A lone pair of boats ride out the winter in Toronto, ON marina.
A lone pair of boats ride out the winter in Toronto, ON marina.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
It’s hard to say what is the more impressive feat — remotely landing a spacecraft on Mars, or a kid from Norfolk County landing a job at NASA. Christopher Heirwegh’s unlikely trajectory took him from a Simcoe Composite School physics class to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where an instrument he helped design is scanning the surface of Mars for signs of ancient life. “It’s been a very exciting past couple of weeks, starting with the anticipation leading up to the landing, followed by the joy of knowing it made it successfully,” said Heirwegh, 39, a few days after watching the Mars rover Perseverance complete its 300 million-mile journey to the Red Planet on Feb. 18. As Perseverance floated down to the surface, Heirwegh was on the edge of his seat at his home in Pasadena, Calif. His wife, Meagan, and their six-year-old daughter, Harper, were by his side, with the rest of Heirwegh’s JPL team sharing in the suspense on a video call. “It hit me right at that moment before landing, around the parachute phase, that things are going to come in fast, and oh boy, if this doesn’t make it, where do we go from here?” Heirwegh said. “There was certainly some tension.” Perseverance’s thrusters soon kicked in to start its powered descent, and a sky crane took over to gently place the rover on Mars. While mission control filled with the cheers of relieved scientists, the Heirweghs tucked into celebratory shawarma and cake. Now that Perseverance is trundling around the Jezero crater, Heirwegh’s work has just begun. The physicist is keeping a close eye on PIXL, a high-tech X-ray machine that has been his sole professional focus since joining NASA in 2016. PIXL — the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry — is one of two instruments mounted on the lander’s robotic arm that will help answer the mission’s central question — has there been life on Mars? About the size of a lunch box, PIXL’s job is to scan Martian rocks for trace elements that could point to the presence of ancient life, while taking what Heirwegh describes as “super close-up pictures of rock and soil textures” that could reveal microbial evidence smaller than a grain of salt. PIXL has an X-ray tube at its heart, similar to what dentists use when photographing teeth. The scanner shoots pinpoint-sized X-ray beams into the rock, a process not unlike how artwork investigators chemically analyze paintings to detect forgeries. “We’re looking at things that tell us what the rock is made of, where the rock might have come from, if it was exposed to water, and also if it might have potentially harboured very primitive forms of life at one time,” Heirwegh explained. PIXL is best at finding evidence of inorganic material — heavier elements like calcium, lead and strontium — while another instrument on the rover, called SHERLOC, looks for “the building blocks of life,” lighter organic molecules like carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Together, they search for “biosignatures” suggestive of fossilized bacteria that may have called a Martian ocean home billions of years ago. “Our two instruments can each produce two-dimensional elemental maps,” Heirwegh said, likening each pinpoint of data collected to the pixels on a television that combine to form a clear picture. “We’re hoping we can eventually overlay the two maps so we can really get a good idea of what the rock is all about.” Reaching for the stars The grandson of tobacco farmers who immigrated to Norfolk County from Belgium, Heirwegh grew up enthralled by the stars in the night sky and the vastness of space. He never missed an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation — “mostly just the Rodenberry years,” he clarified — and pored over images of the solar system captured by the Voyager probes. “I found that pretty fascinating, and that kind of led me to what I do now,” he said. Mike and Laurie Heirwegh have followed their son’s career with pride. “Some of the stuff is way above what we understand. Christopher always keeps it as simple as possible for us,” Mike said with a laugh. Mike, a retired pharmacist and business owner, said his “studious” and “reserved” son excelled in a science-heavy course load at Simcoe Composite School. “Whitney, our daughter, said he had this microscope he got at Christmas and would project images up in his room and explain what was on the slides to her and her sister Danielle,” added Laurie, who owns a gift shop in Simcoe. Four years studying undergraduate science at McMaster University in Hamilton led to a master’s in medical physics at Mac, where Heirwegh first tried his hand at X-ray technology. He further studied X-ray fluorescence and radiation science while doing his PhD and post-doctoral fellowship in applied physics at the University of Guelph, which involved analyzing data collected by the Opportunity and Curiosity Mars rovers. That piqued NASA’s interest, creating a rare opportunity for a Canadian to join the Jet Propulsion Lab. “There were not too many people who were doing that,” Mike Heirwegh said. “To get a job like he’s doing in NASA, you have to be uniquely different than any American.” The family left their house in Guelph to make a new life in America, with Meagan Heirwegh, herself an accomplished academic, putting her career on hold so her husband could follow his dream. “She was extremely supportive of taking this step,” Heirwegh said. “That’s been a really key part of it, and something that helped me to have the courage to make such a drastic move.” While navigating the immigration process, Heirwegh got to work calibrating PIXL years ahead of its launch on Perseverance. Past Mars rovers have used X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, but PIXL is the first with an X-ray tube, a technological milestone Heirwegh finds “quite rewarding.” In the months ahead, Heirwegh and his fellow scientists will analyze the trove of scientific data Perseverance will transmit across space to the Jet Propulsion Lab, while making sure their high-tech scanner stays properly calibrated. To keep himself calibrated in what can be a high-pressure job, Heirwegh exercises every morning, and he and Meagan solve a Mensa puzzle together over breakfast. “It’s a nice way to jump-start the physical and mental gears,” he said. Heirwegh could not have known what the future held when he decided to leave Canada and boldly go to NASA to reach for the stars. But his parents say their son was destined to work on the Mars project. “I think the term ‘perseverance’ is very much like Christopher,” Mike said. “He persevered to get to where he is.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Pedal power is coming to Mitchell’s Bay after council officially awarded a contract for the construction of a bike lane. On Monday, Chatham-Kent council awarded Armstrong Paving and Materials Group Ltd. with a $291,290.73 contract for the project. North Kent Coun. Jamie McGrail said the Mitchell's Bay Area Association has been working hard to get this project off the ground and completed for months. The association also contributed $25,000 toward the project. “They're excited that hopefully come June or July, we invite everybody to come down to Mitchell's Bay and take advantage of this new trail, because it really does complete an awesome trail system that's already here,” she said. The bike lane will be constructed along Bay Line which is the only roadway leading into the waterfront community. The 1.5 metre-wide paved shoulder will extend west from Winter Line Road to Dover Beach Park and connect to Memorial Park and Trail, the South Lakeshore Trail, and surrounding residential neighbourhoods. The route has been identified as a key connector for The Great Trail – a cross-Canada 24,000-kilometre system of greenways, waterways, and roadways – and the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. “Both of these national and provincially promoted routes are identified on the respective organizations’ mapping as a key connection. This route is also identified in the Chatham-Kent trails master plan through the implementation plan,” reads a report to council. Public consultation also took place with only one opposition expressed toward the project. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
Chatham-Kent is conducting a review for its service centres as it has found more residents are switching to cashless payments, online transactions and phone service delivery models. The motion was approved at Monday night’s council meeting after South Kent Coun. Clare Latimer brought it forward with the intent to have the report come back before the 2022 budget deliberations. The review will identify changing habits of the municipality’s clients and include recommendations on which services could be closed or combined. “Our service delivery can move forward differently and still afford continued safety and well-being, and actual growth in our community,” Latimer said. The report will also look at library and police service buildings to see if the municipality can divest from those properties. Administration will seek out input from the public during the review process. East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault said the survey was necessary at some point in the future, however, the current timing was too premature because new service trends caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may skew the numbers and result in unnecessary closures. “In a lot of cases those service centres in small communities are the only link to the municipality. Honestly, you can save money if you close them all, there’s no question about that. But to me that is their lifeline from Highgate to Bothwell to the municipality.” The survey will also look at staffing but will not necessarily make cuts. Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy raised concerns of municipal staff finding potential cuts among their colleagues, citing a similar service review in 2013 where he said council rejected most of the recommendations made. “I just found… when we ask staff to find cuts it's really not all that terribly successful because you’re asking employees to find reductions within their own departments and frankly if I was that person I would feel less apt to find reductions in my own department,” he said. Cathay Hoffman with corporate services, said past review committees were made up of a “variety of representatives of those across the organization” from finance to delivery employees to add neutrality and that the current model will be similar. She added that municipal staff expect the current virtual service trends to continue beyond COVID-19. One example brought up was the new 311 call number, which Hoffman said has taken off. “We’ve just been continuing to pivot... to figure out how best to provide services in a timely manner, so that customers still get the services that they need.” Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
HALIFAX — Rapper Classified and singer-songwriter Rose Cousins lead the list of nominees for the 2021 East Coast Music Awards. Classified, from Enfield, N.S., has eight nominations including Album of the Year, Rap-Hip Hop Recording of the Year and Song of the Year for "Good News." Halifax-based Cousins has six nominations including Songwriter of the Year, Solo Recording of the Year and Album of the Year for "Bravado." Beolach, Catherine MacLellan, David Myles, Neon Dreams and Rich Aucoin each have four nominations. This year's awards lineup features a new category — African Canadian Artist of the Year — with Joe Bowden, Keonte Beals, Miokal, Owen O'Sound Lee, Shelley Hamilton and Zamani vying for the honour. The awards festival week is scheduled for May 5-9 in Sydney, N.S. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Jihadis linked to the Islamic State group attacked the northeastern Nigerian town of Dikwa and humanitarian posts there, security officials said. The attack in Borno state that began late Monday night came about 48 hours after the governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum, visited the community along with other officials, to distribute cash and food to displaced families there. The assailants arrived in trucks and motorcycles, surrounding residents and people staying at a camp for people who are displaced within Nigeria, residents said. The member representing Dikwa at the Borno state House of Assembly, Zakariya Dikwa, said they burned down the police station, the primary health centre and attacked humanitarian offices and left with their vehicles. “The attack was massive because the Boko Haram fighters went there with over 13 gun trucks — all of which had their bodies pasted with mud,” he said. The military later confirmed the fighters are with Boko Haram offshoot The Islamic State of West Africa Province, known as ISWAP. It said in a statement Tuesday that the military had routed the jihadis from Dikwa with heavy bombardment and firepower. The jihadis tried to invade the town after hearing of the food distribution. The U.N. co-ordinator of humanitarian affairs in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, also confirmed an attack on humanitarian facilities in Dikwa, saying several aid facilities were directly targeted, in a statement released by the UNOCHA office in Nigeria. “The attack started last night and, as information is still coming through, I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze or sustained damage,” he said. “I strongly condemn the attack and am deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Dikwa, including internally displaced people inside and outside camps and thousands of people who had returned to the community to rebuild their lives after years in displacement.” The attack “will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic risks spreading in Borno State,” he said. ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and has become a threat in the region. Nigeria has been fighting the more than 10-year Boko Haram insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. Haruna Umar, The Associated Press
A Vancouver Island man who teaches cross country skiing has seen his Youtube channel grow in popularity as people from around the world turn to the sport as the perfect pandemic activity. Keith Nicol has been posting videos online for the past decade. Over the past year, the number of people who subscribe to his channel has grown from 4,500 to 6,500, and his videos now accumulate between 4,000 and 4,500 views a day. “I would say that it’s really been a COVID-related thing in terms of kind of grasping the uptick,” said Nicol. “I put it down to people having time on their hands, not travelling in the winter, and looking for something to do, so they’ll pick up cross country skiing.” Nicol has a long history of teaching and running instructor courses in Atlantic Canada, where he lived before moving to Courteney six years ago. He holds a Level Four instructor training certificate for cross country skiing and a Level Three for telemark skiing from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. These are the highest such levels that the organization assigns for the respective sports. (In other words, Nicol truly knows what he’s talking about.) Nicol now teaches at Mount Washington. He said that his videos focus on the aspects of the sport that people struggle with, as well as key elements of technique. “I teach up at Mount Washington, so I see people repeatedly having problems doing certain activities or certain skills. So I’ll say, ‘okay, well, maybe I’ll do a video on that,’” he said. Overall, Nicol said that he’s very encouraged by the growth of cross country skiing, which experts estimate has grown by around 50 percent this year. “I think it’s great, since it’s such a great lifetime sport,” said Nicol. Nicol, who cross country skis almost every other day, also views it as the “perfect” COVID activity. “I go up Mount Washington, and I’ll look at all of the people lined up the lift, and I’ll go, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m glad I’m cross country skiing today again,’” he said. For anyone wanting to see Nicol’s cross country ski instructional videos, you can check them out at this link. Nicol also encourages anyone interested to reach out to him directly with video ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
A Sudbury man has been charged with impaired driving after being stopped by West Parry Sound OPP in Archipelago Township on Friday, Feb. 26. Police say that they were patrolling Highway 69 when they saw a possible impaired driver around 1:45 a.m. After stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, police confirmed that alcohol had been consumed. Fifty-seven-year-old Eugeniusz Lorenc of Sudbury has been charged with operation while impaired and a blood alcohol concentration of 80 plus, according to police. This is the thirteenth impaired driving charge that West Parry Sound OPP have laid in 2021. Lorenc was issued 90-day driver's license suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. They are scheduled to appear in Parry Sound court on March 18. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
TORONTO — Ontario's health minister says the province won't administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to seniors. Christine Elliott says the province plans to follow the advice of a national panel recommending against using that vaccine on people aged 65 and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot not be used for seniors due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations. Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use. She also says the province is waiting for recommendations from the immunization committee on whether Ontario can extend the interval between administering first and second vaccine doses to four months. Elliott says Ontario will share its updated vaccine rollout plan once that advice is received, factoring in expected supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
At the almost empty "Wall Street" bar and restaurant in Tokyo's Kayabacho financial district, three groups of patrons dine quietly at tables separated by partitions. The sedate scene is a far cry from the area's heyday 30 years ago when traders flush from big wins on the nearby Tokyo Stock Exchange routinely crowded the restaurant's bar, downing glasses of premium whiskey. Even though Japanese stocks are scaling giddy heights not seen since the asset inflation bubble of the late 1980s and early 1990s, bars and restaurants in the financial district aren't along for the ride.
Sky Blue FC says Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan has undergone successful surgery on her right quad. The NWSL club said there is no timetable for Sheridan's return. The 25-year-old from Whitby, Ont., was injured Feb. 18 in Canada's first game at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. She was helped off the pitch in the 10th minute of the 1-0 loss to the U.S., going down in pain after a seemingly innocuous pass to a teammate. “Surgery went really well and I am excited to start my recovery process,” Sheridan said in a statement Tuesday. “I will be pushing myself to come back stronger and better than ever." The Olympic football tournament is scheduled for July 21 to Aug. 7 in Tokyo. Canada Soccer said it had no information on Sheridan's possible return to action. Veteran Stephanie Labbe, who has 72 caps, started the rest of the SheBelieves Cup, with the uncapped Rylee Foster as her backup. Erin McLeod, a 38-year-old who has 118 caps, had to leave camp early with a dislocated finger. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
SURREY, B.C. — RCMP say a third suspect has surrendered to police after a youth was assaulted with a weapon Monday in an attack outside a school in Surrey, B.C. Two other youths were taken into custody shortly after the assault outside Panorama Ridge Secondary School. Police say the third suspect surrendered later on Monday and all three youths remained in custody overnight. The suspects were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and investigators say none of them are known to police. The victim was taken to hospital in stable condition Monday and police have not released further details about what led to the assault. A statement issued Tuesday by RCMP says the attack is believed to be related to an ongoing dispute among the teens and is not linked to gang activity, and there's no indication of any continuing risk to safety at the school. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The British Supreme Court ruling in favour of Uber drivers offers some hope that gig workers, many of them immigrants, might finally be given basic rights. But there's still lots of work to do.
The Creative City Network of Canada identifies arts and culture as powerful tools contributing to positive change within any community. Activities help create dialogue between community members and a safe space for leadership and activism to be taught and learned. The Vancouver-based organization is made up of municipalities and corporations across the country that want to support cultural development in their communities through different forms of art. The City of Brampton has suffered on this front for years. It’s last arts-related organization, the Brampton Arts Council (BAC) was dismantled in 2015 after the City changed the way it was funding community organizations, following years of wide scale mismanagement under the leadership of former mayor Susan Fennnell, who divided and politicized the arts community. BAC was founded in 1978 and received most of its funding from the City in the 13 years before it ceased operations. The group had obvious problems of its own. Sharon Vandrish, co-chair of the Brampton Arts Coalition Committee (BACC), told The Pointer there was no regular communication between the BAC and the leaders of different arts groups they were to assist, making their agenda unclear. Despite the problems, funding still flowed, but once the BAC was disbanded, Brampton’s local arts community was left without any support. To change this, the BACC, made up of local artists and industry professionals, has been advocating for some sort of revival for the past three years. In a February 2019 presentation to council, the group illustrated just how bad things were in the city. At the time, using a conservative population estimate of 594,000 residents, the city was putting less than a dollar per person toward the arts, the lowest among Canada’s big cities. Brampton had no city staff or board members dedicated toward an arts council. Mississauga was putting $2.76 toward the arts for each resident, and had 4 staff members and 17 arts directors at the time. Changes were desperately needed. Vandrish and other local artists received some hope at a council meeting a little over a year ago. In January 2019, council approved the creation of the Arts, Culture and Creative Industry Development Agency (the Agency for short) to help revive Brampton’s creative industries. These industries are a key focus of the city’s future planning, as summarized in Brampton’s 2040 Vision, a detailed document outlining Brampton’s long-term growth model. The creation of the Agency was a talking point in the City’s first Cultural Master Plan. Approved in 2018, it helped highlight why Brampton’s art scene was struggling and proposed a body devoted to arts and cultural development, which would help the city implement programs under one organized structure. “The lack of such a [master] plan has led to an uncoordinated and reactive approach to issues as they emerge. Without a guiding strategy to provide course and direction, there has been confusion and some frustration amongst those active in the arts and cultural community,” the Master Plan states. Nuvi Sidhu was hired last month as the chair of the panel that will incorporate the Agency. Sidhu, a project management consultant who has worked with local artists, will be responsible for hiring the rest of the panel. It’s unclear how the hiring for the position was handled. The Pointer sent the City questions about the process and the project’s future but did not receive a response. Vandrish said she was “pleased” with the announcement of the new hiring. While the original goal was to have the hiring done in the fall, given ongoing challenges due to the pandemic, she’s glad the hiring was even done. While it’s a step in the right direction, there are still concerns around the project. Besides the chair, the seven-member panel will include program lead Michael Vickers who was hired alongside Sidhu, one member of council, a local artist, and one creative entrepreneur, among others. While Vandrish said she understands the importance of having panel members who specialize in finance, legal, and project management, to help run a successful organization, artists are the ones who know their craft and associated challenges because they face them every day. She doesn’t believe having only one artist on the panel is a good model to follow because there isn’t going to be enough input from the community. “Who knows better what's going on and how to make things work in the arts groups than the arts leaders themselves,” Vandrish questioned. “In my opinion, it's still potentially flawed in having fair and equal balance for the arts leaders that are here, that are local.” Having more than one artist on the panel could help address the problem of silos, as outlined in the Cultural Master Plan. This happens when the city’s arts communities don’t work together given many residents don’t see themselves represented in traditional cultural mediums, such as theatre (or a particular theatre) even if inclusivity is emphasized. The concern is that in such a diverse city, cultural and artistic expression needs to be supported in an incredibly broad, inclusive way that doesn’t leave groups and communities on the sidelines. It’s a problem Vandrish has faced. She’s having trouble getting members of the South Asian-Canadian community, who make up a majority of Brampton’s residents, to come out and see a musical, or go to another arts event and celebrate culture as a group. Similarly, the team behind Vibrant Brampton, a South Asian festival, says an issue they have is attracting members outside of the South Asian community, Vandrish said. In such a plural community, programming for all the unique and diverse cultural interests can be impossible. In the past, Brampton, and its small number of arts groups, did a poor job of reflecting the demographics of the city. But efforts have been made at City Hall to ensure municipal venues like the Rose Theatre focus on arts and cultural offerings that appeal to a broader range of Brampton’s residents. It remains hard to bring everyone together, Vandrish said. There are other concerns around the timing of the project. The goal for the Agency is to become a self-funding organization that does not need taxpayer support. The plan, presented by staff in January 2020, states this won’t happen until 2024. “We can’t wait three more years,” Vandrish said. Between 2020 and 2024, the City will put more than $3.3 million toward the project. It’s not clear if the pandemic will have an impact on the timeline or the project’s final cost. The staff report states $576,000 will go toward the plan this year, but a funding source is not included. The 2021 budget does not specifically mention the project. Maintaining independence and being separated from politics is important, Vandrish said, as doing so will remove the “backroom conversations” from the mix. She says some arts groups believe the only way to get interest around their initiatives is to speak with a member of council privately and develop a connection with them, eventually gaining funding that may not be offered to other groups. It’s a reality when properly formulated processes do not exist. Fennell came under fire for her relationship with arts groups, which were drawn into her broader network of political supporters, in exchange for her help. It was a fraught period highlighted by an acrimonious end to the once venerated Brampton Symphony Orchestra, considered one of Canada’s best community symphonies. It folded shortly after 2013, when the City, under Fennell’s watch, banned it from performing in municipal venues such as the Rose, its previous home, following a feud with Fennell over funding irregularities by the former mayor’s private arts gala. These types of political entanglements are something many artists want to avoid. “I believe that the council should designate an amount of funds that the City will provide, and that the council is independent of political influence…[artists] shouldn’t be at the mercy of who they know,” Vandrish said. According to the staff report, the city councillor named to the panel will be the last member designated. While staying independent from the City is the goal, having a council representative in such groups is standard. The new hiring is bittersweet news for an industry that has struggled to survive throughout the pandemic, a dark drama Vandrish has had a front seat for as the president of the Brampton Music Theatre. The group was forced to move out from its previous home over the summer because of a lack of funds. Three other groups at the facility met the same fate, and one has since gone under, Vandrish said. “We’ve all just been focused in the last year on trying to stay alive,” she said. “Performing arts in general has been destroyed by the pandemic.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @nida_zafar Tel: 416 890-7643 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Nida Zafar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says all people over 80 will get their second dose based on existing appointments, but after that the interval between doses will be extended. She says having everyone over 16 partially vaccinated by July would bring "the finish line" into much sharper focus. Morrison reported four new cases of COVID-19 in the province today involving three men and one woman, all in their 20s. There are now 22 active cases on the Island, and there have been a total of 136 cases since the onset of the pandemic. Morrison said test results from the National Microbiology Laboratory have confirmed that two earlier COVID-19 cases involving two women in Charlottetown are linked to the more transmissible variant first identified in the United Kingdom. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Foster Monson says it's been frustrating waiting to learn whether Pine Lodge Treatment Centre will be able to welcome clients back in the near future. The addictions recovery centre operated for years in Indian Head, Sask, but a fire in December forced it to close. Monson said staff have located the only suitable new space in the area for relocation in Fort San, a small resort village near Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask. He said the vacant Calling Lakes Centre, used for years as the Prairie Christian Training Centre, would be a good fit. Some members of the community are opposed to the centre. The local council says the decision hinges on a definition laid out in the zoning bylaw. Monson said it's a tense waiting game playing out amid an overdose crisis. "There are people that are dying out there everyday from drug overdoses and other things, and it's just a shame that we're not open," Monson, the facility's executive director, said. "It's really unfortunate this is taking place on our watch." A sign remains on the door of the former Pine Lodge treatment centre in Indian Head. It has not served inpatient residents since fire and smoke caused extensive damage on Christmas Eve. The proposal to council for the relocation has turned into a public spectacle since early February, with some locals voicing opposition and circulating a petition against it. Monson said some locals have asked whether property values would decrease and crime would increase. He said there is no evidence to support those things would happen. He said some people believe needles will start appearing in the area. "That just never has ever happened to us in 35 years. We've never had an issue like that, so I don't know where they would have got that idea," he said. The fears from the community, which had a population of 222 in the 2016 census, were laid out in a teleconference Monson participated in. "Some of them were pretty adamant about their position and really weren't willing to actually see it from our perspective," Monson said. "We were telling them the truth as we saw it and that's all we really can do." The province funds the 28-day inpatient program. Residents check in voluntarily after detox. Monson said there is no other space in the region that's suitable for the relocation. Foster Monson is executive director at Pine Lodge Addiction Recovery, and has worked with the centre for more than 16 years. CUPE president Judy Henley has also raised concerns about how long the centre has been shut down. CUPE is the union representing Pine Lodge staff. "We have limited treatment centres in Saskatchewan. The waiting list is long and with this facility closed at this time — there's people that are suffering," Henley said. "When you have a person who admits they need help, they need help now. They don't need help six months down the road." Henley said opposition to the centre seems discriminatory, rooted in stigma. "It's troubling because it's like 'not in my backyard,'" she said. "Addiction does not pick who is addicted. It could be your neighbour. It could be a family member that would need some help." Council says decision hinges on zoning definition Village councillors said in a written statement that the decision hinges on a definition within the zoning bylaw. Mayor Steve Helfrick and councillors Valerie Hamilton, John Naumetz, Brad Redman and Don Williams wrote that council has "been portrayed in the media as being against Pine Lodge establishing operations in the village. This is not an accurate portrayal." "Specifically, Council is being asked to decide whether a substance abuse treatment centre fits into the definition of a 'Residential Care Facility' as defined in the Resort Village of Fort San Zoning Bylaw." Councillors also theorized about what ifs, asking what would happen if Pine Lodge were to return to Indian Head. "Council has no assurances that another substance abuse treatment centre would be operated as well as Pine Lodge or have a similar reputation in the community." Monson said representatives of Pine Lodge are meeting with council on Tuesday. "They're a small council, They're a small village and there are people who have strong opinions," he said. "I think they're trying to be fair to both us and to their ratepayers, and we're just hopeful that at the end of the day they see our position for what it is. Foster Monson said they will consider appealing the decision should members of the Fort San resort village council reject the relocation proposal. The leadership of the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) and Leading Thunderbird Lodge (LTL) recently issued a statement in support of the relocation. The lodge provides culturally-based residential treatment program for First Nations and Inuit male youth. Community consultations took place before its opening in 2007. The statement said anxieties that emerged in those consultations were similar to what is being heard now. "We have proven time and again that a treatment facility cannot only co-exist, but thrive in the community of Fort San with absolute minimal negative impact, and much greater positive contributions," said FHQTC Tribal Chief & CEO Edmund Bellegarde. Monson said the facility would consider appealing the decision if the council rejects the relocation. A decision is expected March 16.