Watch this guy give his 160lb XL pit bull all the attention and cuddles he can handle. Cuteness overload!
Watch this guy give his 160lb XL pit bull all the attention and cuddles he can handle. Cuteness overload!
WASHINGTON — The federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election on Monday, formally starting the transition of power after President Donald Trump spent weeks testing the boundaries of American democracy. He relented after suffering yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.Trump still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy gave the green light for Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Trump did tweet that he was directing his team to co-operate on the transition.Monday’s fast-moving series of events seemed to let much of the air out of Trump’s frantic efforts to undermine the will of the people in what has amounted to a weekslong stress test for American democracy. But Trump’s attempts to foment a crisis of confidence in the political system and the fairness of U.S. elections haven’t ended and are likely to persist well beyond his lame-duck presidency.Murphy, explaining her decision, cited "recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.It also comes as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged him to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn’t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, has faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied Biden access to highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team's ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.Murphy insisted she acted on her own.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted moments after Murphy's decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay but said Biden’s team would be able to overcome it.“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges," he said. "The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the GSA action “is probably the closest thing to a concession that President Trump could issue.? Noting that the nation “faces multiple crises that demand an orderly transition,? Schumer urged Democrats and Republicans to “unite together for a smooth and peaceful transition that will benefit America.?Murphy’s action came just 90 minutes after Michigan election officials certified Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one GOP abstention. Trump and his allies had hoped to block the vote to allow time for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That long-shot bid is no longer possible in Michigan.“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said, adding it’s “time to put this election behind us.”Trump was increasingly frustrated by his legal team, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose erratic public performances drew bipartisan mockery in recent weeks. Still, the legal challenges were expected to continue, as Trump seeks to keep his supporters on his side and keep his options open for opportuntities post-presidency.In Pennsylvania on Saturday, a conservative Republican judge shot down the Trump campaign’s biggest legal effort in the state with a scathing ruling that questioned why he was supposed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back their claims and an inept legal argument at best.But the lawyers still hope to block the state’s certification, quickly appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which ordered lawyers to file a brief Monday but did not agree to hear oral arguments.The campaign, in its filings, asked for urgent consideration so it could challenge the state election results before they are certified next month. If not, they will seek to decertify them, the filings said.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.Pennsylvania county election boards voted Monday, the state deadline, on whether to certify election results to the Department of State. The boards in two populous counties split along party lines, with majority Democrats in both places voting to certify. After all counties have sent certified results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, she must then tabulate, compute and canvass votes for all races. The law requires her to perform that task quickly but does not set a specific deadline.In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were slowing down the process with frequent challenges. Trump’s hope of reversing Biden’s victory there depends on disqualifying thousands of absentee ballots —- including the in-person absentee ballot cast by one of Trump’s own campaign attorneys in Dane County.___Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Jonathan Lemire in New York, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., contributed to this report.Zeke Miller, David Eggert And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
COVID-19 vaccines are at risk of being undermined by vaccine hesitancy. Pharma must take steps to ensure transparency in data monitoring committees and trial data to build public trust in vaccines.
Canada's seafood industry is breathing a sigh of relief after the signing of a temporary free-trade deal between Canada and the United Kingdom.The agreement announced on the weekend keeps tariffs off Canadian seafood exports — valued at $131 million last year — to the U.K. post-Brexit.Tariffs on Canadian seafood were eliminated under the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement."It cements the access that we've currently enjoyed under CETA. The U.K. is our fifth largest single country export destination, so it is important for our sector and we're pleased that this transitional deal was reached," said Paul Lansbergen, president of the Fisheries Council of Canada."Our analysis was that it would have resulted in about an average of a 10 per cent tariff on our products, and that would certainly be enough to disadvantage us in the marketplace if other countries reached a transitional deal."Industry says it was facing $11M in tariffsThe Fisheries Council of Canada, a non-profit trade association representing seafood harvesters, processors, importers and marketers, said the top seafood exports to the U.K. are salmon (35 per cent), shrimps and prawns (26 per cent), lobsters (25 per cent), and scallops (five per cent).The council said applicable tariffs would have added roughly $11 million on the top four exports in absence of an agreement.The office of International Trade Minister Mary Ng said the deal maintains "a competitive edge and preferential access to the U.K. market" for Atlantic Canadian seafood companies."It's vital for the hard-working people and businesses in the fish and seafood industry who would have faced increased tariffs on their exports to the U.K. once the Brexit period ends," said press secretary Youmy Han in a statement to CBC News.The interim deal is good news for some of Atlantic Canada's biggest seafood companies like Ocean Choice International in Newfoundland and Labrador and Clearwater Seafoods in Nova Scotia.Clearwater 'very pleased' with deal"We are very pleased with the Canada-U.K. trade deal," said Christine Penney, vice-president of sustainability for Clearwater Seafoods, in an email. "The deal will provide a seamless transition for trade between Canada and the U.K. as the U.K. exits the European Union." The deal must be approved by both governments.In Canada's case, legislation to change regulations and laws, including its custom tariff, to comply with the new agreement must be approved by Parliament before the deal can take effect.The Fisheries Council of Canada is urging Parliament to ratify the deal as soon as possible."Canadians working in the fisheries sector supply chain will thank you," the council said in a news release.Negotiations for a permanent free-trade deal with the U.K. are planned for next year.MORE TOP STORIES
RCMP are looking to speak to a woman who allegedly assaulted an employee of Skaha Lake Liquor Store in Penticton after he had asked her to wear a mask. Penticton RCMP say they responded to a report of an assault at the Skaha Lake Liquor Store on Nov. 21, 2020 at 1:48 p.m. In a post on social media, Skaha Lake Liquor store alleges (with video) that a woman entered the store without a mask and when asked to put one on, she damaged the employee’s cellular phone and spit at the employee. The woman who was wearing a black and pink coloured jacket is described by RCMP as: “It’s extremely troubling an employee who was only following the provincial health orders, was subject to an assault of this nature,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda, Media Relations Officer for the Penticton South Okanagan RCMP. “Spitting at someone is a concern anytime, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.” RCMP are aware of the security footage of the woman making the rounds on social media, and police say they “would like to first provide her an opportunity to come forward and speak to investigators about the matter.” The post on Skaha Lake Liquor Store’s Facebook page also alleges the woman made “racial comments” towards the employee. Penticton RCMP are asking the woman or anyone else who may have information into this matter to call them at 250-492-4300 or to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
ÉCONOMIE. Les exportations internationales de marchandises du Québec ont augmenté de 6,2 % en septembre 2020 par rapport au mois précédent (+ 2,3 % en août). Avec ces hausses, le niveau des exportations du mois de septembre est de 6,5 % inférieur à celui de février 2020, soit avant que les effets de la pandémie de COVID-19 ne se fassent ressentir. L'augmentation des exportations québécoises en septembre est notamment due à la croissance des exportations de carburants diesel et biodiesel (+ 311,4 %), d'aéronefs (+ 30,1 %), de porc frais et congelé (+ 39,3 %) et d'électricité (+ 121,5 %). À l'opposé, les exportations d'aluminium et d'alliages d'aluminium sous forme brute (- 11,3 %), d'essence à moteur (- 57,1 %) et d'or, d'argent et de métaux du groupe du platine sous forme brute et de leurs alliages (- 56,3 %) ont diminué en septembre. Au cours des neuf premiers mois de 2020, les exportations internationales de marchandises du Québec en dollars constants se sont repliées de 9,3 % par rapport à la même période de 2019. Par ailleurs, les importations internationales de marchandises du Québec, désaisonnalisées, en dollars constants, connaissent une hausse de 7,3 % en septembre 2020 par rapport au mois précédent, à la suite d'une baisse de 3,7 % en août. Ce faisant, les importations atteignent leur plus haut niveau depuis le mois de janvier 2020 et surpassent de 2,3 % le niveau de février. La hausse des importations totales en septembre est principalement due à la croissance des importations de pétrole brut classique (+ 40,0 %) et, dans une moindre mesure, de camions de poids léger, de fourgonnettes et de véhicules utilitaires sport (+ 4,5 %) ainsi que de vin et de brandy (+ 71,7 %). À l'inverse, les importations de fournitures médicales, dentaires et de protection personnelle (- 45,2 %) et de formes primaires et de produits semi-ouvrés de métaux et d'alliages de métaux non ferreux (- 53,9 %) ont connu de fortes baisses en septembre. Au cours des neuf premiers mois de 2020, les importations internationales de marchandises du Québec en dollars constants ont diminué de 18,1 % comparativement à la même période de l'année précédente. Au niveau canadien, selon les informations publiées par Statistique Canada le 4 novembre dernier, les exportations de marchandises, désaisonnalisées, en dollars constants, ont augmenté de 1,2 % en septembre 2020 par rapport au mois précédent, à la suite d'une stagnation (0,0 %) au mois d'août. De leur côté, les importations de marchandises ont connu une hausse de 0,6 % en septembre (- 0,3 % en août). Au cours des neuf premiers mois de 2020, comparativement à la même période de 2019, les exportations de marchandises du Canada ont reculé de 8,2 % et les importations canadiennes de marchandises ont diminué de 12,0 %. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration, including in critical national security and public health areas.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Pressure had been mounting on Murphy as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts and business leaders said it was time for that process to move forward.Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for Murphy to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”Meanwhile, more than 160 business leaders asked Murphy to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,? the business leaders said in an open letter to Murphy.Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”Trump had publicly refused to accept defeat and launched a series of losing court battles across the country making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and seeking to overturn the election results.Murphy missed a deadline on Monday set by House Democrats to brief lawmakers about the delay in beginning the transition, which is usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration. A spokeswoman for the GSA said that a deputy administrator would instead hold two separate briefings for House and Senate committees on Nov. 30.In response, the Democratic chairs of four committees and subcommittees said they could reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, but no later.“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” the Democrats said in a letter to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”Portman said it was “only prudent” for GSA to begin the transition process immediately.“Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,? Portman wrote in an op-ed calling for the transition to begin.Murphy's ascertainment will free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin placing transition personnel at federal agencies. Trump administration officials had said they would not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official.“Now that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has fulfilled her duty and ascertained the election results, the formal presidential transition can begin in full force,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges. The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, the co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.Matthew Daly, Zeke Miller And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Here are the top stories for Monday, Nov. 23: Biden looks to Obama veterans for key staff picks; States move ahead with election certifications; GM to recall 7 million vehicles; White House Christmas Tree arrives in DC.
TORONTO — A new study suggests people who visit a hospital emergency room at least twice in 12 months because of alcohol are more likely to die within a year.Researchers at ICES and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found one in 20 people who ended up in hospital two or more times in a 12-month period for mental and behavioural issues related to alcohol died within a year of their first visit.The risk of death was double for those who went to hospital five or more times.The study looked at nearly 26,000 people in Ontario over the age of 16 who landed in the ER at least twice within a 12-month period between January 2010 and December 2016. Of those, two-thirds went to hospital twice, 22 per cent went three or four times, and 12 per cent had five or more visits.More than two-thirds of those with five or more visits were male, almost half were aged 45 to 64 years, and nearly 90 per cent lived in urban centres, with 40 per cent of those coming from the lowest-income neighbourhoods. Senior author Dr. Paul Kurdyak, a scientist at CAMH and the non-profit research institute ICES, says frequent visits should signal the need to screen patients for problematic drinking and unmet social and health-care needs.The majority of deaths were from accidental poisoning, suicide and trauma, as well as diseases of the digestive system. The study was published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
The provincial governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, announced Monday morning that anyone arriving to the provinces from other regions in the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14-days, breaking down the Atlantic bubble.
The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is putting $500,000 from the Ending Violence Association of BC towards sexual assault response service programs over the next three years. The acquisition of the funding, announced by the ONA Nov. 20, is set to build on the work already carried out by the ONA’s “You Empowered and Strong” (YES) program. The program supports Syilx Okanagan Nation individuals, families and communities dealing with the impacts of trauma caused by violence including sexual assault and human trafficking. The funding is in line with the 231 outlying calls to justice coming out of the The Final Report on the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, released in 2019, which includes the development of “self-determined and Indigenous-led solutions and services.” The YES program was launched after the ONA Wellness Committee identified needs to address family violence in the Okanagan Nation in 2015. In July 2019, the ONA Chiefs Executive Council passed a Tribal Council Resolution to support the calls to justice out of the Final Report and the continuation of the YES program. Each community determines how to provide the services the YES program offers baed on individual community needs. “The roots of violence toward Syilx women and girls can be traced back to the trauma and systemic racism that communities have experienced over years of colonization. The ONA remains committed to ensuring that Syilx individuals and families across the Nation have proper support, safety and healing,” said Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Chairman. “Through such initiatives as this we are taking decisive action to provide access to community-drive, culturally appropriate and effective services. This work must continue.”Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
THUNDER BAY - Thunder Bay police have arrested a man wanted in connection with a firearm incident last week. Officers were called to the zero-to-100 block of Picton Avenue just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 following reports of a firearm incident. Police learned a suspect had pointed a firearm at another person, according to a previous police media release. An investigation led officers to identify a suspect and the residence they may have fled to. Police contained an area around a Picton Avenue home which was held until a warrant was obtained to allow officers to lawfully enter the dwelling, police said. The area contained by police was held until shortly after 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. Police stated the two identified suspects: Owen John Boyce, 23, and Brianna Lynn Netemegesic, 21 both remained at large despite police efforts. On Sunday, Nov. 22, police arrested Boyce at a bar on the city’s south side at approximately 10 p.m. He appeared in bail court on Monday, Nov. 23, and was officially read his charges which include one count of uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm, using a firearm while committing an indictable offence of uttering threats to kill, pointing a firearm, carrying a handgun for the purpose of committing an offence, possessing a firearm without being a holder of a licence, failure to comply with a release order, possessing a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, and use of a firearm in a careless manner. Boyce was ordered by Justice of the Peace Anna Gibbon to not communicate with his co-accused, Netemegesic, who remains at large and the victim in this case. Boyce will return to court on Thursday, Nov. 26. Netemegesic was arrested in March and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault in connection to a homicide on Picton Avenue. Netemegesic was granted release from custody on Aug. 20 following a bail hearing application in the Superior Court of Justice. Part of her conditions required her not to possess any weapons, according to court documents. Police say the two accused and victims of this incident were all known to each other. Anyone with information on Netemegesic’s whereabouts is asked to contact police at 684-1200 or submit tips through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. If you see Netemegesic in public, police advise not to approach or confront her and call 911 immediately.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
ATLANTA — After the Trump campaign requested a recount of the presidential ballots in Georgia, county election workers have just over a week to complete the new tally, a top elections official said Monday.The election results certified last week by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger showed Democrat Joe Biden beating Republican President Donald Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or about 0.25%. Under state law, a candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5%.The Trump campaign on Saturday sent a formal request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office.The counties can begin the recount at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must finish by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state's new voting system for the secretary of state's office, said during a video news conference Monday. The counties are to give public notice of when during that period they will be counting so monitors from political parties and any interested members of the public can be there to observe, Sterling said.This will be the third time the votes in the presidential race have been counted in Georgia. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. Because of the tight margin, he said, the audit required every vote in that contest to be recounted by hand.County election workers completed that hand tally last week. Because some previously uncounted ballots were discovered during the audit, several counties had to recertify their totals. Then the secretary of state certified the results and Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state's slate of 16 presidential electors.A state election board rule mandates that the recount requested by the Trump campaign be done by machine. County election workers will create test decks of 100 ballots — 75 marked by touchscreen voting machines and 25 marked by hand — and count those ballots by hand, Sterling said. Then they run those ballots through a scanner to make sure the tallies match. Once they determine each scanner is counting accurately, every single ballot will be rescanned, he said.Sterling also addressed a request the state Republican Party made Sunday urging the secretary of state to order an audit of the absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election, including verification of the signature match process.When Georgia voters return an absentee ballot, they have to sign an oath on the outer envelope. County election office workers are required to ensure the signature matches the one on the absentee ballot application and the one in the voter registration system, Raffensperger has said. Once the signatures are verified, to protect ballot secrecy enshrined in Georgia law, the ballots are separated from the envelopes and can't be matched back to individual voters.Sterling said the secretary of state's office is still reviewing whether any sort of investigation is appropriate, but he said there hasn't been any specific claim that the signature match process was not done properly.“We can't really see a legal path that makes any sense because if you open up investigations on a generalized grievance without any evidence, that leaves it open for somebody else in the future to do the exact same thing,” Sterling said.Also Monday, the state election board held a special called meeting and approved an extension of two emergency rules meant to accommodate the large number of absentee ballots expected because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One rule authorizes absentee ballot drop boxes in each county. The other allows counties to begin opening and scanning absentee ballots about two weeks before the election, and the board added a requirement for them to begin that processing one week before Election Day.The election board had planned to discuss another possible emergency rule on verification of residency during the voter registration process. But secretary of state's office general counsel Ryan Germany told the board members that it turns out state law already addresses the issue, and the secretary of state's office decided instead to send county election officials instructions reminding them of their authority and responsibilities under that law.Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
The Atlantic bubble has come to an end for now.Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I announced Monday that they were leaving the bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.New Brunswick isn't following suit, although Premier Blaine Higgs is asking people to be cautious about travel outside the province.Monday's withdrawal from the Atlantic bubble comes as New Brunswick reported 15 new cases on Monday, and one death, which occurred in the Saint John region.Eleven of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), three are in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and one in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said at Monday's news conference.All 15 of the new cases have been "identified and are isolating," Russell said.Seven people in New Brunswick have died of the disease since the pandemic started. A news release from the province said the person who died on Sunday was in their 80s and had underlying complications. Higgs said at the briefing that he spoke with the Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador premiers Sunday night and that the decision to leave the bubble was a "shared decision.""We understand the concerns with our current situation in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," he said."We understand their rules around people coming and going … and they understand why we are trying to keep things moving within our province between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. but doing so only for essential services and telling people 'let's stay within our own province.' "New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Monday, the province had a total of 89 active cases. On Sunday, 1,025 tests were done, for a total of 117,272. Premier asked to clarify 'confusing' mask rules Premier Blaine Higgs was again asked on Monday to clarify the rules around when to wear a mask in the orange zone, amid some social media reports that people were being told to wear a mask when alone or on their own property.Higgs acknowledged that there have been "some complaints" in this regard, and confusion about whether people should wear a mask when they are alone outdoors.If a resident is outdoors or in a public space and faces "the possibility of running into someone and not being able to maintain physical distancing," they should wear a mask, he said.'We're asking people to just follow some very simple rules in the orange zone," he said. "I understand there's some confusion when walking down the street, but when in doubt, put a mask on."Let's not find as many reasons as we can possibly find not to wear a mask, let's find reasons why we should wear a mask so we don't take a chance."Epidemiologist recommends bartenders, servers get testedAn Ontario epidemiologist says New Brunswick should test bartenders and restaurant servers for COVID-19 because they're exposed to different people.Then they spend time with other servers and bartenders and the virus continues to spread."That's how you're going to find cases," Colin Furness, who has been watching New Brunswick's pandemic experience, said Monday.Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said she's aware that Nova Scotia is testing bartenders and restaurant servers, and it's idea her department may look at. In the past, she said, New Brunswick teachers and health-care workers who are asymptomatic have been allowed to get tested. "We can take that back and look at that," she said Monday of extending this to bartenders and servers.Furness said it appears New Brunswick is on the cusp of community transmission, which he said is concerning because it means it's difficult to link where the virus first started."Then you know you're sitting on top of undiscovered cases."But looking at the big picture, Furness said New Brunswick is still doing well compared to the rest of Canada.He encouraged people to be careful about interacting with people in their 20s. They may have COVID-19 but experience no symptoms."That's the group most likely to be infected and have no idea," he said. Enforcement of rules, and frustration with non-compliancePremier Blaine Higgs said Monday that police and peace offers were enforcing compliance with the single-household bubble, mask-wearing, physical distancing and other rules in the orange zones on the weekend.Thirty tickets were issued, he said, and at least one business in southeastern New Brunswick has been shut down after not following guidelines "for some time."Higgs also singled out for criticism those who are deliberately ignoring the rules."It is disappointing to hear that some people have not been giving their real names and contact information" when at businesses, he said."You're not 'beating the system,' " he later added. "You're jeopardizing the health and welfare of maybe your neighbour, maybe your grandparents, maybe your parents."Employee tests positive at Stan Cassidy CentreHorizon Health Network and New Brunswick Public Health are investigating a potential COVID-19 exposure at Horizon's Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton.As this is a high-risk situation, Horizon is declaring an outbreak at the Centre.As of Monday morning, Horizon is restricting all visitors at the Centre and cancelling scheduled appointments until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.The employee is self-isolating, Horizon said in a statement.Patients who were in contact with the employee when the employee may have been infectious had rapid testing for the respiratory virus Sunday. Horizon said all affected patients have been isolated. And all staff who were in contact have had COVID-19 testing. "As a precautionary measure, all other employees at the Centre will be tested for COVID-19."Effective Monday morning, all staff and physicians at the Centre will participate in active screening for COVID-19 symptoms.Horizon Health said affected patients and families have also been notified.Employee, 3 residents test positive at ShannexA Shannex official says the Parkland Saint John facility has activated its pandemic plan after one employee and three residents tested positive for COVID-19.Clinical practice director and infection control specialist Lisa Snodgrass says all 371 residents and employees were tested.And she's been told those four were the only positive cases."We're not sure how it got in," she said. "But we are sure of what we can do to help prevent the spread and that's what we're focusing on right now.Public health says the outbreak is at Tucker Hall.Snodgrass says that's a 90-bed licensed long-term care home on the Parkland Saint John campus.Snodgrass said all residents are self-isolating as well as some employees - she declined to say how many.Residents can normally move freely between the buildings, but under pandemic restrictions, she says most of the movement is limited to health care team members.She says the investigation into cause of the outbreak is ongoing.More potential public exposure warnings for Saint JohnNew Brunswick Public Health has released the following possible exposure to COVID-19 warnings for locations in Moncton and Saint John, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.Anyone who visited the following businesses during the identified times should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.Anyone who develops any COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online to schedule a test.Saint John area * Rothesay Route 1 Big Stop Restaurant on Nov. 14 between 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. (2870 Route 1, Rothesay). * Pub Down Under on Nov. 14, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (400 Main St., Saint John) * Fish & Brew on Nov. 14 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (800 Fairville Blvd., Saint John) * Cora Breakfast and Lunch on Nov. 16 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (39 King St., Saint John). * Goodlife Fitness McAllister Place on Nov. 16 between noon and 1 p.m. and on Nov. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (519 Westmorland Rd., Saint John). * NBCC Grandview campus on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (950 Grandview Ave., Saint John). * Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. (47 Clark Rd., Rothesay) * Let's Hummus at 44 Water St. between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. * Eighty-Three Bar Arcade at 43 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m. * Callie's Pub at 2 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m. * O'Leary's Pub at 46 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m. * Five and Dime Bar at 34 Grannan St. on Nov. 14, between 12:30 to 2:30 a.m * Freddie's Pizza at 27 Charlotte St. on Nov. 14, between 2:30 to 3 a.m. * Big Tide Brewing Company at 47 Princess St. on Nov. 16, between 12:30 to 2 p.m. * Java Moose at 84 Prince William St. Nov. 16, between 2 to 2:30 p.m. * Rocky's Sports Bar at 7 Market Square on Nov. 13, between 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 14 between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.Moncton * Fit 4 Less at 165 Main St. on Nov. 6-12, at various times between 5 p.m. and midnight. Full list on Public Health website. * GoodLife Fitness at Moncton Junction Village Gym on Nov. 6, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 9, between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. * Aldo Shoes at Moncton Champlain Mall on Nov. 6-10 at various times between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. * CEPS Louis-J. Robichaud fitness room at 40 Antonine-Maillet Ave. on Nov. 6, 9, 10 and 12 at various times in the evening from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. * Tandoori Zaika Cuisine and Bar at 196 Robinson St. on Nov. 8, between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. * Keg Steakhouse and Bar at 576 Main St. on Nov. 17, between 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. * Flights into Moncton: * Air Canada Flight 8954 on Nov. 15 from Winnipeg to Toronto, arrived at 8:16 p.m. * Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 15 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m. * Air Canada Flight 0992 on Nov. 7 from Mexico City to Toronto, arrived at 7:20 p.m. * Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 7 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m.What to do if you have a symptomPeople concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: * A fever above 38 C. * A new cough or worsening chronic cough. * Sore throat. * Runny nose. * Headache. * New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. * Difficulty breathing.In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.People with one of those symptoms should: * Stay at home. * Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. * Describe symptoms and travel history. * Follow instructions.
Victory is always sweet in municipal politics, said Mayor Duane Favel, and this year, victory has meant starting his fifth term as leader of the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse. Duane defeated fellow mayoral candidate Peter Durocher with 323 votes to 257, with 580 total votes cast. This will be a long four years of council, Favel said, with many challenges facing northern Saskatchewan communities and with COVID-19 those challenges are going to get bigger, he said. In a previous interview before the election, Duane said physician retention and high water levels have been a challenge for the community for years. Joining Duane at the council table will be incumbents Vincent Ahenakew, Bodean Desjarlais, Myra Malboeuf, and Gerald Roy, and new councillors Noel McLean and Kevin Favel. Having a mix of old and new councillors is good to have for both continuity and bringing new voices to the table, Duane said. “It's nice to have a council who clearly has a good background on some of the things we've been working on and to bring those two councillors up to speed. Certainly, their voices will be heard as well.” Mentoring the new councillors will be an important step in the coming term, Duane said. Duane said he would like to thank the outgoing councillors who have stepped away from the table, including Durocher, who decided to run for mayor. The open spots allowed for two new voices to join the conversation and Duane said he is excited to work with this new council. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Chatham-Kent has received notice of a school outbreak. Dr. David Colby, Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent, has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Winston Churchill Public School. This is the first school outbreak in Chatham-Kent. An outbreak in a school is defined as two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a school community, where transmission has been confirmed to have occurred within the school. According to a release, CK Public Health has notified the school community, including students, staff, parents and guardians. All close contacts were directed to isolate and were tested. If CK Public Health has not contacted you, no testing is required at this time. Residents are asked not to contact the health unit for questions in order not to clog up services, adding they will be contacted if necessary. The health unit asks residents to continue to follow public health advice to keep COVID-19 controlled within the community. This includes only travelling for essential purposes, physically distance (2 metres) from others, wear a mask, wash your hands or use 70 percent alcohol hand sanitizer frequently and stay home if you are unwell. The school will remain open.Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
A petition calling for stricter laws and tougher penalties for drunk and reckless drivers has amassed nearly 100,000 signatures in the wake of a pair of deadly Peel Region crashes. Jillian McLeod launched the change.org petition, aimed at lobbying the different levels of government, in the wake of a horrific Brampton crash that claimed the lives of Caledon East elementary teacher Karolina Ciasullo and her three daughters, Klara, 6, Lilianna, 4, and Mila, 1. “We have signatures in almost every province now,” McLeod said this week. “It’s sending a message that citizens have had enough with the lenient sentences. Our justice system is broken.” As the number of signatures grew, so have the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities across Peel Region — 38 to date, up from 23 all of last year. Since 2010, only two full years have recorded more motor vehicle-related fatalities: 41 in 2018 and 40 in 2016. Police confirmed that six of the deaths to date in 2020, including the Ciasullos and 19-year-old Jagrajan Brar, who was killed after his car was hit head-on in an Oct. 10 crash, were the result of alleged impaired driving. “I snapped and said that’s enough,” said McLeod, who has lost two close friends to impaired driving. She’s not alone. Brar’s family has also rallied to her cause, using the Lorne Park Secondary School student’s story to amplify McLeod’s initiative. Peter Simms, 46, the man charged with impaired driving causing death, had two prior impaired driving convictions, Peel police said last month. “This man should not have been behind the wheel of a car,” Rob Brar, the teen’s father, said. The petition is pushing for tougher sentences for serious driving convictions including: impaired driving causing bodily harm, impaired driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation causing bodily harm On Wednesday, about 40 protesters once again rallied outside a Brampton courthouse to demonstrate against Simms’ effort to get bail. Family and friends also rallied at the courthouse for Simms’ last hearing in October. His case was adjourned until Dec. 16. Police last month charged a second driver who they allege engaged in dangerous and aggressive driving behaviour with Simms and contributed to the collision. They’re calling on Premier Doug Ford to endorse their initiative, and for Ottawa to review the existing penalties. The group is also opposing bail for Brady Robertson, 20, of Caledon, who faces four counts of dangerous driving causing death in the collision that killed Ciasullo and her daughters. Robertson’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 2. Robertson was also charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle in connection with a separate incident that occurred at Dougall Avenue and Kennedy Road in Caledon, two days before the fatal crash. Peel police are separately warning about a rise in street racing and stunt driving amid the pandemic. As of Oct. 31, the service had laid 599 charges for these offences in 2020, up from 332 over the same time frame in 2019. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpicJason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
LONDON — Google faces fresh regulatory scrutiny in Britain over plans to revamp its ad data system, after a group of competitors complained to regulators that the changes would cement the U.S. tech giant's online dominance.Marketers for an Open Web, a coalition of technology and publishing companies, said Monday that it's urging the U.K. competition watchdog to step in and force Google to delay the rollout of its “Privacy Sandbox” scheduled for early next year.The new technology would remove so-called third party cookies that store user information on devices, replaced by tools owned by Google. That means login, advertising and other features would be taken off the open web and placed under Google’s control, the group said.The Competition and Markets Authority confirmed it received the complaint.“We take the matters raised in the complaint very seriously, and will assess them carefully with a view to deciding whether to open a formal investigation under the Competition Act,” it said in a statement, adding that if the concerns need urgent attention, it would consider using “interim measures" to stop any suspected anti-competitive conduct pending a full investigation.The complaint follows up on concerns about Google's new system that the watchdog raised in a July report about online platforms and digital advertising. The report recommended the British government adopt a new regulatory approach to governing digital giants making big money from online ads.Google said the new technology will increase privacy for users while also supporting publishers.“The ad-supported web is at risk if digital advertising practices don’t evolve to reflect people’s changing expectations around how data is collected and used," the company said.Google's Chrome is the world's dominant web browser, and many others like Microsoft's Edge are based on its Chromium technology. Google controls more than 90% of the U.K.’s 7.3 billion pound ($8.8 billion) search advertising market, the CMA said in its July report.Marketers for an Open Web said Privacy Sandbox will deny news publishers access to the cookies they use to sell digital ads, which will greatly crimp their revenues.The group said Google’s changes will move the digital ad business “into the walled garden of its Chrome browser, where it would be beyond the reach of regulators.” It wants a delay until authorities come up with long term remedies to mitigate Google's dominance over key parts of the web.Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press
Lawyers for a doctor who was alleged to be the source of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton region last May entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Monday to charges of failing to self-isolate. Dr. Jean Robert Ngola is charged with violating the Emergency Measures Act by allegedly failing to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling to Quebec.Christian Michaud and Joël Étienne, lawyers representing Ngola, appeared by phone to enter the not guilty plea. Ngola, who is now based in Louiseville, Que., was not present. Most of the discussion Monday centred on disclosure of evidence in the case from the Crown to the defence. Ngola's lawyers say they are still missing important documents from various parties like the RCMP and Vitalité Health Network. Provincial court Judge Suzanne Bernard scheduled another hearing by phone on Jan. 4 to discuss disclosure of evidence and to determine if a trial date can be set. Bernard indicated another judge will handle the trial that's expected to last a day, though didn't say why. Premier Blaine Higgs blamed an "irresponsible" medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons for the Campbellton outbreak who he said "was not forthcoming about their reasons for travel upon returning to New Brunswick" and didn't self-isolate.Higgs didn't name the person, but Ngola was almost immediately identified as the individual and became the subject of threats and racism, his lawyers allege.Ngola disputes he is 'patient zero' and contact tracing casts doubt on whether he was the source.
Northumberland Ferries has cancelled all sailings between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. on Tuesday as bad weather conditions linger. All crossings between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, N.S. had been called off for Monday as well. Environment Canada has a gale warning in effect for the Northumberland Strait. As of 3:30 p.m. AT on Monday, the agency said southeast winds were 35 knots dropping to 25 out of the northwest late Monday night, then increasing to 35 knots northwest Tuesday morning. Rain was expected to change to flurries overnight.On shore, CBC's Jay Scotland estimates 15 to 25 mm of rain is possible before precipitation tapers off Tuesday morning. More from CBC P.E.I.
LONDON — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world.The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the world waits for scientific breakthroughs that will end a pandemic that has pummeled the world economy and led to 1.4 million deaths. But unlike the others, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.“I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said at a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in one of the dosing regimens tested; it was less effective in another. Earlier this month, rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective.While the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), the Pfizer and Moderna products must be stored at temperatures approaching minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit).The AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheaper.AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.AstraZeneca applied for approval of its vaccine candidate in Canada on Oct. 1, under a special process that is allowing Health Canada to review COVID-19 vaccines for use at the same time as the vaccines are finishing their final clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna have also applied for the rolling-review process.Canada signed a deal with AstraZeneca at the end of September to secure 20 million doses of the highly touted vaccine. The federal government has not said when those doses would be available to Canadians, but they can't be distributed here until Health Canada gives the vaccine the green light for use.Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca stressed they weren’t competing with other projects and said multiple vaccines would be needed to reach enough of the world’s population to end the pandemic.“We need to be able to make a lot of vaccine for the world quickly, and it’s best if we can do it with different technologies so that if one technology runs into a roadblock, then we’ve got alternatives, we've got diversity,'' professor Sarah Gilbert, a leader of the Oxford team, told The Associated Press. “Diversity is going to be good here, but also in terms of manufacturing, we don’t want to run out of raw materials.”AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective.That means that, overall, when both ways of dosing are considered, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 70%.Gilbert said researchers aren't sure why giving a half-dose followed by a larger dose was more effective, and they plan to investigate further. But the answer is probably related to providing exactly the right amount of vaccine to get the best response, she said.“It's the Goldilocks amount that you want, I think, not too little and not too much. Too much could give you a poor quality response as well ...,'' she said. "I’m glad that we looked at more than one dose because it turns out to be really important.”The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated with a given supply of the vaccine.“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Of those, 11,636 people received the vaccine — while the rest got a placebo.Overall, there were 131 cases of COVID-19. Details on how many people in the various groups became ill weren’t released Monday, but researchers said they will be published in the next 24 hours.Late-stage trials of the vaccine are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.Researchers said they expect to add the half dose-full dose regimen to the U.S. trial in a “matter of weeks.’’ Before doing so they must discuss the changes with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.The AstraZeneca trials were paused earlier this year after a participant in the U.K. study reported a rare neurological illness. While the trials were quickly restarted in most countries after investigators determined the condition wasn’t related to the vaccine, the FDA delayed the U.S. study for more than a month before it was allowed to resume.AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,’’ Soriot said.British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news from AstraZeneca.Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it is approved by regulators.Just months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth for,” Hancock said.From the beginning of their collaboration with AstraZeneca, Oxford scientists have demanded that the vaccine be made available equitably to everyone in the world so rich countries can't corner the market as has happened during previous pandemics.Leaders of the world's most powerful nations on Sunday agreed to work together to ensure “affordable and equitable access" to COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines.“If we don’t have the vaccine available in many, many countries, and we just protect a small number of them, then we can’t go back to normal because the virus is going to keep coming back and causing problems again," Gilbert said. “No one is safe until we’re all safe.”___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakDanica Kirka And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press