Friday morning news briefing: End of the coal fire

Danny Boyle
Fire

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Coal fires banned in fight to cut emissions

Is this the end of the roaring hearth? Domestic coal and certain types of wood are to be banned from next year in an effort to cut air pollution. George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said the move was necessary as wood-burning stoves and open fires were considered "the most harmful pollutant" affecting people in this country. The Government is keen to be seen at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution. But it risks accusations of targeting consumers rather than industry as it approves a new deep coal mine. Bags of traditional house coal will be banned from sale by next February, while deliveries of loose coal will be phased out by 2023. The ban, which will affect mostly rural households, also includes wet wood. Environment Editor Emma Gatten answers all your questions.

Meanwhile, the Home Office's top civil servant has been accused of obstructing and undermining successive home secretaries following an extraordinary clash with Priti Patel. Sir Philip Rutnam, the permanent secretary, is accused of trying to block announcements, thwart staff moves and undermine the Home Secretary in Cabinet. Charles Hymas has more details of how Ms Patel was "obstructed" by the mandarin.

PS: Matt focuses on the battle over the Elgin Marbles in today's cartoon.

Grace Millane's mother confronts killer in court

The mother of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane said she will be forever "haunted" by the violent end her daughter met, as her Tinder date murderer was jailed for life. Gillian Millane confronted the 28-year-old New Zealand man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in court on Friday morning. Before the sentence was passed, she made a moving victim impact statement via video link from England, telling the killer she thinks about "the terror and pain she must have experienced at your hand". As Amanda Saxton reports from Auckland, Grace's murder sparked soul-searching over New Zealand's domestic violence record.

Woah-ho, we're halfway heir... Harry to join Bon Jovi

When the Duke of Sussex relinquished his official duties and headed for a new life in North America, many people suggested he might succumb to the lure of an LA-style celebrity lifestyle. But Harry appears to have exceeded even the most fanciful predictions by hinting at a collaboration with Eighties rock superstars Bon Jovi. The Duke will return to the UK from Canada next week for 12 days. Part of the visit will be to launch an eco-travel scheme - which will include a recording session with Jon Bon Jovi. Read a mocked-up text conversation between Harry and Bon Jovi.

News digest

Gallery: The big picture

Going Dutch | Staff wheel a newly discovered Rembrandt into place at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. View more of the day's best images.

The painting - Let the Little Children Come to Me - was unearthed in Amsterdam. CREDIT: REX - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX 

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Editor's choice

  1. Call of the wild Meet the hot young farmers of Instagram
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  3. End of the Century, review | Love story almost too beautiful to describe

Business and money briefing

Stamp duty | Next month's Budget is a golden opportunity to reform Britain's broken stamp duty system and get the country moving again, MPs, economists and campaigners have said. Industry experts say the tax on property sales is stopping families from moving and preventing millions of young people getting on the housing ladder.  

Sport briefing

Europa League | Manchester United came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw with Club Brugge in the first leg of their last-32 tie. Read James Ducker's match report. And Arsenal had to wait until the 81st minute to break the deadlock away to Olympiacos in a hard-fought 1-0 win. Sam Dean reports from the Karaiskakis stadium.  

And finally...

'Artistic mastery' | A court in New York has granted a $6.7 million (£5.2 million) award for nearly two dozen artists whose graffiti at a once-famous site were destroyed to make room for high-rise luxury residences. The graffiti site was a tourist attraction that drew thousands of people. Click here for pictures of what it looked like.

  • Coronavirus cases in Canada: More than 7,300 cases reported, 80 deaths
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    Coronavirus cases in Canada: More than 7,300 cases reported, 80 deaths

    Here’s a list of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

  • Trump says US won't pay for Meghan and Harry's security
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Trump says US won't pay for Meghan and Harry's security

    LONDON — U.S. President Donald Trump has offered his opinion on the future of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, insisting the United States government won’t pay for the couple’s security if they live in the United States.Responding to reports that the couple has moved to California, Trump tweeted on Sunday: “I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!"Harry —grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and sixth in line to the British throne — married the American actress Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in May 2018, in a ceremony watched by millions around the world.But the couple later said they found scrutiny by the British media — which they said tipped into harassment — intolerable.In January they announced they planned to quit as senior royals, seek financial independence and move to North America. The split becomes official at the end of March.Since late last year, Harry and Meghan have since been based on Canada’s Vancouver Island.Last month, Canadian authorities said they would stop paying for the couple’s security once they ceased to be working royals.Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Canada's public safety minister, said in February that "the assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status."Power said that as duke and duchess of Sussex, they have been considered "internationally protected persons" who warranted security measures under international treaty.Unconfirmed reports say the couple and their 10-month-old son Archie recently flew to Los Angeles, where Meghan was raised.Representatives for Meghan did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.The Associated Press

  • North Korea says Pompeo undercuts its interest in restarting talks
    News
    Reuters

    North Korea says Pompeo undercuts its interest in restarting talks

    North Korea said on Monday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo undermined its willingness to restart stalled denuclearisation talks, criticising his recent remarks on sanctions on Pyongyang. Pompeo had said after a teleconference with G7 foreign ministers last week that all nations must remain united in calling for North Korea to return to negotiations and applying diplomatic and economic pressure over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

  • Religious Events Will Have To ‘Adapt’ Around Coronavirus: Theresa Tam
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Religious Events Will Have To ‘Adapt’ Around Coronavirus: Theresa Tam

    Dr. Theresa Tam asked religious leaders to help "plank the curve" of the pandemic.

  • COVID-19 detected in care workers at three Nova Scotia seniors residences
    News
    The Canadian Press

    COVID-19 detected in care workers at three Nova Scotia seniors residences

    HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is confirming three workers at separate long-term care homes have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in two days.The latest case is a worker at the Magnolia residential care home in Enfield.It was one of 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 announced Sunday for the province, bringing the total to 122.Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, says so far tests of residents and other employees who may have been in contact with the workers have come up negative.On Saturday, the province announced workers at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S., and an employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement community in Halifax, had tested positive for the virus.Strang says the workers who tested positive had stopped going into work and stayed home before they were showing symptoms.However, Strang says health officials will continue to monitor for signs of the illness at the homes and continue testing.Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters he's frustrated by reports of people going to parks and beaches even though they're closed, referring to citizens who do this as, "the reckless few." He warned that if people don't obey the rules about avoiding public gatherings, "police will do it for you."Strang says the nursing home infections are a reminder of what's at stake."The recent cases in the homes for seniors is a strong reminder that our older population is more vulnerable," he said. "They need our help and they deserve our vigilance."In Newfoundland and Labrador, the province announced 15 new positive tests, bringing the total confirmed cases to 135, as the province continues to have the second highest per capita infection rate in Canada after Quebec.The province attributes the rapid growth of its figures to the "clustering" of a large number of cases that occurred at two funerals held at Caul's Funeral Home in St. John's earlier this month.Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the chief medical officer of health, said as of late Saturday, 99 of the province's 135 infections were linked to the funerals, which she referred to as "the Caul's cluster.""It's not a bad thing we found them .... It enables us to be able to isolate those people and prevent further spread," she said.Premier Dwight Ball noted during his daily news conference that as of Sunday there are two people in intensive care units being treated for the illness.John Haggie, the province's minister of health, said there are plans for a remote hospital for patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses in case there is a shortage of beds in hospitals.He said a mini-clinic, part of Canada's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, has been brought to St. John's. "It's available if we need to move a convalescent patient who doesn't have COVID into a temporary space for accommodation," he said.He added that roughly 45 per cent of acute care beds are currently vacant and available to COVID-19 patients.The health minister urged citizens to be more careful while they are at stores, keeping two metres of distance and only shopping when necessary.He said that if a report that someone with COVID-19 was out shopping proves correct, charges could be brought under the regulations put into place by public health authorities.New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island didn't hold briefings Sunday, but public health officials in New Brunswick issued a news release announcing 15 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 66.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2020.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

  • From sofas and kitchens, music stars hold coronavirus concert fundraiser
    News
    Reuters

    From sofas and kitchens, music stars hold coronavirus concert fundraiser

    Billie Eilish sang on her sofa, Elton John played a keyboard belonging to his children, and the Backstreet Boys sang in harmony from five locations as dozens of musicians put on a fundraiser for the warriors against a coronavirus. The one-hour show, broadcast on Fox television without commercials, was the biggest joint effort in the pandemic to lift spirits, raise money for those in the frontlines, and remind Americans to wash their hands and keep their distance. All the performances and appearances by celebrities ranging from comedian Ellen DeGeneres to R&B artist Lizzo and country singer Tim McGraw were filmed on phones, home cameras or online platforms.

  • Coronavirus sees China's Geely Automobile facing one of toughest years
    News
    Reuters

    Coronavirus sees China's Geely Automobile facing one of toughest years

    China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd said on Monday 2020 may be one of its toughest years yet, as pressure stemming from the coronavirus outbreak on production and sales persists. It is maintaining a sales target of 1.41 million cars in 2020.

  • News
    CBC

    COVID-19 concerns delays southern N.B. lobster season 1 month

    With the lobster fishery delayed for one month in lobster fishing areas 36 and 37 in southern New Brunswick, others with fisheries set to open in mid-April and the beginning of May are waiting to see what will happen to their seasons because of COVID-19. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans accepted a request from the Fundy North Fisherman's Association to delay the the start of the lobster fishery in the two zones from March 31 to April 30. The association represents fishermen from St. Martins to St. Stephen including the communities of Deer Island and Campobello Island. "In light of the current circumstances, and with input and support from groups involved, DFO has accepted this request and will be delaying the start of the fishing season by 30 days," wrote Jane Deeks, press secretary to the Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan in an email.Deeks said consultations are with harvesters, processors, and industry partners to assess individual situations on an ongoing basis."COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving challenge," Deeks said. In an email, Annie Chiasson, the assistant director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union said they have "been following the evolution of COVID-19 and its impact on the market for several weeks." She continued, saying "for all of the fishermen and coastal communities concerned, the MFU must consider all the options related to fishing in Nova Scotia and the spring fishery." Chiasson confirmed the MFU was collaborating with all DFO and others to develop mitigation plans 'that consider the possibility of a limited, postponed or cancelled season.'Deeks said the DFO is ensuring any decisions that are being made will not only support the industry in the short-term, but will allow for a strong recovery in the future.Meanwhile the crab season and lobster seasons in northeastern N.B. haven't been cancelled. In a release Tuesday, Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier said there were no changes to the opening or closing dates of the seasons. But fishermen and workers at seafood processing plants are getting worried. Doreen Bezeau told Radio Canada she doubts that it's possible to work in a processing plant with the COVID-19 virus still spreading. "If it's not resolved, and it's dangerous, they have to send us home,"  Bezeau said in French.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Quebec says number of new COVID-19 cases appears to be stabilizing

    Quebec's premier and public health director struck a cautiously optimistic tone on Sunday, saying aggressive physical distancing measures appear to be working to slow the spread of COVID-19.Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health, said the number of cases announced in recent days falls below what was originally projected."Each day now, we have less than we thought we would have," he said, while declining to share precise numbers.Arruda repeatedly smacked the back of his hand to demonstrate the concept of "flattening the curve" of new infections."The speed with which we're increasing is spreading out, and the more we do that, the longer we'll take to reach the plateau," he said.He explained that slowing down the rate of transmission might mean that the province will take longer to reach a peak, but it would help ensure hospitals stay below capacity."I don't want to choose who I'm going to keep on a respirator because I don't have enough," he said.Premier Francois Legault said there were 2,840 cases of COVID-19 in the province on Sunday, which is an increase of 342 from the day before.He noted that the percentage increase was smaller than in recent days, and the number of people hospitalized, at 192, remains far below the capacity of 6,000.The number of deaths remained unchanged at 22."We can see the daily increase in confirmed cases seems to be stabilizing," he said. "Public health authorities tell us our efforts are paying off, so don't give up."However, he said the numbers could rise again, and he urged Quebecers to remain positive.Arruda and Legault noted that the worst-hit regions appeared to be Estrie and Montreal, and they said health authorities would increasingly need to take a regional approach to fighting COVID-19.Montreal reported 1,361 cases as of Saturday night, an increase of 146 from the day before.Dr. Mylene Drouin, the regional director of public health, said that included 82 health-care workers and outbreaks in over 20 health-care facilities, affecting some 240 people.She said the most heavily-affected neighbourhoods are those surrounding downtown, but stressed that cases were rising all over the island."When we look at this data we see that, yes, there are more cases in the central neighbourhoods, but community transmission is sustained, and extends to the whole of Montreal," she said, while noting there was "a certain stability" in the number of new cases in recent days.She said the city was asking Montreal police to begin ticketing citizens who aren't respecting orders to isolate or avoid gatherings, or those who test positive and who aren't co-operating with health authorities.Mayor Valerie Plante, meanwhile, said the city had decided to extend the state of emergency it first declared on Friday, partly in response to a need to quickly provide additional support to the city's homeless population.Plante and Drouin said they didn't rule out tougher measures, such as limiting movement off the island or between neighbourhoods, if the situation worsens, but stressed that further restricting personal freedoms would be a last resort.On Saturday, the province announced that eight regions of the province would be off limits with police checkpoints on major roads in and out of those areas as of that afternoon, with travel only allowed for essential purposes.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2020.By Morgan Lowrie in MontrealThe Canadian Press

  • Trump extends distancing guidelines another month
    CBC

    Trump extends distancing guidelines another month

    U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would extend social and physical distancing guidelines until April 30 after initially saying he wanted to restart the economy by Easter.

  • Why these Islanders are embracing baking during COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    Why these Islanders are embracing baking during COVID-19

    As Islanders are staying home to help limit the spread of COVID-19, many are looking for a new ways to pass the time — and a lot of them have started looking in the kitchen.Some Island kitchens are busier than ever with people baking bread, cakes, cookies, muffins and more.And there are several cooks in the kitchen — from amateur to professional bakers.Andrea Clark lives just outside Kensington, P.E.I. She said she comes from "a big family" and has a lot of siblings but hasn't been able to see them because of COVID-19."That is very rare because we are all very close," she said. "I haven't really gone more than a week without seeing them."Clark said she likes to bake, so she came up with the idea of baking cakes and writing messages on them for her siblings. She said she then drops them off at their doorsteps.The cakes say "I miss you," Clark said."I just love to bake and I thought I would do something nice for them and let them know how I'm feeling."Clark said when her family members get the cakes they love the gesture."They love sweets so they were very excited to get something home cooked."Some Islanders are also hoping to inspire others to give baking a try.Glenda Landry is a professional baker who is offering to help Islanders learn how to bake bread."I make bread all the time so I am just passing along my skill," she said.Typically, Landry invites people to her home or visits them to teach them how to cook and bake, but now she's hoping to teach people online."I've already had three or four people who want to join in the class so we will pour some wine and we'll make bread on Facebook," she said.Landry said she has never taught anyone to cook through Facebook and she doesn't know "how exactly it is going to go.""With bread you have to be able to feel it. I need to be able to feel it to see if the texture is correct," she said. "But anyway we will give it a go, you know, what could happen?"Landry said it may take her some time to get the technology going, but she said anyone who is interested about learning to bake bread online should keep an eye on her Facebook page next week."Everybody is at home looking for a new activity and a lot of these people are interested but they never had the time to actually sit down and and figure out how to make bread," she said.Landry said while people are stuck at home because of the global pandemic it may be a good time to pick up baking as a skill."I would love to be able to help families in these times learn the wonderful skill of cooking a family meal and feeding your family," she said.Check out some more Island baking below:COVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • Moncton women on board cruise ship hit with coronavirus
    News
    CBC

    Moncton women on board cruise ship hit with coronavirus

    Two women from Moncton, N.B., are among the 248 Canadians stuck on a Holland American cruise ship that's been hit with the coronavirus.Judy Menard boarded the Zaandam in Buenos Aires the first week of March. The cruise ship was stuck off Panama's Pacific coast after four passengers died and more than 130 others developed influenza-like symptoms. At least two people are suspected to have the coronavirus.Judy Menard's daughter, Alison, said she talks to her mom daily on the phone."When we speak she's always very sunshiny and positive," she said about her mother. Menard and her travelling companion, Trudy Robertson, also from Moncton, have been confined to their cabin on the ship since March 22. The women don't have access to the internet in the room, and have been relying on updates from family to find out what's happening on board their ship.Including information about the four passengers that died on the ship."The captain did make an announcement that four people had died but they didn't provide any other information about the time frame or the circumstances," Alison Menard said. "She would have found that out from us probably, maybe, 12 hours after we heard that information."Menard said despite the stressful situation, the women are happy to be healthy and not have any symptoms of COVID-19.Some passengers transferred to a second Holland America ship — the Rotterdam, but Menard said the two women from Moncton are staying on the original boat."Somebody, including medical staff, came cabin to cabin to get each of them to fill out a questionnaire, and then a doctor assessed each of them."Alison said her mother has a cough that she's had for 30 years, but other than that she feels healthy. Panama reversed its decision to block the ship from the canal and the ship will be allowed to proceed through the Panama Canal, the government said Saturday.Menard doesn't know when the women from Moncton will make it back to Canada, but there will be a birthday to celebrate when her mother gets home.  Judy Menard is turning 77 on Tuesday, and although her original itinerary had her booked to be on the cruise for her birthday, she didn't plan to be in confinement. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says he has been co-ordinating with his Panamanian counterpart and will continue efforts to bring any non-infected Canadians home once the ship docks in Fort Lauderdale.

  • News
    CBC

    Albertans facing online issues in emergency funding applications

    Albertans continue to describe frustrating dead-ends during the application process for the province's emergency one-time funding even as its intended timespan draws to a close."It's absolutely frustrating and I really do need it," Jason Whitlock said Saturday.Whitlock is self-employed and does contract floor-coating work, but business has ground to a halt since the COVID-19 outbreak.He said he's been trying for days to make it through the Emergency Isolation Support program's application process, each of his attempts thwarted by one issue or another. The system would not recognize his ID. He spent hours on hold with the support line. The website would be over capacity."The best analogy I can think of is like trying to push a tsunami through a pinhole," he said.Whitlock is one of several Albertans who reached out to CBC News to express frustration with the application process.The rollout of the emergency funding — a one-time payment of $1,146 through an Interac e-Transfer to eligible applicants — has been fraught with technical issues. When it launched on Wednesday, high demand forced the province to temporarily stop taking applications and reset servers.But Tricia Velthuizen, press secretary for Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish, said in an emailed statement the website was functioning Saturday with no unplanned maintenance outages. Over 20,000 applications had been processed, she said, an increase since the 16,000 mentioned by the premier Friday.The roughly $50 million in funding is available to working adults who meet the province's published criteria for self-isolation. This includes people who are the sole caregivers to dependents who must self-isolate, and those who have otherwise been directed to self-isolate by health authorities.Velthuizen said the demand was extremely high and requests continue to overwhelm processing capacity. "Albertans may find that the system is temporarily unavailable as we need to remove the online access periodically and on an ongoing basis," she said."We appreciate people's patience as we work continually to improve the system."However, Velthuizen did not provide a closing date for applications when asked. The application website reads that the program is only temporary to "bridge the gap until the Federal Emergency Care Benefit is available in April."Michael Peters is a partner in Fox Runner Tattoo, which has shut down due to the pandemic. He says he's worried about not getting through in time."With this system constantly, constantly constantly stopping people from getting this credit eventually, a lot of us aren't going to be able to get it," he said Saturday."I know there are different EI and support plans coming, but to get us through this gap this is very important."

  • Handmade memento brings Island couple comfort in care facility during COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    Handmade memento brings Island couple comfort in care facility during COVID-19

    Outside a care facility in Summerside P.E.I., an unusual figurine peaks out near one of the trees — a papier mâché Jesus. It was placed there by Pauline Doucette, whose parents recently moved into Wedgewood Manor. The replica was made by Doucette's father Patrick a few years ago when his wife Jean was diagnosed with dementia."She's pretty spiritual and every time she prays she'd keep her eyes on that statue," Patrick said.Doucette said before the COVID-19 outbreak, going to church was a regular part of her mother's routine and something they enjoyed doing together.Due to COVID-19, churches across the province have cancelled in-person gatherings and the province has also discontinued visitations at P.E.I.'s long-term care and community care facilities.When the couple moved into the care facility, Doucette said her mother kept asking when they would be able to go mass again. "With her dementia, she would call me quite often and say 'when am I going to be able to see Jesus again?'" she said."And I'd say, 'well mom, soon this will be over and I'll be able to pick you up and take you to church.'"But in the meantime, Doucette said she wanted to do something to bring her mother a little reminder of home and of the comfort that going to church together used to bring her.So. Doucette said she had an idea to bring the papier mâché statue, which stands at about 1.5 metres, to her parents. "I carried him up one day in the car. He had quite a ride with me."Doucette said she then tied the Jesus to the tree, knocked on the window and told her mom to look outside. "She said 'Oh my God it's Jesus!'""Her and dad were just so excited about it. She's so happy, giving dad a big kiss."The couple has been married for 56 years and Doucette said they're lucky to be sharing the same room in the manor. "First of all, there wasn't any room for dad," she said."By divine miracle we all say, and from mom's prayers, somehow a room became available that they could actually share," she said.'We have to have faith that it will get better'Doucette said her parents are soul-mates."You name it, they've been through all of it," she said."True love through bad times, good times."When asked about their relationship, Patrick said the couple "get along pretty good.""She's got a heart of gold, that's one thing. I've never, never, never seen a person so loving as her," he said.Doucette said even though they have each other, the gesture of bringing the papier mâché Jesus to her parents was her way of providing a little more comfort during this uncertain time. "That whole moment for me was just a reminder that you know, there's always something to be grateful for," she said. "We have to have faith that it will get better." COVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • News
    CBC

    Do you qualify for the province's emergency income benefit?

    Those who have lost their jobs because of layoffs and closures related to COVID-19 and are having a hard time paying their bills could receive help from the province as early as this week.The emergency income benefit will provide a one-time income supplement of $900 for workers or small business owners who lost their income on March 15 or after.Although Premier Blaine Higgs said last week that the application process was already underway, the government said Sunday that it in fact it opens Monday at noon on the GNB website,Higgs has said it may be possible for money to be available and deposited into bank accounts as soon as this Thursday. "We are facing a situation unlike anything we have ever experienced," he said in a news release. "We believe this one-time benefit will help workers and self-employed people with their immediate needs and will keep us on a trajectory that will bring prosperity back to New Brunswick."The funding is meant to bridge the gap until a federal emergency response benefit kicks in sometime in April.Green Party Leader David Coon, a member of the all-party COVID-19 committee, said many people will apply for the bridging support, as the number of New Brunswickers who are out of work is estimated at more than 30,000."That may be an underestimate for sure. It doesn't count the people who are self-employed and have no income coming in, so it's going to be large numbers, there's no question about it."Who can apply? The provincial benefit applies to wage earners, contract and freelance workers, and small business owners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. These are the seven criteria to be eligible for the provincial benefit: * You have lost your job or been laid off because of the state of emergency, or you are self-employed and have lost all streams of revenue because of the state of emergency. * You have earned a minimum of $5,000 in the past 12 months. * You have lost your primary source of income. * You have or are planning to apply for support from the federal government, either through EI or the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit. * You have no other source of income. * You are 18 years of age or older. * You have been a resident of New Brunswick for the past 12 months. All requirements must be met to qualify for the lump-sum $900. The benefit will end on April 30.Those who are currently getting other forms of supplemental assistance such as employment insurance because of a job loss unrelated to COVID-19, social assistance, Old Age Security, or a pension, will not qualify for the benefit. Those receiving any sort of income or benefit, such as a salary, sick leave, or workers compensation, also will not qualify. People in jail are not eligible either.

  • News
    CBC

    B.C. announces $3M in emergency funding to help struggling food banks

    The B.C. government announced $3 million in emergency funding Sunday to help struggling food banks keep up with the surge in demand due to the COVID-19 crisis.Food Banks British Columbia will distribute the money to food banks province-wide so they can buy and distribute food, pay employees and cover other costs essential to the delivery of their food programs."British Columbia's not-for-profit food banks provide a critical service for vulnerable people in our communities, especially during this most challenging time," said Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing.The emergency funds are coming out of the province's community gaming grants program, and come on the heels of a ministerial order issued  three days ago, under the Emergency Program Act, to protect B.C.'s most vulnerable.Urgent callOn March 17, The Greater Vancouver Food Bank issued an urgent call for financial donations, shopping bags and volunteers in order to keep providing services amid the response to COVID-19.The organization said it may need to purchase more food than usual to help people who are struggling."Food insecure people cannot afford to stockpile food, and we are here to ensure they have access to a continuous supply of it," said the food bank's chief operating officer, Cynthia Boulter, in a news release.The organization, Boutler said, had to be prepared in case its usual donors from the food industry are unable to continue providing critical donations."This grant will make a tremendous impact in communities all over B.C. and ensure that food banks can keep their doors open and continue to meet the needs of the vulnerable, who particularly need their assistance at this time," said Laura Lansink, executive director, Food Banks BC.In a statement, the province said the funding will allow food banks to have "drive-through and delivery opportunities, larger hampers, increased home delivery capability and removes the requirement to present identification."These latest steps are part of the B.C. government's $5-billion economic action plan to help families and businesses struggling financially through the COVID-19 crisis, including one-time payments of $1,000 to people who are now out of work.

  • News
    CBC

    Laid-off workers find alternative income as COVID-19 changes the job landscape

    Many Albertans are out of work, as businesses are forced to close in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, there are suddenly new jobs available in industries that offer essential services.Sophia Lopez said her workplace will likely shut down soon, and her husband has been temporarily laid off. It's a similar story for many right now.That's why, Lopez said, when they were able to find work at a southern Alberta farm, it was a relief."It felt like a breath of fresh air to know that we have some sort of opportunity that a very minuscule amount of people across the entire country have," she said.There are also still opportunities at companies like Walmart, which is busier than ever.Walmart Canada's John Benjamin said the company needs to fill positions."We've obviously seen a big increase in home delivery and grocery pick up, and so those roles again are part of the recruitment," he said."We announced last week that we were hiring up to about 10,000 associates across the country. Since then we've seen roughly about 10,000 applications."The health-care, delivery and grocery sectors are experiencing growing demand for services.Across Canada, several grocers have increased wages for staff in recent weeks. Amazon has temporarily hiked wages and overtime pay for staff in Canada too.With some self-isolation orders and restaurant closures, Calgarians are testing the limits of the city's grocery delivery services and apps. The Mustard Seed and the Drop-In Centre have both been identified as sites set up to receive new funding from the province, part of which is earmarked for hiring more staff.Jeff Aplin, CEO of the David Aplin Group told CBC News there is job growth in some limited sectors right now.For instance, Aplin expects job opportunities in technology and IT from the main telecom and internet corporations and from firms big and small which play a role in providing or supporting online services."A lot of businesses and organizations have been talking for a long time about the digital transformation. Well, it just happened last week. Everybody who can, is working from home. If you can't, you're probably not working," he said. For Lopez and her husband, the temporary and flexible farm positions are filling their needs.Still, they hope life will eventually return to normal.

  • News
    CBC

    High wind warning for Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex County and Flood warning near Point Pelee Drive

    Strong wind gusts hit the Windsor-Essex County and Chatham-Kent areas Sunday afternoon.Environment Canada said that very strong southwesterly gusts of 90 kilometres have been reported in the Windsor and Chatham regions throughout the afternoon."Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," Environment Canada's warning read."High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions due to high winds."The strong winds are expected to move eastwards and affect other regions over southwestern Ontario later this afternoon and early this evening. The gusts are supposed to taper off later this evening.Flood warningA flood warning was also issued by the Essex Region Conservation Authority for Point Pelee Drive and Robson Road in Leamington. It said water has spilled over the top of the road between Sturgeon Creek Bridge and Point Pelee National Park and on Robson Road, between Cherokee Lane and the roundabout at Monarch lane, Waves spilling over break walls are spilling water on to the road. The authority warned about erosion on West Shore road between the ferry ramp and East West Road."Officials at the Essex Region Conservation Authority will continue to monitor conditions and weather forecasts and advise accordingly," the warning released by the ERCA read."People should take extra caution to avoid areas where flooding is occurring as well as rivers, streams, and shoreline areas during significant rainfall and wind/lake events."

  • 'A new hazard': Union representing federal meat inspectors want safety guarantee
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'A new hazard': Union representing federal meat inspectors want safety guarantee

    CALGARY — The union representing federal meat inspectors says its members will be back at work Monday at a meatpacking plant just north of Calgary if the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reassured that it's safe.Production at family-owned Harmony Beef was halted last Friday after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 a day earlier. It processes up to 750 head of cattle per day.The company was notified by Alberta Health that a worker, who hadn't been on the job for days, had tested positive for the virus. A number of other workers from that area of the plant are self-isolating. The halt in operations was ordered by the CFIA which wouldn't allow its inspectors to enter the facility."There's been no work refusals from any of the federal food inspectors. They haven't done that in Alberta to date," said Fabian Murphy, president of the Agriculture Union.About 750 of the union's 4,000 food inspectors work inside meat packing plants."The Canadian Food Inspection Agency withdrew their services so it was a government agency that said to the plant that they must have a plan in place that's going to ensure everybody's safety before they're allowed to resume full production," he added.The plant could reopen Monday if the agency is satisfied.The CFIA said it and provincial health authorities were going to the Harmony plant Sunday to gather additonal information on the potential COVID-19 risk for both plant employees and inspection staff. The review will determine the next steps for resolution.Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told reporters protocols had been followed and the plant is safe to open but CFIA inspectors wouldn't return to work. He said if necessary the government was looking to substitute Alberta inspectors into other facilities instead."Because we also have concerns about a shortage of CFIA inspectors at some of the other meat packing plants in Alberta," Kenney said.Murphy said replacing federal inspectors with provincial ones would be difficult. He said the plants are federally regulated and it would take a ministerial order from the federal agriculture minister for it to happen.He said the federal inspectors have been showing up for work every day even though it's clear many of the plants across Canada have no real plans on how to deal with COVID-19."They have a new hazard that's been introduced into the workplace that they haven't assessed. I don't think plants were prepared for this so they're continuing with the same safety precautions that were in place to protect the food," Murphy said."Those safety precautions weren't designed to protect people from any hazard like the coronavirus. If you go in there and you can't practice social distancing or personal distancing, you have no idea the folks you're working next to if they've come in contact with anybody. You are taking a risk."Murphy is confident the CFIA will make the right call and has been in contact with the agency on a daily basis."The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is going to make that call. If the employer is satisfied that the plant has a plan in place to protect their safety then they can go back to work," he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2020Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    What to expect as B.C. students return to virtual classrooms

    With spring break ending this weekend, students, parents and teachers are preparing to adapt to an education system that is shifting to a virtual environment.In-class learning at B.C. schools was suspended indefinitely by the province on March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts across the province have been making announcements and providing guidance about what families can expect, but it's still a work in progress, according to some administrators.Many teachers are expected to return to work at their schools or work from home on Monday, and students should receive direct communication from their teachers about what to do. The Ministry of Education says meal programs for vulnerable students are to continue. 'Patience'Surrey schools superintendent Jordan Tinney sent a video message to families saying teachers have had little time to shift from in-class education to virtual learning."We really need your patience in Week 1," he said.Many staff across the province have been working over March break to prepare, but the priority so far has been safety for students, families and employees — and supporting the children of essential workers along with vulnerable students.Surrey high school teacher Lizanne Foster says another top priority for teachers right now is assessing what families need, such as computer access or an internet connection, so all students can access lessons from home.Tinney said Monday will be the first opportunity teachers and school district staff have to access resources and figure out how to design a new education system.He's telling families to expect to hear from their school by the end of day Tuesday with initial learning plans.Teachers to keep distance at schoolsA similar adjustment period is being set up in Vancouver.Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman sent a message to families in which she said teachers will attend schools in small groups this week to pick up any resources they may need.By midweek, staff will begin to reach out to students and families to determine whether parents will need to pick up any educational materials from the school.A schedule for picking up those items will then be established to ensure people practise physical distancing.After this, teachers will start to plan how to deliver the rest of the year's curriculum virtually."[It] will take time," said Hoffman.The Burnaby School District says it's taking a similar approach, noting the Ministry of Education has asked school districts to have learning opportunities in place no later than mid-April.The province says essential workers who need care for school-aged children should contact their principal — not take children to school on Monday.At the direction of the public health office, the Ministry of Education says schools will stay open with limited staff to support children whose parents are essential front-line workers."Services and learning supports to students can and must be provided in a safe manner for those families whose parents work in critical roles," Minister of Education Rob Fleming said in a statement.Keep Learning B.C.On Friday, the province launched Keep Learning B.C., a new at-home education resource website for parents and caregivers who will likely be helping with their child's education for the remainder of the school year.The province has also answered several frequently asked questions in an eight-page document that outlines the work that has been done so far and what is coming.Meal program will continueThe Ministry of Education has asked school districts to ensure that school meal programs continue, while following public health orders.The province has asked schools to prioritize families in need and to use "creative and innovative" approaches to deliver the service as the pandemic continues.Some meals may be prepared for delivery to families, rather than having children come to schools. That is the plan so far in Vancouver, where Hoffman said staff will contact students who depend on school meals. "Those students, who are among the most vulnerable, will be able to pick up a meal at their school," said the latest update from the VSB.The province is also encouraging schools to work with community partners. For example, it says the Cowichan Valley School District is working as part of a community task force to deliver groceries and prepared meals to some families.

  • New COVID-19 outbreak at Ottawa retirement home as citywide tally hits 122
    News
    CBC

    New COVID-19 outbreak at Ottawa retirement home as citywide tally hits 122

    Ottawa public health officials have confirmed 16 new cases of COVID-19 in the city, including a second outbreak at a retirement home.Dr. Vera Etches, the city's medical officer of health, said in an update Sunday afternoon that Ottawa Public Health was investigating an outbreak of the respiratory illness at the Maplewood Retirement Community.The Industrial Avenue retirement home is the second in the city to have a confirmed case of COVID-19, after a resident at the Promenade retirement home in Orléans fell ill last week.All residents at the home are now in self-isolation, Etches said, and staff have been urged to wear masks when entering the building.The city's fire department also has its first case of COVID-19 after an employee recently fell ill, said John Sobey, president of the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association.While Ottawa Fire Services hasn't seen a reduction in staffing, Sobey said his union has been in talks with the fire chief's office to determine a plan should more firefighters require time off.Sobey told Radio-Canada Sunday that crews have been "diligent" in ensuring stations, vehicles, and firefighting equipment are all disinfected and ready for use.The new numbers announced Sunday bring the total of confirmed cases in the national capital to 122.Elsewhere in the regionJust outside the city, three residents and one staff member at the Almonte Country Haven, a retirement home in Almonte, Ont., have also tested positive for COVID-19.A post on the retirement home's Facebook page said that staff had made the "difficult decision to isolate every resident to their room" to halt the spread of the coronavirus.The four cases are among 15 that have been confirmed in the region in the past few days, according to the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.Ontario's health ministry was reporting 211 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 1,355.In the Outaouais, meanwhile, public health officials also confirmed two new cases Sunday, bringing the total there to 28.As of Sunday, Quebec had 2,840 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 22 deaths.

  • What to know about the coronavirus numbers in New York
    News
    The Canadian Press

    What to know about the coronavirus numbers in New York

    NEW YORK — The official statistics reported by health authorities would seem to show that the United States has more coronavirus infections than any other country and that the New York caseloads exceed any other state.But the true statistics are far from clear.Reporting and testing vary so much from country to country and state to state that it's hard to know the exact size of the outbreaks, and that is especially the case in New York.Here are some facts about the numbers:THE MOST TESTSIn the U.S., New York has about 45% of the nation's more than 125,000 cases, according to statistics posted Sunday by Johns Hopkins University researchers tracking global coronavirus trends.But New York has been doing more testing than anywhere else in the country, causing its coronavirus numbers to skew higher.IT'S STILL BADThe widespread testing doesn't change the fact that the outbreak is worse in New York than anywhere else in the U.S.The state has recorded more than 1,000 deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday. No other state comes close to that.Health experts pointed to the size and density of the nation’s biggest city as a likely factor, as well as its status as an international business centre and travel hub.It may have hit New York earlier too. The state probably saw infections before any other part of the country simply because the city draws more travellers from countries that had bad outbreaks earlier.TESTING SICK PEOPLEAnother reason why confirmed cases don't tell the full story is the fact that testing standards differ by location.In New York City, for example, authorities have ordered doctors only to test people who are seriously ill and might require hospitalization. Other places do more widespread testing.Deborah Birx, who co-ordinates the White House outbreak response, said last week that hat 28% of tests in the New York metro have come back positive, compared with 8% in the rest of the country.That means the toll of the New York outbreak could be significantly worse than the confirmed cases suggest.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Third Albertan dies from COVID-19 as total cases reach 661 on Sunday

    Alberta recorded its third death from COVID-19 on Sunday: an 80-year-old woman from the Calgary zone.There are 40 new cases, bringing the total number in Alberta to 661.The MacKenzie Towne care home in Calgary accounted for 11 of the new cases identified. The facility now has a total of 26 confirmed cases.Of the confirmed cases in Alberta, 41 people have been hospitalized and 14 have been admitted to intensive care units, according to a news release from the province. There are 73 confirmed cases of recovery."Up to 60 of the 661 cases may be due to community transmission," says the province in Sunday's release. The case totals broken down by health zone are as follows: * 408 cases in the Calgary zone; * 149 cases in the Edmonton zone; * 46 cases in the Central zone; * 45 cases in the North zone; * 12 cases in the South zone, and; * One case in a zone that is yet to be confirmed. The province has been giving near daily updates on the spread of the virus across the province since early March. Instead of live updates this weekend, the government is providing updated numbers and statistics.

  • Residents show support for health-care workers
    CBC

    Residents show support for health-care workers

    The coronavirus has hit British Columbia since the beginning, and local residents are finding ways to show support for health care and other essential workers during the pandemic.

  • 'We don't ask questions': Toronto restaurant giving free meals amid COVID-19 job cuts
    News
    CBC

    'We don't ask questions': Toronto restaurant giving free meals amid COVID-19 job cuts

    A longtime family restaurant in Toronto is trying to help people who've lost their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak by giving out free meals to anyone in need — no questions asked.    Like many restaurants in Ontario, Little India is facing a major financial loss after stopping dine-in service to slow the pandemic's spread.But when former customers started asking if they could eat now and pay later, the owners knew they had to pay it forward."We existed in this community for more than 20 years. This community gave us everything," said general manager Sri Selvarasa, who runs the restaurant with his three brothers. Their family business has been on Queen Street West since 1995."Whatever we are today, it's because of this community. And now it's time."More than 70 people a dayThousands of people are out of work during the pandemic, with non-essential services closed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Canada has seen 1.6 million employment insurance claims over the past eight or nine days, said Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.Little India expected four or five people would come in for the free meals each day, said Selvarasa.But when they started on Wednesday, 40 people came looking for help.The next day, that number almost doubled, he said. Their post about the meals on Facebook has been shared more than 4,400 times.'All they have to say: I need a meal'The staff don't ask questions. You can come every day, twice a day, if you need to, said Selvarasa."All they have to say: I need a meal," he said. "We don't ask questions. Whoever feels they cannot afford... [for] any reason."The restaurant has no problem serving people until they run out of budget or food."Maybe they lost a job, maybe someone can't afford, maybe [they] didn't get a chance to stock up the groceries," said Selvarasa. "We don't want to ask. It's just a free meal."Some people do share their stories, however — like one woman who had lost her serving job.When they handed her the food, she was crying, said Selvarasa, she was so happy for the help.Want to be 'on the right side'The restaurant received a huge community response for their efforts, with many people commenting on social media and calling with appreciation. A couple of people have donated more than $100 and another man donated takeout boxes, he said. The restaurant has now added an option for people to donate the price of a free meal.Restaurants across Canada are facing severe financial hardship and potential closures, after being ordered to stop dine-in service to slow the spread of COVID-19. But despite lost revenue, Selvarasa said they couldn't afford to cut staff — it would be "heartbreaking.""We know we're going to lose anyway," he said.  Preparing free meals keeps also staff busy, he said."Whatever you have, you just deal with that ... Everyone is struggling."This is a once-in-a-lifetime situation, he said, and they want to do the right thing."Things are going to get better," he said. "We just want to make sure that we were on the right side."