Josh Beharry survived a suicide attempt and is using his story to show other men they don’t have to suffer in silence. He now works with a psychiatry professor on the website Heads Up Guys to offer resources for men’s mental health.
Josh Beharry survived a suicide attempt and is using his story to show other men they don’t have to suffer in silence. He now works with a psychiatry professor on the website Heads Up Guys to offer resources for men’s mental health.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
ORANGEVILLE, Ont. — A senior staff member at an Ontario hospital has retired after a relative was vaccinated against COVID-19 at a clinic intended for health-care workers. Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, Ont., has apologized for what it’s calling an isolated incident on Jan. 14. The centre won’t name the individual beyond the title “staff director,” citing privacy reasons. The CEO says the employee's relative was at the hospital for another reason and was vaccinated during a break in scheduled appointments. Kim Delahunt calls it one person's “failure in sound decision-making,” and that health-care leaders must be held to a higher standard. Delahunt says the individual decided to retire after the incident, adding that the hospital is “deeply sorry.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Brent Secondiak is no stranger to jumping into freezing cold water for a good cause. For as many years as it has been running in Medicine Hat, Secondiak and his Medicine Hat Police colleagues have taken part in the Polar Plunge. The event is simple: jump into cold water and raise money for Special Olympics Alberta. The plunge has once again been altered this year due to COVID-19, and it has gone virtual. Those wishing to participate can raise funds digitally through the Special Olympics Alberta website. Then they can participate in a solo plunge, whether it is pouring cold water on their head, safely wading into the river or rolling around in snow. The Plunge will take place on March 13, when Secondiak will take a quick dip in the South Saskatchewan River. “It’s going to be cold, but it will be worth it,” he said. “I’ll have a few people out with me just to make sure everything is safe. “This is a really great cause that I really believe in.” Those raising money can choose to help out local athletes. “There’s a number of fantastic athletes in our city,” said Secondiak. “I do this every year and this is a cause that’s near and dear to me.” Those wishing to contribute can go to http://www.specialolympics.ca/albertapolarplunge Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
With the nadir in civic discourse at last year’s U.S. presidential debates fresh in their minds, high school students from across Ontario are preparing to receive an antidote by competing in a high-minded tournament of ideas. Students on 20 teams from 16 schools are getting acquainted with the ways an “ethics bowl” differs from the debating competitions many of them have previously taken part in, and participants say the exercise holds valuable lessons for those in positions of power, too. In a typical debate, “the way you win isn't necessarily by trying to get to the truth, but rather by rhetorical mastery, or trickery, one-upmanship over your opponent,” Jeffrey Senese, president of the Ontario High School Ethics Bowl, explained to a group of students from Assumption College Catholic High School in Windsor this week. “An ethics bowl is different. We're trying to solve problems, get down to the truth. And so to this end, you can ... concede a point to your opponent and this is a sign of collegiality” that is rewarded in the scoring rubric that judges fill in, said Senese, who also runs outreach for the philosophy department at the University of Toronto. “We’re not looking for mic drop moments,” he added, noting the exercise aims to acknowledge that issues are complicated and nuanced, and frames the topic as the target of attention, not the opponent. In fact, incorporating the other team’s valid arguments into your response to an ethical dilemma is actively encouraged, whereas in many debate formats, “you’d be laughed offstage if you admit your opponent said something that was helpful to furthering the conversation,” Senese said. The university’s Mississauga campus hosted 11 schools at the initial Ontario event last year, but the provincial tournament on Feb. 27 will be virtual. The winning team will move on to a national event, also virtual, which will likely happen in late April. By the end of Senese’s presentation to the assembled Assumption students (including the school’s top tennis player and its reigning stock trade simulation champion), all warmed to the concept once they’d worked out how the competition was being scored. “When you start considering the other side, you become even more open-minded and you realize that not every case is black or white, but it's really focusing on that grey area and where you stand there,” said Gaby Ruggero. Mekhi Quarshie describes last September’s chaotic presidential debate, which saw former president Donald Trump constantly interrupting his challenger Joe Biden and the moderator, as the worst he’d ever seen, but said the style is prevalent elsewhere in society, too. “If one person puts up a very good point, even if we might find some validity within it, we want to just bash it down and contradict it,” Quarshie said. As potential future leaders, the event is “training all of us (that) instead of shooting each other down, to really collaboratively come up with great ideas and strengthen our own ideas,” he said. The idea for ethics bowls emerged out of the United States, and was picked up initially out west in Canada, with the involvement of the universities of Manitoba and British Columbia and B.C.’s Simon Fraser University, among others. “I like the idea of an ethics bowl that puts truth and principles above ideology,” said Assumption College's business teacher Jeremy Bracken, who is coaching the school's ethics bowl team as well as its debate team, finance club and numerous business competitions and public speaking events this year. For Ontario's 2021 competition, judges will include professors and professionals, graduate students and other academics in law, political and social science, history, science and medicine. Teams will be judged on whether they clearly address questions and comments from the moderator and opposing team, stay on topic, consider conflicting viewpoints, and engage with counterpoints raised in respectful dialogue. A moderator will tally the number of judges who give a win to each team, rather than tallying their scores, which are not revealed to participants. The finalists will be asked to wrestle with the real-world question of COVID-19 vaccination, including whether health-care workers should be required to get it or if schools should be allowed to restrict access to only vaccinated students. Other examples of issues to be discussed include free speech versus hate speech, drones as weapons, cultural appropriation, toxic masculinity, the call-out culture, and whether police should be invited to Pride parades. Stephanie Gibson took a team from Toronto’s Humberside Collegiate to last year’s event and will be back this year. The school’s Grade 12 philosophy teacher says the bowl encourages the pursuit of ethical truth and forces students to hold their own ideas to account. It is critical to equip young people with critical thinking skills, Gibson says, especially in the current climate, arguing that her subject should be mandatory starting in elementary school to help students “improve upon the clarity of their thinking, their ability to see through illusion, to try to look at different ideas and entertain them without having to take them in as their own.” Alastair Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
SAINT-LÉONARD-D’ASTON. Depuis le début du mois de septembre 2020, les clients d’Hydro-Québec de Saint-Léonard-d’Aston ont subi cinq interruptions de courant. Variant entre 1 h et 8 h, elles sont toutes reliées au contact de la végétation avec le réseau précise la société d’État. «Compte tenu des circonstances, une visite terrain aura bientôt lieu. Si des travaux sont nécessaires sur notre réseau ou en matière de maîtrise de la végétation, ils seront faits dès que possible», souligne Véronique Trépanier, conseillère pour les relations avec le milieu à Hydro-Québec en précisant que le prochain élagage était prévu en 2022. Il est donc possible qu’il soit devancé, du moins pour les secteurs de végétation problématique qui seront identifiés par les équipes déployées. Reconnaissant que les pannes sont plus fréquente à Saint-Léonard-d’Aston qu’ailleurs dans la MRC Nicolet-Yamaska, la porte-parole tient à assurer que l’objectif d’Hydro-Québec «est bien entendu d’assurer la meilleure qualité de service possible à nos clients». Véronique Trépanier reconnaît également que dans le contexte actuel de la pandémie et des mesures reliées au confinement, «chaque interruption de service peut représenter un défi supplémentaire pour nos clients». C’est dans cette optique qu’elle invite la population à se rendre sur https://pannes.hydroquebec.com/pannes/en-cas-de-panne/ pour y trouver des informations sur l’état des pannes par municipalité et sur des conseils à adopter avant, pendant et après une interruption de service.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
TC Energy Corp will eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs in coming weeks and halt work on the Keystone XL oil pipeline after U.S. President Joe Biden revoked the project's presidential permit, the company said in an email to employees. Biden's decision to cancel the permit is seen as the project's death knell, after more than a decade of legal battles and shifting fortunes based on who held office in the White House. "I believe this will send a concerning signal to infrastructure developers that resonates far beyond our project and will stifle innovation for a practical transition towards sustainable energy," said KXL President Richard Prior in the email, sent on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.
(ANNews) - The First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) Weekly Virtual Town Hall is a podcast that features speakers from different organizations who provide credible and reliable information, resources, and updates about what their organizations are doing to combat COVID-19. Dr. Brenda Restoule, Chief Executive Officer of the First Peoples’ Wellness Circle, appeared on the Jan. 14, podcast and began her talk by saying, “Today I thought I would spend some time talking about the fact that we have been in this pandemic for ten months.” She mentioned how she recently had conversations “about just how much our workforce and our leaders are doing and how tired and exhausting it’s become. Ten months of this – we are concerned about the wellness of our workforce.” As for tiredness and fatigue, Dr. Restoule said, “We know that our workforce has been working so hard. Our leaders have been working so hard. They are doing more, doing it differently, sometimes they’re doing different things than they did before, or they’re just having to do their work in different ways – whether that’s virtually, at a distance.” “And they are forever being asked to think about how to do it differently. And it’s always changing!” “Burnout is what we consider to be a reaction to a prolonged and chronic job stress… it’s characterized by things like exhaustion; starting to maybe hate your job or dread going to work cause there’s so much to do and not enough time; and feeling like you’re not capable or not satisfied with your work. Burnout is a really big thing.” She also mentioned how that fatigue and burnout is not only happening at work, as most people are now working from home. “This is happening to us in our homes. We’re worried about our families, about our parents and other homes, our community members and other friends. So it can also be associated with things in our life.” She then went on to speak about a few different kinds of fatigue that are common. Such as compassion fatigue, which is essentially, “the cost of caring;” pandemic fatigue: which is when people are “less likely to want to follow” restrictions; and COVID fatigue, “the uncertainty and chaos of COVID has really forced us to make additional choices about our lifestyle, our safety in very uncertain times. With more impactful consequences if we don’t make the right decisions.” Some signs of fatigue are restlessness, irritability, lack of motivation, difficulty with concentration, withdrawing from socializing with others, and physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pains. Here are some of Dr. Restoule’s tips for fatigue: Take care of yourself. Practice Mindfulness and meditation. Choose activities that make it easy to follow the public health measures, including creating habits such as applying hand sanitizer or grabbing a mask and appreciating these habits. Focus on things that you can do differently. “Maybe it’s about eating a little bit healthier or getting outside for a walk.” Reach out for support and find ways to make social connections. Take notice of whether you’re experiencing fatigue. Most importantly, practice self-compassion. “It’s okay if you slip up once in a while and you can’t make a decision. These are hard times… Take a COVID break. Turn things off, don’t listen for a little bit, and recognize that you can only do so much.” “I’m going to end by saying: have resiliency. We have teachings about being interconnected like trees and teachings about hibernation from the bear. We are much like the trees - our roots our interconnected to each other, we hold each other up, we protect each other.” Tune in to the FNHMA Town Hall Sessions every Thursday at 1 pm EST on Alberta Native News Facebook page or at ihtoday.ca. Jacob Cardinal is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Alberta Native News. Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Italian police arrested 50 people on Thursday and placed a prominent centrist politician under investigation in a crackdown on the 'Ndrangheta mafia that prosecutors say lays bare its efforts to launder cash and buy influence. The 'Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, the toe of Italy's boot, and has surpassed Sicily's more famous Cosa Nostra to become the most powerful mafia group in the country -- and one of the largest crime gangs in the world. Among those placed under investigation was Lorenzo Cesa, head of the small UDC party, who was in the national spotlight last week after he rejected overtures from Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to join the ruling coalition, which has lost its absolute majority in parliament.
SALISBURY, England — David Halls isn’t a doctor, nurse or ambulance driver, but he wanted to contribute in the fight against COVID-19. So he did what he does best: He sat down on the bench beside at Salisbury Cathedral’s historic organ and began to play. Halls is one of the many people who have turned the 800-year-old cathedral in southwestern England into a mass vaccination centre as the U.K. races to inoculate 50 million people. His contribution to the effort is offering a bit of Bach, Handel and even a little Rodgers & Hammerstein to the public as they shuffle through the nave to get their shots. “At times of crisis, people come together and want to listen to music; at moments of joy, people want to listen to music,’’ Halls, the cathedral’s music director, told The Associated Press. “And so I don’t think it’s any surprise the effect of soothing music on people who probably are feeling quite stressed for various reasons.” Salisbury Cathedral, home to one of the best preserved copies of the Magna Carta and England’s tallest church spire, has been enlisted as a vaccination centre as the government expands its shot program to football stadiums, convention centres and hundreds of local doctors offices to speed delivery. Hundreds of elderly residents have rolled up their sleeves and got their shots in the great nave, which is big enough to gather people together while also keeping them safely apart. It's in stark contrast to 1627, when church leaders locked the cathedral gates to keep townspeople out as plague swept through Salisbury. Canon Nicholas Papadopulos, dean of the cathedral, says he reflected on that episode with “visceral discomfort” last year when he celebrated the building's 800th anniversary. Now, it's time for a new chapter. “If these stones could speak, they would talk about moments of incredible joy and moments of incredible sadness,” Halls said. “It feels thoroughly appropriate that the cathedral is playing its part in trying to turn things around and to be part of the vaccinations ... To be part of that is such a privilege, such an honour.” The U.K. plans to offer a first dose of vaccine to more than 15 million people by mid-February as it targets the country’s oldest and most vulnerable residents in the program's first phase. Progressively younger groups of people will follow suit, with the government planning to reach everyone over 18 by September. The need is urgent. Britain’s healthcare system is staggering as doctors and nurses battle a more contagious variant of COVID-19. While new infections appear to have peaked, the number of people hospitalized is still rising. More than 39,000 patients are being treated in U.K. hospitals, 80% more than during the first peak of the pandemic last April. Britain has reported 93,463 coronavirus-related deaths, more than any other country in Europe and the fifth-highest toll worldwide. The effort at the cathedral is a community one, involving many. Organists took turns of two hours playing the massive "Father Willis'' — making sure to sanitize in between. John Challenger, 32, Salisbury’s assistant director of music, said many getting the shots are older people who are isolated and haven’t been able to hear live music for months. In addition to playing soothing music, Challenger used his time at the organ to entertain and spark memories by playing songs like Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” “And in the more frivolous moments I played ‘I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside,’ because, you know, we all want to go on holiday and haven’t been able to go where we want,” he said. Among those listening Wednesday was Sylvia Parkin, 82, who came with her husband, David, 86. They have had to stay home a lot for the past 10 months, which has been no fun. “It’s a trip out today, isn’t it?? she said cheerfully. ”It’s a wonderful place to have an injection.? And while it may be a long way up to the organ loft, people have managed to get their requests in. Halls played Handel’s “Largo” and Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for an 80-year-old neighbour who had sent an email asking for his favourites to be played precisely at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, just as the needle was going in. As Halls finished, he glanced at the screen that shows the organist what’s happening on the floor below and saw his neighbour frantically waving — windshield wiper style — and offering his thanks. “He emailed me later and he said that was the best part of his entire life other than his wedding day,” Halls said. “I think to come second to that is quite good, actually.” ____ Kearney contributed from Salisbury, England. __ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemichttps://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Danica Kirka And Jo Kearney, The Associated Press
Drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday its COVID-19 antibody drug can prevent illness in residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care locations. It's the first major study to show such a treatment may prevent disease. Residents and staff who got the drug had up to a 57% lower risk of getting COVID-19 compared to others at the same facility who got a placebo, the drugmaker said. Among nursing home residents only, the risk was reduced by up to 80%. The study involved more than 1,000 residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care locations. The research was conducted with the National Institutes of Health. Results were released in a press release and the company said it would publish results in a journal soon. The Food and Drug Administration in November allowed emergency use of Lilly antibody drug as a treatment for mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization. It’s a one-time treatment given through an IV. Lilly said it will seek expansion of that authorization to include using the drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. Nursing homes and other long-term care locations have been hard hit by the pandemic. In the United States, they account for less than 1% of the population, but nearly 40% of deaths from COVID-19. These long-term care locations have been given priority to vaccinate residents and staff with recently authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The Associated Press
The chief of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation says that the territory's vulnerable people have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and he is optimistic the rest of the community will receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Chief Ted Williams said the First Nation has worked closely with the local health unit to prioritize the vaccine rollout. “Our long-term-care staff and residents … have been inoculated already because they are highly vulnerable. We are waiting patiently for our director of health and social services, who sits with the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit, as plans are made to receive the vaccine here. But that’s going to be some time off,” he said. The chief said that vulnerable residents received their first of two shots last week. He added that he has not heard a lot of frustration or impatience expressed by other community members, as they wait for the vaccine to be made available across the territory. “There is a pecking order as they have indicated. We are patient with that. We know that (health officials) are out there, doing the very best that they can,” Williams said. “Our health director is working very closely with them. We have input and we have instant information.” Rama First Nation has had five COVID cases in total since the pandemic began, none in more than two months, the chief said. He added that all five residents have since recovered. So far, the new provincial restrictions are not causing any new undue stress or hardship on his members, Williams said. “When they talk about the hours of business, we have had that in place for several months. In that regard we are ahead of them. We communicate frequently with our own community. There are provincial guidelines that we follow but there are also guidelines imposed by the leadership here and everyone in our community is co-operating very well,” the chief said. “I’m very thankful that members of our community are adhering to the call to say safe, wear your mask, keep social distancing and stay away from anyone who is not a part of your household.” Williams said that he also hasn’t heard a lot of talk about some Indigenous people being reluctant to get the vaccine, at least in part, because of the troubling history of their treatment by the health care system. “We understand the big picture. Of course there is a time and a place in which we have discussion and dialogue to assist each other in overcoming the challenges that are placed on Indigenous communities. The way you get around that is to have good dialogue with your neighbours and your (health care) partners,” the chief said. “We are all in this together. My focus right now has to be on COVID and working hard with my colleagues on council, with my staff and with my community. I can’t be worried about anything other than that.” Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said he understands the mistrust some First Nations people have toward the health-care system, adding no one will be forced to take the vaccine. “I sympathize with their concerns and I acknowledge the history,” Gardner said. “I think it is really important that we work with leadership in the Indigenous community about what we wish to do and why. They can be communicators on this. Others in the community, including elders, can be leaders on this. But in the end, it is a personal decision.” John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
MADRID — A regional election in Catalonia, initially set for next month, remains up in the air after a court took a preliminary decision Thursday against a 3-month delay ordered by the northeastern Spanish region’s government due to the surge of COVID-19. The Catalonia High Court said that, pending a final decision on the matter before Feb. 8, the election should preventively be kept for Feb. 14 instead of pushing it back to May 30. The court said arguments for its initial decision would be published Friday. The timing leaves little choice to half a dozen political parties divided along the lines of left and right, but also between support or opposition for the region's independence, other than to begin preparations for the vote. The regional Catalan government, in the hands of a separatist coalition, had argued that a delay was needed as the peak of hospital admissions in the current surge in infections would be reached just days before the planned election date. All political parties in the regional vote had agreed to the postponement except for the regional Socialists, whose candidate has the best chances of winning the vote in mid-February according to a Thursday poll by CIS, Spain’s official polling institute. The leading candidate is Salvador Illa, currently serving as the country’s health minister and in charge of the pandemic response. His candidacy was announced in late December. Catalonia's Socialist Party, which is the regional chapter of the main partner in the national ruling centre-left coalition, has not been in power in Catalonia since 2006. The CIS poll predicted the Socialists could win up to 35 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, above the possible 33 lawmakers projected for the Republican Left pro-independence party. Illa was the preferred choice as regional chief for 22% of those quizzed, twice the popularity of his nearest competitor, Laura Borràs, of the pro-independence Together for Catalonia party, which is currently in power with the Republican Left. The centre quizzed 4,106 people by telephone between Jan. 2 and Jan-15. The poll has a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points. As elsewhere in Spain, virus contagion has surged sharply in recent weeks in the powerful northeastern region, whose capital is Barcelona. With 2,844 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday — 621 of them in intensive care — regional authorities expect ICUs to reach a maximum expanded capacity of 900 beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the coming weeks. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region’s 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic in the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. Aritz Parra And CiaráN Giles, The Associated Press
Nova Scotians can, once again, file access-to-information requests online. The new freedom of information and protection of privacy portal was launched Thursday, according to a news release issued by Service Nova Scotia, almost three years after the McNeil government pulled the plug on the system when it allowed a teenager to improperly access more than 7,000 documents. The provincial government originally called it a security breach and had police investigate the 19-year-old man who downloaded the material. Police later decided there were no grounds to lay a charge of unauthorized use of a computer against the teen. A 2019 investigation by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nova Scotia concluded the provincial government was responsible for a "serious failure of due diligence" for setting up a system that could be accessed using a simple workaround technique. "It is astounding," then-commissioner Catherine Tully said of the breaches. "And it took the combination of quite a few people doing a poor job for this to happen." The teenager was able to access documents not intended for public release by modifying the online address for links that were in the public domain. The material included sensitive information such as birth dates, social insurance numbers, addresses and government-services client information, all of which which should have been protected from release. A report, filed two years ago by Nova Scotia Auditor General Michael Pickup, concluded the government failed to adequately assess and manage the "vulnerabilities" of the system. "The Department of Internal Services did not ensure that the website was secure before using it," Pickup said at the time. The provincial government has been working ever since to restore the system and ensure the proper safeguards were in place to protect personal information before the new site launched. "Part of that was trying to figure out the best way to relaunch," Patricia Arab, minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, told reporters following a cabinet meeting on Thursday. "There were a number of things that we discussed to find what was going to be the most secure option that would also give the most appropriate access to our FOI requests." Ultimately, the government settled on splitting the operation between the portal for making applications and the disclosure portion that makes information publicly available through the open data portal. The former work is being handled by AINS Inc., with the latter work going to Socrata, which also operates the government's open data website. The new portal is being operated on a five-year contract worth $760,000, including a one-time implementation cost of $197,000. For comparison, the previous portal had an annual operating cost of about $244,000. "We really wanted to make sure that we did as many security testings as we could, that we came up with the right solutions and that we took seriously the two reports that were given to us following the breach," Arab said. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will not review a lower-court ruling that was a victory for a conservation officer who refused to euthanize two bear cubs.Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015 after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding a home near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.Casavant's union filed a grievance on his behalf under its collective agreement, but he reached a settlement with his employer before arbitration was completed.Casavant later argued in court that disciplinary actions should have taken place in accordance with British Columbia's Police Act, given the nature of his employment as a special provincial constable.The B.C. Court of Appeal accepted this view last June and nixed Casavant's firing, prompting the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union to seek a hearing in the Supreme Court.The union appealed to the high court to gain clarity on the role of collective agreements when members with special constable status face discipline.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ontario reported another 2,632 cases of COVID-19 and 46 more deaths of people with the illness on Thursday. According to the Ministry of Health, the total case count in today's provincial update included 102 infections in Toronto that were previously unreported due to a technical issue. The new cases include 897 in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region, 245 in York Region, 162 in Ottawa and 118 in Waterloo Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Windsor-Essex: 92 Durham Region: 92 Niagara Region: 90 Middlesex-London: 76 Simcoe Muskoka: 70 Hamilton: 69 Halton Region: 52 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 49 Lambton: 45 Eastern Ontario: 32 Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge: 31 Southwestern: 19 Huron-Perth: 18 Brant County: 13 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) The five public health units that currently have the most new cases per capita are: Windsor Essex: 289 new cases weekly per 100,000 people Lambton: 250 new cases weekly per 100,000 people Peel Region: 236 new cases weekly per 100,000 people Niagara Region: 220 new cases weekly per 100,000 people Toronto: 182 new cases weekly per 100,000 people The cases come as Ontario's network of labs processed 70,256 test samples for the virus, notably more than on each of the last four days. The labs reported a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. The seven-day average of daily cases — which helps clarify long-term trends in the data — fell to 2,751, marking 10 straight days of decreases in that figure. Furthermore, another 2,990 infections were marked resolved in Thursday's report. There are currently some 26,063 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, a number that has been trending steadily downward since its peak on Jan. 11. Epidemiologists told CBC News that as Ontario nears four complete weeks under "lockdown" conditions, the measures seem to be working. They cautioned, however, the province is still far from ready for a return to normalcy. To that end, the provincial government released a video this morning that features Premier Doug Ford telling residents to "stay at home" in 21 languages. Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Health's figures, there were 1,533 people in hospitals with COVID-19, 65 fewer than the day before. Of those, 388 were being treated in intensive care and 293 required a ventilator a breathe, both down slightly as well from the day before. Ontario's death toll linked to the illness climbed to 5,614. Another 15,889 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered yesterday, the ministry said, bringing the total number of shots given out to 253,817. Thus far, 40,225 people in Ontario have received both doses of one of two vaccines currently approved by Health Canada. Moreover, the province said this morning it would begin including information on the prevalence of variants of SARS- CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in its weekly epidemiological reports. The reports are typically published online every Thursday afternoon. Yesterday, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit said that preliminary swabs from Roberta Place, a Barrie long-term care home, indicated "a very high probability" that six of the cases in the facility were due to a variant. Conclusive results are expected in the coming days. The health unit said 122 residents have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19 have died with the illness. Sixty-nine staff members have also tested positive for the virus. LISTEN | Medical officer of health for Simcoe-Muskoka discusses outbreak at Roberta Place:
BETHEL, Alaska — A fire in an Alaska village burned a plant that served as the community's only source of clean, running water, leaving residents waiting for a delivery of water by plane. Alaska State Troopers said the fire at the water plant in Tuluksak burned from about noon until 4:30 p.m. last Saturday, KYUK-AM reported. Residents of the Alaska Native community northeast of Bethel hauled water from the Tuluksak River with snowmachines while attempting to douse the flames that eventually destroyed the plant. “When I looked out the window, my husband and a few other men were trying to get into the water plant and washeteria. They had to break the door, but they were a little too late," said Tribal Council Secretary Kristy Napoka, who lives next door and works at the plant. Napoka’s husband unsuccessfully attempted to use a hose to stop the blaze before her family brought water from the river, she said. "They started splashing water into the fire, but it didn’t do any good. It just kept getting bigger and worse,” Napoka said. Villagers who did not have potable water saved in their home tanks had the option of hauling water from the nearby Kuskokwim River or awaiting a shipment of bottled water. Cases of donated bottled water were delayed in Bethel because of airport runway closures and thin river ice. Tuluksak’s runway was unusable for some time because of poor weather conditions. The person who usually plows the runway was in Anchorage being treated for COVID-19. Napoka said her family had 20 gallons (76 litres) of drinkable water left to share between nine household members. They used water from the Tuluksak River for dishes and cleaning, but were not planning to drink it, she said. Residents have previously made complaints to the state Legislature about sediment making Tuluksak River water unsafe to drink. The Associated Press
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s government on Thursday ordered the closure of schools for two weeks amid a surge in COVID-19 infections that the prime minister blamed on the rise of a more contagious variant. “The risk of this virus spreading through society has increased,” Prime Minister António Costa told a news conference. “We have seen that, in the space of a week, the variant has spread significantly.” The proportion of COVID-19 cases attributed to the variant, which was first identified in southeast England, has jumped from 8% last week to 20% this week and may reach 60% in coming weeks, Costa said. “Faced with this new reality, a new set of measures is required,” he said. Schools will be closed starting Friday. Also Thursday, Catholic church authorities in Portugal announced that services won’t be held from Saturday and until further notice due to the “extreme seriousness” of the pandemic. Portugal has the highest seven-day average rate in the world of new cases per 100,000 population and the second-highest rate of new deaths after the United Kingdom, according to data collated through Wednesday by Johns Hopkins University. The country of 10.3 million has been in lockdown since last week but cases continue to climb sharply, setting almost daily records and threatening to overwhelm hospitals. Health authorities reported Thursday new highs for infected people in hospital, with 5,630, and in intensive care, with 702. The 221 deaths attributed to COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours was also a record. The government had been reluctant to close schools, despite pressure from teachers and parents. It argued that if schools closed some children wouldn’t get proper meals. Others have no computer, no access to the Internet, and don’t have their own room at home and get no help with their studies. Costa said school canteens would remain open for needy children, while parents with children under the age of 12 can miss work to care for them and will receive 66% of their pay from the government. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
Researchers have said around 52,000 deaths in Europe could be prevented each year if emissions are cut to WHO guidelines. View on euronews
A full-throated, supremely confident Lady Gaga belted out the national anthem at President Joe Biden's inauguration in a very Gaga way — with flamboyance, fashion and passion. The Grammy winner wore a huge dove-shaped brooch and an impressively billowing red sculpted skirt as she sang into a golden microphone, delivering an emotional and powerful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” She was followed at Wednesday's ceremony by Jennifer Lopez, dressed all in white, who threw a line of Spanish into her medley of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful" — a pointed nod to multiculturalism, just two weeks after white supremacists and other violent rioters stormed the Capitol in an effort to undermine the peaceful transfer of power. And country star Garth Brooks, doffing his black cowboy hat, sang a soulful a capella rendition of “Amazing Grace,” his eyes closed for much of the song. He asked the audience to sing a verse with him: “Not just the people here, but the people at home, to work as one united.” The three superstars were among a slew of glittery celebrities descending on Washington — virtually or in person — to welcome the new administration of Biden and Kamala Harris, a duo popular in Hollywood, where former President Donald Trump was decidedly not. While stars mostly eschewed Trump's inauguration four years ago, the A-list was back for Biden. Brooks was careful to call his decision to perform on Wednesday non-political, and in the spirit of unity. He had performed during the inaugural celebration for Obama in 2009, but turned down a chance to perform for Trump in 2017, citing a scheduling conflict. Gaga went on Twitter later to explain that the giant brooch accompanying her Schiaparelli haute couture outfit was “a dove carrying an olive branch. May we all make peace with each other.” Lopez was in all-white Chanel, and Brooks kept it real in jeans, an open-collared black shirt and blazer. While the podium was full of high-wattage star power, there was little question that a new star had also emerged: 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, whose poise and urgency as she recited “The Hill We Climb” enthralled a global audience. None other than Bruce Springsteen launched the evening's entertainment: “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute, multi-network broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks that took the place of the usual official inaugural balls, with Biden and Harris watching along and giving brief remarks. Alone with his guitar, The Boss sang his “Land of Hope and Dreams” in front of the Lincoln Memorial. “I will provide for you, and I’ll stand by your side," he sang. "You’ll need a good companion, for this part of the ride.” Hanks, also at the Lincoln Memorial, spoke of “deep divisions and a troubling rancour in our land” over the past few years. "But tonight we ponder the United States of America, the practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of our Constitution, the hope and dreams we all share for a more perfect union,” he said. Jon Bon Jovi contributed a rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” from Miami, and Ant Clemons and Justin Timberlake performed “Better Days” from Memphis. John Legend sang “Feeling Good” in Washington; Foo Fighters sang “Times Like These” in honour of teachers, and Demi Lovato performed “Lovely Day” along with doctors and nurses in Los Angeles. A starry collection of Broadway's most prominent musical actors collaborated on a medley of “Seasons of Love” from the show “Rent” and “Let the Sunshine In” from “Hair,” among them Christopher Jackson, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Laura Benanti, Betty Buckley, Leslie Uggams and Javier Muñoz. “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda recited from “The Cure at Troy” by Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Reciting excerpts of notable past inaugural addresses were basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, labour leader Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in MLB history. Peppering musical performances among stories of ordinary Americans and their contributions, the show included tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsay, the first in New York to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The proceedings ended with a lavish fireworks show in the Washington night sky, watched by Biden (at the White House) and Harris (at the Lincoln Memorial) and their families to — what else? — “Firework,” performed by Katy Perry. The history of celebrities performing at inaugurations dates back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third inauguration in 1941, when a gala celebration the evening before saw performances from Irving Berlin, Mickey Rooney and Charlie Chaplin, says Lina Mann of the White House Historical Association. “Chaplin performed his monologue from ‘The Great Dictator,’” Mann notes. The celebrity component only increased over time, and one of the starriest inaugurations was that of John F. Kennedy in 1961. That celebration, hosted by Frank Sinatra, drew Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Laurence Olivier, Sidney Poitier and other celebrities. Fast forward to the first Obama inauguration in 2009, where Aretha Franklin sang “My Country, 'Tis of Thee” at the swearing-in, and the new president and his wife, Michelle, were serenaded by Beyoncé singing “At Last” at an inaugural ball. ___ AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report from Los Angeles. ___ For complete coverage of the inauguration, please visit: https://apnews.com/hub/biden-inauguration Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Allan Legere plotted a fresh escape the year he was convicted of a series of brutal killings that had created panic in Miramichi, according to a written decision denying him parole. The eight-page decision, which follows a Jan. 13 parole board hearing, also said that in May 2019, a weapon was found inside the television in his cell at the maximum security Edmonton Institution. The written decision reiterates the board's firm refusal of any form of parole for the 72-year-old inmate, noting Legere's failure to accept responsibility for his violence and his suggestion victims' families forgive him and "move on." The decision also contains new details of an escape attempt not widely known in the past. The convicted murderer, rapist and arsonist famously escaped from custody on May 3, 1989, while serving a life sentence for the murder of store owner John He then terrorized the Miramichi area as he carried out four more brutal murders, several arsons and a sexual assault before being recaptured on Nov. 24, 1989.Glendenning during a 1986 robbery. Yet, even when he was imprisoned at the maximum security Atlantic Institution in Renous following his 1991 conviction, Legere appeared to keep plotting how he could get away. "According to file information, you have a history of attempting to, and being successful in, escaping from custody," the decision read. "In 1987 you attempted to escape twice, in 1989 you did escape, and in 1991 you attempted once again to escape. "In regards to the 1991 attempt, file information relays that your plan to escape custody included an intention of taking a female staff hostage." Legere was convicted of the murders on Nov. 3, 1991 after DNA evidence confirmed his presence at the murder scenes. John Harris, a former Correctional Service Canada manager at the Atlantic Institution, said during a telephone interview that he recalled the 1991 escape attempt, which intelligence officers at the facility documented. He said it fit a pattern of past behaviour. "When that information [of the escape plan] started to come up, and it started to get a little intense, that's when the decision was made to have him transferred to the super maximum unit [near Montreal]," Harris recalled. Plan 'kept under wraps' The 77-year-old retired correctional officer said Legere's plan was "kept under wraps but it was put on the file to justify the transfer." "We had to caution some of the female staff members.... We weren't sure what woman it was, but we had an indication it was a female correctional officer." During his parole hearing last week, Legere didn't accept responsibility for the beating deaths, saying others committed them, and he blamed alcohol for his actions in tying up and sexually assaulting a woman. He said several times he didn't expect parole but would like a chance to pursue programs for his rehabilitation at a medium security prison. More recently, in May 2019, a weapon was found in your television during an X-ray. - Parole Board of Canada decision Harris urges the board and the federal correctional service to remain vigilant, as he said he believes that Legere will still plan an escape, despite his denials of such an intention during the hearing. "It won't be an escape as we think of it," Harris said. "He's planning to get to minimum security, where you can just walk away." During his hearing, Legere made a number of remarks critical of Rick MacLean, the former editor of the Miramichi Leader who documented the murderer's violence in the weekly newspaper and in two books he co-wrote. MacLean said in an interview that he finds it frightening to imagine what Legere might have done had he managed to escape again in 1991. "It would have been horrifying for me and my family," he said. The parole board's decision, released Monday night, said that after his 2015 transfer to Western Canada, Legere's behaviour continued to be "problematic," though it said his violence decreased and he managed at times to successfully participate in institutional employment programs. Legere, however, continued to develop fixations on female staff members and to behave inappropriately around them, the report said. "More recently, in May 2019, a weapon was found in your television during an X-ray. The board takes note that you have hidden contraband in your television in the past, and it is concerning that this behaviour has persisted over time." Harris said this also fits a pattern of past practice of Legere using the television for improper purposes. In 1989, guards failed to detect a television antenna Legere had hidden in his rectum, and he used it during his escape after being taken out of the prison for a medical appointment.