15-inch ruler measures how much snow fell in Hamilton, ON during a two-day squall event.
15-inch ruler measures how much snow fell in Hamilton, ON during a two-day squall event.
(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters - image credit) Schitt's Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O'Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. "The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it," he said. "Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow." The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. "This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt's Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," Dan Levy said. "In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated." Earlier, O'Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating "an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien." "Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada," she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson's turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt's Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: "We don't say goodbye, we say see you down the road." Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was "in the presence of giants," naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying "he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices." Through tears, Ledward added: "I don't have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love." In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin. O'Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen's Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the "community of storytellers" for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes' version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda's father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he "could not feel more blessed." The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen." Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler's hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. "She's the reason I made this film," said Chung. "Minari is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on," said Chung. Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. "Netflix saved our lives," said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night's first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya's acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, "You did me dirty!" once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn't mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood's awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year's ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes' shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that "the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists." This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes' best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. "We must have Black journalists in our organization."
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels arriving at the International Space Station later this year. NASA's Kate Rubins and Victor Glover put the first set of mounting brackets and struts together, then bolted them into place next to the station's oldest and most degraded solar wings. But the work took longer than expected, and they barely got started on the second set before calling it quits. Rubins will finish the job during a second spacewalk later this week. The spacewalkers had to lug out the hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and struts in 8-foot (2.5-meter) duffle-style bags. The equipment was so big and awkward that it had to be taken apart like furniture, just to get through the hatch. Some of the attachment locations required extra turns of the power drill and still weren't snug enough, as indicated by black lines. The astronauts had to use a ratchet wrench to deal with the more stubborn bolts, which slowed them down. At one point, they were two hours behind. “Whoever painted this black line painted outside the lines a little bit," Glover said at one particularly troublesome spot. “We’ll work on our kindergarten skills over here,” Mission Control replied, urging him to move on. With more people and experiments flying on the space station, more power will be needed to keep everything running, according to NASA. The six new solar panels — to be delivered in pairs by SpaceX over the coming year or so — should boost the station’s electrical capability by as much as 30%. Rubins and Glover tackled the struts for the first two solar panels, due to launch in June. Their spacewalk ended up lasting seven hours, a bit longer than planned. “Really appreciate your hard work. I know there were a lot of challenges,” Mission Control radioed. The eight solar panels up there now are 12 to 20 years old — most of them past their design lifetime and deteriorating. Each panel is 112 feet (34 metres) long by 39 feet (12 metres) wide. Tip to tip counting the centre framework, each pair stretches 240 feet (73 metres), longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan. Boeing is supplying the new roll-up panels, about half the size of the old ones but just as powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They’ll be placed at an angle above the old ones, which will continue to operate. A prototype was tested at the space station in 2017. Rubins' helmet featured a new high-definition camera that provided stunning views, particularly those showing the vivid blue Earth 270 miles (435 kilometres) below. “Pretty fantastic," observed Mission Control. Sunday’s spacewalk was the third for infectious disease specialist Rubins and Navy pilot Glover — both of whom could end up flying to the moon. They’re among 18 astronauts newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon-landing program. The next moonwalkers will come from this group. Last week, Vice-President Kamala Harris put in a congratulatory call to Glover, the first African American astronaut to live full time at the space station. NASA released the video exchange Saturday. “The history making that you are doing, we are so proud of you,” Harris said. Like other firsts, Glover replied, it won't be the last. “We want to make sure that we can continue to do new things,” he said. Rubins will float back out Friday with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to wrap up the solar panel prep work, and to vent and relocate ammonia coolant hoses. Glover and Noguchi were among four astronauts arriving via SpaceX in November. Rubins launched from Kazakhstan in October alongside two Russians. They’re all scheduled to return to Earth this spring. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Fundraising efforts for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year have surpassed expectations. The Orangeville Food Bank had set a goal to raise $65,000 through the virtual-only fundraiser Feb. 20. Instead, it brought in $77,544. “We crushed the goal,” said Savanaha O'Reilly, food manager for the Orangeville Food Bank. “We thought, since the pandemic, we wouldn’t get a good of a turnout as we have in the past with it being virtual, but the community as always has surprised us." About 249 walkers signed up, with 47 teams registered. The top three teams were the Care Bears, raising $7,450, Marching Marks with $5,690, and the Young and the Rest of Us contributing $4,627. The Care Bears represented Orangeville District Secondary School. “We had a lot of support from the schools, not just the food drive, but with Coldest Night of the Year now,” said O’Reilly. “They blew our minds, and we didn’t expect that at all.” Those registered could join in on a two-kilometre walk or a distanced five-kilometre walk covering most of the town. Adult walkers who raised $150 and children contributing $75 received a commemorative tuque as a sign of appreciation from the organization. Participants were encouraged to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. The Orangeville food bank serves 700 people a month, 35 per cent of them children. “We have continued to see an increase in clients,” said “O’Reilly. “We are seeing people we haven’t seen before.” They state seniors continue to be the fastest-growing demographic each year. The organization receives no annual provincial or federal funding and is primarily supported by the community. Funds raised will support the food bank operations, including fresh food purchases, gardening programs, seniors' markets, food packages for children, and the community food share initiative. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Seulement trois femmes siègent en tant que cheffe dans les 10 communautés d'Eeyou Istchee et moins de 35 % des postes de conseillers sont occupés par les femmes. Il est cependant permis de croire que la parité se construit progressivement. "La force d'un homme dépend de celle de la femme derrière lui", dit avec un brin d'ironie la présidente de l'Association des femmes cries d'Eeyou Istchee, Stella Bearskin. Elle souligne que, sans les tâches modestes accomplies par des femmes, plusieurs organisations ne fonctionneraient pas. Mme Bearskin considère néanmoins que les femmes doivent être mieux représentées dans tous les postes clés des organisations de la nation crie. « Avant la colonisation, analyse-t-elle, les femmes décidaient de beaucoup de choses. » C'est la religion qui a détruit cet équilibre "important pour la survie de la famille et de la communauté". "Nous nous battons encore pour l'égalité en tant qu'organisation, pour qu'il y ait une autre voix au niveau politique", souligne Stella Bearskin. Un progrès Elle considère néanmoins qu'il y a un progrès depuis quelques années. "Il y avait plus de conflits avant, dit-elle. Maintenant nous apprenons à propos de la résolution de conflits, nous apprenons à mieux communiquer. Je vois moi-même le changement depuis 10 ans. On nous invite dans les rencontres du gouvernement cri. Je suis là, je parle de mes préoccupations. Dans le passé, il n'y avait pas ça. Je vois les changements, très lents, mais ça arrive." Pour que les femmes puissent occuper les postes qui leur reviennent dans l'appareil politique cri, la présidente considère qu'il faut leur procurer un espace sécuritaire où exprimer leurs préoccupations. "Ce sont les hommes qui doivent créer cet espace, précise Stella Bearskin. [...] Nous devons apprendre à travailler ensemble. Ce n'est pas à propos de qui est plus important, de qui est moins important. C'est à propos de la qualité et de l'équité." Une première En aout 2020 avait lieu un évènement historique à Chisasibi alors que, pour la première fois dans l'histoire de la communauté, les postes de chef et de chef adjoint étaient dévolus à des femmes, soient Daisy House et Paula Napash. Mme House recevait 83 % des votes et devenait la seconde femme à être mairesse du lieu, après Violet Pachanos, qui avait déjà siégé comme grande cheffe adjointe du Grand Conseil des Cris. Mme House avait elle-même déjà décliné la proposition d'occuper ce poste dans le passé parce qu'elle voulait donner la préséance à un fils en bas âge. Par contre, elle a été cheffe adjointe de Chisasibi durant 13 ans. Mme House, qui a une maîtrise en éducation et a longtemps travaillé dans ce domaine, dit qu'il lui a fallu du temps avant de trouver sa zone de confort en politique. " J'avais le sentiment de ne pas être à ma place, révèle-t-elle. Mais je me suis mise à rencontrer des gens, comme le ministre des Affaires autochtones. Geoffrey Kelley, [...] qui avait enseigné au cégep, et le maire d'Amos, Ulrick Chérubin [...] qui avait été professeur." Ces rencontres ont rassuré Daisy House sur sa nouvelle orientation de carrière. "Je me suis dit : « D'accord, je peux faire ça. » J'ai commencé à me sentir à ma place et je n'ai jamais regardé en arrière, même s'il y a des défis." Écoute et carapace Daisy House considère que le leadership, c'est l'écoute. "Et tu fais ce que tu peux avec ce que tu as, dit-elle. [...] Tu veux leur donner le monde, mais tu ne peux pas, tu as des limites. Et c'est la partie la plus dure du travail. Je devais dire : "Non, il n'y a pas de logement disponible, etc. [...] Je me sentais détestée." Elle dit avoir appris à se forger une carapace. La nouvelle cheffe de Chisasibi affirme ne pas souvent avoir été confrontée en tant que femme dans le milieu politique. " Ça n'arrive pas souvent, dit-elle. [...] Nous avons beaucoup de respect en tant que femmes leaders. Mais tu le sais quand ils pensent que tu es une femme." Vas-y La cheffe souligne le changement de mentalités chez les hommes et le support de son mari, qui s'est absenté du travail pour s'occuper de leur enfant de six mois pendant qu'elle poursuivait sa carrière politique. "Il a tellement aimé ça qu'il étirait son absence du travail!", se rappelle-t-elle. S'il y a peu de postes de chef occupés par les femmes en Eeyou Istchee, Daisy House souligne qu'elles en occupent beaucoup d'autres, par exemple dans le conseil scolaire, en santé, etc. Elle ne voit pas d'empêchement à ce que les femmes cries se lancent en politique. "C'est aux femmes de faire les démarches, assure-t-elle. Tu as un intérêt, vas-y." Denis Lord, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo urged citizens of the West African state on Sunday to ignore conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus vaccines ahead of the launch of its nationwide inoculation campaign against the virus on Tuesday. "Taking the vaccine will not alter your DNA, it will not embed a tracking device in your body, neither will it cause infertility in women or in men," he said. Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines as part of the global COVAX scheme aimed at providing poorer nations vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Officials in Prince Edward Island have placed the province under a 72-hour lockdown starting at 12 a.m. Monday after multiple new infections and two clusters of COVID-19 emerged on the island over the weekend. The "modified red alert" period will see schools and most non-essential businesses close for three days and require islanders to practice physical distancing with anyone outside their immediate household, with exceptions for people who live alone or require essential support. "We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months," Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters. The restrictions were announced as health officials reported five new COVID-19 infections, for a total of 17 cases in the past five days. Along with the new diagnoses comes a growing number of close-contact and potential exposure sites at places like fast-food restaurants and retail stores. Two COVID-19 clusters have been identified in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown and many of the new infections cannot be linked to travel, officials said. "We have two clusters of cases that are in our community and we do not have a source," chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said. "However, they all appear to be linked to each other. We are not seeing widespread community transmission at this point in time." The three-day lockdown will allow public health officials to undertake comprehensive contact tracing and ramp up testing, she said. "We need to get our arms around these clusters of cases and make sure it has not spread into any kind of widespread community transmission," Morrison added. The short-term lockdown was announced as more moderate "circuit-breaker measures" took effect in an effort to curb the spike in infections. Those restrictions included limiting gatherings to a household plus a consistent circle of 10 contacts, banning tournaments but allowing sports practices to continue, and limiting gyms and retail stores to half their normal capacity. Those measures will remain in force until March 14, while the lockdown is expected to be lifted Thursday. But if new cases emerge over the coming days that are not linked to the two clusters, or if new infections continue to rise, Morrison said it's possible the lockdown could be extended. The new infections recorded on Sunday include two males, both in their 20s, and three females, two in their 20s and one in her 50s. The province reported six new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, all among patients in their 20s. "Until we are able to confirm otherwise, we need to act as if this is a variant," King said, referring to virus mutations of concern that have surfaced across the country. "What we know is that the variants move and spread quickly, therefore we need to move quickly as well and do our best to get caught up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Nearly 4 million doses of the newest COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped Sunday night, and will begin to be delivered to states for injections starting on Tuesday. White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients announced that the entire stockpile of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will go out immediately. J&J will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June. Though the new shot is easier to administer and requires only one dose, the administration is not altering its distribution plans. Zients says, “We’re distributing the J&J vaccine as we do the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the chair of the White House equity task force, encouraged Americans to take the first dose available to them, regardless of manufacturer. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Fraud is overwhelming pandemic-related unemployment programs. J&J’s one-dose shot cleared, giving U.S. a 3rd COVID-19 vaccine to use. Health experts are urging Pope Francis to rethink his March trip to Iraq, saying that could become a huge superspreading event for the virus. Plunging demand for COVID-19 tests may leave US exposed. Biden team readies a broader economic measure after virus relief. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: WASHINGTON — A U.S. advisory panel has endorsed the new one-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson as a third option to bolster the national effort against the coronavirus pandemic. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted overwhelmingly to recommend the vaccine for adults 18 years old and up. The ruling followed emergency clearance of the vaccine by U.S. regulators a day earlier. Members of the group emphasized that all three vaccines now available in the U.S. are highly protective against the worst effects of the virus, including hospitalization and death. J&J plans to ship several million vaccine doses to states in the coming week, delivering a total of 20 million shots by the end of March. Health officials are eager to have an easier-to-use vaccine against COVID-19, which has killed more than 511,000 Americans and continues to mutate in troubling ways. CDC recommendations are not binding on state governments or doctors, but are widely heeded by the medical community. The same CDC panel previously recommended use of the two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna authorized in December. __ SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is cancelling about 7,200 coronavirus vaccine appointments after an error in the state health department’s registration website allowed people without qualifying conditions to register for the shots. Department spokesman Tom Hudachko said in a statement that the error allowed residents who are not 65 or older or who don’t have an underlying medical condition to sign up. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday those appointments are being cancelled. People who meet the state’s conditions can keep their vaccine appointments scheduled through Vaccinate.utah.gov. Public school teachers and first responders also are eligible for vaccines. Utah so far has administered more than 680,000 vaccine doses and estimates that 10% of its 3.2 million population has been fully vaccinated. ___ ATHENS, Greece — Greek health authorities have announced that 70 specialized intensive care units will be added to Athens hospitals as high hospitalization rates have nearly filled the available ones. The Athens area along with several others across the country are under lockdown until March 8, with most shops closed, schools operating on distance learning and a 9 p.m. curfew, but many experts talk of extending this for at least another week. On Sunday, authorities announced 1,269 new COVID-19 cases, along with 36 deaths. This brings the number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 191,100, with 6,504 deaths. There are 391 patients on ventilators in ICUs, close to a record high. ___ RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s capital has entered a two-week lockdown, joining several states in adopting measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as intensive care beds begin to fill in some important cities. At least eight Brazilian states adopted curfews over the past week due to the rise in cases and deaths from COVID-19. Thursday was Brazil’s deadliest day since the beginning of the pandemic, with 1,541 deaths confirmed from the virus. So far 254,000 people have died overall. Brasilia Gov. Ibaneis Rocha decreed the total closure of bars, restaurants, shopping malls and schools until March 15 and prohibited gatherings of people. Sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited after 8 p.m. In the federal district, 85% of hospital beds were occupied on Sunday, according to the local health ministry. President Jair Bolsonaro again criticized such measures, saying on his Twitter account: “The people want to work.” He threatened on Friday to cut off federal emergency pandemic assistance to states resorting to lockdowns. ___ ROME — While new COVID-19 cases surge in Italy’s north, the island of Sardinia has earned coveted ‘’white zone’’ status, allowing for evening dining and drinking at restaurants and cafes and the reopening after months of closure of gyms, cinemas and theatres. Earlier this year, the Italian government added ‘’white zone’’ status to its colour-coded system of restrictions on businesses and schools, with “red zone” designation carrying the strictest measures. Starting on Monday, the region of Sardinia, with an incidence of fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents, will be able to allow the most liberties since a second wave of coronavirus infections last fall prompted the government to tighten restrictions nationwide after easing them during summer. The Health Ministry report covering the third week of February shows nationwide incidence was 145 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and several regions had far higher incidence. The Mediterranean island of Sardinia is a popular vacation destination. Last summer, crowds at seaside discos and clubs there were cited as a factor in the climb in an explosion of cases in Italy in the last months of 2020. ___ TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has surpassed 60,000 known coronavirus-related deaths, the latest grim milestone for the hardest-hit country in the Middle East. The Health Ministry reported 93 new deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday and more than 8,000 new infections, pushing the total infection count over 1.63 million. After more than a year of the pandemic, deaths from COVID-19 recently have declined in Iran as movement restrictions in the capital have set in, including inter-city travel bans, mask mandates and school closures. The government on Sunday banned incoming travellers from a list of 32 countries, including Britain and other states in Africa and Latin America, due to fears of new virus variants. Over the year, Iran has struggled with surges that at times overwhelmed its health system as authorities resisted a total lockdown to salvage an economy crippled by U.S. sanctions. Iran’s vaccine drive recently has gotten underway, with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine administered to health workers this month. An additional 250,000 doses by the Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical Sinopharm arrived in Iran over the weekend. The country is also accelerating efforts to produce a domestic vaccine, beginning human trials for its second vaccine on Sunday. ___ BERLIN — The German disease control agency is adding France’s Moselle region to its list of areas with a high rate of variant coronavirus cases, meaning travellers from there will face additional hurdles when crossing the border into neighbouring Germany. The Robert Koch Institute said Sunday that the restrictions would come into force at midnight on March 2, putting Moselle on a par with countries such as the Czech Republic, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Travellers from those areas must produce a recent negative coronavirus test before crossing the German border. The measure is likely to affect many people who live on one side of the frontier and work on the other. The Moselle region in northeastern France includes the city of Metz and borders with the German states of Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate. Clement Beaune, the French minister for European affairs, said France regrets the decision and is in negotiations with Germany to try to lighten the measures for 16,000 inhabitants of Moselle who work across the border. ___ LONDON — Britain’s government says families with children in school will be provided with free coronavirus home test kits as part of plans for schools to reopen beginning on March 8. Free, twice-weekly tests will be provided to children’s households regardless of whether anyone has symptoms, officials said Sunday. The tests will also be offered to adults working with schools, including bus drivers. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said testing family members will provide “another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible.” Schools in England have been closed except to children of key workers since January. Britain is also racing ahead with its vaccination program, with almost 20 million in the U.K. who have now had a first jab. Some 2 million people aged 60 to 63 in England will start getting invitations to book their shots beginning on Monday. The government aims to offer a first jab to all adults by the end of July. Britain has Europe’s worst virus death toll at nearly 123,000 dead. ___ BUDAPEST — Hungary’s prime minister on Sunday received a COVID-19 vaccine developed in China as his country aims to boost vaccination rates using jabs developed in eastern countries. Prime Minister Viktor Orban posted photos on Facebook of himself being inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine. Hungary last week became the first country in the European Union to begin using the Chinese jab. Hungary’s government has been critical of the speed of the EU’s vaccination program, and has purchased vaccines from Russia and China to boost procurements. “The vaccines reserved by the EU are simply not arriving, and they are arriving more slowly than predicted. If we didn’t have the Russian and Chinese vaccines, we would be in big trouble,” Orban said during a radio interview on Friday. He earlier said he would choose to receive the Sinopharm vaccine because he trusted it the most. ___ ROME — Infectious disease experts are expressing concern about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq, given a sharp rise in coronavirus infections there, a fragile health care system and the unavoidable likelihood that Iraqis will crowd to see him. No one wants to tell Francis to call it off, and the Iraqi government has every interest in showing off its relative stability by welcoming the first pope to the birthplace of Abraham. The March 5-8 trip is expected to provide a sorely-needed spiritual boost to Iraq’s beleaguered Christians. But from a purely epidemiological standpoint, a papal trip to Iraq amid a global pandemic is not advisable, health experts say. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Dr. Navid Madani of Harvard Medical School’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “This could potentially lead to unsafe or superspreading risks.” Their concerns were reinforced with the news Sunday that the Vatican ambassador to Iraq, the main point person for the trip, tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating. The embassy said Archbishop Mitja Leskovar’s symptoms were mild and that he was continuing to prepare for Francis’ visit. Beyond his case, experts note that wars, economic crises and an exodus of Iraqi professionals have devastated the country’s hospital system, while studies show most of Iraq’s new COVID-19 infections are the highly-contagious variant first identified in Britain. ___ ANKARA, Turkey — Travelling across roads covered with ice and snow, vaccination teams have been going to Turkey’s isolated mountain villages as the government seeks to inoculate 60% of the country’s people against coronavirus over the next three months. After much effort, medical workers arrived Friday to vaccinate older villagers in Gumuslu, a small settlement of 350 in the central province of Sivas that lies 140 miles (230 kilometres) from the provincial capital. “It’s a difficult challenge to come here,” said Dr Rustem Hasbek, head of Sivas Health Services. “The geography is tough, the climate is tough, as you can see.” Turkey rolled out the Chinese Sinovac vaccine on Jan. 14 and has so far given out 8.2 million doses. Ankara has also ordered 4.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkey aims to vaccinate 52.5 million people by the end of May. ___ HELSINKI — Police in Denmark said eight people were arrested following in an anti-lockdown demonstration with 1,200 participants in the centre of Copenhagen, the Danish capital. The demonstration proceeded largely peacefully Saturday but those detained are suspected of behaving violently against police or violating fireworks regulations, police said. Participants gathered in a square in front of Copenhagen’s town hall. The rally was organised by a group identifying as “Men in Black Denmark.” It was the first demonstration in Copenhagen since the Danish government last week that it was extending several anti-coronavirus restrictions. ___ BANGKOK — Thailand started its first vaccinations Sunday with 200 public health officials receiving the Sinovac vaccine from China. Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was given the first shot at a hospital near Bangkok, followed by the deputy health minister and other senior officials. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who attended the vaccination ceremony, said the public should have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as it has been approved by authorities in Thailand and other countries. Prayuth did not receive the vaccine on Sunday because he is older than Sinovac’s recommended age, which is 18-59. Prayuth is 66. Thailand received the first 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine on Wednesday. They are part of the government’s plan that has so far secured 2 million doses from Sinovac and 61 million doses from AstraZeneca. Thailand has had more than 25,000 confirmed cases and 83 deaths from COVID-19. ___ WASHINGTON — The U.S. now has a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts have anxiously awaited a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations. The virus has already killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways. The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents. The Associated Press
COVID-19 numbers for Alberta, reported on February 25: 132,432 people have been infected with the virus. The earliest known COVID-19 case in Alberta was detected in a blood sample collected on Feb. 24. The first case was announced on March 5. Of those cases, 126,074 people have recovered, or 95.2 per cent of all cases. 399 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the active total to 4,484. 280 people are in hospital, with 56 people in intensive care units. Privacy regulations means Alberta Health cannot release how many COVID-19 patients are being treated in local hospitals or health centres. Eight new deaths from COVID-19, totalling 1,874. The majority of people who have died from COVID-19 also had high blood pressure, dementia, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 9,217 people were tested for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. To date, 3,387,829 tests for COVID-19 have been carried out on 1,813,521 people. 9,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the last 24 hours. 195,572 doses have been administered in total; 80,620 people are fully immunized with both doses. 106 adverse events following immunization have been reported to Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services. Adverse events are classified as any health problem following immunization. They are not necessarily caused by the vaccine. COVID-19 in Fort McMurray: Seven new active cases in the past 24 hours, bringing known active total to 40. The first case was reported in the city on March 19. Three new recoveries in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,711. Masks in public spaces become mandatory on Oct. 26, after 51 active COVID-19 cases were reported in the Wood Buffalo region. Alberta has since declared a province-wide mask order. Privacy regulations means Alberta Health cannot release how many COVID-19 patients are being treated in local hospitals or health centres. Three people have died from COVID-19 in Fort McMurray, with the last death reported on Dec. 24. The first death was reported Sept. 8. COVID-19 in rural areas and Wood Buffalo National Park: One new COVID-19 case in rural communities or Wood Buffalo National Park has been reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the active total to two cases. No new recovery in rural areas or Wood Buffalo National Park in the past 24 hours, keeping the total at 139. One recovered COVID-19 case is no longer being considered a local case. AHS has not confirmed which rural communities have active COVID-19 cases, only community leaders have. Masks in public spaces become mandatory on Oct. 26, after 51 active COVID-19 cases were reported in the Wood Buffalo region. Alberta has since declared a province-wide order. Privacy regulations means Alberta Health cannot release how many COVID-19 patients are being treated in local hospitals or health centres. There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in the RMWB’s rural areas. COVID-19 outbreaks at Wood Buffalo’s schools: Information on school outbreaks can be found online from Alberta Health Services. No school in Wood Buffalo has been ordered to close. An outbreak is declared when five people linked to a public site, such as a workplace, test positive for COVID-19. At continuing care centres and schools, the number is two. An outbreak is over when no new COVID-19 cases have been reported after 30 days. COVID-19 outbreaks at Wood Buffalo’s workplaces: Information on workplace outbreaks can be found online from Alberta Health Services. Canadian Natural’s Albian site. Canadian Natural’s Horizon site. Canadian Natural’s Kirby site. Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake site. North American Construction Group. Suncor’s base plant. Suncor’s Fort Hills site. Syncrude’s Mildred Lake site. Syncrude’s Aurora site. YMCA Eagle Ridge child care. An outbreak is declared when five people linked to a public site, such as a workplace, test positive for COVID-19. At continuing care centres and schools, the number is two. An outbreak is over when no new COVID-19 cases have been reported after 30 days. Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
PARIS — Captain Jose Fonte rescued a point for Lille with a thumping late header in a 1-1 home draw with Strasbourg on Sunday to ensure his side stayed top of the French league. Lille is two points ahead of defending champion Paris Saint-Germain and three ahead of third-place Lyon, which drew 1-1 at Marseille in Sunday's late game. Lyon took the lead in the 20th minute through striker Karl Toko Ekambi, who swept the ball into the corner after being set up by midfielder Lucas Paqueta. But Paqueta's handball just before halftime gave seventh-place Marseille a penalty, and Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik confidently equalized for his second goal in three games since joining from Napoli. Lyon forward Memphis Depay shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area 10 minutes into the second half and, with 20 minutes left of an even contest, Paqueta was sent off for a slightly late tackle on Dimitri Payet. Even with 10 men Lyon looked the more dangerous side, and Depay finished well in the 83rd only for his goal to be correctly ruled offside — much to the Netherlands forward's frustration. Earlier, Strasbourg stunned Lille when it took the lead through striker Ludovic Ajorque in the 35th minute, finishing powerfully from Frederic Guilbert's cross. Both sides wasted chances before the 37-year-old Fonte rose at the back post to meet Benjamin Andre's pinpoint cross from the left. Strasbourg did not come for a draw and almost scored a dramatic winner in the fifth minute of injury time, but Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan made a superb save to keep out striker Habib Diallo's low shot from 10 metres. Down south in Monaco, substitute Stefan Jovetic and striker Kevin Volland hit late goals as fourth-place Monaco beat Brest 2-0 to stretch its unbeaten league run to 12 games and stay in the title chase. Brest goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur justified his recall by saving Wissam Ben Yedder's first-half penalty — Monaco's first failed penalty this season — and making a great save to stop central defender Guillermo Maripan's powerful header from a corner in the 74th minute. But he was beaten one minute later when Jovetic advanced to the edge of the penalty area and let fly with a powerful shot into the bottom right corner. Volland showed good timing to clip midfielder Aleksandr Golovin's low free kick over Larsonneur and inside the right post in the 89th. Monaco is one point behind Lyon and two behind PSG, which routed rock-bottom Dijon 4-0 on Saturday. OTHER MATCHES Substitute Armand Lauriente scored two second-half goals as Lorient rallied to beat Saint-Etienne 2-1 and climb out of the relegation zone into 17th place. Sixth-place Lens went 2-0 down inside 10 minutes away to midtable Angers but hit back to earn a 2-2 draw, with striker Arnaud Kalimuendo scoring an injury-time equalizer. Also, it was Nimes 1, Nantes 1 and Reims 0, Montpellier 0. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 and it has already begun to send back jaw-dropping images of the surrounding area.
Usually every summer people come from across southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba for a fireworks spectacle at Moosomin Regional Park. There’s tens of thousands of people, food and drink, bands performing, and of course, the fireworks. The Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition is a beloved event in Canada and draws competitors from all over the globe, as far as China and the Philippines—it’s the largest event in southeast Saskatchewan. It’s a world-class competition that’s on the same level as some of the best international fireworks competitions. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours are invested into the competition each year with it all coming together as the fireworks mesmerize over Moosomin Lake. From the competitors to the planners to the performers to the vendors to all the spectators it draws, it’s one of the most important weekends of the year for the local economy. In 2020, the event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic restricting gathering sizes and international travel—it would have been the 11th year of the fireworks in Moosomin. For the second straight summer, the competition looks unlikely to go forward. Although August is still months away, preparation for such a large event begins early and Karen Hebert, head of the fireworks committee, says that without knowing what will be allowed down the road, there’s just no way of planning such a substantial gathering. “Until we can gather a large amount of people it’s just definitely not an option,” she said. “Our crowds are in the thousands so whenever the guidelines open up, is when we’ll be able to look at something like this, but until then, it’s definitely not an option at all. For now it’s off the table unless things open up, I can’t see that happening.” Another factor working against the event right now is that it’s an international competition and non-essential travel is not recommended, meaning any competition would need to be strictly Canadian. “With the parameters that are in place right now, I just can’t see things being able to open up enough and then also even if we could gather people, would we have to have two Canadian companies? Because do you want to bring other countries in? And with the travel restrictions, at this point in time it’s not an option.” Hebert doesn’t believe any fireworks event will be able to happen this summer based on how things are looking in Canada with the slow rollout of the vaccine and says all they can do is sit and wait with no control over what’s to come. “There’s really nothing we can do about it and at this point in time,” she said. “I can’t see the fireworks being able to happen in 2021 unless some major changes happen, but the way we’re going right now and with the lack of vaccines, I just can’t see things opening up very much.” Alternate options for the event are under consideration if things open up more, but it’s a logistically tough situation to work with, says Hebert. “Our main fireworks contact with the Canadian company is Peter (Palmer of CanFire Pyrotechnics) and he called me last fall hoping we could do something smaller, but at that time people would have had to drive in and park somewhere to see it and we don’t have a facility in order to handle that,” she said. The best chance of a fireworks show for this summer at Moosomin Lake would be if gathering restrictions open up and a smaller scale event is possible within the guidelines. “If we can host something then we’d for sure look into that,” she said. “We’ve discussed different options, but until we can actually gather people, none of those can be planned out.” In a normal situation, nearly a full year of planning goes into the competition to ensure entertainment, vendors, and competitions are set, but given the circumstances, the committee hasn’t been able to do anything in preparation for the summer of 2021. “We would have already started planning,” she said. “Once we put the previous year’s to bed, we’d maybe take the rest of the month off and then we’d start again by September to get ready for the next year. We need to book our bands and entertainment and all of that stuff so we would have already had a lot of prep work done at this point in time.” At this point, Hebert doesn’t even think 2022 is a sure thing for the fireworks competition because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and nobody knowing what the “new normal” will look like as the world recovers from Covid-19. “This is just the reality of our new Covid life,” she said. “What are they going to do for large concerts and large gatherings of people? I don’t know when that will return or what that could even look like in the future. Nobody can really say anything, we really know nothing.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
La Ville de Sept-Îles a annoncé ce matin la fermeture de ses glaces extérieurs pour la journée, en raison du temps doux. Ceci sera temporaire, puisque déjà, demain, un Avertissement de tempête hivernale a été émis par Environnement Canada. Alors qu’en ce dernier jour de février la température tournera autour de 0 dégré, de lundi à mardi, Environnment Canada prévoit entre 20 et 40 centimèetres de neige, des vents forts, et de la poudrerie pour le secteur de Baie-Trinité, ainsi que Port-Cartier et Sept-Îles. Les vents pourraient atteindre 80 km/h. Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
TORONTO — Ontario has expanded the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, its largest municipality announced on Sunday as the province eclipsed 300,000 total infections since the onset of the global pandemic. The city of Toronto said it received word over the weekend that the province had added homeless people to the list of those who qualify for a jab under Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout plan. Shelter-system residents will accordingly start receiving their initial vaccine doses this week, the city said in a release. "People experiencing homelessness are at elevated risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings," Toronto Board of Health Chair and city Coun. Joe Cressy said in the statement. "By updating their vaccination prioritization plan, the province has made it possible for the city and our hospital and health care partners to help keep those most at risk in our communities safe." Ontario's ministry of health had previously stated that homeless residents would not be eligible for a vaccine until the inoculation drive entered its second phase. The city did not provide a timeline for when the provincial guidance changed, and the ministry did not immediately respond to request for comment on Sunday. Toronto said local health officials and its shelter support and housing administration would identify shelters at the highest risk of contracting the virus, but did not spell out their criteria. Advocates had been pushing for homeless residents to move up the vaccine queue for weeks, citing their significantly higher rates of mental and health afflictions relative to the general public as well as difficulties they face in observing basic public health protocols in an overtaxed shelter system. Dr. Andrew Bond, medical director of the homeless-oriented health clinic Inner City Health Associates, said shelters are akin to long-term care homes where the virus has historically taken hold quickly. A major difference, Bond said, is that unlike the "captive audience" of a long-term care home, those living in shelters leave every day to get food, see doctors and other health-care professionals. The presence of new COVID-19 variants of concern in the city, he said, only compounds the issue. "As people come and go from the shelter into the community, the variant will propagate into the wider community, if it hasn't already," Bond said. "It’s really in everybody's interest here to vaccinate those experiencing homelessness." Bond's organization issued a tweet on Sunday applauding the province's decision to start immunizing homeless residents. The original plan from the province saw shelter workers to be vaccinated in the first phase while shelter residents were slated for Phase 2. That two-tier system drew widespread criticism among homeless advocates. "It makes absolutely no sense, and I'm not being facetious, it just literally makes no sense to me," Bond said of the original inoculation timeline. "The only effective way to control outbreaks is to vaccinate simultaneously all of those individuals in the shelter system, whether they work or live there." A COVID-19 variant believed to be one first identified in the United Kingdom has also highlighted the challenges the homeless face when needing to self-isolate. One outbreak linked to the variant has ripped through the Maxwell Meighen Centre in downtown Toronto, with at least 31 people being infected. A man who lives at the facility said proper isolation inside the shelter is impossible due to regular intermingling and shared bathrooms. The man, who did not want to be identified for fear of recriminations from staff, said everyone staying at the centre has to leave their rooms from 8 a.m. until noon. The Salvation Army, which operates Maxwell Meighan, said people do have to leave the shelter during those hours so their rooms can be cleaned. The situation is not unique to one facility, according to one social worker. "Every shelter I've called has told me that they're on outbreak status and they're closed to new admissions," Sarah Ovens said. "There is nowhere to go where they will feel safe and be able to actually isolate, both to keep themselves safe and to keep other people safe." The move to vaccinate the homeless comes after Ontario reported 1,062 new infections and 20 more deaths linked to the virus on Sunday. Those figures pushed the province's overall virus case count to 300,816 infections over the course of the pandemic, making it the highest in the country. The province is also poised to record 7,000 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, with 6,980 recorded as of Sunday. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto saw 259 new infections in the past 24 hours, nearby Peel Region recorded 201 and York Region logged 86. Hospitalizations in the province declined by 53 to 627, with 289 patients in intensive care and 185 on a ventilator. The figures come a day before several public health units in the province are set to change status. Seven are set to relax protective public health measures, while Thunder Bay and Muskoka Simcoe are set to move into the lockdown stage of the provincial pandemic response plan amid rising case numbers. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said Sunday it remains open to talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal despite Tehran’s rejection of an EU invitation to join a meeting with the U.S. and the other original participants in the agreement. A senior administration official said the U.S. was “disappointed” in the rejection but was flexible as to the timing and format of the talks and saw Iran’s decision to snub the European invitation as part of the diplomatic process. The official said the U.S. would be consulting with the other participants — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — on the way forward. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier Sunday, Iran turned down the offer for talks saying the “time isn’t ripe” for the meeting, at which the U.S. would have participated as an observer. Iran had been insisting that the U.S. lift or ease sanctions imposed on it by the Trump administration under its “maximum pressure campaign” before sitting down with the United States. President Joe Biden has said repeatedly that the U.S. would return to the deal that his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from in 2018 only after Iran restores its full compliance with the accord. "Considering US/E3 positions & actions, time isn’t ripe for the proposed informal meeting," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter. He referred to the so-called E3, which comprises Britain, France and Germany. “Remember: Trump failed to meet because of his ill-advised ‘Max Failure,'" he said. “With sanctions in place, same still applies. Censuring is NOT diplomacy. It doesn’t work with Iran.” The Biden administration announced earlier this month that it would accept an EU invitation to participate in a meeting of deal participants and at the same time rescinded a Trump determination from the U.N. Security Council that Iran was in significant breach of the agreement that all U.N. sanctions had been restored. The U.N. move had little practical effect as nearly all members of the world body had rejected Trump's determination because the U.S. was no longer a participant in the nuclear deal. Biden administration officials said the withdrawal of the determination was intended to show goodwill toward its partners and at the same time had eased severe restrictions on the movement of Iranian diplomats posted to the U.N. Separately on Sunday, the State Department condemned a weekend attack by Iran-backed Yemeni rebels on Saudi Arabia, saying it damaged prospects for peace. Along with the overtures to Iran on the nuclear front, the Biden administration also reversed several late Trump administration moves against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rescinded his predecessor's designation that the Houthi rebels were a “foreign terrorist organization,” a move that the U.N. and relief groups had said would make the already disastrous humanitarian situation in Yemen even worse. In addition, the Biden administration decided to halt all offensive assistance to Saudi Arabia for its military campaign against the Houthis in Yemen. The Houthis, however, have stepped up their operations in the country, pressing ahead with an offensive in Marib province and launching attacks on Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, Saudi authorities said they had intercepted a missile attack over their capital and reported that bomb-laden drones had targeted a southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults they have blamed on the Houthis. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Sunday said the U.S. “strongly condemns the Houthis’ attacks on population centres in Saudi Arabia.” He said they “threaten not only innocent civilians but also prospects for peace and stability in Yemen” and called on the Houthis “to end these egregious attacks.” “The United States remains committed to its longstanding partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups," Price said. On Friday, the Biden administration further strained ties with the Saudis when it published a declassified intelligence report finding that Saudi Arabia's crown prince had ordered an operation to capture or kill Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident who was brutally slain at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Saudi Arabia has forcefully rejected the report's conclusions. ___ Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Most years across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, the spring and summer are filled with rodeo events over the weekend. In 2020, rodeos all across Canada were cancelled due to Covid-19. For the first time in over 100 years, the Calgary Stampede was cancelled as a result of the pandemic, but for the time being it’s set to take place in 2021. Along with the Stampede, other rodeos could be back this year too. The Canadian Cowboys Association is Canada’s largest semi-pro and pro rodeo association and has been around since 1963, promoting rodeos—it consists of 900 members. It sanctions events across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia—including seven major events and five optional, novice, and junior events per year—and draws over 850,000 spectators from the Western U.S., Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Canada. In 2020, it had to cancel its entire slate of events—the Canadian Cowboys Association sanctions over 50 rodeo events in prairie communities. Every fall it hosts its Championship Finals in Swift Current and has thousands of spectators. The unknowns around what comes next with the pandemic and provincial guidelines will mean nothing is set in stone, but the Canadian Cowboys Association is preparing as if there will be a season and remains hopeful events can run, even if they’re at a lesser extent. “We’re being hopeful that rodeos will happen this year and what we’re looking at is if rodeos will be able to run as outdoor events with spectators,” said Lenora Bells of the Canadian Cowboys Association. “With the rodeos that are indoors, we’re looking at the possibility of switching them to outdoors so that they can have spectators. “This is all of course only if the Covid-19 guidelines will allow us to hold these outdoors. We’re being cautiously optimistic. We’ve been in touch with our rodeo communities—we have about 50 of them—and we’ve been communicating with the committees that are in charge of the rodeo events. “About half of them have gotten back to us that they plan to go ahead with an outdoor venue as long as they can have at least 100 spectators and they’re hoping that the government and the health authority will look into increasing that. We’re just hoping that there will be more flexibility for the outdoor events. “Right now the decision for the seven months is coming from the health authority hopefully before the end of February and we’ll go from there. I know that the communities, and even us as an association, are looking at our partnerships and sponsorships in anticipation of rodeos going ahead and we’re also planning to go ahead with the finals in October in Swift Current.” The importance of rodeo events across communities in the prairies cannot be underestimated, they help the local economy by driving more business into town. Bells says they’re working to ensure all communities are able to host some sort of event as long as the guidelines allow and they’re ready to adjust venues and shift dates if need be. “Our board has met a couple times already over this and we just continue to plan for having rodeos,” she said. “It would be great to have all of them happen. We have two that happen in April that are indoors and they’re looking at just rescheduling to a different date later in the summer. “So there might be some rescheduling happening too so the communities can have rodeos and some kind of festival to gather the community together. They’re definitely big for these communities—our subcontractors, our judges, our pickup men, our secretaries, everybody is just chomping at the bit to get out there.” Bells thinks it’s important for the Canadian Cowboys Association to try and do something this year if they’re able to because even if it’s a smaller rodeo, it’s better than nothing and people haven’t been able to look forward to local events in a long time. She says some communities have even begun prepping for their yearly rodeo as they remain hopeful the spring and summer will bring a safer atmosphere. “Some of the communities are already selling, not tickets to the rodeo, but they’re having fundraisers,” she said. “Some of the communities are doing that where you can buy a raffle ticket and win something. I know some communities are starting to do that. We’re keeping in touch with the communities and we have social media to keep up with. “We encourage all our communities and members to follow our social media—we have over 600 cowgirl and cowboy members, subcontractors, etc.—and this can keep everybody up to date. So we encourage everybody to keep an eye on that and continue to be optimistic that even if it’s at a smaller scale, we can still plan on something happening. Everybody is ready to get together, but in a safe way so that’s what we’re figuring out.” It’s not an easy task for the Canadian Cowboys Association to plan rodeos and guide communities in four different provinces through this because of the unknowns ahead. There’s a few months until the season begins, but there’s no way of knowing what travel restrictions and numbers for gatherings will look like for each province. Still, Bells doesn’t think it would do any good to wait around to hear what they might be able to do in the coming months, they’d rather plan and ensure if they can do something then they will. She says for those in the rodeo community, communication is key as they move forward and encourages people to stay posted for updates through their social media channels. “What we’re doing is planning like we’re having a season so the planning process is happening,” she said. “For the dates of the rodeos, we’ll be going from last season’s dates—which now would be the 2019 dates—we’ll be posting those again on our website so people can see where the rodeos might be happening. If people want to look at that previous schedule, they can judge where and when rodeos might be happening.” https://www.world-spectator.com Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Dufferin OPP say one man has died from his injuries after his car collided with another vehicle that failed to stop at a stop sign in Amaranth. At about 8:26 a.m. Feb. 20, the OPP’s Dufferin detachment responded to a collision on County Rd. 12 and 20th Side Rd. in Amaranth. The initial investigation determined a silver sedan was being driven southbound on County Road 20 when it went through a stop sign and collided with a red sedan heading eastbound on 20th Side Road. The driver and passenger in the silver sedan sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken a local hospital.. The driver of the red sedan, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, suffered fatal injuries as a result. He has been identified as Scott Hambleton, 60, of Grand Valley. Police continue to investigate the collision and ask anyone with information to contact them at 1-888-310-1122. Those who have witnessed the collision and wish to speak to victim services can call Caledon/Dufferin Victim Services at 905-951-3838. Editor's Note: Feb. 23, 7 p.m.: this article has been edited from a previously published version to accurately detail the roads on which the collision occurred. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
At the regular Esterhazy Town Council meeting on Wednesday, a motion was passed to use the Sask Lotteries Grant of $1,500—if it meets the criteria—towards staffing and costs for a future hockey academy program through PJ Gillen School. The Good Spirit School Division is currently working on a proposal to run a hockey academy through the school at Dana Antal Arena. It would be a part of the curriculum. “It’s a proposal that’s been verbally submitted to us saying that they would like to do this,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We want to review our current policy that we have for joint use of school facilities and town facilities.” The school currently uses the D.A. Mackenzie Aquatic Centre as part of a school swimming program and the rink for open skating. This program would be hockey specific. “I want to make sure the agreement we have in place can accommodate all kids,” said Councillor Randy Bot. “All kids can swim and it gives every kid the same opportunity. Hockey isn’t necessarily the same because it targets only certain kids, does this give every kid the same opportunity?” The proposal of entering into an agreement with the school is still in preliminary talks and there’s more to be sorted out about the details and how the program would run and be offered, but it would be a part of the school. “We need to look at this with the school because it’s not an extracurricular activity,” said Rec Director Brenda Redman. “It would be through the school.” “We need to take a look at the agreement and talk to a representative from the school to come up with an agreement together,” said Mayor Grant Forster. “We need to do more work and come back to this.” The council was in agreement that the next step is having Thorley and Redman talk with the school to figure out exactly what the agreement and program could look like before this goes further. “We’re going to review the entire agreement,” said Thorley. “It was back in 2014 when our community was a little bit more in co-ordinating baseball and other things in town so we did a lot more on the grounds of the school and we don’t do as much now. “When there was programs like volleyball that needed the gyms in the evening, that’s when the agreement was made, back in 2014. “We don’t use their facilities as much, but we’d also like to open those doors to make sure we have the option to do that and have a joint policy. We’ll review this and talk with the Good Spirit School Division so we can look at the entire agreement all together and make sure we can refine it.” Minor hockey and figure skating to continue With the recent announcement from Premier Scott Moe that the current Covid-19 restrictions will stay in place until at least February 19, Esterhazy minor hockey and figure skating plan to continue practicing within the current restrictions at Dana Antal Arena. “Minor hockey has said they will run until the end of February,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Figure skating is hoping to run until the end of the season as best they can within the restrictions and they’ll try to make up sometime they’ve lost in some areas. “We also have a private user that’s looking to rent for the month of March and they would basically pick up minor hockeys times. So we can continue to keep the arena open until the end of March for sure.” Council remuneration A motion was passed by the council to adjust council remuneration to a monthly rate rather than by a per-meeting rate. Councillors will now receive a $600 per month remuneration with a $25 per month car allowance. The reason for this change is to allow more flexibility when it comes to sitting on committees. Now more councillors will have the opportunity to sit on different committees without a cost to the town. “We did an internal survey to see what costs were for councillor remuneration for the last eight years,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Every time someone goes to a committee meeting they get paid around $88 and every time they come to a council meeting they get $200, so throughout the year depending on which committees you sit on, you get a certain amount of dollars. “We took the average of it all and felt comfortable with it. Now it allows us to move people around on committees and provides us more flexibility to add people or remove people from committees. It’s more flexible, cost-effective, and keeps everybody on the same page.” Yearly operating rates The council passed a motion to accept some yearly operating rates. They didn’t pass landfill operating rates and will return to it. Yearly custom rates will increase by 15 per cent, office miscellaneous rates won’t change, and there will be an increase to $30 for dog and cat licenses. “Yearly custom rates are if someone wants to rent our sander for an hour, those types of rates went up 15 per cent,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Office rates are for things like photocopying, and with the pet licenses we’re hoping to put some of that money into things like the dog park. “Anyone that has paid the dog and cat licenses to date right now won’t be asked to pay more because this was passed after that point. We’re going to review the landfill because we’re looking at potentially putting a scale in it.” Golder Associates awarded tender The council passed a motion to award a tender of up to $20,000 to Golder Associates for a climate lens assessment at the water treatment plant. “Under our water treatment plant we have two stipulations that we have to complete as part of the funding,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “It’s a climate lens assessment that has to be completed for provincial and federal government regulations. Basically the governments say we need to do this because we’re doing work so our engineer put it out for tender and we received about eight of them. “We then did a pretty comprehensive evaluation and Golder Associates was the choice. So we’re spending up to $20,000 within a contingency of items.” Airport hangar lease The council passed a motion to enter into a three-year agreement to lease the airport hangar for $600 per year. “We have leases for up to three years and we have about four or five buildings we have leases on,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We were recently informed the hangar was sold, and we don’t own the hangar, but we own the land it’s on so we lease the land to them. The new owner has engaged in a three-year lease with us.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
The mayor of Auckland called for residents to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccines after New Zealand's biggest city was thrown into its fourth pandemic lockdown over the weekend. The seven-day lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on a city of 2 million was prompted by just a single new COVID-19 case, reinforcing the New Zealand leader's strict "go hard, go early" response throughout the crisis. That approach has been credited with making New Zealand one of the most successful countries in the world at controlling the spread of the coronavirus, but the latest shutdown has been criticised by some on social media.
A popular online food delivery service is now in Orangeville. Uber Eats, is already available in more than 120 cities across the country, recently launched in town. “These days, supporting your favourite restaurants isn’t always easy,” said Lola Kassim, general manager of Uber Eats Canada. “We are committed to working with the city’s restaurant scene to bring you the best Orangeville has to offer at the touch of a button.” Restaurants can choose between options like 0 per cent pick-up, 7.5 per cent for online ordering, and 15 per cent for restaurants that use their own delivery staff in addition to Uber Eats' full-service option. The company is starting with more than 30 establishments, including Mochaberry Orangeville, Angel’s Diner and Burger King. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Branden Grace closed eagle-birdie Sunday to win the Puerto Rico Open, an emotional triumph following his father's January death after a month-long fight with the coronavirus. Grace holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle on the par-4 17th and birdied the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory over Jhonattan Vegas at windy Grand Reserve. “This morning I had a tear in the car when I was talking to my wife,” Grace said about father Peter. “It was an emotional day. I thought about him a hell of a lot out there, especially the last tee shot. I was really struggling the last hole, because I knew he was watching over me. I knew he was guiding me." The 32-year-old South African player won for the second time on the PGA Tour and 13th worldwide, closing with a 6-under 66 to finish at 19-under 269. “It’s been a very tough couple of years and a tough couple of months and it’s just nice to — obviously, with all the support back home with my wife and my son and my family and everybody back home,” Grace said. “And all that we have been through, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.” Vegas, from Venezuela, birdied the 18th in a 65. Puerto Rican player Rafael Campos and Grayson Murray, tied for the third-round lead, each shot 70 to tie for third at 16 under. Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., finished in a tie for 22nd at 10-under 278. Fellow Canadian Taylor Pendrith finished in a tie for 53rd with a 4-under 284. Michael Gilgic finished in a tie for 63 with a 2-under 286. Grace drove into the right bunker on the 17th, the hole playing 300 yards to the front of the green with the tees moved well forward. “That was a tough bunker shot,” Grace said. “And to play it perfectly, just get it with just enough check and managed to get it to roll out and 5 or 6 feet to go, I knew it was in. So, that was obviously fortunate.” He also hit into a greenside bunker on 18, flopped out to 6 feet and made the winning putt. “The only thing you can’t do on 18 is hit it left,” Grace said. “I managed to hit a great drive, and I wasn’t going to go left. I pulled my second. And I knew if I could get it maybe front edge or in the bunker, then I’m going to give myself opportunity. And fortunately I was in the second bunker, so I could really just get it up on the slope and just get it to run out a little bit and manage to play perfectly.: The tournament was played opposite the World Golf Championship event in Florida. Grace earned a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot in the PGA Championship in May, but not the Masters in April. Campos had his third top-10 finish in his home event. He tied for eighth in 2016 and tied for 10th in 2017. He parred the final three after rebounding from bogeys on 10 and 11 with birdies on 12, 13 and 15. “I can seal the deal. I know I can,” Campos said. “It just didn’t happen today. I didn’t have my best game out here, but I still managed to give myself a real opportunity of winning the tournament. I think it’s just getting myself more opportunities and it will happen eventually.” Needing an eagle to catch Grace on 18 after birdieing 17, Murray hooked his drive into the trees, took an unplayable lie and made a bogey. Brice Garnett (65 ) and Andrew Putnam (69) were 15 under. The Associated Press