At this time, I would like to turn things over to Mr. Dave Pahl. Good afternoon and thank you for joining our fourth quarter and 2020 earnings conference call. Rafael Lizardi, TI's Chief Financial Officer, is with me today.
At this time, I would like to turn things over to Mr. Dave Pahl. Good afternoon and thank you for joining our fourth quarter and 2020 earnings conference call. Rafael Lizardi, TI's Chief Financial Officer, is with me today.
Police were out in force early and opened fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds. Several wounded people were hauled away by fellow protesters, leaving bloody smears on pavements, media images showed. "Police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that – according to credible information received by the UN Human Rights Office – has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded," the U.N. human rights office said.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday Feb. 27, 2021. There are 864,196 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 864,196 confirmed cases (30,864 active, 811,372 resolved, 21,960 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,726 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 81.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,391 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,913. There were 45 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 330 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 47. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,328,440 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 981 confirmed cases (274 active, 701 resolved, six deaths). There were four new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 52.48 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 80 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 11. There was one new reported death Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 195,286 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 127 confirmed cases (13 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were six new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 8.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 101,073 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,638 confirmed cases (39 active, 1,534 resolved, 65 deaths). There were four new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 3.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 326,109 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,430 confirmed cases (42 active, 1,362 resolved, 26 deaths). There were two new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 5.37 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 235,465 tests completed. _ Quebec: 287,003 confirmed cases (7,973 active, 268,645 resolved, 10,385 deaths). There were 858 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 92.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,547 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 792. There were 13 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.11 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,250,877 tests completed. _ Ontario: 299,754 confirmed cases (10,479 active, 282,315 resolved, 6,960 deaths). There were 1,185 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 71.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,755 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,108. There were 16 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 112 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.24 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,790,098 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,809 confirmed cases (1,208 active, 29,708 resolved, 893 deaths). There were 90 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 87.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 69. There were four new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 528,966 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,506 confirmed cases (1,548 active, 26,573 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 162 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 131.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,068 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 153. There were five new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 570,478 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,203 confirmed cases (4,546 active, 126,774 resolved, 1,883 deaths). There were 415 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 102.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,468 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 353. There were six new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,387,838 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,923 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 418. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,910,966 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,142 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,451 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 356 confirmed cases (20 active, 335 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 50.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,615 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) The high number of reported sexual assaults in Regina in 2020 is worrying, but the head of the Regina Sexual Assault Centre says an increase in reporting is often a sign of increased awareness around sexual violence. The Regina Police Service released its year-end crime statistics for 2020 on Tuesday, listing 186 reported sexual assaults. That number is higher than the 10-year average of 149, but the numbers were already high in 2018 (when 200 sexual assaults were reported) and 2019 (189 sexual assaults). "There was a considerable increase in sort of that 2017, 2018 time period, which was … related to a lot more conversation in our communities about sexual violence, including the MeToo movement," said Lisa Miller, executive director of the Regina Sexual Assault Centre. "Oftentimes what we see is ... some spikes in reporting when there's public awareness around sexual violence, and then we will see it returning to a baseline again." According to the police statistics, the total number of sexual offences, which includes sexual assaults and other sex crimes, was up from 253 in 2019 to 264 in 2020. The Regina Sexual Assault Centre works often with people who never report the assault, according to Miller. The organization has been working with the Regina Police Service to determine what obstacles exist for people to reporting sexual assault. Regina police Chief Evan Bray says working with community partners might help people feel more comfortable coming forward. "We bring in people that work in the sexual assault field who will help people that are survivors of that crime, and will look at our investigations and provide input and advice to us," said Bray. COVID-19 and sexual violence While the high number of reported sexual assaults may suggest more people feel confident reporting these crimes, the COVID-19 pandemic might make others feel more vulnerable. "Predominantly women are making choices about whether it feels safer to stay in an abusive home or to go to a shelter where you're living communally with other people," said Miller. "We know that this increased risk for people considerably." The Regina Sexual Assault Centre offers help for people who have experienced sexual violence, including a 24-hour crisis line (306-352-0434), advocacy, and advice for people who are concerned or uncertain about reporting.
(Janis Irwin/Twitter - image credit) An Edmonton NDP MLA's office was vandalized with graffiti reading "Antifa liar." Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin tweeted a photograph of the vandalism Saturday morning. "Good morning to everyone who continues to denounce racism and white supremacy, no matter how angry or uncomfortable it makes some people," Irwin wrote in the tweet. A spokesperson for Edmonton police said Saturday that no formal complaint has been made about the vandalism, but that an investigator reached out to Irwin's office about possible next steps. The message was cleaned up by midday Saturday, and Irwin thanked a constituent for coming to help her, and to others who had expressed support. Irwin, who was elected in 2019, is known for being outspoken against social injustices. Irwin is also the only openly gay sitting MLA in the Alberta Legislature. Antifa is short for anti-fascist, and can refer to a range of far-left organizations that oppose fascism. Premier Jason Kenney condemned the vandalism on Twitter, tweeting that many other MLA offices have been vandalized in recent months. "Shame on those responsible. If you disagree with an MLA, there are countless legitimate ways to register your views. Vandalism is not one of them," the premier said. CBC reached out to a spokesperson in the premier's office asking for a list of MLA offices that have been vandalized in recent months. The spokesperson said they do not have that information and referred question to the Legislative Assembly. A spokesperson for Justice Minister Kaycee Madu confirmed by email that following two recent protests at the minister's constituency office, an adhesive left on windows cost "hundreds of dollars" on each occasion to clean up.
People can view a spectacular projection display on the exterior of the two connected Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) - Qaumajuq buildings. The outdoor projections will feature contemporary artwork and imagery by Inuit artists along with Northern footage by Destination Nunavut, Travel Manitoba, and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). Leading up to the Qaumajuq’s grand opening in late March, the display will be played between 6 and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays every 30 minutes until March 27. “We wanted to do something that would get the community excited about this historic opening, something that Winnipeggers could be inspired by during lockdown, all while showcasing Inuit artists,” said Amy Rebecca Harrison, Engagement Supervisor of the WAG on Tuesday. “The projections can be enjoyed outside from a safe distance while strolling past the gallery. Now that we're able to be open to the public again, visitors can enjoy both.” The series is curated by Jocelyn Piirainen, WAG-Qaumajuq Assistant Curator of Inuit Art, with video work by Glenn Gear and Zacharias Kunuk who are Inuit artists featured in Qaumajuq’s inaugural exhibition INUA. A video that uses archival footage from the NFB collection will also be displayed to show travellers coming together, children tending to the dog team, drum dancing as well as other Inuit artists and artworks. “It shows the importance of the qamotik ("sled") and the vastness and harshness of the arctic as crucial elements to the Inuit cultural heritage,” said Harrison. “Artist Geronimo Inutiq uses these archives as an opportunity to reconnect to Inuit heritage. These clips were selected by Geronimo to honour the ancestors and family members of artists and community members.” Inuk multimedia artist Geronimo Inutiq has also provided a dynamic soundscape throughout the display. The illumination will be on the WAG exterior wall facing Memorial Boulevard and the Qaumajuq facade facing St. Mary Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. Following the projections, a Northern Lights-inspired display will be presented outside the WAG-Qaumajuq buildings starting Feb. 28 on Sunday to Thursday nights until March 31. As well, the public can also enjoy two newly unveiled sculptures placed outside the buildings. One of the sculptures, Tuniigusiia/The Gift by Goota Ashoona, is a marble statue that is meant to reflect knowledge transfer through education and storytelling, as well as the important role played by teachers. The other sculpture is the Time to Play by Abraham Anghik Ruben, a large limestone carving of a family of bears playing. Visitors are advised to dress warmly as it might be cold while they walk around the buildings. This showcase is part of #Qaumajuq365, the Inuit art centre’s inaugural year. Qaumajuq aims to provide a new home for the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. “Qaumajuq is all about celebrating the North in the South, and this series of projections is an amazing example of that,” said Stephen D. Borys, Director & CEO of Winnipeg Art Gallery in a press release. “The light of Qaumajuq is shining brighter as we get closer to the opening of the Inuit art centre in just a few weeks, and we invite everyone to come out for this safe outdoor activity.” Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
The U.S. government on Saturday authorized Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, enabling millions more Americans to be vaccinated in the coming weeks and setting the vaccine up for additional approvals around the world. The J&J vaccine is the third authorized in the United States, following ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which require two doses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the emergency use authorization of the J&J vaccine for adults aged 18 and older following Friday's unanimous endorsement by the agency's panel of outside experts.
Two regions in Ontario are being placed back into lockdown shortly after leaving the province’s strictest pandemic measure. This comes after a rise in the number of COVID-19 and B.1.1.7 variant cases. As Morganne Campbell reports, business owners appear to be at their wits end over the province's approach to managing the pandemic.
A survey on experiences of racism in policing by the Southern Chiefs' Organization (SCO) was launched to mark Indigenous Justice Awareness Day. The survey is open to all Manitoba First Nations and will report on experiences of racism when dealing with police services across the province. “I’m proud to be launching this important and much-needed survey to better understand racism experienced by First Nation citizens in their encounters with police services in Manitoba,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels in a press release. “One of the great injustices is that the systems that are supposed to protect us can be themselves perpetrators of violence.” Indigenous Justice Awareness Day came from the fatal shooting when John Joseph (J.J.) Harper, a 37-year-old member of the Wasagamack Indian Band in the Island Lake area, was killed by the Winnipeg police in March 1988. Since 2017, an Indigenous person in Canada is 10 times more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than a non-racialized Canadian, according to a recent analysis. In the spring of 2020, three Indigenous people in Winnipeg were reported to have been fatally shot by Winnipeg police officers over the span of 10 days. On Feb. 14, William Ahmo from Sagkeeng First Nation died due to an incident with correctional officers at Headingley Correctional Institute. Through the survey, the SCO plans to examine the larger, systemic issue that has resulted in many of these unfortunate deaths. “We know that good data and reporting can lead to understanding and real change, which are both greatly needed,” said Daniels. “We have faced systemic racism for centuries now. It’s time for it to end. Indigenous lives matter, and we cannot take one more phone call or one more announcement of our people suffering or dying at the hands of the justice system.” All First Nations in Manitoba can access this survey at www,scoinc.mb.ca. The survey will only be open for six weeks starting Feb. 26. Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth acknowledged the police in Winnipeg have not always been on the right path and that their past actions and procedures have contributed to harming Indigenous people in the community. “Earlier in my tenure as chief, I formally apologized to the Indigenous community while testifying at the national MMIWG Inquiry. Accountability is necessary if there is to be reconciliation,” said Smyth on Friday. “There are many other community organizations and leaders who work tirelessly to provide services in our community. This is the kind of community engagement I see as important. Partnering with and supporting groups like this is the true essence of crime prevention through social development.” Smyth ensures that the police service will reflect the needs and expectations of the community through continued recruitment making sure the Winnipeg police reflect the diversity of the community, along with continued partnership and support of Indigenous service providers. Continued training and education will also take place to ensure Winnipeg police understand the generational trauma inflicted on people who have experienced colonization. “We are not perfect, and we will make mistakes, but we are on the right path to combat racism,” he added. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
CHARLOTTETOWN — Officials in Prince Edward Island introduced what they described as new "circuit-breaker measures" on Saturday in an effort to curb a recent spike in the province's long-standing low COVID-19 case count. The discovery of six new infections prompted the announcement from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Heather Morrison and Premier Dennis King, who said the latest diagnoses cannot be linked to travel outside the province. Officials are acting under the assumption that they are a contagious new variant of COVID-19 that first emerged in the United Kingdom and was detected on the Island earlier this month, they added. "We need to wrap our arms around this virus and prevent it from spreading to the full extent that we can," King said at a Saturday afternoon briefing. "We will continue to ask people to stay apart as much as possible while at the same time being as active socially and physically as possible because we have learned over time how important both those aspects are to our overall well-being." The new restrictions, which take effect on Sunday and last for two weeks, will limit gatherings to an immediate household, plus a consistent circle of 10 contacts. Sporting events, tournaments and competitions will be banned but team practices can continue. Organized gatherings for concerts, worship services and movies will be limited to 50 people while gyms, museums, retail stores and libraries can operate at half-capacity with additional cleaning measures in place. Restaurants can remain open for takeout and delivery only, while personal services may operate on an appointment basis provided masks are worn. The tighter restrictions are needed to "interrupt the chain of transmission," Morrison said. "As this outbreak continues to evolve in the coming days, we are expecting to receive more positive cases," she said. "This outbreak is likely going to get worse before it begins to get better." Her comments came as the province reported six new COVID-19 infections, all among patients in their 20s. The province has recorded 14 new cases in four days – 12 of which have no connection to travel outside the province. Prince Edward Island has remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic, going long stretches without new infections. The province last introduced a circuit-breaker lockdown in early December after counting seven new cases over the course of one weekend. The initial lockdown, which closed restaurants, libraries and fitness facilities, was eased after a week. The province then introduced rules closer to the ones being implemented now, which were in place until early January. King said the current outbreak is not only disappointing but also worrisome, as the province is operating under the assumption that the new cases are a more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus. "It's discouraging from the perspective of all Islanders simply because we've done very, very well to date and we can see the finish line but we do seem to be stuck in this tangled spider's web of COVID and it won't really let us out of its grip." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
LAGOS, Nigeria — Students, teachers and relatives abducted two weeks ago from a school in northern Nigeria have been freed. The students, teachers and family members were abducted Feb. 17 by gunmen from the Government Science College Kagara. Niger State Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello said he received 24 students, six staff and eight relatives on Saturday after they were released early in the morning. This number released differed from the 42 people that the governor had originally said were kidnapped by the attackers, indicating some may still be missing. The discrepancy was not explained. One of the students has been hospitalized for excessive exhaustion, he said, adding that the released will be medically checked and monitored for a few days before being reunited with family. Sani Bello said that joint efforts of security, traditional leaders and stakeholders helped secure the release. Their release was announced a day after police said gunmen had abducted 317 girls from a boarding school elsewhere in northern Nigeria, in Zamfara state. One resident said the gunmen also attacked a nearby military camp and checkpoint, preventing soldiers from interfering with the mass abduction. Several large groups of armed men operate in Zamfara state, described by the government as bandits, and are known to kidnap for money and to push for the release of their members from jail. Masauda Umar, 20, managed to escape from the school when the men arrived Friday. She told The Associated Press the bandits came to their sleeping quarters and after knocking on the main door, they hit the people who answered it and made everyone gather. “I was coming out from the door and I met somebody but ran back and hid under my bed,” she said. “I’m scared of going back to school because of what happened really got me scared but I will go back if the government tackles insecurity.” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Friday the government’s primary objective is to get all the school hostages returned safe, alive and unharmed. “We will not succumb to blackmail by bandits and criminals who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments,” he said. “Let bandits, kidnappers and terrorists not entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government.” Nigeria has seen several such attacks and kidnappings over the years, notably the mass abduction in April 2014 by jihadist group Boko Haram of 276 girls from the secondary school in Chibok in Borno state. More than a hundred of the girls are still missing. In December, 344 students were abducted from the Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina State. They were eventually released. Sam Olukoya, The Associated Press
TORONTO — An Ontario cottage-country mayor called for a more flexible approach to COVID-19 containment on Saturday ahead of both new lockdown measures for his municipality and a sobering milestone in the province's efforts to curb virus transmission. The province's overall case count since the onset of the global pandemic inched towards 300,000, driven in part by rising numbers of infections linked to virus variants of concern. The 1,185 new infections added to the provincial total on Saturday pushed the overall tally to 299,754. The province, which has been logging around 1,000 new cases a day in recent weeks, is poised to cross the 300,000 threshold on Sunday. The rising number of cases tied to virus variants, which grew by 31 on Saturday, prompted the province to trigger a so-called "emergency brake" in the Thunder Bay and Muskoka Simcoe public health units on Friday in a bid to limit further transmission. The move didn't sit right with Bracebridge, Ont., Mayor Graydon Smith, who said the decision doesn't account for differences in infection rates within the Muskoka region. Smith wants the county's medical officer of health to treat Muskoka differently, saying most of the elevated infections are in the southern portion of the county in cities like Barrie, Ont. "While we recognize we're all one health unit, there are certainly different conditions and situations within that health unit that make us feel like we might be unduly affected by that blunt an instrument," Smith said in a telephone interview. Smith said the broad brush the government is deploying stands to harm local businesses struggling to get back on their feet after a provincewide stay-at-home order that only lifted two weeks ago. "I think business owners who have just been given an opportunity to get open and start functioning a little bit closer to normal right now are seeing that go away again, especially in the restaurant, beauty salon, gym side," he said. But another affected mayor said there were statistically sound reasons for a shift to the grey phase of the province's colour-coded pandemic response plan. Speaking ahead of the government's Friday announcement, Thunder Bay, Ont., Mayor Bill Mauro said the local public health unit had recorded more COVID-19 cases in February than throughout all of 2020. "We're in a difficult spot right now,'' he said at the time. "Clearly there is a situation here that we don't see ending in the near term.'' But even as two units prepare to see tighter public health restrictions take effect, such measures are set to ease in several other regions. The Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent, Middlesex-London, Southwestern, Haldimand-Norfolk, Huron Perth, and Grey Bruce will all move to less restrictive tiers of the province's pandemic response framework. Saturday's case counts showed long-standing COVID-19 hot spots continuing to lead the province in new infections. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto saw 331 new cases in the past 24 hours, nearby Peel Region recorded 220 and York Region logged 119. Hospitalizations in the province declined by three to 680, with 276 patients in intensive care and 182 on a ventilator. Ontario is also nearing 7,000 total pandemic-related deaths, with the 16 reported on Saturday pushing the provincial total to 6,960. The province reached 200,000 cases 54 days ago on Jan. 5. Infection rates have slowed somewhat during that period — it took the province 47 days to progress from 100,000 to 200,000 total cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has 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 — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading. “The more vaccines that have high efficacy that we can get into play, the better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said ahead of the FDA’s ruling. Shipments of a few million doses to be divided among states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer. J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. Worldwide, the company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. On Thursday, the island nation of Bahrain became the first to clear its use. ___ 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. Lauran Neergaard And Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — Nelly Korda surged into the lead Saturday in the Gainbridge LPGA with a 4-under 68 that left her in position to make it consecutive wins for the Korda family to start the season. Annika Sorenstam sank to the bottom. Korda, whose older sister Jessica won the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions last month to start the new LPGA Tour season, dropped only one shot on a breezy day at Lake Nona to lead by one over Patty Tavatanakit. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., was the top Canadian in contention Saturday, finishing the day five strokes back of Korda in a three-way tie for eighth spot. Calgary's Jaclyn Lee and Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ont., did not make the cut. Sorenstam, playing for the first time in more than 12 years after retiring, had no expectations and no excuses. She kept leaving herself in bad spots around the green and finished with a 79. That put her in last place by four shots, 22 shots behind Korda. The 50-year-old Swede was making a one-time appearance because the tournament was brought to her home course, and she was happy enough to make the cut on the number. “We put every effort into every single shot,” she said. “Just wasn't meant to be today. Another day tomorrow. I got two bonus days this week, so that's a good thing.” Korda was at 13-under 203, one shot ahead of Tavatanakit, the blossoming Thai star who needed only a half-dozen starts on the Symetra Tour to earn her LPGA card when she left UCLA. Tavatanakit closed with four birdies over her last five holes, including the last three, for a 66. She will be in the final group Sunday with Korda and Angel Yin, who had a 65 and was three shots behind. Lydia Ko, the 36-hole leader trying to win for the first time in nearly three years, also was three shots behind. Ko fell back with a double bogey on the 12th hole, and then a bogey on the 18th. Also at 10-under 203 was Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in women's golf, who shot a 66 to get in position. All of them will be chasing Korda. “Any time you can get ahead of the pack going into Sunday is a positive,” Korda said. “There are some good players there, so it'll take good golf to win.” Tavatanakit said she didn't spend a lot of time looking at the leaderboard. When she did, she wasn't sure where she stood because she kept missing the front page of leaders. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m probably still up there.' So I didn't think too much about it until 15. I saw that I am two back,” Tavatanakit said. “I was like, ‘OK, let's see what I can do here.' Not going to lie, coming down the stretch, those putts were a little shaky.” But she made them, and she's in great position going for her first LPGA Tour victory. For Sorenstam, it will be a ceremonial stroll before family and friends on a home course where her neighbours for years were more likely to see her at Easter brunch or the pickleball courts than on the golf course. Her troubles began with a bogey on the par-5 15th, the start of five bogeys in an eight-hole stretch. “Normally, I hit the ball straight, and today was everything but straight,” Sorenstam said. “Maybe I have to tweak my swing a little bit — not really sure what to tweak at the moment. We have to figure that out. But I need to hit it straight to have a chance at all to shoot under par again. Because that would be fun to leave it on a high note.” The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the office of an Opposition legislature member. His denunciation came on Saturday shortly after Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words "Antifa Liar." Kenney issued a social media post Saturday saying that while there are "countless ways" to register disagreement with a lawmaker, but "vandalism is not one of them." He also noted that "many other MLA offices have been vandalized in recent months" and condemned those responsible. The premier was criticized for taking days to denounce anti-lockdown demonstrators who marched in Edmonton last weekend, some carrying tiki torches, which Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said are widely considered symbols of white supremacy and racism in that context. The NDP leader issued a tweet of her own some time after Kenney's, saying all forms of racism, misogyny and hate should be called out and she was proud to have Irwin on her team. Irwin, who is her party's critic for women and LGBTQ issues, said on Twitter that the vandalism has left her "sad and angry," but added her feelings are just "a fraction" of what members of racialized groups and other marginalized communities feel every day. Irwin said she's reported the incident to police and plans to talk with them about the possibility it may be connected to previous hateful messages she's received. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
All households in England with school or college aged children will be offered two rapid COVID-19 tests per person per week to support the government’s priority to get young people back in the classroom, the health ministry said on Sunday. Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a phased plan to end England's latest COVID-19 lockdown, offering a "cautious" approach to try to prevent a return to wholesale restrictions that have hobbled the economy. The health ministry said rapid test kits would be made available to collect from Monday at more than 500 locations, or through workplace testing and local community testing services.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Saturday it will appeal a judge’s ruling that found the federal government’s eviction moratorium was unconstitutional. Prosecutors filed a notice in the case on Saturday evening, saying the government was appealing the matter the to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The appeal comes days after U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Barker ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevented had overstepped its authority and that the moratorium was unlawful. “Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution,” the judge wrote in the decision on Thursday. In a statement, Brian Boynton, the acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's civil division, said prosecutors respectfully disagreed with the judge's ruling and noted it only applied to parties in the case, not broadly to others. “The CDC’s eviction moratorium, which Congress extended last December, protects many renters who cannot make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses," he said. “By preventing people from becoming homeless or having to move into more-crowded housing, the moratorium helps to slow the spread of COVID-19.” The CDC eviction moratorium was signed in September by President Donald Trump and extended by President Joe Biden until March 31. Barker, who was nominated by Trump in 2018 to serve in the Eastern District of Texas, stopped short of issuing an injunction in the case. Several property owners had brought the litigation arguing that the federal government didn’t have the legal authority to stop evictions. “The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium,” Barker wrote. “It did not do so during the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Nor did it invoke such a power during the exigencies of the Great Depression. The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our Nation’s history until last year.” State and local governments had approved eviction moratoriums early in the pandemic for many renters, but many of those protections have already expired. To be eligible for protection, renters must have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; demonstrate they’ve sought government help to pay rent; declare that they can’t pay because of COVID-19 hardships; and affirm that they are likely to become homeless if evicted. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Si certains croient encore de nos jours que les jeunes sont continuellement centrés sur leur nombril et peu empathiques, une enseignante de l’école secondaire du Grand-Coteau s’est fait un plaisir de leur prouver le contraire, à sa façon. Après avoir lu un texte du chroniqueur Patrick Lagacé publié dans La Presse à propos de la réalité de ceux qui évoluent actuellement dans le milieu hospitalier, Marie-Josée Larouche a en effet eu l’idée de demander à ses étudiants d’écrire une lettre adressée à ceux qui combattent la pandémie au quotidien, et ce, qu’ils soient infirmières, médecins… ou concierge. « Dans son reportage, Patrick Lagacé a mis des citations de gens qui lui ont écrit et qui pratiquent toutes sortes de métiers dans le domaine de la santé. Ils expliquaient comment les choses se passaient pour eux dans leur réalité actuelle. J’ai lu ça un samedi matin comme toute bonne enseignante qui lisait son journal en buvant son café. Mais c’est le lundi en me levant à 5 h du matin que j’ai eu le flash. J’ai alors pondu un petit document vite fait que j’ai présenté plus tard à mes étudiants. » Évidemment, l’idée d’écrire une lettre peut sembler novatrice pour des jeunes du secondaire qui ont grandi à l’ère du SMS et du clavardage. Mais plutôt que de les rebuter, il semble que le projet proposé par leur enseignante ait piqué leur curiosité. Devant cet enthousiasme inattendu de ses protégés, l’enseignante a d’ailleurs décidé de pousser l’expérience un peu plus loin et l’exercice qui devait durer durant deux périodes s’est finalement étiré sur cinq périodes. « Pour eux, une lettre, c’est un peu comme un pigeon voyageur, s’amuse l’enseignante. Je leur ai expliqué comment on écrivait une lettre jadis, il n’y a pas si longtemps. Éventuellement, ils vont devoir écrire eux-mêmes des lettres d’intentions quand ils vont postuler pour un emploi. Alors, ça nous a permis de travailler la structure. » Les membres des trois groupes qui en sont à leur première année au secondaire ont par ailleurs eu à pousser leur réflexion un peu plus loin. Ce qui a permis à certains de considérer pour la première fois tout le personnel qui est nécessaire afin qu’un établissement de santé fonctionne rondement, en particulier durant une pandémie. « Je leur ai demandé qui sont les gens qu’on peut retrouver dans un hôpital outre les infirmières et la personne qui nous accueille à l’arrivée. Ils ont fait des recherches et ils m’ont sorti plein de choses. On a parlé du fait que le rôle du concierge pouvait être tout aussi important que celui de l’administrateur. Et j’ai vu leurs yeux s’allumer. Il y a eu des déclics. L’exercice a rendu la chose très concrète pour eux. » Les lettres écrites par les élèves des trois groupes de 24 étudiants de l’enseignante ont par la suite été distribuées au personnel de trois établissements de santé, soit le CHUM, l’Hôpital Pierre-Boucher ainsi que l’hôpital Honoré-Mercier de Saint-Hyacinthe. « Ils étaient vraiment inspirés, nous révèle Mme Larouche. Et semble-t-il que ceux qui ont reçu les lettres ont été hyper touchés. Ce qui est beaucoup ressorti, c’est qu’ils ont constaté à quel point les jeunes sont conscients de la situation et de la réalité dans les hôpitaux. Ils se sont sentis « enveloppés » si je peux dire par leur démarche, par leurs mots. Certains ont dit que ça leur avait donné du courage. Quand j’ai dit ça à mes groupes, ils étaient vraiment fiers. Ils ont travaillé tellement fort! » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Local favourite Rafael Campos took a share of the lead Saturday in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, waiting out a series of rain delays to shoot a 5-under 67 at windy Grand Reserve. The 32-year-old from San Juan followed a birdie on the par-4 17th with a bogey on the par-5 18th to drop into a tie for the lead with Grayson Murray at 14-under 202. “I know there’s a lot of things that can basically change my life tomorrow,” Campos said. “But truth is, I’m just really happy. I have been playing good golf the last two weeks, and I really want to keep that mindset of the work I have been putting in the last four months, I’m starting to see good results. “I think I will just focus on that, focus on playing the golf course the way I know how to play it, be aggressive when I have to be aggressive, and be conservative when I obviously don’t feel comfortable. So, yeah, I really don’t want to think about tomorrow. I just want to go out and hopefully play some good golf.” Murray bogeyed 17 and birdied 18 in a 65. Cameron Percy (67) and Branden Grace (68) were a stroke back. Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C. leads all Canadians after shooting a 71 to put him in a tie for 22nd place. Richmond Hill native Taylor Pendrith shot a 72 to end his day in a tie for 32nd. Michael Gilgic of Burlington, Ont., is in a tie for 68th (74). Play was delayed three times for about an hour total in the afternoon because of the short, heavy downpours. With expected heavy rain overnight and into the morning, the final round will feature threesomes off split tees. Campos has two top-10 finishes in the event, tying for eighth in 2016 and tying for 10th in 2017. After missing the cuts in seven of eight events to start the PGA Tour season, he tied for seventh last week in Florida's in a Korn Ferry Tour event. In 2019, he won the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic to become the first Puerto Rican in Korn Ferry Tour history. The former Virginia Commonwealth player played the front nine in 3 under, with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-5 fifth. He also birdied the par-4 10th and 12th. “I felt today I hit the ball very well, with the exception of the last couple of holes,” Compos said. “But I’m really happy with where I’m standing right now, and I really think can’t be in a better position basically for tomorrow. Hopefully, just kind of keep doing the same thing we’re doing. I really feel comfortable with my swing.” He won't get to play in front of many of his fans Sunday because of coronavirus restrictions. “It feels very weird only seeing them for like three holes out of 18 holes,” Campos said. “So I got my mom, I got my wife, I got family supporting me. So that’s all I really need right now. And, obviously, I feel the great positive energy the fans actually give me, either text messages or out hereon the course.” The tournament is being played opposite the World Golf Championship event in Florida. The winner will get into the PGA Championship in May but not the Masters in April. Murray won the 2017 Barbasol Championship, also played opposite a WGC event, for the 27-year-old former Arizona State player's lone tour title. “It’s been a long time since I have been in a situation like this, but I’m not afraid of the moment,” Murray said. “And at the end of the day, you still got to play good golf, no matter — no matter who’s chasing you or who I’m chasing.” He birdied five of the first nine holes. “I had the putter rolling and just kind of kept it rolling throughout the round,” Murray said. “We had to stop and start. We were a little unfortunate, but they were quick. And the PGA Tour did a good job of kind of keeping us out there and not bringing us in each time.” Second-round leader Brandon Wu (71) was 12 under with Andrew Putnam (67) and Nelson Ledesma (68). “Had to scramble a little bit harder today,” Wu said. "I think it was playing tougher, the start and the stop, the rain, crazy conditions." The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) Stephen Welch has been in the book business for almost 40 years. For the last 15, he's operated his store on Saint-Viateur Street in Mile End, catering to the intellectuals and artists who make the neighbourhood a cultural hub. But now, facing a significant commercial rent hike, Welch says he's being forced out of his space. "At a certain point a buzz happens. And that's when large developers start to see that there's something going on on the street and want to get in on the action," he told CBC News. "You can be paying a fairly low rate as I was and then, when the lease is up, they can put it up as much as they want." Welch said his current lease ends in August, but when he tried to negotiate with the building's owner, real estate developer Shiller Lavy, they weren't able to come to an agreement. "I just said I want the same deal for two years and they said no, no no, we want the moon," said Welch. "I understand that Shiller Lavy is a business and they want to make money, that's what they're doing. But it doesn't have to be predatory and profits don't have to be so high as to alter and change the street." Developer Danny Lavy told CBC News in a phone interview that Welch's rent was originally low because he had a long-term lease with an outdated rate. He said the current hike amounts to an increase of about $1,500 per month. Lavy said he had no choice but to up the cost of rent for the bookstore because of what he pays in property taxes and insurance on the building. The storefront of S. W. Welch bookstore now has a 'for rent' sign in the window. For Welch, the hike comes after a particularly difficult financial year for non-essential businesses. "It's a pandemic, there's no tourists on the street, I was closed three months last year," he said. It's also the second time Welch has had to move because of increasing commercial rents. Welch was priced out of his previous location on St-Laurent Boulevard as real estate on the strip became more in demand. He added that small, independent shops like his give character to the neighbourhood and make it a destination. "You go to anywhere in Canada or the U.S., you go to the main strip, you're going to see exactly the same thing, the same big box stores, the same fast food stores. There's very little diversity. Holding onto diversity is a great thing if you can." Stephen Welch said he tried to negotiate with his landlord, but they were not able to come to an arrangement. More protections needed, says city councillor Welch said he'd like the province to bring in new legislation to protect small businesses from being driven out of trendy areas. Richard Ryan, city councillor for Mile End, told CBC News that there is a provincial registry designed to monitor commercial rent increases but it's not mandatory. He said making this registry mandatory was a key recommendation following city consultations on vacant storefronts in commercial areas. Ryan added that this is not the first time businesses in the area have suffered and closed due to sudden rental increases. He gave the example of the indie cafe and event space Le Cagibi, which was formerly located at the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard at St-Viateur Street. The business was forced to close and relocate to Little Italy due to a similar substantial rent increase. Lorraine Lévesque is the owner of Bohême Vintage in Mile End. Across the street from S. W. Welch, a vintage clothing store owner said she's worried the Mile End is losing a lot of the character that makes it unique. Lorraine Lévesque has been in business in the same spot since 1997, and has seen a shift recently. "It's been really bad. Because you can see vacant stores all the time, and it's just, it's killing the neighbourhood," said Lévesque. Lévesque said if the Mile End is to retain its characteristic charm, there needs to be limits on commercial rents the way there are on residential properties in Quebec. "We would wish that someone with some power could do something."