Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
Lennox & Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) 55 Plus Activity Centre, located in Greater Napanee, is receiving an influx of funding to support the health and well-being of local seniors during COVID-19. The organization helps seniors remain independent, in their homes and active within their community by providing quality, integrated services. MPP Daryl Kramp has announced that SOS will be receiving $42,700.00 for 2020-21 operations and maintenance and also a grant of $7,995.52 for a total of $50,695.52, according to a release from his office, dated Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021. “This is a local organization which has helped multiple generations of local seniors stay in touch and engaged for many years and that says a lot about the community it serves,” said MPP Kramp. “These funds will be important both as they operate now and as they look forward to resuming their important in-person community roles.” Kramp says this year’s investment will focus on virtual programs such as teleconferences, online videos, one-on-one phone calls to help seniors stay connected from home, and support projects such as: According to the release, the seniors population in Ontario is the fastest growing age group. By 2023, there will be 3 million Ontarians over the age of 65. Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility says the past year has been especially challenging for Seniors. “Given the social isolation that COVID-19 has brought to many seniors, it is important that we look to programs that will keep them safe and connected,” said Minister Cho. “Our government’s investment in Seniors Active Living Centres helps older adults stay virtually engaged with their friends, family and communities while combatting social isolation during the pandemic.” This year’s ongoing funding has supported the application of safety control measures against the spread of COVID-19, and provided more remote and virtual programming, according to the release. Learn more about Lennox & Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) on their website. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
There are now seven more cases at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). The cases are still contained to the same unit where the initial 14 were identified over the weekend, said Richard Dionne, president of the CNCC Local 369. The corrections officer said he could not share the total number of inmates in that wing, but noted that the area remains isolated. "I don't know the full count and I can't give it to you anyway for security reasons," said Dionne, speaking to MidlandToday. He said he was thankful that no staff cases have been identified at this time. "Hopefully, it stays that way," said Dionne. "The health unit came in the other day to offer voluntary staff testing. I don't know how many staff got tested, but none of those that did, to my knowledge, have come back positive." He said the same safety protocols are being followed with staff wearing increased PPE when interacting with inmates and those incarcerated being provided with masks if needed. "There haven't been any additional measures put into place right now," said Dionne. As for the virus possibly spreading in the air, he said, every unit functions independently in terms of ventilation. "I'm very hopeful we can contain it to the one unit and not have it spread to the entire institution," Dionne said, adding the stress level among staff remains high. "The workload has increased just based on the way that the operation changes because we're limiting day-room use and following protocol around higher use of PPE. And it's also the same for inmates, he added. "They just get more and more frustrated being locked down," Dionne said. "Increased cell time is never good for anyone. That's been put out there by a number of professionals that time locked in the cell by yourself or with one other person isn't beneficial." A request for comment from the province was not received by publication time. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Kelly McLeod has been elected the new president of Inuvik's Nihtat Gwich'in Council, according to preliminary results published Thursday morning. McLeod defeated acting president Robert Charlie 108 votes to 64. According to a post on McLeod's Facebook page, official results will be posted in five days, as per the council's election policy. "Just want to say Mahsi Cho to everyone that was able to vote in the Nihtat Election. Very great turn out of 174 voters, a significant increase from 65 in the last election," he wrote on Facebook Thursday morning. "Extremely excited here, very humbled by the amount of support from membership. Truly thankful for that.... Very excited to get started working with the newly elected council and create a positive future for the Nihtat Gwichin Membership!" Elections were also held for eight council positions on Wednesday, with the preliminary results as follows: Chris Smith: 147 votes (elected) Michael Francis: 132 votes (elected) Mary Ann Villeneuve: 125 votes (elected) Lenora McLeod: 111 votes (elected) Wanda McDonald: 101 votes (elected) Tony McDonald: 100 votes (elected) Barry Greenland: 86 votes (elected) Richard Ross: 83 votes (elected) Bobby Ross: 82 votes Sallie Ross: 76 votes
The dining room in Katie Rioux's Quebec City restaurant has been closed since the fall, and she expected her business would remain a takeout-only operation for weeks to come, if not longer. On Wednesday, though, the owner of Café Krieghoff received some unexpected good news. Premier François Legault announced he was scaling back health restrictions in several regions, allowing Rioux and countless other restaurant owners to serve customers sitting inside for the first time in five months. "Honestly, we could not have gotten better news than this," said Rioux, who also promised to do her part to ensure Quebec City does not go back to being a red zone. "As restaurant owners, we will do everything we can. I think the population is also on our side." Café Krieghoff owner Katie Rioux can't wait to serve sitting customers at her Quebec City restaurant for the first time in five months. (Radio-Canada) However, some public health experts say the Quebec government's decision to roll back restrictions to this extent is too hasty. Following March break, the Quebec City region will be joined by the Eastern Townships, Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec and Chaudières-Appalaches as the latest to be downgraded from red to orange zones. In these regions, gyms and show venues will be allowed to reopen, houses of worship will be able to take in as many as 100 people at a time. The government is also dropping the requirement that all primary school students must wear a medical grade mask. The nightly curfew remains, but will kick in at 9:30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. "I would have preferred to wait until at least one week after the holiday week, because then we would be able to see the impact of the vacation on the increase of cases everywhere in Quebec," said Dr. Cécile Tremblay, a microbiologist and infectious diseases specialist at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal. "We know that people from Montreal travel to other regions, and we won't know the result of that until two weeks from now." The race between variants and vaccines Legault's announcement came a day after Health Minister Christian Dubé and Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda held a news conference of their own, during which they warned Quebecers about the growing spread of coronavirus variants. "The ocean is calm at the moment ... but underneath there are sharks," Arruda said, "and I'll tell you what those sharks are: they're the variants." The decision to remove restrictions in places outside of the greater Montreal area seems to reflect data showing that variants are gaining more ground in Montreal than elsewhere in the province. On Wednesday, Legault said spikes in cases and hospitalizations were expected in and around Montreal, and those projections played a major role in the government's most recent announcement. But Prativa Baral, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the province is squandering a golden opportunity to deal a crushing blow to the virus. Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press) With more and more Quebecers set to get vaccinated, Baral says the government should focus on its inoculation campaign while limiting contacts as much as possible, in an effort to keep the spread of variants under control. "For us to be loosening restrictions now, is too premature. We don't want to be reactive, we want to be proactive for once," Baral said. "At this point, it's more of a virus versus vaccine race, and we really want to make sure that we're pushing the vaccine segment to win, as opposed the variant segment." The province's latest projections for the spread COVID-19 appear to reinforce the importance of winning that race. According to the mathematical modelling published by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) on Thursday, lowering the province's collective guard could provoke a rapid spike in new infections that could reach between 3,000 and 4,000 cases per day. It also seems possible, perhaps even likely given the presence of infectious variants, that Quebec will experience a third wave. Sticking with the low-socialization and low-contact measures that were in place from January and February might not entirely prevent another peak this spring in terms of daily infections, but it could keep hospitalization numbers and fatalities low. Marc Brisson, the director of the Université Laval mathematical modelling group that conducts the INSPQ's COVID-19 forecasts, said the model doesn't account for the government's latest announcement, but does include increased inter-regional travel and social contacts from March break. "If we can accelerate vaccination ... and follow public health guidelines, then at that point our model is saying we could stay at a number of cases that would be relatively stable. However, if vaccination slows down and there's more contact, then a third wave is predicted," he said. There is some good news in the projections, however. The model supports the government's contention that there are two distinct epidemiological realities in Quebec: greater Montreal, and the rest of the province. The fact there is lower community spread outside the province's largest urban agglomeration means it's less likely the variant strains will spread. "The race is how many vulnerable people we can protect with vaccination and ... can that variant infect the most vulnerable among us?" he said. The key, Brisson concluded, is continued adherence to public health measures, which "would buy time for the vaccine to take its effect."
Heart inflammation is uncommon in pro athletes who’ve had mostly mild COVID-19 and most don’t need to be sidelined, a study conducted by major professional sports leagues suggests. The results are not definitive, outside experts say, and more independent research is needed. But the study published Thursday in JAMA Cardiology is the largest to examine the potential problem. The coronavirus can cause inflammation in many organs, including the heart. The research involved professional athletes who play football, hockey, soccer, baseball and men's and women's basketball. All tested positive for COVID-19 before October and were given guideline-recommended heart tests, nearly 800 total. None had severe COVID-19 and 40% had few or no symptoms — what might be expected from a group of healthy elite athletes with an average age of 25. Severe COVID-19 is more common in older people and those with chronic health conditions. Almost 4% had abnormal results on heart tests done after they recovered but subsequent MRI exams found heart inflammation in less than 1% of the athletes. These five athletes all had COVID-19 symptoms. Whether their heart problems were caused by the virus is unknown although the researchers think that is likely. They were sidelined for about three months and returned to play without any problems, said Dr. Mathew Martinez of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. He's the study’s lead author and team cardiologist for football's New York Jets. Two previous smaller studies in college athletes recovering from the virus suggested heart inflammation might be more common. The question is of key interest to athletes, who put extra stress on their hearts during play, and undetected heart inflammation has been linked with sudden death. Whether mild COVID-19 can cause heart damage ‘’is the million-dollar question,’’ said Dr. Richard Kovacs, co-founder of the American College of Cardiology’s Sports & Exercise Council. And whether severe COVID-19 symptoms increase the chances of having fleeting or long-lasting heart damage ‘’is part of the puzzle,’’ he said. Kovacs said the study has several weaknesses. Testing was done at centres affiliated or selected by each team, and results were interpreted by team-affiliated cardiologists, increasing the chances of bias. More rigorous research would have had standardized testing done at a central location and more objective specialists interpret the results, he said. Also, many of the athletes had no previous imaging exams to compare the results with, so there is no way to know for certain if abnormalities found during the study were related to the virus. ’’There is clearly more work to do but I think it is very helpful additional evidence,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, president-elect of the American Heart Association. Dr. Dial Hewlett, a member of a COVID-19 task force at the National Medical Association, which represents Black physicians, said the study ‘’is extremely timely.’’ Hewlett is a deputy health commissioner for New York's Westchester County and advises high schools and colleges on when to allow young athletes to return to play after COVID-19 infections. ‘’I’m grateful that we are starting to get some data to help guide us in some of our decisions,’’ Hewlett said. ___ Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
To anyone looking into Kim Switzer’s backyard last week, they might have seen what looked to be Switzer playing with her son, Memphis. But despite the singing, the dancing, the laughter, and the pure joy on their faces, the pair were actually working; tromping around in snowshoes in a very particular way to create a 12-foot-wide flat circle in the snow that would serve as the starting point for a backyard igloo. The joy was much needed for Switzer, who thrives when she is outside but has found it difficult to do so this winter in the way she needs for optimum mental health. “For me, it’s pure joy,” she said. “I love nature, it’s rejuvenating for me. It’s uplifting.” Being a single mom of three, homeschooling her kids, experiencing the death of a parent and the loss of a business, all while living through the pandemic and experiencing a lack of winter camping left Switzer feeling discouraged. “My whole winter has been [hard], I haven’t been out, I haven’t been out anywhere,” she said. Then, the kindness of a stranger and the connection made available through social media turned Switzer’s winter around. An avid outdoorsperson herself, she follows like-minded people on social media for ideas, inspiration and friendship. When she saw Martin Pine, who is from Huntsville, share about igloos he was making, she quickly sent him a message asking if he might come to her house and build one in her yard. “The next thing I know, I get a message in my inbox that says, ‘you’re like the third person who’s asked me about building an igloo in their yard, and you’re the only one that’s actually close enough that could actually make it possible,’” she said. Switzer was exuberant with excitement, in the manner, she said, of “a little kid in a candy shop.” “And I still am,” she said, the week after the igloo was built. After she and Memphis had created the starting point in the yard for the igloo, Pine visited the backyard and helped to teach Switzer the technique he has perfected using a contraption called, fittingly, an Icebox Igloo Tool. “He pops open this little itty, bitty, tiny, square box that I would say is definitely less than six inches thick, and maybe a foot wide by 18 inches long,” she said. “It folds all up and it’s meant to strap on your back so you can take it anywhere.” With the Icebox Igloo Tool, Switzer said Pine can generally build an igloo in about four or five hours but she said it took them more time as she was asking questions and learning the process of packing the snow, following the angle guide and creating an igloo that can hold the weight of a person leaning against it. “There were plenty of times where he was like, ‘you’re so concentrated,’” she said. “I was just soaking it all in. I learned so much about snow, and even going around the circle I learned how snow changes state ever so slightly. In the shade, it packs this way, but as you come around and you’re in the sun, it becomes a little more wet, and a little bit more sticky … How different snow packs and moves and blends, it’s pretty wild, actually.” When it was finished, Switzer said she was able to get her much-needed outdoor time, sleeping overnight in the igloo, spending time in it with her ukulele, even eating a take-out meal from the Mill Pond restaurant in the shelter. Pine’s unmonetized YouTube channel has almost 10,000 subscribers and his instructional videos of canoe camping, winter camping, bushcraft, meal preparation and igloo construction have accumulated thousands of views. “I love backcountry camping and I have always lamented that so few people avail themselves of the opportunities we have here in Ontario for getting out into nature and camping in the backcountry,” he told the Times. “I determined many years ago that what keeps people from camping in the backcountry – as opposed to say, car camping in a serviced site in a park – is a simple lack of practical knowledge about how to go about [it].” He shares his knowledge online and was happy to help Switzer learn how to make her own igloo in her backyard – for the price of a cup of coffee or two. “As a boy, growing up in rural Quebec, I loved making and camping in snow shelters called quinzhees, which is essentially a large pile of shovelled snow which one then hollows out to resemble a crude igloo-like shelter,” said Pine. Pine said he knew that igloos were sturdier shelters that could remain standing longer and would not result in the builder getting soaked in their creation. “But the Inuit built their igloos out of a type of snow that is not found in this part of the country, namely hard-sintered, wind-packed snow, which can then be shaped during the building process.” Pine purchased the Icebox Igloo Tool, an invention created by an American mountaineer in Colorado, “Igloo Ed,” that allows him to make snow bricks regardless of the snow conditions. While Switzer’s igloo has suffered in recent weather conditions, she sees the resulting hole in the top of the igloo as an opportunity – one to provide a chance to look up at the stars, and also, to learn about how to fix the problem in her own backyard igloo as experience for if she builds one at another time in backcountry. “I’ve got to learn, and you learn from trial and error, mistakes, whatever it might be,” she said. “It’s been four or five days of just an abundance of information.” The igloo in the backyard of her Carnarvon home has lifted her spirits tremendously. “This is the highlight of my winter,” said Switzer. “That right there made my entire winter.” For more information, visit Pine’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/PineMartyn. Sue Tiffin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Minden Times
LONDON — U.K. authorities have launched an investigation into Apple's App Store over concerns it has a dominant role that stifles competition and hurts consumers. The Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday it was looking into “suspected breaches of competition law" by Apple. The announcement adds to regulatory scrutiny of the iPhone maker's app distribution platform, which is also the subject of three antitrust probes by the European Union's executive Commission. Apple said the App Store is “a safe and trusted place for customers” and a “great business opportunity for developers.” The investigation was triggered in part by complaints from app developers that Apple will only let them distribute their apps to iPhone and iPad users through the App Store. The developers also complained that the company requires any purchases of apps, add-ons or upgrades to be made through its Apple Pay system, which charges up to 30% commission. “Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway," Andrea Coscelli, the authority's CEO, said in a statement. “So, complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps – warrant careful scrutiny." The watchdog said it would consider whether Apple has a “dominant position" in app distribution for Apple devices in the U.K., and, if it does, whether the company “imposes unfair or anti-competitive terms on developers” that results in less choice or higher prices for consumers buying apps and extra. Apple said it looked forward to explaining its App Store guidelines to the U.K. watchdog. “We believe in thriving and competitive markets where any great idea can flourish," the company said by email. “The App Store has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place — applied fairly and equally to all developers — to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent." The Associated Press
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
HALIFAX — Premier Iain Rankin says Nova Scotia should have enough COVID-19 vaccine to give all residents at least one shot by the end of June. Rankin told reporters today following his first cabinet meeting as premier that his estimate is based on new federal government guidelines about increasing the interval between first and second doses of vaccine. He says he will likely have more details about the province's plan at Friday's COVID-19 briefing. The province is to get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next week, which will complement Nova Scotia's vaccine supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health officials are also announcing that restrictions on restaurant operating hours and sporting events will be lifted in Halifax and its surrounding regions on Friday morning. Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today, all in the Halifax area. Two involve contacts of previously reported cases and the third is under investigation. The province has 29 active reported cases of the disease. Residents of long-term care homes in the Halifax area are still limited to receiving visits from two designated caregivers. Officials say the restrictions for long-term care residents will remain in place in the region until March 27. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Financial technology company Square, Inc. said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of Tidal, the music streaming service partly owned by Jay-Z. Under the deal, Square will pay $297 million in cash and stock for Tidal, Jay-Z will be named to Square's board of directors, and he and other artists who currently own shares in Tidal will remain stakeholders. Tidal will operate as a distinct entity alongside the point-of-sale hardware and software offerings of San Francisco-based Square, the payments company founded by CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also co-founder and chief executive of Twitter. Tidal has presented itself as the artist-friendly alternative to other music streamers, and Square says it will take that phenomenon further for musicians just as it has for businesses with its financial systems. “It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” Dorsey said in the statement announcing the deal. . Jay-Z said in the statement that the “partnership will be a game-changer for many.” I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!" The Associated Press
La rareté de logements s’aggrave. Le taux d’inoccupation a baissé une nouvelle fois, atteignant son niveau le plus bas depuis plusieurs années. Le taux d’inoccupation des logements locatifs à Matane se situe maintenant à 2 %. Difficile donc d’en trouver dans les secteurs plus recherchés, et surtout à prix abordables. Selon des chiffres de la Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de logement (SCHL), ce taux d’occupation est en deçà du point d’équilibre du marché fixé à 3 % . À titre de comparaison, il était à 6,8 % en 2016, à 6,2 % en 2017 à 3,6 % en 2018, à 3, 6 % en 2016 et à 2,8 % en 2019. Donc en décroissante constante et sous la moyenne québécoise de 2,5 %. Même pas besoin de les annoncer Aussitôt affichés, aussitôt loués : les appartements s’envolent comme des petits pains chauds. La première à le confirmer : Candy Bond des Immeubles Alexandre Pelletier qui en possèdent plus de 300. « Je n’ai jamais vu ça, dit-elle. Nous n’avons même pas besoin de les annoncer! Nous recevons beaucoup d’appels, mais malheureusement nous n’avons presque rien de disponible à court terme. » Aux Immeubles Rioux : même phénomène avec une offre potentielle de 275 logements. Il n’y a presque rien de libre avant juin, voire juillet, mais là encore, les choses changement rapidement. À l’Office d’habitation de la Matanie, là aussi, la directrice Isabelle Durette constate une plus grande rareté de logements dans les secteurs plus en demande, notamment près du centre-ville. Les Domiciles Pop qu’elle gère affichent complet, même avec 134 unités. Raisons multiples Comment expliquer pareil phénomène de rareté de logements? Les raisons invoquées sont multiples. Tout d’abord, il y a la forte diminution des inscriptions de maisons à vendre. Ce qui a du coup un effet sur la demande pour des logements. Autre facteur: l’arrivée de nouveaux résidents en provenance des grands centres, sans doute attirés ici à cause des effets moindres de la pandémie de la COVID-19. Enfin, la présence d’étudiants du Cégep qui ont dû louer des appartements en ville dans l’attente de la fin des travaux de rénovation à la résidence. D’ailleurs, note la directrice des communications Brigitte Lavoie, chaque année, la maison d’enseignement travaille fort pour leur faciliter la recherche de logements. Principalement parce que plus de 60 % de sa clientèle provient d’un peu partout au Québec et de l’international. Romain Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Monmatane.com
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
MILAN — As far as collapses go, AC Milan’s isn’t all that spectacular. It hasn’t even had much of an impact on the Serie A standings. At the beginning of the year, Milan was in first place in the league and hadn’t lost in 10 months. But the team could find itself six points behind league leader Inter Milan ahead of Sunday’s tricky match at Hellas Verona. Milan was in astounding form in 2020, losing only two games in the entire calendar year, but the team has lost four of its 11 league matches in 2021. The first of those was against Juventus on Jan. 6, ending the Rossoneri’s 27-match unbeaten run. Milan has since lost its sense of invincibility and Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Udinese capped a miserable month which has seen the team lose two of its last four league matches with only one victory. When Milan’s form first started to dip, coach Stefano Pioli said he was not too concerned. That has changed. “We could have and should have done more,” Pioli said after the match against Udinese. “I think the team’s spirit and desire to never give up, to dig deep even when things are tough, are not in doubt. That said, we cannot be happy tonight. We are not satisfied with our performance and the result. “In the morning we’ll start preparing for the next match. We’ll analyze this one, but then need to think about the next one. We need to rediscover that enthusiasm and freedom that distinguished us.” Even more troubling for Pioli is that the team is struggling to score goals. In the past six matches in all competitions, Milan has scored only once from open play. The other goals have come from penalty kicks or own-goals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury absence has added to Milan’s problems. The Swedish forward is struggling to recover in time for some big matches, including the Europa League game against Manchester United, his former club. Milan is also without a number of other injured players, including forward Mario Mandžukic. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t manage to take more advantage of the many crosses we put in, also because we were missing our two out-and-out forwards that we have in the squad,” Pioli said. Verona, Milan’s opponent on Sunday, is unbeaten in four matches, a run that includes a draw against Juventus. “We have to look each other in the eyes and understand what we want from our future, because there aren’t many games left and the next matches will be vital,” Milan defender Davide Calabria said. “We all know its going to be tough. Hellas play good soccer and are on a positive run. We have to work to get to this match in the best possible way.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Daniella Matar, The Associated Press
The young founders of Green Ummah had big plans for 2020, including a major push in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to get Ontario’s mosques and other Islamic institutions to think more about sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic thwarted much of the newly formed non-profit’s ambition, prompting the law students and other young people involved to shift focus as they seek to build the green movement within Canada’s Muslim communities, which number around one million people. “For us now, it’s about uplifting our youth, youth of colour, Muslim youth, youth that haven’t always fit the narrative when it comes to the environmental movement,” said Aadil Nathani, a co-founder of Green Ummah (ummah is the Arabic word for community, and typically describes the global Muslim community). Environmentalism has long been dominated by mostly white conservationists, and the broader movement has only recently begun to directly engage with more marginalized communities, which are often most acutely impacted by climate change. “We’re trying to get Muslim kids of all racial and ethnic backgrounds and cultures outside and connecting with nature, because at the end of the day, if you have a connection with nature, you're going to be more inclined to act in a sustainable way and (an) environmentally friendly way,” said Nathani, who grew up in Toronto and last year graduated from law school at the University of Windsor. Green Ummah is being aided in that effort by Nature Canada, one of the country’s oldest nature conservation charities, which has in recent years turned its focus to a similar goal. “We are really trying to amplify the voices that are in the spaces already,” said Camille Koon, the organizer for Nature Canada’s NatureHood program, which works with Green Ummah and more than a dozen other groups across the country to help young people and their families in urban environments connect with nature. “Our organization is trying very hard to make sure that we are building towards a holistic and inclusive movement for climate justice,” Nathani said. To that end, Green Ummah will this weekend host what it is calling Canada’s first Muslim-led environmental conference, a digital event bringing together a range of scholars, experts and green practitioners sparking conversation about how Islam relates to the environment. The event, running from noon until 3:30 p.m. on March 6 and 7, is a pay-what-you-can affair that will feature U.S. imam Saffet Catovic, who contributed to the drafting in 2019 of a fatwa, or Islamic legal opinion, by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) on fossil fuel divestment. Around 80 people have so far registered to join, including people from the United States, South Africa, and Australia. Saturday’s panels and speakers will address Muslims directly on how to integrate green principles into their daily lives and the religious backing for environmental protection. “It’s a responsibility, according to the Qur’an, that God gave us to look after the planet, and to me, that’s also a huge burden and one that we’ve lost track of, we haven’t stayed on top of, but tides are hopefully changing,” Nathani said. On Sunday, the focus will turn to making sure the green movement makes space for marginalized voices and opportunities for Muslim/Indigenous solidarity. “It’s very important not to lose touch with the fact that we don’t only have these principles from Islamic traditions, we can also try to build bridges between Muslim groups in Canada and Indigenous people in Canada who have been taking care of Turtle Island for longer than we’ve been here,” Nathani said, noting the similarity between the Indigenous seven generations principle and exhortations in Islam for its adherents to act as khalifa, or guardians, of the planet. Mosques, as the central hub of a devout Muslim’s social life, can have an outsized influence on their congregation’s behaviour, Nathani said. “We need the mosques to really be more eco-friendly, and to really start pushing the environmental message, the green message,” he said. “If we can show that there is a religious backing, and we can get everyone to know their religious responsibilities, then Muslim people will be more inclined to act,” he said. Nathani said specific steps the community can take to lessen its environmental impact could be as simple as encouraging worshippers to use less water during the cleansing process conducted prior to praying, which observant Muslims do five times a day. Community leaders can also go further by, for example, creating community gardens or installing bike racks so those who live beyond walking distance from the mosque don’t have to drive, as well as including climate education in sermons, lectures and informal conversations. “The time to act is now, the time to act was actually yesterday, but it’s never too late to start changing your own habits, to start influencing your family and their habits and your wider community and their habits.” Green Ummah is also putting the finishing touches on a four-module curriculum it expects to test out in a handful of Islamic schools across the province starting in September. The courses provide an introduction to climate science and how to be more green, a deeper dive in the connection between Islam and the environment, a critique of environmental racism, and the relationship between Islamic and Indigenous green principles and the law. Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
County of Haliburton council decided not to up its 15 per cent corporate emissions reduction target despite staff presenting options for higher goals. It targets a 15 per cent reduction in emissions from 2018 levels by 2030. But McKay presented other options such as increasing that figure to 30 per cent to align with federal and provincial targets, or 45 per cent to follow the best science and help further limit global warming. McKay provided examples of similar municipalities aiming for different goals, from Sault Ste. Marie at 10 per cent to the District of Muskoka targeting a 50 per cent reduction by 2030. “We are seeing unprecedented levels of action by all levels of government, shifting from incremental action toward transformative action,” McKay said. “Experts are warning us this is the critical decade to maintain a livable climate … A 45 per cent reduction is one that is based in science. "Cutting our emissions essentially in half would require bold leadership but we would not be alone in this endeavour.” Councillors expressed concerns about upping the target. Deputy warden Patrick Kennedy said the County faces pressure with more people moving to the area permanently. “Fifteen (per cent) is still an admirable goal to achieve with what’s coming,” Kennedy said. Coun. Carol Moffatt said the municipalities passed budgets and she would want more information on financial implications before approving a higher target. “I would like a multi-year rough projection of what it’s going to do to our budget so we can plan and prepare for it adequately, as opposed to taking a leap of faith for the good of the world,” Moffatt said. “We need to do both.” Environment Haliburton! vice-president Terry Moore said he was upset by how the conversation played out. “The financial budget, they’re not going to matter much when we don’t have a climate that’s conducive to civilization,” Moore said. He said there is not enough of a community movement on the issue versus a place like Muskoka. He lamented the County’s approach to finish a corporate plan before beginning consultations for a separate community plan. “There is nowhere near enough pressure. Council’s not going to lead on this,” Moore said. Warden Liz Danielsen said council will look for more information from McKay as she continues her work. “We’re all recognizing it is a moving landscape,” Danielsen said. “Just because we’re not making a change today, does not mean we won’t do that down the road, and even not too long from now.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Trump may be on the ballot next year — but not Donald Trump. The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. While many in the state are skeptical she will move forward, an entrance into the race would set up a crucial test of whether Donald Trump's popularity among Republicans, which remains massive more than a month after leaving office, can translate to others. The answer to that question has implications that extend far beyond Lara Trump's political future. If Donald Trump can prove that he can help other Republicans win office, his self-appointed status as leader of the party would be validated. Losses, however, would remind Republicans of his vulnerabilities. For now, Republicans say the only thing that is certain is that Lara Trump would easily dispatch rivals in a GOP primary. “If Lara were to get in the race, I think she would command widespread and immediate attention across the state,” said Michael Whatley, chairman of the North Carolina GOP, who has said his goal going forward is “making sure that we keep all of the Trump voters that came in during the last election and convert them into reliable Republican voters.” Donald Trump fancies himself as a kingmaker in GOP politics, but his record is mixed. Under his leadership, Republicans lost control of the House in 2018. When he was on the ballot again last year, Republicans mounted a strong performance in congressional races, coming much closer than expected to retaking the House. But the GOP lost two Georgia Senate seats — and the majority — in January despite a last minute campaign push from Trump. The 38-year-old Lara Trump is married to the former president's son, Eric. A former television producer, she has never held public office and declined to comment for this story. While many in North Carolina privately doubt Lara Trump will ultimately seek the Senate seat, she's being encouraged by South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who has warned the party against abandoning the former president. She is still considering a run for the Senate seat, according to two people who have spoken with her recently and requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. While she would need to move her young family to the state, the Wilmington, North Carolina native, is deeply familiar with the state and its voters after campaigning there extensively in 2016 and 2020, according to one of the people. She was a key surrogate for her father-in-law and named her second child Carolina. She also likes the idea of being the next Trump to run for something, even as a test to her father-in-law mounting a comeback in 2024, the other said. The former president's daughter, Ivanka, recently said she wouldn't challenge Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and his son, Donald Trump, Jr., is believed to be uninterested in seeking office himself. For Trump loyalists, there would be a certain satisfaction in a family member succeeding Burr, who was one of just seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict the former president in an impeachment trial for inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “Stay tuned,” she said last week in an interview on Fox News Channel, adding that she was keeping the option “open.” If she opted for a run, Lara Trump would have to contend with a rapidly changing state. While Donald Trump defeated Joe Biden in North Carolina last year, his margin — 1.3 percentage points — shrank in half from 2016. That's driven by a politically active Black population and an influx of voters into areas like Charlotte and the Raleigh suburbs. Earning their votes will be crucial given doubts that anyone besides the former president will be able to turn out the waves of largely rural, new voters Trump attracted both in 2016 and 2020. “Without Trump on the ballot, Republicans have a turnout issue they have to address. However, without Trump on the ballot, Democrats have a turnout issue they have to address,” said Paul Shumaker, a longtime Republican consultant in the state, referring to the energy Trump inspired on the left. So far, the Senate race has just one declared GOP candidate: Mark Walker, a former congressman and pastor. He represents the bind Republicans in North Carolina find themselves in. In an interview, Walker was eager to note he met with Trump “many times” in the Oval Office and recounted how the former president encouraged him to run in 2019 when he was mulling a campaign for Sen. Thom Tillis’s seat. He insisted Donald Trump remains a powerful force in politics. “I don’t think that’s any question at this point, if you pay attention to the political lens, that the Republican political party goes through Donald Trump in terms of his influence on the party as whole,” Walker said. Still, Walker noted the need for Republicans to attract a broader swath of voters beyond Trump's core base. “We want President Trump’s support. We want Mitch McConnell’s support. We want Democrats to support us because we have a message that resonates,” he said. “I truly believe that there’s a space to be able to do both, to be that conservative champion but also be that bridge-builder.” Walker’s team tried to secure a meeting with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, over the weekend while Walker was visiting the state for the Conservative Political Action Conference, where both men spoke. But the two men didn't connect. Trump’s team has been “tapping the breaks a little bit” on rolling out endorsements as they work to develop a framework for choosing candidates, a spokesman said. ___ Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report from New York. Jill Colvin And Bryan Anderson, The Associated Press
A mechanical whir fills the room as a sling slowly lifts a patient out of her hospital bed. "Wow, it's fun to see you like that," says nurse Caroline Brochu, as the woman is lowered into a chair. After spending nearly two weeks on a ventilator, severely sick with COVID-19, the patient had been extubated a few days earlier. She's slowly being weaned off the oxygen and has regained enough strength to start physiotherapy. In her early 70s, the woman was admitted to the intensive care unit at Cité-de-la-Santé hospital in Laval in early February. Like many of the patients the hospital has treated, she was generally healthy before she contracted the virus. "No comorbidities," said Dr. Joseph Dahine, an intensive care specialist. "Just high blood pressure and a little bit of asthma." Psychologists regularly check in with the ICU staff to see how they are coping with the exhaustion and emotional strain of COVID-19.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) The unknown road ahead In mid-February, CBC Montreal was granted exclusive access to the hospital's intensive care unit. A year into the pandemic, it's still difficult to predict who will only need a few days of oxygen to bounce back and who will be on a ventilator for weeks. But what is clear is the virus spares no one. The ICU has treated severely ill patients as young as 24. Back in January, about two-thirds of the patients were under 60. At the time of CBC's visit, there were five patients. Over the past 11 months, the ICU has treated a total of 175 patients. Twenty-five have died. During that time, the ICU has worked in uncharted territory, with personnel at times risking their own health to ensure those suffering the most severe COVID-19 complications get care. WATCH | Staff inside the ICU talk about the cases that still haunt them and the unknown road ahead: "Trying to keep the morale has been the hardest aspect of all of this," said Joanie Bolduc-Dionne, the ICU's head nurse. "Right now, we have some fantastic psychologists that come day, evening, night to support the team." The psychologists visit to get a sense of how staff are coping, and what they might be struggling with, she said. Family has to stay at a distance Life inside the ICU can be an emotional roller-coaster — for the staff, the patients and their families. The daughter of the woman who was recently extubated has arrived for a visit but she has to stay outside the room because her mother could still be contagious. The distance is painful for both of them. Exhausted from the effort of sitting and eating, the woman is back in her bed. Her eyes fill with tears as she looks at her daughter through the glass door. "It's harder to see her now, like this," said the daughter, turning to a nurse. "When she was intubated that was bad, but at least she didn't realize she was in that situation. Now, she knows what's going on. Dr. Joseph Dahine, pictured at right, consults with the ICU team at Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital in Laval. Treating COVID-19 patients requires constant re-calibration to pinpoint what may be causing a patient's deterioration.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) Startling deterioration Following CBC's visit, the woman had an unexpected setback overnight. During her sleep, her heart started to race. The ICU team managed to bring her heart rate back down, but the doctor on shift is concerned about her breathing, which is rapid and shallow. "If we can't give you enough oxygen and you are tired with the mask, and if we don't intubate you, well, it's death," Dr. Dahine tells the woman. With a resigned nod, she agrees to be re-intubated as a last resort. As she continues to deteriorate over the next few days, doctors have no choice but to put her back on a ventilator. It's a sobering reminder of just how unpredictable this virus can still be. At the beginning of March, the patient was brought out of the induced coma, but still needs a ventilator to breathe. She had to undergo a tracheotomy. She can only communicate with her family and the staff by blinking. "She still has a long way to go to recovery but at least she is no longer in a coma," said Bolduc-Dionne. At the height of the first wave, Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital had 22 COVID-19 patients in the ICU. The week CBC visited, there were five. Although the number of cases appears to be stabilizing, health officials are worried variants of the coronavirus could trigger a third wave.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) Although the number of COVID-19 cases may appear stable, the volume of cases linked to variants of the coronavirus is rising rapidly. 'The fight is not over' On Tuesday, Quebec's health minister continued to warn people to remain vigilant over the March break. This week, Laval's ICU accepted two new patients to the red zone, which is strictly for those who are severely ill with COVID-19. "The fight is not over," said Bolduc-Dionne. As the vaccination effort in Quebec gathers steam, staff here hope people don't forget there's a parallel battle being fought in the ICU, a battle the public doesn't see. "I hope they realize that [the virus] is really dangerous and that you can infect people you love," said nurse Caroline Brochu.
Alberta will be delaying second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for up to four months, instead of the current 42 days, which is expected to allow all Albertans over the age of 18 to get their first dose by early summer. On Wednesday, Alberta decided to follow recommendation issued earlier in the day by the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI), which calls for a four-month window between the first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. New research from Quebec, British Columbia, Israel and the U.K. shows the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were providing 70 to 80 per cent effectiveness against the virus two months after the first dose. Once a second dose is given, long-term protection against the virus will be provided. In delaying the second dose, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said it will allow for more Albertans to receive that first dose and be protected against the virus more quickly. Nationally, it is estimated all Canadians over the age of 18 will be able to get the first shot by early summer under this new distribution plan. “We’ve seen research from other jurisdictions that indicates one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine offers a huge boost in immunity, with Canadian data indicating about 80 per cent protection after the first dose," Hinsahw said. "This change will significantly increase how quickly we can offer Albertans the protection of their first dose. The more people that we can offer this protection to in the coming weeks and months, the more effective we will be at stopping spread," Hinshaw said. Hinshaw said the evidence on COVID-19 is constantly evolving and it is critical that the province uses the most up-to-date information to refine the provincial plan for combating the virus. The top doctor said the second dose is still important to help provide long-term protection. Starting March 10, anyone who books their first dose will have their second dose timeline extended from the original 42-day window up to the 16-week window. Second dose appointments will no longer be booked during the first dose, and Albertans will now be sent a reminder to book their second dose. Right now, three vaccines have been approved for distribution in Canada, with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine now joining the Pfizer and Moderna products. The province is slated to get some of the AstraZeneca vaccine next week, though it is not known exactly how much. "We are still working to confirm exactly how many doses we will receive, and when they will arrive. We hope to update you soon on how these vaccines will be distributed here in Alberta," Hinshaw said. The province will not be distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 because it is not as effective on that age cohort. "What's clear is that all three of these vaccines reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 and prevent serious outcomes, including hospitalization and death," Hinshaw said. About 255,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province, and more than 89,000 people have now been fully immunized with two doses, she said. "This is great news for our most vulnerable Albertans and those who care for them." Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
TEMAGAMI - Through a Ministry of Ontario Seniors Community Grant, Living Temagami – Arts and Culture is offering the community free digital programming for seniors throughout March and April. The main purpose of the program is to “highlight senior artists and engage seniors and elders with interesting digital programming during the pandemic,” explained Living Temagami – Arts and Culture artistic director Chandel Gambles. “Although many may have had an opportunity to explore digital tools during this pandemic, not everyone is comfortable with new technology and online programs,” she said in an email message to The Speaker. “With everyone spending more time at home this year, many members of our community will feel isolated and disconnected with their families, friends, and community supporters. This emotion is often exacerbated for those who are not familiar with new digital technologies available to them. This winter, together, we will help break down communication barriers in our region by inviting everyone to share their skills and knowledge.” Gambles explained that the grant funding will specifically go back into the hands of the community’s artists, creators, and wellness workers to provide the regional community with programming that is accessible for everyone. Throughout March and April, Living Temagami is hosting over 25 free arts workshops, performances, and wellness sessions in which everyone can participate. With the support of the Municipality of Temagami, Gambles said some of the April events may even take place in-person at COVID-safe outdoor and indoor community spaces, depending on health and safety restrictions at that time. “Not only are the events free, but we also have free art supplies and workshop kits available for our hands-on digital arts workshops, for those who may not have art supplies at home,” she noted. “We look forward to ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the fun.” Each event will link to one of five focuses, including seniors’ digital concerns, health and wellness, intergenerational learning, sharing and mentorship, First Nations culture and skill sharing, professional arts and culture performances and arts, crafts and culture workshops. Gambles said that some of Living Temagami’s free programming planned for Zoom technology and Facebook Live this month includes the Northern Voices Professional Play Reading series this week and next. “This includes family friendly shows next week, co-presented with Pied Piper Kidshows,” she said. Other events on tap this month include Jerry the Majicman – a magic show and magic workshop co-presented with Temiskaming Art Gallery’s Open Studio Libre, a free music performance by Wayne Potts through the Raven’s Nest series, Girl’s Night Out Goes Virtual- a music event hosted by Mary Laronde, a writing workshop with northern professional playwright Matthew Heiti, and a number of free art drawing, painting, cellphone photography, and traditional craft workshops. As well, in honour of Women’s History Month, Living Temagami also will host a pre-International Women’s Day online event on March 7, to align with celebrations for women all around the world. “We also encourage folks to connect with a number of other amazing community offerings, like the Cyber Seniors hotline at 1-844-217-3057, to receive free digital tech support through one-on-one mentorships,” said Gambles. “The volunteer digital mentors will happily help seniors setup video calls with friends and attend digital community events. We also hope folks will enjoy the free Senior Centre Without Walls program at this time, which has over-the-phone social activities for those without internet access.” Gambles added that in unison with the support of many local and regional organizations, Living Temagami is working to bring joy, art, and community back into everyone’s homes during an unprecedented time in history. “We hope those of all ages will join us online over the coming months,” she said. For more information on Living Temagami’s free seniors digital programming, you can check out their Facebook page. To get involved as a volunteer or workshop presenter, or to receive some technical assistance to help you attend the free online events, you can send an email to email@example.com or call 705-650-1191. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker