BEP earnings call for the period ending March 31, 2021.
As the province starts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone aged 18 and above, Island Health's chief medical officer said he's relieved to see the number of active cases in the Vancouver Island Health region continuing to trend down. "What we are seeing is a general decrease both in south and central Island," Dr. Richard Stanwick said on CBC's On the Island on Friday. "The numbers are absolutely bang on ... and that means our contact tracers are able to make sure we get a hold of anybody who has been exposed at this point." On Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Arian Dix reported 494 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including eight that were reported in the Vancouver Island region. The region has now recorded 4,875 cases since the pandemic began, and on Friday, there were 149 active cases, including 16 people in hospital and five in critical care. Stanwick said the warmer spring weather could be a contributing factor to the overall downward trend as more people head outside to enjoy the sun. "Fortunately, people are taking advantage of our spectacular weather and amazing things to see on the Island," he said. "So that reduces the ability of the virus to spread." He said over 400,000 vaccines have been administered to more than half of the population and approximately three per cent have received a second dose. "I think the key word ... is register, register, register," Stanwick said. "Our immunization clinics have been doing phenomenal." On Thursday, more than 11,000 people received their vaccine at the immunization clinics. Stanwick said he is advising the provincial heath office that vaccine administration for students can be done more effectively and efficiently at the larger clinics rather than at schools. "This could be a totally different approach because we've got other vaccines we would like to administer to students and we normally do that in the schools," he said, "so we may have a different program, a different look in the fall." LISTEN | Dr. Richard Stanwick talks about the number of active COVID-19 cases on CBC's On the Island.
Prince Albert police have released more details about their investigation into the death of Braden Herman. They say that on May 11, veteran RCMP officer Cpl. Bernie Herman phoned a co-worker and said he had "killed someone." He agreed to go to his co-worker's house, located just north of Prince Albert. The RCMP, whose district the house was in, were then contacted and Bernie Herman was taken into custody. On May 12, 53-year-old Bernie Herman was charged with first-degree murder. He had served on the force for 32 years. He and Braden Herman are not related but knew each other for several years, according to police. During the initial RCMP response, Bernie Herman provided information as to where police could find the victim. Police say that when they located 26-year-old Braden Herman on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park, he was dead and appeared to have been shot. At that time, the Prince Albert Police Service took over the investigation. Braden Herman, 26, was found dead on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park. (Braden Herman/Facebook) Investigation continues, motive unknown Braden Herman's siblings have told CBC News the 53-year-old Mountie was known to them as having a "personal" and oftentimes "controlling" relationship with their brother. Braden Herman came from Clearwater River Dene Nation and Bernie Herman comes from the neighbouring community of of La Loche. Police say they cannot confirm what weapon was used in the homicide at this time. But Prince Albert police have seized Bernie Herman's service pistol and other "use-of-force equipment." Police say he was not on duty at the time of the offence. But upon investigation it was been determined that he left work in full uniform and utility belt after finishing his shift at 5 p.m. on May 11. Police have taken statements from family members of both Bernie Herman and Braden Herman. Investigators are continuing to gather statements in order to gain insight into the nature of their relationship, as well as the possible motivation for the offence. Bernie Herman made his first court appearance on May 13. His next court appearance is expected to be on May 26.
CALGARY — A Calgary mayoralty candidate and a pastor who were both arrested for allegedly violating COVID-19 laws over the weekend were released from custody Monday pending future court appearances. Calgary police allege Kevin J. Johnston, who is running in this fall's municipal election and has been a vocal supporter of anti-lockdown protests, was in violation of a court order when he attended illegal gatherings Saturday. An injunction obtained by Alberta Health Services on May 6 mandates that event organizers comply with public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. The Court of Queen's Bench also imposed a restraining order on Johnston last week. It required that he stay at least 100 metres away from health officers and not publish any threats or hate speech directed at them. Johnston's lawyer asked the court if his client's interim release would preclude him from continuing to campaign for mayor. He was assured it would not. "From AHS' interests, as long as there is compliance with the two orders enjoining conduct, it doesn't matter to us what Mr. Johnston does or doesn't do," said Mark Jackson, who was representing Alberta Health Services, the agency that delivers healthcare in Alberta. Johnston has appeared regularly online, promoting far-right ideology, and AHS has said he has been aggressive and threatening towards two particular health workers as well as to its general workforce. He expressed concern from the prisoner's docket Monday about being required to wear a mask. "I simply cannot wear a mask. I'm already feeling the anxiety of this right now and I'm sweating. I'm bothered by having to have this on. I could not possibly wear a mask for that entire amount of time," he told the court. Johnston has been ordered to return to court June 16 to deal with contempt charges for violating the directive. About 20 people, meanwhile, gathered outside the Calgary court in support of Pastor Tim Stephens, who was arrested Sunday for organizing a church service at Fairview Baptist Church. Police allege the service did not comply with public health orders. Holding signs that said "Free Pastor Tim" the supporters prayed and sang hymns prior to the court appearance. Police said they received repeated calls from concerned citizens about services at Fairview Baptist Church in recent weeks, and that Stephens was proactively served a copy of the May 6 order last weekend. But his lawyer said the order has been modified by a judge, which narrows its scope, and Stephens was not in violation. "The effect of that amendment to our understanding was essentially that the May 6 order would only be applicable to the respondents and people who were under their direction. That would not include Mr. Stephens," said Leighton Grey. The contempt matter will also be heard June 16. Edmonton Justice Adam Germain said he has been directed to deal with all matters related to violations of the COVID-19 court orders. "The reality may be there are going to be other arrests in the Calgary area and elsewhere and that I may see the same personnel appearing in front of me," Germain said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is hoping to use his first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden this week to revive long-stalled talks with North Korea and urge the White House to embrace the issue with more urgency. South Korean officials say they were heartened by the new administration's recent policy review, which called for a focus on practical diplomatic steps to reduce tensions while maintaining the final goal of removing North Korea's nuclear weapons. But amid the global coronavirus pandemic, domestic economic and political challenges, and foreign policy crises elsewhere, the Biden administration has not signalled North Korea is a top priority, potentially complicating Moon's hopes of cementing his legacy.
Just a few weeks ago, Janine Fisher was on the brink of death. The healthy, active 51-year-old Sherwood Park mother had been diligently following public health guidelines and was just two weeks shy of becoming eligible for her coronavirus vaccine when she suddenly fell ill with the variant first discovered in the U.K. Doctors battled to save Fisher — placing her on a ventilator and then moving her to ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), the most extreme form of life support available — and while she survived, she's not sure if she'll ever fully recover. "There was no reason for me to get very sick — no previous conditions — and yet I almost died," said Fisher. "This variant is insidious. It just seemed that it was unstoppable." One of her family members caught the B117 variant in late March, and the virus swept through her household. One by one, each person tested positive despite their attempts to stay apart and follow the rules. "Everyone was struck down by it," said Fisher. 'I was afraid I was going to die' Fisher tested positive and immediately checked into an isolation hotel on April 7, the day after developing a sore throat and cough. Two days later, she was struggling to breathe and was rushed by ambulance to hospital. With her entire immediate family in isolation, she was alone — and frightened. "I was afraid that I was going to die," Fisher recalled. "I spent several days feeling like I was … drowning." Within five days her condition was so critical she was sedated and placed on a ventilator. A single, hazy memory lingers from that traumatic time. "My son sat beside me and held my hand and sang to me for hours," she recalled. "And my husband also would come … and sing to me. Even though I wasn't conscious, I do remember." Janine's husband took this photo of Janine Fisher (and her son, Cohen) when she was hooked up to an ECMO machine, a treatment considered a last line of defence. As a safety precaution, visitors are not allowed to remove their phone from plastic bags in this intensive care unit.(Janine Fisher) Cohen Fisher, 25, was the first family member out of isolation and allowed to visit. As she lay, eyes closed and hooked up to a ventilator, he sang the same children's hymns his mother sang to him years earlier. "My first impression was she looks pretty lifeless … And I was dying for any ounce of response," he said. But his mother's lungs were so severely infected it became clear she wouldn't survive on a ventilator alone. Doctors decided to try ECMO, the most advanced form of life support. It gives the lungs a chance to heal by pumping blood through a heart and lung machine, and is considered a last line of defence for patients who will otherwise die. "That was one of the worst days of my life," said Cohen. 'They saved my life' Fisher is one of a just a few dozen Albertans with COVID-19 who have been treated with ECMO since the start of the pandemic, and one of fewer yet who have survived. As her lungs improved, doctors and nurses weaned her off the machine and later off the ventilator. She was released from hospital just in time for Mother's Day. "They're heroes. They saved my life," she said. Janine Fisher and her son Cohen pose for a photo after she was moved out of the ICU onto the COVID-19 ward. She says she's grateful to her medical team and to members of her faith community who prayed for her during her ordeal.(Janine Fisher) Fisher is now recovering at home. But her battle is far from over. She relies on a walker to get around, she's extremely short of breath and she needs help with basic tasks. It's unclear whether she'll ever fully recover and she hopes her story prompts other Albertans to follow public health rules and get vaccinated. "I would not wish my experience on anyone. It was a traumatic, debilitating, painful experience for me and for all of my family," Fisher said. "Respect the virus that's still with us. The variant is no joke. It nearly killed me. And it is ferocious." 'It's easy to say it hasn't affected you and it won't affect you … and everyone's over-reacting, until your mom almost dies," said Cohen, pictured here with his mother a week after she was released from hospital. He's urging Albertans to take the virus seriously.(Janine Fisher)
VICTORIA — British Columbians who've had a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will have the option of choosing their second shot within a four-month interval, the provincial health officer says. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are set to expire at the end of June and were reserved for people who, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to get an mRNA vaccine such as the one made by Pfizer-BioNTech. However, further data are expected by the first week of June from a study in the United Kingdom on the effectiveness of switching vaccines for the second dose, and Henry said that information will be shared with B.C. residents. "I ask people to be patient," she said. "We know that we have some time in which your immune system is developing its protective response to your first dose," she said of evidence from the U.K. and other countries suggesting it may be more beneficial to wait up to 12 weeks for the second dose. "You will have the option of receiving the second dose of AstraZeneca and we have stock coming in to be able to support that. Or you can take the information once we have it and make your own decision about what you want for your second dose." An increase in the supply of vaccines in the coming weeks means everyone can expect to have their second dose moved up following a strategy that allowed for more people to get their first doses in order to provide greater community-wide protection, Henry said. British Columbia reported on Monday 1,360 cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period. Fourteen more people died, for a total of 1,648 fatalities, including one person in their 40s and another in their 50s. Over 55 per cent of B.C. residents have now received their first dose of a vaccine, while three per cent, or 130,023 people, have had their second shot, she said. Details about vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 are expected to be announced later this week. Henry said COVID-19 restrictions will not be eased by the Victoria Day long weekend to allow any non-essential travel as protective measures such as wearing masks must continue, even as more people are being immunized. "We now have 400 to 500 people a day that are still testing positive for COVID-19. And that reminds us that the virus continues to circulate and we have to do what we can to stop those transmissions as we are all developing this protection. We can't be travelling and we can't be having large gatherings this weekend." Four extra vaccination clinics have been set up in Surrey this week to ramp up immunizations in a COVID-19 hot spot with a high number of essential workers. The first 1,000 people to show up will be given wristbands for same-day appointments at the clinics, and residents aged 18 and up must present identification proving they live in Surrey, the Health Ministry said in a release. Everyone in B.C. aged 18 and up can now book an appointment to get immunized as part of the province's age-based approach. An independent COVID-19 modelling group said continuing restrictions such as a ban on indoor dining until June 15 would keep case counts low, while reopening too soon could risk a surge. Sarah Otto, a professor at the University of B.C. and a member of the modelling group that includes researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, said behaviour changes such as a ban on indoor dining and social gatherings inside were probably the two most important factors in driving down cases. However, an uptick in vaccinations last month helped lower transmission of the virus in areas like Whistler before more widespread immunizations elsewhere in mid-April, leading to fewer cases two weeks later as immunity developed, she said. "We're now seeing vaccines make a big difference and it is causing the case numbers to decline even faster," she said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
Vancouver police have released the names and photos of six known gangsters they believe pose a significant risk to residents as the Lower Mainland gang war continues to claim victims and play out during the daytime in busy public places. Vancouver police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said the men are being identified because, according to police intelligence, they are the most likely next targets of rival gangs and a danger to anyone who happens to be nearby. "I want to make it clear that today's announcement is not about naming and shaming," he said on Monday. "We are providing these photos and names so Vancouverites can know them and take steps to ensure their own safety and safety of friends and family." The Lower Mainland has recorded 20 gang-related homicides in 2021 and 20 gang-related attempted murders. In the past three weeks alone, seven men tied to gangs have been shot dead in public settings that include Vancouver International Airport, a recreation centre, a community park, a mall parking lot and outside shops and restaurants. The men identified by the VPD are Garinder Deo, 35; Harjit Deo, 38; Barinder Dhaliwal, 38; Meninder Dhaliwal, 28; Ekene Anigbo, 22; and Damion Ryan, 41. 2015 murder attempt Ryan, a full-patch member of the Hells Angels, was the target of a wild 2015 murder attempt at the Vancouver airport food court, carried out by a teen disguised in a black burka. Would-be killer Knowah Ferguson was from Ontario, had no previous criminal record and was promised $200,000 for the hit. WATCH | Surveillance video shows failed assassination of Hells Angels member: Security video played at his trial shows a burka-clad Ferguson walking up to Ryan and putting a gun to his head. The gun jams and both men flee. The 18-year-old was later sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder and four years for conspiracy. Palmer said neither Ryan nor the other five men identified on Monday are currently wanted by police. He said releasing their names is in the interest of public safety, similar to when police release the name and photo of a sex offender who has moved into the community. "[The six] not only pose a risk to friends, family and acquaintances, but also to people who don't even know them every time they go to the gym, go shopping, to the grocery store, to a restaurant or a bar, when bars are open." Palmer said he expects other police agencies to follow Vancouver's lead and release more names and photos of gang members in their jurisdictions. He said the VPD is deploying a suite of overt and covert operations in an attempt to tamp down the violence and that officers would be seizing gang members' cars, homes and other valuables gained through crime. RCMP officers stand near a body covered with a tarp in the parking lot of a shopping complex in Burnaby, B.C., on May 13. Police later said the victim, Jaskeert Kalkat, was connected to gangs and targeted.(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) A new department task force that was recently formed to react quickly to gang activity stopped a retaliation shooting last week, according to Vancouver police Supt. Lisa Byrne. Two men were arrested in a stolen car loaded with gas canisters. One of the individuals was a youth, the other had a loaded firearm. Deputy Chief Howard Chow said citizens should report any suspicious cars they notice to police. "We know gang members park stolen cars in neighbourhoods in advance of targeted hits that they later use as getaway vehicles that we find later burned," he said. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced Monday that it is reviving its gang violence awareness campaign.(CBC) Earlier Monday, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced it is reviving a gang violence awareness campaign thanks to new funding. The campaign encourages people with information on gangs and illegal guns to report anonymously. "If you see something, say something," said Crime Stoppers executive director Linda Annis. "We only want your information so we can pass it on to police. We do not want to know who you are." The widow of Paul Bennett, who was killed in 2018 in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity, said she is pleased the Crime Stopper guns and gang campaign is coming back. "Every arrest, every gun seized means a threat to an innocent life will be reduced," Darlene Bennett said. "Next month marks three years since Paul's life was so senselessly taken. Our lives will never be the same."
TORONTO — Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms. Those conditions include having a note from a licensed health-care provider in Canada that the inoculation is medically necessary, and written proof from the licensed U.S. vaccine provider. Quarantine regulations passed by the federal government contain an exemption for essential medical services obtained abroad. A coronavirus shot, the agency says, falls under that definition. The exemption offers people within driving range of border states awash in vaccines a relatively simple way to get a coveted shot quickly. While supplies are ramping up in Canada, distribution in many areas remains tenuous and age and other eligibility limits remain in place. Information on the regulations and exemption, created by federal cabinet and contained on the government's website, was confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada in an email to David Musyj, head of the Windsor Regional Hospital in the border city of Windsor, Ont. Musyj had pressed Health Canada for answers after noting that people could easily drive over to Detroit for a shot, but having to isolate for 14 days on return would be a major obstacle. "It does verify our interpretation of the current order in council/website information is accurate — that a COVID-19 vaccine is an 'essential medical service or treatment,' Musyj said. "It makes it clear the exemption is permissive." However, public health also said in a written exchange with Musyj that crossing the border — which remains closed to non-essential travel — for a vaccine would not be licence to tack on shopping or other activities. In addition, to qualify for an exemption, the trip has to be in a private vehicle but can include a support person. "Very clear: You need to go to the appointment only and return immediately," Musyj said. "Cannot stop anywhere else for anything." On return, health authorities said, quarantine-exempt travellers must wear a mask in public spaces at all times and keep a list of close contacts and places visited for 14 days. Importantly, Health Canada noted U.S. border agents have final say on who they let in, and that it is up to returning travellers to provide the required documents to Canada Border Services agents for a final decision on a quarantine exemption. "The onus is on the traveller to clearly demonstrate they meet an exemption under the order in council," the public health agency said. Musyj said he was still pushing for federal approval to allow an organized effort to retrieve surplus vaccines from Detroit and bring them back to Canada for use here. The same vaccines produced in Kalamazoo, Mich., are also distributed in Canada but demand in the U.S. has lagged supply. The federal government has said millions of COVID-19 inoculation doses are set to start arriving in the coming days, but supplies remain limited in many areas. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
The province will provide an update on COVID-19 this afternoon. It comes as the Fredericton region, Zone 3, struggles with a growing number of cases at a former designated isolation hotel, a hospital and two schools that involve the highly contagious COVID variant first reported in India. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, and Education Minister Dominic Cardy will participate in the 2:30 p.m. news conference. The event will be live-streamed here on CBC New Brunswick's website. 118 active cases Eleven new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday, including one travel-related case of a resident who is isolating outside the province. There are now 118 active cases of the respiratory disease. Six patients are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit. Another four patients are hospitalized out of province, with one in an intensive care unit. New Brunswick has had 2,073 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 1,913 recoveries and 41 COVID-related deaths. A total 315,114 COVID tests have been conducted, including 1,126 on Sunday. As of Tuesday, 330,100 New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. That's 47.6 per cent of the eligible population, aged 12 or older. Public Health urges people to 'stick closer to home' Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, is urging residents in the Fredericton area to "stick closer to home" if they can. This comes after a surge of new cases in the region, all of which are the India variant. "At this moment we're OK, but that could change," Russell said during an interview with Information Morning Fredericton. She is urging people to think about their comings and goings and provide accurate information in case Public Health needs to contact residents for contact tracing. "Really keep track of where you're going," she said. Latest public exposures Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the Fredericton region: Fredericton: Montana's, 6 Trinity Ave., on May 2, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wolastoq Wharf, 527 Union St., on May 9, between noon and 2:30 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 14, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Harvey: Kubbyhole Craft Shop, 1879 Route 3, on May 7, between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Nackawic: Cal's Independent Grocer, 135 Otis Dr., on May 14, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following location and date in Edmundston: Jean Coutu, 177 Victoria St., on May 15, between noon and 1 p.m. Public Health has also identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights: Air Canada Flight 314 – from Vancouver to Montreal, departed at 11:24 p.m. on May 11. Air Canada Flight 8902 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 1:06 p.m. on May 12. Previous public exposures Public Health has identified a public exposure in Fredericton. Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Pickle Jar Restaurant, 620 Queen St., from May 11 to May 16. The province has also listed another flight with a passenger who has tested positive for COVID-19 on May 7. Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11 a.m. Public Health is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even it they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to book an appointment. Other exposure notifications Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 6 while on the following flights: Air Canada Flight 396 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 6:50 a.m. Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:43 p.m. Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 10 while on the following flight. Air Canada Flight 8946 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:47 p.m. Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the following regions: Moncton region: Pumphouse, 5 Orange Ln., Moncton, on May 4 between 8 and 10 p.m. Staples, 233 Main St., Moncton, on May 5, between noon and 8 p.m. Walmart Supercentre, 477 Paul St., Dieppe, on May 6, between 7 and 10 p.m. Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 7, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Greco Pizza, 120 Killam Dr., Moncton, on May 5, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., May 3, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., and May 2, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 4, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université Ave., Moncton, on May 7, between 2-9:30 p.m., and May 6, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saint John region: Foodland, 1 Market Sq., Quispamsis, on May 3, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Circle K, 309 River Valley Dr., Grand Bay-Westfield, between 11:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7, and 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 8. Fredericton region: My Home Consignment, 5 Acorn St., Fredericton — May 8 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., May 7 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., May 6 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and May 5 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sobeys, 1180 Prospect St., Fredericton, — May 8 between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Lunar Rogue, 625 King Ave., Fredericton — April 28 between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell — May 6 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and April 28 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Lunar Rogue, 625 King St., Fredericton, on April 28, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell, on May 6, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and April 28, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 5, at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant in Walmart, 125 Two Nations Crossing, on May 6, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Brainfix Clinic, 56 Avonlea Crt., on May 6. Adica Massage Clinic, 152 King St., on May 6. Williams Chiropractic, 169 Main St., on May 6. Simms Home Hardware Building Centre, 190 King St., on May 6. Costco Gas Bar, 5 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 6. Massage Experts, 169 Dundonald St., on May 6, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on May 7, from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12. STMR. 36 Restaurant – Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12. Jack's Pizza, 379 King St., on May 7, at 1 p.m. Mitch Clarke Skate Park, 116 Johnston Ave., on May 7, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Garrison Skatepark, York Street parking lot, on May 7, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. James Joyce Pub, 659 Queen St., on May 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant, 94 Main St., on May 7, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and May 8, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Princess Auto, 21 Trinity Ave., on May 8, from 8 a.m. to noon. Fredericton Public Library, 12 Carleton St., on May 8, from 10 a.m. to noon. Northside Market, 170 Main St., on May 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Irving Oil, 181 King St., on May 9, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dollarama, 5 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 2 p.m. NB Liquor, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m. Home Sense, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m. Tim Hortons drive-thru, Regent Street, on May 10, at 1:30 p.m. Atlantic Superstore, 471 Smythe St, on May 10, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and May 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, 700 Priestman St., on May 10-11. Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, 800 Priestman St., on May 10-11. Veterans Health Unit, 680 Priestman St., on May 10-11. Shoppers Drug Mart, 1040 Prospect St., on May 11, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Scott's Nursery, 2192 Route 102, on May 8, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
MADRID (Reuters) -A Spanish study on mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer's drug to people who already received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective, preliminary results showed on Tuesday. The Combivacs study, run by Spain's state-backed Carlos III Health Institute, found the presence of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream was between 30 and 40 times higher in people who got the follow-up Pfizer shot than in a control group who only received one AstraZeneca dose.
CEUTA, Spain (AP) — Spain deployed its military to the Moroccan border Tuesday and expelled nearly half of the thousands of migrants who jumped fences or swam onto European soil over two days after Rabat loosened border controls amid a deepening diplomatic spat. Overwhelmed soldiers separated the adults from the young and carried children in their arms while Red Cross workers helped an endless trickle of migrants who were emerging from the water shivering and exhausted. One unconscious woman laid on the sand before she was carried away on a stretcher. The sudden influx of migrants has fueled the diplomatic spat between Rabat and Madrid over the disputed Western Sahara region and created a humanitarian crisis for Ceuta, the Spanish city of 85,000 in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, separated from Morocco by a double-wide, 10-meter (32-feet) fence. Amina Farkani, a 31-year-old Moroccan woman who commuted to jobs in Ceuta for 18 years until foreign workers were banned from entering when coronavirus outbreaks began to surge last year, said she saw an opportunity to go back to work when she heard that police were not controlling the border. “They let people pass and stand there without speaking,” Farkani told The Associated Press. “People just pass and pass and pass.” Farkani was among the thousands of migrants who were sent back to Morocco. AP reporters saw Spanish military personnel and police officers ushering both adults and children through a gate in the border fence. Some tried to resist and were pushed and chased by soldiers who used batons to hasten them. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska denied that unaccompanied migrants under 18, who are allowed to remain legally under the tutelage of Spanish authorities, were being deported. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez canceled a trip to Paris, where he was to attend a summit on international aid to Africa, and flew by helicopter to Ceuta. While calling Morocco a “friend of Spain," Sánchez also urged authorities to “respect the shared border.” A senior Moroccan Foreign Ministry official said the government had recalled its ambassador to Spain for consultations. The official wasn't authorized to be identified by name in media reports. By Tuesday afternoon, nearly 8,000 sea-soaked people had crossed the border into the city since early Monday, the Spanish government said, including some 2,000 thought to be teenagers. The number getting in slowed after Spain deployed additional police officers and soldiers, but the arrivals didn't stop even when anti-riot police on the Moroccan side dispersed crowds of people hoping to cross over. At least 4,000 were returned to Morocco, according to Spain's Interior Ministry. Morocco and Spain signed an agreement three decades ago to expel all those who swim across the border. Yet many arriving Tuesday were sub-Saharan Africans who often migrate to flee poverty or violence at home. Spain has agreements to return some of those migrants to their native countries, but not all of them. One young man drowned and dozens were treated for hypothermia or small injuries, the Red Cross in Ceuta said, adding that it was performing coronavirus tests on the new arrivals. The adults were being transferred to Ceuta’s main soccer stadium, while those thought to be minors were sent to warehouses run by charity groups. Neither the government in Rabat nor local officials have commented about the mass influx or responded to queries by The Associated Press. “It’s such a strong invasion that we are not able to calculate the number of people that have entered,” said Juan Jesús Vivas, the president of Ceuta, an autonomous city of about 20 square kilometers (7.7 square miles). “The army is at the border in a deterrent role, but there are great quantities of people on the Moroccan side waiting to enter,” he told Cadena SER radio. Four Spanish armored vehicles parked Tuesday at Tarajal beach in Ceuta, where the border fence leads to a short breakwater. Some people also rushed up the hills surrounding the city and jumped over the fences. In a video shared by a Spanish police union urging authorities to send in reinforcements, anti-riot officers behind the border fence were using shields to protect themselves from stones being thrown by people in Morocco. The European Union’s top migration official – Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson – described the incidents as “worrying” and called on Morocco to prevent people from setting out in the first place. “The most important thing now is that Morocco continues to commit to prevent irregular departures, and that those who do not have the right to stay are orderly and effectively returned,” Johansson told the European Parliament. “Spanish borders are European borders. The European Union wants to build a relationship with Morocco based on trust and shared commitments. Migration is a key element,” she said. Morocco's loosened border watch came after Spain decided to grant entry for medical treatment to the chief of a militant group that fights Morocco for the independence of Western Sahara. Morocco annexed the sprawling region on the west coast of Africa in 1975. Morocco’s Foreign Ministry has said Madrid’s move to assist Brahim Ghali, head of the Polisario Front, was “inconsistent with the spirit of partnership and good neighborliness” and vowed there would be “consequences.” Vivas, Ceuta's conservative regional president, said residents were in a state of “anguish, concern and fear" and 60% of the city's children had not shown up for school on Tuesday. He also linked the sudden mass arrival to Spain's compassionate assistance to Ghali. The Spanish government officially rejects the notion that Morocco is punishing Spain for a humanitarian move. Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya summoned Morocco's ambassador, however, to express the government’s “disgust” and to communicate that Spain rejected “the massive entry of Moroccan immigrants.” Moroccan Ambassador Karima Benyaich was later recalled by Rabat. Sánchez appeared on live television to announce he would visit Ceuta and that his top priority was to ensure safety in the city “in the face of any challenge, any eventuality and under any circumstance.” Over the decades, Spain has built a close relationship with Morocco to crack down on illegal border crossings but also to increase economic exchanges and fight extremism. Sánchez on Tuesday avoided any direct criticism to Rabat in his speech. “To be effective,” he said, “that cooperation must always be based on respect — respect for the shared border.'' The prime minister also faced a political storm at home. The far-right Vox party blamed the migration crisis on the government's “inaction" and sending its leader on a quick visit to Ceuta. Many African migrants regard Ceuta and nearby Melilla, another Spanish territory, as a gateway into Europe. In 2020, 2,228 chose to cross into the two enclaves by sea or land, often risking injuries or death. On Tuesday, another 80 African migrants reached Melilla, 350 kilometers (218 miles) east of Ceuta, by jumping over the enclave’s double fence. Morocco scored a diplomatic victory last year when the previous U.S. administration under Donald Trump recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, paving the way for normalizing relations between Israel and Morocco. ___ Aritz Parra reported from Madrid. AP journalists Bernat Armangué in Ceuta, Spain, Tarik El Barakah in Rabat, Lorne Cook in Brussels, Iain Sullivan in Madrid and Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Renata Brito And Aritz Parra, The Associated Press
A Saskatchewan man who brutally attacked a woman and set her on fire has been denied parole. Leslie Black, 35, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the beating, burning and sexual assault of Marlene Bird in Prince Albert, Sask., in 2014. Bird's injuries resulted in the amputation of both of her legs and the Indigenous woman also lost much of her eyesight. She died in 2017 at the age of 50 from heart, liver and kidney failure. Her death was only a few months after Black was sentenced to 16 years for the vicious assault. He was given credit of four years, eight months for time already served, so faced just over 11 years in prison. “Your actions were unpredictable, brutal and indifferent,” said a decision released Monday by the Parole Board of Canada. Black told a parole board hearing last week that the attack on Bird happened around the anniversary of his own mother’s murder and he’d been drinking more frequently. He didn’t know Bird and told the board the sexual assault was “out of the blue.” After setting Bird’s shirt on fire, Black left the woman in flames and went to a store to get candy. He walked past Bird again, who was still on fire, and ignored her. Bird was found several hours later with burns so severe her facial bones were exposed. Black told the hearing that the decision to light Bird on fire “just happened” because he had a lighter in his coat pocket. He told the parole board that he prayed with an elder for Bird and her family when he learned of her death. The board’s decision said Black still shows “limited insight into the underlying factors that allowed (him) to engage in this level of violence.” Black has continued to have issues with violence behind bars, including fights with other inmates and weapons found in his cell, the board said. “Your inability to follow institutional rules raises concerns for the board about your ability and willingness to abide by conditions in the community." Psychological assessments presented at the hearing said Black presents a risk for future sexual offences and suggested any form of conditional release would be premature. After Black was sentenced, Bird, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, said she thought she “could forgive him” but friends said she was upset by the length of his incarceration. “I’m doing my best, because my mom told me to forgive people that do wrong,” Bird said at the time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
Environmentalists say a report from the International Energy Agency that concludes investment in new fossil fuel sources must end if the world is to meet its climate goals has a strong message for Canada. "We now have an analysis from the most authoritative energy body in the world that shows a direct link between a climate-safe future and a sharp decline in demand for oil and gas," said Chris Severson-Baker of the Pembina Institute, a clean-energy think tank. "Within the decade, this will have a significant impact on the price and therefore production levels of oil and gas in Alberta." The report, released Tuesday, says there is a narrow but viable pathway for a global energy sector with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It calls for an end to investment in new fossil fuel supplies and a fourfold increase in solar and wind power by 2030. The Paris-based agency adds no new internal combustion engine passenger cars should be sold after 2035. Several countries, including Canada and the United States, have pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. That means only as much planet-warming gases would be released into the atmosphere as could be absorbed. The report sets out 400 steps needed to transform how energy is produced, transported and used. Fatih Birol, the energy agency's executive director, said the change would create millions of new jobs and boost economic growth worldwide. But he warned that while countries and companies have begun to set bold targets for cutting greenhouse gases, actual emissions continue to rise. The agency said last month that 2021 will see the second-largest annual increase in emissions since 2010. “There is a growing gap between the rhetoric we hear from governments and industry leaders, and what is happening in real life,” Birol said. Richard Masson of the University of Calgary said demand for fossil fuels in the next few years is expected to increase. "The difference between what the IEA says we need to do and what we're actually going to do are night and day, because there's not a chance in the world we're hitting this path," said Masson with the School of Public Policy. He said the agency anticipates North America will still be the world's second-largest producing area in 2050, which suggests there will still be demand for oilsands oil. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said in its June 2019 oil production forecast that Canadian crude oil production would increase to 5.86 million barrels daily by 2035. New-York-based energy analyst Phil Skolnick said no growth might not hurt the Canadian oilpatch since pipeline capacity issues have already forced companies to restrain expansion. He noted the report seems to ignore carbon capture and storage. Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said the agency's report confirms what other researchers have been saying for a decade. "This is not a disaster for Alberta," he said. "Even in this climate-stabilizing scenario, oilsands output can be sustained at close to current levels for a couple of decades, provided that there are ongoing innovations and investments that reduce GHG production emissions." Still, many said the agency's report only serves to emphasize big changes are in store for Canada's energy sector and those who regulate and invest in it. "Alberta must take action to reduce emissions in the oil and gas sector to remain carbon-competitive as demand declines," Severson-Baker said. "This means attracting large-scale investments in decarbonization by demonstrating that the Alberta government is committed to achieving net-zero emissions." The Canadian Energy Regulator and the country's financial sector — one of the most heavily exposed to fossil fuel development in the world — also face changes, said Adam Scott of Shift, an initiative that works to move investment into climate-friendly industries. "The (agency's) definitive new outlook forces meaning into empty net-zero pledges made by governments, finance institutions and companies in recent years," he said. "Financial decisions made today must assume a future where we are successful in achieving our climate goals. Continuing to make decisions based on the assumption of climate failure locks in that failure." Greenpeace climate campaigner Keith Stewart called the report a "death blow" to any belief that Canada can increase production and reach its climate targets. “It won’t be easy, but the report shows that a zero-carbon world is better for our health, creates more jobs, has lower energy costs and is more equitable, while avoiding climate catastrophe." — With files from Dan Healing and The Associated Press This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2021. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
The Alberta government on Tuesday abruptly cancelled a request for proposals seeking a contractor to provide long-range drones to help with enforcement of camping on public lands this summer. Posted on Friday, the RFP suggested Alberta Environment and Parks planned to use drones to take photos and video of "designated areas" of public lands over four weekends this summer and fall. "ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) collection will take place within designated areas in Alberta between July 1–4, 2021, July 31- August 3, 2021, September 4-7, 2021 and October 9-12, 2021 ... to include detection of campfires, off-highway vehicles operating in restricted areas, gatherings of ten (10) or more individuals, and officer safety support," the bid document stated. But Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said Tuesday the request was not reviewed or approved by anyone in his office before it was posted. "As soon as I became aware of the request for suppliers related to Long Range Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) I instructed by department to suspend it," Nixon said in a statement to CBC News. "These devices should not and will not be used to monitor visitors while they recreate in our parks or public lands. I have been clear with my department, that while drones are an effective and cost-effective tool for wildfire monitoring and search and rescue assistance, they must never be used to encroach on privacy." The government cancelled the RFP and removed the bid documents from the Alberta Purchasing Connection website by 11 a.m. Tuesday. Media had started making inquiries and at least one outlet had published a story by that time. Under the RFP, images and video collected by the drones would have been provided in real-time, and the information would have gone to Alberta Environment and Parks at the end of each holiday weekend. The RFP said the government had planned to use long-range drones to monitor for wildfires and flooding, and to assist in search and rescue. Camping on public lands in Alberta has traditionally been free but the government is introducing a $30 annual fee to help pay for additional enforcement. Last summer, Alberta saw an upswing in the popularity of camping on both public land and traditional campsites due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More campers placed increased demands on public lands, which generally lack amenities such as pit toilets, waste collection and fire pits offered at traditional campsites. Areas in the Bighorn area of the eastern slopes, which were proposed to become provincial parks under the previous NDP government, have been hit particularly hard. A report by the Alberta Environment Bighorn Backcountry Standing Committee from June 2020 found the areas were overrun with users. Some campers cut live trees for firewood, overran areas with new ATV trails and left garbage and human waste behind.
Questions are still outstanding around what Ontario will do with its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, an army logistics officer who's spent more than 30 years in uniform, has been named the officer in charge of the Public Health Agency of Canada's vaccine rollout. She replaces Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who left the post after an allegation of sexual misconduct was raised.
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to people 30 and older on Monday, and health officials said they hoped to lower that age to 12 by next week. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang told reporters the province's vaccine program is ramping up and officials should be able to administer 72,000 doses of vaccine this week alone. "Today marks the beginning of a big week on the vaccine front," Strang said. "We hope to open to all remaining age groups by next week." About 64,300 Nova Scotians in the 30-to-34 age group are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines. The announcement came as the province reported 91 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. Nova Scotia had opened vaccine appointments to people as young as 35 on Friday. Its vaccine rollout expands access in descending order of five-year age groups as supply becomes available. Strang said to date, 40 per cent of the province's population has received one or more doses of vaccine, but he cautioned that Nova Scotia's "magic number" is to get 75 per cent of the entire population vaccinated. As of Sunday, the province had administered 430,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 39,235 people having received their booster shot. "To hit our target … we need 85 per cent of eligible Nova Scotians to get their vaccine," Strang said. He issued a challenge to younger age groups to go out and get a shot in large numbers in order to keep the province on track to meet its target. Meanwhile, Premier Iain Rankin said he and other eastern Canadian premiers are exploring the possibility of receiving excess vaccine from the United States. Rankin said he met with New England governors earlier on Monday, adding that he and the governors sent letters to the Canadian and United States governments asking that extra vaccine be used to help open the border between the two countries more quickly. Nova Scotia's case count on Monday included 66 infections identified in the Halifax area, 17 in the province's eastern zone, five in the northern zone and three in the western region. The province has 1,435 active reported cases of COVID-19 and 95 people in hospital with the disease, including 21 in intensive care. The other areas of virus activity outside Halifax include Bridgewater, N.S., and the Annapolis Valley, but Strang said the Sydney, N.S., area is his greatest concern because fewer people are being tested. Health officials said two more patients at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QEII Health Sciences Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been transferred to the hospital's COVID-19 unit. Dr. Brendan Carr, CEO of Nova Scotia Health, said 12 patients and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. "We don't yet know the source of the infection," Carr told reporters. Nova Scotia reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 86 on Saturday. Saturday's case count was the first time since May 1 that the province's daily reported figure dipped below 100. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
The U.S. Senate voted 86-11 Monday to open debate on a measure authorizing more than $110 billion for basic and advanced technology research over five years in the face of rising competitive pressure from China. The Endless Frontier Act would authorize most of the money, $100 billion, to invest in basic and advanced research, commercialization of the research, and education and training programs in key technology areas like artificial intelligence (AI). Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate will debate the bill for a week or two beginning on Tuesday.
HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) -Hong Kong government's suspended on Tuesday operations at its representative office in Taiwan in a sign of escalating diplomatic tension between the global financial hub and the democratically ruled island that Beijing claims. Tension between Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government and Taiwan have risen since pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong in 2019 and China responded by imposing a sweeping national security law in the city that prompted many activists to leave, some for Taiwan. A Hong Kong government representative did not provide an explanation for the decision to halt operations at the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office, adding only that the decision was not related to the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Taiwan.
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s total virus cases since the pandemic began swept past 25 million on Tuesday as the country registered more than 260,000 new cases and a record 4,329 fatalities in the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a trend of falling cases after infections dipped below 300,000 for the first time in weeks on Monday. Active cases in the country also decreased by more than 165,000 on Tuesday — the biggest dip in weeks. But deaths have continued to rise and hospitals are still swamped by patients. India has recorded nearly 280,000 virus deaths since the pandemic began. Experts warn that both the number of deaths and total reported cases are likely vast undercounts. Infections in India have surged since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for religious festivals and political rallies. In the last month, cases have more than tripled and reported deaths have gone up six times — but testing has only increased by 1.6 times, according to Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan tracking India's battle with the virus. With infections outrunning testing capabilities, there are fears that many cases are going undetected. Experts also say India has lagged behind in doing the testing needed to track and better understand a worrisome virus variant first detected in the country. On Monday, the Health Ministry said 17 new labs will be brought online to help track variants. The variant first identified in India has prompted global concern — most notably in Britain, where it has more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections. Meanwhile, ever since India opened up vaccinations to all adults this month, the pace of administering shots has plunged. Many states have said they don't have enough stock to give out. The southern state of Karnataka, for example, has temporarily halted its drive to inoculate those aged between 18 and 44 at government-run centers due to a shortage of doses. The Associated Press