Vice President Kamala Harris met with a group of religious leaders, hoping to exchange ideas on encouraging Americans to receive their coronavirus vaccinations and combat hate crimes. (March 31)
Vice President Kamala Harris met with a group of religious leaders, hoping to exchange ideas on encouraging Americans to receive their coronavirus vaccinations and combat hate crimes. (March 31)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) reported 66 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Sunday. Since the pandemic began, there have been 14,803 COVID-19 cases recorded in Windsor-Essex and 409 deaths, according to WECHU. There are 472 known active cases in the region. Among Sunday's cases, 28 are close contacts of confirmed cases, 12 are community-acquired and 26 are still being investigated. There are 20 people in hospital in the region, with four in the intensive care unit. According to WECHU, 118,676 residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine — 105,988 people have received their first dose of the vaccine and 12,688 have received both doses. The public health authorities identified 458 preliminary or confirmed variant of concern cases. There are seven ongoing outbreaks. They include one school outbreak in St. John Vianney Catholic School in Windsor. Six workplaces have active outbreaks, including: One in Leamington's agriculture sector. Three in Windsor's health care & social assistance sector. One in LaSalle's manufacturing sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that he plans to propose his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden an extension of one of his key welfare programs to Central America to help curb immigration. "What I want to propose is that the program Sembrando Vida is implemented in Central America," Lopez Obrador said in a video message from Palenque in southern Mexico. One of Lopez Obrador's key welfare programs, Sembrando Vida aims to provide Mexicans with work and support the country's agriculture.
BELGRADE, Serbia — Hamid Ahmadi still can feel the cold of the February night when Serbian police left him and two dozen other refugees in a forest. Crammed into a police van, the refugees from Afghanistan thought they were headed to an asylum-seekers' camp in eastern Serbia. Instead, they were ordered out near the country's border with Bulgaria in the middle of that night four years ago. In below-freezing temperatures and desperately in need of help, they had no choice but to head to Bulgaria — the country they had left just a day earlier. “I will not forget it as long as I live,” said Ahmadi, who was 17 at the time and now lives in Germany. “Even after a period of good life and stability, one cannot forget the tough times.” The Serbian border police had engaged in a pushback, or collective expulsion, one of many such actions along the travel routes used by migrants and refugees trying to reach Western Europe. But unlike most such illegal deportations, the officers' actions in February 2017 resulted in the Afghan refugees winning an unprecedented legal victory in Serbia's highest court. The Balkan country's constitutional Court ruled in December that the border control officers unlawfully deported the refugees and violated their rights. The court also ordered Serbian authorities to pay the 17 members of the group who brought the lawsuit 1,000 euros ($1,180) each in compensation. “The importance of this verdict is immense for Serbia,” said Belgrade lawyer Nikola Kovacevic, who represented the refugees in the case. It sends a “clear message to state authorities to harmonize their border practices with domestic and international law." The ruling is a rare official acknowledgment that countries in Europe conduct pushbacks in violation of European Union and international laws which ban forcibly returning people to other countries without looking into their individual circumstances or allowing them to apply for asylum. Although refugees and economic migrants passing through the Balkans regularly give accounts of the practice, authorities routinely deny that their agencies carry out pushbacks, which are difficult to prove and mostly go unpunished. Turned back and forth at various borders, people fleeing war and poverty spend months, if not years, on the road, exposed to harsh conditions and danger in the hands of people-smugglers and human traffickers. Sometimes, refugees and migrants are sent back over two or three borders it had taken them months to cross. Human rights groups have called repeatedly for governments to uphold their responsibilities involving refugee rights and accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to the illegal activity taking place at its doorstep. The United Nations mission in Bosnia called this month for urgent action to halt pushbacks along EU member Croatia's border with Bosnia after a U.N. team encountered 50 men with wounds on their bodies who reported authorities pushed them back and took their possessions away when they tried to enter Croatia. According to the U.N. refugee agency's office in Serbia and its partners, 25,180 people were pushed back into Serbia from Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary and Romania last year. Kovacevic, the lawyer in Serbia, said collective expulsions became increasingly common after the EU and Turkey made a 2016 agreement intended to curb migration to Europe. More than a million people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia had streamed to the continent the year before. The agreement called for Turkey to control the flow of people departing its territory in exchange for aid for the large number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as other incentives. “All the borders have introduced the practice of systematic violations of the ban on collective expulsions,” Kovacevic said. “But at least now in Serbia, this was officially confirmed, not by a non-government organization, local or foreign, but the highest authority for protection of human rights.” To hide any evidence of wrongdoing, border control officers routinely strip refugees of mobile phones or documents. In the case of Ahmadi and the others, a clear trace of evidence was left behind thanks to what Kovacevic said was the “blatant arrogance” of the Serbian police who “thought they could do whatever they wanted." It started on Feb. 2, 2017, when 25 migrants, including nine children, were caught at the border with Bulgaria and brought to a nearby police station in Serbia. They were kept for hours in a basement room, then taken before a judge to face charges of illegally crossing the border. The judge, however, ruled that the group should be treated as refugees and taken to an asylum centre. Ahmadi, who spoke to the AP from Germany through an interpreter, said he clearly remembers when the judge asked them if they wanted to stay in Serbia. He said he was happy they would finally have a place in the camp after travelling through Turkey and Bulgaria. Hours later, inside the border police van that was supposed to take them to the camp, Ahmadi realized something was wrong. When police abandoned them in the forest, “I felt broken," he recalled. “I thought about my family at home." In the pitch dark and freezing temperatures, the refugees headed on foot toward Bulgaria — and straight into the hands of border police in that country. They managed to phone an interpreter in Serbia, who alerted refugee rights activists in both Serbia and in Bulgaria. The refugees stayed in camps in Bulgaria, some for days and others longer, before making it back to Serbia again and later moving on toward Western Europe. The rights lawyers later collected documentation left behind by the Serbian court and the Bulgarian authorities, establishing a clear trace of events that helped build the case in the court. Four years later, Kovacevic is trying to establish contact with all the people from Afghanistan he represented; they are scattered in countries that also include France and Bosnia. Coronavirus lockdowns have made it more difficult to establish contact and arrange money transfers for the damages they won, he said. “It’s taking a little longer, but we will get there,” smiled Kovacevic. Ahmadi, who was granted asylum in Germany five months ago, said he plans to use the damages to help him and his wife start a new life in Europe. He is now taking German language lessons before looking for a job. “This compensation means a lot to me,” he said. “I will be able to buy a bed and a little something for our flat once we rent it.” ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Jovana Gec, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — President Joe Biden called Georgia's new voting law an “atrocity.” A leading Black bishop called for a national boycott of companies headquartered in the state. But when Stacey Abrams, the state’s well-known voting rights advocate, is asked about the law that has set much of her party on fire, she is critical but measured. “These are laws that respond to an increase in voting by people of colour,” Abrams told The Associated Press recently. But she discouraged boycotts and reassured Democrats they can still win races under the new rules, even as she hoped they would be struck down in the courts. The approach demonstrates how Abrams, a former and potentially future candidate for governor, is navigating the politics in the new battleground. Abrams, her allies say, knows statewide Democratic victories — whether Biden’s in November or her own in 2022 — require winning more than just Democrats’ racially diverse and liberal base outraged over GOP's attempts to make it harder for some citizens to vote. Democrats also need moderates voters more reluctant to take sides on the matter. “Stacey’s been responsible. She’s tried to create a dialogue where we can create change,” said Democrat Steven Henson, a former state legislative leader alongside Abrams. Certainly, Abrams cannot be described as anything but a staunch opponent of the new law. Her political organization, Fair Fight, backs federal lawsuits to overturn the changes. She’s frequented national cable networks and published national op-eds criticizing the measure. In the newspaper USA Today, she called on big business to oppose related GOP measures pending in Texas and elsewhere and to put corporate muscle behind Democrats’ counter proposals in Congress. “Republicans are gaming the system because they’re afraid of losing an election,” Abrams told the AP. Yet Abrams has mostly avoided harsh individual criticism of Gov. Brian Kemp, her 2018 Republican rival whom she once dubbed an “architect of voter suppression.” She rarely mentions former President Donald Trump, who falsely blames his defeat on voter fraud. And she’s pointedly not backed business boycotts of her home state or consumer boycotts of the major firms, including Delta Air Lines and the Coca-Cola Co., based there. “I understand the notion of boycotts as a macro good,” she told the AP, noting her upbringing as a Black woman in the Deep South and her parents’ voter registration work during the Jim Crow era. But Abrams said boycotts ultimately hurt “the victims of these bills.” Abrams’ position puts her somewhat at odds with fellow activists. “It seems to infer that if we do absolutely nothing and the votes of Black people and people of colour are suppressed, that is not a problem,” said Bishop Reginald Jackson of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia. But her stance has made it hard for conservatives, including Kemp, to fairly blame Abrams for the the economic fallout from the voting law, mostly notably Major League Baseball's decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game from suburban Atlanta. Abrams has other incentives to take a softer line with Georgia-based companies. Should she run for governor again and win, she’d occupy an office long friendly with local corporate giants — Delta, Coca-Cola, professional sports franchises and others — now enmeshed in boycott politics. “Historically, that relationship in Georgia, especially in Atlanta, between the governor, the mayor and those top corporate leaders has been productive,” said Tharon Johnson, a prominent Democrat who served as senior adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign in Georgia. Abrams drew modest local corporate support in her 2018 race against Kemp. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog, that included $6,600 from Home Depot’s political action committee. The database listed no contributions from Delta or Coca-Cola. In that race, Kemp and his GOP allies spent millions tagging Abrams as a “radical” and “too extreme for Georgia." She lost by 55,000 votes out of about 4 million cast. Biden — along with two Democratic Senate candidates — built on her machine to win in the 2020 cycle. While much could change before a 2022 rematch, it could be Kemp who fights the extremist label next time. While the GOP governor didn't embrace Trump's lies about fraud in the 2020 election, he did back Republican lawmakers' efforts to overhaul Georgia's voting laws in response to Trump's claims. The Georgia law imposes a new voter identification requirement for mail-in ballots rather than the signature match used in 2020, a change Abrams says is burdensome for older, poorer voters who may not have a state-issued ID or the documentation required to attain one. The law also requires drop-boxes for mail ballots, but limits their number and the times they’re available. It also requires more weekend early voting days, a provision Kemp touts as expanding ballot access. Biden declared the bill “un-American” and “Jim Crow in the 21st century.” Abrams doesn’t necessarily dispute those characterizations, noting that even the harshest Jim Crow voter suppression laws didn’t explicitly say “Black people can’t vote” but instead put up barriers. Still, she said the latest version, even if burdensome, could end up stoking Democratic turnout because of anger. When Georgia’s corporate leaders came out in opposition to the law — although they had a hand in writing it — Kemp blamed Abrams and Biden. The companies, he said, were “scared” of Democrats and “caving” to “lies” about the final version. Abrams, he said, is “raising millions off the fake outrage she has created.” A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found some partisan divisions among voters. About half of Americans support expanding access to early and mail voting, while about 3 in 10 opposed the ideas and the rest had no opinion. Automatic voter registration was the most popular Democratic proposal in the survey, endorsed by 60% of Americans. But an even larger majority — nearly three-quarters of all Americans, including majorities of both parties — expressed support for requiring photo identification. Georgia voters will have many months to sort out who they believe. Brian Robinson, once a top aide to former Gov. Nathan Deal, said Trump’s lies about the 2020 election were “the nail in the coffin” for former Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Georgia Republicans who backed Trump and lost their Jan. 5 runoffs, because those lies turned off moderate Georgia voters. Now, he argued, “they’re being gaslighted by Stacey Abrams.” Abrams is betting that Robinson underestimates the number of voters like Chris Srock of Marietta, north of Atlanta. At a park with his wife and daughters recently, Srock described himself as “something in-between” a Democrat and Republican. Srock isn't blaming the voting-law fallout on Abrams. After all, he noted, Republicans enacted it. “It negatively affects poorer communities. It seems to negatively affect people of colour,” he said. “A lot of people unfairly blame Stacey for (Georgia) going blue, so I think she’s going to have some problems. But I think Mr. Kemp is going to have some problems, too.” ___ Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Marietta, Georgia, contributed to this report. Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Friends and family are concerned about the well-being of a 65-year-old missing man in Moncton, N.B., who doesn't speak English or French. Abdulgadir Nur was last seen Thursday around 11:30 a.m. on Paul Street in Dieppe. He speaks Tigrinya, a language common to Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia, and some Arabic. Nancy Biddington, a friend of the family, has been part of a group searching for Nur since he was last seen. "We're very concerned," she said. Biddington described Nur as shy and said he is not likely to ask for help because of the language barrier. According to Biddington, Nur doesn't know his way around Moncton very well, aside from his daily travels in his neighborhood, and only walks or takes the bus. RCMP along with family and friends are searching for Abdulgadir Nur.(Submitted by Codiac Regional RCMP) "He only goes from his house to the language class," she said, noting he sometimes stop at the mall. Nur was missing once before. In September 2020, he was lost in the city for a day before he was found, according to Biddington. "He was just lost and he didn't know where he was," she said. "He was just walking. He didn't know how to get back home." Biddington said family and friends think that may have happened again. They have been searching the city for him. A group of 30 people searched for Nur until close to midnight Saturday. Searchers were planning to head out to look for Nur again Sunday afternoon. Nancy's husband, Ken, said they are asking people to check their backyards for Nur. Codiac Regional RCMP described Nur as five-foot-three and about 185 pounds. He has short white hair, a white beard, and brown eyes. Anyone with information on Nur's whereabouts is asked to contact the RCMP at 506-857-2400.
Recent developments: Health officials in Ottawa reported 283 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The province has walked back rules that would have allowed police officers to conduct random stops. Playgrounds and park structures are also no longer off-limits. What's the latest? The Ontario government has walked back some of the COVID-19 restrictions it introduced late last week, including expanded police powers that would have allowed officers to stop people at random and ask why they weren't at home. Now, officers will only be able to stop vehicles or people if they are suspected of participating in an organized public event or social gathering. Police forces in Ottawa, Kingston, Cornwall and Belleville were among those that said they would not have carried out the random stops. The province has also reversed course on declaring playgrounds and play structures off-limits. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was one of the officials who urged the province to reconsider that measure. Ottawa reported another 283 COVID-19 cases Sunday, while 143 cases were logged in western Quebec. How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining test sites and filling hospitals. As of Saturday, 21,835 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 3,339 known active cases, 18,014 resolved cases and 482 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 33,900 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 162 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 185. Akwesasne has had more than 590 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 27 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order that has been extended until at least May 20. People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary. Checkpoints are set to go up at border crossings between eastern Ontario and western Quebec on Monday. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include people who live together, those who live alone and pair up with one other household, and small religious services. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Ontario is indefinitely moving to online learning after April break. Daycares remain open for now. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks. Police officers ride ATVs while patrolling Mooney's Bay park in Ottawa on April 17, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Matthew Kupfer/CBC) Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until April 25 in the Outaouais. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people and masks are no longer mandatory if doing so. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People there are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are spreading quickly. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Gunners with 30th Field Artillery Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery wear masks while conducting a gun salute in Ottawa on April 17, 2021, to mark the passing of Prince Philip.(Blair Gable/Canadian Press) Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 525,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 238,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 93,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. It's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Phase 2 now includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May. Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July. A sign at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club on April 17, 2021, tells people the course is closed. The province introduced stricter COVID-19 rules the day before that included declaring golf courses off-limits.(Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada) Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited. Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces. Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way. The health unit for the Belleville area says this hot spot strategy means some of its doses are being sent elsewhere and it will have to postpone some appointments. WATCH | Doctors say Ontario ignored crucial warnings about pandemic's third wave Western Quebec Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers. The vaccination plan now covers people age 55 and older, along with local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès. Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province, not individual pharmacies. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. This week that includes school staff and students. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
It's not just dogs who love going for car rides, apparently raccoons enjoy it as well! Too funny!
China is shoring up ties with autocratic partners like Russia and Iran, as well as economically dependent regional countries, while using sanctions and threats to try to fracture the alliances the United States is building against it. Worryingly for Beijing, diplomats and analysts say, the Biden administration has got other democracies to toughen up to a rising, more globally assertive China on human rights and regional security issues like the disputed South China Sea. "China has always resolutely opposed the U.S. side engaging in bloc politics along ideological lines, and ganging up to form anti-China cliques," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement to Reuters.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday April 18, 2021. There are 1,121,498 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,121,498 confirmed cases (87,925 active, 1,009,950 resolved, 23,623 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 7,593 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 231.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 59,023 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 8,432. There were 32 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 294 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 62.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 29,907,670 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,043 confirmed cases (26 active, 1,011 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 14 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 234,141 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 170 confirmed cases (10 active, 160 resolved, zero deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of eight 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 134,704 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 1,807 confirmed cases (49 active, 1,691 resolved, 67 deaths). There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is five per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 39 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. 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 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 6.84 per 100,000 people. There have been 464,263 tests completed. New Brunswick: 1,788 confirmed cases (154 active, 1,601 resolved, 33 deaths). There were 10 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 19.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 66 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.22 per 100,000 people. There have been 283,622 tests completed. Quebec: 336,952 confirmed cases (13,449 active, 312,701 resolved, 10,802 deaths). There were 1,344 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 156.85 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,569 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,510. There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 60 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 125.98 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,813,292 tests completed. Ontario: 416,995 confirmed cases (41,588 active, 367,691 resolved, 7,716 deaths). There were 4,250 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 282.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30,387 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 4,341. There were 18 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 164 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 23. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 52.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 13,328,247 tests completed. Manitoba: 36,159 confirmed cases (1,688 active, 33,512 resolved, 959 deaths). There were 170 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 122.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 946 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 135. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 69.53 per 100,000 people. There have been 626,901 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 38,160 confirmed cases (2,742 active, 34,953 resolved, 465 deaths). There were 289 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 232.63 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 723,594 tests completed. Alberta: 170,795 confirmed cases (17,935 active, 150,820 resolved, 2,040 deaths). There were 1,516 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 405.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,893 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,413. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 27 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 46.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,913,177 tests completed. British Columbia: 117,080 confirmed cases (10,259 active, 105,291 resolved, 1,530 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 199.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,221 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 746. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 21 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.72 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,349,763 tests completed. Yukon: 76 confirmed cases (two active, 73 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,740 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 43 confirmed cases (one active, 42 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 16,904 tests completed. Nunavut: 417 confirmed cases (22 active, 391 resolved, four deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 55.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22 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 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,246 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published April 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to succeed him is already beginning. Trump's former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has launched an aggressive schedule visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 Republican primaries and he has signed a contract with Fox News Channel. Mike Pence, Trump's former vice-president, has started a political advocacy group, finalized a book deal and later this month will give his first speech since leaving office in South Carolina. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been courting donors, including in Trump's backyard, with a prominent speaking slot before the former president at a GOP fundraising retreat dinner this month at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where Trump now lives. Trump ended his presidency with such a firm grip on Republican voters that party leaders fretted he would freeze the field of potential 2024 candidates, delaying preparations as he teased another run. Instead, many Republicans with national ambitions are openly laying the groundwork for campaigns as Trump continues to mull his own plans. They’re raising money, making hires and working to bolster their name recognition. The moves reflect both the fervour in the party to reclaim the White House and the reality that mounting a modern presidential campaign is a yearslong endeavour. “You build the arc before it rains,” said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush’s presidential 2016 campaign, among others. “They’re going to do the things they need to do if he decides not to run.” Trump, at least for now, is giving them plenty of leeway, convinced they pose little threat to his own ambitions. “It’s a free country. Folks can do what they want," Trump adviser Jason Miller said in response to the moves. “But,” he added, “if Present Trump does decide to run in 2024, the nomination will be his if you’re paying any attention to public polling of Republican voters." Polling does indeed show that Trump remains a commanding figure among GOP voters, despite his loss in November to Democrat Joe Biden. Republican leaders, including those who may hope to someday succeed him, have been careful to tend to his ego and make clear they have no plans to challenge his standing. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, last weekend awarded Trump a new “Champion for Freedom Award," which the group publicized — complete with a photo of a smiling, golf-attired Trump holding a small, gleaming cup — even after the former president went after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in a profanity-laden speech. A day later, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who many consider a top-tier 2024 candidate, told The Associated Press that she will sit out the race if Trump runs again. “I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it," she said in Orangeburg, South Carolina. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.” The deference is, in part, an acknowledgement of Trump's continued power. Even out of office and without his Twitter megaphone, Trump remains deeply popular with the GOP base and is bolstered by an $85 million war chest that can be shared with endorsed candidates, spent on advertising and used to fund travel and pay for polling and consultants. Trump is making plans to soon increase his visibility, with aides discussing options to hold rallies as soon as late spring or summer. “There’s a pretty strong demand out there to get President Trump on the road,” Miller said. Many Republicans acknowledge Trump would leap to the front of the pack if he chooses to mount a bid to become the only president other than Grover Cleveland to serve two nonconsecutive terms. Still, there is deep skepticism in many corners of the party that Trump will run again. While people close to him insist he is serious, many see Trump’s continued flirtations as a means to maintain relevance as he has settled into a comfortable post-White House life. At Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, he's courted by candidates and met by rounds of applause and standing ovations whenever he enters the dining room. In the meantime, other could-be-candidates are making moves, even as many of their aides insist their focus is squarely on next year's congressional elections and helping Republicans win back control of the House and Senate. Jeff Kaufmann, the chair of the Iowa Republican party, said the activity in his state has begun even earlier this year than in the past two election cycles, with every candidate on his potential 2024 list having already visited or thinking of visiting the first state on the GOP nominating calendar. “I know of no one — honestly no one — that is hesitating to come out," he said. "Now some are a little more subtle than others, but that may not necessarily be tied to Donald Trump. That may be just tied into their campaign style and not wanting to get too far ahead of their skis until they see if they have any traction whatsoever.” Pompeo, arguably the most aggressive to date, is among those who has already spent time in Iowa, as well as New Hampshire, and this week past he addressed Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network in New York, where he was introduced by video by Republican megadonor Miriam Adelson. And on Saturday, he headlined the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner at Mar-a-Lago along with Scott and DeSantis. DeSantis, who is up for reelection next year, recently hired a top Republican strategist who served as executive director of the Republican Governors Association. DeSantis also has been using the race build a deep fundraising network that could support him if he chooses to run nationally. The party, which for a time appeared to be paralyzed by division, has grown more united in its opposition to Biden, even as Trump continues to spar with McConnell and works to defeat incumbents who voted for his impeachment. Republicans in Congress have found common cause railing against Biden’s border policies, voting against his COVID-19 relief bill and pushing for new restrictions on voting, while railing against corporate interference in the voting rights debate. “I think you would find broad agreement in our party that we need to be having the debate about policy," said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, who continues to face enormous backlash after voting for Trump's impeachment. “We need to be talking about policy," she said while speaking to Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service last week. Regardless of Trump's ultimate decision, his critics and acolytes alike say they see the future of the party as dependent on maintaining their appeal Trump voters, while at the same time winning back the suburban voters who abandoned them last fall. “I think everyone’s trying to find that magic combination of ‘Trump-plus,’ of continuing to appeal to the new voters that President Trump brought to the Republican coalition while also bringing back back some of the college-educated suburban folks that were repelled by his antics,” said Steel. ___ Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Orangeburg, South Carolina, contributed to this report. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
On the road to mass-vaccination, the U.S. is so far ahead that it's detecting new obstacles that remain, for much of the world, an afterthought on a distant horizon. The proportion of the population who've received at least one dose is almost twice as high as in Canada, and it's 10 times higher for the fully vaccinated. The vaccine supply in most states has ballooned to more than one dose per adult — that's allowed half of adults and nearly 40 per cent of the total U.S. population to have received a shot. Nowadays when you text friends to tell them a local clinic has doses available, it's increasingly common to hear the reply: No thanks, I've already got mine. "It's pretty damn good," Paul Goepfert, a University of Alabama researcher who studies vaccines, said of the rollout so far. So he's optimistic, right? Not quite. In fact, Goepfert is worried that the U.S. might never cross that coveted threshold of herd immunity. "I'm skeptical," he said of whether the country will reach herd immunity. "At least not anytime soon." Vaccine hesitancy ranks atop his causes for concern. The increasing abundance of U.S. supply is now shifting attention to that other half of economics' most fundamental model: demand. Whether enough Americans take the vaccine matters not only here but elsewhere, as the world pursues that ill-defined immunity threshold, which most estimates peg at about three-quarters of the population. Blue states, red states The rate of vaccinations is still increasing across the U.S. but there's an emerging gap in how quickly different states are unloading supplies. And the gap is growing. The states seeing the biggest daily increases in vaccinations are churning through their supply — led by New Hampshire, which has now delivered at least one dose to 71 per cent of adults. Other states have used just two-thirds of their supply and the daily increases are smaller: Mississippi and Alabama, for instance, have delivered at least one dose to 38 per cent of adults. There's an eye-catching political trend developing. Of the states with the most doses administered per adult, 14 of the top 15 voted for Joe Biden. As for states administering the fewest doses, 14 of 15 voted for Donald Trump. Wilbert Marshall, 71, looks away while receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Melissa Banks, right, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., April 7. Nearly half of American adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are some signs that rates are lower in Republican red states such as Mississippi than in Democrat-supporting blue states.(Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press) Goepfert's own experiences attest to the trendline in his state of Alabama. Just weeks ago, he was being bombarded with requests from people who hoped that, through his work, he might help them score still-rare vaccines. "I don't get those calls anymore," he said. Meanwhile, he works at an HIV clinic and struggles to convince some patients to take the vaccine, including people with serious pre-existing conditions. He describes a spectrum of vaccine hesitancy. Some skeptics can be convinced to get vaccinated, he says; others flat-out refuse. Some say no out of fear; others have no fear of COVID-19. One patient casually brushed off getting vaccinated, Goepfert said, telling him: "I don't wear a mask. I haven't gotten sick. Why should I get a vaccine?" Blue states are ahead in vaccinations. Atop the list is New Hampshire, seen here with a mass vaccination event last month. A whopping 71 per cent of adults in the state, and 58 per cent of the total population, have received at least one dose.(Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters) Pharmacy slots unfilled Vaccination appointments are going unfilled in certain places. There were vacant vaccination slots in dozens of CVS pharmacy locations on Thursday in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Wyoming. Yet the slots were all booked at its locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota. One North Carolina county plans to shut its mass-vaccination site after this month because of dropping demand. After an initial rush, the site located in an old K-Mart is getting a fraction of its former use; a lengthy waiting list for vaccines has evaporated, and patients now have more places to get vaccines in Carteret County. Herd immunity? Don't count on it anytime soon, says Paul Goepfert, a vaccine expert and doctor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.(University of Alabama at Birmingham) "I'm worried," said Ralph Merrill, an engineer who sits on the county board. His county has fully vaccinated one-quarter of its population, around the state average but far from the eventual goal. "I'd be surprised if we get much above 50 per cent." He pauses and chuckles in mid-sentence when asked why he's worried: "There's a lot of people around here who … I don't think they want to take the vaccine." Like others, he describes vaccine hesitancy as coming in different varieties. At the Marine Corps base where he works, he said, some friends are cautiously skeptical; others offer wild conspiracy theories. The Trump card Trump won Carteret County, N.C., by 42 points. Merrill is convinced politics is driving anti-vaccination sentiment, especially among people who generally distrust government. The U.S. Congress anticipated that vaccine hesitancy might become a problem and set aside more than $1 billion in its new COVID relief law for a public awareness campaign. Trump's administration funded the vaccine operation. But he hasn't talked much about getting vaccinated. (Tom Brenner/Reuters) But Merrill sees a quicker, easier way to influence public opinion: get Trump to go on TV, talk about how his administration funded the development of vaccines, describe how he got vaccinated, and urge supporters to do the same. "He's like the idol to a group of people," Merrill said. "That would be a good thing for him to do." A wealth of polling data backs up the idea that vaccine hesitancy is highest among Republicans. Three polls released this month put the number of Republicans who don't want a vaccine in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent — that's roughly double the national average and multiple times higher than the ratio of anti-vaccine Biden supporters. Surveys also find higher-than average vaccine hesitancy among African Americans. The tricky math on herd immunity This is the kind of math that has Goepfert worried that herd immunity might prove elusive. Adults comprise 78 per cent of the U.S. population, and because vaccinations are mainly going to adults, he figures that nearly all adults will need antibodies from a vaccine or recent illness to get there. He doesn't see how that could happen with so many people hesitant to get vaccinated. Some U.S. states are now expanding the eligibility pool to include 16-year-olds. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, seen at a press conference in Jackson, Miss., in January, says he's working to fight vaccine hesitancy and falling demand in his state.(Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press) The governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, recently tried to convince some of the vaccine holdouts in his state by speaking forcefully about how he and his family have gotten vaccinated and announcing new mobile vaccination clinics in priority areas. "The next million shots are going to be harder to get than the last million. They're going be hard to get because of vaccine hesitancy," Reeves said at COVID-19 briefing in late March in which he announced that one million vaccine doses had been administered in the state. "We've got to get creative to get shots in arms. It was easy early on, in January, because we had a lot more demand than we had supply. We've always said that at some point, we're going to get to where there is as much, if not more, supply than there is demand. We're not there yet, but we're seeing the shift very, very quickly." U.S. President Joe Biden visits a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va., April 6. Virginia has vaccinated more than half of its adult population.(Evan Vucci/The Associated Press) Politics: Correlation isn't causation One infectious-disease expert and medical practitioner in the U.S. said it's simplistic to attribute vaccine hesitancy entirely to politics. Krutika Kuppalli, a doctor and researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, said several factors shape your risk assessment, and it so happens these factors might correlate to political preference: the population density of your area, your education level, and whether you have regular access to health care. She agreed vaccination slots are filling more slowly in her area than before, and echoing other experts said hesitancy comes in different forms. Some issues are purely clerical: people struggling to navigate an appointment website, she said. More surprising are the stories that stem from misinformation — like one patient this week who expressed fear vaccines might worsen his unrelated condition. WATCH | U.S. pauses use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine over blood clot reports: What's the long-term outlook "The amount of the misinformation is unbelievable," she said. "It astounds me how much is out there." So what's next? Kuppalli suspects vaccines for adolescents are part of any solution for getting to herd immunity, and even then it won't be easy. She worries about new variants popping up in the many countries where vaccines remain rare, and said it's unclear whether they will be easier or harder to manage. We might need occasional vaccine booster shots to protect ourselves, she said. Goepfert also suspects we'll be getting booster shots, perhaps every couple of years. If things work out, he said, future variants will keep responding to vaccines, and COVID-19 might weaken into yet another form of the common cold. That's his optimistic scenario. WATCH | Being outdoors reduces, doesn't eliminate COVID-19 risk, experts say:
Simply including more women at organizations without addressing underlying power structures and practices does little good. Representation isn't synonymous with change.
Canadians looking to the skies in 2020 reported more UFO sightings than usual. As recently as a month ago, Tim Rose of Williamswood, N.S., captured a strange string of lights on his home security camera. "I'm very skeptical about all that stuff but this has me puzzled," said Rose. "I can't figure it out." Rose is not alone. Just about every province reported a significant increase in UFO sightings and that includes Nova Scotia. A report released last month by Ufology Research in Winnipeg stated that UFO sightings across the country increased by 46 per cent in 2020. Although the study found that the most reported sightings were in urban centres in Quebec and Ontario, the Maritimes also saw an uptick, said Canadian UFO researcher Chris Rutkowski. "[The] Maritimes are typically five per cent of the total UFO reports for Canada in any given year but for 2020 it was at least double that, around 10 per cent, which is very curious," Rutkowski said. Facebook group has more than 7,000 members In addition to doing research at the University of Manitoba, Rutkowski also helps run a Facebook group called UFO Sightings in Nova Scotia. The group has more than 7,000 members. He said he's seen a lot more people reaching out to him about UFO sightings. "In Nova Scotia there were 21 reports in 2019 but 63 in 2020," said Rutkowski. Nova Scotia has a history with UFOs dating back to the 1967 Shag Harbour incident. Multiple witnesses reported seeing bright lights in the sky and an object crash into the water. Rutkowski said there were 1,243 reported sightings in Canada last year, the third highest number since he started tracking the figures in the 1980s. Why are people reporting more sightings? Rutkowski said he's tempted to suggest the reason for the increase is the pandemic. But he said the increase began early in 2020. "We're not sure what started it off, but certainly by the time we got into March, April, May, the trend of a large increase in UFO sightings was very, very noticeable, and especially noticeable in the Maritimes." Rutkowski said many of the reports received last year were solved. "A lot of people were reporting UFO reports to us that turned out to be the SpaceX satellite," he said. "They appear as sort of long strings of pearls moving across the sky. These lights seem very bright yet connected, somehow following the same path." Rutkowski said there are things people can do when it comes to distinguishing a legitimate UFO from a plane or drone. "We like to know what direction it's going, what time, what date," he said. "It helps narrow down whether there were flights overhead at that time, whether there were satellites, whether there were fireballs or some astronomical [event] in the sky at that same time." He said many of the reports were determined to be drones or stars. But some of the reports could not be explained. "There's always a certain percentage at the end of every year that we can't explain," he said. "Last year, that was actually quite high, around 13 per cent. Usually it's hovering around two to five per cent." Rutkowski can't fully explain last year's rise. But he's encouraging people to keep looking up. "It could have something to do with more people not going to indoor venues so they were spending more time looking up appreciating the night sky, which I think is a very good thing." MORE TOP STORIES
Israelis went about barefaced on Sunday after the order to wear masks outdoors was rescinded in another step towards relative normality thanks to the country's mass-vaccination against COVID-19. With about 81% of citizens or residents over 16 - the age group eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Israel - having received both doses, contagions and hospitalisations are down sharply. But entry by foreigners is still limited and non-immune Israelis who return from abroad must self-isolate, due to concern virus variants could challenge the vaccine.
The Ontario government and the Greater Toronto Area's largest public health units say they don't yet know how many teachers and education workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — as some special education workers and students head back to class this week. Many of those workers were made eligible for vaccinations last week when the province announced a plan to inoculate education staff in hot-spot neighbourhoods during April break. While the return of in-person classes for elementary and secondary schools has since been put on hold indefinitely across Ontario, some classes for students with special education needs are set to resume on Monday. It appears that few of those teachers will have been vaccinated by the time their classrooms reopen. "Not many have been vaccinated already, and certainly none have been vaccinated with the two-week incubation period that's needed," said Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local and a longtime Brampton elementary teacher. The possibility of delayed vaccinations for teachers, coupled with the pandemic's surging third wave in Ontario, is said to be threatening the return of in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. "There will be virtually no time left in the school year before those vaccines have had a chance to take effect," said Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF). In Peel Region alone, Bannister-Clarke said, Monday will mark the return of 116 teachers and dozens of special education workers for in-person classes. Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local, said teachers will not feel comfortable returning to class before being vaccinated.(Zoom) She said some teachers and education workers who tried to book appointments last week will not actually receive their shots until mid-May. "We're quite confused as to why we're opening classrooms at this time," Bannister-Clarke said. Ontario promised vaccine access, 'full stop' Ontario said its plan to make teachers and special education workers a priority for immunization in hot-spot postal codes would help protect workers facing the greatest risk of infection. "I just want to assure every worker in the province in our schools, driving our buses and helping to protect our kids: you are going to get access to the vaccine, full stop," Education Minister Stephen Lecce said after announcing the plan, which came days before Ontario decided to close schools to in-person learning following April break. But local public health units, who are tasked with administering vaccinations, say they did not receive any additional vaccine supply or guidance when teachers and education staff were made eligible. Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa estimated during a Board of Health meeting last week that "roughly 40,000" people qualified for vaccination under the expanded plan, but said Toronto did not receive any additional vaccines to serve those workers. "It wasn't really a plan, it was sort of a half-baked wish," said Bischof, who said teachers have reported difficulty getting vaccine appointments across Ontario. The province's Ministry of Health did not respond to a CBC News request for information on the status of vaccinations among teachers and education workers. Vaccines may not even be enough Brenda Coleman, a clinical scientist at Sinai Health System and an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said vaccination rates are one of several key factors that will determine if and when schools are safe to reopen. Coleman is studying the threat of COVID-19 to teachers in schools, which she considers to be a "very high-risk situation." While Coleman said vaccines represent an important safeguard for teachers, she said the current trajectory of the pandemic could preclude schools from reopening even if teachers are vaccinated. "The case rate is so high right now that putting children and education workers back into school just doesn't make any sense at this point," Coleman said.
The woman who shot a video of a violent arrest by a private security guard at a Saskatoon FreschCo. earlier this week says she was frozen in fear as she watched the incident unfold before her. Now, after taking some time to reflect and steady herself, she says she's glad she recorded the video, but wishes she had stepped in. Jade Acikahte watched the entire arrest unfold, saying the Indigenous woman complied with the security guard fully before she was arrested. Acikahte says the security guard stopped the woman as she was leaving the store on 33rd Street West in the city's Mayfair Neighbourhood, and said he suspected her of theft. She says that when asked, the woman followed instructions from the man fully, emptying the contents of her purse as requested. However, when that didn't satisfy the guard, the man told the woman to follow him back to the store, at which time she said she didn't want to. "As she was putting her stuff back in her purse, she said 'No, I don't want to go with you. I'm not going with you,'" Acikahte said. The guard was blocking the woman's path, according to Acikahte, when the woman tried to walk away. Acikahte said the security guard grabbed the woman by her wrist and tried to force her into handcuffs. When she fought back, the man threw her to the ground. "With her hands still behind her back, so she wasn't able to brace for that fall," she said, and at that point, that's when she took out her phone and started to record. The incident has spurred calls for the security guard in the video to be fired and has already resulted in the termination of the contract between the FreshCo. store and the security firm that employs him. The woman, a 30-year-old, has been charged with theft under $5,000 and assault as a result of the incident. Calls for guard to be fired, charged The security guard has not been charged, but many — including Indigenous leaders with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Saskatoon Tribal Council — want that to change. They also want all charges against the woman dropped. As for Acikahte, she says she had never seen anything like the arrest before, noting she agrees the guard should be fired and charged. "I felt really confused and scared for her," she said. "All I know is that I had to record." A photo of Jade Acikahte, an Indigenous woman in Saskatoon who recorded a violent arrest in a Saskatoon parking lot by a private security guard on April 14,2021. (Supplied by Jade Acikahte ) The company that employs the guard, Emergency Security Management Solutions, has told CBC News previously that every company has its policies and procedures around their employees and says they will be followed. Acikahte says the recording has been shared with police, as she does not feel the guard's behaviour was appropriate. It's also circulated widely online, with the original post being shared almost 2,000 times. WATCH | Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations calls for security guard to be fired following violent arrest at Saskatoon store: Acikahte, who saw photos of the arrests aftermath, says the woman in the video suffered numerous injuries as a result. "It was literally her entire body," she said. Acikahte, who is also Indigenous, says the fact the woman was charged as a result of the incident is "absolutely outrageous." "Just witnessing it from beginning to end, the force he used at the very beginning was just not necessary," she said. "I feel like she acted out of self-defence. Completely." However, Acikahte says while the video was shocking, it wasn't surprising, as it's a sign of a larger problem. "This is normal life for Indigenous people. I really hope that this situation can be an example and it's rectified in a positive way," she said. "It's upsetting. It's really, really upsetting to watch this unfold." Mayor addresses racism, profiling Saskatoon's Mayor Charlie Clark has also publicly stated the video has left him feeling angry, and this type of violence "needs to stop. "We can't ignore as a community that not everyone would have been treated this way. Our city has been coming to terms with the reality of our history and ongoing impacts of violence against women, and violence against Indigenous women," said Clark in the statement. "We have also been coming face to face with the reality that systemic racism, and profiling of people in stores and institutions in our community, carries on in large and small ways," he said. "The video of this arrest highlighted this. I hear too often from people who are Indigenous, Black, and people of colour that they regularly face discrimination, profiling and violence." In the statement, Clark says this type of violence has a real impact on a person's life and those who do not experience need to "listen and hear directly from people who do. "We have work to do to address the training and accountability of security guards, the racial profiling of people in stores and institutions, to address the hard truths of the impacts of a colonial relationship, and to build a way forward where we see each other as relatives and where everyone has opportunity here." Clark says he's committed to the work necessary to bring an end to this type of injustice and has already had communication with Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand on steps forward. "I will keep working with leaders throughout the community towards these goals," he said in the statement. "We can only be successful by doing it together as a community." The woman has been offered support by both the FSIN and the STC, and Acikahte says she too will do all she can to help. She's spoken to the woman about why she didn't get involved, as she was afraid of charges, and for her safety and said the conversation was important. "I apologized profusely for not stepping in for not being more help," she said. "She was not upset with me. She was not angry with any of us bystanders, she was glad it was recorded." On Friday morning, the Saskatoon Police Service confirmed its investigation into the matter is ongoing, but did not have any updates. "As with any call for service, we respond with the information we have at the time," the statement said. "I can add that if we need to seek an opinion from the Crown following the investigation, we will."
Vancouver police say they're investigating the shooting death of a man in the city's Coal Harbour neighbourhood Saturday night. Officers responded to calls about shots fired outside Cardero's Restaurant shortly after 8:30 p.m., police said in a written release. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say preliminary evidence suggests the shooting was targeted, and investigators don't believe there is any further risk to the public. "Although this shooting was targeted, we are very concerned about the potential impact on the public of an incident like this," said Const. Tania Visintin. "This happened in a busy spot on a nice evening and an innocent person could have gotten hurt." Visintin said police have yet to arrest anyone in relation to the shooting. This was Vancouver's fifth homicide of the year. Area taped off Video from the scene in front of Cardero's Restaurant shows about a dozen officers and paramedics working in a taped-off area and what appears to be a body under a white tarp. Another image shows what looks like a gun lying on the ground nearby. At one point officers struggled with a man screaming while he tried to access the scene. The man was later seen shouting as he lay on the ground and spoke on a cellphone.
China will expand digital yuan experiments to more cities, but there is no specific timetable for its official rollout, central bank vice governor Li Bo told an annual gathering on Sunday of top Chinese and foreign policymakers, executives and academics. China is one of the frontrunners in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies to modernise financial systems, ward off the threat from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments. Li said testing had shown that the issuance and distribution mechanism of the digital yuan, or e-CNY, are compatible with the existing financial system, and help minimize the impact on the banking sector.
After a delay for processing reassigned and unassigned cases, Saskatchewan reported 289 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and one more death due to illness linked to the novel coronavirus. As of Saturday, 4,664 of the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus have been identified in Saskatchewan — over half of which have been in the Regina area. However, the central east, south west, south central and southeast zones, as well as Saskatoon, have all seen over 100 variant cases as well. Of the 38,160 known COVID-19 cases to date in the province, 2,742 are considered active. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is 261 — 21.3 new cases per 100,000 population. 189 people in Saskatchewan are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 45 are in the ICU.(Government of Saskatchewan) The new cases Sunday are in the following provincial zones: Far northwest: nine. Far northeast: two. Northwest: 21. North central: 12. Northeast: two. Saskatoon: 32. Central west: seven. Central east: 26. Regina: 106. Southwest: six. South central: 15. Southeast: 41. Ten new cases have pending residence information. There are currently 189 people in hospital in the province due to COVID-19, including 45 in intensive care. 30 people are in intensive care in Regina. The province also reported 205 new recoveries. There have been 34,953 known recoveries in total as of Sunday. To date, 728,491 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Saskatchewan, 3,623 of which were processed on Saturday. Upcoming vaccine shipment reduced 11,063 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province on Saturday. The total number of vaccines given in the province has now reached 345,126, and nearly half of Saskatchewan residents over the age of 40 have received their first dose. Those 48 and older can now book their vaccine appointment online or over the phone. Drive-thru and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics are now open to people aged 48-54. However, Regina's drive-thru clinic has used up its supply of vaccine for now, and is temporarily closed. The government does not expect it to reopen until May 2. The Ministry of Health has also said that a shipment of Moderna vaccines — expected to arrive on April 26 — has been reduced by 47 per cent. The Ministry says it is working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Indigenous Services Canada to mitigate the impact of this reduction on booked appointments and other vaccination availability.
The Parti Québécois will push for the province's language laws to be applied to the CEGEP network, meaning it wants to force francophone and allophone Quebecers to do their collegial studies in French. At an online meeting Sunday, party members voted overwhelmingly (94 per cent) to back a motion put forward by the PQ's youth wing to extend the application of Bill 101 to CEGEPs. "We see it every day: our national language is losing ground. Taking strong measures is no longer an option; it is a necessity," the party said in a statement on social media. It is a notable policy shift for a number of reasons. Current party leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, opposed the measure during his leadership campaign. The previous PQ leader, Jean-François Lisée, also left it out of the party's 2018 provincial election platform. In the past, many in the party had been uneasy at the idea of dictating the language of instruction of Quebecers older than 18. But concerns about the health of the French language have been running high in recent months. And the PQ's main rival on French-language issues is the governing Coalition Avenir Québec. The government has promised to present plans this spring to beef up Bill 101, but it has ruled out expanding the scope of the law to CEGEPs. "We're a democratic party. Either I don't give members and MNAs the right to vote freely, or this right is exercised freely and offers up a democratic result," Plamondon said following the vote. He added the PQ would only support the CAQ's Bill 101 reforms if they include an expansion to CEGEPs. Bill 101, also known as the Charter of the French Language, was passed by the first PQ government in 1977. Party members will have to meet again in the fall to vote on whether to include the proposition in the platform for the next provincial election, scheduled to take place in October of 2022.