Loop, an online store selling well-known food brands in reusable, returnable containers, has partnered with Loblaws to put sustainably packaged groceries to the test in Canada.
Loop, an online store selling well-known food brands in reusable, returnable containers, has partnered with Loblaws to put sustainably packaged groceries to the test in Canada.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies 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 in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. 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 Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- 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 Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- 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. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- 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. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- 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. 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. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. 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 British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- 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 March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
It’s hard to say what is the more impressive feat — remotely landing a spacecraft on Mars, or a kid from Norfolk County landing a job at NASA. Christopher Heirwegh’s unlikely trajectory took him from a Simcoe Composite School physics class to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where an instrument he helped design is scanning the surface of Mars for signs of ancient life. “It’s been a very exciting past couple of weeks, starting with the anticipation leading up to the landing, followed by the joy of knowing it made it successfully,” said Heirwegh, 39, a few days after watching the Mars rover Perseverance complete its 300 million-mile journey to the Red Planet on Feb. 18. As Perseverance floated down to the surface, Heirwegh was on the edge of his seat at his home in Pasadena, Calif. His wife, Meagan, and their six-year-old daughter, Harper, were by his side, with the rest of Heirwegh’s JPL team sharing in the suspense on a video call. “It hit me right at that moment before landing, around the parachute phase, that things are going to come in fast, and oh boy, if this doesn’t make it, where do we go from here?” Heirwegh said. “There was certainly some tension.” Perseverance’s thrusters soon kicked in to start its powered descent, and a sky crane took over to gently place the rover on Mars. While mission control filled with the cheers of relieved scientists, the Heirweghs tucked into celebratory shawarma and cake. Now that Perseverance is trundling around the Jezero crater, Heirwegh’s work has just begun. The physicist is keeping a close eye on PIXL, a high-tech X-ray machine that has been his sole professional focus since joining NASA in 2016. PIXL — the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry — is one of two instruments mounted on the lander’s robotic arm that will help answer the mission’s central question — has there been life on Mars? About the size of a lunch box, PIXL’s job is to scan Martian rocks for trace elements that could point to the presence of ancient life, while taking what Heirwegh describes as “super close-up pictures of rock and soil textures” that could reveal microbial evidence smaller than a grain of salt. PIXL has an X-ray tube at its heart, similar to what dentists use when photographing teeth. The scanner shoots pinpoint-sized X-ray beams into the rock, a process not unlike how artwork investigators chemically analyze paintings to detect forgeries. “We’re looking at things that tell us what the rock is made of, where the rock might have come from, if it was exposed to water, and also if it might have potentially harboured very primitive forms of life at one time,” Heirwegh explained. PIXL is best at finding evidence of inorganic material — heavier elements like calcium, lead and strontium — while another instrument on the rover, called SHERLOC, looks for “the building blocks of life,” lighter organic molecules like carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Together, they search for “biosignatures” suggestive of fossilized bacteria that may have called a Martian ocean home billions of years ago. “Our two instruments can each produce two-dimensional elemental maps,” Heirwegh said, likening each pinpoint of data collected to the pixels on a television that combine to form a clear picture. “We’re hoping we can eventually overlay the two maps so we can really get a good idea of what the rock is all about.” Reaching for the stars The grandson of tobacco farmers who immigrated to Norfolk County from Belgium, Heirwegh grew up enthralled by the stars in the night sky and the vastness of space. He never missed an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation — “mostly just the Rodenberry years,” he clarified — and pored over images of the solar system captured by the Voyager probes. “I found that pretty fascinating, and that kind of led me to what I do now,” he said. Mike and Laurie Heirwegh have followed their son’s career with pride. “Some of the stuff is way above what we understand. Christopher always keeps it as simple as possible for us,” Mike said with a laugh. Mike, a retired pharmacist and business owner, said his “studious” and “reserved” son excelled in a science-heavy course load at Simcoe Composite School. “Whitney, our daughter, said he had this microscope he got at Christmas and would project images up in his room and explain what was on the slides to her and her sister Danielle,” added Laurie, who owns a gift shop in Simcoe. Four years studying undergraduate science at McMaster University in Hamilton led to a master’s in medical physics at Mac, where Heirwegh first tried his hand at X-ray technology. He further studied X-ray fluorescence and radiation science while doing his PhD and post-doctoral fellowship in applied physics at the University of Guelph, which involved analyzing data collected by the Opportunity and Curiosity Mars rovers. That piqued NASA’s interest, creating a rare opportunity for a Canadian to join the Jet Propulsion Lab. “There were not too many people who were doing that,” Mike Heirwegh said. “To get a job like he’s doing in NASA, you have to be uniquely different than any American.” The family left their house in Guelph to make a new life in America, with Meagan Heirwegh, herself an accomplished academic, putting her career on hold so her husband could follow his dream. “She was extremely supportive of taking this step,” Heirwegh said. “That’s been a really key part of it, and something that helped me to have the courage to make such a drastic move.” While navigating the immigration process, Heirwegh got to work calibrating PIXL years ahead of its launch on Perseverance. Past Mars rovers have used X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, but PIXL is the first with an X-ray tube, a technological milestone Heirwegh finds “quite rewarding.” In the months ahead, Heirwegh and his fellow scientists will analyze the trove of scientific data Perseverance will transmit across space to the Jet Propulsion Lab, while making sure their high-tech scanner stays properly calibrated. To keep himself calibrated in what can be a high-pressure job, Heirwegh exercises every morning, and he and Meagan solve a Mensa puzzle together over breakfast. “It’s a nice way to jump-start the physical and mental gears,” he said. Heirwegh could not have known what the future held when he decided to leave Canada and boldly go to NASA to reach for the stars. But his parents say their son was destined to work on the Mars project. “I think the term ‘perseverance’ is very much like Christopher,” Mike said. “He persevered to get to where he is.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday: SPAIN Two days after former president Josep Maria Bartomeu was arrested in an investigation into alleged irregularities during his administration, Barcelona tries to reverse a 2-0 first-leg loss to Sevilla in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey. The teams met in the Spanish league on Saturday, with Barcelona winning 2-0 in Seville. Wednesday's match will be at the Camp Nou Stadium. The Copa del Rey is the tournament in which Barcelona is the closest to ending its title drought. It lost 4-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League and is five points off the lead in the Spanish league. Sevilla, sitting fourth in the Spanish league, was coming off a nine-game winning streak in all competitions but has won only one of its last three games. ENGLAND Injury-hit Leicester is looking to ward off another late-season collapse as Brendan Rodgers' team heads to Burnley in the Premier League. Leicester is third and five points clear of fifth-place Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification but has seen key players like James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, James Justin and Jonny Evans get injured in recent weeks. Injuries contributed to a loss of form late last season as Leicester dropped out of the top four in the final days. Second-place Manchester United, which is a point ahead of Leicester, visits Crystal Palace and last-place Sheffield United is 15 points from safety ahead of a home match against Aston Villa. ITALY AC Milan will be without key forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic as it attempts to close the gap to league leader Inter Milan. Second-place Milan will be looking to win at home against Udinese to move to within one point of its city rival, with Inter playing at Parma the following day. Atalanta should keep hold of fourth place as it hosts bottom club Crotone but Roma and Napoli will want to take advantage of any slip up and they visit Fiorentina and Sassuolo, respectively. At the other end of the table, Cagliari could move out of the relegation zone with a victory over Bologna. Benevento and Genoa are also far from safe and they host Hellas Verona and Sampdoria, respectively. FRANCE After dropping points with draws last weekend, Lille and Lyon need wins to pressure Paris Saint-Germain and hold off Monaco. Lille remains in first place but only leads second-place PSG by two points, while fourth-place Monaco has moved to just one behind third-place Lyon in a fascinating title race much closer than most observers had anticipated. Defending champion PSG is away at Bordeaux, and Monaco is in Alsace to play Strasbourg, while Lille hosts seventh-place Marseille, and Lyon welcomes a visiting Rennes side in the ninth spot after three straight league losses. GERMANY Leipzig hosts Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of the German Cup with the daunting task of beating a Wolfsburg defence which hasn't conceded a goal in eight league and cup games. The two teams are also battling in the league, where Leipzig is second and Wolfsburg third. Leipzig is on its own run of good form, with six wins from its last seven games, the only blip being a 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League. Leipzig left-back Angelino is set to miss the game for fitness reasons. Fourth-tier Rot-Weiss Essen is by far the lowest-level team left in the cup as it hosts second-division Holstein Kiel. Both teams pulled off surprise wins earlier in the competition as Essen eliminated Bayer Leverkusen and Kiel knocked out reigning champion Bayern Munich. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican defended Pope Francis’ decision to go ahead with his trip to Iraq this weekend despite rising coronavirus infections there, saying Tuesday all health care precautions have been taken and that the trip is an “act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians.” Francis is due to visit Iraq Friday-Monday in his first foreign trip since the pandemic erupted last year. Planning for the trip went into high gear after infections fell, but cases have spiked in the past month and infectious disease experts say a papal trip to a country with a fragile health care system simply is not a good idea. The Vatican has taken its own precautions, with the 84-year-old pope, his 20-member Vatican entourage and the 70-plus journalists on the papal plane all vaccinated. Iraq, however, only began its vaccination campaign Tuesday and most Iraqis who come to see the pope won't be inoculated. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni was asked how the Vatican could justify exposing Iraqis to such a risk of infection when the Vatican itself has been on a modified lockdown for months, with no public audiences, and why the trip couldn’t be postponed for even a few months. Bruni noted that Iraq has a predominantly young population and that the current daily caseload was small compared to the overall population. He said the trip has been designed to limit crowds, and that all papal events would follow Iraqi health protocols that include limited participation, social distancing, mask mandates and other measures. The pope will use a covered car — likely armoured — for all his transfers, which the Vatican says should limit the formation of crowds on the street. However, he is to celebrate a Mass for an expected 10,000 people in the sports stadium in Erbil and will use an open car there. “An entire community and an entire country will be able to follow this journey through the media and know that the pope is there for them, bringing a message that it is possible to hope even in situations that are most complicated," he said. Asked why the trip couldn't be postponed, Bruni said this period was “the first possible moment for a journey like this” and that there is “an urgency” to go. The aim of the trip is to encourage Iraq’s dwindling Christian communities that were violently persecuted by the Islamic State group, and to promote greater dialogue with Iraq’s Shiite majority. The trip will mark the first-ever papal meeting with a grand ayatollah, the Iranian-born Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani. “Perhaps the best way to interpret this journey is as an act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians,” Bruni said. “Every act of love can be interpreted as extreme, but as an extreme confirmation to be loved and confirmed in that love.” He acknowledged there might be consequences, but said the Vatican measured the need for Iraqis to feel the pope was close to them and loved them. “Obviously the pope also looks at this need,” Bruni said. Francis' itinerary includes a meeting Friday with priests, seminarians and nuns in the Syro-Catholic Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, where Islamic militants in 2010 slaughtered 58 people in what was the deadliest assault targeting Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The massacre was carried out by Al-Qaida in Iraq, which later became the Islamic State group. Francis will also travel north, to Kurdistan and the northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Qaraqosh, which were devastated by IS and where Christian communities that date to the time of Christ were nearly emptied of their residents, and their churches and homes destroyed. In between, Francis will travel to southern Najaf to the home of al-Sistani, a figure revered in Iraq and the Shiite world. Nearby, he will preside over an interfaith gathering in Ur, the biblical birthplace of Abraham, the prophet common to Christians, Muslims and Jews. The meeting is expected to take place in the shadow of Ur's magnificent pyramid-shaped zigguraut, part of a UNESCO world heritage site. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
The federal government is giving almost $11,000 to each of the Yellowknife, Hay River, and Fort Smith Royal Canadian Legions. The combined $32,500 will go toward supplementing operational costs to help the facilities continue to provide support for veterans. The money comes from a federal fund that seeks to protect jobs and create emergency support to help businesses survive during the pandemic. “Royal Canadian Legion branches have supported veterans, their families, and their communities for generations,” N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod is quoted as saying. “Our government is helping branches continue to provide their important services here in the N.W.T. and across the country.” Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
ALGIERS, Algeria — Hundreds of students restarted their weekly Tuesday protest marches that were called off last spring because of the coronavirus. The march came eight days after the Hirak pro-democracy movement reappeared in streets around the country to mark its second anniversary and days after the weekly Friday marches restarted. Hirak's peaceful protests helped force long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office in 2019. His successor, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has promised reform of the system marked by corruption under Bouteflika and with the shadow of the army ever-present. “Civilian state and not a military state,” one group of students cried out, hoisting high a banner reading “We don't go home until the demands of Hirak are met.” Police watched, their vans blocking some streets, as marchers detoured around security forces, moving through winding streets at the bottom of Algiers' famed Casbah toward the imposing central post office, the traditional rallying point for the Hirak. Demonstrators sang and waved flags with no incidents reported. The Associated Press
Les conséquences de l’épidémie et du confinement touchent aussi les animaux. Surenchère de la demande, hausse des cas de vols, arnaques, prix de vente exorbitants, « éleveurs » improvisés, etc. La SPA de l’Estrie dessert un territoire qui compte plus de 225 000 habitants et englobe plusieurs municipalités, dont celles des MRC du Val-Saint-François et des Sources. Rencontre avec Marie-Pier Quirion, 27 ans, agente de communication et porte-parole. Qu’en est-il des vols dans nos régions ? « Comme on en parle davantage, quand son animal manque à l’appel, on pense illico à un vol, explique-t-elle. Mais il peut s’agir d’autre chose, notamment une fugue. Dans tous les cas, c’est préoccupant, et nous vous invitons à redoubler de vigilance. Ne laissez jamais votre chien seul à l’extérieur même attaché. Lorsqu’il va faire ses besoins, mettez votre manteau et sortez avec lui. Un chien peut disparaitre tellement vite ! C’est aussi un règlement municipal : si votre animal est libre sur votre terrain, il doit être sous surveillance constante. Et bien sûr, il doit porter un médaillon. » Craqué pour une boule de poil… Comme on ne serre plus les mains, on n’embrasse plus, la présence d’un animal peut combler bien des besoins. Et l’engouement pour trouver un compagnon est sans précédent. « Au cours des dernières années, de toute façon, on reçoit moins de chiens, poursuit Marie-Pier Quirion. Et depuis la pandémie, la demande explose ! Les prix sont surélevés, les attentes chez les éleveurs sont longues et les refuges sont quasiment vides. Cette pénurie stimule, hélas, l’appât du gain chez plusieurs. Pensez à toutes ces arnaques. Par exemple, on donne un chiot de race, mais il faut payer le billet d’avion. On entre dans un engrenage avec zéro animal en fin de compte. » Après la pandémie, doit-on s’attendre à une vague d’abandons ? « On ne l’exclut pas. Avant qu’un animal parte dans sa nouvelle famille, les préposés font un énorme travail de sensibilisation à propos des coûts, des besoins de l’animal, des investissements de temps et d’énergie. Sachant que l’espérance de vie d’un chien est d’une douzaine d’années et qu’un chat d’intérieur peut atteindre 15 ans, on rappelle que c’est une responsabilité pour la vie ! En ce moment, et avec le télétravail, les gens ont davantage de temps pour s’occuper d’un animal. Après, auront-ils encore cette disponibilité ? C’est un pensez-y-bien. » La SPA offre ses services sur rendez-vous seulement. L’organisme invite les gens à le contacter pour toutes questions. « Parlez-nous avant d’abandonner votre animal. Souvent, nous proposons des pistes et des solutions de rechange pour résoudre aisément moult problèmes », conclut-elle. spaestrie.qc.ca facebook.com/spaestrie Mireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
Canadian welterweight Rory (Red King) MacDonald will make his PFL debut April 29 against David (Bulldawg) Michaud. MacDonald, a former UFC title contender and Bellator champion, signed with PFL in December 2019 but had to sit out last year as the promotion cancelled its season. The 31-year-old MacDonald (21-6-1) last fought in October 2019 when the B.C. native, who now calls Montreal home, lost his Bellator 170-pound title to Douglas (The Phenom) Lima. The 32-year-old Michaud (18-6-0) lost to Ray Cooper III last time out in the final of the 2019 PFL welterweight season. He had won seven of eight fights before that. Cooper fights in the PFL co-main event April 29 against France's Jason Ponet. The PFL said the location for the card will be announced next week. PFL 2 will also feature 2019 light-heavyweight champion Emiliano (He-Man) Sordi of Argentina against Chris Camozzi and Jordan (Big Swinging) Johnson, runner-up to Sordi, against Tom (Filthy) Lawlor in another 205-pound matchup. The Professional Fighters League, formerly known as the World Series of Fighting, works on a set schedule unlike other MMA promotions. The 2021 campaign, featuring six weight classes, starts with PFL 1 on April 23, with each fighter having two bouts during the promotion's "regular season.'' The first half of the schedule takes place April 23, 29 and May 6 with the second half set for June 10, 17 and 25. Fighters earn performance-based points, with three points for a win, plus bonus points for knockouts and submissions. They are seeded in standings for their weight class based on their point totals. The top eight in each division advance to the single-elimination playoffs in October, where fighters must fight twice and win twice in the same night to advance to the finals. The 2021 PFL World Championship is slated for New Year's Eve with the winners each earning US$1 million for being crowned PFL champions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Racial justice advocates say systematic racism has led to the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in Nova Scotia's criminal justice system. The group told a legislative committee today that systemic and structural racism in Canada has disproportionately affected Black and Indigenous people. Emma Halpern, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, says there needs to be mandatory anti-racist training for police and other front-line workers who encounter African Nova Scotian and Indigenous residents. Robert Wright, spokesperson for the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, says despite the group's advocacy for the end to police street checks, the practice continues to be supported by the province. Wright says his group has seen a disappointing lack of commitment to anti-racism initiatives in the province's criminal justice sector. Halpern says government departments need to have a more "human-centred approach" for offering services to racialized people in the criminal justice system. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Six children's books written decades ago by Dr. Seuss were pulled from publication because they contain racist and insensitive imagery, the company formed to preserve the deceased author's legacy said on Tuesday. The books - "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," "If I Ran the Zoo," "McElligot's Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!" "Scrambled Eggs Super!" and "The Cat's Quizzer" - are among more than 60 classics written by Dr. Seuss, the pen name of the American writer and illustrator Theodor Geisel, who died in 1991. "These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement explaining why it was stopping their publication.
France's banking industry body wants a new European Union law that would force non-EU banks to shift swathes of euro derivatives clearing from the City of London to Frankfurt, people familiar with the matter said. Since Britain fully left the European Union in December the City of London finance industry has lost access to its biggest market and trading in euro shares and swaps have moved to the EU. Sources told Reuters that the French Banking Federation (FBF) does not believe it would work if non-EU banks were asked voluntarily to move trillions of euros in interest rate swaps positions from the London Stock Exchange's LCH clearing arm to the bloc.
When Carolyn Court’s husband landed a job in Simcoe County, they packed up their Milton home and moved to Thornton in a heartbeat. That was 11 years ago and the now 40-something couple haven’t looked back. “There was more land up here and everyone’s fleeing the city and coming up here for the cheaper prices,” Court said while walking her dog along Thornton Avenue. “I think we broke even when we bought up here, but the prices have risen a lot since then.” The Courts are among hundreds of couples who saw the prices rise south of Essa and the lots shrink. According to a Statistics Canada 2016 census, more well-heeled families are making their way north. The median total household income in Essa Township was $87,243 in 2015 (latest figures available) with about 15 per cent of the population earning that income, compared to the provincial average of 11 per cent. In contrast, Barrie’s median household wage sat around $77,900 at that time and Simcoe County's median was $76,489. Essa’s inhabitants are younger, too. While the average age of residents in Oro-Medonte is 43.7 years and a little less in Springwater at 43.4, Essa’s average resident is 37 years old. Simcoe-Grey MP Terry Dowdall rhymes off Essa’s attributes: it’s near the Blue Mountains and Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski hills, it’s not far from the Toronto or Lake Simcoe Regional airports, and it’s accessible to both Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. “It’s not too far from Toronto and a lot of new people came up just because of the price of the houses,” Dowdall said. “They’re 30 years old, they’ve saved their down payment, and they just can’t buy down in Toronto, even if you want to, so they come up here. And, it has a really good tax rate. Tax rates in Essa are phenomenal in comparison to a lot of the other municipalities; we’re very attractive to people.” The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) determines municipal taxes by multiplying a home’s current value by the total tax rate and then dividing by property class. Essa’s residential property tax is calculated at 0.678, whereas Springwater is rated at .0768 and Oro-Medonte is 0.856. Once families move to Essa, Dowdall said, they invite their friends and families to visit and they see Essa’s possibilities. “Essa now has a lot of amenities; you know, the grocery stores, more restaurants that are coming, the high school was a huge, huge addition that completed the community,” he said of Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School that opened in 2011. “We have the opportunity for people to buy and stay and watch their kids go through their whole schooling. That made quite a difference in the area.” If there is any downside, both Dowdall and Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald agree it’s the dearth of homes for the boomer generation. Looking 10 years down the road, Macdonald can see which amenities communities will need to keep older residents satisfied. Also on the mayor’s wish list would be more industrial businesses taking up residence. Currently, Essa has a “huge commuting” population heading south for the better-paying jobs, she said. However, there are still good jobs to be had at Honda, Baxter and many residents work at Canadian Forces Base Borden. “Industrial (businesses) are a much higher paying tax (base) and it balances taxes. Housing does not pay for itself,” Macdonald said. Maintaining parkland and opening trails will become more vital than ever, she said. “Just look at having the COVID-19, this pandemic, at least we have green space where people can get out and walk,” she said. “We need to go the way we’re going now, increase our trails, increase our green spaces, and if this is a way of life for at least a few years of social distancing, at least they can get out and (know) that it’s safe to go." Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby will miss Tuesday night's game against Philadelphia after being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. Head coach Mike Sullivan made the announcement Tuesday morning. The Penguins did not hold a morning skate ahead of the game, in line with the league’s COVID-19 guidelines. The news comes a day after the NHL had a season-low four players in the COVID-19 protocol. Crosby leads the Penguins with 18 points and is tied for the team lead with seven goals. Pittsburgh currently sits fifth in the highly competitive East Division, two points behind the Flyers. Philadelphia swept a pair from the Penguins at home to start the season. The cross-state rivals are playing in Pittsburgh on both Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday night’s game will be the first game with fans in attendance at PPG Paints Arena since last March. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, allowing 15 per cent attendance at indoor venues. The Penguins plan to cap attendance at 2,800 fans. The Canadian Press
Venezuelan intelligence services monitored six U.S.-based executives of state-owned refiner Citgo Petroleum for a year on U.S. soil to determine their involvement in a deal the government deemed fraudulent, leading to their 2017 arrest in Caracas on corruption charges, according to court testimony. The executives, known as the Citgo Six, were sentenced by a Venezuelan court in November to between eight and 13 years in prison for corruption in a procedure the U.S. State Department labeled a "kangaroo court". Five of the men are naturalized U.S. citizens.
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
SAINTE-SOPHIE, Que. — A second woman has died of her injuries following an assault Monday in a house in Quebec's Laurentians region. Quebec provincial police confirmed Tuesday that a 28-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in critical condition has died. A 60-year-old woman, who is a relative of the other victim, was previously declared dead. Provincial police Sgt. Marie-Michelle Moore says the case is now considered a double homicide. Police received a 911 call around 9:15 p.m. on Monday about an incident in Ste-Sophie, about 65 kilometres north of Montreal. They say they believe the incident is connected to a car crash in nearby St-Jerome, Que., in which a driver hit another car around the same time police discovered the two victims at the Ste-Sophie home. The 33-year-old driver, who is considered a suspect, was seriously injured and taken to hospital along with the other driver involved in the collision. Police say the injuries of the two drivers are no longer considered life-threatening. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
An all-candidates forum took place virtually via Zoom on Feb. 23, 2021 for the Coast Mountains School District trustee by-election to fill the Terrace seat vacated when Art Erasmus moved away last year. All seven candidates participated via Zoom, and the forum was streamed live on the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Sarah Zimmerman, executive director of communications for Coast Mountains College served as the moderator for the event. Dave Crawley, Ed Harrison, Peter Lambright, Roger Leclerc, Lynn Parker, Diana Penner and Kate Spangl are all vying for the Terrace seat. The forum lasted two hours, and there were some disruptions with the online format as some candidates found themselves muted occasionally and had to start their answer over. Two candidates were given one minute to respond to a question, and other candidates could use one of two rebuttals to respond to a question that they were not asked. All candidates were given an opportunity to share what they would most like to accomplish should they be elected. Here are their responses in the order that candidates answered. Peter Lambright: “If I am successful for the next couple years while I sit on the board, I strongly believe we should be lobbying and hitting up the provincial government fast and hard so that we can start updating our failing infrastructure. As Terrace is growing, and it is the hub of the north, we have a lot of young people moving here for work and jobs, and once again if we did this together as Terrace, Tsimshian, Gitxsan, Haisla and Nisga’a, with their support and our support and our working forward for the greater future of our school district, we can start to get a lot of the different benefits if we started doing it all as one, and as someone who’s been in Aboriginal relations and is related to pretty much everybody around here, and as a former chief I know most of the leaders and I know they would step forwards for the greater good of their kids.” Ed Harrison: “I think the five-year plan is actually the critical component of the district’s thrust in terms of the new curriculum because it truly asks the district to seriously look at and analyze what parents, students, guardians are saying about the school system and gives it a basis to build on over the next five years, and it also does seriously hold people accountable for what it is they are saying they want to do, so I would see that as the critical component.” Lynn Parker: “From my platform it is accountability, it is to ensure, and it will go along with what I said before about the five-year plan, if we are to work on more ways to support a student in reading, writing, math or science to excel in their education and acknowledge employees needing to feel value for their work efforts, if we are to help get this five year off the ground by ensuring each child has their say in class about what supports they need, I think we need to hear from the students and hear from the staff, so we need that somehow, so I think our biggest pressure is to ensure that they are heard.” Kate Spangl: “I think for me the biggest priority is what I said in my opening, is communication, is open, flowing, timely, respectful communication that we are seeking from our community, from our parents, from our students. I echo what Lynn and Ed said about our five-year plan, we have to have that communication from all of our partners in order for that five-year plan to be solid and to be meaningful. I think opening up more lines of direct communication is what I would really like to achieve in the next year and a half.” Dave Crawley: “I think for me, first of all would be to help guide the schools through the pandemic to get us past the COVID-19 and onto a better way and then the five-year plan is very important so I believe that having a direction, having goals and then checking along the way to see that we are on track and that we are moving in the right direction is essential to the success of the schools and to the learning of the students, all of them.” Roger Leclerc: “I think exiting out of COVID-19 is going to take a while and its going to really affect the delivery of programs and services at the school district, and I agree with the district’s plan, that we need to get this done but along with that we need to have an implementation strategy, that we take that plan and implement it in the district, just the plan itself needs to have that next step to go with it, so those are my priorities.” Diana Penner: “I think over and above the biggest thing for me is teamwork, I think we’ve discovered more and more that every time when something falls off the radar screen the quickest way that we fall off with it is that we’re not all on the same page, so for me it’s always been teamwork. It’s about our 4,000 students, hearing their voices heard, the 770 staff, hearing their voices heard, it’s about all of our 19 schools being on the same page, all of us wanting the same thing for one another and working with one another. So having said that technology I think right now is the place where we are falling off the quickest so I think that for me, staying abreast with what’s going on with technology and this is a prime example with our mics and all that sort of stuff, it’s a hard track to stay on.” The entire all candidates forum can be viewed on the Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. General voting day is March 6 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room. There is also an advance voting day and that is March 3 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) moved into the green zone of the province’s COVID-19 reopening framework on Monday, and the shift has once again raised concerns about the risk of opening the region while the rest of the province remains under in lock down. At a recently held Collingwood council meeting, Collingwood Deputy Mayor, Keith Hull said if he were a councillor in TBM he would be "terrified" that the province just opened up the town as "Ontario's playground," for anyone and everyone to come without restrictions. TBM Mayor Alar Soever said he is more concerned about people abiding by public health protocols once they arrive at TBM, as opposed to monitoring or restricting where they are travelling from. “I think if everybody follows all of the protocols, regardless of where they're from, then, we should continue to see success. The bottom line is people have been coming up here since March and travelling back and forth,” Soever said. “People should just appreciate the fact that we are in the green zone, but keep up their guard, follow all the health protocols and I don't think we will have a problem,” he continued. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for the GBHU said he is concerned about people coming into the area from other high-risk regions, but he is confident in the community’s ability to continue to embrace safety measures. “This is definitely a top concern these days,” Arra said. “But, we look at the way the community has performed over the past 12 months, and I have a high-level of confidence that people will keep their guard up. However, we do need to do a bit more during this time, just because of the discrepancy between the level of risk between the two areas." In terms of initiating control measures, such as check stops coming into the community or address checks, Arra said nothing is off the table. “If there are indications that more intrusive measures are needed, we might go there. But at this point, it's education and communication to businesses and to the public in Grey-Bruce,” Arra said. Soever said check stops are not overly realistic and would be very difficult to manage logistically. “I just don't think there is a practical way of doing it,” he said. “When people do come here, as long as they socially distance and monitor their own health, and stay home when they have even minimal symptoms, then I think it's going to be just fine,” Soever said. Soever added that he would encourage residents to focus on where transmission of COVID-19 is occurring and follow the messages being provided by the GBHU. “Regardless of what zone you're in, just keep following the public health advice. We're in the green zone now. But if people don't follow the rules, we can go backwards pretty quick,” Soever said. According to Arra, since the onset of the pandemic, there have been no reports of case transmission related to a visitor and the majority of cases in the region are linked to private parties and social gatherings. “It's difficult to predict the future. But it's so easy to look at the past. We have a whole summer of visitors coming to the area from high-risk area hotspots and not once did we have reports of case transmission related to a visitor,” Arra said. “That really speaks to the commitment of businesses, local businesses and local community members to protect themselves, their family and the community. I see no reason why this would be any different going forward.” Cases are reported based on the primary address of the person who tests positive for COVID-19, the health unit will receive positive test results for individuals whose primary address is in Grey and Bruce County. As the community begins to embrace the freedom of the green zone, Arra pleads with the public to remember the 3W’s. "Washing hands frequently watching distance - regardless of the colour of the zone, regardless of where the person is from, these things have and will keep us safe until enough vaccines are in arms," Arra said. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca