This friendly parrot really wants to play with the cat, but it looks like this kitty has other plans. Typical!
This friendly parrot really wants to play with the cat, but it looks like this kitty has other plans. Typical!
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies gradually ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec The province's proposed order of priority for vaccination according to its website is those in residential and long-term care centres, workers in the health and social services network, followed by those in isolated and remote communities, people 80 years or older, and then the general population in 10-year increments. Health officials launched an online and telephone system for vaccine registrations on Feb. 25 and will begin vaccinating people aged 85 years and older in Montreal on March 1. Officials said that while residents across the province aged 85 and older can register for a vaccine, priority will be given to people in the greater Montreal area, which has the highest active COVID-19 case count in Quebec. On Feb. 26, officials opened registration for Montrealers as young as 80 years old. It has not yet been announced when the next age group can begin to register for vaccines. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province has mapped out a three-phase approach to its rollout. Phase 1, which is still ongoing, reserves shots for those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers, and people who live in congregate care settings. All Indigenous adults, people aged 80 and older and adults receiving chronic home care will be next in line. The province says it will begin vaccinations among the 80 and older age cohort starting the third week of March. Vaccinations will begin for people 75 and older starting April 15. The province will then move to offer shots to those 70 and older starting May 1; 65 and older starting June 1; and 60 and older the first week of July. Indigenous adults and patient-facing health-care workers will receive vaccinations as the province works through those age groups. The government is still finalizing the list of essential workers who will receive vaccinations in May if supply is available. The province has not detailed when people younger than 60 can expect to be vaccinated. Appointment bookings can be made online and by phone starting March 15 for those in eligible age cohorts. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. They say most people over 80, and First Nations individuals over 60, could be eligible in early March. The province plans to have all personal care home residents vaccinated with two doses by the end of February, and has started sending team to other congregate living settings such as group homes and shelters. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, say inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if new vaccines are approved and supplies are steady. The plan does not include a separate category for essential workers — something that Reimer says will be considered as vaccine supplies increase. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. When bookings opened to this age group Wednesday, the website was temporarily overwhelmed when more than 150,000 people tried to get access. Within a day, 100,000 appointments were booked. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. Some 28,000 seniors in long-term care have already been vaccinated. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia The first phase of B.C.'s immunization campaign launched in December and focused on health-care workers in hospitals, paramedics, residents and staff at long-term care homes, and remote Indigenous communities. The second phase set to wrap up in March includes people aged 80 and above, Indigenous elders 65 and up, Indigenous communities that didn't receive vaccine in the first phase, as well as more health-care workers and vulnerable populations living and working in certain congregate settings. The third phase of B.C.'s immunization campaign is set to start in April and last until June, reaching people between the ages of 60 and 79, along with those who are highly clinically vulnerable, such as cancer patients. B.C.'s plan for the general population is based on age, with the oldest residents first in line. --- Nunavut Nunavut's vaccination rollout is underway, with vaccine clinics for the general population scheduled or completed in all 25 communities. In Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital, a general vaccination clinic is underway for priority populations, including staff and residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. Starting March 1, the vaccine clinic will be extended to all adults in Iqaluit ages 45 and up. Nunavut still expects enough vaccines to immunize 75 per cent of its residents over the age of 18 by the end of March. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories says it has vaccinated 42 per cent of its adult population since its vaccine rollout began in early January. Vaccine clinics are either completed or underway in all 33 of the territory's communities. In Yellowknife, residents and staff in long-term care homes are being prioritized for the vaccine. Vaccination of Yellowknife's general population will begin in late March. The N.W.T. still expects to receive enough vaccines to inoculate 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Friday that Iran should view his decision to authorize U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a warning that it can expect consequences for its support of militia groups that threaten U.S. interests or personnel. “You can't act with impunity. Be careful,” Biden said when a reporter asked what message he had intended to send with the airstrikes, which the Pentagon said destroyed several buildings in eastern Syria but were not intended to eradicate the militia groups that used them to facilitate attacks inside Iraq. Administration officials defended the Thursday night airstrikes as legal and appropriate, saying they took out facilities that housed valuable “capabilities” used by Iranian-backed militia groups to attack American and allied forces in Iraq. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, said members of Congress were notified before the strikes as two Air Force F-15E aircraft launched seven missiles, destroying nine facilities and heavily damaging two others, rendering both “functionally destroyed.” He said the facilities, at “entry control points” on the border, had been used by militia groups the U.S. deems responsible for recent attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq. In a political twist for the new Democratic administration, several leading Congress members in Biden's own party denounced the strikes, which were the first military actions he authorized. Democrats said the airstrikes were done without authorization from lawmakers, while Republicans were more supportive. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. And Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said lawmakers must hold the current administration to the same standards as any other. “Retaliatory strikes not necessary to prevent an imminent threat,” he said, must get congressional authorization. But Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, backed the decision as “the correct, proportionate response to protect American lives.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that Biden used his constitutional authority to defend U.S. personnel. "The targets were chosen to correspond to the recent attacks on facilities and to deter the risk of additional attacks over the coming weeks,” she said. Among the recent attacks cited was a Feb. 15 rocket attack in northern Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. At the Pentagon, Kirby said the operation was “a defensive strike” on a waystation used by militants to move weapons and materials for attacks into Iraq. But he noted that while it sent a message of deterrence and eroded their ability to strike from that compound, the militias have other sites and capabilities. He said the strikes resulted in “casualties” but declined to provide further details on how many were killed or injured and what was inside the buildings pending the completion of a broader assessment of damage inflicted. An Iraqi militia official said Friday that the strikes killed one fighter and wounded several others. Kirby said the facilities hit in the attack were near Boukamal, on the Syrian side of the Iraq border, along the Euphrates River. “This location is known to facilitate Iranian-aligned militia group activity,” he said. He described the site as a “compound” that previously had been used by the Islamic State group when it held sway in the area. The Iraqi militia official told The Associated Press that the strikes against the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, hit an area along the border between the Syrian site of Boukamal facing Qaim on the Iraqi side. The official was not authorized to speak publicly of the attack and spoke on condition of anonymity. Speaking to reporters Thursday evening shortly after the airstrikes were carried out, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “I’m confident in the target that we went after. We know what we hit.” Biden’s decision to attack in Syria did not appear to signal an intention to widen U.S. military involvement in the region but rather to demonstrate a will to defend U.S. troops in Iraq and send a message to Iran. The Biden administration in its first weeks has emphasized its intent to put more focus on the challenges posed by China, even as Mideast threats persist. The U.S. has previously targeted facilities in Syria belonging to Kataeb Hezbollah, which it has blamed for numerous attacks targeting U.S. personnel and interests in Iraq. The Iraqi Kataeb is separate from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the war in Syria, said the strikes targeted a shipment of weapons that were being taken by trucks entering Syrian territories from Iraq. The group said 22 fighters from the Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iraqi umbrella group of mostly Shiite paramilitaries that includes Kataeb Hezbollah, were killed. The report could not be independently verified. In a statement, the group confirmed one of its fighters was killed and said it reserved the right to retaliate, without elaborating. Kataeb Hezbollah, like other Iranian-backed factions, maintains fighters in Syria to both fight against the Islamic State group and assist Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in that country's civil war. Austin said he was confident the U.S. had hit back at “the same Shia militants” that carried out the Feb.1 5 rocket attack in northern Iraq. Kirby credited Iraqis with providing valuable intelligence that allowed the U.S. to identify the groups responsible for attacks earlier this year. The U.S., he said, then determined the appropriate target for the retaliatory strike. He said the U.S. also notified Russia shortly before the strike as part of the ongoing deconfliction process of military activities in Syria. “The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel,” Kirby said. Syria condemned the U.S. strike, calling it “a cowardly and systematic American aggression,” warning that the attack will lead to consequences. U.S. forces have been significantly reduced in Iraq to 2,500 personnel and no longer partake in combat missions with Iraqi forces in ongoing operations against the Islamic State group. Lolita C. Baldor, Robert Burns And Qassim Abdul-Zahra, The Associated Press
A Kamloops man facing murder and attempted murder charges stemming from a violent altercation inside a North Shore apartment in March 2020 will undergo a psychiatric assessment. During a preliminary inquiry in Kamloops Law Courts this week, the court ordered that Michael Wayne Palmer undergo the examination to determine his mental fitness for trial. Preliminary inquiries are hearings at which a provincial court judge determines whether there is enough evidence for an accused person to stand trial in B.C. Supreme Court. Evidence presented at the hearing is protected by a court-ordered ban on publication. Palmer, 44, has been in custody since the early-morning hours of March 29, 2020, not long after Kevin White was stabbed to death inside a Carson Crescent apartment. Palmer is accused of killing White, 59, and stabbing three other men inside the suite — a pair of brothers, ages 62 and 58, and a 21-year-old man. Palmer has said he wishes to represent himself at trial and has elected trial by judge and jury in B.C. Supreme Court. White was a celebrated author who wrote of his tough times and he was working on his second book at the time of his death. He left behind a daughter and two grandsons who had only recently begun to know him. He is also charged with assaulting a corrections officer with a weapon at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre while in custody — a file for which he will be in court on March 1 to confirm a trial date. Palmer will also be in court on that date for an update on his psychiatric assessment. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
Senior officials from Europe have urged the World Bank's management to expand its climate change strategy to exclude investments in oil- and coal-related projects around the world, and gradually phase out investment in natural gas projects, according to three sources familiar with the matter. In the six-page letter dated Wednesday, World Bank executive directors representing major European shareholder countries and Canada, welcomed moves by the Bank to ensure its lending supports efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But they urged the Bank - the biggest provider of climate finance to the developing world - to go even further.
(Glenbow Archives - image credit) The Federal Building plaza, with views of the Alberta Legislature, has a new name: the Violet King Henry Plaza. The Calgary native became Canada's first Black female lawyer in 1954. Many who protested in Edmonton as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, in response to George Floyd's death last summer, would have walked past the plaza, or through it, on their way to the Legislature. Now, it serves as a reminder of a woman who stood up to adversity to follow her dreams against all odds, carving a path for others. Nicole Dodd is one of the founders of the AB Anti-Racism EDU Committee, a group campaigning for Black Canadian history and anti-racism coursework to be included in Alberta's K-12 curriculum. Violet King Henry's family were pillars in Calgary's Black community, said Dodd. Her brother, Ted King, was an activist and the president of the Alberta Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. These types of renamings matter, said Dodd. They deepen Alberta's understanding of its Black history and the people who helped build this province. "She's a local Calgarian … she was born and raised in Alberta, educated in Alberta and achieved this incredible success against all the odds," said Dodd. Violet King, right, stands beside her family as her brother, Ted, arrives back in Calgary in 1946. At the University of Alberta, King Henry was recognized alongside Peter Lougheed with an Executive "A" gold ring at Colour Night, the annual celebration of student contributions to the university. "That's just to show the calibre of person that Violet King was. She was highly engaged in her university life and she demonstrated significant leadership qualities," Dodd said. Dodd added she hopes this is the beginning of more landmarks and monuments to commemorate racialized Albertans. The minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Leela Aheer, unveiled the new plaza name on Friday, days before the end of Black History Month. She stood in front of the podium, addressing King Henry's living daughter directly. "I just want to remember this moment, this moment in time," Aheer said. "You know, she was tenacious and she was strong and she never backed down. This is a legacy that all of us need to understand to be able to move forward, to truly do the work that needs to be done to make sure Alberta is the most caring and loving and welcoming space in the world." Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu said Violet King Henry carved a path for Black lawyers, and spent her career fighting for the rights of her fellow citizens. "Violet King Henry's courage and perseverance stand as an example to us all," Madu said. "With every event, festival and gathering held at Violet King Henry Plaza, we will be keeping her extraordinary legacy alive." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. There are 861,472 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 861,472 confirmed cases (30,516 active, 809,041 resolved, 21,915 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 3,252 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 80.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,886 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,984. There were 50 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 339 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 48. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,205,347 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 977 confirmed cases (290 active, 682 resolved, five deaths). There were four new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 55.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 114 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 16. There were zero new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 0.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 194,501 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 121 confirmed cases (seven active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Friday. The rate of active cases is 4.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been six new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 100,524 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,634 confirmed cases (35 active, 1,534 resolved, 65 deaths). There were 10 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 3.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 323,312 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,428 confirmed cases (42 active, 1,360 resolved, 26 deaths). There was one new case Friday. The rate of active cases is 5.37 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There were zero new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 234,746 tests completed. _ Quebec: 286,145 confirmed cases (7,888 active, 267,885 resolved, 10,372 deaths). There were 815 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 91.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,458 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 780. There were 11 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 94 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 120.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,220,844 tests completed. _ Ontario: 298,569 confirmed cases (10,294 active, 281,331 resolved, 6,944 deaths). There were 1,258 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 69.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,798 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,114. There were 28 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 124 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,726,049 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,721 confirmed cases (1,197 active, 29,635 resolved, 889 deaths). There were 64 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 86.79 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 486 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 69. There was one new reported death Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 526,985 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,344 confirmed cases (1,510 active, 26,454 resolved, 380 deaths). There were 153 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 128.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,099 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 157. There were zero new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 15 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.24 per 100,000 people. There have been 567,399 tests completed. _ Alberta: 132,788 confirmed cases (4,505 active, 126,406 resolved, 1,877 deaths). There were 356 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 101.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,433 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 348. There were three new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,378,626 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths). There were 589 new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,427 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 490. There were seven new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,901,202 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Friday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,126 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Friday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,388 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 356 confirmed cases (26 active, 329 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Friday. The rate of active cases is 66.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 24 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,569 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
NASHVILLE — Tennessee's top health officials revealed Friday that the state has requested federal law enforcement investigate alleged theft of coronavirus vaccine doses in the state's most populous county. They also announced that a volunteer in Shelby County improperly vaccinated two children despite the shot not being cleared for young minors. Later Friday, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced that Dr. Alisa Haushalter, the director of the county health department, has resigned. The developments come after the state previously announced that roughly 2,400 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been wasted in Shelby County over the past month due to miscommunication and insufficient record-keeping inside the local health department. The county, which includes Memphis, had also built up nearly 30,000 excessive vaccine doses in its inventory. Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey declined to elaborate on the extent of the theft allegations, but said the Shelby County Health Department only alerted the state about the stolen doses after the state had asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch their own investigation. Piercey did say, however, that the stolen shots are believed to have been taken by a volunteer who ran off with the vaccine in syringes — not the actual vials the shots are kept in. In a statement, the county health department said a supervisor received information that a volunteer medical professional was acting suspicious at the vaccination site where the alleged theft took place. The volunteer was removed from the site and law enforcement was contacted, but the county health department claims no theft report was filed because there was not enough information. The FBI has been made aware of the situation, FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic said Friday. Siskovic did not confirm or deny if an investigation was underway. Meanwhile, Piercey said the state is still scrambling to learn more about how a volunteer immunized two children on Feb. 3. Piercey said a mother with two children arrived at a vaccination site and all three had appointments. It's unclear if the children will receive a second dose. On top of the nearly 2,400 shots reported wasted, the health department says more vaccines were wasted this week in Shelby County. Sixty-four unused doses went to waste while 12 more were unaccounted for after a Tuesday vaccination event. “At the end of the day there does seem to be a lack of accountability and in some sense, leadership. That has led to undoubtedly potential harm to some folks," Piercey told reporters. Piercey stressed that despite the past week's revelations, her focus remained on getting as many shots into arms as possible. Speaking with reporters at a vaccination site in Memphis, Gov. Bill Lee said he was disappointed with the developments in Shelby County. Lee said the state is working with the city of Memphis, which has taken over vaccine storage and distribution from the county health department. “That speaks to the great deal of concern that we have,” Lee said about Memphis replacing the county health department with vaccine management. Along with news of the alleged theft and vaccines given to children, the state's health department also provided email correspondences with Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department in Memphis. Earlier this week, Haushalter said she called and left a message for Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the state health department’s immunization program director, to discuss the wasted vaccines on Feb. 13. Haushalter said she did not talk to the state until Feb. 19, when the investigation launched after her first public statements about the wasted vaccines. According to emails released by the state, Haushalter emailed Fiscus on Feb. 17 but made no mention of wasted doses. Instead, she asked Fiscus to contact her “when your time permits.” Fiscus said there was no sense of urgency in Haushalter’s attempt to contact her. Piercey said in an email to Fiscus that she also spoke with Haushalter for 15 minutes on Feb. 16, but there was “no mention was made of any expired product.” Haushalter also said Wednesday that she found out about additional wasted vaccines Feb. 13, but did not publicly disclose that information until six days later, on Feb. 19, when she said about 1,315 vaccine doses that had expired and were thrown out amid a series of winter storms that shut down vaccination sites. Harris, the county mayor, announced during a county commission meeting that Haushalter has tendered her resignation from her position and has made plans to retire. Harris said Haushalter has worked “ferociously” over the past year on the county's coronavirus response. Separately, later Friday, Rutherford County Schools — in middle Tennessee — announced 1,000 doses had to be tossed due to a storage error, school officials announced. The school says the doses were stored in an unapproved freezer and the temperature of the vaccines were not under constant monitoring. Meanwhile, earlier this month, officials in Knox County announced that 975 doses had been accidentally thrown away by someone who thought they were throwing out dry ice. The state has also launched an investigation into that incident. ___ Sainz reported from Memphis, Tennessee. ___ An earlier version of this report had an incorrect spelling of FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic's name. Kimberlee Kruesi And Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia's crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday that instantly ratcheted up pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew worldwide outrage. The intelligence findings were long known to many U.S. officials and, even as they remained classified, had been reported with varying degrees of precision. But the public rebuke of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is still a touchstone in U.S-Saudi relations. It leaves no doubt that as the prince continues in his powerful role and likely ascends to the throne, Americans will forever associate him with the brutal killing of a journalist who promoted democracy and human rights. Yet even as the Biden administration released the findings, it appeared determined to preserve the Saudi relationship by avoiding direct punishment of the prince himself despite demands from some congressional Democrats and Khashoggi allies for significant and targeted sanctions. Questioned by reporters, Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the approach. “What we’ve done by the actions we’ve taken is not to rupture the relationship but to recalibrate it to be more in line with our interests and our values," he said. “I think that we have to understand as well that this is bigger than any one person.” The conclusion that the prince approved an operation to kill or capture Khashoggi was based on his decision-making role inside the kingdom, the involvement of a key adviser and members of his protective detail and his past support for violently silencing dissidents abroad, according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Though intelligence officials stopped short of saying the prince ordered the October 2018 murder, the four-page document described him as having “absolute control” over the kingdom’s intelligence organizations and said it would have been highly unlikely for an operation like the killing to have been carried out without his approval. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry responded by saying the kingdom “categorically rejects the offensive and incorrect assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom’s leadership.” Shortly after the findings were released, the State Department announced a new policy, called the “Khashoggi Ban,” that will allow the U.S. to deny visas to people who harm, threaten or spy on journalists on behalf of a foreign government. It also said it would impose visa restrictions on 76 Saudi individuals who have engaged or threatened dissidents overseas. The State Department declined to comment on who would be affected, citing the confidentiality of visa records. But a person familiar with the matter said the prince was not targeted. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The Treasury Department also announced sanctions against a former Saudi intelligence official, Ahmad Hassan Mohammed al Asiri, who U.S. officials say was the operation's ringleader. Democrats in Congress praised the administration for releasing the report — the Trump administration had refused to do so — but urged it to take more aggressive actions, including against the prince. Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, urged the Biden administration to consider punishing the prince, who he says has the blood of an American journalist on his hands. “The President should not meet with the Crown Prince, or talk with him, and the Administration should consider sanctions on assets in the Saudi Public Investment Fund he controls that have any link to the crime,” Schiff said in a statement. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, called for consequences for the prince — such as sanctions — as well as for the Saudi kingdom as a whole. Rights activists said the lack of any punitive measures would signal impunity for the prince and other autocrats. Without sanctions, “it’s a joke,” said Tawwakol Karman, a Nobel Peace Price winner from neighbouring Yemen and friend of Khashoggi's. While Biden had pledged as a candidate to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the killing, he appeared to take a milder tone during a call Thursday with Saudi King Salman. A White House summary of the conversation made no mention of the killing and said instead that the men had discussed the countries’ long-standing partnership. The kingdom’s state-run Saudi Press Agency similarly did not mention Khashoggi’s killing in its report about the call, focusing on regional issues like Iran and the war in Yemen. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has told reporters that the administration intends to “recalibrate" the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. Biden previously ordered an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen and said he would stop the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia but has given few details of his plans. Though the Biden administration's relationship with Riyadh is likely to be more adversarial than that of Donald Trump's, the reality is that Riyadh's oil reserves and status as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East have long made it a strategic — if difficult — ally. The broad outlines of the killing have long been known. The document released Friday says a 15-member Saudi team, including seven members of the prince's elite personal protective team, arrived in Istanbul, though it says it's unclear how far in advance Saudi officials had decided to harm him. Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate to pick up documents needed for his wedding. Once inside, he died at the hands of more than a dozen Saudi security and intelligence officials and others who had assembled ahead of his arrival. Surveillance cameras had tracked his route and those of his alleged killers in Istanbul in the hours before his killing. A Turkish bug planted at the consulate reportedly captured the sound of a forensic saw, operated by a Saudi colonel who was also a forensics expert, dismembering Khashoggi’s body within an hour of his entering the building. The whereabouts of his remains remain unknown. The prince, an ambitious 35-year-old who has rapidly consolidated power since his father became king in 2015, said in 2019 that he took “full responsibility” for the killing since it happened on his watch, but denied ordering it. Saudi officials have said Khashoggi’s killing was the work of rogue Saudi security and intelligence officials. Saudi Arabian courts last year announced they had sentenced eight Saudi nationals to prison in Khashoggi’s killing. They were not identified. ___ Madhani reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Ben Fox in Washington and Ellen Knickmeyer in Oklahoma City contributed to this report. Eric Tucker And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Fort Qu’Appelle town council decided Thursday night to form a committee that will meet with a local non-profit arts group to reach an agreement over the group’s use and operation of a 110-year-old building in the town. The non-profit group, the Qu’Appelle Valley Centre for the Arts (QVCA), has renovated and maintained the town’s old Central School since 2011, calling the building by the same name as its group. In November 2014, the group and the town signed a six-year letter of agreement allowing the arts group to rent and operate the heritage site, paying $1 per year to the town. The QVCA provided an unsigned copy of the letter to the Leader-Post. Town chief administrative officer Victor Goodman said council decided to strike “a committee of three council members and the mayor to meet with a committee from the QVCA. The first meeting is scheduled for this week. “They are going to discuss the issue at hand and hopefully amicably work towards a solution that’s agreeable to everyone.” In a written submission to council, QVCA board chair Jim Harding accused Goodman of not holding up the town’s end of the 2014 letter. His submission claimed the CAO “basically threw away the collaborative Agreement (sic) that was in place from the start, and has tried to impose a Commercial Lease or some other sort of lease upon the QVCA. But, as he should know, we are not a commercial group; we are a non-profit group.” Three members of the arts group presented Harding’s concerns over the yet-to-be-renewed agreement to council. Harding could not attend because of a health issue. Goodman denied the accusations. He said, “the town has proposed a mutually-acceptable landlord-tenant agreement be formalized simply for the purpose of protecting the old town school as a town asset. “QVCA has done a great job operating the school to date and we hope this relationship will be maintained for many years to come.” Harding could not be reached for comment, but QVCA communications director Brian Baggett called council’s decision a “huge relief,” describing the municipal body as “extremely cordial and supportive” during Thursday’s delegation. When they finished speaking, he said, council responded, “‘We don't want to see the QVCA go away.’” A date for the meeting hasn’t been set. In making its case to council, the QVCA also pointed to a clause in the original letter that states the non-profit had first right to renew an agreement with the town upon expiration in 2020 and every six years after that. The non-profit also plans to host council members — who Baggett said he learned Thursday had never been to the QVCA facility — for a socially-distant tour of the building, to show renovations and work the group does there. Baggett also noted the group’s concern about possibly losing non-profit status, if a landlord-tenant agreement were to be signed with the town. A non-profit, he said, “keeps the integrity of art in general … I'm a musician and a wood-worker. When I work for a person ... I've got to do what that person wants … it's what I get paid for." "As an artist, you can create what you need in the moment, so nobody's breathing down my neck ... with a non-profit status it allows us to not be controlled by others," including for grant applications, he said. Baggett confirmed there’s also concern if a planned art exhibit were to “offend and represent the town poorly,” a landlord-tenant agreement could cede control to the town to cancel the exhibition. firstname.lastname@example.org Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
(CBC - image credit) Alberta Health confirmed two more deaths linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Olymel meatpacking plant in Red Deer on Friday, bringing the total to three. Henry De Leon, 50, who worked at the plant for 15 years, died on Wednesday after spending three weeks on a ventilator, his family told CBC News. The other Olymel outbreak-related death reported by the province on Friday was a woman in her 60s, who died on Sunday. Alberta Health does not report the identities of people who die of COVID-19. The first COVID-19 death linked to the outbreak was Darwin Doloque, 35, who died on Jan. 28 There are 500 cases linked to the outbreak at the Red Deer meatpacking plant, according to the most recent update from Alberta Health. Of those, 156 are considered active. Alberta reported 356 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and three more deaths from the illness, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the province in a single day since October. There are 4,505 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, an increase of 21 from the day before. All three deaths announced Friday were from the Central health zone. Hospitalizations from the disease continue to decline — there are 269 people being treated in hospital for COVID-19, including 55 in intensive care beds. Hospitalizations are a key metric in determining whether the province will choose to ease more restrictions next week. The province has already met the hospitalization thresholds for both Step 2 and 3, and could choose to move to Step 2 of the phased reopening plan as early as Monday. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the government will also consider leading indicators like R-value, new cases and positivity rate, when deciding to move to the next phase of reopening. The regional breakdown of active cases is: Calgary zone: 1,523 North zone: 1,016 Edmonton zone: 908 Central zone: 722 South zone: 327 Unknown: 9 The province's COVID-19 vaccination rollout has now seen 207,300 doses of vaccine administered. That number includes 82,989 Albertans who are fully immunized with two doses of vaccine.
VIDALIA, La. — The onetime lead singer for the now defunct rock and country band Bishop Gunn has been arrested in Louisiana on drug and traffic charges, authorities said. Travis McCready was arrested Thursday in Concordia Parish in the east-central part of the state. McCready, 33, of Natchez, Mississippi, was taken to the Concordia Parish Jail on charges of failure to dim the lights on his vehicle, expired vehicle tag and no proof of insurance as well as charges alleging possession of Schedule I, Schedule II and Schedule III drugs, authorities said. McCready, a resident of Natchez, Mississippi, where the band also had been based, was released on a $25,000 bond, The Natchez Democrat reported. It was unknown if McCready has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. The Bishop Gunn band broke up in February 2020, citing “internal issues." It suspended all future activity including tour dates and new music releases. With McCready as the group's lead singer, Bishop Gunn made it to the top of the Billboard Blues Album chart in 2018 with their debut album “Natchez.” At the height of its run, Bishop Gunn toured in Europe with Slash after playing two cruises with Kid Rock and received multiple accolades from Rolling Stone Magazine’s top country charts. Although the band has called it quits, McCready has performed solo in Natchez and elsewhere. The Associated Press
Just because stores are now allowed to reopen, don’t take that as a cue to have people over to your house for gatherings, says Arden Krystal, President & CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre. It has now been a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in York Region and, as the second wave of the virus continues to show signs of decline, lessons from the first wave continue to inform the hospital – and community’s – response to combatting the virus. “We assembled an Emergency Operations Centre here in early February and we did that because both myself and several people on our senior team had lived through SARS and H1N1 and we had a sneaking suspicion on what this could look like – of course, none of us dreamed it would go on this long, but we knew that when a pandemic hits you certainly have to be prepared,” says Ms. Krystal. In those early days of preparing for what was coming, Ms. Krystal says there was a mixture of “fear and excitement” which quickly gave way to worry about supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It was an issue, she says, that kept her up at night the most. “In Wave One, we literally dropped everything and we were in the Emergency Operations Centre seven days a week when we started to get COVID admissions,” she says, noting that one of the reasons why there was so much work to do in the initial stages was the evolving raft of guidelines, policies and procedures being handed down by the upper levels of government. Staff had to be trained, all masks needed to be tested, and things needed to be changed on the fly as the medical community learned more about the virus and how it operates. “We were learning new things every day and changing things up,” she says. “It was all hands on deck and it really didn’t matter what your role was. I think the second wave has definitely been more challenging for everyone and that is because in the summer we resumed some of our activity. We have had less beds to go around, if you will, because we have more activity coming in that is not COVID, but also the burden of COVID really went up and that has put a lot more pressure on staff, physicians and on our bed complement. “People are tired, too. They haven’t had their normal occasions, they can’t [go on vacation] or whatever it is they normally do for stress relief. A lot of our people here…have had the stress of trying to manage virtual learning, having elderly relatives they can’t see. Our people who work here have all the things that every other person has, plus they have had to come in and work with COVID people all day. “With more prevalence in the community, particularly right up to Christmas, [there were] a significant number of staff cases of COVID, so that was tough as well.” Last fall, when cases in the second wave began to increase at an alarming rate, Ms. Krystal was one of three CEOs of York Region hospitals who issued a statement to the Provincial Government sounding alarm bells over capacity. This was before stay-at-home orders and a Provincial shutdown were announced effective Boxing Day, but the challenge was just getting ready to hit a new level. January was a “very, very busy month” at Southlake, seeing a high of 74 COVID-admitted patients in the hospital at one time. Now that these orders are lifted, however, concerns remain on the table. “We are concerned about the variants and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” says Ms. Krystal. “Right now (Thursday, February 18) with COVID, we have about 24 patients of COVID in our hospital, four of those are in the Intensive Care Unit and all of those are ventilated. That is certainly lower than it has been, thankfully, however capacity remains a big challenge at Southlake. “During the first wave, the biggest issues we really had to deal with were fear of the unknown and fear of not having enough PPE, and really hoping to educate people on what COVID is and what it isn’t. The impact on the community was actually the community did not come and seek care when they should have sought care. Our Emergency, as well as several GTA Emergencies, were less busy during Wave One and naturally, because of people’s fear. We don’t have any specific stats on it, but we did see more patients that were in a more advanced stage, for example, of having a heart attack or waited until symptoms of cancer had presented themselves before they came to Emergency. That is less of an issue in Wave Two. “During Wave Two, I think dealing with the fatigue of people has been the biggest lesson. It has really been about trying to do what we can to support the health and wellbeing of our staff and physicians. People are generally doing a very good job staying safe. The cases have come down and that has given us a bit of breathing space right now. I can’t thank them enough for that, but I need them to continue. Whether or not York Region goes into the Red Zone or stays in the Grey Zone, continuing to follow the public health guidance of not having gatherings at home, not having close contact with people outside your household is so important to this. If the variant gets out of control and we’re into Wave Three, that is going to be a pretty demoralizing situation for our folks. They’re tired and they need a break.” Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney John Durham said Friday that he will resign from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut but is remaining as a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe that shadowed Donald Trump’s presidency, Durham will resign from his post as U.S. attorney for Connecticut on Monday. But Durham, who was appointed in October by then-Attorney General William Barr as a special counsel to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, will remain in that capacity. Like Durham, nearly every other U.S. attorney who served in the Trump administration was asked earlier this month to submit their resignations as the Biden administration moves to transition to its own nominees. The FBI in July 2016 began investigating whether the Trump campaign was co-ordinating with Russia to sway the outcome of the presidential election. That probe was inherited nearly a year later by special counsel Mueller, who ultimately did not find enough evidence to charge Trump or any of his associates with conspiring with Russia. The early months of the investigation, when agents obtained secret surveillance warrants targeting a former Trump campaign aide, have long been scrutinized by Trump and other critics of the probe who say the FBI made significant errors. A Justice Department inspector general report backed up that criticism but did not find evidence that mistakes in the surveillance applications and other problems with the probe were driven by partisan bias. Durham’s investigation, which the Justice Department has described as a criminal probe, had begun very broadly but Barr said in December that it had “narrowed considerably” and that it was “really is focused on the activities of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation within the FBI.” Durham’s investigation has so far resulted in one prosecution so far. A former FBI lawyer was sentenced to probation last month for altering an email the Justice Department relied on in its surveillance of an aide to President Donald Trump during the Russia investigation. The U.S. attorneys transition process, which happens routinely between administrations, applies to a few dozen U.S. attorneys who were appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate and many of the federal prosecutors who were nominated by Trump already left their positions. A senior Justice Department official told the AP earlier this month that David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, overseeing the federal tax probe involving Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, will remain in place. The 93 U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and are responsible for overseeing offices of federal prosecutors and charged with prosecuting federal crimes in their jurisdictions. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Ten new cases are being announced in Nova Scotia on Friday, bringing the total number of cases announced this week to 25. Nine cases are in the central health zone: three are under investigation, five are close contacts of previously reported cases, and one is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One case is in the eastern zone and is also related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The travellers are self-isolating, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Wellness. There are 35 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. One person is currently in a hospital's intensive care unit. At a live briefing Friday, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said cases with an unknown source have been identified in Dartmouth, Bedford, Spryfield, Peninsula Halifax, Sackville, and Beaver Bank. "In many of our cases the broad list of contacts tells us that people are continuing to socialize and act as if we're not in a pandemic," he said. "We all need to take all the public health measures seriously even if we don't feel personally at risk." Strang said the cluster that public health had been monitoring in the western part of Annapolis Valley seems to be contained. There has also been great uptake for testing in the area. In response to the rise in case numbers, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Strang announced tighter restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and neighbouring municipalities. "We have done this before and it worked," said Strang. "We are now moving even more quickly than we did in December to resolve this outbreak. What we're working to avoid is ... situations such as Newfoundland has faced recently." Newfoundland and Labrador has been grappling with a sharp increase in cases since mid-February. The variant first identified in the U.K., also known as B.1.1.7, is responsible for the outbreak in the provine. As of 8 a.m. on Saturday, the areas of HRM up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards, will undergo the following restrictions until at least March 27. In a news release sent Friday evening, the province added Lantz to the communities where restrictions apply. Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid non-essential travel within the province, especially to and from restricted areas of HRM, Hants and Lunenburg counties. "We had hoped we would not be back in the situation where these restrictions are necessary. We understand that they are disruptive but they are absolutely critical to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Strang said in a news release. “Everyone needs to behave with the same caution as they did last spring when the virus first arrived in Nova Scotia.” Restrictions previously put in place across the province still remain. For example, gatherings will contniue to be limited to 10 people. "We'll continue to watch the epidemiology and if it continues to climb the next week, we will certainly be looking at whether further restrictions or expanding to other geographic parts of Nova Scotia will be necessary," said Strang. Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 2,797 Nova Scotia tests on Feb. 25. There were 1,870 tests administered between Feb. 19 and 25 at the rapid-testing pop-up sites in Halifax, St. Peter's, New Minas, Port Hawkesbury and Eastern Passage. Effective Monday, domestic rotational workers will be required to get three tests through out their modified quarantine. Parents ans children whose child custody arrangements require travel outside of Nova Scotia and P.E.I., will also have to get tested. More information about the province's new child custody protocols will be available on novascotia.ca/coronavirus. Strang said he's seeing people go to work with cold and flu symptoms, but it's very likely that they're symptoms of COVID-19. "I've been working for 20 years and this is the first year we have zero lab-confirmed cases of influenza. Very low numbers of other cold viruses around," he said. "So even if you have a single mild symptom, like a sore throat, or maybe a sore throat and a stuffy nose, that could be COVID." He added that people with even one symptoms should stay home and book a test. Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 202,939 tests. There have been 545 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Nebal Snan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) Residents and politicians are speaking out about the possible health and safety risks posed by a new meat processing plant set to open on Monday in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood. TruHarvest Meats, at 70 Glen Scarlett Rd., is set to open March 1 in Toronto's Stockyards District. The space, located near Weston Road and St. Clair Avenue, was previously occupied by Ryding-Regency Meat Packers before the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) cancelled their operating licence in 2019. David Beveridge said he and other residents living near the site believe the reopening of the new slaughterhouse will make the area "unsafe." "The big problem in the neighbourhood is right smack in the middle of all of this is a couple of slaughterhouses," Beveridge said. The new facility also has additions that will make it one of the largest meat processing plants in Ontario. According to federal records, there were numerous food recalls related to E.coli in various products coming out of the former plant. During the investigation, it was noted that the company was non-compliant and provided false or misleading information to investigators. CBC Toronto reached out repeatedly for comment from both TruHarvest and Ryding Regency on Friday, but has received no response. TruHarvest Meats will process beef and veal in the former Ryding Regency facility, which was shut down over food safety violations in 2019. Beveridge moved his family to the area just four years ago. He said he was drawn to the neighbourhood by its affordable housing at the time. He bought a house during the winter and quickly discovered with warmer weather, also came an "unreasonable" smell. "The smell of blood, the smell of the cattle being driven through the neighbourhood," he said. WATCH | Residents are concerned about a meat processing plant set to open Monday in their west-end neighbourhood "It's not a farm smell, it is a slaughterhouse smell." While the foul smell is a common complaint amongst residents, Beveridge said the real concern is the safety risk the new plant imposes on many families in the neighbourhood. Beveridge is worried about the effect the plant on his two kids: a four-year-old and an 18-month-old. "They have been cited in the past and they tell us they have filters on the smoke stacks coming out of it, but I don't know what's coming out of that and how far it's drifting," he said. "It's becoming unsafe, the way it is right now." Beveridge said tractor trailers turning onto residential streets and parking on sidewalks pose a risk for families with young children in the area. David Beveridge, who has a four-year-old and an 18-month-old, moved into Toronto's Stockyards neighbourhood four years ago and says the new slaughterhouse poses a safety risk to the community. Coun. Frances Nunziata, who represents Ward 5, York South-Weston, said she is also concerned by TruHarvest taking over the plant. "This is a privately-owned facility on private land and my office has not been involved in any conversations about the use of this site as is currently permitted," Nunziata said in a statement dated Feb. 19. Nunziata said it is unfair that residents were not consulted. "With the federal government and provincial government, they can issue licences and there's no consultation, which is unfortunate because I don't think that's fair. But that's what's happened," Nunziata told CBC Toronto on Friday. The land has been in the process of being rezoned for years, she said, but its use must be discontinued in order to proceed. Faisal Hassan, NDP MPP for York South-Weston, echoed those concerns, saying residents are "disturbed" after learning the news. "Our office has been inundated with emails and calls objecting to this facility," Hassan said Thursday at Queen's Park. He questioned why residents were not consulted before the company took over operations at the facility. According to federal records, there were numerous food recalls related to E.coli in various products coming out of Ryding Regency Meat Packers, the company that formerly operated out of the facility. "The previous slaughterhouse was closed and had its licence revoked due to many health and environmental violations. An environmental compliance approval was granted to the former owners despite nearly 100 complaints and public consultations in 2018," he said. "How did this new facility get approved and why was the community not consulted?" Animal rights activists, who are calling for the the plant to be shut down, plan to hold a a vigil outside the plant Monday morning and a demonstration outside CFIA offices following that. "During this time of global uncertainty, it's more important than ever that elected officials consider the best interests of the population, taking the necessary steps to reduce the impact of this global health emergency and prevent future illness," said Jenny McQueen, organizer with Animal Save Movement, in a statement Thursday.
CHARLOTTETOWN — A cluster of COVID-19 infections in Prince Edward Island whose origin hasn't been identified is concerning health officials, who called on Friday for any close contacts of those cases to isolate and get tested. The cluster of three cases in Summerside, P.E.I., about 60 kilometres west of Charlottetown, involves three men in their 20s. It was first reported Thursday."These cases are close contacts of each other and have mild symptoms; they are now self-isolating," chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters Friday."Our investigation of the three cases is still ongoing," she added. "At this point these cases have not been linked to travel." Morrison said 61 close contacts have been identified and efforts are being made to contact all of them."Anyone in the Summerside area with any COVID-19 symptoms should be tested," Morrison said. She issued a list of locations, including a gym and pizza restaurant, where exposures could have occurred. Morrison said it's concerning that officials haven't identified the source of the cluster. "We certainly have concerns about possible community spread in P.E.I. and this is why we are focused on increased testing," Morrison said. "We are always more concerned when we don't have a link to travel and we don't have a source of the infection," she said. "We will learn more in the hours and days ahead."As a precautionary measure, the government is offering COVID-19 testing for all people in Summerside over the weekend who are between the ages of 14 and 29, even if they have no symptoms of the disease."Increased testing will tell us if COVID-19 is circulating in the 14-to-29-year-old age group in the Summerside area," Morrison said.She reported one new case on the Island Friday, involving a woman in her 20s. Morrison said the case does not appear to be directly linked to other cases announced this week. There are now seven active known cases of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island.On Wednesday, Morrison reported that two women in Charlottetown had tested positive. Those cases, she said, were related to travel within Atlantic Canada. She said Friday one of the two women has been charged with two infractions under the Public Health Act.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
(Bruce Tilley/CBC - image credit) A 48-year-old man was found dead in a St. John's jail Friday afternoon, with the sudden death now under investigation by police. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says officers were called to the St. John's lockup, a short-term holding area in the Supreme Court building on Water Street, around 2 p.m. The man was dead when officers arrived, the release said. The facility holds people in remand who are awaiting an appearance in court. It's also used to detain people under the Mental Health Act and those deemed intoxicated. The chief medical examiner and the RNC's major crimes unit are investigating, according to police. The Department of Justice would not offer any further details, but said it would review the death. "A thorough review will examine all the circumstances surrounding the death, including staff response and the appropriateness of related policies and procedures," the department told CBC News in a statement. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A new report says the Manitoba government failed to provide proper oversight as costs spiralled on two mega projects at Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro. The review was done by former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.
WASHINGTON — Neither Canada's prime minister nor the U.S. secretary of state were showing their diplomatic cards Friday as the two countries discussed the plight of two Canadians languishing behind bars in China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met virtually with Canadian officials including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau as part of the Biden administration's post-Trump charm offensive. The U.S. has a "significant role" to play in helping secure the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, said Trudeau, although he refused to elaborate on the details. "These are processes that are ongoing," the prime minister told a news conference earlier in the day. "The United States is taking their role in this very seriously and we look forward to working with them on bringing the two Michaels home as soon as possible.” Blinken, too, stayed in his diplomatic lane, expressing earnest American harmony with Canada and cheering a multilateral effort to denounce the practice of taking political prisoners. "We stand in absolute solidarity with Canada in insisting on their immediate and unconditional release," Blinken said before lavishing praise on the new Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention. The declaration, a project initiated by former foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne, is from a coalition of more than 50 countries opposed to the state-sponsored political detention of foreign nationals. Its purpose "is to bring countries together to stand against the arbitrary detention of individuals for political purposes, a practice that we see in a number of countries, including China," Blinken said. "I think and I hope that this can grow into something that establishes a new international norm against arbitrary detentions." Spavor and Kovrig — the "two Michaels" — were swept up after the RCMP's arrest in December 2018 of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei. Blinken demurred on the question of whether the U.S. is considering a so-called deferred prosecution agreement — a form of plea deal that could allow Meng to return to China in return for an admission of wrongdoing. "There are legal questions that are appropriately the province of our Department of Justice," he said. "They follow the law, they follow the facts and I refer you to them for anything on the legal aspects of this." Earlier this week, a Justice Department spokesman confirmed that prosecutors were continuing to seek Meng's extradition to the U.S., where she is facing fraud charges. Friday's meetings, billed as a "virtual visit" — no jet lag, but no frequent-flyer miles either, Blinken joked — follow Trudeau's own virtual summit this week with President Joe Biden, which produced a "road map" for collaboration on issues like climate change, the economy and COVID-19. "It's hard to think of two countries whose destinies are more connected, more intertwined than ours," Blinken told Garneau as their meeting got underway. "We know that every single day, the work that we're doing, and more importantly the deep ties between our people — in virtually every aspect of our societies — are benefiting both countries." Garneau returned the compliment, adding that Canada can be more to the U.S. than just a friendly ally. "I want you to know that you can count on Canada to be by your side," he said. "And I think that you'll find that we can be surprisingly helpful to you, while advancing our own objectives." That could easily be seen as an oblique reference to Buy American, Biden's suite of protectionist measures aimed at ensuring that U.S. contractors, suppliers and workers are the primary beneficiaries of American infrastructure projects and federal contract work. Canadian businesses, employees and contractors depend on that work too, however, and the federal government is pressing hard to ensure that they don't get shut out of what will surely be a big-budget effort to resurrect the U.S. economy. On that score, Blinken seemed to suggest that Garneau's message got through — particularly on the issue of fortifying North American supply chains. "There's a lot of opportunity there between the United States and Canada that we intend to pursue," he said. "My sense, from the conversations between the two governments, is that there is ample opportunity for us to work together and find ways to benefit each other." Efforts to restore ties between the two countries after extensive fraying during the Trump era have been going on all week, albeit virtually. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson spoke Wednesday with John Kerry, Biden's special envoy on climate, to shore up plans for more stringent emissions-reduction targets in advance of a climate summit in April. And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra have committed to tougher vehicle pollution standards, and collaborating on new standards for aircraft and ships. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Bryan Adams publicly thanked staff at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver for its care of the singer, photographer, philanthropist’s mom, Jane Adams Clark. One of Canada’s most famous rockers, Adams shared a selfie of himself and his mom at the hospital in a social media post thanking the “incredible staff” for being so kind. “Thank you for sharing your kind comments @bryanadams – we’re sending your mum our warmest wishes for a speedy recovery,” the @lghfoundation posted. Adams moved to North Vancouver in 1974 with his family, where he attended Argyle Secondary School just three years after he picked up his first guitar. Adams Clark is a poet and painter who lives in North Vancouver. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette