It looks like Luna will always think she’s a baby at heart. Cuteness overload!
It looks like Luna will always think she’s a baby at heart. Cuteness overload!
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 email@example.com. Problems with the newsletter? 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In Japan, convenience is king and getting tested for COVID-19 can be highly inconvenient. Part of solution, as it is for a range of daily necessities in Tokyo, has become the humble vending machine. Eager to conserve manpower and hospital resources, the government conducts just 40,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests a day, a quarter of its capacity, restricting them to people who are quite symptomatic or have had a high chance of being infected.
A high school mechanics course wasn't enough to satisfy Saedene Simmons's automotive appetite. As soon as the teenager got home, she insisted on helping her father work on his car. It's a love that father and daughter have shared for decades. Now at 38, Simmons is making a mid-career shift rarely achieved by any woman, let alone a Black woman. Simmons is studying to be a truck mechanic. "I just figured, why not go back to what I love most?" Simmons, a mother of three, told CBC News. "I wanted to be a mechanic coming out of high school, so I figured why not try and see where that takes me." Simmons is one of the first African Nova Scotian women to study heavy-duty equipment and truck and transport repair at the Nova Scotia Community College. Simmons has always had an interest in mechanics.(CBC) During the year-long course, she is developing entry-level skills to work as a heavy-duty equipment or truck and transport apprentice. The former caterer wants others to know it's never too late to follow their dreams. "If Saedene can do it, so can I" is the message she has for young women. "I'm taking the mechanics [program] because I want to drive trucks, so I want to learn the truck inside out before I actually drive it," she said. Simmons was first introduced to heavy-duty trucks while watching her father, uncles and grandfather run the family's paving company in North Preston. "Dad picking me up in the dump truck every day, I used to love doing that," she said. "And him taking us to the gravel pit to unload the gravel and asphalt." Saedene Simmons's dad, Calvin (Ricky) Simmons, says his daughter always loved being around cars.(CBC) Her father, Calvin (Ricky) Simmons, noticed his daughter's mechanical infatuation early on. He took Saedene to her first car show when she was three, and her passion for vehicles has grown ever since. "She loves being around cars," he said. "I can honestly say none of my three sons have a passion for vehicles, cars, trucks, equipment like Saedene does — none of them." 'A woman can do just about anything a man can do' His pride in his daughter's barrier-busting career path is tempered by fatherly concern. He said that as a Black woman, Saedene will have to prove herself in a field that is mostly white and male. In his decades in the trucking industry, Ricky Simmons said he has never seen a Black woman under the hood. However, Saedene Simmons doesn't think gender or race should determine one's fate in the field of mechanics. "A woman can do just about anything a man can do," she said. "I think I've been living by that my whole life or I wouldn't be here, I'd probably be sitting in an office at a mechanic shop." Simmons with her instructor, Dayna Gillis-Lynds.(CBC) Simmons's instructor at NSCC has an idea of what awaits women trying to break into the field. Dayna Gillis-Lynds was the first woman to obtain her Red Seal certification at NSCC back in 2013. She said the industry counts just six women in all of Nova Scotia. "Being a female in the trade, I find you have to prove yourself a little harder than being male," said Gillis-Lynds. "You know that eyes are on you, you know you're being watched, you know you have to push yourself just that much harder, you have to show your abilities." Simmons said she wants to join the family's paving business, but her immediate focus is graduating in June. Completing the truck repair course goes hand in hand with setting an example for her three children, she said. "For them to see that mom loves doing this and that she's getting good grades — maybe if they see me doing that, then what they love to do most, they will carry that throughout school and their lives." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC) MORE TOP STORIES
Russia accused Facebook on Monday of violating citizens' rights by blocking some media outlets' content in the latest standoff between a government and Big Tech. Communications watchdog Roskomnadzor at the weekend threatened Facebook with a minimum 1 million rouble ($13,433) fine and demanded it restore access to content posted by TASS news agency, RBC business daily and Vzglyad newspaper. It said Facebook blocked posts pertaining to Russia's detention of alleged supporters of a Ukrainian far-right group.
Nearly three months after receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, residents and staff at Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte Saint-Luc are set to receive the second dose this week. Residents at the long-term care home were among the first in the province to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Dec.14. Initially, their second dose had been planned for 21 days after that, but the government opted to delay it in order to inoculate more health-care workers. "It's something we've been fighting for for months. We're glad it's finally happening," said Joyce Shanks, a member of the Family Advocacy Committee at Maimonides. "It's been a really long road." The regional health authority is expected to start administering the second doses at Maimonides on Monday. Shanks, whose father is a resident at the centre, and others on the committee threatened legal action against the government back in January, because it delayed the second dose. Ultimately, the committee decided against suing, but Shanks says the families are still frustrated by the government's decision. "They ignored us, they completely ignored us," said Shanks. "As much as we wanted to pursue them legally, we were told by our lawyers that it would take tens of thousands of dollars and it would take months. We needed something to happen quickly — it didn't make sense to pursue a lawsuit." Now, Shanks just hopes this second dose of the vaccine will help restore a sense of normalcy for her father and others at the home. "There have been no celebrations, no music, no entertainment, no activities," said Shanks. "We're praying that the vaccine rollout across the country allows people to move more freely because it's no way to live and it's no way to die either." Four-month delay Last week, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of the vaccine be extended to four months. Francine Dupuis, deputy CEO of the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, says the regional health authority will be vaccinating in four-month intervals from now on, but is making an exception for Maimonides residents. "They had already been cancelled at the beginning of January when they were supposed to get their second dose … so I almost begged the government, 'listen we cannot cancel them twice,'" said Dupuis. Dupuis said the mass vaccination campaign that got underway last week has been going well so far. She said the regional authority has been vaccinating about 1,800 people per day.
TORONTO — A group including all four of Ontario's main teachers unions is urging the provincial government to offer free menstrual products in all publicly funded schools. The group, led by the Toronto Youth Cabinet, made the call in an open letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Monday. It says some Ontario school boards -- such as the Toronto District School Board and the Waterloo Region District School Board -- have taken action on their own, but the group is calling for the province to expand that to all 72 of Ontario's boards. The group notes that British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island offer free menstrual products to all students. The letter says menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury. It says a lack of access to period products can lead to students missing school and work. "Every woman, girl, trans man and gender non-binary person should be able to focus on their education and be active participants without having to worry about inadequate access to tampons, pads, and other menstrual products," the letter reads. The group, which also includes the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Student Trustees Association, is calling on the province to fully fund the initiative and ensure it's in place by the end of 2021. "These products must not only be free of charge, but be provided in ways that also protect privacy, are barrier free and easily accessible, are consistent in delivery and availability, and are non-stigmatizing," the letter reads. A spokeswoman for Lecce said the ministry knows that a lack of access to period products "creates significant stress in students' lives," particularly in lower income communities. "We remain open and committed to finding innovative solutions to help girls and young women access menstrual products and support their social-emotional well-being," Caitlin Clark wrote in an email. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
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
Windsor city council has approved the final design for a parkette in Olde Walkerville. The parkette will be located at the corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive and feature a bronze statue of Hiram Walker. The statue depicts Hiram Walker in a walking pose atop six whiskey barrels. He has blueprints under his arm and he's headed into Walkerville to build the town. "Normally, you see Hiram Walker depicted as an older fellow. I wanted him to be young and youthful, more, in his 50s when he was just getting out, developing Walkerville," said sculptor Mark Williams, who created the eight-foot statue two years ago. The bronze statue of Hiram Walker will be the centre piece of the new parkette.(Mark Williams) It took the city that length of time to find the right location and then negotiate with the Hiram Walker distillery for the small parcel of land. It will act as a cornerstone of the city's planned distillery district. "Having him be kind of a key piece in this gateway into old Walkerville is a really good fit," said Heidi Baillargeon, manager of parks development. Baillargeon said the design by architectural firm Brook McIlroy also features cobblestone paving, benches, lighting, landscaping and some decorative granite retaining walls with planters. The statue is currently in storage awaiting the completion of the parkette. The corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive is where the parkette will be located.(Dale Molnar/CBC) Chris Edwards, publisher of Walkerville Publishing says Walker was a humble man who would probably be a little uncomfortable with the honour, but Edwards says it will be a real asset to the area. "I think it brings a lot of attention to Walkerville.It should certainly, once COVID settles down and people sort of get back to normal, should drive a lot of traffic ... People will want to see it." Even though in real life Hiram Walker was only about five feet tall or so Williams made the statue eight feet tall on purpose to reflect how much larger than life Walker was. "When you think of everything he's done ... Walker farms that used to be out there and all the trains all the way through the county. So, yeah, he was pretty big for a little guy," said Williams laughing. Now that council has approved the project, it will be tendered out — with the $1,174,432 parkette expected to be finished by July, just in time for Walker's birthday.
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
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.
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
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Inc said on Monday its net loss in the fourth quarter of last year narrowed 42% from the same period in 2019, as EV sales increased in the world's biggest car market. New York-listed Xpeng, which sells mainly in China and competes with Tesla Inc and Nio Inc, said its net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders was 787.4 million yuan ($120.7 million) for the quarter, compared with 1,354.6 million yuan a year earlier. In the final three months last year, revenue jumped 346% year-on-year to 2.85 billion yuan.
North Shore Rescue, Canada's most famous — and busiest — volunteer search and rescue team, pulls off about 130 operations every year in the popular hiking and skiing mountains immediately north of Vancouver. Increasingly, women are joining the ranks of the mostly male squad, bringing their expertise to the difficult and dangerous work of saving the lives of those lost or injured in the backcountry. Kayla Brolly, one of seven women currently on the 45-person team, joined NSR eight years ago. "I do this work because it is immensely rewarding," said Brolly, who is a nurse. "You feel a great sense of relief when you locate a subject ... then you move forward to the extraction and you know that you're able to try and get this person home to their families. And you just feel pretty proud of your team, too, because this work isn't easy." Surya Carmichael has volunteered with North Shore Rescue for four years.(Camille Vernet/Radio Canada) The demands of the job are not for the unfit or faint of heart. NSR is called out to a wide range of missions, from complex helicopter rescues in steep and snowy terrain, to searches for missing children and older people. And while it's true the majority of volunteers have historically been men, Brolly says women have proven themselves equally capable. "I think the physicality of the work for myself hasn't been impacted by the fact that I'm a woman — like at all. I've never struggled with any of the tasks I've been assigned and I don't think that's a barrier at all for women in this type of work," she said. Surya Carmichael said she immediately felt at home when she joined NSR four years ago. "The team has been very welcoming to women," she said. "There's a diversity — diversity of genders, but also of passions, experiences and ethnicity, which brings different ideas and it's better for the team." Brolly and Carmichael work on a nighttime ropes training maneuver.(Camille Vernet/Radio Canada) NSR members put in countless hours of training to keep their skills sharp, always looking for ways to mitigate the risk to themselves while doing their utmost to complete a successful rescue. Brolly says the work demands a combination of hard and soft skills, which she and her female teammates have in large supply. "I think the women bring a special element: very creative problem-solving, lots of experience with multitasking and just excellent skills. They come in with unbelievable mountaineering skills, navigation skills, rope rescue, all these different domains, and then we get to learn from each other," she said. Volunteering with NSR can take a toll on one's personal life in all sorts of ways — Brolly jokes that her financial planner hates her. Brolly, front, is featured in the Knowledge Network documentary series Search and Rescue: North Shore, giving viewers a glimpse into some of the harrowing rescues pulled off by the team. (Search and Rescue North Shore Facebook) But inevitably, the satisfaction of serving on the highly respected team has a way of outshining the negatives. "My favourite thing about search and rescue is the camaraderie," said Brolly. "When you do these pretty dangerous things in pretty tough places and go through tough situations, you create a lot of bonds."
MILAN — Italian police on Monday arrested a 36-year-old Algerian in the southern city of Bari on suspicion of supporting co-ordinated attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of participating in a terror organization, and is believed to have belonged to the Islamic State group, national police said in a statement. The suspect was not identified by name. He is believed to have supplied falsified documents to the terrorists who launched co-ordinated attacks against the Bataclan nightclub, five cafes in central Paris and the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of St. Denis. The Associated 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
WARNING: This article is about family violence and abuse. Resources for support can be found at the end of this column. One year ago, the Nunavut Legislature supported Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik's motion toward a violence-free Nunavut. Around the same time, the Law Society of Nunavut, which I represent, and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada started a project to help people in Nunavut experiencing family violence gain access to justice. The project was funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario and the federal Department of Justice. Guided by an advisory committee of Nunavut-based representatives from different sectors and backgrounds, our project's team members traveled to seven communities in the territory to speak to women with lived experiences of family violence. They also talked to service providers, like justice and health workers, who serve them and community members. We wanted to better understand how Inuit women experience family violence, and the legal system, in Nunavut. Many courageous women, service providers and community members shared their stories with us. Their stories reveal how abuse takes many forms. It is not just punching and hitting. Abuse can also be shouting or threatening. It can be cutting someone off financially, or forcing them to do something sexual that they don't want to do. Many don't turn to law for help Laws like the Family Abuse Intervention Act (FAIA) can offer help for family violence outside the criminal justice system, through tools like emergency protection orders or community intervention orders that can provide counselling for families. But what we learned, from the many women we interviewed, is that lots of them don't turn to the law for help. Sometimes that was because they didn't know their legal options under FAIA. Sometimes it was because they didn't trust the legal system to protect them. Those who did turn to the law said that sometimes it helped, but sometimes it didn't. Their stories suggest that something needs to change so that the law can work for them. On Monday, International Women's Day, the Law Society of Nunavut and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada launched a public awareness campaign, with an event in Iqaluit, to support people in Nunavut in recognizing what abuse is and where to get help. (Submitted by Cindy Leishman) While laws are important, they're not enough. We need to look at the bigger picture and deal with the root causes of family violence. Women spoke of how addictions are often related to family violence, pointing to the importance of addictions treatment programming in Nunavut. They told us how abusers are often struggling with trauma themselves, including from residential schools and other colonialist practices that have harmed so many families in Nunavut. This points to the importance of making sure Inuit traditional councellors are available to provide support. The women told us how housing is also an important part of addressing family violence: how can someone leave an abusive situation if they, their children, or their partner, do not have anywhere else to go? Despite these challenges, we were inspired by the creative ways women in Nunavut support each other to overcome barriers, like by making safety plans with neighbours in case they need to ask for help. At the heart of their decision to take these courageous steps is their desire for the best for their families. Collaboration and meeting people where they're at But one of the loudest messages we heard was that in order to break the cycle of family violence in Nunavut, families must get help in ways that works for them, ways that meet them where they're at, that are culturally relevant, and rooted in Inuit values. Service providers from all sectors need to work together to provide collaborative, trauma-informed services. This means lawyers, community justice outreach workers, community health workers, traditional counsellors, nurses, RCMP officers, social workers and others all working together. Fortunately, these players are now talking to each other more to provide better, co-ordinated support for families in Nunavut who want to end violence and abuse. We are excited to continue these conversations. On International Women's Day, the Law Society of Nunavut and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada are proud to launch a public awareness campaign to support people in Nunavut in recognizing what abuse is and where to get help. On Monday, we're holding an event at the Astro Theatre in Iqaluit with project partners and supporters. We're also excited to share across the territory the resources we've developed for this project, including posters, pamphlets, videos and radio programs. Family violence is a serious problem in Nunavut, but on this day, International Women's Day, let's celebrate these collaborative efforts and all the work happening to break the silence, and build hope for a violence-free future. Do you need someone to talk to? Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline offers anonymous and confidential telephone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll free: 1-800-265-3333
WASHINGTON — With President Joe Biden on the verge of his first big legislative victory, a key moderate Democrat says he's open to changing Senate rules that could allow for more party-line votes to push through other parts of the White House’s agenda such as voting rights. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stressed Sunday that he wants to keep the procedural hurdle known as the filibuster, saying major legislation should always have significant input from the minority party. But he noted there are other ways to change the rules that now effectively require 60 votes for most legislation. One example: the “talking filibuster,” which requires senators to slow a bill by holding the floor, but then grants an “up or down” simple majority vote if they give up. “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said. “Maybe it has to be more painful.” “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin added. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.” Democrats are beginning to look to their next legislative priorities after an early signature win for Biden on Saturday, with the Senate approving a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan on a party-line 50-49 vote. Final passage is expected Tuesday in the House if leaders can hold the support of progressives frustrated that the Senate narrowed unemployment benefits and stripped out an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Over the weekend, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, representing around 100 House liberals, called the Senate’s weakening of some provisions “bad policy and bad politics." But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., also characterized the changes as “relatively minor concessions” and emphasized the bill retained its “core bold, progressive elements.” Biden says he would sign the measure immediately if the House passed it. The legislation would allow many Americans to receive $1,400 in direct checks from the government this month. “Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” a jubilant Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told The Associated Press in an interview after Saturday's vote. Still, the Democrats’ approach required a last-minute call from Biden to Manchin to secure his vote after he raised late resistance to the breadth of unemployment benefits. That immediately raised questions about the path ahead in a partisan environment where few, if any, Republicans are expected to back planks of the president’s agenda. Democrats used a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to approve Biden’s top priority without Republican support, a strategy that succeeded despite the reservations of some moderates. But work in the coming months on other issues such as voting rights and immigration could prove more difficult. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pledged that Senate Republicans would block passage of a sweeping House-passed bill on voting rights. The measure, known as HR 1, would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to the campaign finance system. It would serve as a counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s repeated false claims about a “stolen” election. “Not one Republican is going to vote for HR 1 because it’s a federal takeover of elections, it sets up a system where there is no real voter security or verification,” Graham said. “It is a liberal wish list in terms of how you vote.” The Senate is divided 50-50, but Democrats control the chamber because Vice-President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote. With 60 votes effectively needed on most legislation, Democrats must win the support of at least some Republicans to pass Biden’s agenda. When asked about the voting rights bill, Manchin on Sunday left the door open to supporting some kind of a workaround to allow for passage based on a simple majority, suggesting he could support “reconciliation” if he was satisfied that Republicans had the ability to provide input. But it was unclear how that would work as voting rights are not budget-related and would not qualify for the reconciliation process. “I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also,” Manchin said. On Sunday, the anti-filibuster advocacy group “Fix Our Senate” praised Manchin’s comments as a viable way to get past “pure partisan obstruction" in the Senate. “Sen. Manchin just saw Senate Republicans unanimously oppose a wildly popular and desperately-needed COVID relief bill that only passed because it couldn’t be filibustered, so it’s encouraging to hear him express openness to reforms to ensure that voting rights and other critical bills can’t be blocked by a purely obstructionist minority,” the group said in a statement. Manchin spoke on NBC's “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” CNN's “State of the Union” and ABC's “This Week,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures." ___ Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. Hope Yen, The Associated Press
Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world's original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals – raising alarm that a key natural buffer against climate change is quickly vanishing. The forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon. Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34% of the world's original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30%, leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.
GENEVA — European soccer clubs were urged Monday to support a Champions League expansion plan and help please a new type of global fans who have different supporting habits. A UEFA-led proposal to change its clubs competitions in 2024 — abolishing traditional four-team groups and adding 100 Champions League games in a 36-team format — was being presented to more than 200 European Club Association members. The deal could be finalized within two weeks, said Andrea Agnelli, the ECA chairman and Juventus president, in opening the online meeting. “I really ask you that today we endorse this system going forward and mandate the (ECA) board to execute the last details that we will be missing,” Agnelli said, singling out the unresolved issue of access for clubs to the revamped Champions League. ECA leaders want two of the four extra Champions League places given to clubs who do not qualify on merit but are ranked highly by UEFA based on past results in Europe. Critics see that as a safety net for clubs with global brands rather than rewarding champions from mid-ranking leagues such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Scotland. If the historic ranking system applied this season, it would likely reward storied teams such as Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund having a relatively poor domestic campaign. Agnelli stated his vision of European soccer appealing to fans worldwide because “traditional assumptions” about fans’ loyalties had to change. One third of fans globally follow at least two clubs and 10% of fans follow players instead of clubs, said the Italian executive whose club signed Cristiano Ronaldo three years ago. Agnelli cautioned that the so-called “Gen Z” demographic of 16-to-24-year-olds “have no interest in football whatsoever.” “The current system most likely is not delivering for the modern fan,” he said, claiming too many domestic and international games “are simply uncompetitive.” The Champions League proposal would ensure 10 games for each of the 36 teams. Currently, only six group-stage games are guaranteed for 32 teams that share about 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in UEFA prize money. A single league table in the new format would send the top eight into the last-16 round. Teams ranked Nos. 9 to 24 would enter playoffs to complete the knockout bracket. “The beauty of the system has now been recognized by all,” Agnelli said. The European Leagues group has warned the plan would take broadcast revenue and fixture calendar space from its members. Agnelli chided ECA board members who brought their domestic concerns into its talks on international matters. He also urged them to embrace “strong progressive views, not the conservatism that has always distinguished our industry,” which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UEFA-led talks took place amid leaks that financiers are ready to back a European Super League project outside of UEFA’s control. Agnelli said he had “arguments and almost fights” with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin last year, and suggested interest from global banks meant European soccer was “highly palatable for richer investments.” “That means if we change ourselves we can look forward to those richer investments ourselves,” he said, rather than financial institutions getting a return on their money. Before Agnelli spoke, UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said the competitions plan offered “renewed strength and unprecedented excitement going forward.” “We think this is an opportunity to grab without hesitation and delays,” Marchetti said. The UEFA executive committee, which includes Agnelli representing clubs, could approve the changes ahead of an April 20 congress of European soccer’s 55 national federations. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press
Selena Gomez on her first Spanish album, Grammy-winning band Kings Of Leon release their first hit in 20 years and more.