A bit of damage from the ice jam, Canadian and American coast guard are keeping an eye on the water
A bit of damage from the ice jam, Canadian and American coast guard are keeping an eye on the water
The most grueling and intense Premier League season appears to be catching up with Manchester United's misfiring players. It may yet cost them a place in next season's Champions League. There were worrying signs in United's third straight 0-0 draw, this time in the fog at Crystal Palace on Wednesday. Bruno Fernandes was sloppy in possession, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford exchanged angry words in the second half and — maybe most alarming of all — there was never any sign of the kind of late onslaught United teams down the years have been renowned for. Perhaps it is no surprise that United, which is now 14 points behind Manchester City in what is becoming a procession to the title, is running out of steam. Due to its involvement in the Europa League and going deep in both domestic cups, United has played games every midweek in this condensed, pandemic-affected season except for during international breaks. A last-16 double header against AC Milan in the Europa League is coming up over the following two weeks, and before that a Manchester derby on Sunday. No wonder energy levels seem to be down and there's no attacking spark in Solskjaer's side. “It’s been a long season,” Solskjaer said after United's sixth 0-0 draw in the league, the most of any team this season. There's still 2 1/2 months left of it, more than enough time for United to lose its spot in the Premier League's top four if it's not careful. The same applies to third-place Leicester, which was held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Burnley on Wednesday and might also be feeling the effects of an arduous season that has included a Europa League campaign, too. United and Leicester have won just five of their last 16 league games combined and they are giving their top-four rivals a big opportunity to reel them in. West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton are all within eight points and have games in hand, while Tottenham and Arsenal further back should not be discounted now. Leicester recovered from conceding a goal in the fourth minute to Matej Vydra, with Kelechi Iheanacho volleying in the equalizer in the 34th. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers considered it a decent result given the injury problems in his squad, which is currently depriving him of attacking midfielders Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez, along with Jonny Evans and James Justin. BATTLING BLADES Sheffield United's players aren't leaving the Premier League without a fight. Chris Wilder's last-place team held on after a 57th-minute red card to veteran centre back Phil Jagielka to beat Aston Villa 1-0. With 11 games left, Sheffield United is 12 points from safety so securing a third straight season in the top flight remains highly unlikely. The players aren't giving up, though. “We’re all still fighting for our future and for this club,” said striker David McGoldrick, who scored the winner from close range in the 30th minute. "The saying is, ‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings.’ We’re all fighting to the end.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
SALEM, N.H. — Police have made an arrest following a 15-month-long investigation into vandalism at a group of rock configurations in New Hampshire called “America's Stonehenge." Mark Russo, 51, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, has been charged with one count of felony criminal mischief, accused of defacing the stone in Salem in September 2019. A lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Tuesday. Police said the rock tablet appeared to have been damaged by a power tool. It was carved with “WWG1WGA” and “IAMMARK." Police said the first stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All," a motto affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory. An 18-inch (45-centimetre) tall wooden cross was found suspended between two trees, and attached to the cross were several photographs and hand-drawn images. Police arrested Russo after finding images of the stone and Russo online and linking to him an “iammark" Twitter account with a reference to “a few improvements" made to the site. Images on the cross also were linked to Russo. Bail was set at $3,000 cash for Russo, who is scheduled for a hearing on April 21. An email seeking comment from Russo's lawyer was sent Tuesday. America’s Stonehenge, which features cave-like, granite enclosures, has drawn believers who say it’s 1,000 or more years old, and skeptics who say the evidence suggests it was the work of a 19th century shoemaker. The Associated Press
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is accusing former U.S. president Donald Trump of co-opting her extradition proceedings in an effort to use her as leverage in trade negotiations with China. Richard Peck told the British Columbia Supreme Court that Trump's words to media after Meng's arrest amount to an abuse of process and a "stain" on proceedings in Canada. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of U.S. officials on charges of fraud that both she and Huawei deny. The argument hinges on remarks by Trump 10 days after the arrest when he was asked if the United States would intervene in Meng's case to get a better deal with China.Peck quotes Trump as saying he would "certainly intervene" if he thought it was necessary.Lawyers for the attorney general of Canada, who are representing the United States in the case, have said in legal documents that they will say the argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office. "With that utterance, Ms. Meng became a bargaining chip, a pawn in this economic contest between these two superpowers. Those words amount to the opening salvo in this trade war," Peck told the court. Today marks the beginning of arguments by Meng's legal team that she was subjected to an abuse of process and that the proceedings against her should be stayed.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne said Wednesday that he was not given authority to open a formal investigation after an individual brought a complaint of inappropriate behaviour against Gen. Jonathan Vance in 2018.
NEW YORK — The Department of Defence inspector general released a scathing report Wednesday on the conduct of Ronny Jackson, now a congressman from Texas, when he worked as a top White House physician. The internal investigation concluded that Jackson made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy on drinking alcohol on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted worries from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper medical care. The years-long investigation into Jackson, who was elected to the House in November, examined allegations into his conduct during his time serving the administrations of both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Jackson, who gained notoriety for his over-the-top pronouncements about Trump’s health, denied the allegations, and declared that he was the victim of a “political hit job” because of his close ties to the former Republican president. After interviewing 78 witnesses and reviewing a host of White House documents, investigators concluded that Jackson, who achieved the rank of rear admiral, failed to treat his subordinates with dignity and respect. They also highlighted incidents of inappropriate behaviour on at least two international presidential trips. The report also said the investigation into Jackson “was limited in scope and unproductive” as Trump’s White House counsel insisted on being present at all interviews, which had a “potential chilling effect” on the probe. The Pentagon report, in part, focused on Obama’s 2014 trip to the Philippines. Before the trip, witnesses said, Jackson told a male colleague that he thought a female medical professional they were working with was attractive and, using colorful language, indicated that he would “like to see more of her tattoos.” While in Manila, witnesses said, a “visibly intoxicated” Jackson came back to the hotel where the medical team was staying and began yelling and pounding on the female subordinate’s hotel room door between 1 and 2 a.m. Witnesses said he created so much noise they worried it would wake Obama. “He had kind of bloodshot eyes,” the woman told investigators. “You could smell the alcohol on his breath, and he leaned into my room and he said, ‘I need you.’ I felt really uncomfortable.” The Department of Defence investigation, which was first reported by CNN, also found that Jackson violated the medical unit’s alcohol policy on a trip to Argentina. And witnesses said Jackson took sleep medication on long overseas travel, which left subordinates worried that it could have left him incapacitated and unable to work. Rumours about his conduct began in 2018, when Trump nominated Jackson to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. After allegations emerged that Jackson had created a hostile work environment and improperly distributed prescription drugs, the White House withdrew the nomination. Jackson then used claims that he was unfairly targeted — and then benefitted from Trump’s endorsement — to fuel a victory in a crowded GOP primary race to represent a district in northeastern Texas. He then easily won the seat in November. Jackson denied all of the allegations about his conduct and said Wednesday in a statement that “My entire professional life has been defined by duty and service.” “I have not and will not ever conduct myself in a way that undermines the sincerity with which I take my oath to my country or my constituents,” Jackson said. Jackson was well liked by most members of the Obama and Trump staffs and grew close to both presidents. He drew national attention and became the subject of late night comedians’ jokes in early 2018 when he declared that Trump “has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.” “I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years he might live to be 200 years old,” Jackson said then. Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — More than one-third of U.S. nonprofits are in jeopardy of closing within two years because of the financial harm inflicted by the viral pandemic, according to a study being released Wednesday by the philanthropy research group Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. The study's findings underscore the perils for nonprofits and charities whose financial needs have escalated over the past year, well in excess of the donations that most have received from individuals and foundations. The researchers analyzed how roughly 300,000 nonprofits would fare under 20 scenarios of varying severity. The worst-case scenario led to the closings of 38% of the nonprofits. Even the scenarios seen as more realistic resulted in closures well into double digit percentages. Officials of Candid, which includes the philanthropic information resources GuideStar and Foundation Center, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which analyzes charitable giving during crises, said the most dire scenarios could be avoided if donations were to increase substantially — from the government as well as from private contributors. “If you are a donor who cares about an organization that is rooted in place and relies on revenue from in-person services, now is the time probably to give more,” said Jacob Harold, Candid’s executive vice-president. Among the most vulnerable nonprofits, the study said, are those involved in arts and entertainment, which depend on ticket sales for most of their revenue, cannot significantly their reduce expenses and don’t typically hold much cash. Other studies have concluded that smaller arts and culture groups, in particular, are at serious risk. Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. Roughly 25% of them had slashed 90% or more of their staffs. And a report last week from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found that employment in New York City’s arts, entertainment and recreation sector tumbled 66% during 2020. “It really has been devastating,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, president of BRIC, a Brooklyn arts institution best-known for its community TV channel and Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series. “We have a lot of empathy for our colleagues and friends in the arts space who, based on their model, see things that are just not going to be the same for them. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.” Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. “We are anxious to get back to in-person events,” she said. “But we want to do it as part of a community. We don’t want to be the only one. We want other organizations that are and have been doing extraordinary work, especially the smaller folks who have it harder because they just don’t have as many resources. We want them to be around us also.” Harold, the Candid executive, said that while arts and entertainment groups may be at particular risk, nonprofits from all sectors are in danger. According to the study, the District of Columbia was expected to lose the most nonprofits per capita, followed by Vermont and North Dakota. The most vulnerable nonprofits may try to reduce costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. “A lot of non-profit boards were able to say, ‘Oh, this is going to end soon’ and ‘We’re fine for a year,’” Harold said. “But they might not be fine for two years. So if they dragged their feet last year, they may find themselves really having to scramble this year to make the structural changes now.” The perils that nonprofits face are similar to the economic damage from the pandemic that forced so many restaurants to either close or operate at deep losses over the past year. An estimated 110,000 restaurants — roughly one in six — closed in 2020 and, according to the National Restaurant Association, the pandemic could force 500,000 more to shut down. President Joe Biden last week ordered the Small Business Administration to prioritize businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees in the awarding of loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed — 400,000 — and millions more are hanging by a thread,” Biden said. “It’s hurting black, Latino and Asian American communities the hardest.” Harold said that while the federal government's focus on small businesses and small nonprofits will help some of them survive, “it’s not going to have a huge impact.” The Candid/Center for Disaster Philanthropy study found that $20.2 billion was donated to combat COVID-19 in 2020, with 44% of it coming from corporations. It was one of many notable shifts in philanthropy during the pandemic. “We were definitely seeing more grants for flexible operating expenses and general support,” said Grace Sato, Candid’s director of research. “More grants were explicitly designated for vulnerable communities, communities most impacted by the pandemic.” The pandemic also made some major foundations recognize how burdensome their grant process has been and finally took steps to simplify it, Harold said. “One of the dominant emotional dynamics is guilt,” he said. “They finally crossed the threshold. We saw that with hundreds and hundreds of foundations.” ___ The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Glenn Gamboa, The Associated Press
A survey conducted by P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch (PSB) indicates only a few of the 45 schools that took part feel they're able to effectively serve special needs students. "There (were) only nine schools that identified they have enough support and are adequately meeting the needs of all students," the PSB's researcher Carolyn Duguay said. The information was shared during a PSB board of directors meeting in mid-February. Student services director Terri MacAdam noted the survey results don't mean the remaining English schoolboard schools are entirely lacking in services. "There were lots of schools that felt that in certain areas they were doing really well," she said in a follow-up interview with The Guardian. The survey was part of MacAdam’s and her department's work to identify better evidence- and skills-based models for its schools in areas such as special needs services, French immersion, behavioural resources and school counseling. P.E.I. has 56 English schools, and Duguay had requested that their principals fill out her survey. "Most schools have identified that behaviour and mental health are the areas of greatest need," she said. For special needs services, some of the barriers listed by principals are the physical space of their schools, funding and staffing limitations, time and paperwork, inconsistency between how schools implement services and the current model in general. "Not all students fit into what we're asking them to fit into," Duguay said. As well, principals reported it can be difficult getting parental support and engagement, especially at rural schools, she said. Duguay has researched the models of other province's school boards, such as in Nova Scotia where model changes were just implemented this year. MacAdam said the plan is to finalize a report and recommendation for a more up-to-date model by the end of this year. The report would hopefully be a benefit for P.E.I. students and families as well as speak to the question her department is constantly asking: "How can we do things better?" she said. "We want to make sure we have evidence." Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. They involve two people in their 20s in the Fredericton region and both cases are travel-related, as well as a person in their 50s in the Miramichi region which is under investigation. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposure, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine if there has been any further spread in the area. The clinics will be held tomorrow and Friday at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School. There are now 37 active cases in the province and three people are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. There have been 28 COVID-19-related deaths in the province since the onset of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. A U.S. contractor died after at least 10 rockets slammed into the base early Wednesday. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week. “We are following that through right now," President Joe Biden told reporters. “Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket, but one individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. But we’re identifying who’s responsible and we’ll make judgments” about a response. White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the “calculated” U.S. airstrikes last week could be a model for a military response. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February. “If we assess further response is warranted, we will take action again in a manner and time of our choosing,” Psaki said. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” from the attack and died shortly afterward. He said there were no service members injured and all are accounted for. British and Danish troops also are among those stationed at the base. The U.S. airstrikes last week, which killed one member of the Iran-aligned militia, had stoked fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened more than a year ago. Those attacks included the U.S. drone strike in January 2020 that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad and set off months of increased troops levels in the region. Wednesday's death of the contractor heightens worries that the U.S. could be drawn into another period of escalating attacks, complicating the Biden administration's desire to open talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal. The latest attack also comes two days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Iraq despite concerns about security and the coronavirus pandemic. The much-anticipated trip will include stops in Baghdad, southern Iraq and the northern city of Irbil. The rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province early in the morning, U.S.-led coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto said. Kirby said the rockets were fired from east of the base, and that counter-rocket defensive systems were used to defend forces at the base. Kirby said the U.S. can't attribute responsibility for the attack yet, and that the extent of the damage was still being assessed. It's the same base that Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January of last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members suffered concussions in that strike. The Iraqi military released a statement saying that Wednesday's attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the rockets — a truck. Video of the site shows a burning truck in a desert area. British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey condemned the attack, saying it undermined the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “These terrorist attacks undermine the fight against Daesh and destabilize Iraq.” Denmark said coalition forces at the base were helping to bring stability and security to the country. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed. Last week's U.S. strike along the border was in response to a spate of rocket attacks that targeted the American presence, including one that killed a coalition contractor from the Philippines outside the Irbil airport. After that attack, the Pentagon said the strike was a “proportionate military response.” Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack. Frequent rocket attacks in Baghdad targeting the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy, during Donald Trump’s presidency frustrated the administration, leading to threats of embassy closure and escalatory strikes. Those attacks have increased again in recent weeks, since President Joe Biden took office, following a lull during the transition period. U.S. troops in Iraq significantly decreased their presence in the country last year and withdrew from several Iraqi bases to consolidate chiefly in Ain al-Asad, Baghdad and Irbil. ___ Kullab reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report. Samya Kullab And Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — A state vaccine task force on Wednesday vastly expanded eligibility for people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Alaska, adding those 55 to 64 and people 16 and older who meet certain criteria. That criteria includes being considered an essential worker, living in a multigenerational household, being at or at possible high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or living in communities lacking in water and sewer systems, the state health department said in a release. Gov. Mike Dunleavy called expanding eligibility significant in efforts to protect Alaska residents and to help restore the state's economy. State health officials previously emphasized vaccinating those 65 and older. Individuals who have previously been eligible remain so. More than 100,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected for the state and Indian Health Service allocations this month, the department said. Also, 8,900 doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine are expected to arrive within the next two weeks, the department said. The number of vaccines do not include military allocations or those for programs involving pharmacies and federally qualified health centres. The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said the vaccine supply is not yet sufficient to make it widely available to everyone who wants it. She said it is being offered to groups “who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, who are at risk for severe illness or death or who work in essential jobs." She added: "Some Alaskans may be more vulnerable to this disease than others due to their unique health or life circumstances. Offering vaccine is one step we can take now to help address these inequities.” The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said Wednesday the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey says the decision is a game changer for the province's vaccination prospects. British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry raised eyebrows Monday when she announced her province will delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to four months. Henry said Monday she expected the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to issue a statement in the coming days aligning with B.C.'s decision. Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today and say all are linked to previously reported infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The parent company of Canadian pay-television provider Super Channel has asked an Alberta court to block four Canadian retailers from selling set-top boxes that allegedly are designed to give customers access to pirated programming. Allarco Entertainment of Edmonton named Staples, Best Buy, London Drugs and Canada Computers in its application for an injunction to protect its intellectual property from theft. Allarco is also asking the court to issue an order against an unknown number of unidentified customers of the retailers as well as unidentified equipment suppliers. The allegations have not been tested in court. The Alberta court has scheduled several days of hearings this week to deal with Allarco's request and responses from the retailers. Staples Canada says in an emailed statement that it doesn't have a comment because the case is before the courts. A London Drugs statement says it disputes the allegations and will defend itself vigorously. The other retailers didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Facebook says it is lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Political candidates, groups and others will be able to place ads on Facebook and Instagram beginning on Thursday. Restricting political advertisements following the November election was among the host of measures Facebook put in place last year in an attempt to ensure its platform is not used to sow chaos and spread misinformation. Facebook halted U.S. political ads when the polls closed on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. It said at the time that the ban would be temporary but did not give a clear end date. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.” Twitter has banned political ads permanently. Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press
The government of Ontario's announcement of funding of a wearable contact tracking device for workplaces raises concerns about privacy and surveillance.
SAN DIEGO — Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison for multiple rapes and other sexual offences against five women in Southern California, including one who was homeless when he attacked her in 2018. The 37-year-old son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame receiver Kellen Winslow appeared via videoconference at the hearing in San Diego Superior Court in Vista, a city north of San Diego. He declined to comment before his sentence, saying his lawyers had advised him not to speak. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman said Winslow can only be described with “two words and that is sexual predator." He said he selected women who were vulnerable because of their age or their living situation with the idea that “hopefully he would get away with it in his mind." Winslow was once the highest-paid tight end in the league, earning more than $40 million over his 10 seasons before he left in 2013. The 14-year-sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal. He was convicted of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, assault with intent to commit rape, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct in public. The forcible rape involved a woman who was homeless in his home town of Encinitas, a beach community north of San Diego. She was among four of the women who gave statements Wednesday, including one victim who had the prosecutor read hers. All described suffering years after their attacks from fear and emotional trauma. The woman who was homeless called into the hearing via video conference from the San Diego County District Attorney's office, where she was watching the proceedings with another victim. She said since she was raped she has had trouble raising her head and walking, and she feels afraid constantly, checking under beds and in closets, and cannot be alone. “It's affecting my life every day and every night," she said. “I don’t ever feel safe inside or outside. You brought so much damage to my life." Winslow's attorney Marc Carlos said Winslow suffered from head trauma from the many blows to his head playing football, which can only explain why he “went off the rails" going from a star athlete to a convicted sexual predator. He said his client has accepted responsibility and intends to get help. Winslow was convicted of forcible rape and two misdemeanours — indecent exposure and a lewd act in public — after a trial in June 2019. But that jury failed to agree on other charges, including the alleged 2018 rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker, and the 2003 rape of an unconscious 17-year-old high school senior who went to a party with him when he was 19. Before he was retried on those charges, he pleaded guilty to raping the teen and sexual battery of the hitchhiker. Those pleas spared him the possibility of life in prison. The father of two, whose wife filed for divorce after he was convicted, had faced up to 18 years in prison for all the charges. But both sides agreed to reduce the sexual battery charge to assault with intent to commit rape last month. That reduced the maximum sentence to 14 years. Julie Watson, The Associated Press
After Mateo Perusse-Shortte, experienced racism while playing his sport, he and his mom decided to plan a hockey diversity group in Quebec.