Media lawyer Mark Stephens says the High Court's ruling against Johnny Depp in his action against the owner of The Sun over allegations he was a “wife beater” is "absolutely devastating" for the star. (Nov. 2)
Media lawyer Mark Stephens says the High Court's ruling against Johnny Depp in his action against the owner of The Sun over allegations he was a “wife beater” is "absolutely devastating" for the star. (Nov. 2)
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic.But some aviation experts and airlines warn that reducing the number of people who control air traffic and ensure aircraft keep their distance in the sky and on the ground would amount to removing a layer of protection."It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures."CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company — which operates Canada's civil air navigation system — is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray in Alberta, Prince George in B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario which "will result in workforce adjustments."The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Quebec. These locations were identified as having low air traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said."We are working closely with our bargaining agents to safely streamline our operations in an ongoing effort to align with traffic levels," wrote Wilson on Nov. 14, adding his commitment to safety is unwavering.Nav Canada manages millions of kilometres of airspace over Canada and used to provide air navigation services for more than 3 million flights a year. It's funded through service fees paid by air carriers.COVID-19 has dramatically decreased the number of flights across the country since March. In September, there was a 63 per cent drop in air traffic compared to the same month in 2019, according to Nav Canada numbers.In response, the company announced in September it was cutting more than 720 jobs, or 14 per cent of its workforce. The CEO also warned more layoffs remain possible.Transitioning to flight service stationsNav Canada is studying the possibility of closing the St. Jean tower in Quebec. The company is also looking into transitioning the other six towers to "Flight Service Stations," which would involve cutting air traffic controller jobs.Flight service specialists — who cost less to employ than air traffic controllers — would replace those workers. They do not have the power to control air traffic and keep planes separated while in flight or on the ground. Instead, they provide advisory services and information about weather, runway conditions and air traffic, leaving it up to pilots to keep a safe distance from other planes.Sparling said Whitehorse doesn't have radar, so the tower can't see air traffic on its screens. He said cutting the number of air traffic controllers from the airport could affect pilots by making it harder for them to keep track of everything in the air."It removes the level of safety afforded to air operators," he said. "During peak season, during heavy traffic periods, it is a safer environment if you're in a tower environment ..."The worst instance would be a collision or something like that."Mid-air collision in 1999David McNair, a former aviation safety investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, said airports "with air traffic controllers tend to have a safer management of traffic."He pointed to a fatal mid-air collision over Penticton, B.C. in 1999 that killed five people and involved flight service specialists. One plane had just taken off from the airport when it collided with a descending plane. One aircraft smashed into the parking lot of the Okanagan University College, the other into the yard of a business. The crash raised concerns about the lack of air traffic controllers at the airport at the time — positions that were eliminated years earlier in a cost-cutting move by Transport Canada, according to a CBC report in 1999."Likely, neither pilot was aware of where the other aircraft was or what exactly it would be doing," said McNair. "A tower controller would have controlled as required to provide separation."Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens also raised concerns last week about the impact on Windsor's airport, arguing that removing "Nav Canada controllers at YQG will really cut us off at the knees ... it will have a detrimental impact." City officials plan to fight the move by arguing it could cause delays and operational challenges.'Safety is always our number one priority,' said Nav CanadaIn a statement, Nav Canada said that its studies are "rigorous" and follow a process set by Transport Canada that includes public consultation."Safety is always our number one priority — and we would never do anything to jeopardize that," said Nav Canada spokesperson Rebecca Hickey in a statement to CBC News."When making decisions, we always take a long-term view to preserve the sustainability of the company and the integrity of the air navigation system of behalf of all Canadians."Transport Minister Marc Garneau's office said that before Nav Canada moves forward with any staff reductions or terminations, it must ensure it will maintain "rigorous aviation safety standards." "Transport Canada will work closely with Nav Canada to ensure the safety of air transportation in Canada," said department spokesperson Amy Butcher in a statement to CBC News.Under Canadian aviation regulations, Garneau also has the power to direct Nav Canada to maintain levels of service if he believes there is an unacceptable risk to aviation safety.
Two Green MLAs have called out some of their legislature colleagues for examples of what they call belittling, demeaning and patronizing language during last week's sitting.Kevin Arseneau said he's had enough of politicians referring to "our" Indigenous people, a phrase he said conjures up a colonial attitude.And Megan Mitton said she got overwhelming support on social media after revealing an unidentified older male MLA called her "young lady" to her face."Ultimately, language matters," she said. "It really matters what we say to each other and about each other. I think we should move calling women 'young lady' out of our vocabulary, especially in the workplace but probably everywhere else."Mitton won't identify the member but points out that she is, at 34, the youngest MLA in the house and one of only 14 women, "so there's quite a few people who it could be."Arseneau said he has heard the possessive pronoun "our" used for Indigenous people for a long time but decided to speak out after last week's Speech from the Throne. It said MLAs had gathered "on the ancestral territory of our Indigenous people.""It refers to colonialism," he said. "I find it's extremely disrespectful … to take possession of people."Two days later, Liberal leader Roger Melanson said he wanted to contribute to "a strong partnership with our First Nations."Melanson used the phrase while congratulating St. Mary's First Nation Chief Alan (Chicky) Polchies on winning a new term in band elections.Polchies said in an interview he'd also like to see the use of "our" disappear. "Indigenous people are the Indigenous people of this land," he said. "When you refer to 'our,' we don't belong to any group or government other than our own. We belong to the land of Turtle Island. It's the Indigenous people of the territory." The official French translation of the Throne Speech did not use "our." Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn won't say whether the phrase should have been in the English version but commented, "I would not refer to First Nations as 'our' First Nations. I refer to First Nations as partners. Full partners."She notes she has nine nieces and nephews who are Indigenous. "My preference is to call them partners, and be respectful."Arseneau said if Dunn had read the Throne Speech ahead of time, "she could have told government to change that part of it."I know a lot of people in that [Progressive Conservative] caucus, if they'd read it in advance, would have flagged it." Liberal MLA Lisa Harris, who became her party's aboriginal affairs critic after the provincial election, has been vocal in criticizing the Higgs government on its refusal to hold an inquiry on systemic racism but said the implications of the word "our" hadn't occurred to her."I never really thought about that question before but it's a good question," she said, suggesting the word could be seen as a way to be inclusive."I could only begin to imagine what it means, but I think we're blessed to have First Nations in our province, so I guess we're owning the fact that we have First Nations in the province, the same as our francophone population or anglophone population."To me, they're all to be celebrated." Mitton said 98 per cent of the people who responded to her Instagram post about being called a "young lady" agreed with her that the term was ageist and sexist. "In a workplace, but especially workplaces that are dominated traditionally by men, there's a power dynamic that exists, so I think it adds an extra layer to women maybe not feeling they belong because historically they haven't," she said.Fourteen women were elected as MLAs in September's election, a record number. Mitton said none of her fellow female members from other parties had approached her to talk about her post. She said that may be because COVID-19 guidelines have made discreet one-on-one conversations difficult in the corridors of the legislature.
Regina's 2020 city council was sworn in last night before a small group at city hall.Attendees to the ceremony were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions; each member of council was allowed to bring two invited guests.Eleven members swore their oaths, including five new councillors and new Mayor of Regina Sandra Masters — the first woman to be mayor of a major city in Saskatchewan.Masters said she hopes to take action during her term."I think there's the sense that we talk about some things but we don't seem to strike action plans," she said, pointing to the Renewable Regina Plan that was first discussed in 2018."We might even make action plans but we don't have a lot of actions coming out and I think it's those types of things, if I had a hunch, that have been frustrating for some."Regina's council is full of new faces, with five of 10 city council members new to city hall.While they've only been working together for the past two weeks, Masters said the group has already started to build a rapport."They're inquisitive, they want to understand how it works … even just the debate about some of the priorities has been respectful and I think we've made some advances there."Masters said she's ready to get to work.The next regular meeting of the new city council will be on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.
A new study has shed light on the extreme toll COVID-19 has had on Ontario's health-care workers.Last spring, researchers interviewed 10 workers throughout the province about their experiences on the frontline of the pandemic.They spoke of high levels of fear, anxiety and emotional distress, said Jim Brophy, an adjunct professor with the University of Windsor sociology department, who worked on the study. They also reported very high workloads, and felt they weren't supported in their roles."And then, of course, the tremendous fear that they would become infected or that they would infect other patients, that they would infect their families," said Brophy, one of four researchers behind the study."They would go home at night and cry all the way home, couldn't sleep."The study participants included nurses, cleaners, clerical workers and personal support workers (PSWs) — some at hospitals, others at long-term care facilities. They were quoted at length about the difficulties they faced on the job and how they grappled with the strain of the surging pandemic."My husband and I are in separate bedrooms. We even have separate bathrooms because I don't want to take the chance of bringing something home to him ... I haven't seen my grandchildren," one PSW was quoted as saying.Frustrations were also expressed about inadequate protection from infection, as well as the pandemic response from government.The research was conducted in partnership with the health-care workers' union, the Council of Hospital Unions-Canadian Union of Public Employees (OCHU-CUPE), which helped the researchers locate participants.It follows a March survey of 3,000 Ontario health-care workers conducted by OCHU-CUPE that found that 87 per cent didn't have enough personal protective equipment to stay safe and 91 per cent felt "abandoned" by the provincial government.The researchers argue the pandemic has illuminated longstanding shortcomings in Ontario's health-care system, including under-funding and under-staffing.According to the most recent provincial statistics, out of more than 105,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ontario as of Monday, nearly 8,900 were health care workers.Statistics also show eight workers from long-term care homes have lost their lives to the illness.Hope for better supportsBrophy is hopeful the study will spark stronger efforts to protect and support those on the frontlines."I'm hoping that all of this will contribute to a greater awareness that the public is not safe if our health care workers are not safe," he said.The Ontario government has established mental health resources specifically for health-care workers, including peer support groups and services at five hospitals.The province has earmarked an additional $3.3 billion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and improve health care in 2020-2021.
A group of medical students from Memorial University are in the midst of running one of St. John's most challenging routes every day for an entire month, sweating it out up Signal Hill in support of Newfoundland and Labrador's Arthritis Society.The idea for November's event, called Hills for Humanity, sprang from second-year students Brett Holloway and Joey Landine, both of whom are part of the newly-created MunMed Adventure Sports Club. The group organized a previous fundraiser running a 50-kilometre race on the East Coast Trail earlier this year, and were looking for a new challenge when the calorie-burning idea came to mind."Me and Joey were chatting one evening and we thought it would be neat to get something started that would kind of engage the community a little bit and [bring] a bit more public awareness," Holloway said Sunday."It gives us an opportunity to kind of showcase what we've been doing in the community."The group settled on the idea of tackling the three-kilometre run on the Signal Hill trail in St. John's, and chose a cause close to one of their members, Claire Neilson. Neilson, a first-year student from Charlottetown, P.E.I. lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and pitched the idea of helping the local arthritis society."It's been something that I really struggled with for a long time. But I found that through exercise it really helps mitigate the bad effects of the disease," Neilson said."I kind of put forward the idea of the arthritis society because they took really good care of me when I was in the pediatric centre back in Halifax. They agreed and here we are."Windy, cold, and slipperyThe team has split up the running schedule over the course of the month, with most members completing the run around five times each. Landine said the area's weather conditions can present a challenge, particularly in November, but that's part of the fun."Everyone knows Signal Hill is windy and cold sometimes, so every day provides a new challenge for sure." he said."We've definitely had a couple of days that were a little bit slippery, so we have to make sure we watch ourselves during those," Emily Collis, a first-year student from St. John's added. "But it's been a really great challenge."Neilson has completed the run five times throughout November, and said the idea of running for a cause so close to her has been rewarding since the arthritis and medical community has given her so much help and support."I think this is a really good way to kind of dive both feet in, especially with COVID and the fact that we're not actually allowed to be in the clinics interacting with the community," she said. "It's kind of nice to be able to give back in this little more of an interactive way.""To be able to give back is just an awesome feeling," Collis said.The running crew enters the home stretch this week, and had raised $950 as of Sunday.They're inviting others to join them in the final push, including Premier Andrew Furey, who they said they would love to run with if the opportunity came.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures.Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office, according to figures released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan.Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first.The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration.The federal government is appealing a Federal Court ruling earlier this year that found the STCA infringed Charter rights.The figures provided to Kwan show there was a spike in the number of asylum seekers turned back at the border after Trump was elected in 2016 and took office in 2017.In 2016 there were 742 people turned back at the border. That figure jumped to 1,992 in 2017. There were 744 denied entry in 2018 and 663 in 2019.Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 23 this year — a period which captures the height of the first wave of COVID-19 — 259 people were turned back at the border.'Even more precarious'Kwan called that "really disturbing.""In the face of a pandemic, things are even more precarious for people who need to get to safety and Canada actually did not hesitate to turn people back," she said.Kwan said the Trump administration imposed detention and deportation policies that violated international human rights and provoked widespread fear among refugees. By turning away asylum seekers, Canada is "complicit" in the violation of their rights, she said.Kwan said Canada should immediately suspend the STCA and work to negotiate a new agreement with U.S. president-elect Joe Biden that addresses human rights issues. But she said the "aggressive and intense" detention policies could linger."I think even with the Biden administration, that policy may still continue to exist, and even if the Biden administration wants to make changes, it's not going to happen overnight," she said.Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said the government appealed the Federal Court ruling because it believes there were errors in key findings of fact and law.She said the decision mistakenly suggests that all asylum claimants who are ineligible under the STCA and turned back to the U.S. are automatically detained as a penalty. She also noted that the U.S. remains a party to the UN Refugee Convention.Refugee pact 'fair, compassionate': Blair spokesperson"The STCA, which has served Canada well for 16 years, ensures that those whose lives are in danger are able to claim asylum at the very first opportunity in a safe country," she said. "We are in continuous discussions with the U.S. government on issues related to our shared border. We believe that the STCA remains a comprehensive vehicle for the fair, compassionate and orderly handling of asylum claims in our two countries."As for the spike in numbers in 2017, Power said that 2017-2018 recorded the highest number of globally displaced individuals since the Second World War.Justin Mohammed, human rights law and policy campaigner for Amnesty International Canada, said a number of factors could have driven that sharp increase, including global patterns and Trump's policies.He said Canada should be fulfilling its international obligations under international refugee law at all times — even during a pandemic, when safety concerns are heightened.Mohammed pointed to exemptions made for students, family reunification and other immigration classes that allow people to arrive in Canada despite travel restrictions."Why are refugees being excluded from that? They're able to quarantine or be required to have a quarantine plan just like anyone else ... so why is there not the ability to be able to provide protection?" he said.Partial pictureJanet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said the 2020 figures represent only a partial picture of the people turned back to the U.S. because of added restrictions after the border closed March 20.At that time, refugee claimants were denied entry on public health grounds whether they arrived at an official point of entry or at another crossing — such as Roxham Road in Quebec — where the STCA does not normally apply.Despite assurances the Canadian government says it received from the U.S. that refugee claimants directed back would not be subject to enforcement such as detention or removal, Dench said refugee advocates in Canada know of at least two people who were detained in the U.S. after being directed back.Conservative immigration critic Raquel Dancho said the Liberal record on administering the refugee and asylum system was one of "mismanagement, years-long backlogs and failure," even before the pandemic."Conservatives have long been calling on the government to close illegal border crossings and work with their American counterparts to close the longstanding loopholes in the Safe Third Country Agreement so that refugee and asylum seekers have a fair, compassionate and effective pathway to come to Canada," she said in a statement.
Search and rescue crews in B.C. are worried that adventurers will put themselves at risk by heading into the winter wilderness unprepared as the COVID-19 pandemic limits travel options this year.They're predicting a repeat of this summer in B.C. when hiking and camping gear sold out as people rushed to the outdoors, followed by a record number of calls for help.The senior manager of the B.C. Search and Rescue Association says there have already been far more rescue operations in the fall months compared to normal years."A lot of it is a lack of preparedness," said Dwight Yochim. "If you look outside in Vancouver right now, there's no snow [but] within a half an hour from anywhere in Vancouver, you can be in two or three feet of snow. He says unless you're prepared for snow, you can get into trouble.A trio of ill-prepared hikers was rescued off Mount Fromme in North Vancouver on Sunday after one of the hikers twisted an ankle. The group had wandered off-trail and called for help around 4:30 p.m. PT. One of the hikers was reportedly wearing shorts.Yochim says it's not uncommon for crews to rescue people who aren't dressed for the conditions."They've been rescuing people with jeans that are frozen solid because they've gotten wet during the day and by the time they're found, the jeans have just frozen solid."Skis and snowshoes out of stockLocal winter sports shops say they're experiencing record sales of winter gear similar to what bike shops and outdoors stores saw in the summer."We brought in several sizes [of snowshoes] and apparently they are now sold out for the season," said Chris Turjanica, store manager at West Coast Sports. "Whatever we have in stock is what we have for the remainder of the season."Many of the customers haven't skied in years, or have used rentals in past years, and are looking to upgrade their equipment, he says.However, Turjanica says it's not only beginner skis and snowshoes that are selling out. Anticipating that ski resorts may be forced to shut down, some customers have decided to invest in touring skis and snowboards to explore the backcountry."It's scary," Turjanica said. "Seeing this large influx of people, from my perspective, they're thinking that, 'Oh, I see this on YouTube. I can just go back there.'"The Backcountry Skiing Canada website says backcountry skiing is "an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely." Training on how to recognize and stay safe in avalanche terrain is recommended by most guides and safety experts."When I mentioned avalanche safety training to people they don't know what I'm talking about," Turjanica said of some customers. "And that's kind of scary."Additional equipment like shovels, probes and airbags can bring the cost of a backcountry outfit up to several thousand dollars.Yochim says people who want to make the most of the outdoors this winter should stick to their local trails and lower elevations to start."Don't go up onto the mountain peaks, try some lower elevation trails, get used to it, get your stamina up, your level of physical fitness up, do a bit of training."He recommends downloading the BC Adventure Smart app which not only provides tips for staying safe in the outdoors, but can help record a trip plan that can be accessed by rescue teams.
Scotland's High Court was told on Tuesday that the conviction of a Libyan man over the 1988 Lockerbie aircraft bombing, the deadliest militant attack in British history, rested on evidence that was badly flawed. The family of now deceased Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the bombing that killed 270 people, have launched a posthumous appeal, supported by some victims' relatives who say the truth has yet to come out. Pam Am Flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988 en route from London to New York, carrying mostly Americans on their way home for Christmas.
Saskatchewan health policy consultant Steven Lewis has watched from the relative safety of Melbourne, Australia, as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked back in his home province.The southern Australian city of five million people, where Lewis is currently living, is now COVID-free and in the process of lifting restrictions.Lewis, who has advised governments in several provinces and countries, agreed to share his thoughts on Saskatchewan's rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 situation — which saw nearly 3,000 active cases and more than 100 people in hospital as of Monday.On Monday, the province announced four more people with the virus had died and that Premier Scott Moe is in isolation after a recent potential exposure in the Prince Albert area.Lewis said the three-month lockdown in Australia was difficult, but that residents generally agreed it was necessary. Those tempted to flout the rules were slapped with large fines. Lewis said he isn't recommending an Australia-style lockdown, but that one thing is clear: the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.The following comments by Lewis have been condensed and edited.On 'high-risk venues'Lewis: It's crazy to allow bars and restaurants and gyms to stay open. They are known worldwide to be three sites where infections take off. Alcohol is a disinhibitor. Loud music makes people lean in and talk louder to be heard over it, expelling more droplets. People exercising strenuously breathe more heavily, sweat, expel. On gatheringsAll mass gatherings, including church services, weddings, funerals, should be locked down, and [there should be] very strong prohibition of socializing at home with non-family members.On mandatory masksAt least [Saskatchewan] has mandatory mask wearing indoors in public spaces. But responding too late can't be undone. It may be useful prospectively but the numbers got bigger than they had to.On enforcing the rulesI don't have strong enough evidence to suggest cause and effect, but enforcement appears to matter.Here in Victoria [Australia], population 6.5 million, since March the police have issued about 25,000 tickets for COVID non-adherence violations, at an average of about $1,200, which is pretty steep. I do think this, combined with the 8 p.m. curfew that was in place for weeks, was a deterrent for young people.What we've learned is that even if messaging is well-done and broadly effective, a small number of non-adherers can spark a new cluster that quickly expands. When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility.On contact tracingOnce numbers get beyond double-digits per day, contact tracing becomes virtually useless. It's just too labour-intensive, people may not have good recall, and there is still stigma and suspicion of authority, so people may not disclose their contacts.On testingCanada is still terrible at testing.Slovakia tested just about the entire adult population in a weekend and then repeated a weekend later. They found about a 1 per cent positive rate the first weekend and directed the infected to isolate. The positive rate the second weekend was a lot lower, no doubt because the first one removed the positives and kept them out of the population.My understanding is that it is still hard for asymptomatic people (in Canada) to get a publicly provided test and the results take days rather than hours.On the Saskatchewan government's 'slowdown' plan[Health professionals] have I think justifiably hammered the government for it's half-assed and complicated approach.It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. It's too volatile, there are too many asymptomatic transmissions, and there's too big a time-lag between when you are infected and when you know you are.So you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. If you have to stop and start and stop and start, it's just as disruptive for businesses and the pain is prolonged. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed. It was stupid to differentiate between urban and rural Saskatchewan [on mandatory masks] and it's really stupid to keep known high-risk venues open. The virus doesn't care if you're going to a bar or to church. It's going to bite people in both places if you keep them open.
The province is looking for additional health-care workers and alternative accommodations for people who may need to isolate in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on P.E.I.The accommodations could be for health-care workers in COVID-positive wards, for example, said Tanya Tynski, executive director of human resources and pharmacare with Health PEI. "They may feel that they need to have an alternative accommodation because they may have a loved one at home who is immunocompromised. And this would allow them to continue to work and maintain the health of their family members," Tynski said."So that would be one of the main areas where we would consider that staff accommodation." 'We plan for everything'Tynski, who serves as P.E.I.'s chief planner with the COVID-19 Joint Response Team, said the accommodations could potentially be used to house patients who are recovering or preparing to be discharged if capacity becomes an issue at hospitals."That would be obviously in a very exceptional circumstance where the pandemic has progressed to a high level of spread and our surge capacity within our system has been exceeded," she said."We certainly don't expect that but we plan for it. We plan for everything."Tynski said the province is also looking to bolster its staffing levels. She said anyone who has worked in the health-care field, even those who are retired, can send an expression of interest to Health PEI.P.E.I. has had 69 known cases of COVID-19. Two remain active.On Monday, the province suspended its participation in the Atlantic bubble as cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continue to rise.All areas of IslandEarlier this month, the province issued a tender to potential accommodation providers. Tynski said it's difficult to predict how many accommodations might be needed, but said they are looking for them for all areas of the Island to support health-care workers.The province had used places such as Holland College for similar purposes in the summer, but that is no longer feasible now that some students have returned to campus.The province is looking for any accommodations that have separate entrances as well as laundry and cooking facilities. A price for the accommodations will be agreed upon beforehand, but providers will not be paid unless the accommodations are used.More from CBC P.E.I.
Iran's supreme leader dismissed the prospect of new negotiations with the West on Tuesday, even as the Tehran government spoke optimistically about the return of foreign companies in "the absence of Trump" and his sanctions. President-elect Joe Biden's victory has raised the possibility that the United States could rejoin a deal Iran reached with world powers in 2015, under which sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, and Tehran responded by scaling down its compliance.
For the second time this month, Canada has ordered a temporary fishery closure in the Roseway Basin off southern Nova Scotia after multiple detections of endangered North Atlantic right whales in the area.The latest order, issued Monday, closes several fisheries until further notice and could affect the lucrative commercial lobster fishery when the season opens next week."We intend to conduct an aerial survey of the area in the coming days to determine if there continues to be [right whale] presence," Barre Campbell, a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said in a statement Monday night."Management measures will continue to be applied if right whales are detected."Acoustic sensors detect whalesSince Nov. 9, acoustic sensors on board a marine glider cruising the area made 11 separate right whale detections."It could be one animal calling over all of that period of time. It's more probable that it was multiple animals that happened to come through. But how many?" said Fred Whoriskey, executive director of the Ocean Tracking Network, which deployed the glider in collaboration with the Ocean Frontier Institute."We can't tell because all we're doing is picking up a call. Our algorithms on board the machine that is detecting the calls are saying that's a right whale."It's the first time DFO is acting on data from autonomous gliders to make the call to shut down a fishery, said Adam Burns, director general of fisheries resource management for the department."We've been doing acoustic monitoring now for a few years, but this is the first year that we've considered them to be a trusted source in terms of implementing dynamic closures," Burns told CBC News on Tuesday.The Roseway Basin — located approximately 20 nautical miles, or roughly 37 kilometres, south of Cape Sable Island — has been designated a critical habitat for the whales, which used to feed there in late summer.The glider that found the whales is scheduled to come out of the water Wednesday, and the aerial survey will take over.If no right whales are spotted during the aerial surveys, the area will reopen for the start of the lobster fishery, said Burns. Sightings stump scientistsSightings have become rarer in recent years as the critically endangered whales moved north into the Gulf of St. Lawrence with disastrous results.Since 2017, 20 have died in the gulf, caused in some cases by vessel strikes and gear entanglements. No deaths have been reported so far in 2020."What we do know is something massive has changed in the way the right whales are interacting with our ocean here right now. And so it's very hard to say what is normal anymore, and this is basically a part of that. They were in Roseway for many, many years, and suddenly disappeared a few years ago. Now suddenly we're picking up a few," said Whoriskey."We don't know whether at this particular point in time if these are transitory animals that are on their way south for the winter — they probably are — or whether there are some that have moved in and tried to occupy it for longer periods of times."The detection means fishing for multiple species is closed until further notice. That will apply to lobster and crab when those seasons open.Because of a forecast for bad weather, fishermen have been given until Thursday to remove gear from parts of the Roseway Basin where the whales were most recently detected.DFO had reopened some, but not all, parts of the Roseway Basin that were closed temporarily earlier this month.Unusually late in the seasonSean Brillant of the Canadian Wildlife Federation said detections in Canadian waters this late in the year are unusual, but DFO is doing the right thing."The fact that they're taking this new information and acting on it in a way to try and prevent entanglements is encouraging. This is the kind of adaptive and strong leadership we need to see. Nobody wants to be closing these fisheries," said Brillant. "But at the same time, these rules are important to try and prevent this accidental harm that can happen to these animals."Whales' behaviour not understoodThe implications for the lobster fishery are potentially dramatic.Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34 from Halifax to Digby are the most valuable in Canada. Combined landings in 2018-19 were valued at $490 million.Fishermen there have largely been spared the intrusive measures taken to protect the whales elsewhere in the region. It was always presumed the whales had migrated out of Canadian waters before the season opened in late November or early December."What we're trying to do is protect the whales, but we're also trying to protect Canadian fisheries. Obviously there's going to be a huge problem if we have mortalities caused by our fisheries and then buyers begin to boycott Canadian seafood products," said Whoriskey."For us, as scientists encountering this all of a sudden, it's very uncomfortable, and we don't really understand what the whales are doing or why they're doing it right now."I personally am hopeful that this is a migratory movement of the animals and they are heading south, and heading south fairly fast, so the fishery can reopen again fairly quickly and get these guys back out in the water."MORE TOP STORIES
France's interior minister called the images of police forcefully removing migrants from the Place de la République "shocking".View on euronews
A class-action lawsuit launched against a Catholic religious order in 2018 has grown from the initial 30 Innu claimants on Quebec's Lower North Shore to 190 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across Quebec.Allegations of sexual abuse by priests with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate initially surfaced during the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). Those allegations have now multiplied across several First Nations, where the clergy tried to "silence repeated sexual assaults it was well aware of," according to court documents submitted to Quebec Superior Court, in the request for authorization for the class action.The inquiry's stop in Mani-Utenam in November 2017, an Innu community near Sept-Îles, on Quebec's North Shore, revealed decades of alleged abuse against Innu children and women living in Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on the province's Lower North Shore.Alexis Joveneau, a Belgian priest who arrived in the region in the 1950s, held a tight grip on the Innu communities where he worked, until his death in 1992.Noëlla Mark, who is the main claimant in the class-action suit, said during the MMIWG hearings, that she never talked about the abuse because Joveneau "was considered to be the chief of the village, the head." That public image of a "god-like" figure has since been torn down, says lawyer Alain Arsenault.Fifty Innu women and eight Innu men from Unaman Shipu and Pakua Shipu have since come forward with complaints of sexual abuse by Joveneau. And other members of the congregation have been named in the class action, which hasn't yet been authorized by Quebec Superior Court.Alleged abuse in several First NationsThirty-one people, mainly from the Innu First Nation of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, have made similar allegations against father Omer Provencher. None of those allegations have been proven in court, at this time.Other priests included in the class action have already been found guilty of acts of a sexual nature.Father Raynald Couture was sentenced in 2004 to 15 months for sexual assault against Atikamekw children. Nine alleged victims from Wemotaci and Opitciwan are naming him as their alleged abuser, in the class-action request.Thirty-three Anishnabe people also came forward with allegations against Father Edmond Brouillard, who was sentenced in 1996 to five years in prison for sexual abuse.Seven Atikamekw people from Manawan claimed to be victims of Édouard Meilleur. And 34 other Indigenous people, as well as 17 non-Indigenous claimants, have come forward regarding allegations of sexual abuse by other members of the order.Out-of-court settlement not yet reachedArsenault says he is not surprised that the number of cases has grown since the case was first presented. There would have been many more, he said, if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn't prevented visits to other communities in northern Quebec."It's the tip of the iceberg," Arsenault told CBC. Initially, the Oblates stated they wanted to settle out of court to spare the victims further trauma. The congregation also set up a confidential hotline, in English and French, to offer counselling to victims of sexual abuse.But the initial negotiations never led to an agreement, Arsenault said, leaving few options other than pursuing the matter in court.The hotline has since been taken down, according to the lawyer representing the congregation, Charles Gibson. Gibson told CBC the Oblates are still hoping to settle the matter out of court and continue to be open to negotiations.Arsenault said that hasn't been possible because the proposals made so far have been "disproportionate" to the harm caused in the various communities where the Oblates were based.The request for the class action covers alleged abuse that would have happened between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 2018.
There's mixed messaging emerging from the debate over methylmercury contamination in Labrador, with a U.S. researcher again raising the alarm about the toxic organic compound, while a contractor monitoring the effects of Muskrat Falls — backed up by the Department of Environment — says there's no need to worry.Ryan Calder co-authored a 2015 study by researchers at Harvard University saying hundreds of Labrador Inuit will be exposed to dangerous levels of methylmercury once the Muskrat Falls reservoir is fully flooded.The report was rejected at the time by Nalcor Energy, the government-owned corporation building the controversial hydroelectric generating station and dam on the Lower Churchill River.Calder has since moved on to research university Virginia Tech, but has continued to follow the findings of an ongoing monitoring program on the river and in Lake Melville.He said recent data showing an increase in the toxin is cause for concern."There's a small number of people that eat enough fish and marine mammals for it to be a concern," Calder said during a phone interview. "Probably in the hundreds of people among the Labrador Inuit that would be pushed beyond the Health Canada and EPA [United States Environmental Protection Agency] reference sources for mercury exposure."But Jim McCarthy — a senior biologist with Wood Environmental Infrastructure Solutions, which has been contracted by Nalcor to lead a methylmercury monitoring program in central Labrador — disagrees.It's now been a full year since the Muskrat Falls reservoir was filled to capacity, and McCarthy said methylmercury levels in the Muskrat reservoir has average 0.06 nanograms (one billionth of a gram) of methylmercury per litre of water. And as expected, McCarthy said levels increased in the summer, reaching as high as 0.2 nanograms per litre in one sample, with the 2020 summer average at 0.07 nanograms per litre.The natural levels prior to reservoir flooding was 0.017 nanograms per litre, said McCarthy.So is McCarty alarmed by those numbers? "That's not high at all," he said. "To put it in terms of drinking water quality, there'd be an advisory on if the water quality had 1,000 nanograms per litre of methylmercury."The main concern for area residents is their wild food supply becoming contaminated with unsafe levels of methylmercuy, and so far there is no evidence of this, said McCarthy, who has been studying the water and fish in the Churchill River for two decades.Fish samples collected in 2019 did not show any changes in methylmercury levels from previous years.McCarthy is awaiting laboratory results from fish samples collected in September and October, but is not expecting any significant change again this year.McCarthy said it can take anywhere from three to five years for higher concentrations of methylmercury to appear in fish, and, he said, "I don't expect it to be much."When asked if he envisioned a scenario where area residents might be advised against consuming fish or mammals, McCarthy said, "I"m not a human health person, I'm a fish person. But I don't believe so, based on the data that I've seen, I don't think there'll be advisories."The Environment Department said methylmercury levels are below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment's guidelines."To date, monitoring data confirms that the actual methylmercury levels are far below predicted levels by CCME guidelines for aquatic life," a department spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News.A statement from Nalcor says, "The Muskrat Falls reservoir is reacting in a similar way to other reservoirs following the first year of flooding."In fact, Nalcor says average methylmercury concentrations in the reservoir are slightly lower than predicted for the past year, at 0.058 nanograms per litre. The concentrations decrease further downstream, said Nalcor."We've noticed that there is an increase, but not a very large increase," said McCarthy.McCarthy said it's common for concentrations to increase in the first three years after reservoir flooding, and eventually return to natural levels.He said he could easily find a pond dammed by a beaver anywhere in the province and find higher concentrations of methylmercury.He stressed that the consumption of fish and mammals should not be avoided."I think they're safe to eat, yes," he said.Ballooning project costs and long delays have dogged the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project for years, but human health concerns have also been at the forefront, especially for those who eat fish and other mammals in the region.The threat of methylmercury contaminating the wild food supply resulted in protests four years ago, and a prolonged impasse was resolved after the provincial government agreed to establish an independent expert advisory committee.An enhanced monitoring program was also launched, with weekly testing at more than a dozen sites upstream of the Muskat Falls reservoir, downstream into Lake Melville, as far as Rigolet.The issue flared again last year after the provincial government failed to deliver on a promise to clear some vegetation — a process known as wetland capping — from the reservoir prior to full flooding, with then premier Dwight Ball calling it an unintentional oversight.Nalcor responded by allocating $30 million in compensation for three Indigenous groups in Labrador.Meanwhile, Ryan Calder says the data emerging from river monitoring is supporting his early concerns about methylmercury."The first data that's rolling out is consistent with our predictions, and is exactly what Nalcor refused to believe five years ago," said Calder."Immediately the levels are going way beyond the Nalcor projected peak, and are now well within the range of what we had predicted. And they're still rising. The fact that we're in late November now and the levels are still rising quite sharply, when they usually are falling, is a concern. And it suggests they'll probably continue to rise next spring and summer."When asked why Calder's tone is so different from his own, McCarthy replied, "Well, there's two conflicting models too, I guess."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The parents of a 19-year-old Briton killed in a road accident in 2019 lost their court battle with the British government on Tuesday over whether the wife of U.S. official involved in the crash had diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution. Harry Dunn's family have said Anne Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed with the teenager, who was riding a motor-bike, near an air force base in central England which is used by the U.S. military. Dunn's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn challenged British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police in London's High Court over the determination that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity at the time of his death.
The NATO principle of one-for-all and all-for-one was the reason it — and by extension Canada — went into Afghanistan, but that assumption is being sorely tested by a U.S. administration that is in a hurry to wind things up.Hurry might be a relative term, though, considering Washington's military involvement in the country is approaching the two-decade mark.The Trump administration's deadline to draw down U.S. forces to 2,500 troops by mid-January — paving the way for a full withdrawal — has been greeted with nervousness by NATO allies.There is an old saying, from early in the war, that the Taliban were fond of repeating: you have the watches, we have the time.The implication was that militants could simply wait out foreign forces and wear them down in a steady drip of casualties and spectacular setbacks.It seems time is still on the Taliban's side.Witness the steady rise in attacks across at least 50 districts in the country, according to Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, in figures that were recently reported in the local media.Key parts of Kandahar province, which have remained relatively peaceful since the Canadian withdrawal from there almost a decade ago, have become contested. Afghan forces, with the help of punishing U.S. airstrikes, were forced to retake the Arghandab district from the Taliban recently in a level of fighting that matched the darkest days of Canada's involvement in the restive province.With their refusal to agree to an outright ceasefire, the Taliban are putting pressure on both the Afghan government and the U.S. as a deadline for the complete withdrawal of international forces looms next spring.A hard decisionThe Taliban are playing for time as peace talks grind on in Doha, Qatar, leaving bewildered NATO allies warning that the last two decades may end up being for naught should the Taliban succeed in their resurgent campaign of violence. "We strongly support the peace talks that are taking place between the Taliban and the government," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a pre-recorded interview at last weekend's Halifax International Security Forum."And part of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban is that all international troops would be out by the first [of] May next year. So, clearly we have to make a very hard decision and that is whether to leave and risk to lose the gains we've made … or whether we stay and continue to be involved in a very challenging and demanding operation in Afghanistan."Stoltenberg staked his ground on the possibly quaint notion that the alliance is free to make its own collective decision about whether to follow the U.S. out the door next spring."My message is that we must assess whether the conditions for leaving are met together," he said. "We need to make these decisions together, and as we have said many times at NATO, we went into Afghanistan together, we should make decisions about adjustments to our presence together, and when the time is right we should leave together in a co-ordinated and orderly way."The reality is, without U.S. logistical and air support, a standalone NATO mission would have a short shelf life.Abdullah Abdullah, the chair of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation and the man leading the government's negotiating team, told Agence France-Presse a few days ago that the two sides are "very close" to breaking a deadlock in peace talks.Those negotiations started on Sept. 12, but bogged down over agenda disagreements, the basic framework of the discussions and religious interpretations, according to the news agency."We haven't moved towards discussion of the main substance of negotiations, the main agenda," said Abdullah, who was interviewed in Turkey."We are close. We are very close. Hopefully we pass this phase and get to the substantial issues" including security.The assessment coincided with a separate statement from the Taliban to AFP that said "sufficient progress" had been made on key sticking points.At the same time, the group has consistently refused to take part in a ceasefire, with frequent attacks against Afghan security forces.They show no signs of being in a hurry. As ever, the Taliban don't need watches.
Talking to your children about the COVID-19 pandemic can be difficult, but with schools in the Windsor-Essex region and beyond experiencing outbreaks, that conversation may be necessary.So how should you talk to your kids about COVID-19?For Lance Rappaport, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at the University of Windsor, the first step may just be acknowledging that having this conversation is not the easiest thing to do."It's a difficult conversation to have ... It's a difficult thing to articulate and communicate with a child," he said. Drawing on your own knowledge of your child — their developmental stage, their fears, and what they already know — can also be valuable in preparing to have the conversation. "Every child is going to be somewhat different, and I think parents are in a unique position to know their child and explain it in a way that the child will understand," Rappaport said.Rappaport added that one of the keys to having a good conversation is to remember to talk about preventative and safety measures against the disease, rather than just talking about the risk.Good listening is keyStacey Slobodnick, clinical lead for outpatient services at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare's Regional Children's Centre, says that it's important to be aware of your own emotional state heading into the conversation. What might be most important is to be a calm and sometimes inquisitive listener."Regardless of whatever comments the child is making, I want the parent to reflect back, 'Oh it sounds like you're really scared.' 'Sounds like you're not scared at all.' 'Tell me some more about that,'" she said.It's an effort to get information from the child before offering information about the pandemic or an outbreak. But before you do that, Slobodnick says it's important to be aware of your child's developmental stage, including how much information your child can handle.Emphasizing that uncertainty and a lack of control are difficult is also important, but that comes with an opportunity to talk to your child about what they can control."Uncertainty can be really hard, so I want [parents] to validate and acknowledge that that's difficult," she said. "When we have situations where we don't have a lot of control, I want the parents to then focus on what are the things we can control."These include how to spend their time, what things can be done to keep safe and how they plan on doing their schoolwork.What you shouldn't doIn terms of mistakes to avoid, Slobodnick says you should not share questionable information from unreliable sources with your child. You also don't want to project your own fears and concerns, she said, adding parents should remember to stay calm. "So just being really aware, if this is something that makes you really nervous, know that your child needs to see that you're confident and that the two of your are going to get through this situation together," she said.Though the pandemic has been going on for nine months, Slobodnick warns that now is also not the time to get desensitized. "Even though we're kind of used to it by now, it's still something kind of impeding us from living our best life right now," she said.