Lebanon’splea to skeptical expats: Come visit,bring cash

Zeina Karam

BEIRUT — With Beirut’s airport partially reopening from a three-month virus shutdown, the government is hoping thousands of Lebanese expatriates will return for the summer — and bring dollars desperately needed to prop up the crashing economy.

But Lebanon’s far-flung diaspora, renowned as entrepreneurs who for years sent their cash home, may no longer be willing to do that.

Many are staying away, appalled at the ruling elite’s handling of Lebanon’s unprecedented economic and financial meltdown and outraged at local banks holding their dollar deposits hostage. Some have stopped sending money, except small amounts to sustain their families. Others are considering cutting ties completely with a corrupt country they say has robbed them of a future.

“If you’re a Lebanese considering visiting this summer, you will think about bringing only what you need to spend while there, not a single penny more,” said Hasan Fadlallah, who has lived since 1997 in Dubai, where he founded a consultancy agency, Brand Lounge.

“I doubt anyone is thinking about investing in the economy, especially when you know the recipient is not worthy of this help,” he said.

Once a beacon of free market growth and fine living, Lebanon is suffering the worst economic crisis in its modern history. The local currency has lost around 80% of its value against the dollar on the black market since October and continues to tumble daily. Banks have clamped down on withdrawals and transfers of U.S. dollars. Food prices have soared, businesses and households have been thrown into disarray, salaries and savings are fast disappearing and unemployment has surged.

The crisis stems from decades of systematic corruption and mismanagement. Public frustration exploded into street protests in October demanding the entire leadership go. Now, a slide into violence is feared amid mounting poverty and sectarian tensions.

Still, political leaders appear unwilling to act, instead squabbling and trading blame. Talks with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout have faltered over the inability to implement pledges to combat corruption and instil reforms.

For years, millions of Lebanese abroad helped keep their native land afloat by sending remittances that once amounted to 12.5% of GDP.

Lebanese politicians are pleading with them to come to the rescue again. Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Tuesday called on them to “come with dollars.” Christian party leader Samir Geagea suggested each expatriate family abroad to “adopt” a family in Lebanon for $200 a month to stave off hunger. One lawmaker sparked outrage by saying Lebanon is now “cheap” in an attempt to attract expatriates and tourists after the currency collapse.

Visits home are a summer tradition for Lebanon's expats. The airport, closed since mid-March, starts operating Monday at 10% capacity, welcoming around 2,000 passengers a day.

Nabil Bou Monsef, deputy editor in chief of Lebanon’s An-Nahar newspaper, said he expected very limited numbers of Lebanese to visit, and any dollars they bring will be held onto by relatives like “gold,” rather than being injected into the economy.

“The Lebanese people are being subjected to a systematic and organized theft by the ruling oligarchy and the banks on daily basis,” he said. “No one wants to contribute to this cycle anymore.”

Lebanon, a country of 5 million, takes massive pride in its emigrant community — including the many successful businessmen and celebrities of Lebanese heritage. Famous names among them are Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim, Columbian singer Shakira, Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, Lebanese-British barrister Amal Clooney and fashion designers Elie Saab and Reem Accra. They also include the disgraced former Nissan-Renault boss Carlos Ghosn, who fled Japan to Lebanon last year.

The diaspora is estimated at about three times the population at home. Large communities are found everywhere, from Australia and Africa to Canada, Latin America and Europe. About 400,000 Lebanese work in oil-rich Gulf countries.

Their billions have helped keep the local economy liquid. The Central Bank has kept the pound stable at 1,507 to the dollar since 1997, thanks to heavy borrowing at high interest rates. That encouraged expats to send money home, buy property and deposit in local banks.

Now the currency has spiraled to around 9,000 to the dollar on the black market. Capital controls have locked up dollars in bank accounts, uniting both rich and poor in anger.

Many in the diaspora have been agonizing on social media how to send money to relatives without going through transfer shops and local banks.

“I am definitely not handing my hard-earned money to our corrupt government on a silver platter so they can perpetuate their corruption,” posted Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor based in Philadelphia.

In a Twitter thread, he lamented how his parents who have invested all their lives in Lebanon are now dependent on their expat son.

“I was on the phone with my parents the other day. My mom hasn’t seen me in over a year, and all she kept saying is, ‘Thank God you left, there is no future here.’ It breaks my heart when their voices break.”

Many now fear a new wave of emigration by Lebanon’s middle class, once the global pandemic subsides and the world's economy picks up.

TV host Ricardo Karam, who has made a career out of interviewing successful expats, said Lebanon’s talented youth and business elite are prevented from succeeding in their own country.

“Amid this meltdown ... I am saddened by the lack of any vision to benefit from this elite," he posted. “Instead of steering the ship, the rudder has been left to those who will one day enter the dustbin of history.”

Fadlallah, the Dubai consultancy CEO, said he is still contemplating whether to make his summer family visit to Lebanon. He considers himself lucky — he managed to transfer his savings out of Lebanon in September, right before the crisis began.

He says that after what was effectively a Ponzi scheme, it will take years before people regain confidence in Lebanese banks and institutions, if at all.

“You need faith, credibility and trust for the country to begin recovering,” he said. “They do not exist.”

Zeina Karam, The Associated Press

  • News

    2 B.C. teachers fired for having sex with recent high school graduates

    In the last eight days, B.C.'s regulator for educators has announced the firing of two teachers who admitted to having sex with former students just weeks after their graduation from high school.In both cases outlined on the website of the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, the names of the teachers involved, the schools where they taught and even the school districts they worked for are not revealed.The regulator says this is "in order to protect the identity of students who were harmed, abused or exploited by the teacher."In the most recent case, posted online Tuesday, a teacher admitted to "an inappropriate sexual relationship" with a recent graduate.The teacher, whose gender is not specified, had taught the student in Grades 10, 11 and 12, and spent a "significant amount of time" with them during their senior year, both in and out of class, according to a summary of an agreement signed by the teacher.The student graduated in June and the teacher began having sex with them in September."The teacher engaged in boundary violations with other students at the school, such that students viewed the teacher more as a friend than a teacher," the summary says.The school district that employed the teacher fired him or her, and reported the teacher to the commissioner in December 2019.The teacher's licence has now been cancelled and they've agreed not to apply to teach again for the next 15 years.2nd teacher had sex with 2 former studentsThe same discipline was meted out to another unnamed teacher whose firing was announced on June 30.The male teacher admitted to having sex with two former students at the high school where he taught.One was an 18-year-old that he'd taught for two years before they graduated, and the second was a 17-year-old he gave alcohol to before initiating sex, just weeks after the student graduated, according to a summary of that case."The teacher was aware that at least one of the students was in a vulnerable state," the summary says.The regulator says the second teacher's misconduct happened "over an extended period of time."

  • Victims' family asks for delay of federal inmate's execution
    The Canadian Press

    Victims' family asks for delay of federal inmate's execution

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Family members of the victims of an inmate scheduled to be put to death next week asked a federal judge to delay his execution Tuesday, saying the coronavirus pandemic puts them at risk if they travel to attend it.The family members of Daniel Lewis Lee's victims asked that Lee's execution be put off until a treatment or a vaccine is available for the virus. Lee, convicted of killing an Arkansas family as part of a plot to establish a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest, is scheduled to be executed on July 13.Lee is scheduled to be the first federal inmate executed in 17 years. Lee, 47, was convicted of the 1996 murders of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell.The request to halt the trial was filed by Earlene Peterson, Nancy Mueller's mother and Sarah's grandmother; Kimma Gurel, who is Nancy Mueller's sister and Sarah's aunt; and Monica Veillette, who is Nancy Mueller's niece and Sarah's cousin. Peterson lives in Arkansas, while Gurel and Veillette live in Washington.The three have opposed Lee's execution, but have said they wish to exercise their right to witness it. In the filing, the three say the federal government is putting them in the untenable position of risking their lives by travelling to Indiana for the execution while coronavirus cases surge nationwide.“At each stage of these proceedings and their travel to participate in them, plaintiffs face grim risks of exposure to COVID-19, a disease which for these vulnerable plaintiffs, could prove lethal," the filing said.The three asked to join a lawsuit seeking to halt the execution of another inmate scheduled to be executed two days after Lee. A Zen Buddhist priest who is the spiritual adviser for that inmate has made similar arguments about the execution moving forward during the pandemic. A Roman Catholic priest and a spiritual adviser for a third inmate, scheduled to be executed July 17, also asked Tuesday to intervene in the case.Lee's attorneys last week filed a separate motion before a federal judge in Arkansas to delay his execution, also citing concerns about the virus.The Associated Press

  • COVID-19 in Canada: Ontario's Stage 3 of reopening could mean bigger gatherings, more testing as fall comes
    Yahoo News Canada

    COVID-19 in Canada: Ontario's Stage 3 of reopening could mean bigger gatherings, more testing as fall comes

    As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians are concerned about their health and safety.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Toronto police officer charged in London, Ont., killing of former warlord

    TORONTO — A Toronto police officer has been arrested in connection with the killing of a former Liberian warlord who was living in London, Ont.London police say Trevor Gregory was arrested Tuesday in Toronto in relation to the fatal shooting of Bill Horace on June 21.The 46-year-old was charged with breach of trust and released with a court date of Sept. 29.Toronto police say the officer is a detective constable with 21 years of service and has been suspended with pay in accordance with the Police Services Act.Gregory's son, 22-year-old Keiron Gregory, is wanted on a charge of second-degree murder in the June 21 shooting.Police say forces across the province are co-ordinating in their search for the younger man, and they're asking for anyone with information to come forward.London police Supt. Chris Newton declined to offer further details on the charge against Trevor Gregory."Unfortunately for me to comment on any details with the breach of trust, I would be discussing evidence, which I'm not prepared to do at this time," Newton said in an interview."We do have a significant contingent of police officers in the (Greater Toronto Area) actively investigating this crime and we are getting daily, almost hourly, physical evidence as well as intelligence from other police services in the area."This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 7, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • Why more great white sharks are showing up in Atlantic Canada

    Why more great white sharks are showing up in Atlantic Canada

    Climate change, more seals and effective conservation in the United States are possible explanations for the apparent increase in great white sharks in Atlantic Canada, according to a newly-published paper in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.The peer-reviewed report speculates on why more of the apex predators are being seen in the summer months, especially off Nova Scotia.The most intriguing hypothesis is the great white shark range has shifted northward in summer, into an area where they were rarely seen in the past."A northward range expansion could be related to multiple factors, including warming Canadian waters due to climate change, population recovery, and/or increased regional prey abundance," the authors state.Or maybe, they've been here all along and we never noticed."A large, highly mobile, predatory shark may have been historically abundant in Canadian waters, yet considered 'rare' simply due to our inability to observe them," the paper states.It says it found records of 60 great white shark "observations" in Atlantic Canada between 1872 and 2016. There were 27 sightings, 26 caught in nets and seven observations were inferred from teeth in gear and wounds on seals and porpoises.What the tagging showsThe report is based primarily on satellite tracking data from Florida-based Ocearch, which staged heavily self-promoted and highly-publicized tagging events off Nova Scotia in 2018 and 2019.Over the two-year period, 17 great white sharks were captured — most at Ironbound Island near Lunenburg, N.S., and some near Scatarie Island off Cape Breton. Holes were drilled through their dorsal fin and fitted with a satellite-transmitting tag.All six great white sharks tagged off Nova Scotia in 2018 returned in 2019.Because the satellite tracking data is not precise, hotspots for occurrence were estimated based on modelling.The hotspots occurred on the southeastern coast of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. A secondary hotspot occurred in waters off southern Newfoundland that include the Grand Banks.Since 2013, Ocearch has also tagged 18 great white sharks in U.S. waters. Half of them have been later seen in Atlantic Canada."The frequency of U.S.-tagged sharks entering Canadian waters, and the successful targeted capture and tagging of multiple white sharks off Nova Scotia over two consecutive years, indicate seasonal, inter-annual presence of white sharks in Canadian waters and higher regional frequency and abundance than previously thought," the report states.Water temperatureThe authors suggest great white sharks may move north in summer months because temperatures off the United States are getting too warm and Canadian waters are now just warm enough."An increase in Atlantic Canada white shark sightings in recent years may therefore be the result of white sharks seeking cooler northern waters during the warm summer months," the report states.They may also be attracted by more abundant prey as grey seal populations explode."It is therefore possible that with greater prey availability, white sharks are experiencing a similar increase in fecundity and survival rates. An increase in shark sightings in Atlantic Canada due to an increase in the local seal population would mirror that observed in Massachusetts," the report states.DFO taggingCanada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans also tagged a great white shark in Nova Scotia, a young male off Port Mouton in 2018.It was the first great white shark tagged in Canada.It and a female tagged off Cape Cod spent the summer of 2018 off Nova Scotia.The tracking device showed what appeared to be a search pattern to intercept grey seals moving from the huge colony on Sable Island to areas where seals come ashore in Nova Scotia and elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard.It is part of a government effort to identify where the endangered predator lives — its "critical habitat" — when in Canada.DFO doubtsThe DFO scientist leading that project, Heather Bowlby, told CBC News in 2019 there are likely very few great white sharks coming north."We are talking low numbers," she said.To put the numbers in perspective, it took DFO three days to find the great white off Port Mouton and three hours to find 15 off Cape Cod.The DFO research was not affiliated with Ocearch and the data it generated does not appear to have been used in the Fisheries Journal article, which was led by authors from the University of Windsor in Ontario.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Why the WHO won't say the coronavirus is airborne and driving the pandemic

    Why the WHO won't say the coronavirus is airborne and driving the pandemic

    The World Health Organization has refused to cave to pressure from more than 200 experts calling for it to update its messaging on the threat of the spread of the coronavirus through the air, citing a lack of "definitive" evidence. In an open letter first published by The New York Times on Saturday, 239 scientists from 32 countries called on the United Nations agency to acknowledge that airborne transmission of the coronavirus is a potential driver of the pandemic. But the WHO stopped short of revising its messaging Tuesday. "These are fields of research that are really growing and for which there is some evidence emerging but is not definitive," Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO's technical lead for infection prevention and control, said during a briefing in Geneva Tuesday. "The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings — especially in very specific conditions: crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described — cannot be ruled out. However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted." How big of a threat is the coronavirus through the air? It's widely accepted that COVID-19 spreads from both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers through respiratory droplets, although the WHO previously backtracked on its messaging around the significance of those without symptoms. What the group of international scientists is drawing attention to is the role that smaller, microscopic droplets could play in spreading virus particles when people are talking, singing or breathing. Studies of so-called superspreading events or locations, such as a choir practice in Washington state, a call centre in South Korea and a restaurant in China have supported the conclusion that some degree of transmission is occurring through the air, and experts say it should not be discounted."The risk of ignoring airborne transmission is that the disease will continue spreading rapidly as we've seen," said Linsey Marr, an expert in the transmission of viruses by aerosol at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known as Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Va., and a signatory of the letter. But the exact extent to which it plays a role in the spread of COVID-19 is still unclear. "We just don't know," Marr told CBC News. "It seems clear that all of these routes could be happening, and given the scale of the pandemic, I think it's wise for us to do as much as we can to slow down or interrupt all of these different routes." She said people need to place more emphasis on the public health measures we're already taking in order to stop the potential spread of airborne transmission.That includes adhering to physical distancing, wearing a mask when necessary, increasing ventilation indoors and moving activities outdoors whenever possible in order to prevent airborne particles from building up.Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on the pandemic, said the agency would be releasing a scientific brief in the coming days that will outline its position on all different modes of transmission — including airborne, droplets, surfaces and fecal-to-oral.WATCH | WHO experts on airborne transmission:"We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19," she said during the press conference Tuesday.The WHO's guidelines on airborne transmission are primarily focused on hospitals, she said."But we're also looking at the possible role of airborne transmission in other settings, particularly close settings where you have poor ventilation." That statement doesn't go far enough for the experts behind the letter, who went public because, they say, they felt there is enough evidence for the WHO to change its messaging to better inform the public about the potential threat of the virus through the air."We were frustrated that they were very dismissive of the evidence," said Jose Jimenez, a professor of chemistry at the University of Colorado specializing in aerosol science who also signed the letter. "They don't really have really certain evidence about any of the modes of transmission, whether it goes through contacts, through objects or through droplets — there is no more evidence for those sources of transmission than there is for aerosol." 'No new data' to make conclusive decisionBut that level of uncertainty over how big a role airborne transmission plays has also led some infectious disease experts to question the push to label it a significant threat before all the research is in, backing up the WHO's current position."It's creating a false sense of alarm, and it doesn't contribute to our understanding or the management of this infection," said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician at Toronto General Hospital."Now, could there be some airborne transmission? Maybe a little bit, but I think it's pretty safe to say that the vast majority of transmission falls toward the droplet end of the spectrum." Bogoch said the letter and subsequent article in the New York Times fractured the scientific community and caused a stir with the public over concerns whether enough was being done to address the threat of airborne transmission — but in reality, it's nothing new. "This concept keeps coming up. This issue has arisen in January, and it sort of rears its head from time to time," he said.No new research has arisen that should lead to a definitive answer one way or the other, he said."There's no new data. There's no new information. There's just a letter and some angry headlines." B.C.'s provincial health officer, Bonnie Henry, said the controversy has been overblown."I actually think it's a little bit of a tempest in a teapot in that we all agree on the extremes and we're fussing a little bit about how much we need to focus on the bits in the middle," she said in her COVID-19 briefing Monday."It is important to continue to look at the data, to look at where we're seeing transmission events and adapt if we need to and put in additional measures." Epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite, an assistant professor in the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said if the coronavirus spread significantly through the air, we'd know it. "If this was primarily aerosol based, we would have had a much harder time controlling this," she said. "Given the success that we've had with controlling it, it really does seem like we don't need to be overly worried about the role of aerosols in terms of spread." Jimenez acknowledged that the threat of airborne transmission isn't on par with a disease like measles, which is highly contagious through the air but said the WHO should go beyond their current messaging. "They're in a very difficult position, right? I mean, they are a very important organization, and they are being asked to do a huge job with limited resources," he said. "The important thing is, we're trying to nudge them to change. If we didn't think they were very important and their opinion matters and their guidance was valuable, we wouldn't be bothering with trying to convince them."

  • Windsor Assembly Plant workers coming to terms with possible lay off

    Windsor Assembly Plant workers coming to terms with possible lay off

    Three assembly line workers at Fiat Chrysler's Automobile's Windsor Assembly Plant said they've accepted they might be unemployed starting next week following the elimination of the third shift.The shift, which has been in place since 1993, was originally expected to end last year, but has been extended until July 13. Windsor Assembly Plant worker Jared Ferencik said the situation has been frustrating, especially since the company hasn't told the employees who exactly will be laid off."At this point, I just want it over. It's been so dragged out," he said. "All these extensions are just more annoying than anything because you don't get to move on with your life."He said he started looking for jobs as soon as he received the first notice of the elimination of the third shift, but COVID-19 has made it difficult."I'm basically just going to be unemployed for the next however long," he said.Ferencik said he does, however, feel fortunate that he's single and doesn't have a family he needs to support, unlike Nathan Prindler, who is a father of two young children.Prindler was hired in 2018 and said being one of the more recent hires, he's certain that he will be laid off."I was planning on buying a house this year and now a lot of things are going to have to come to a halt while we figure out how to  move forward from this," he said."I think I've just had to come to grips with it. You know, it's been a year on coming now. As it draws closer, though, you know it weighs a little bit more emotionally."Prindler said he's looking into going back to school and learning a new trade, but hopes the company will bring him back if they do let him go. "I believe long term that things are going to work out," he said.Carisa Bondy started working at the Windsor Assembly Plant in 2016 and was told she might just make the cutoff of keeping her job."I kind of fit in the middle of the layoffs. So, I didn't know for sure if ... I'm getting axed. I hear I might be safe," she said, adding that she was initially very stressed when she first heard the news of the elimination of the shift, but her attitude has changed since then."You're freaking out like, 'what am I going to do? I'm going to lose my job. I have a house. I have a car. How do I pay for everything?' And then, I just kind of accepted the fact that ... I'll probably lose my job. What do I got to do to stay afloat until I get a call back?" she said."At this point, it's been 14 months since we first found out. So, if you haven't come to terms with it in 14 months, it's a big problem."Like Ferencik, Bondy said job hunting has been challenging due to the pandemic."With COVID, I'm not going to rush trying to find anything right away. A lot of people will be looking for jobs and I'm sure a lot of people would be in a worse situation than I am," she said.Buyouts being issuedBondy and other newer employees hope long-time plant workers will accept buyout offers, which will open jobs.Bill Alder, who's been working at the plant for 24 years, has already accepted his buyout.He said he's happy with it as he was planning to retire next year and isn't losing out on much money."Part of my hope is that somebody gets to stay up there," he said, adding that not everyone will be accepting their buyouts, leaving many young employees out of a job.

  • Canadians' COVID-19 fears are rising again — and the U.S. might be to blame

    Canadians' COVID-19 fears are rising again — and the U.S. might be to blame

    As the number of new cases of COVID-19 being reported daily in Canada has declined over time, Canadians' concerns about the spread of the disease have spiked.The uncontrolled outbreak south of the border might be the reason why.Since June 7, the daily tally of new cases in Canada has been 500 or less. It's been well under 400 per day for over a week. Just over a month ago, however, health officials were reporting between 1,000 and 2,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this country almost every day.The drop in cases doesn't mean that Canada is out of the woods just yet — localized outbreaks are still popping up and hundreds of new cases are being reported daily. But the country is in a much better place than it was just a few months ago.Nevertheless, Canadians are feeling more worried today, according to a recent poll.The survey, conducted by Léger for the Association for Canadian Studies between July 3 and 5, found that 58 per cent of respondents were personally afraid of contracting COVID-19. That figure has increased seven percentage points in two weeks and is now the highest it has been in Léger's weekly polling since mid-April.It's a notable shift in public opinion. Concern peaked in early April, when 64 per cent of Canadians reported being personally afraid of getting sick. At the time, Canada was reporting over 1,200 new cases every day.From that peak, fears consistently decreased over the seven weeks that followed before falling to a low of 51 per cent. Concerns hovered around that level, with little variation from week to week, between late May and late June.The epidemiology in Canada can't explain this step backwards in public opinion over the last two weeks. On May 25, 1,011 new cases were reported in Canada. June 8 saw only 429 newly confirmed cases. Between July 3 and 5, when Léger was in the field, Canada was averaging 294 new cases per day.So what explains this sudden flare-up in coronavirus fear?Fear of an open borderWhile Canada's COVID-19 trend line has been improving, the outbreak in the United States is getting worse.At the low point in Léger's polling on Canadians' fears of contracting the disease, there were about 20,000 new cases being reported every day in the United States — fewer than during the peak point for Canadians' COVID anxiety, when American health officials were reporting between 25,000 and 35,000 new cases daily.But over the three days when Léger was last in the field, the U.S. hit new records for COVID-19, peaking at 57,000 new cases on July 3 alone. The caseload in most states is now rising.It's clear that Canadians are watching the cautionary tale south of the border. Searches on Google Trends for "COVID" and "U.S.A." peaked at the end of March in Canada, but had dropped off to less than half of that by the first week of June. Since then, however, web searches related to the pandemic in America have nearly doubled, while searches related to the pandemic in Canada have held steady.Polls suggest Canadians are worried about the situation in the U.S. A Nanos Research survey for the Globe and Mail found that 81 per cent of Canadians polled want the border with the United States to stay closed for the "foreseeable future."Léger finds that 86 per cent of Canadians reject the idea of re-opening the border at the end of July, as is currently planned (although the border closures have been renewed and extended repeatedly in the past). Remarkably, 71 per cent of Canadians "strongly disagreed" with a re-opening of the border, suggesting a firmly held opinion.In mid-May, Léger reported that 21 per cent of Canadians wanted the border to open by the end of June or earlier. Now, just 11 per cent agree with opening the border by the end of July.Renewed pessimism about the futureThese darkening views on the pandemic can't be tied entirely to COVID-19's spread in the United States. The U.S. isn't the only country with an uncontrolled outbreak. Both Brazil and India are reporting over 20,000 new cases per day and countries as far apart as Russia, Mexico, Pakistan and South Africa are also detecting thousands of new cases on a daily basis.But the rising caseloads in the U.S. and elsewhere offer stark warnings about what could happen here if things go wrong. The periodic flare-ups on this side of the border also act as a reminder that the disease hasn't gone anywhere. Even Prince Edward Island, which went months without a new case, has experienced a recent uptick.Canadians are reporting more pessimism about the future, despite the apparently improving situation here. According to the Léger poll, 82 per cent of Canadians expect a second wave — that's up six points from early June.Just eight per cent of respondents want to see governments accelerate the pace of relaxing physical distancing and self-isolation measures, down five points since last month. The number who want to slow down the pace has increased by seven points to 28 per cent. The other 65 per cent want to maintain the current pace of re-opening.The poll suggests Canadians have lost some of their late-spring optimism. The number who reported thinking that the worst is behind us peaked at 42 per cent in mid-June. That has dropped by seven points to 35 per cent, while the number who think the worst is yet to come has increased nine points to 39 per cent — its highest level since the middle of April, when the first wave of the novel coronavirus was cresting in Canada.Polls routinely show little resistance to the imposition of mandatory mask laws and significant apprehension about attending large gatherings or embarking on international travel any time soon.The weather has improved, the patios are open and people can get a haircut again, so things have gotten brighter. But more and more Canadians appear to be coming to the realization that this is likely to be just a temporary reprieve — and not the new normal.

  • Ringo Starr supports BLM movement on 80th birthday
    Canadian Press Videos

    Ringo Starr supports BLM movement on 80th birthday

    Ringo Starr celebrated his 80th birthday with an appearance in Santa Monica, California and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. (July 7)

  • Museum: 'Dukes of Hazzard' car with Confederate flag to stay
    The Canadian Press

    Museum: 'Dukes of Hazzard' car with Confederate flag to stay

    VOLO, Ill. — A northern Illinois auto museum has no plan to stop displaying a Dodge Charger from the “Dukes of Hazzard” television show with the Confederate battle flag painted atop the vehicle.Statues of Confederate generals and soldiers are being taken down across the country, NASCAR has banned the flag from its races and the Confederate emblem is being removed from the Mississippi state flag.But the Volo Auto Museum about 50 miles (80 kilometres) northwest of Chicago says the famed “General Lee” from the first season of the TV show isn’t going anywhere, according to a report in the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights.“We feel the car is part of history, and people love it,” museum director Brian Grams told the newspaper. “We’ve got people of all races and nationalities that remember the TV show and aren’t offended by it whatsoever. It’s a piece of history and it’s in a museum.”Since the museum acquired in 2005 what it says is the last surviving 1969 Charger from the first season of the television program, Grams said nobody has complained. And the museum has continued to hear from people supporting the decision to keep the car as the push to rid the landscape of what is increasingly viewed as a symbol of racism, Grams said.“Several people have reached out with positive comments about us leaving it on display,” Grams said, “complimenting us for leaving it there and not having a knee-jerk reaction to remove it like a lot of places are.”Grams says the General Lee is a piece of history and the museum would not remove it any more than it would think of removing the Nazi memorabilia displayed in parts of the museum’s military section.“If we’re going to get complaints about the General Lee being here, we’ve got much worse items over in our military building,” he said.___This story has been corrected to show it was first reported by the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Illinois, not the Crystal Lake-based Northwest Herald.The Associated Press

  • Conservative stalwart Scott Reid backing newcomer Leslyn Lewis for leadership
    The Canadian Press

    Conservative stalwart Scott Reid backing newcomer Leslyn Lewis for leadership

    OTTAWA — One of the longest-serving Conservative members of Parliament is backing newcomer Leslyn Lewis in that party's leadership race.Ontario MP Scott Reid announced he's endorsing Lewis in the contest, which is set to wrap up in just under two months.Reid says the last time he was this excited about a leadership candidate was in 2004, when Stephen Harper became the boss of the newly formed Conservative party.The party was the result of a merger between the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties; Reid had been a negotiator for the Alliance side in the move.The leader of the PC's at the time? Peter MacKay — one of three candidates currently running against Lewis.The others are two sitting MPs: Erin O'Toole and Derek Sloan.Reid took a swipe at MacKay in his endorsement letter for Lewis, alleging MacKay will toss MPs off the front benches if they vote for pro-life policies.Reid says Lewis is the only candidate who has made it clear that MPs will not be disciplined for voting in accordance with their consciences or the wishes of their constituents.He's found himself in trouble on that score, disclosing in a public essay late last year that he was disciplined by current leader Andrew Scheer for supporting the legalization of cannabis.He'd done so after polling his constituents and finding them in favour of that approach.Reid has been an MP since 2000, and currently represents the Ontario riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston.He and fellow Ontario MP Cheryl Gallant are the longest serving Tories in the House of Commons. She has endorsed MacKay.Reid's endorsement of Lewis comes ahead of the party mailing out ballots to the membership. Those have to be returned by Aug. 21 and the winner is expected to be announced the following week.Lewis, a Toronto-based lawyer, has never held elected office, though she tried and failed to win for the Conservatives in a Toronto riding in 2015.She entered the race largely unknown, championing socially conservative views and policies, and her campaign has steadily been picking up steam, both in endorsements and donations.Reid said she alone understands what it will take for the party to win."A party of ideas and policy innovation, like ours, can only win if it builds a broad-based coalition, built on a multiplicity of ideas and ideals," he wrote in his endorsement letter, circulated by the Lewis campaign."More than any other candidate in recent memory, Leslyn Lewis understands this, and she articulates it beautifully."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

  • Brewery received licence to make hand sanitizer the same day PM held photo op

    Brewery received licence to make hand sanitizer the same day PM held photo op

    An Ottawa brewery praised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making hand sanitizer during the pandemic was given a licence to do so on the very day the PM visited it for a photo op.Trudeau went to Big Rig Brewery in the capital's west end on June 26 to tout his government's efforts to support small businesses through measures like the wage subsidy.Trudeau also applauded the brewery for producing hand sanitizer for local community organizations."Big Rig is one of the thousands of companies across the country stepping up to help their workers and their community during this tough time," he said."They started making hand sanitizer for local community organizations that do really important work, like the Kanata Food Bank, Shepherds of Good Hope and Chrysalis House. To keep up with the growing demand for hand sanitizer, food and beer, Big Rig used the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy."But Health Canada says it received the Big Rig's application for a licence to produce hand sanitizer on June 26 — the day Trudeau visited the brewery. It issued the licence the same day.When asked about the timing of the licence, the Prime Minister's Office told CBC News in an email that "Health Canada is responsible for approvals of licences."Asked by CBC News whether it had checked with Health Canada before Trudeau's visit to see if Big Rig was licensed to produce hand sanitizer, the PMO said it had no further comment.Trudeau visited Big Rig last year with former U.S. president Barack Obama.Hundreds of breweries and distilleries across the country have been licensed to produce hand sanitizer, according to Health Canada's database of licensed producers.Health Canada told CBC News it could not say how long the licensing process typically takes, but said the department has expedited the process during the pandemic.Manjit Minhas, co-owner of Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Wineries and one of the entrepreneurs on CBC-TV's Dragon's Den, applied for a licence to produce hand sanitizer in March.She said it took five days to get her company a licence. She expected the process to take longer."We had heard it could take a few months," Minhas said.Other breweries and distilleries contacted by CBC said the licensing process took anywhere from just under 48 hours to six days.Big Rig Brewery did not respond to CBC's requests for comment.

  • Charges dropped against N.S. woman injured during arrest in racial profiling case
    The Canadian Press

    Charges dropped against N.S. woman injured during arrest in racial profiling case

    HALIFAX — The Crown in Nova Scotia has dropped all charges against a Black woman accused of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer during a confrontation in a Walmart that led to allegations of racial profiling and police brutality.As the charges were being withdrawn inside the provincial court in Halifax, Santina Rao told a news conference on the front steps that she planned to file a formal complaint against Halifax Regional Police and civil actions against the police force and Walmart."Complete freedom from this instance would be that the police involved would be held accountable and that Walmart would also be held accountable," she said during an emotional presentation.About 50 people — most of them wearing masks and standing well apart to respect public health guidelines — gathered nearby to show their support for the 23-year-old mother of two.A large red banner behind Rao read: "Black Lives Matter." Another large sign said: "No racist cops, no racist shops." One woman held a cardboard sign that read, "Solidarity with Santina."Rao said she was with her son — a toddler in a stroller — and her three-year-old daughter in the toy aisle at a Halifax-area Walmart on Jan. 15 when she was approached by two Halifax Regional Police officers, two Walmart floor-walkers and one mall security officer.She said she was accused of shoplifting because she had placed $6.50 worth of produce in the bottom rack of the stroller, which she said is common for mothers who already have their hands full with excited children.Rao said she tried to show the officers her receipts and agreed to let them search her purse and the stroller.A cellphone video of the incident shows police wrestling Rao to the floor as she protests.She suffered a broken wrist and a concussion, which has led to an investigation by Nova Scotia's independent police watchdog agency.Rao said she received countless online threats and abuse in the weeks following the arrest. As well, she said her daughter is still struggling with the emotional fallout, almost seven months after the event."She still talks about it every single day," Rao said, adding that her daughter has become very protective of her. "Sometimes she says, 'Mommy, I'm going to protect you from the police.' Her vision of police is brutality."Rao said both of her children, who have light complexions, are often mistaken for being white."If I looked like my children, would I be treated like that?" she said. "We just want to be treated the way white people treat white people." Despite the traumatic event and the ensuing backlash, Rao said many people have come forward to offer her encouragement and empathy."I'm so floored that so many people — even today, out here right now — are supporting me," she said as the crowd erupted with applause."I really had no idea that so many people would care."Rao had faced charges of disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.Her lawyer, Gordon Allen, said the Crown decided there was no reasonable prospect for conviction and that prosecuting the case was not in the public interest."She was still shopping, for heaven's sake," he told the news conference. "There was no crime being committed ... There was no reason for this to happen."Allen said the investigation by the watchdog agency, the Serious Incident Response Team, will look into how Rao was injured, but he said the complaint under the Police Act and the civil lawsuits will look into broader issues, including bias and racial profiling."The hope is that this will contribute to the processes happening all over North America about evaluating policing and how police can better deal with individuals," he said.Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella issued a statement Tuesday saying the police force will allow the investigation to follow its course."Regardless of the outcome of the SIRT investigation or any next steps, today I want to acknowledge the hurt this incident has caused to all involved," Kinsella said."The trust between the public and a police service is crucial. We will let the process continue to its conclusion and we will learn from this incident and improve as an organization."This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2020.Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

  • Deadly Syrian, Russian air strikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, U.N. says

    Deadly Syrian, Russian air strikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, U.N. says

    Syrian and Russian planes have carried out deadly aerial strikes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province that amount to war crimes, U.N. investigators said on Tuesday in a report that also condemned attacks by Islamist militants. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria also accused Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a jihadist group that controls part of northwest Syria, of firing artillery into civilian areas "with no apparent legitimate military objective".

  • Black parents call on francophone board to address systemic racism

    Black parents call on francophone board to address systemic racism

    Parents and students at a demonstration on Monday called on Edmonton's francophone school board to take immediate steps to address systemic racism in schools by hiring more Black teachers and issuing a formal apology.Roughly 35 people protested outside the Greater North Central Francophone Education School Board Monday afternoon. "We want the school board to acknowledge that systemic racism exists in the schools," said Dieudonne Bessasse, a coordinator for the Black Parents Association of Alberta (BPAA).They're also demanding an official apology from the board for racism experienced in francophone schools as well as the implementation of new policies, made in consultation with parents, to adequately address racism.Calls for change come as institutions across North America struggle to address anti-Black racism. The BPAA canvassed families about their own children's experiences at francophone schools in Edmonton."We discovered that our kids are literally living systemic racism that has been taking place at the French school board," Bessasse said.Black parents have long raised concern about the lack of Black teachers and administrators at Edmonton's francophone schools. But they're also worried that Black students are not receiving the support and services they are entitled to.Bessasse said schools with a majority of racialized students tend to be overlooked for renovations even though they are the ones most in need. Some parents are also concerned that Black students are not treated equally in disputes involving white students.Attempts by parents to work with the board to address racism in meaningful ways have been dismissed while policies implemented unilaterally haven't worked, Bessasse said."Systemic racism still exists within their own boundaries and we are fed up," he said.'Why daddy?'In 2014 hundreds of people signed a petition urging the board to hire more teachers of African descent. At the time one parent told CBC no teachers at his daughter's school, École Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc, shared her ethnic background.Six years later Bessasse said he struggles to explain to his tearful seven-year-old son — who also attends École Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc — why none of the teachers or administrators look like them."He cried asking me 'why daddy why?'" Bessasse recalled.In an email to CBC, a spokesperson with the board said senior staff attended the rally to listen to concerns being raised.Superintendent Robert Lessard acknowledged in a news conference that schools have not always done what they should to address racism but pledged to work collaboratively on solutions, the spokesperson wrote.The school authority has launched an anti-racism working group in collaboration with three community organizations. The group will engage the community through forums and consultations to develop a plan to address racism in schools, the email said.Actions taken by the board in the last six years have increased diversity at all levels of the organisation, the email added.

  • New studies confirm bizarre COVID-19 symptoms
    Yahoo News Canada

    New studies confirm bizarre COVID-19 symptoms

    The Italian-lead study relied on data from 187 COVID-19 patients who were being treated at Treviso Regional Hospital in Italy in March. "Furthermore, vascular damage could also explain some clinical features seen in patients with severe COVID-19."

  • Provinces pose challenge to Indigenous child-welfare reform: Bellegarde
    The Canadian Press

    Provinces pose challenge to Indigenous child-welfare reform: Bellegarde

    OTTAWA — National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says provincial governments that want to cling to their authority over child welfare are one of the biggest barriers to implementing new legislation giving Indigenous communities control over their children's well-being.Bellegarde and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller signed what they called a "protocol agreement" in Ottawa Tuesday that is the next step in implementing Bill C-92. That bill, which passed last year and took effect on Jan. 1, recognizes the inherent right Indigenous communities have to oversee child-welfare services."That's one of the biggest challenges is getting the premiers and the territorial governments to accept that there is a jurisdiction that needs to be respected," he said.It's partly a response to a long history of off-reserve authorities removing Indigenous children from their communities in the name of protecting them.Under the bill, Indigenous organizations and governments can develop their own child-welfare laws and programs, in agreements reached with the federal government. Tuesday's document outlines how some of those discussions will happen, including regular meetings between Ottawa and Indigenous governments.Bellegarde said, however, that the provinces have to be part of the conversation, because it's provincial government services that are most affected. In Canada, Ottawa provides the funding for child protection services on reserves but those services are governed by provincial laws and in most cases, provided by provincial agencies.Bill C-92 will change that, setting national standards in federal law that will require child welfare services provided to First Nations, Metis and Inuit children put children's best interests first, including preserving their culture, language, religion and heritage, and recognizing the importance of having an ongoing relationship with their community.Some provinces are wary or flat-out reject the bill. Quebec has gone to court to the challenge the law as unconstitutional, while Manitoba has expressed concern about how parallel systems will co-operate, including with child-abuse registries and the provincial court system.Miller said he believes the law is constitutional.He also said funding is going to require a conversation with provincial governments. Provincial governments do fund services for Indigenous children living off reserves, but some organizations and communities will want to introduce their own programs regardless of where their kids are living, which may require transfers of both federal and provincial funds.Miller said the goal has to be how to make things better, not to fight over jurisdiction."I would prefer to be in a discussion as to who is doing the best job by Indigenous children and not who has the right to continue to be doing a miserable job, which is what we've been doing up to now," he said.Miller did not, however, put any new money on the table. The Assembly of First Nations estimated last year that at least $3.5 billion over five years will be needed to properly implement Bill C-92.Chronic underfunding for Indigenous child welfare services led the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to rule in 2016 that the federal government was discriminating against First Nations children.Providing enough money so social services can work with families to prevent kids from being put in foster care is one of the key needs. That lack of service is one of the reasons Indigenous children are more likely to be taken away from their parents than non-Indigenous children are.About eight per cent of children in Canada are First Nations, Inuit or Metis but they account for more than half the kids in care, and as many as 90 per cent in Manitoba.Miller said Tuesday he wants the budget to be determined by what is needed as communities and organizations take the steps to create their own programs.For First Nations child-welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock, the new law is meaningless without specific, targeted funding for communities to protect their own children.The executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, which brought the challenge that led to the 2016 human-rights ruling, said the lack of any actual dollars is a big red flag that this will be nothing more than lip service."Children's lives didn't change today," she said.Blackstock noted the Liberal government, like the Conservative one before it, fought the accusation it wasn't funding First Nations kids equally and has not fully responded to the tribunal's repeated orders to fix that.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

  • Man, 51, charged after multiple firearms, drugs found during Mississauga traffic stop

    Man, 51, charged after multiple firearms, drugs found during Mississauga traffic stop

    A 51-year-old man is facing multiple charges after police officers allegedly found numerous firearms, ammunition and drugs in a vehicle during a traffic stop in Mississauga in June.In a news release issued Tuesday, Peel police said officers pulled over a Collingwood man in the afternoon of June 25 in the area of City Centre Drive and Robert Speck Parkway and seized two firearms, two airsoft imitation firearms, ammunition and Fentanyl.The next day, police executed search warrants at a residence in Toronto and at a home in Collingwood. They found one pistol and four long guns at the Toronto residence, according to the news release.Eighteen pistols and 11 long guns were found at the home in Collingwood, along with a "suspicious package," police say.The OPP Emergency Response Unit and the OPP Explosives Disposal Unit attended the scene and evacuated several homes in the area for safety concerns. The package was later deemed not to be a threat. A 51-year-old man has been charged with multiple firearm and drug offences, including possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes, and possession of an opioid. Peel police are asking anyone with information to contact their 11 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau or anonymously through Peel Crime Stoppers.

  • Photos surface of Andrew Scheer failing to wear mask while travelling
    The Canadian Press

    Photos surface of Andrew Scheer failing to wear mask while travelling

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister were spotted Tuesday in a Toronto airport lounge not wearing mandatory masks to curb COVID-19.Two separate photos of the bare-faced leaders sitting comfortably in a waiting area circulated online.Scheer's office said he was wearing a mask for his trip. A spokesperson said the photos must have been taken after he doffed the covering to take a call but before he put it back on.Pallister was contrite."I lifted my mask to join some friends in conversation at the Toronto airport this afternoon," he said in a statement."It was an error on my part, it won't happen again."Toronto's Pearson airport currently has a policy that masks must be worn at all times to curb the spread of COVID-19, with limited exceptions that include being at a food or beverage service location.The photos show Scheer in the lounge with Pallister and a couple of others, and while they are seated spaced apart, none is wearing a mask.In April, Scheer was criticized for bringing his family on a government flight back to Ottawa for a House of Commons sitting, reducing the ability for the other two MPs on board to keep a distance from the Scheers.He and other party leaders have been wearing masks around Parliament Hill. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also wears them during photo ops.Scheer is in the waning days of his leadership. The ballots to select his replacement go in the mail in the coming days and a new leader will be elected in late August.As for Pallister, Manitoba requires most people returning to the province from Ontario, Quebec or the Atlantic provinces to self-isolate for 14 days, but provides exceptions for truckers, health providers, politicians and some others if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Mom calls for action after infant daughter finds bag of suspected fentanyl on park playground

    Mom calls for action after infant daughter finds bag of suspected fentanyl on park playground

    A Kamloops mother who says her young daughter picked up a baggie of suspected fentanyl at a local playground is calling for more support for people with addictions in order to help reduce the proliferation of drugs.Stefanie Elliott said her 11-month-old daughter picked up a bag containing a purple powder while playing with her three-year-old sister on Sunday morning at McDonald Park.Elliott said she knew the bag likely contained fentanyl because she is a mental health and addictions nurse. She said she and her colleagues warn clients of "purple heroin," a potent narcotic consisting of fentanyl or carfentanil."I realized her life was in infinite, infinite danger," Elliott told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. "Even trace amounts of that, especially exposed to small bodies like my children, could have been fatal."Elliott said she normally looks the playground over before her children play, but she forgot to this time.  She lifted her youngest daughter onto the playground equipment when she sat down and picked up something that looked like a leaf. Elliott asked her three-year-old to grab the object from her sister. That's when Elliott said she saw that it wasn't a leaf, but a pot leaf-patterned baggie filled with a purple powder.Finding the baggie at a park she described as practically her backyard, where she takes her kids and dogs multiple times a day, has Elliott calling for more to be done to address B.C.'s overdose crisis.Purple fentanyl common in KamloopsElliott and her kids washed their hands after handling the suspected fentanyl. She then called police and an officer took the baggie.Kamloops RCMP confirmed officers were called about the suspected drugs and said Elliott's story illustrates why parents need to be careful when taking their kids to playgrounds."It serves as a good reminder to speak with your kids about the reality of hazards that could be found in any public spaces," Staff Sgt. Simon Pillay, a spokesperson for the RCMP, said in an emailed statement.In a separate email to CBC News, Pillay said the substance could only be called "suspected" fentanyl because it has not been tested.He said police don't plan to test the contents of the baggie because it is not likely to be part of a criminal investigation or overdose but local drug experts are confident it is fentanyl.Pillay added purple fentanyl is the most common colour of the drug in Kamloops.Safe supply options reduce public drug use, researcher saysElliott wants to see an expansion of a "safe supply" of illicit drugs for people with addictions, more supervised consumption sites and better housing for homeless people with addictions.Kora DeBeck, a research scientist with the B.C. Centre for Substance Use and an assistant professor of public policy at Simon Fraser University, said a large body of research has shown that more supervised consumption sites lead to less public disorder, such as drug paraphernalia being found."People who use drugs in public spaces are very willing to relocate if they have other options," DeBeck said. "Really, what we see is that so many people don't have options."Safe supply options lead to a less toxic drug supply, DeBeck said, and when people who use drugs have better housing, they are also less likely to use in public places.City says park users must be vigilantElliott also wants to see the City of Kamloops step up inspections of playgrounds."I shouldn't put my 11-month-old on a playground for 30 seconds and risk her life. It shouldn't happen," Elliott said.Byron McCorkell, director of community and protective services with the City of Kamloops, said the situation was unfortunate and he's never heard of a bag of fentanyl being found at a playground before.He said city staff check playground equipment for safety at least once a week and public washrooms more regularly, but he doesn't know of many municipalities that check playground equipment for drug paraphernalia on a daily basis.Users of city facilities need to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, he added. "We never want to see that happen, but it happened," McCorkell said. "The city can only do so much."

  • Health

    B.C. confirms 12 more cases of COVID-19 as province extends state of emergency to late July

    As B.C. once again extends its state of emergency, another 12 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, but no new deaths have been recorded.Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the latest numbers in a written statement Tuesday, saying there are now 162 active cases of the disease in the province.To date, 183 people have died of infection with the novel coronavirus, out of 2,990 confirmed patients. Sixteen people are in hospital with COVID-19, including four in intensive care."Regardless of your age, we know that COVID-19 can cause severe and serious illness. Until effective treatment or a vaccine is available, we all need to stay vigilant," Henry and Dix said."British Columbians have flattened the curve, and to weather this storm, everyone in B.C. needs to do their part, whether at home, at work or on vacation. We can protect our communities, our seniors, elders and our loved ones by working together while staying apart."The latest numbers were released just minutes before provincial officials announced that B.C. is extending its state of emergency over COVID-19 until July 21."We're starting to see some restrictions lifting, but there are measures we need to keep in place to continue battling COVID-19," Premier John Horgan said in a news release."We will continue to take the necessary steps to make sure British Columbians are safe and that the most vulnerable people are protected, while experts work to find a treatment or vaccine."Another outbreak ends in long-term careAnother outbreak in long-term care has been declared over — the Tabor Home in Abbotsford. That leaves two active outbreaks in long-term care and one in an acute care unit of a hospital.There are currently no active community outbreaks in B.C., but Henry and Dix caution that "new cases and community exposure events continue to occur."The includes possible exposure to the virus at Vancouver's Hotel Belmont bar and nightclub on June 27 and 29. Any patrons who were there on those nights have been asked to monitor themselves for symptoms."It is important to remember that the more people you see and the more places you go, the higher the likelihood is that you'll come into contact with someone with COVID-19," Henry and Dix said."To protect yourself, the best things you can do are to keep the number of people you see to a minimum and as much as possible, maintain a safe distance from others and use a mask when that is challenging."The new cases announced Tuesday include one that is epidemiologically linked, meaning that a patient has met the public health definition for COVID-19 but may not have had access to testing at the time of their illness.

  • Health
    The Canadian Press

    RCMP say no charges after investigation into Moncton induced-labour case

    New Brunswick RCMP say no charges will be laid after women at the Moncton Hospital were allegedly given a labour-inducing drug without their consent last year. Sgt. Mathieu Roy says police carried out a thorough investigation but the Crown has determined charges won't be laid. A proposed class action lawsuit launched on behalf of the women is still pending against the Horizon Health Network and obstetrics nurse Nicole Ruest, who was later fired.

  • Families of long term care residents warn of sweltering conditions in homes

    Families of long term care residents warn of sweltering conditions in homes

    Premier Doug Ford says he's open to changing the legislation that governs the province's long-term care homes to mandate the installation of air conditioning after hearing about residents who are living in sweltering conditions. "I'd consider it," Ford said Tuesday, responding to a question from CBC Toronto. The premier, who was speaking to reporters during the province's COVID-19 update, also had strong words for the owners of the facilities. "I'd like to get these owners that don't put in air conditioners — I'd like to stick them in the room for 24 hours, 30 degree heat, see how they like it — or put their parents in there," said Ford, who was visibly worked up.'We've been through a lot'Ford's comments come as many families continue to find their loved ones struggling during a heat wave that has blanketed the Greater Toronto Area for several days.That's on top of all the restrictions in place due to the novel coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of long-term care residents across the province.Nick Puopolo, whose 85-year-old mother Savirea lives at Woodbridge Vista Care Community in Vaughan, Ont., measured the temperature of her room over the weekend. It was 27 C with 40 per cent humidity, he says."It's frustrating. We've been through a lot these last few months."Puopolo's mother was one of the more than 100 residents at the home to contract COVID-19. She survived the disease only to fall ill with a life-threatening urinary tract infection, according to her family. They say she has now recovered from that, too.Woodbridge Vista Care Community was one of five long-term care homes taken over by the province after the facility was overwhelmed by COVID-19. The William Osler Health System was appointed as interim manager and the Canadian Forces were also called in to battle the outbreak. A total of 24 residents died.Puopolo is frustrated that his mother and the other residents have to battle the heat, as well. "Now, they're being told to live in these facilities with no air conditioning, and according to [the owners], it meets the standards, which is ridiculous," he said. Long-term care homes actPuopolo points to Ontario's Long-Term Care Homes Act as part of the problem because it does not mandate air conditioning. The legislation states every licensee of a long-term care home shall "ensure a written hot weather related illness prevention and management plan for the home" and if central air conditioning is not available, the home has to have at least "one separate designated cooling area for every 40 residents." But due to COVID-19 and physical distancing rules, adhering to the regulations isn't realistic, according to the families of long-term care residents and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly."It's really serious. We get complaints every summer," said Jane Meadus, staff lawyer with the centre, who agrees the legislation should be changed. Puopolo also puts the responsibility on the home itself. "If this company was true to taking care of family members ... they shouldn't be pushed to do this. It should be something they're doing on their own." 'These poor, elderly people'In a statement, Natalie Gokchenian, director of communications for Sienna Senior Living, which owns and operates Woodbridge Vista Care Community, told CBC Toronto COVID-19 protocols made it harder to cool the building with the air system in place. "In addition, fans that would normally be used to cool resident rooms are required by Public Health to be turned off to prevent spreading of the virus," she said. The company says is installing 18 separate air conditioning units by Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ford has vowed to contact the home himself. "It's terrible. These poor, elderly people — they can't defend themselves. That's our job."

  • Persian cat howls in delight while eating tasty treat

    Persian cat howls in delight while eating tasty treat

    How do we know if Oskar liked her food? It's because she is one talkative cat and is not afraid to say it out loud! Listen closely because the sound you are about to hear sounds nothing like a cat. We only know that she makes this sound when the food was very delicious and when there is no one around, hence the sneaky camera position. Hilarious!

  • Tuesday marks 1st day of mandatory masks in Toronto
    Global News

    Tuesday marks 1st day of mandatory masks in Toronto

    Day one of mandatory masks is underway in Toronto. Face coverings are a must in public indoor spaces. All of this to tamp down the transmission of COVID-19. Miranda Anthistle has more.