The Perseverance rover has converted carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere into pure, breathable oxygen. The Ingenuity helicopter completed its second flight, hovering higher and accelerating sideways.
The Perseverance rover has converted carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere into pure, breathable oxygen. The Ingenuity helicopter completed its second flight, hovering higher and accelerating sideways.
Some secondary students in Canada's largest school board are calling for the elimination of quadmesters, saying the condensed schedules are leading to mental health issues and information overload for students. "I hate this quadmester model because I love learning, and this model totally strips us students of that," said Hannah Cohen, a Grade 11 student at Earl Haig Secondary School in North York. Cohen, a senior in the school's dance program, says quadmesters have been detrimental both academically and socially since they were implemented last year by the Ministry of Education to limit contact between students. She says they've also disrupted the balance between social life and education that she says comes with regular semesters. So when the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced on Wednesday that it would continue with quadmesters for secondary students for the 2021-2022 academic year, Cohen launched an online petition to fight it. "Learning in quadmesters is mentally and physically draining," reads the petition titled "TDSB Families Fight Back Against Quads," which has racked up nearly 1,800 signatures of support as of Friday night. "We are not able to properly learn and digest the information provided in our courses in such a brief period of time ... Students are not learning; we are just merely memorizing information," the petition says. This petition calls on the TDSB to adopt semesters for the upcoming school year. 'Learning at warp speed' The quadmester system splits the school year into four periods to allow smaller cohorts to attend class in person. Instead of four courses taken during two semesters, two courses are taken across four quadmesters. This means courses that used to be taught over the span of five months are now being taught in about nine weeks. "Teachers are basically blurting out information at us during our classes because they have so little time to get this information across to us," Cohen said. Monika Ferenczy, an education consultant based in Ottawa, calls it "learning at warp speed, because it really puts an enormous amount of pressure on the students to absorb a lot of content very quickly." Ferenczy says students are being taught one thing in the morning and are already being tested on it the following day. She says she has seen an increase in students with high anxiety and depression, and many others asking for modifications to timelines that can often not be accommodated. In response to students' concerns over the quadmester workload, a spokesperson for the TDSB says the amount of work isn't that different because a student is essentially learning two fewer courses at a time than in a typical academic semester. Jason Wong, left, and Hannah Cohen, right, are both seniors a Earl Haig Secondary School who are fighting against the return of quadmesters. They say the learning model negatively affects students' academic performance and mental health. (Submitted by Jason Wong/Hannah Cohen) But the essence of the quadmester system is to cram a bunch of information together at once, according to Jason Wong, who is in Grade 11 and is the student body president at Earl Heights Secondary School. "Let's assume we have two academic subjects at once — math and biology. That's a lot of work and time spent on those subjects. When we're working on that, we are working around the clock memorizing that material," Wong said. He says students are left racing to learn the material before they move on to a different subject, which is forcing many to stay up all night to cram, which subsequently affects students' sleep schedules and their mental health. Cohen and Wong, both of whom are students in the arts, say they also lack down time to practise their majors under this model. They add that mental health resources provided by the TDSB, such as links to access professional support services staff, fall short of what kids need. Cohen says she wants the impact that the quadmester has on students' mental health to be acknowledged and for the TDSB to move forward with a semester system next year. "We are not robots; we want our lives back," Wong added. Quadmesters 'not great' for some students, TDSB admits The TDSB says it acknowledges the quadmester model is not for everyone and that there is mixed reaction to it. "We realize for some, the quadmester model is not great, we know that. However, we're taking direction from the Ministry of Education," said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. He says the decision is about trying to keep people safe. Despite Ontario's vaccine supply ramping up and youths eligible to book a vaccine appointment by June, the ministry has required all school boards to limit schedules to two in-person classes, which for the TDSB, results in a quadmester model to limit student-to-student contacts. "We continue to explore ways to improve it," Bird said of the learning model. "Our hope, however, is that with vaccinations over the summer and those numbers hopefully going up, that we are going to be as close to normal as possible come September." Bird adds that it is important to note that the ministry says it will look into changing the model depending on how the pandemic evolves. "Given the unpredictability of what COVID-19 will look like in September...we need to be flexible," Bird said.
A formerly healthy 43-year-old father from Langley — who is in hospital recovering from complications following a blood clot — is warning others to watch for signs of trouble after receiving an AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. Shaun Mulldoon and his wife Tara say that doctors confirmed to them that he's a victim of the rare but dangerous syndrome linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The clot in his abdomen will leave him with life-long effects after two metres of his small intestine was removed. Health officials said Thursday at a man in his 40s in the Fraser Health region is one of the two British Columbians known to be affected by the syndrome, but health authorities will not comment on individual cases. Shaun Mulldoon believes he wasn't adequately warned of the vaccine's risks or protected from them. The AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine has been linked to vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). Symptoms include severe headache, pain, swollen limbs, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. Shaun Mulldoon, 43, had emergency surgery after developing a blood clot in his abdomen that he says is related to the AstraZeneca vaccine.(Shaun Mulldoon/Facebook) Speaking on her husband's behalf, Tara Mulldoon said they are not telling people to avoid AstraZeneca, just be informed and seek help promptly if they develop any health problems afterwards. "This is life changing for us," she said. "I feel like we have a long road ahead of us as far as his recovery goes. He's lost half of his small intestine." Her husband was vaccinated on April 22 and ended up in emergency surgery on May 9. She said that he initially felt nauseous but symptoms progressed to fever, headache and vomiting. Each time he felt ill he called his doctor or the HealthLinkBC line at 811 and was advised to stay home — even after going in to have a test for COVID-19 — which turned out to be negative. He finally went to emergency on May 8 after he began to vomit and pass blood. Mulldoon posted on social media that he wished he'd had more insight into the "worse case scenario." "Seventeen days after my vaccine [I] ended up going into emergency surgery to remove over six feet of my small intestine. I had a massive blood clot. Second surgery two days later to remove more. My surgeon told me it was very close." Tara Mulldoon said the ordeal has been difficult for the family which includes two school-aged children. "We are not anti-vaxxers. We just want people to take any adverse symptoms following the vaccine — please take it seriously," she said. Shaun Mulldoon is in hospital 17 days after his vaccination with life-threatening complications.(Shaun Mulldoon/Facebook) B.C pauses AstraZeneca for first shots "I mean there's chitter chatter about the risks of blood clots, but ... it was presented to us as being so so rare," said Mulldoon. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) says while the estimated risk of VITT is evolving — and varies from country to country — the rate in Cananda at the end of April is about one per 100,000 persons vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. B.C. followed Alberta and Ontario's lead and paused the use of AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for first doses on May 12. Some experts say the VITT syndrome has not been well described to the public. This is no "run of the mill venous blood clot" in the leg after a long flight, according to Dr. David Fisman, a University of Toronto professor, epidemiologist and an infectious disease specialist with Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Fisman said that in some people the vaccine activates clotting cells and can cause a syndrome that's difficult to treat. "It's sort of a devil and the deep blue sea clinical situation," said Fisman. Keeps a close watch Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed that B.C. health officials are watching for incidence of the syndrome associated with AstraZeneca. "It's a very serious thing. Once you have antibodies to your platelets, they clump together. That can lead to very severe plugging of some of our important blood vessels. Yes, very challenging, very serious. It seems, though, that you're more likely to develop it the first time you're exposed to the vaccine," Henry said this week. "We're watching very carefully." Fisman believes that Canada may have initially missed signals about the rate of risk as AstraZeneca initially was given to older people so strokes caused by the vaccine may have gone undetected. He predicts — based on global trends — that adverse effects could potentially hit one in every 22,000 people who get the AstraZeneca jab — five times what was predicted.
The life of a pregnant woman was cut short after a fatal collision in Saskatoon earlier this week, friends and family of the victim say. Nicole Paddy, 33, was pregnant with her first child when she was struck Monday by a vehicle in the 3200 block of 33rd Street W., her obituary says. Officers were called to the scene at around 9:15 p.m. Monday for what the police service says was a hit and run. Emergency responders who arrived found Paddy, who had suffered severe injuries. Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to save her life. An online obituary said Paddy, who was known to family members by the nickname "Nikado," was pregnant at the time of her death. She loved her family and treated them with the "utmost respect," her obituary said. Reached by phone Saturday, her father said he was in a state of disbelief following his daughter's death, but declined further comment. A small funeral service with close friends and family was held for Paddy in her home community of the Thunderchild First Nation Friday. Skid marks and stained pavement mark the spot where the woman died.(Dan Zakreski/CBC) Ira Horse is a family friend who had known Paddy since she was a child and spoke at her funeral. She says the family is deep in mourning, as the violent death has been hard. "It's a big loss," she said. "Someone that's sickly, you can start to prepare yourself, but when you have a sudden loss like this, someone that's active, young, healthy, and to suffer a loss like this — it was a lot of damage to her." Horse said she remembers Paddy best as a happy kid with hair that was almost red and freckles. Even as they got older and talked less, Horse said she and Paddy always stopped to chat if they came across each other in Saskatoon. The recent funeral was difficult for everyone, said Horse. "They were a close family." A Saskatoon Police Service watch commander was unable to provide an update on the hit-and-run investigation Saturday. Horse and others mourning Paddy are calling for the person, or people, responsible to come forward. "Come back and own what you did," she said. "Think of it. You not only took one life, but two lives." People who live in the area previously told CBC News there were several witnesses to the incident, including children, noting a vehicle was seen speeding away from the collision. Anyone with information or video of the incident is asked to call Saskatoon police at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
P.E.I. has again delayed the date of entry for seasonal residents to the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, P.E.I. announced it would be putting a pause on those entries as part of stricter border measures to limit the importation and spread of COVID-19. According to an updated section of the province's website, that has been delayed again, this time until June 1. "Travel for seasonal residents coming to P.E.I. is paused until at least June 1, 2021," the website said. "This includes individuals who have already received a prior approval to travel, your approval is now deferred until at least June 1." Those moving to the Island from outside the Atlantic provinces are also paused until at least June 1, unless it's for school or work purposes. Those moving to P.E.I. from within the region can still enter as long as they've been approved. The website says travel to P.E.I. through the family connections stream will be reviewed to determine necessity. Seasonal residents disappointed, but understand Seasonal residents were allowed to enter the province last summer, provided they had a plan with someone to support their self-isolation for two weeks. Jen Harding is the founding president of Seasonal Residents of P.E.I., a non-profit group made up of those with seasonal properties on the Island. She said members who had planned on arriving in the coming days, herself included, started receiving notice Thursday evening saying all pre-travel approvals are being rescinded. Harding said members are disappointed but not surprised. "It's not binary. People can be disappointed and maybe frustrated at changing plans, but they do understand the changing situation with COVID and what's happening certainly in Nova Scotia is causing the region to put stronger measures in place," she said. "And so you can be disappointed at that but also recognize what else is happening around the world and certainly in Canada." More from CBC P.E.I.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck ("Bennifer") have seemingly reunited. A body language expert analyzes their love story that she thinks never completely died.
Alberta reported 1,433 new COVID-19 cases on Friday as the province set a new pace for its vaccination rollout. Health minister Tyler Shandro said Alberta administered 63,953 vaccine doses on Thursday, its highest single-day total to date. While it took Alberta 119 days to administer a million doses, Shandro said the province hit two million doses in 29 days. Active cases dropped by 713 on Friday, with 23,873 being reported across the province. The number of people with COVID-19 in hospital also declined by nine to 713, with 177 of those patients in intensive care. The province reported five new COVID-19 deaths Friday, bringing the total to 2,137. Hinshaw said Thursday it would be presumptuous to declare the province is on the other side of the third wave but noted there are some encouraging signs. The province's test positivity rate, an oft-cited indicator of community transmission, has trended down alongside the number of daily new cases in recent days. The reported positivity rate fell Friday to just shy of 10 per cent, the first time it was under double-digits in over two weeks. Here is how the province's active cases breakdown by health zone: Calgary zone: 11,367 Edmonton zone: 5,278 North zone: 3,496 Central zone: 2,500 South zone: 1,216 Unknown: 16 As of Friday's update, nearly 40 per cent of Albertans had received their first vaccine dose, while just over seven per cent had have both doses. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said provinces should only start to lift public health restrictions once at least 75 per cent of adults have had at least one vaccine dose and 20 per cent are fully vaccinated. After reaching that milestone, she said Canadians can safely enjoy picnics, small backyard BBQs and drinks on a patio. Here is the percentage of people in each health zone with at least one vaccine dose: Calgary zone: 39.7 Edmonton zone: 42.1 North zone: 30.1 Central zone: 35.9 South zone: 40.1
An Island woman who was recently escorted out of a store by police is asking Islanders to be more understanding of people who can't wear masks. Joy Auld was shopping at Dollarama when staff asked her to leave, since she was wearing a face shield and not a mask. "The manager was there, and I got just partway down the aisle and he said, 'You got to leave the store if you're not going to wear a mask,'" said Auld. The P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities said it continues to get phone calls from Islanders who are being told to leave a store if they're not wearing a mask — even if they explain they cannot because of a medical condition, as is Auld's case. "Please be understanding, because not everybody can wear a mask. A lot of us try and if we can't do it, we try to find an alternative," said Auld, who has asthma and anxiety. Face shield hasn't been a problem before Masks have been mandatory indoors in public buildings on P.E.I. since November 2020. Auld has been wearing her face shield in public for the past year, including to medical appointments, and said this is the first time she was asked to leave a store. Marcia Carroll, executive director of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, says we need to 'give people some grace' around face masks. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC) "I don't think this is fair," said Auld. "I don't think somebody should be discriminated against if they really can't wear [a mask]." The executive director of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities said she's heard these kinds of stories since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. More of the onus needs to be on the individual companies and making sure that they're doing internal education around health exemptions. — Marcia Carroll, P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities "We just need to step back and understand that some people can't wear a mask," said Marcia Carroll. "But they still have the right to navigate through their community as well." Companies should do 'internal education' Carroll said she doesn't think the government needs to step in and remind businesses about exemptions. "I think more of the onus needs to be on the individual companies and making sure that they're doing internal education around health exemptions and what a mandatory order means," said Carroll. Auld said her experience at Dollarama was embarrassing, and she's asked the company for an apology. "People don't realize how sick I am, because I don't show it. And I always say, you don't know my story, so don't judge me," she said. CBC News reached out to Dollarama for comment, but has not heard back. More from CBC P.E.I.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the opposition's continued control of Venezuelan-owned U.S. refiner Citgo would be a key point in any eventual dialogue with opponents to resolve the country's longstanding political crisis. Maduro earlier this week said he was willing to sit down with opposition leader Juan Guaido with the involvement of the Norwegian government or other mediators, after Guaido floated the idea of the progressive relaxation of U.S. sanctions to incentivize the government to hold free and fair elections. In a state television address, Maduro said the first point of discussion in any dialogue would be for the opposition to "renounce the path of coups, interventionism and to call for invasions of our country."
Federal health authorities laid out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19, just as regional officials warned some people may be getting ahead of themselves through ill-advised gatherings. Canada's chief public health officer raised hopes Friday that summer fun and fall holiday bashes may lie ahead as she rolled out a blueprint for how the vaccination campaign could lift the country out of COVID-19 lockdown. Dr. Theresa Tam said Canada may have "passed the peak" of the third wave, as average daily COVID-19 case counts dropped to fewer than 7,000 for the first time since April. There's also been a decline in severe illness, with an average of fewer than 4,000 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital each day, she said. Tam touted "great strides" in the fact about 50 per cent of adults have at least one vaccine dose, suggesting that maintaining this pace could pay off in the form of "an outdoor summer that gets us back into many of the activities we've been missing." That could include small outdoor gatherings with family and friends in the warm weather, such as picnics in the park, outdoor sports and patio dining, said Tam. For that to happen, at least 75 per cent of adults must receive at least one jab, including 20 per cent who have both doses, according to federal modelling. Tam said that first immunization target is "within sight." The next step will be to fully vaccinate at least 75 per cent of eligible adults to allow for more indoor activities this fall, including in-person learning at colleges, a return to the office and multi-household holiday celebrations, she said. "To get to this better summer and fall, we need to keep doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our communities, ease the pressure on the health system and help bring an end to this pandemic," said Tam. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada can expect to receive 4.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna ahead of Victoria Day weekend. Anand said Pfizer has moved up its schedule to deliver two million doses early next week, and 1.4 million more are expected to arrive on Thursday and Friday. Moderna is also set to send 1.1 million doses next week, she said. As the vaccine rollout accelerates, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the national timeline to ease restrictions is "realistic," but these targets have to be tailored to local epidemiological conditions. "This gives Canadians a vision of what it looks like as we proceed down this vaccination path together," said Hajdu. "It helps provide that guideline for Canadians as they undergo their own community's journey with vaccination." The upbeat tone at the federal level was discordant with grim forecasts out of Manitoba, where a top health official predicted Friday that COVID-19 numbers would worsen for at least another week before dropping. Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief public health officer, said a current spike in cases and hospitalization rates had been made worse by too many people gathering and interacting with others, despite public health orders that have been tightened three times in the last month. The province reported 491 new infections Friday after setting a daily record Thursday of 560 cases. Manitoba was just behind Alberta, which continued to have the highest infection rate in the country. Alberta reported 1,433 new cases and five additional deaths. Meanwhile, health officials in Nunavut scolded scofflaws in Iqaluit on Friday, warning that unauthorized gatherings could quash the city's hopes for summer. Nunavut's chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said a recent gathering between multiple households resulted in infections in children. Public health measures currently restrict all indoor and outdoor gatherings. Twelve more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Iqaluit, bringing the city's active total to 78. "We have a very short summer and it seems it's getting shorter by the day," said Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kusugak. Ontario reported 2,362 new infections Friday, continuing a downward trend since April's streak of daily case counts in the 4,000s. There were 26 more deaths from the virus, according to the province. Officials said 1,582 COVID-19 patients were in hospital, including 777 people in intensive care. Quebec maintained its run of case counts below 1,000 on Friday, reporting 838 diagnoses, and eight more deaths. The province said there were 530 hospitalizations, and 123 intensive care cases. Saskatchewan reported 227 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths. The province also confirmed one case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), or blood clots, in a woman who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in April. British Columbia's case count dropped to 494 on Friday, the first time infections fell below 500 since March. There were two more deaths. On the East Coast, Nova Scotia reported 117 new cases and one virus-related death, as a court-ordered injunction blocked a pair of anti-mask rallies planned in the Halifax area this weekend. Health officials in New Brunswick said there were five new COVID-19 cases Friday, while Prince Edward Island reported two new infections and Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed six more cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
A simple surgery to remove unnecessary tissue in the heart could prevent strokes in patients with a common condition that requires them to take blood thinners, says the Canadian lead author of a study involving about 4,800 people in 27 countries. Dr. Richard Whitlock, a cardiac surgeon for Hamilton Health Sciences, said when blood being pumped through the heart pools in the left atrial appendage, it may form a clot that could escape and block the blood supply to the brain and raise the risk of a potentially fatal stroke. But Whitlock says getting rid of an appendage in the heart cuts that risk by 33 per cent for patients with atrial fibrillation, which is characterized by an irregular heart rhythm. The findings suggest a quick surgery, involving the removal of the appendage that's about as useless as the appendix, could be adopted around the world "immediately" through a change in practice for 15 per cent of heart surgery patients living with atrial fibrillation and taking blood thinners, Whitlock said. "This will open a new paradigm for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation," Whitlock said of the results of the McMaster University-led study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Saturday, when it was also presented at a conference of the American College of Cardiology. Whitlock said consenting patients undergoing cardiac surgery for other reasons were randomly selected for an additional operation to remove the left atrial appendage, and their results were compared with those who only took medicine. Blood thinners, which prevent clots, reduce the risk of stroke by up to 60 per cent. Whitlock said cutting out the appendage shrinks that risk by a further 33 per cent, adding those combined therapies will greatly benefit patients with atrial fibrillation, which is responsible for 25 per cent of ischemic strokes. The study began in 2012 and patients, with the average age of 71, were followed for a mean period of 3.8 years, he said. All the surgeons involved in the study across 27 countries — including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Russia, China and Brazil — are invited to events Whitlock is hosting on the findings, and a change in guidelines will be strongly recommended, he said. "We will have a significant effort at knowledge translation in terms of getting the word out there of this benefit. And surgeons, hopefully, across the world, can immediately shift practice and start managing the left atrial appendage in these patients undergoing heart surgery, who have atrial fibrillation." Whitlock said it's been suspected since the late 1940s that blood clots can form in the left atrial appendage in patients with atrial fibrillation. Until now, however, he said there wasn't any definitive evidence to suggest the tissue could be removed to reduce the risk of stroke. Some surgeons have intermittently performed the procedure if they felt a patient already having heart surgery was not at high risk, he added. Patrice Lindsay, who directs change in health systems for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, said that while blood thinners have been the gold standard in preventing blood clots and strokes, the study paves the way for the procedure to be widely adopted for heart surgery patients with atrial fibrillation. As with other studies, the evidence will be reviewed and consultations with governments and experts would follow on ways to move the science into clinical practice, said Lindsay, a former cardiac nurse. "We would put out public information for patients and families to understand what it's all about and why it might be a good thing and who would be eligible," she said, adding development of guidelines and training of surgeons and nurses would also be part of the changes in health-care systems. "It takes a bit of time, but you can move fairly efficiently through that process." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2021. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, a prominent hard-line cleric, has registered to run in Iran's June presidential election. He arrived at the Interior Ministry on Saturday, the last day of registering, to put himself into the race. Raisi has been named as a possible successor to Iran's 82-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That had some suggesting he wouldn't run in the race. He ran against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and lost in the 2017 presidential election, though he still garnered nearly 16 million votes in his campaign. Raisi has since conducted high-profile anti-corruption arrests and trials, many televised, gaining support of average Iranians frustrated by the country's poor economy. However, international rights groups have criticized Raisi for reportedly serving on a 1988 panel that sentenced thousands of prisoners to death in the waning days of Iran's 1980s war with Iraq. Raisi has never publicly acknowledged his role in the sentences. Raisi had been the head of the Imam Reza charity foundation, known as “Astan-e Quds-e Razavi,” in Farsi. It is believed to be one of the biggest charities in the country, which manages a vast conglomerate of businesses and endowments. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A former speaker of Iran's parliament registered Saturday to run in the Islamic Republic's upcoming presidential election, becoming the first high-profile candidate to potentially back the policies of the outgoing administration that reached Tehran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers. The decision by Ali Larijani, long a prominent conservative voice who later allied himself with Iran's relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani, came on the last day of registration for the June 18 election. While a panel overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ultimately will approve candidates, Larijani has maintained close ties to the cleric over his decades in government. Journalists in Tehran watched Larijani, 63, register at the Interior Ministry, which oversees elections. He waved to onlookers after completing the process, his face covered by a blue surgical mask as Iran continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Larijani, a former commander in Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, previously served as the minister of culture and Islamic guidance and as the head of Iran's state broadcaster. Under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he served as secretary of Iran's powerful Supreme National Security Council for two years, and as a senior nuclear negotiator. He later became speaker of the Iranian parliament for some 12 years, stepping down in May 2020. Larijani's family includes prominent members of Iran's theocracy, with his cleric brother once serving as the head of the Iranian judiciary. His father was a prominent ayatollah. Larijani had an active role in signing a 25-year strategic agreement with China earlier this year. On Friday, as a sign of respect, Larijani reportedly asked permission to run from high-ranking clerics in the religious city of Qom. Within Iran, candidates exist on a political spectrum that broadly includes hard-liners who want to expand Iran’s nuclear program, moderates who hold onto the status quo, and reformists who want to change the theocracy from within. Those calling for radical change find themselves blocked from even running for office by the Guardian Council, a 12-member panel that vets and approves candidates under Khamenei’s watch. “Like outgoing President Rouhani, Larijani is someone Khamenei trusts to represent Iran without compromising the regime’s basic tenets of religious supervision over society and independence from foreign powers,” Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, wrote recently. A clear candidate has yet to emerge within the reformists. Some have mentioned Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, though he later said he wouldn't run after a scandal over a leaked recording in which he offered frank criticism of the Guard and the limits of the civilian government’s power. At the same time Larijani registered, so too did Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, the eldest son of the late former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani, a member of Tehran's city council, has been described as a reformist by political commentators. Several other candidates have prominent backgrounds in the Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Khamenei. Hard-liners have increasingly suggested a former military commander should be president given the country’s problems, something that hasn’t happened since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the purge of the armed forces that followed. Iran’s former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also registered Wednesday. Though his attempt to run in 2017 ultimately was blocked after Khamenei criticized Ahmadinejad, this year the supreme leader has not warned him off. Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
Frustrated customers of Sunwing Airlines have had a long wait to be refunded for flights cancelled due to the pandemic - even as other carriers compensate their flyers.
Some residents and students of Duncan B.C. have been ordered to temporarily leave the area after 'historically stored' explosives were found on a property by a person out gardening. Residents near a property on Auchinachie Road were asked to leave their residences — and students and staff at nearby Mt. Prevost Middle school were relocated to a nearby soccer field as specialized members of the explosive disposal unit examined the situation. "We're currently in the preliminary stages of the investigation, but these explosives appear to have been historically stored where they were found, but that is still to be determined" said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau. Police say the person who unearthed the explosives left the scene immediately and contacted RCMP. The investigation is expected to last several hours as the explosives unit determines how to safely proceed, RCMP said. People are cautioned to avoid the area until further notice.
CALGARY — Alberta Health Services says it has obtained a restraining order against a Calgary mayoral candidate who the agency says has threatened health workers.AHS says Kevin Johnston must stay at least 100 metres away from health officers and must not publish any threats or hate speech directed at them.Johnston is running in this fall's municipal election and has been a vocal supporter of anti-lockdown protests.He appears regularly online where he promotes far-right ideology.AHS says Johnston has been aggressive and threatening towards two particular health workers as well as to the general AHS workforce.The agency says it wants to protect staff and ensure they feel supported. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
The veteran Prince Albert RCMP officer accused in the death of Braden Herman "indirectly" provided the details needed to locate the 26-year-old's remains and later open a homicide investigation, according to the city's police chief. "It's because of the accused [Bernie Herman] we were led to his arrest shortly after the incident, and we were led to the deceased victim," Chief Jonathan Bergen told reporters Friday. Braden Herman's body was found early Tuesday evening in Prince Albert's Little Red River Park by police officers, Bergen said. He added the accused was taken into custody that night with reasonable cooperation, and within a couple of hours investigators had enough information to begin investigating the death as a homicide. Bernie Herman, a 32-year member of the RCMP, has been charged with first-degree murder. He's expected to make his second court appearance in Prince Albert on May 26. Investigating the victim and the accused's relationship The victim and the accused knew each other, but they weren't related. Braden'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. A photo of Bernie Herman taken after a traffic blitz in Prince Albert, Sask., in August 2020. Herman is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Braden Herman.(paNOW Staff) Bergen said nailing down the exact relationship between the two is among the specifics investigators are trying to determine. "It's pretty early in the investigation to draw any conclusions," Bergen said. Cellphones have been seized in the investigation, and a home and vehicle in the 3300 block of Dent Crescent in Prince Albert, Sask., have been cordoned off, as officers try to obtain a clearer picture of what might have led up to the death. An update with the inspector overseeing the case with the Prince Albert Police Service's criminal investigations division is expected next week. 2 independent observers appointed Two retired police officers — who don't have connections to the RCMP or the Prince Albert Police Service — have been appointed by the Ministry of Justice as independent investigative observers, Bergen said. "They have extensive backgrounds in investigating serious and major incidents, so we believe they have the experience and confidence to know what details to observe and look for — and to ensure this is a thorough, impartial investigation," the police chief explained. Braden's half-brother, Brett Herman, tells CBC News he's aware of the independent oversight, and it helps to put his mind at ease as the investigation rolls out. "I hope they find out everything about the case … but I guess we'll find out when we get the outcome," Brett said in a text message. With the independent oversight, Bergen said the Prince Albert Police Service will continue its investigation into the death, emphasizing he has full confidence in his officers' ability to look into the case objectively with the "highest of accountability."
A B.C. couple moving to Nova Scotia says they're sitting in limbo after their requests to enter their new home were denied due to COVID-19 restrictions. For Julia Park-Bendel, leaving Victoria, B.C. and heading to the Maritimes is a return to her roots. "It's been in the works for almost 30 years," she said. She quit her job. Her husband Robert Bendel retired after 34 years in the Navy. They sold their home on the Island, and the couple, along with their two dogs and a cat, were set to live in their cramped RV from April 26 until June 1. They were planning a three week journey to their new home in Nova Scotia with the goal of arriving by June 21. The Bendel's say they planned to live in their trailer from April 26 to June 21 but now they feel they could be stuck all summer long.(Robert Bendel) But halfway through May and with restrictions in Nova Scotia constantly changing, they say they're no longer sure when they'll be able to leave their crowded RV and enter their new home. "I think we've spent ... over $2,000 staying in trailer parks so far and we budgeted for that. But we didn't budget for staying another month, two, three ... we didn't budget for having to spend an indefinite period of time in our trailer," Park-Bendel said. But it's an indefinite period of time they're looking at right now. On Friday, a new travel application process for people trying to enter Nova Scotia came into effect. "There's a potential for no end in sight," Park-Bendel said. No entry The application process is required for anyone entering the province. No one can until it's reviewed and approved. "We are currently not allowing most people to move to Nova Scotia. The restriction will be in place until at least the end of May," was the emailed message from Nova Scotia's provincial exemptions team when the Bendels asked about their status. Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang hold a COVID-19 briefing on April 29, 2021.(Communications Nova Scotia) The email went on to say the province is considering exceptions for people who have a closing date on or before May 20. The Bendels closing date is May 31. "Given that your closing date is beyond the date noted above, we are unable to offer an exception at this time," the email read. What now? On Friday, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang said people in the Bendels' situation should not apply right now. "We're not sure where we're going to end up in terms of what types of measures we're going to need to have when we get into the last week of May. We're asking people to hold off. We don't want to flood our exemptions process," he said. Park-Bendel says it doesn't seem fair. "They've changed their mind three times. I know it's a moving target, but, eventually, those of us who have bought property, we want an end date and a guarantee like, 'OK if you come, we will let you in,'" she said. On Friday, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin said while people are appealing to him, he's not involved in granting exemptions. "Strict border control is an imperative piece to make sure we're not bringing in anymore cases while we're trying to control the cases we have now," Rankin said. The Bendels say they're worried about how long they'll have to live in a cramped RV with money running out.(Robert Bendel) But for Park-Bendel and her RV filled with family and the remaining possessions that haven't already been shipped to Nova Scotia, she says they may just have to risk it and head to the border anyway. "Are we going to be allowed in on the 21st? Are we going to be turned away and be camping in the bush for one month, two months, three months? What are they going to say? Until there's no cases, you're not coming in? We're hostages."
HONG KONG (AP) — After more than seven decades in radio, a 96-year-old Hong Kong DJ bid farewell to his listeners Saturday with “Time to Say Goodbye,” sung by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. “Well that’s it. Thank you very much for tuning in, goodbye, thank you for coming,” Ray Cordeiro said in both English and Cantonese before signing off ahead of the 1 a.m. news. It was the coda to a radio career that began 72 years ago, and a more than 50-year run for his show “All the Way with Ray,” which started on public broadcaster RTHK in 1970. Along the way, he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Tony Bennett, the Beatles and Cliff Richard and nurtured rising Hong Kong pop stars such as Sam Hui. In 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged Cordeiro as “The World’s Most Durable DJ.” Affectionately called “Uncle Ray,” Cordeiro is known for his deep, calm voice, trademark flat cap, and easy listening repertoire. For his last show, he spun a variety of tunes from the the Carpenters, Perry Como and Louis Armstrong, among others. He was born in Hong Kong of Portuguese descent. “I think I’m the luckiest man in the world," he said in an interview with RTHK earlier this week. “To do what I want to do, to love what I want to love, and I don’t think I have any regrets.” Alice Fung, The Associated Press
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes into the early hours of Sunday, destroying a tower block that housed news media organisations, while Palestinian militants fired rocket salvoes at Tel Aviv. The hostilities showed no sign of letting up as they entered a seventh day, with Palestinians saying at least 145 people have been killed since the conflict began on Monday, including 41 children. Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.
When Nupur and Ajay Soin got married in India in 2018, they pictured a perfect family life together in Maple Ridge, B.C. Instead, more than two years after they moved to the Metro Vancouver suburb, they are still waiting to reunite with Shaurrya, Nupur's 15-year-old son from a previous marriage. "I get overwhelmed," said Nupur, sitting in her yard with her husband and 16-month-old daughter nearby. "Not even a single day goes by when I don't cry because, I mean, I'm losing hope." Nupur moved to Maple Ridge, where Ajay had been living, shortly after they got married. At the time, wait times for permanent residency visas from India were about one year. Nupur already had a visitor visa and joined Ajay in B.C. Shaurrya stayed in New Delhi with Nupur's mother so he could finish the school year and join them once the newlyweds had settled in. Nupur and Shaurrya. Nupur says Shaurrya, who remains in India, is looking forward to moving to B.C.(Submitted by Nupur Soin) It's been two and a half years since they applied for Nupur and Shaurrya's permanent residency, and the Soins have no idea what is causing the delay. They were told by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) they were eligible. Their application still says "in process" when they check online. But despite advocacy from their local MP and multiple attempts to reach out to IRCC for answers, Ajay says they've heard nothing. Shaurrya is excited to move to B.C. and meet 16-month-old Atishi, Nupur says. In New Delhi, all of his schooling has been online and he barely leaves his room. She says she wishes she could continue to keep a close eye on him, as she as since he was a baby. Nupur is Shaurrya's sole custodian. She last saw the boy's father in 2007, when they divorced, and she has heard through mutual friends that he has died. 'Somebody needs to make this a priority' The couple's immigration lawyer, Alex Stojicevic, says this is a straightforward visa application that should have been rubber-stamped months ago. "This is a case where they should issue the visa and allow the child to come as soon as possible," he said. Health workers attend to COVID-19 patients at a makeshift hospital in New Delhi, India, on April 30. (The Associated Press) Stojicevic says the delay seems to be coming from the High Commission of Canada in India. He says the situation there has been made worse by how the pandemic is playing out in New Delhi and across the country, leaving the health-care system in crisis and thousands without treatment. "Really what needs to happen is somebody needs to make this a priority," he said. "If the Canadian staff in India can't do it, well, they have to do it from somewhere else." Family reunification prioritized IRCC did not respond to requests for comment. On its website, the department says Canada's "immigration policy and legislation have a long tradition of supporting family reunification." The family reunification program allows Canadians and recent immigrants like Ajay, who is a permanent resident, to sponsor family members like spouses, parents and dependent children. The sponsor remains financially responsible for the family members for at least three years, or until children are 22 years old. The program accounts for about a quarter of all immigrants to Canada, according to IRCC, but demand routinely outstrips demand. However, changes made in 2016 kept wait times at a steady average of 12 months, the site says. Ajay and Nupur were married in Delhi in October 2018. (Submitted by Ajay and Nupur Soin) 'Things are so scary' Nupur says she is worried sick about her son and mother in New Delhi. She has told them not to leave their home, and she orders everything for them online. The stress has been keeping her awake at night, to the point where her doctor prescribed anti-anxiety medication. "That's the only way I can sleep at night because things are so scary," she said. Ajay says he feels guilty about having brought Nupur to B.C. He had been living in Maple Ridge when they got married, working remotely as a designer for the software giant Cisco Systems. "When we got married, I thought, we're going to have to have a nice little family and a great place to live in," he said. "What I'm worried about is I put Nupur in a really tough spot." But also, Ajay says he's sad to be missing out on Shaurrya's "wonder years." The delay has caused him to question how welcome he and his family truly are in Canada. "This community, Maple Ridge, has really accepted us. We really like it here. But I sometimes I wonder if Canada has really accepted us as a family," he said. Nupur, Ajay and Shaurrya. Nupur is her son's sole custodian. (Submitted by Ajay and Nupur Soin)
Deer are shy and gentle animals that keep to themselves. They wander the forests and the meadows, throughout North America, as well as many other countries. We often see them from afar, or very briefly close up, but they are sure to run away at the sight of humans. Even seen from afar, we cannot help but be deeply affected by their gracefulness and their soulful eyes. But this man has discovered that with a little patience, the deer might just become curious enough to wander closer than usual. He sat on this log in a remote section of a protected Canadian forest and hoped to see the deer close up. The animals cannot be hunted here and they have learned that humans mean them no harm. It is common to see them grazing in the distance. They are usually not alarmed enough to flee. They may walk away or they may stare curiously. A human seated on a log, munching apples seems to arouse enough curiosity that the deer slowly wandered closer as they passed through this quiet section of the woods. When the man ignored them and made no move to go closer, they seemed to smell the apples. He tossed a few chunks in the grass and they actually came almost close enough to touch. The most surprising part of this encounter was that one of the does walked over the hill and then returned, bringing her fawns over the hill with her. This is a very unusual thing for a mother to do with her young. Although there is not much reaction from the man here, seeing the deer so close was a beautiful experience and seeing fawns right in front of him like this was unforgettable. The trust shown by these wonderful creatures was extremely touching.