White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
Quebec City police issued more than 30 tickets at a demonstration on Saturday where several hundred people were protesting public health restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.The demonstration was held in front of the National Assembly building in Quebec City. Police said many demonstrators did not respect physical distancing and did not wear masks, both of which are now mandatory at protests in COVID-19 red zones, including Quebec City.No arrests were made, but 34 tickets were handed out for violations to public health rules, municipal by-laws and the Highway Safety Code."We recognize that demonstrating is a democratic exercise and a fundamental right," said Quebec City police spokesperson Étienne Doyon. "However, people wishing to exercise this right must respect a distance of two metres and wear a face covering."Quebec City police had closed traffic in both directions on Boulevard Honoré-Mercier, between Grande Allée and René-Lévesque to allow demonstrators to respect the two-metre physical distancing rule.Quebec provincial police also escorted several convoys heading to the protest from various municipalities between Montreal and Quebec City.In Quebec, fines for breaking public health rules can range between $1,000 and $6,000 per person.More than 7,000 people in the province have died of COVID-19.
POTLOTEK — A housing shortage in Potlotek First Nation led one young mother of three to take matters into her own hands when she moved into a vacant home on Nov. 23. The house was promised to another family, but Amanda Marshall says she was desperate. “I love my kids and I’m willing to do anything for them," said the 27-year-old. Marshall has three children ages eight, four and two and says the three-bedroom duplex they were living in was too small for her five-person family.The house is at 8 Estherrich Road. It has a yard, five bedrooms and two baths - all Marshall could hope for. She’s currently taking a business administration program at the Nova Scotia Community College and says she finally has enough space to study. Marshall can send her kids to play in their rooms while she focuses on schoolwork. “I've never seen them so happy in my life,” says Marshall. Her son says he is happy to finally have a home. But she's already received two letters from Potlotek chief and council asking her to exit the premise within 24 hours. Marshall is refusing to leave and thinks the duplex would be fine for the other family. Chief Wilbert Marshall sees it differently. “We’re trying to be fair, but she can’t just move into a house in the middle of the night,” he says. He was travelling when the Cape Breton Post was able to reach him. Marshall is aware the community has a housing shortage but says there are policies in place. He said the duplex is new and was built about four years ago and Amanda Marshall's family is welcome to move back into it. He says the awaiting family is larger than hers but Amanda Marshall disagrees. The chief says the community is building two more houses and hopes to build more but they face barriers. He says they need more land and are lobbying the federal government for housing funding. He is hopeful the moderate livelihood fishery can help. He is hopeful the fishers can begin to build their own houses. “It's such a small community and we need to all get along,” said Wilbert Marshall. The community was offering to build homes for smaller-sized families living in larger homes, but he says it's their choice to take it. Wilbert Marshall says the band tries to stay out of housing disputes because the band lacks an enforcement officer. Amanda Marshall says at least 18 other families forced their way into homes without repercussions, but Wilbert Marshall disagrees, and he says a housing bylaw has been in place since 2007. Amanda Marshall thinks she is being targeted by the band but other community members have expressed a desire for her to leave the home. She says she’ll continue to fight to stay there and plans to read the Indian Act to see what rights she may have to stay in the home. “I’m scared it's going to be taken away, but the thought of having a home brings so much joy." Wilbert Marshall says more information will be available Monday, Nov. 30, the date Amanda Marshall says she's been asked to leave the house. -30-Oscar Baker III, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) has declared an outbreak on the third floor of its rehabilitation tower, according to a Sunday news release. Three staff and two patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and are associated with the outbreak.This comes after the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) says it is investigating a cluster of cases at both Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette campus and HDGH.According to the release, outbreak measures have been implemented at HDGH on Friday, which includes closing the unit to any new admissions, enhanced cleaning on the unit, and temporarily suspending students, contractors and non-essential staff and the Designated Care Partners Visitation Program on the unit.Daily case count in Windsor-EssexThere are 26 new cases in the region Sunday, with 466 active cases. Eleven people are in hospital and the local death toll is currently 79.In total, the region has 14 outbreaks across four different sectors. There are seven workplace outbreaks, including: * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. Two community outbreaks are still active, one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.Begley now has 49 cases, 40 are students and nine are staff members. W. J. Langlois has seven cases, four are students and three are staff members.There are three long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak, which include: * Riverside Place in Windsor has 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
MAIDGURI, Nigeria — Suspected members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram killed at least 40 rice farmers and fishermen in Nigeria as they were harvesting crops in the country's northern state of Borno, officials said. One said the death toll could rise to about 60 people.The attack Saturday in a rice field in Garin Kwashebe came on the same day that residents were casting votes for the first time in 13 years to elect local councils, although many didn’t go to cast their ballots.The farmers were reportedly rounded up and summarily killed by armed insurgents in retaliation for refusing to pay extortion to one militant.Malam Zabarmari, a leader of a rice farmers association in Borno state, confirmed the massacre to The Associated Press, saying at least 40 and up to 60 people could have been killed.Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed grief over the killings.“I condemn the killing of our hardworking farmers by terrorists in Borno State. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief,” he said.Buhari said the government had given the armed forces everything needed “to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s population and its territory.”A member of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Satomi, who represents the Jere Federal constituency of Borno, said at least 44 burials were taking place Sunday.“Farmers and fishermen were killed in cold blood. Over 60 farmers were affected, but we only have so far received 44 corpses from the farms,” the lawmaker said.Boko Haram and a breakaway faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province, are both active in the region. Boko Haram’s more than decade-long insurgency has left thousands dead and displaced tens of thousands. Officials say Boko Haram members often force villagers to pay illegal taxes by taking their livestock or crops but some villagers have begun to resist the extortion.Satomi said the farmers in Garin Kwashebe were attacked because they had disarmed and arrested a Boko Haram gunman on Friday who had been tormenting them.“A lone gunman, who was a member of Boko Haram came to harass the farmers by ordering them to give him money and also cook for him. While he was waiting for the food to be cooked, the farmers seized the moment he stepped into the toilet to snatch his rifle and tied him up,” he said.“They later handed him over to the security. But sadly, the security forces did not protect the courageous farmers. And in reprisal for daring them, the Boko Haram mobilized and came to attack them on their farms.”Insurgents also torched the rice farms before leaving, he said.___AP journalist Bashir Adigun in Abuja contributed to this report.Haruna Umar, The Associated Press
The number of COVID-19 cases at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre has surpassed 100, including both inmates and staff.Glenn Billingsley, the manager of Labour Relations for the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union says as of Saturday night, there were 106 COVID-19 cases in inmates and 22 cases in staff for a total of 128.He says staff at the facility are working hard to keep inmates and each other safe, but notes the situation has put pressure on everyone inside. "What we now see is a rising number of inmates that have received a positive and that's a concern," Billingsley said. "We have grave concerns for our correction workers and the rising anxiety among the inmates, which is becoming more concerning for our staff."The latest update means one-fifth of inmates at the centre have now tested positive for COVID-19. There are almost 500 inmates at the Correctional Centre, according to an inmate who wrote a letter to provincial and federal governments.Billingsley said the union has been hearing concerns about the mental health of its employees as they work through the outbreak, but notes steps are being taken to reduce their risk of exposure."It's become extremely risky for our COs [corrections officers] to be working during this time and we are doing everything needed to request all the proper and approved PPE required," he said, noting it's a "very live situation."An outbreak at the facility was officially recorded on Nov. 17 and cases spread quickly throughout the facility, with some inmates initiating a hunger strike as they called for more measures to separate healthy inmates from their infected peers.Intakes suspended, no visitorsIn a statement, Minister of Policing and Corrections Christine Tell said the provincial government is "deeply concerned" about the rising cases at the facility, saying it has introduced strict measures to slow the spread of the virus. This includes suspending intake at the jail and prohibiting any outside visitors besides staff.On Sunday, Billingsley confirmed they've been told by the ministry positive cases are still being housed in units where other healthy inmates are living, and said those cases are being monitored on an individual basis."At this point, it's almost impossible to separate them into one unit," he said. Billingsley said the level of communication between staff at the Saskatoon facility, the union and the pandemic team has been "extremely co-operative" and says he feels communication is being relayed to both union members and inmates. "What we're seeing is an incredible collective collaboration between both management and the union at the facilities," he said. He said while cases are expected to rise in the next few days, he says they are hopeful the measures in place will work in slowing the spread, saying "within the next week, we should be turning the corner."He said staff at the facility deserve major credit for working their way through a situation that has been anything but easy."The general public, when they understand the seriousness and the risk our correction workers are facing, would realize these core individuals of employees are incredibly dedicated to their jobs and deserve a tremendous amount of credit."
Au contraire à ce qui a été véhiculer comme informations, le pont entre Béarn et Fabre ne sera pas fermé mais plusieurs restrictions seront en vigueur à la suite de son inspection par la direction générale de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue du Ministère des Transports (MTQ). « Nous ne fermons pas le pont. Il n’en a d’ailleurs jamais été question. En revanche, à la suite d’une inspection, le pont P-07452 doit être réduit en charges à 10 tonnes pour tous les types de véhicules. Le pont est présentement affiché aux charges légales » nous fait savoir le conseiller en communication de la direction générale de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue du Ministère des Transports, monsieur Luc Adam. De la corrosion au niveau des poutres Cette décision trouve son fondement en se basant sur un minutieux diagnostique technique et pour des raisons sécuritaires. « Le pont P-07452 enjambe le ruisseau l’Africain et est situé sur la route 391 à environ 200 mètres de l’intersection de la route 101 vers le nord. Le pont présente de la corrosion au niveau des poutres et des chevêtres. Or, Étant donné la faiblesse du pont, la baisse de charges vise à protéger la structure tout en assurant la sécurité des usagers et ainsi d’éviter la fermeture » nous explique le conseiller de communication. « Un projet de reconstruction complète de ce pont est en préparation au MTQ mais ces travaux ne peuvent être faits à court terme. Le MTQ travaille cependant à une solution de rétablissement à court terme avec le pont existant » a-t-il ajouté. Impact sur le transport lourd À noter que le débit journalier qui passe sur le pont est de 570 véhicules, dont 38 % de transport lourd. « La réduction de charges aura un impact sur le transport lourd en provenance de Scierie Béarn (25 km de plus vers le sud du Témiscamingue) et le Centre de tri de la MRC (35 km de plus vers le sud du Témiscamingue). Le détour se fait par les routes 391, 382 et 101 via Ville-Marie » souligne Luc Adam. La direction générale de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue nous informe que les partenaires (municipalités, entreprises, transport scolaire, service d’urgences, etc.) ont été informés le 16 novembre 2020. L’autobus scolaire n’est épargné Afin de respecter les nouvelles mesures, le déneigement qui est sous la responsabilité du MTQ dans ce secteur, sera effectué avec un véhicule léger de moins de 10 tonnes. « L’autobus scolaire pourra continuer à y circuler, compte tenu que son poids est inférieur à 10 tonnes. Ainsi un nouvel affichage sera en place dans les prochains jours et par l’occasion un communiqué de presse sera alors diffusé pareillement » précise le conseiller de communication.Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
BUDAPEST, Hungary — After facing strong condemnation, a Hungarian commissioner on Sunday begrudgingly retracted an article comparing American-Hungarian billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, a staunch critic of Hungary’s government, to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. “Europe is George Soros’ gas chamber,” Szilard Demeter, ministerial commissioner and head of the Petofi Literary Museum in Budapest, wrote in an opinion Saturday in the pro-government Origo media outlet. “Poison gas flows from the capsule of a multicultural open society, which is deadly to the European way of life.” The comments drew outrage from Hungary’s Jewish community, including the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, which called the article “tasteless” and “unforgivable.” “(It's) a textbook case of the relativization of the Holocaust, and is therefore incompatible with the government’s claim of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism,” the group said. In a statement Sunday on Origo, Demeter said he would retract his article “independently of what I think" and will delete his Facebook page. “I will grant that those criticizing me are correct in saying that to call someone a Nazi is to relativize, and that making parallels with Nazis can inadvertently cause harm to the memory of the victims,” he said in a statement. In the article, Demeter, who was appointed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to oversee cultural production, compared Soros to Hitler, writing he was “the liberal Führer, and his liber-Aryan army deifies him more than did Hitler’s own.” Soros, who was born in Hungary and is a Holocaust survivor, is a frequent target of Orban’s government for his philanthropic activities that favour liberal causes. Government media campaigns targeting Soros have led to charges of anti-Semitism. The article also noted the conflict over the European Union’s next budget, which Hungary and Poland are holding up over provisions that could block payments to countries that do not uphold democratic standards. Demeter referred to the two countries, both of which are under EU investigation for undermining judicial independence and media freedom, as “the new Jews.” The government of Israel, a close ally of Hungary, condemned Demeter’s comments. The Israeli Embassy in Budapest tweeted, “We utterly reject the use and abuse of the memory of the Holocaust for any purpose … There is no place for connecting the worst crime in human history, or its perpetrators, to any contemporary debate.” Gordon Bajnai, a former Hungarian prime minister, wrote on Facebook on Sunday that if Demeter isn't removed from his post by Monday, “Hungarians and the rest of the world will obviously consider (his) statement as the position of the Hungarian government.” Justin Spike, The Associated Press
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
For City Cinema in Charlottetown, the pandemic has meant overcoming obstacles. Now there are more.In order to reopen in July, the theatre had to make a number of changes in order to comply with public health orders. Plexiglas was installed, stickers placed on the ground and seats marked off.Attendance steadily improved through the summer months."The last couple of months, we've really kind of hit a stride and had several sellout shows," said Marshall Harrington, the cinema's manager. "And we were in a good situation for December to continue that trend."They had three films lined up that were set to debut in theatres in December. City Cinema had already sold tickets and bought ads promoting the screenings.Films were set to run every night of the week, an increase from four nights a week the theatre was doing before.Releases suspendedBut, on Wednesday, days before the showings were set to begin, Harrington got an email from the studio responsible for those movies, saying that they were suspending the releases to theatres. "What they told us was that due to quite a few theatre closures across Canada, they cancelled their theatrical runs of these films in Canada. So they, unfortunately, had to pull those titles from our schedule," he said. "It was deflating." That left Harrington scrambling to fill the gaps. The theatre managed to find replacements, but the loss of the three films, as well as the situation around COVID-19, mean City Cinema has to return to the four showings per week.For the cinema, it's another challenge in an already challenging year. "We've had our challenges with reopening and adjusting to local health guidelines and trying to follow them as best we can," said Harrington."It's just another challenge that we need to overcome," he said.'We didn't see any hurt in keeping them'At a time when theatres around the world are hurting because of the pandemic, Harrington said the move to pull the films was one that City Cinema didn't quite understand. "From our perspective, we didn't see any hurt in letting us keep the titles. But … they just pulled the whole run across Canada. So there really wasn't much we could do."We do understand it from their perspective. They're looking at it as a big picture. But … for us, we didn't see any hurt in keeping them," he said. But, despite this, Harrington said he's looking forward to the December lineup. More from CBC P.E.I.
Liam Docherty may be only 13 years old, but he's already garnering attention from the Canadian blues establishment. The young Qualicum Beach, B.C.-based singer-songwriter has been nominated for the New Artist of the Year category in the Maple Blues Awards, which recognize the best blues musicians across the country."It's a really big deal," Liam told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's On The Coast.Liam first picked up the guitar when he was aged four, having been introduced to the instrument by his father. A concert by Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel in 2015 exposed Liam to the blues and the finger-picking style. "I kept on practising over the years," he said. "When I was seven, I learned some pop songs and I'd busk at the Salt Spring Island farmers market."Liam's performances earned him the moniker "red-headed blues boy" from locals. He was supposed to perform at the Vancouver Island Music Festival and the Nanaimo Blues Festival before they were cancelled due to COVID-19.Instead, he put out his first album, Modern Magic Melody, which earned him the award nomination. "I never actually expected this," he said. Organic songwriting processLiam says his songwriting process is something that flows organically from his love of playing."I always come up with new pieces. If I like them, I record them and start working on them and building them out," he said.For his lyrics, Liam collects phrases and words he likes from books and poems in a journal."They change during the songwriting process, of course, [but] those [phrases] can be a foundation for songs," he said. He also gets ideas from reading about his favourite blues musicians. Reading about Robert Leroy Johnson, an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and how he was affected by the Mississippi Delta flood, inspired Liam to write his own song about the historic event, Wipe My Weeping Eyes."I pick up the guitar every day ... I just love playing it so much," he said.
A resident in a Victoria assisted living facility says the return to stringent COVID-19 prevention measures is leading to increased anxiety and isolation for the seniors who live there. Judith Hodgson lives with her husband, Camil Dufort, at Ross Place Retirement Residence, where she says everyone has been asked to stay in their suites. "Our meals come to the door in boxes, not always warm," she said. "Many of us have no 'essential visitor,' and many of us will not see family or a friend at Christmas. But we all hope this will help COVID numbers to go down."Hodgson's concerns echo those raised in two separate reports released this month by the B.C. Care Providers Association and by British Columbia's Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.Terry Lake, CEO of the B.C. Care Providers Association, says there have been no cases to date of visitors bringing COVID-19 into long-term care. Mackenzie urged easing visitor restrictions after a survey by her office found the restrictions were harming the health of long-term care home residents. In an interview with CBC On the Island host Gregor Craigie, Hodgson said that over the summer months, when COVID-19 cases declined and restrictions eased, residents enjoyed increased freedom and renewed social connections."We went back to the dining rooms. There were only two at a table," Hodgson said. "We resumed some exercises in hallways and some people went out to visit with families and friends."Those days of relative freedom ended with the arrival of B.C.'s second wave of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Hodgson worries about the loneliness of her fellow residents. Many are in their 90s or older and are missing the ability to visit with family members. Others are heartbreakingly alone.Hodgson said neighbours in the building try to support each other through phone calls, elbow bumps when they meet in the hallway, and small, distanced happy-hour dates. But she said it's hard to summon the energy and optimism that helped get her through the first wave of the pandemic. The couple is also coping with a non-COVID-related health setback, after Dufort, 88, suffered a small stroke. "For three days I haven't been out except to pick up my mail and I'm kind of a social person. And so I'm finding it really difficult," she said. "All I want for Christmas is a hug." She would also like to talk to an anti-mask protester."We just want to meet one of these people who refuses to wear a mask and talks about their personal freedom, and bring them in to live in a facility for a week and see what they would think," Hodgson said. "They are thinking about their freedom," she said. "Well, I think my rights end where yours begin, I'll put it that way."To listen to the full interview with Judith Hodgson, tap the link below: With files from CBC Radio On The Island
GENEVA — A proposal that could have stiffened penalties against companies based in Switzerland if they violate human rights or harm the environment abroad failed in a Swiss referendum on Sunday.The initiative titled “Responsible companies — to protect people and the environment” won a narrow majority of votes, with 50.7% per cent backing it and 49.3% against, but failed because a majority of the country's cantons, or states, came out against it. Support was strongest in urban areas, much of Switzerland’s French-speaking west and Italian-speaking Ticino.Under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, which gives voters a direct say several times each year on a variety of issues, proposals need a majority both of votes cast and of cantons to pass. The Swiss held two other referendums this year, but one in May was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The federal government opposed the plan championed by left-leaning groups and some big civil society organizations, asserting that it went too far. Parliament has proposed a countermeasure that would also boost scrutiny of such companies’ actions.The measure could have made large Switzerland-based companies liable in the country's courts for their flawed operations or those of their subsidiaries and subcontractors in foreign nations, unless they were able to show that they conducted proper due diligence beforehand.It would have required Swiss-based companies to better verify their activities in foreign countries and could have made them more liable for any damage caused. It could potentially have affected multinationals like mining and minerals company Glencore, agribusiness company Syngenta, and cement firm LafargeHolcim — which have at times faced criticism over their activities abroad.Parliament’s alternative, which should now take effect instead, won't require companies to answer to Swiss courts and will focus on issues like mining of minerals from conflict zones or child labour. It also seeks more co-operation among countries on such matters.Another measure that would have banned the financing by the Swiss national bank or pension funds of any weapons for export, from handguns to assault rifles to tanks, also failed Sunday, with a majority of both voters and cantons opposing it.—-Eds: This story corrects an earlier version that had wrongly indicated that the measures on the ballot Sunday had originally been planned for a vote in May.The Associated Press
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Sunday that his “top priority” is a plan for COVID-19 vaccines, adding “there is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible.”
Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said on Sunday he will wait "a little bit longer" to recognize a winner in the U.S. presidential election, suggesting there was evidence of fraud in the process. After voting in local elections in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro, an ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, said he had heard the U.S. vote was rigged, but presented no evidence. "I have sources and they said there was a lot of fraud," Bolsonaro said of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.
There are four new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday, according to the province's Department of Health.All four new cases are located in the Eastern Health region, but are not connected to one another or the Grand Bank cluster.The first new case is related to travel, a man between 20 and 39 who came to the province from England after being granted a travel exemption. The man is not a resident of the province and is in self-isolation with contact tracing complete.The second case is a male resident of the province in his 50s, a close contact of a previous travel-related case.A female resident of the province in her 40s has also tested positive Sunday, with the source of infection still under investigation.The fourth new case is also travel-related, a man aged 20 to 39 who recently returned home from work in the United States.Those three individuals are in isolation, with contact tracing underway. No travel advisories were issued related to the new cases.18 cases this weekSunday's new cases bring the number of cases for the week to 18, moving province's total COVID-19 caseload to 337, with 36 active cases — all of which are on the island.No one is in hospital due to the virus, with 297 people having recovered from the virus since the pandemic began, and four COVID-19-related deaths.In all, 62,162 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the province as of Sunday — meaning 330 tests have been completed in the past 24 hours.The province has seen a large increase in testing numbers since the last COVID-19 briefing on Friday, with 1,584 people tested in the past three days.With one of Saturday's two reported COVID-19 cases being related to travel, the Department of Health issued an advisory asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John's on Wednesday to call 811 for COVID-19 testing.Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, there were 14 new cases in New Brunswick and 10 new cases in Nova Scotia Sunday. There were no new cases on Prince Edward Island.The next provincial COVID-19 briefing in Newfoundland and Labrador will be held on Monday, as government continues with its Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
NEW YORK — Testing a novel release strategy, Universal Pictures' animated sequel “The Croods: A New Age” had one of the best opening weekends of the pandemic, grossing $14.2 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.Whereas new releases have traditionally lasted around 90 days in theatres, Universal has mapped out a shorted theatrical window in deals with major chains AMC and Cinemark that gives the studio the option to move new releases to premium video-on-demand after just 17 days. “The Croods: A New Age” is expected to shift to the home before Christmas for a $20 rental. For an industry reeling from the pandemic, it's part of wider changes seeping through the industry.“The Croods: A New Age” grossed $9.7 million Friday-Sunday, which rivals even the weekend start for “Tenet” in October. Warner Bros. didn't break down the three-day weekend figures for “Tenet,” which began preview screenings in the U.S. on a Monday, but said it grossed $20.2 million in its first week in U.S. theatres plus its first two weeks in Canadian theatres.While the opening for “The Croods: A New Age” was something Hollywood hadn’t seen in months — a movie that outperformed expectations — it was still only a sliver of what the industry usually sees in the typically busy holiday movie season. Last year, “Frozen II” led all films over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend with $123.7 million, while “Knives Out” scored $41.7 millionSince “Tenet” opened, most larger releases have been postponed or detoured to digital, sometimes while still playing in theatres overseas. The Walt Disney Co. steered “Mulan” to a premium purchase on Disney+, but opened in China and elsewhere. Next month, Warner Bros. will release “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously on HBO Max and in theatres. Disney has uprooted the Pixar animation “Soul” to its streaming platform.That's left smaller films to lead what's left of the box office — about 40% of the normal number of theatres. Most have tapped out around $4 million on opening weekend. The Kevin Costner and Diane Lane film “Let Him Go” debuted with $4.1 million in ticket sales from 2,454 locations earlier this month. The body-swap horror movie “Freaky,” with Vince Vaughn, has been No. 1 the last two weekends after debuting with $3.7 million.One of the biggest differences is that Universal spent more heavily to market the $65 million “Croods” sequel from DreamWorks Animation. It played in 2,211 locations, or about half the usual amount for such a release.Overseas, the film grossed $20.8 with almost all of that — $19.2 million — coming from China.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPJake Coyle, The Associated Press
Police say a man has died and another is critically injured following a morning shooting in Oshawa, Ont. Durham regional police say they were called to an area of Simcoe Street around 10:30 a.m. and found two men with gunshot wounds, one of them without vital signs. Spokesman Const. George Tudos says that man was later pronounced dead. He says the other is being treated for life-threatening injuries. Tudos says there are no outstanding suspects and no threat to public safety at this time. He says homicide investigators remain at the scene to piece together what happened, and witnesses are encouraged to come forward. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press