The British actor is about to take on one of the most famous roles in Disney history as the Prince in the upcoming Cinderella reboot.
The British actor is about to take on one of the most famous roles in Disney history as the Prince in the upcoming Cinderella reboot.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts completed the first round of prep work Friday for new solar panels, part of a major power upgrade at the International Space Station. NASA’s Kate Rubins and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi installed mounting brackets and struts for the improved solar wings due to arrive in June. They also tightened some sticky bolts that hampered Sunday’s spacewalk and left some duties undone. Toward the end of the seven-hour spacewalk, Rubins reported a mark on the index finger of her right glove, where she had earlier said there was some peeling and perhaps a tiny hole in the outer layer. “I don’t know what to think about the glove. But it’s just kind of a pinpoint hole,” she told Mission Control. Rubins said she was “mildly concerned” about going too far from Noguchi because of her glove, and he accompanied her back to the hatch. Mission Control called it quits at that point and told the astronauts to skip extra chores. A NASA spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Rob Navias, said Rubins' suit pressure held perfectly throughout the spacewalk. “At no time was she in any danger,” he said in an email. At Mission Control's request, crewmate Victor Glover took photos of the glove while Rubins was still in her spacesuit. NASA is enhancing the space station’s power grid to accommodate more astronauts and experiments, now that SpaceX is launching crews and Boeing should be too by year’s end. The eight solar panels have degraded over time; the oldest were launched 20 years ago. The six new solar wings — smaller but more efficient — will fit over the older ones and boost the station’s power capability by up to 30%. Boeing is supplying the panels, which will be launched in pairs by SpaceX over the next year. As the spacewalk ended, Mission Control congratulated Noguchi for having the longest gap between spacewalks: 15 1/2 years. His previous three spacewalks occurred in 2005, during the first shuttle flight following the 2003 Columbia disaster. This should be the last spacewalk for the station’s current residents, whose half-year missions are coming to a close. Rubins will return to Earth in mid-April in a Russian capsule, along with two Russians. Noguchi, Glover and two other NASA astronauts will fly SpaceX back in late April or May. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
A 103-year-old Elder was among those who received a COVID-19 vaccination on the Wahta First Nation in Muskoka in late February. Wahta Chief Phillip Franks said that Phoebe Roads, who is to turn 104 on April 18, had her grandson drive her to the clinic which was held at the community’s administration centre on February 23. He added that health officials came out to the parking lot and administered the shot while Ms. Roads remained in the vehicle. He added she suffered no apparent ill-effects from the vaccine. The Chief said that he, the woman’s family and her friends were all very pleased and relieved that the respected Elder was able to receive the first dose of the vaccine. Wahta First Nation has had three COVID cases on the territory, all occurring in January of this year. All three people have since recovered. The territory was placed in lockdown on March 1 as per the provincial gray zone restrictions which were put in place for all residents covered by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Chief Franks said that about 144 members of the First Nation received the vaccine out of the 175 or so who live there. He said most of the people who live in the community received the shot as well as several members who live off-territory. The clinic was run by Wahta health officials as well as health care workers with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “All the health staff organized it very well. We had it at the administration centre because it is the largest space in the community. It hasn’t been open during COVID except for essential workers, but we opened it up specifically for the clinic. We had definite in and out routes. Nobody had to come close to anybody else. They had it down pat. It was a well run clinic,” the Chief said. Those who were vaccinated are to receive their second dose of the vaccine on March 17. Chief Franks said that now is not the time for community members to let their guard down in terms of COVID safety and prevention. “The vaccination clinic was very encouraging but at the same time we don’t want to stop giving out our message - you may have been vaccinated but as we all know the pandemic is not over. You can still carry. You can still spread. That’s our main message right now – maintain those protections and protect others through the masking and the social distancing,” the Chief said. “We had a close call with the three people that we had. We don’t want to lose anyone. I am hoping the vaccine will help.” An official with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health unit said that there are no health issues associated with administering the vaccine to a 103-year-old. “There are no concerns with vaccinating older adults. In fact, they are the most vulnerable population for severe disease due to COVID-19 and are therefore a very high priority to vaccinate,” stated health unit spokesperson Leslie Gordon in an email. “We are fortunate that the vaccines available in Ontario to date (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) have very good evidence of efficacy in seniors.” Gordon went on to state that it was their pleasure to be able to travel to Wahta and administer the vaccination needles to people on the First Nation territory. “The SMDHU was so pleased to partner with Wahta First Nation and other health care providers, Cottage Country Family Health Team and Muskoka Paramedics, in order to offer vaccination to adults of all ages in the community. Wahta First Nation provided us with a warm welcome and we were honoured to be part of this day,” she stated. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orillia Today
Results from an online survey indicate widespread unhappiness over the decision to hold a provincial election prior to mass vaccination in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as overwhelming disapproval of Elections NL's handling of the entire process. Following the election's postponement due to last month's COVID-19 outbreak and a return to Alert Level 5, CBC's Vote Compass asked voters five questions to gauge their sentiments on the unprecedented pandemic election. Half of the 841 people surveyed said they strongly agreed the entire process should have waited until most people had been vaccinated. Another 18 per cent chose "somewhat agree," with the two categories combined representing 68 per cent of respondents. Liberal Leader Andrew Furey has stood by his decision to call the winter election, a move heavily criticized throughout the campaign, even prior to the outbreak, by opposition parties. That partisanship was reflected in the survey: when results are broken down along party lines, only 11 per cent of Liberal voters strongly agree the election should have waited, compared with 77 per cent of Progressive Conservatives and 63 per cent of NDP voters. Sixty-one per cent of all people surveyed thought adults over the age of 65 should have been vaccinated prior to heading to the polls. Updates to the province's widescale vaccine rollout have only come in the last week, as supply problems have dogged the entire country's ability to receive shipments since the start of 2021. Satisfaction with Elections NL, headed by chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk, was low among survey respondents.(Paul Daly/The Canadian Press) Elections NL disapproval, integrity concerns The majority of people surveyed also weren't happy with how the entire election has proceeded — a process still underway, as Elections NL says it could be April before the results are known. Ninety-two per cent of PC voters, 80 per cent of NDP and 47 per cent of Liberals said in the survey they either disapproved or strongly disapproved of Elections NL's management thus far. Carrying out the election hit the rocks as COVID-19 cases surged in the week preceding the Feb. 13 election day, with Elections NL staff resigning en masse out of pandemic fears or because they were in self-isolation. Alongside that, confusion ensued as to whether chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk or the chief medical officer of health had the authority to delay in-person voting. It was only after the confirmation that the contagious B117 variant was driving the outbreak and the entire province was moved into Alert Level 5 — on the evening before election day — that Chaulk announced the entire election would be held by mail-in ballot. The mailing process has since been dogged by extensions, adjustments and concerns, such as a lack of translation of ballots into Indigenous languages. The survey indicates mixed results for how people felt about the election's integrity. Fifty-six per cent of respondents overall felt either "not confident at all" or "not very confident" in its integrity. But breaking down respondents by party suggests distinct partisanship: 75 per cent of Liberals surveyed were either "very" or "somewhat" confident in the election, compared with 22 per cent of PCs and 30 per cent of NDP voters. That pattern leans into the three main party's leadership stances. While Furey has said the Liberals will accept the election's outcome as legitimate, PC Leader Ches Crosbie has said a legal challenge to results is "almost inevitable." NDP Leader Allison Coffin has voiced concerns about voters disenfranchised through the process. The election is on track for a record-low turnout of 51 per cent, if all mailed ballots are returned by the Mar. 12 deadline. Online polls don't have the same margin of error as traditional polls do, but Vox Pop Labs, the company that ran the survey, said a comparative sample of 841 people would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The survey was conducted between Feb. 24 and March 2. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) has established a working group to assist municipalities in navigating the uncharted waters of legal cannabis production. In December, AMO launched a new staff working group on personal and designated medical cannabis grow operations. Brian Rosborough, AMO’s executive director explained the working group was established to, “examine municipal and community experiences with these types of cannabis production operations.” “The group will also look at the policy and regulations governing them to improve understanding and inform AMO’s policy development and advocacy,” Rosborough said. Currently the working group consists of 18 members from municipalities across the province, including Brantford, Leamington, Norfolk County, Ottawa, Sudbury, Tecumseh, Thunder Bay, Caledon, New Tecumseth, and Tweed. Michael Benner, director of planning and building services for the municipality of Grey Highlands is also a member. According to Rosborough, the rules surrounding designated and personal cannabis operations can be complex. “While these types of growing operations are required to be located in appropriately zoned areas and conform to building and electrical codes, the confidential nature of patient information means that municipalities often have little information to enforce their by-laws,” he explained. “In extreme cases, law enforcement has found that some producers may use the medical personal and designated growing rules to produce cannabis for sale in illegal markets, causing safety and security concerns,” Rosborough continued. With the group forming in late 2020, AMO reports the group's work has not yet begun. However, the organization is hopeful the collaboration of experts from across the province will help to build more resources for local municipalities. Previous to launching the working group, AMO also contributed FCM’s Guide to Recreational Cannabis Legalization for Municipal Governments. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
BERLIN — German factory orders rose more strongly than expected in January, a promising sign of strength in Europe's largest economy, official figures showed Friday. The Federal Statistical Office reported that industrial orders rose 1.4% in January over the previous month when adjusted for seasonal and calendar variations, double what economists had been predicting. A 2.6% drop in domestic orders was more than offset by a 4.2% increase in foreign orders, the office reported. Germany's economy has been doing better than several others in the 19-country eurozone as it was supported by manufacturing, which has taken less of a hit than services during the pandemic. Last week the Statistical Office reported the German economy grew 0.3% in last year’s fourth quarter compared with the previous three-month period, a better performance than previously thought. The revision meant that last year’s overall drop in GDP was a touch less sharp than originally reported — 4.9% rather than 5%. The Associated Press
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that a lower court must reconsider a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is due to go on trial next week for the death of George Floyd last May. Chauvin's trial was due to begin with jury selection in Minneapolis on Monday but that could be delayed as Judge Peter Cahill of the Hennepin County district court must now weigh again reinstating the third-degree murder charge. Chauvin already faces a more serious charge of second-degree murder, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison, as well as a charge of second-degree manslaughter.
In Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney’s first animated Southeast Asian princess is tasked with fixing a broken world by tracking down the world’s last dragon to stop monsters from ruining civilization. While the film is filled with colour and magic, CBC’s film reviewer Eli Glasner says the film 'plays out predictably.'
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States.That gives Canada four approved vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna inoculations were approved in December and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab was endorsed last week — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27.Canada has already secured up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, however it's not expected that any will flow to Canada until at least April.Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death.The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus.An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since.Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials.The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease.WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE?The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths.Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses.Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says.Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures.WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED?Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus as a vector, which can't copy itself, to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein.The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future.WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED?The FDA document said no specific safety concerns were identified in participants regardless of age, race and comorbidities. The FDA added the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
The Powassan Curling Club is getting a cheque from the municipality to cover the cost of not being able to use the building during the COVID lockdowns. Club president Andrew J. Emmerson says the club paid the municipality $14,700 for a period of eight months when it couldn't access the building. After a short debate, the council agreed to refund the rent with Mayor Peter McIsaac saying it was the right thing to do. “Because of COVID this group was not allowed to access the building or use the facility,” McIsaac said. “I don't think it would be fair to charge them rent during that period.” McIsaac says the club identified the impact the lockdown had on it and told the council it was willing to cover other months. “I think they're being more than fair and I'd like to be fair in return if the council agrees with that,” McIsaac said. The only other councillor to engage in the debate was Markus Wand who admitted he wasn't willing at first to refund the amount the club asked for. “To be honest, I thought 'no we shouldn't give them the full amount back,'” Wand said. “But considering they were down for eight months and we do have some money available to help them out, in the end it's fair if we help them out for that amount,” Wand said. The available money Wand referred to was the COVID-19 money the Ontario government made available to municipalities including Powassan to help cover additional expenses that were pandemic related. In the case of Powassan, McIsaac says it received in total about $200,000 from the provincial government. McIsaac said asking the curling club to absorb a hit of nearly $15,000 at a time when the members couldn't generate any revenue “could be very devastating for a group of volunteers. “They're volunteers and they provide a good service to the community,” said the mayor. The inability to bring in revenue during a lockdown was a major point Emmerson made in his letter to council last month when he officially asked council to give the club rent relief. The COVID lockdown that went into effect in late December was the starting point for the end of many winter activities. That lockdown was followed by a council vote Jan. 19 to shut down both the Sportsplex and curling club buildings and from that point on lockdown timelines were continually extended. With no hope of salvaging any part of a season, Emmerson sent his rent relief letter to council. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage will lift its coronavirus-related capacity restrictions on many businesses and will ease limits on other places where people gather under a new emergency order set to take effect on Monday. City officials announced the changes Thursday, saying retailers, bars, restaurants and other businesses will have their capacity restrictions eliminated, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Requirements for wearing masks and maintaining distance will remain in effect. The businesses must operate in ways that allow consumers to stay six feet (two meters) apart from people outside of their households. Indoor gatherings with food and beverages will be allowed to have 25 people while indoor gatherings without food or drinks can have up to 35 people. Previously, up to 10 were allowed with food or beverage around, and up to 15 people without food or drinks. Outdoor gatherings with food and drink will be permitted to have to 60 people, and the same gatherings without food or drink can have up to 100 people. That doubles the prior allowances. Entertainment venues such as theatres will be allowed to operate at full capacity as long as patrons wear masks. Groups of people must stay six feet (two meters) apart. Gyms and fitness centres will have no capacity restrictions, but masks and social distancing will remain mandated. Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson's announcement came about a week after pressure was exerted by some Assembly members to remove capacity restrictions and rescind Anchorage's mask mandate. City officials cited a decline in cases and an increasing number of vaccinations for easing the restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. “We all know that this pandemic will not end overnight, or with the stroke of a pen,” Quinn-Davidson said Thursday. Coronavirus case rates in the city are about similar to what they were in early fall of 2020, a period that preceded a major spike in cases that threatened the city's healthcare capacity. About 65,000 people in Anchorage, a municipality of nearly 289,000 people, have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The vaccine was a factor into lifting the 50% capacity limit on local schools as a part of the new order, Quinn-Davidson said. The limitation on school capacity was instituted in November, when virus cases were rising and no vaccine had been approved by the federal government. The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Several men at a Montreal-area immigration detention centre refused food this week to protest what they say are inhumane conditions at the facility and to try and secure their release.It's the third hunger strike at the Laval immigration holding centre since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Solidarity Across Borders, an activist group working with the detainees.Inmate Carlos Martin began his hunger strike on March 1, he said in an interview Wednesday from the facility, adding that six other detainees were also refusing food.Martin, originally from Colombia, said he's been held in the detention centre for almost 16 months and that he caught COVID-19 while detained. He said he and the other hunger strikers are worried about novel coronavirus variants and that some guards aren't following proper safety procedures."I know what the symptoms are and I have seen some guards that had the same symptoms that I had and didn’t use gloves, that took off masks," he said.In an email late Thursday evening, Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, said there are "currently no detainees on food protest."Solidarity Across Borders spokesman Bill Van Driel, however, said Friday morning that as far as his group is aware, seven detainees are still participating in the hunger strike. A group of inmates went on hunger strike in March 2020 — also seeking their release because of fears around COVID-19 — and one detainee refused food in February after catching the disease, according to Solidarity Across Borders.Detainees were held in isolation during the February outbreak and only allowed out of their cells to shower or make phone calls, Van Driel said in a recent interview. Van Driel said visits to the detention centre have been suspended since March 16, 2020, and that because immigration detainees are generally held for a short of period of time, conditions are worse than in prisons or jails."There's no programming, there's no services, there's no psychological services, things that even in the worst prisons would still be available to inmates aren't available to immigration detainees," Van Driel said.Martin said guards are retaliating against the hunger strikers with disruptive searches. "The guards are refusing to let us have water (or) Gatorade in our cells, they are coming in three to four times a day and disorganizing everything," he said. Gadbois-St-Cyr said detainees who participate in "food protests" have access to medical care and are not forced to eat. There are currently 18 people detained in the facility, she said, adding that three people have had cases of COVID-19 and all three have recovered.When asked about the hunger strike on Thursday, Mary-Liz Power, spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said, "we are aware of the situation at the Laval immigration holding centre, and we are following it closely.""Our priority is always the safety of our communities, the immigration detainees and the staff in the IHCs. In support of that priority, we constantly review and update our best practices based on our experience in these centers," she wrote in an email.Immigration detention is a last resort, she said, adding that people are sent there "while their identity is being determined or verified." She said the number of people in immigration detention has been reduced by more than 50 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic.Martin said his legal process has been delayed by the health crisis. "If you have a question or worry, the only thing they say is that it’s because of COVID," he said. "If things are slow or delayed, it’s because of COVID."He said it no longer matters if he gets to stay in Canada, he just wants to leave the detention centre. "The truth is that I simply want to regain my liberty and finish this already," he said. "It doesn’t interest me if they choose me to stay or return me to my country. I want it to be as fast as possible."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.———This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Les citoyens de Saint-Gédéon auront leur centre multifonctionnel dans l’Église Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue en 2023, a annoncé le maire Émile Hudon. Les travaux, évalués à 1,8 M$ débuteront à l’hiver 2022 pour la modernisation et l’agrandissement du bâtiment construit en 1897. La Grandmontoise pourra accueillir jusqu’à 300 personnes assises et permettra la tenue d’une foule d’activités, comme des festivals, du théâtre d’été, des cours, des formations, des réceptions et des réunions. Une nouvelle section d’une superficie de 2423 pi² sera annexée à la partie nord de l’édifice, pour y accueillir une cuisine, un bar, les toilettes, des accès indépendants ainsi que des espaces de rangement. Quant aux messes, elles continueront d’être données dans la sacristie, avec une capacité de 20 à 25 personnes. Une remise à neuf de la plomberie, du système de chauffage et de l’électricité, de même que l’intégration d’un système de climatisation et ventilation, est prévue. La municipalité entend également préserver et mettre en valeur l’architecture et le patrimoine de l’église, soit l’enveloppe extérieure, le clocher, la fresque murale, les vitraux et l’orgue. Bâtiment en santé Si la municipalité a pu aller de l’avant dans ce projet, c’est notamment en raison de la bonne santé du bâtiment. Un scénario de démolition aurait coûté au moins 600 000 $ à la municipalité et n’aurait pas été admissible aux subventions. « On a fait faire un bilan de l’église et celle-ci est en parfaite santé. On a fait vérifier par une firme spécialisée si elle contenait de l’amiante, mais il n’y en avait pas. On constate que la Fabrique a toujours bien entretenu ce bâtiment. La population était prête à la reprendre et on ne voulait pas qu’elle tombe dans l’oubli comme dans d’autres municipalités », explique le maire Émile Hudon, qui étudie le projet depuis 2017. Le conseil ira en règlement d’emprunt pour obtenir 725 000 $ afin de financer le projet et les intérêts. Des pourparlers sont en cours afin d’obtenir 900 000 $ du Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec. Une campagne de sociofinancement avec un objectif de 225 000 $ sera également lancée prochainement. Vocation touristique Selon le maire, le projet contribuera à alimenter la vocation touristique de la municipalité. « Nous n’avions pas encore de salle de cette envergure à Saint-Gédéon. Avec la vocation touristique de la municipalité, l’été, ce serait fantastique si on avait, par exemple, un théâtre d’été et des spectacles pour attirer les touristes et les inciter à rester plus longtemps », conclut-il. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
New Brunswick's seven zones are set to move to the yellow phase of recovery on Sunday night at midnight. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, made the announcement at a live-streamed briefing, noting "Good things come to those who wait." However, Russell expressed concern about the virus's spread in Zone 7, which has seen rising case numbers and the confirmation of a B117 variant case, and said she'll be keeping "a close eye" on the situation. "If there is a significant change over the weekend, we will revisit the decision," she said. "We have a lot of tests that we're waiting for results of, but as of now, the Miramichi region will move to the yellow phase along with the rest of the province." She advised New Brunswickers to avoid unnecessary travel in and out of the region, and extended walk-in testing for another day. Testing will continue Saturday at Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St. in Miramichi, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There have been 776 asymptomatic tests conducted at the clinic so far, and all of the results received have been negative. "We are going to be watching very closely over the weekend as more of those test results come in," Russell said. But while Zone 7 is "the biggest concern," she said all zones will be on watch this weekend. "There were some people who were contagious prior to March break who may or may not have travelled out of the zone. So I will be concerned about cases popping up anywhere and everywhere in the next several days." Horizon Health made the wait for testing a little easier Friday when it opened up a wing of the school so that people didn't have to line up in the cold outside. As happened Thursday, hundreds of people took advantage of the walk-in testing. There are currently 33 active cases in New Brunswick.(CBC News) A slightly different shade of yellow The province is poised to move to the yellow phase of recovery at 11:59 Sunday, March 7, but there have been some changes to previous yellow phase rules, Dr. Jennifer Russell said Friday. The previously announced changes include: Residents will be allowed to expand their steady 10 to a steady 15 contacts. The steady 15 may visit venues together, including restaurants. Sports teams will be allowed to play within their leagues across zones, while following their operational plans. Formal indoor gatherings will be allowed with an operational plan, at 50 per cent capacity or less. Formal and informal outdoor gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be allowed with physical distancing. Masks will still have to be worn in indoor spaces but will not be needed outdoors. Mask-wearing in schools will depend on the school's operational plan. Public Transit can operate at full ridership with the continuous use of a mask. Further details about the updated yellow level are available on the government's gnb.ca website. New Brunswick is vaccinating people 85 and over. It will begin vaccinating people 70 to 84 after that. Then, in June, it will turn to the 16-to-25 age group. People in their 60s won’t be eligible for vaccinations until July.(onair/Shutterstock ) All residents could get first vaccine dose by summer Public Health will revisit the province's COVID-19 rollout plan based on new advice from the National Advisory Council on Immunization, Dr. Jennifer Russell said Friday. The council said this week that the second dose can safely be delayed by up to 120 days. Based on this advice, Russell said, Public Health is now considering extending the gap between the first and second dose to 120 days from a previously planned 90 days. A ramped-up vaccine supply will also factor into the revised rollout plan. New Brunswick will receive its first shipment of the recently approved AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which does not require ultra-cold freezers, in March, Russell said. "With this new guidance on delaying the second dose and a steady supply of vaccines, it is my hope that we will be able to provide at least one dose to New Brunswickers before summer begins." Four new cases in two zones Four new cases have been reported in New Brunswick on Friday. The cases break down in this way: Fredericton region, Zone 3: one new case Miramichi region, Zone 7: three new cases All of the cases are self-isolating. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,447. Since Thursday, seven people have recovered for a total of 1,385 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths, and the number of active cases is 33. Three patients are hospitalized and two are in intensive care. A total of 232,236 tests have been conducted, including 929 since Thursday's report. Once always bustling on Saturdays, the Boyce market has had to implement strict capacity restrictions to stay open.(Gary Moore/CBC) COVID restrictions put damper on normally lively market A longtime vendor is raising concerns about the viability of the Fredericton farmers' market as COVID-19 restrictions continue. A once-bustling Saturday tradition, the Boyce market has had to implement strict capacity restrictions to stay open. Vendor Butch Dalton says the market can only accommodate 80 people at a time. "We're just having trouble getting the people in the building," said Dalton. "It's not that there aren't patrons. It's just that we've got a limited capacity now due to COVID." The restrictions have definitely had an effect on the atmosphere, Dalton said. "You walk into the market [and it] seems very empty. Just a little bit tough in that respect." Dalton said that when the market was allowed to reopen last June, every vendor had to have an operational plan approved by WorkSafeNB. But the province asked the market to put in further safeguards in January, such as having Plexiglas separating every market stall. He said it feels like the market is being held to a higher standard than other places that sell food, such as grocery stores. "I don't know if you've been to the Superstore or similar on a Friday afternoon, but I mean, those places are still very much more busy than the market is allowed to be," said Dalton. "That's had a huge impact on the vendors in terms of being able to have the appropriate number of customers so that we can, you know, make an honest living down there." Dalton said the past year has been a challenge for many market vendors and they're hoping the arrival of vaccines will bring an uptick in business. Until then, Dalton said, the market is asking patrons to come in, but don't stay too long. "I know there's a social component to the market … but what we're encouraging people to do is to come buy their goods, you know, carry on," he said. "So we're not creating lineups. So that we're not having long conversations with people." Retired doctor questions vaccine rollout priorities A retired internist in Edmundston is calling on Public Health to reverse its decision to vaccinate people in their teens and early 20s before those in their 60s. New Brunswick is vaccinating people 85 and over. It will begin vaccinating people 70 to 84 after that, and then will turn to the 16-to-25 age group in June. People in their 60s won't be eligible for vaccinations until July. "There was absolutely no logic to it," said Dr. Paul Clavette. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard has said the province chose to vaccinate younger people before those in their 60s because the younger group is more likely to be out spreading the coronavirus. But Clavette said people his age should be getting the COVID-19 vaccine long before people in their teens to early 20s. "There's no place in the world right now where they vaccinate the younger before the older." The Public Health Agency of Canada says most people requiring care in intensive care units are between 60 and 69. The age group also has the third highest deaths at nearly 1,700 deaths -- behind people in their 70s and 80s. Public exposure notifications Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flight: Air Canada flight 8906 on Feb. 20, from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:10 p.m. This week, Public Health issued a list of potential public exposures in the Miramichi region, Zone 7. Individuals who tested positive were in these establishments. Publish Health said it doesn't have the exact times these people were in the businesses on the list, "but it is believed it was for a short duration on these dates." Sobeys on Feb. 14, Feb. 19, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 (273 Pleasant St., Miramichi). Atlantic Superstore on Feb. 14, Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 (408 King George Hwy., Miramichi). Shoppers Drug Mart on Feb. 14, Feb. 17 and Feb. 26 (397 King George Hwy., Miramichi). Dollarama on Feb. 20 (100 Douglastown Blvd., Miramichi). Winners on Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 (2441 King George Hwy., Miramichi). Giant Tiger on Feb. 24 (2441 King George Hwy., Miramichi). Walmart on Feb. 24 (200 Douglastown Blvd., Miramichi). Bulk Barn on Feb. 27 (100-99 Douglastown Blvd., Miramichi). NB Liquor on Feb. 27 (221 Pleasant St., Miramichi). What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: 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.
CALGARY — Drilling company Ensign Energy Services Inc. says oilpatch activity in its Canadian and U.S. operations is staging a slow recovery from a deep slump in 2020. The Calgary-based company says it earned net income of $3.1 million or two cents per share on revenue of $201 million in the last three months of 2020, compared with a net loss of $71.6 million on revenue of $375 million in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected a net loss of $57.9 million on revenue of $197 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Ensign's fourth-quarter revenue slumped 43 per cent in Canada compared with the same period in 2019, by 52 per cent in the U.S. and by 36 per cent in its international arm, which operates in South America, the Middle East and Australia. The driller says it had a net loss attributed to shareholders of $79.3 million for 2020 as a whole on revenue of $936.8 million, compared with a loss of $163 million on revenue of $1.6 billion in 2019. It said it received $12.5 million in 2020 from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program and a $6.9-million wage subsidy from the Australian government. "The outlook for oilfield services has recently and meaningfully improved as oil and natural gas industry fundamentals continue to recover," Ensign said in a news release that notes recent improvements in benchmark world oil prices. "In addition, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines globally in combination with economic stimulus actions have driven oil demand improvements." The outlook echoes that offered by rival Precision Drilling Corp., which last month reported a fourth-quarter loss of $37.5 million as its revenue fell 46 per cent compared with a year earlier. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:ESI, TSX:PD) The Canadian Press
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania on Friday refused to extradite to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, with the Baltic nation's foreign minister saying “hell will freeze over first" before the demand by Belarus' authoritarian leader is granted. Tsikhanouskaya lost to Alexander Lukashenko in an Aug. 9 presidential election. Official results showed Lukashenko to have garnered 80% of the vote while Tsikhanouskaya received 10%. Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters refused to recognize the results, saying the outcome of the vote was manipulated. Unprecedented mass protests demanding Lukashenko's resignation rocked Belarus for several months. Tsikhanouskaya sought refuge in neighbouring Lithuania right after the election amid pressure from Belarusian authorities. On Tuesday, Belarus demanded her extradition on charges that she plotted to stage violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya’s team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that in his country people seeking shelter “can feel safe and no one would be handed over ... because of their fight for democracy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion.” Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The West has condemned the conduct of the election and the brutal crackdown on protesters. The United States and the European Union have said that the election was neither free nor fair and urged Lukashenko to engage in talks with the opposition, a demand he has rejected. International pressure has so far left Lukashenko, who has run the country for 26 years, relying exclusively on assistance from Russia, which has a union agreement with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. The Associated Press
LONDON — A British judge has ordered the Mail on Sunday to publish a front-page statement highlighting the Duchess of Sussex’s legal victory over the newspaper for breaching her copyright by publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father. High Court justice Mark Warby said Friday that publisher Associated Newspapers must also run the statement on the MailOnline website for a week, with a link to his earlier judgment in the case. The former Meghan Markle, 39, sued the publisher for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles that reproduced large portions of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018. The judge ruled last month that the publisher had misused the duchess’s private information and infringed her copyright. He said the duchess “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private,” and concluded the paper’s publication of large chunks of it was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.” Associated Newspapers says it plans to appeal. The judge did not order the publisher to mention the privacy ruling in its statement, saying media coverage of the case had already “given wide publicity to the claimant’s unequivocal success on the privacy claim.” Meghan, a former star of the American TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. They have recorded an interview with Oprah Winfrey that is due to be broadcast on Sunday. The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is setting aside $3 million to accelerate the process of awarding land titles in historically African Nova Scotian communities. Many African Nova Scotians live on land without clear title bequeathed to them by ancestors, limiting their ability to obtain mortgages, access housing grants or to sell their homes. African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said today the money will help resolve claims without requiring residents to go to court. Government officials say the $3 million investment will help speed up a process that began in 2017 to help residents of North and East Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville get clear land titles at no cost. Premier Iain Rankin says after working with African Nova Scotian communities, he learned there are barriers that need to be removed in order to ensure the success of the initiative. To date, the Land Titles Initiative has cleared 194 land parcels from more than 500 applications and more than 850 eligible parcels of land. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Between now and the end of the year, 10 Burk's Falls and area residents will be recognized as local champions as the village embarks on a monthly program that recognizes the kindest people in the region. Recreation coordinator Lacey Stevens says there are people making a difference by doing things for other residents of the village in a COVID environment. In a report to council, Stevens says it's time these people are recognized as Local Champions. Stevens says examples of acts of kindness can be something as simple as helping someone cross a street, dropping by for a window visit to brighten someone's day or clearing a neighbour's driveway. Each month the person who is named a Local Champion will receive a gift bag containing $100 in products that Stevens says will be bought from local merchants and are items people may need during these tough times. Beginning this month, residents can visit the municipal website or Facebook page where they can nominate a Local Champion, explaining what the individual did to deserve recognition. Staff and perhaps councillors will review the nominees and select a worthy recipient each month. Stevens says the program will showcase how fantastic Burk's Falls residents can be and create community pride. The plan is to also create a monthly video that highlights what that month's Local Champion did. The video will be posted online. The total cost for the program is $1,000 and council is expected to fund it through the provincial COVID-19 relief fund the Ontario government created last year. The idea isn't new and municipal Clerk Nicky Kunkel told council she happened to see another community doing just that. “I thought it was a fantastic way to celebrate,” Kunkel told council. Kunkel says the village has been hearing stories like people doing grocery shopping for others who can't get out because of the pandemic. She adds buying the items to fill the gift bags from local merchants also helps the business out a little. Mayor Cathy Still called the initiative “a heck of a good idea”. “We need something to lift our spirits around here. Everyone is getting downtrodden.” Still expects the program to be well received, just like an unrelated initiative was by East Parry Sound Community Support Services (EPSCSS). A few weeks ago EPSCSS created COVID-19 relief kits that vulnerable people could use in a pinch. Still says Burk's Falls was allocated 10 kits and the mayor was one of the village members who delivered them to people the municipality knew would be able to use the items. “They were so appreciative and I had one lady crying,” Still said. “They were very grateful.” Among the items in the Local Champion gift bags will be food, clothing, cleaning supplies and everyday necessities. Residents of Armour and Ryerson are also encouraged to take part in the act of kindness program. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
Council members and staff are encouraging Midland residents to keep trying to register for a COVID-19 shot. The matter came up during a chief administrative officer update being given to council at its meeting Wednesday. "Yesterday, we opened the vaccination clinic at our rec centre," said David Denault, talking about the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's (SMDHU) vaccination clinic at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre. "By all reports, the first day went really well with 228 people being vaccinated. Hopefully, as more vaccines come in, it will continue to happen." He said residents should go online to the SMDHU website to book an appointment. Mayor Stewart Strathearn said he had received a call from a resident who was frustrated by what she had been told. "I had a person phone me yesterday, very frustrated, that their 90-year-old father would have to wait until July 24 to be vaccinated," he said. "They couldn't understand why that was. I tried to explain to them that right now they're ramping up the number of facilities. It will eventually be 16. "They're also ramping up the number of vaccination stations per facility," added Strathearn. "The scaling up will bring that date closer and closer to present day. Was I correct in telling that individual that?" Denault said he couldn't speak to the specific circumstances of the resident, but he could suggest a reason for why the timeline was such. "The province is somewhat limited in the number of vaccines that's available," he said. "As more vaccines become available, I think they're going to open up more spots for those people to get the vaccinations done." Strathearn added that residents should not be deterred from registering even if given a vaccination date far into the future. "I just think it's important for people to understand that there are two factors at work here," he said. "One is the capacity of the facilities and the availability of the vaccines, both of which are projected to scale up fairly quickly and hopefully in unison. Make sure you do register, because now you're in the queue and as the capacity increases, you will move closer and closer to a present date." Coun. Bill Gordon shared an additional resource for residents to use to track their eligibility for the shot. "It's a COVID service from our MPP Jill Dunlop that you can get a text message alerting you that you're eligible to receive the vaccine," he said. The Vaccine Distribution Notification Alert can be access online. Residents can fill out a form on the website to be notified when they're eligible to receive the vaccine. The service is not a substitute for booking a vaccination appointment. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Infectious Diseases Physician, Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, answers your questions and brings us up to speed on everything COVID-19.