The Weather Networks Mark Robinson has some safety tips to consider before heading to the toboggan hills this winter.
The Weather Networks Mark Robinson has some safety tips to consider before heading to the toboggan hills this winter.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
It's clear that when girls and young women are at the forefront of major social justice movements, the old structures of patriarchy and misogyny can be challenged and hopefully dismantled.
Since Myanmar's military seized power in a coup on Feb. 1, overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, security forces have detained more than 1,000 people, hundreds at protests and many more in raids - often at night. As well as Suu Kyi and her cabinet, the detainees include doctors and teachers, actors and singers, and other civilians who took part in daily protests, according to figures from The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Founded by ex-prisoners of the former junta, the AAPP now finds itself recording a new generation of political detainees.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican defended Pope Francis’ decision to go ahead with his trip to Iraq this weekend despite rising coronavirus infections there, saying Tuesday all health care precautions have been taken and that the trip is an “act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians.” Francis is due to visit Iraq Friday-Monday in his first foreign trip since the pandemic erupted last year. Planning for the trip went into high gear after infections fell, but cases have spiked in the past month and infectious disease experts say a papal trip to a country with a fragile health care system simply is not a good idea. The Vatican has taken its own precautions, with the 84-year-old pope, his 20-member Vatican entourage and the 70-plus journalists on the papal plane all vaccinated. Iraq, however, only began its vaccination campaign Tuesday and most Iraqis who come to see the pope won't be inoculated. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni was asked how the Vatican could justify exposing Iraqis to such a risk of infection when the Vatican itself has been on a modified lockdown for months, with no public audiences, and why the trip couldn’t be postponed for even a few months. Bruni noted that Iraq has a predominantly young population and that the current daily caseload was small compared to the overall population. He said the trip has been designed to limit crowds, and that all papal events would follow Iraqi health protocols that include limited participation, social distancing, mask mandates and other measures. The pope will use a covered car — likely armoured — for all his transfers, which the Vatican says should limit the formation of crowds on the street. However, he is to celebrate a Mass for an expected 10,000 people in the sports stadium in Erbil and will use an open car there. “An entire community and an entire country will be able to follow this journey through the media and know that the pope is there for them, bringing a message that it is possible to hope even in situations that are most complicated," he said. Asked why the trip couldn't be postponed, Bruni said this period was “the first possible moment for a journey like this” and that there is “an urgency” to go. The aim of the trip is to encourage Iraq’s dwindling Christian communities that were violently persecuted by the Islamic State group, and to promote greater dialogue with Iraq’s Shiite majority. The trip will mark the first-ever papal meeting with a grand ayatollah, the Iranian-born Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani. “Perhaps the best way to interpret this journey is as an act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians,” Bruni said. “Every act of love can be interpreted as extreme, but as an extreme confirmation to be loved and confirmed in that love.” He acknowledged there might be consequences, but said the Vatican measured the need for Iraqis to feel the pope was close to them and loved them. “Obviously the pope also looks at this need,” Bruni said. Francis' itinerary includes a meeting Friday with priests, seminarians and nuns in the Syro-Catholic Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, where Islamic militants in 2010 slaughtered 58 people in what was the deadliest assault targeting Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The massacre was carried out by Al-Qaida in Iraq, which later became the Islamic State group. Francis will also travel north, to Kurdistan and the northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Qaraqosh, which were devastated by IS and where Christian communities that date to the time of Christ were nearly emptied of their residents, and their churches and homes destroyed. In between, Francis will travel to southern Najaf to the home of al-Sistani, a figure revered in Iraq and the Shiite world. Nearby, he will preside over an interfaith gathering in Ur, the biblical birthplace of Abraham, the prophet common to Christians, Muslims and Jews. The meeting is expected to take place in the shadow of Ur's magnificent pyramid-shaped zigguraut, part of a UNESCO world heritage site. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Kohl's reported mixed results for its fiscal fourth quarter, delivering a 30% increase in profits but a 10% drop in sales. Results handily beat Wall Street estimates. Online sales growth remained strong, up 22% for the latest quarter, and accounted for 42% of net sales. The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, company also issued a per-share forecast for the current year whose top range beat analysts' expectations. It also expects solid revenue growth. The earnings report comes out as Kohl’s is fighting back against an investor group’s efforts to take control of the department store chain’s board, arguing that it would derail its progress and momentum. The investor group nominated nine members for Kohl’s board of directors as it looks to boost the company’s stock and its financial performance. The group owns a 9.5% stake in Kohl’s. Kohl's has been pushing various initiatives to attract shoppers including expanding its activewear and home area. The department store's program with Amazon to accept eligible Amazon items, without a box or label, has done well. It said Tuesday the initiative has resulted in 2 million new customers in the past year of whom a third are younger. Late last year, the department store chain announced that Sephora will replace all cosmetics areas at Kohl’s with 2,500 square foot shops, starting with 200 locations in the fall. It will expand to at least 850 stores by 2023. Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass told The Associated Press during a phone interview on Tuesday that the chain is seeing a momentum in its business, and called the Sephora shops a “game changer." And while shopping at its stores are not yet back at a normal rate, she believes that Kohl's will recover some of that. She also noted that Kohl's will be ready when shoppers start going out more, but that casual dressing will still be important. Kohl's earned $343 million, or $2.20 per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 30. That compares with $265 million, or $1.72 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings was $2.22, well ahead of the $1.01 per share that analysts forecast, according to FactSet. Sales reached $6.14 billion, down from $6.83 billion in the year-ago period. But results surpassed the $5.88 billion that analysts had expected, according to FactSet. Kohl’s expects net sales for the current year to increase in the mid-teens percentage range. The company also forecasts that per-share range should be anywhere from $2.45 to $2.95 for the year. Analysts forecast $2.65 per share, according to FactSet. Shares rose 50 cents to $57.49 in late morning trading. Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
Ontario reported another 966 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as debate continues around whether the province should expand the time between vaccine doses to speed up its immunization efforts. The new cases include 253 in Toronto, 223 in Peel Region and 99 in York Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Ottawa: 64 Waterloo Region: 46 Thunder Bay: 39 Simcoe Muskoka: 36 Durham Region: 34 Halton Region: 32 Hamilton: 23 Windsor-Essex: 23 Sudbury: 19 Brant County: 13 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 13 Lambton: 11 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit on a given day, because local units report figures at different times.) The seven-day average of daily cases fell slightly to 1,098. The cases come as Ontario's lab network processed 30,767 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a test positivity rate of 2.9 per cent. Seven more cases of the virus variant first found in the United Kingdom were confirmed through whole genome sequencing, bringing the total in Ontario so far to 542. However, coronavirus variants remain tied to several outbreaks, including one at a Toronto school. The Ministry of Education also reported 262 further school-related cases: 231 students, 30 staff members and one person who was not identified. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 677 people with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals. Of those, 284 were being treated in intensive care, four more than yesterday, and 189 required a ventilator to breathe. With 11 additional deaths in today's update, Nearly 7,000 people with COVID-19 have now died in Ontario. As of yesterday evening, the official death toll stood at 6,997. The seven-day average of deaths, however, has decreased in the wake of the province giving out first doses of vaccines to residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes. Health units administered 22,326 shots yesterday. A total of 264,896 people have now received both doses of a vaccine and are considered fully immunized. Ontario explores extending time between vaccine doses Public health officials in Ontario are currently exploring whether the interval between doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be extended. The move would allow for more first jabs to be given out more quickly, and single doses of both have been shown to impart considerable immunity to the virus. Yesterday, British Columbia's provincial health officer said that the province would extend the time between doses to four months, with the goal of giving all of its residents who want one a first dose by July (B.C.'s population is just over five million.) Dr. Bonnie Henry said the change is based on the "miraculous" protection offered by a single shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which can be up to about 90 per cent. Quebec has similarly increased the interval between shots to 90 days. Internationally, both the United Kingdom and Israel have also allowed for more generous timing between shots. Other jurisdictions, such as the U.S., are for now sticking with the recommended 21 and 28 day intervals dictated by clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones released a joint statement Monday, saying the province has sought guidance from the federal government and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on whether it should follow B.C. WATCH | Vaccine task force member Dr. Isaac Bogoch on extending time between doses: Throughout Phase 1 of Ontario's ongoing vaccination campaign, second doses were delayed up to 42 days for some cohorts. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and member of Ontario's vaccine task force, said that given the urgency of the vaccination effort, people should expect to see more discussion about how long a second shot can wait. "Quite frankly, this is a public health emergency and that's why many jurisdictions are starting to delay that second dose and that's why I think you will see the debate raging around how far we can extend that second dose," he told CBC News Network. Bogoch added that there is "emerging data" from multiple places and sources to support increasing the interval. Seniors wait to enter a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Brampton. Peel Region is one of several public health units that began offering first doses to people 80 years and older this week, ahead of the provincial government's official start date. Speaking to reporters at Queen's Park today, Elliott said her ministry is "anxiously awaiting" the results of NACI's review of Ontario's request. "We've been following the recommendations of NACI and Health Canada at every step along the way. We want to make sure that the decisions that Ontario makes are based on science," she continued. Re-visit guidance on AstraZeneca vaccine, expert says Meanwhile, there is also continued debate over NACI's guidance on the recently-approved AstraZeneca vaccine. NACI said late last week that it is not recommending the vaccine for those 65 years old and above. The committee argued that AstraZeneca's clinical trials did not provide enough data on the efficacy of the vaccine for that age group. Evidence from the U.K. however, suggests that a single dose of the Astrazeneca vaccine is "extremely effective" at limiting severe illness and death from COVID-19 for those aged 65 and older, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti. In an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning, Chakrabarti said he believes NACI's decision is short-sighted and could actually contribute to vaccine hesitancy for those offered the AstraZeneca product. "People have it in their minds that AstraZeneca is an inferior vaccine and I don't blame them because the messaging around this has been very poor," he told host Ismaila Alfa. LISTEN | Infectious disease expert on NACI's AstraZeneca guidance: In Europe, France and Germany had previously announced they would also limit AstraZeneca doses to those younger than 65. Yesterday, however, France reversed it's decision, citing evidence from other jurisdictions. Getting a first dose of vaccine to as many people as possible is "our ticket out of the pandemic," Chakrabarti said. "Right now, as it stands, I would get any vaccine that is offered so that we can vaccinate as many people as possible," he added. That includes the AstraZeneca vaccine, despite limited data from the clinical trials themselves. "We're in a public health emergency and I think that sometimes a little bit of uncertainty is going to be there." Elliott said she anticipates Ontario's first doses of AstraZeneca to begin arriving next week, though she could not say how many are expected in the initial shipment.
WASHINGTON — Emergency loans made to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic have been added to a list of government programs considered at high risk of waste, fraud or mismanagement. The most common of those emergency loans, PPP loans, are provided at a low interest rate and are fully forgivable under conditions that include spending a certain percentage on payroll costs. The loans were created by Congress and have proven exceedingly popular as shops, restaurants and other small businesses try to survive the pandemic. The Government Accountability Office said Tuesday that millions of small businesses benefitted from the emergency loans, but the speed with which the relief programs were set up limited safeguards necessary to identify risks, “including susceptibility to improper payments and potential fraud.” The Small Business Administration made or guaranteed more than 14.7 million loans and grants totalling about $744 billion between March and December. Congress approved an additional $304 billion in emergency loans in December. The GAO said in the report that, as of January, it continues to experience delays in obtaining key information about the loans, including detailed oversight plans and documentation for estimating improper payments. “There's no doubt they’ve had a positive impact. However, the management of these programs needs to be dramatically improved," U.S. Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro told reporters in previewing the report. Government auditors release a high-risk list near the beginning of every new Congress. The list is designed to increase attention on the shortfalls cited by the GAO, and to prompt action that can often save taxpayer dollars and improve government operations. Auditors also added the government’s efforts to prevent drug misuse to the high-risk list. The GAO had warned as the pandemic began that it would be doing so. At the time, it noted that the pandemic could fuel the conditions that contribute to drug misuse, such as unemployment. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the largest ever increase of drug overdose deaths during a 12-month period that ended the previous May. The CDC noted a particular acceleration in drug overdose deaths as widespread mitigation measures kicked in. “This is heartbreaking," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Portman said that the country and his home state had finally seen a drop in overdose deaths in 2018 for the first time in decades. “Substantial progress. And yet now, with the pandemic, under this horrible pandemic, we have this horrible addiction crisis that has grown," Portman said. Auditors said that maintaining sustained attention to the problem of drug abuse will be challenging in the coming months with agencies focused on addressing the pandemic. “This makes developing and implementing a co-ordinated, strategic approach even more important as agencies’ resources are also being diverted, in part, to pandemic priorities,” the report said. On a positive note, the GAO said the Department of Defence had made concerted progress in how it aligns its support infrastructure with the needs of the country’s military forces, It dropped the support program from it's high-risk list. For example, in citing, progress, auditors said the Army reduced its leased footprint in the Washington D.C. region from a peak of 3.9 million square feet in 2011 to roughly 1 million square feet as of September 2019. Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
It was so important for psychologist Sarah Carr to have a better work-life balance for her and her two daughters, she left a secure, well-paid position as a psychologist in Alberta to open her own office in her hometown of Charlottetown. Not only were her daughters, now aged nine and 10, excited to see their grandparents more often, it meant Carr could make a flexible schedule. “It felt like everywhere I worked, we worked incredibly hard without much flexibility (and) feeling a lot of guilt when we did take some opportunities available to us,” said Carr. “I’m a single mom, so my life – in order to have that work-life balance, in order to go to my kids’ concerts – I wanted to have a job with flexibility.” Opening on P.E.I. in 2017, Carr started with a tiny suite of two rooms, one for her office manager and one to see her clients. Since then, the business has expanded twice and now has three full-time therapists, including Carr, and the office manager at work each day. Counsellor Megan Muckler started with Carr as a student on practicum in May 2020. She graduated in January and has remained working full-time at the office. “It’s really good to be in a psychologically healthy workplace, where mental health is very respected,” said Muckler. “It’s also – I’d say, unfortunately – unusual for the average workplace to have this much built-in – necessary – restorative time. So yes, obviously, it’s wonderful. I love it very much. (Carr) does definitely respect us taking time for ourselves.” In Alberta, Carr was expected to see up to eight clients per day with no flexibility around working hours. “Before I had children, I probably would have just stuck out that kind of job because that’s the kind of employee I am – I’d work hard. But with children, you’re often having to choose, it feels, between work and having a family. I wanted to create an environment where it would not be a choice, where you could do both.” That’s why she planned her business model to allow her and her staff to see four to five clients a day. “You’re carrying a lot of emotional weight for people; it’s very demanding work that way,” said Carr. She is one of the fortunate women working in a career with wages set by a professional association. Even so, being a parent has cost her financially at work. In one job, she was docked a day’s pay for staying home with her sick child. Even though she had paid sick days, she learned afterward that she wasn’t allowed to use them to care for her sick kids. Women-dominant fields suffer the gender and care penalty, said Jillian Kilfoil, executive director of the Women’s Network P.E.I. “Usually, they’re engaged in care work – which is devalued – and they’re usually a women-workforce, which is more devalued, and as a result, the work may be more draining, may be more difficult, but doesn’t have same wages as the other industries,” said Kilfoil. Carr said she gets 25 women applying for work for every man. “Psychologists used to be male-dominated; now it’s female, and our wages aren’t going up every year as they should,” said Carr. “P.E.I. just reached where the rest of Canada was five years ago. … The other provinces are already higher.” Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer
An 88-year-old man died after a car and truck collided on Miscou Island on Monday. RCMP believe the man was backing out of a residential driveway onto Route 113 when his car was struck by a pickup truck. RCMP and the Miscou Fire Department were dispatched to the scene at about 9:40 a.m. The man driving the car was transported to the hospital, where he died. The pickup truck driver and passenger were not hurt, RCMP said Tuesday. An investigation is continuing.
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
Regina–SaskEnergy is warning of a potential telemarketing scam targeting its residential customers. The warning comes a week after its sister Crown corporation, put out a warning of a scam targeting its customers. SaskEnergy said in a release on March 2 it has received reports that individuals claiming to be associated with either SaskEnergy, or the federal government, are contacting customers regarding their eligibility for various rebates, including: carbon tax, furnace replacement and equipment maintenance. These callers are not associated with SaskEnergy, and are not offering rebates on behalf of SaskEnergy, the Crown corporation emphasized. SaskEnergy rebates are not offered through solicitation or door-to-door sales. All SaskEnergy rebates are offered through participating SaskEnergy Network Members only. For more information about SaskEnergy current rebates and programs, and a list of qualified Network Member companies, visit www.saskenergy.com. Anyone who has received calls of this nature should make a report to the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) of the Government of Saskatchewan at 1-306-787-5645 or 1-877-880-5550 (menu option #1), SaskEnergy said, adding, “If you have provided personal financial information, including bank account or credit card information over the phone, you should report the matter to local police, as well as immediately contact your financial institution.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Army has launched a new recruiting campaign that targets prospective soldiers who want to live and work in Alaska. Previously, soldiers could only request assignment to Alaska after completing basic training, KTUU-TV reported Sunday. Now, they can ask recruiters to be sent to the state. Alaska provides some of the harshest winter U.S. military training regimens, the television station reported. “That’s good for us because we’re trying to build soldiers that have some of these skills,” said Major General Peter Andrysiak. “That’s a key component of what we’re doing. They’re more apt to thrive.” The Army is researching other ways to provide incentives for prospective soldiers who would move to Alaska, Andrysiak said. “If we’re going to ask soldiers and families to live here and endure some of the challenging winters, we’re looking at opportunities for how to improve that,” Andrysiak said. The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Rapper Classified and singer-songwriter Rose Cousins lead the list of nominees for the 2021 East Coast Music Awards. Classified, from Enfield, N.S., has eight nominations including Album of the Year, Rap-Hip Hop Recording of the Year and Song of the Year for "Good News." Halifax-based Cousins has six nominations including Songwriter of the Year, Solo Recording of the Year and Album of the Year for "Bravado." Beolach, Catherine MacLellan, David Myles, Neon Dreams and Rich Aucoin each have four nominations. This year's awards lineup features a new category — African Canadian Artist of the Year — with Joe Bowden, Keonte Beals, Miokal, Owen O'Sound Lee, Shelley Hamilton and Zamani vying for the honour. The awards festival week is scheduled for May 5-9 in Sydney, N.S. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
"The Soul of a Woman," by Isabel Allende (Ballantine) Acclaimed writer Isabel Allende’s short memoir, "The Soul of a Woman" is a bold exploration of womanhood, feminism, parenting, aging, love and more. This short, but mighty memoir opens with a proud declaration that Allende has been a feminist since kindergarten, and from there launches readers into an enchanting examination of the life she has lived ever since. Now in her late 70s, Allende reflects on her life, from her childhood and parents to her experience becoming a mother and grandmother. The memoir is a chronicle of her fierce advocacy for herself and for the power of women, and it is also an ode to the many people who shaped her. With humour and wisdom, Allende offers poignant observations on topics like ambition, the lack of respect we show to aging people and the #MeToo movement. Spending time with Allende within these pages is a true delight. The book is conversational, contemplative, and relatable. Allende is self-deprecating and jubilant, writing as if she is chatting over coffee and scones with an old friend about the lessons life has taught her. The book will no doubt make you think about these big concepts in new and personal ways. —- Read more about Molly Sprayregen at https://www.mollyspray.com. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania's Republican Party has expressed its disapproval of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey over his vote to convict Donald Trump during the former president’s second impeachment trial, while stopping short of issuing the more serious — albeit still symbolic — censure that some members had pushed for. The vote counting wrapped up late Monday night, completing a five-hour remote video meeting last week that had to be continued because of technical problems, state committee members said. The vote count was 128-124, with 13 abstaining, to approve a statement expressing disappointment with fellow Republican Toomey, but not a censure, state committee members said. Toomey’s vote to convict — and his earlier assessment that Trump had committed “impeachable offences” in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — set off a wave of pro-Trump county party condemnations of Toomey in Pennsylvania. A censure vote is a symbolic gesture that would have had no real effect on Toomey, who announced in October that he will not run again for office. Toomey appeared on the meeting call last week to defend himself — and Trump supporter U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who showed up to defend the senator — but Toomey has not publicly backed down from his vote. The state party brass have remained silent publicly about the meeting, and have yet to release any information about it. The Associated Press
Arya Peruma got into coding at the age of seven, and the 15-year-old from Mississauga is now helping educators spark that same passion in more elementary students while also boosting the efforts of girls and other youth often underrepresented in technology. Peruma is currently researching DNA microarrays to see if artificial intelligence can be used to predict someone’s risk of developing cancer, but the 10th-grader has yet to take a dedicated computer science class, which, in Ontario, is first offered in Grade 11. “By then, it’s already too late to learn,” she says. “The passion for the subject matter starts when you're really young, and in order to spark the interest, you have to be exposed to it, and the younger the better. “It’s something that is really vital and crucial to learn, not just if you want to go into the field of computer science or programming, but it’s something that will develop cognitive skills, critical thinking and so many more really integral problem-solving skills.” Coding concepts are included as early as Grade 1 in a new math curriculum the Ford government unveiled last year. “This is definitely a step in the right direction, but I think more needs to be done,” Peruma says. To help spread the word, she started the Coding for Young Minds community group in 2019. So far, some 5,000 students around the world have taken up her offer of free live tutoring sessions on various aspects of coding and programming. “It's really important to me because especially thinking back to how many barriers they were for me to access supplemental education, it made me think that if I have these barriers, what would the barriers for other students be?” she says, pointing out that online programming and coding classes can be prohibitively expensive and not particularly approachable for younger learners. Top tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google have consistently reported workforces made up overwhelmingly of white and Asian men since the companies began releasing diversity reports in 2014, a fact critics say creates a web of subtle biases that exclude minorities. Peruma will be taking her project to another level this year, creating a three-part free virtual workshop series for educators wanting to know how to engage their students in the topic. “One thing I really like to be able to do is connect everything back to real life,” she explains. “When you're talking about algorithms with younger students, we can compare it to a cooking recipe and tell them that it's a step-by-step procedure just like a cooking recipe.” Late last year, Peruma helped cut the ribbon on an in-person coding lab in Mississauga. For now, she mostly uses the space to host her virtual tutoring sessions, but once COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, the space will offer local students access to equipment including a 3D printer and tailored training to accommodate special needs. Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
A Vancouver Island man who teaches cross country skiing has seen his Youtube channel grow in popularity as people from around the world turn to the sport as the perfect pandemic activity. Keith Nicol has been posting videos online for the past decade. Over the past year, the number of people who subscribe to his channel has grown from 4,500 to 6,500, and his videos now accumulate between 4,000 and 4,500 views a day. “I would say that it’s really been a COVID-related thing in terms of kind of grasping the uptick,” said Nicol. “I put it down to people having time on their hands, not travelling in the winter, and looking for something to do, so they’ll pick up cross country skiing.” Nicol has a long history of teaching and running instructor courses in Atlantic Canada, where he lived before moving to Courteney six years ago. He holds a Level Four instructor training certificate for cross country skiing and a Level Three for telemark skiing from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. These are the highest such levels that the organization assigns for the respective sports. (In other words, Nicol truly knows what he’s talking about.) Nicol now teaches at Mount Washington. He said that his videos focus on the aspects of the sport that people struggle with, as well as key elements of technique. “I teach up at Mount Washington, so I see people repeatedly having problems doing certain activities or certain skills. So I’ll say, ‘okay, well, maybe I’ll do a video on that,’” he said. Overall, Nicol said that he’s very encouraged by the growth of cross country skiing, which experts estimate has grown by around 50 percent this year. “I think it’s great, since it’s such a great lifetime sport,” said Nicol. Nicol, who cross country skis almost every other day, also views it as the “perfect” COVID activity. “I go up Mount Washington, and I’ll look at all of the people lined up the lift, and I’ll go, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m glad I’m cross country skiing today again,’” he said. For anyone wanting to see Nicol’s cross country ski instructional videos, you can check them out at this link. Nicol also encourages anyone interested to reach out to him directly with video ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.