major shift in how colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct moving forward. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in 2018 rescinded an Obama-era administration standard in cases of reported sexual assault from requiring a “preponderance of evidence” — meaning it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred — to “clear and convincing evidence." The DeVos changes reduced the liability of colleges and universities for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstered the due process rights of the accused, including the right to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party advocate at campus hearings. Biden, as vice-president, along with then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2011 laid out the legal guidance of what was expected of college campuses in response to allegations of sexual violence on behalf of President Barack Obama's administration. With the Education Department review, Biden's intent is to set policies that help ensure students have an environment that’s free from sexual harassment and without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to one White House official who briefed reporters on the orders. The order establishing the Gender Policy Council comes after Trump disbanded an office specifically focused on women’s issues created during the Obama administration that was called the White House Council on Women and Girls. While the new council is a resurrection of the Obama-era one, one administration official said that giving it a new name was acknowledgement that inequities can affect people of all genders. Still, the official said the council will primarily focus on issues facing women and girls because of “disproportionate barriers" they face. The new council is tasked with helping push gender equity on the administration's domestic and foreign policy efforts. Some of the issues the council will focus on include combating sexual harassment, addressing structural barriers to women's participation in the workforce, decreasing gender wage and wealth gaps, addressing caregiving issues that have disproportionately impacted women and responding to gender-based violence. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive 910,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week as pharmaceutical companies ramp up deliveries to make good on their contractual obligations by the end of the month. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the country will receive nearly 445,000 shots from Pfizer-BioNTech for the second week running as the companies settle into a rhythm following a lengthy lull in January and much of February. The remaining 465,000 shots are expected from Moderna, as the pharmaceutical firm steps up its delivery schedule from once every three weeks to once every two. The influx of new shots comes as the federal government looks for vaccine-makers to finalize delivery of a total of eight million doses by March 31. That includes 5.5 million from Pfizer-BioNTech — up from the four million originally expected — and two million from Moderna. Canada received 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine last week. The federal government is not expecting any new deliveries from AstraZeneca-Oxford, nor does it anticipate receiving shipments of the newly approved vaccine from Johnson & Johnson until next month. At that point, however, both manufacturers are on tap to deliver millions of shots per month. That includes more than a million doses per week from Pfizer-BioNTech starting in the last week of March and into the following month. "In April, we are anticipating a steep increase in vaccine availability," Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing Canada’s inoculation distribution effort, said last week. “This includes 23 million doses of both Pfizer and Moderna between April and June, and at least 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca Serum Institute of India vaccine arriving by mid-May.” Johnson & Johnson, whose single-dose vaccine received Health Canada approval on Friday, is the fourth inoculation to receive the green light from the regulator. It uses a modified common-cold virus to carry a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 to convince the body to mount an immune response to prevent future infections. Clinical trials found it to be 66 per cent effective against moderate COVID-19-related illness, 85 per cent effective against severe illness, and 100 per cent effective against death. "We can be really increasingly optimistic in our outlook and that is really great," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said on Friday. Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the government has now confirmed total deliveries of 36.5 million vaccine doses by Canada Day which would be more than enough to get a single dose to each adult Canadian by then. That doesn't include any of the 10 million doses purchased from Johnson & Johnson, and includes none of the 20 million doses coming directly from AstraZeneca. Every vaccine except Johnson & Johnson's is given in two doses, but provinces are moving to implement new guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization stating those shots should be spaced out up to four months apart rather than three or four weeks. Provinces are making the move to get more people vaccinated with a first dose, after real-world evidence showed strong data that one dose is highly effective on its own. Nearly 1.7 million Canadians have now received at least one dose, and the pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the last two weeks. In the past seven days alone, more than 457,000 people were vaccinated, 2 1/2 times as many as in a similar period two weeks before. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press