Sources: NBA commissioner Adam Silver says 'there will be a series of bad options' regarding continuation of season

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday that the focus is on restarting the season but that “there will be a series of bad options” in deciding how that will be done, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Silver had a conference call Friday with National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, NBPA president Chris Paul and players to discuss the league’s ongoing strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Silver doesn’t have to make a decision on whether to resume the season until some point in June, sources said, but the commissioner said there would likely be no fans present for games and that many cities have contacted him about hosting the resumed season.

The NBA would be facing a tremendous economic blow because Silver said attendance makes up 40 percent of the league’s revenue. 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently stated that he doesn’t see fans going back to live sporting events until a vaccine is readily available to the public. Silver said he found those remarks disheartening, sources said, because a vaccine is likely more than a year away from production. 

Silver said it’s less risky to restart the season in a single location or perhaps two, sources said, and that he’s not ruling out Toronto as a possible site, although the preference is to keep the games in the U.S. Silver also said Orlando and Las Vegas are options if the season were to continue, with each respectively serving as Eastern and Western Conference sites, sources said.

Silver said the goal is to play full seven-game series in the playoffs. He said tough decisions will need to be made because teams on the postseason bubble might not get a chance to clinch a spot if the league’s hiatus continues much longer.

The NBA season was suspended March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Silver said Friday that Gobert wasn’t the first NBA player to be tested for the coronavirus, but that he was the first to test positive, sources said.

Paul expressed concern on behalf of players that some organizations could be pressuring players to work out at team facilities, sources said. Silver reiterated that it’s optional and advised Paul to follow up with the league if that conduct persists.

Should the season get the green light to return, Silver said he believes three to six weeks of training camp would be required before returning to competition. 

More from Yahoo Sports:

  • 'Enough is enough': Calgary businesses struggle, some close for good
    Business
    CBC

    'Enough is enough': Calgary businesses struggle, some close for good

    It's been her life for decades, and like so many retailers, 2020 has been an epic struggle.Susan Copley tears up before she explains why she's decided to close her business for good. She wipes away the tears and apologizes for getting emotional.Copley, who started as an employee at Galleria Inglewood 39 years ago, says the decision to close was difficult, but at the same time it was easy. "It just comes to the point where you have to say 'enough is enough,'" said Copley.Copley started working at the gallery in 1982 when it was still located in Kensington. She and her husband purchased the business in 2005 and relocated to Inglewood. Galleria Inglewood is essentially a consignment store for artists selling pottery, paintings, wood carvings, quilts, jewlery and thousands of other items.In September, Copley will close the doors for good. Business started to slow five years ago and it hasn't recovered. She thought COVID-19 would be the ultimate blow, but part of the showroom was flooded after a devastating storm rolled through Calgary on June 13."I felt that COVID was the final straw and then Mother Nature said 'no, I got one more for you.'"Retailers across the province have been hit hard this year. Sales have plunged by a staggering $2 billion since March —that's roughly 30 per cent. While sales at some businesses are slowly picking up as the economy reopens, it's going to be a long road filled with uncertainty.Will customers return? How long will the recovery take? If e-commerce is the future, can businesses pivot quickly enough to survive? What programs or policies will help? Will empty storefronts find new tenants?The Business Council of Alberta says there is too much uncertainty to answer those questions."I think that it's inevitable that we'll see some pretty significant losses over the next few months," said Mike Holden, the council's chief economist and vice-president of policy.He recently returned to his downtown office and saw the pandemic's collateral damage on full display nearby."A lot of the smaller shops and stores and storefronts are all shut down and closed. It's not a pretty sight. It's depressing to walk around," he said."The real issue here, too, is that we don't know what the final impact of all of this is going to be."It's the same situation along Calgary's 17th Avenue S.W. The retail and restaurant strip has numerous storefronts that have been emptied out and the windows papered over. It's a mix of local and national chain stores that have closed.The Retail Council of Canada predicts at least 15 per cent of bricks-and-mortar stores will not survive the pandemic, but the number in Alberta could actually be higher."Alberta retailers and restaurants face a much greater challenge," said Diane Brisebois, the council's president and chief executive officer. She says retailers in Alberta were already hurting because of the recession and declining oil prices. Brisebois says it's going to be very difficult for retailers with either a weak or non-existent e-commerce presence to survive."Unless, obviously, things change very quickly for the better," she said.She says businesses must quickly develop a seamless shopping experience, through either in-store, online or both."That means that you have to have a very robust website with good assortment that's user friendly, and you need to have a new exciting store. Stores will now be very experiential."The Retail Council of Canada is also calling on the federal government to improve its rent relief program for small businesses affected by the pandemic. She says the current program (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance) doesn't work because it relies on landlords to apply for a program that sees their rent slashed by 25 per cent. She says it needs to be changed so retailers can benefit."If that does not happen very quickly, we believe that the number of bankruptcies will increase substantially over the next three to six months."The Business Council of Alberta says it's a factor that's hurting retailers."I think that it's for that reason that we're not seeing as many landlords take up this program as you might expect," said Holden.Susan Copley knows that all too well. She doesn't believe her landlord has applied for the program that could have reduced her rent by 75 per cent. "So rent is still due. But if you've been closed for three months, I don't know where they expect the money to come from," she said.It's not certain whether the rent relief program could have staved off her decision to close, but it didn't help.She's going to turn 70 this year and she says she no longer has the passion or drive to continue — even as an online only retailer."People like to pick up a mug, they like to feel a quilt, they like to see things and, you know, stand back and look at them and handle them. And you can't do that on Amazon."  The store features work from 750 artists from across Canada, and Copley says it's going to be difficult to see those business relationships come to an end."I have a personal relationship with every single person that supplies this store. I know them all by name. I've known them for years. And I'm going to miss them," Copley said while holding back tears.One of those artists is Marilyn Settles, who's been a potter in Calgary for 45 years. Her work is sold at two locations in Calgary, including Galleria Inglewood. She's devastated the store will soon close and she'll lose one of her sales venues."It's crushing, it's gut-wrenching," she said. "The store has allowed me to have my own home, raise two children and educate them well, and I don't know what I would have done without it," said Settles.Copley says she has started to mark down some of the pieces in her vast collection and will stay open for a few more months before she closes the store for good in September.Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at bryan.labby@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.

  • Trump niece describes 'malignantly dysfunctional family' in new book
    Politics
    Reuters

    Trump niece describes 'malignantly dysfunctional family' in new book

    In a new book, a niece of President Donald Trump applies her training in psychology to conclude that the president likely suffers from narcissism and other clinical disorders - and was boosted to success by a father who fueled those traits. In "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," Mary Trump writes of a "malignantly dysfunctional family" dominated by a patriarch, Fred Trump, who showed little interest in his five children other than grooming an heir for his real-estate business. Ultimately, he settled on Donald, she wrote, deciding that his second son's "arrogance and bullying" would come in handy at the office, and encouraged it.

  • Alberta physicians express alarm over proposed health-care bill
    Health
    CBC

    Alberta physicians express alarm over proposed health-care bill

    Alberta doctors are speaking out against a new health-care bill introduced by the provincial government.Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, proposes to cut approval times for private surgical facilities, allow the ministry to contract directly with doctors and allow private companies to take over the administrative functions of physician clinics. The changes affecting physicians' pay come after the government terminated the master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association in February.At the time, the health minister said ending the agreement was a necessary move because the province was at an impasse with doctors over how to reduce costs and improve service in the $20.6-billion health system. If passed, Bill 30 would allow doctors who so desire to move away from the fee-for-service model, where they bill for each patient visit, and instead sign contracts and be paid salaries.In a letter to members dated July 7, AMA president Dr. Christine Molnar said it's concerning the association was not consulted about Bill 30, but there are some positive aspects among its many provisions."Most notable is the increased opportunity for Albertans to participate in their health-care system. There is an increased focus on patient-centred care," she said in the letter.Molnar said the AMA's board of directors would hold a special meeting Wednesday evening to go over the legislation."We will also consider the findings of last week's member survey, which points to clear distress in the profession," she said. Dr. Christopher Ewing, an Edmonton pediatrician,  says he has been scouring Bill 30 and is worried about what it contains."First reaction from me is that this is the start of further privatization of the health-care system, which we've been advocating against for many months now," he said.The bill would make it easier for private surgery facilities to set up shop as well as allow the ministry to contract directly with private companies to run medical clinics.Dr. Kerri Johannson, a lung specialist with the University of Calgary, says the bill seems to be the UCP's tool for privatizing health-care services in Alberta."And what we as the medical and health-care community are concerned about is that this will compromise the care of patients in Alberta," she said. "Anytime you bring privatized services in, it places the emphasis on profit rather than patient care."Johannson says privatization of health care will lead to multiple tiers in the quality of care available to patients."This is not a pathway that we as Canadians value or one that we want to go down," she said.Lorian Hardcastle, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary who specializes in health law and policy, also says the shift toward increasing private delivery options is concerning. "Wait times in the public system can tend to get longer because, of course, there's a finite number of doctors and a finite number of hours that they have in a day," she said."The concern is that these patients with less complex medical needs will be seen quickly in private facilities. Whereas, others will end up waiting longer in the public system."The bill also proposes to make it easier for physicians to negotiate individual contracts — called ARPs — directly with the government.These agreements move doctors away from fee for service to a salary model. But Bill 30 would see physicians negotiate without the Alberta Medical Association.Johannson says the problem is the provincial government lost the trust of doctors when it tore up their agreement with the AMA."Nobody is going to sign that directly with the UCP government at this point without going through the Alberta Medical Association, because we don't trust them."Johannson and others are calling on the province to resume negotiations with the AMA. Calgary family physician Dr. Brendan Vaughan also says trust has been broken between physicians and the provincial government. And he says this bill fails to address that."The way that they've proceeded to terminate the master agreement really failed to even address the fact that physicians are quite concerned about that, and then ultimately have made signing a contract directly with the government — bypassing the AMA — easier, when in fact that is precisely the thing that physicians are less confident than ever to do," he said.

  • Canada handled the coronavirus outbreak better than United States, PM Trudeau says
    News
    Reuters

    Canada handled the coronavirus outbreak better than United States, PM Trudeau says

    Canada handled the novel coronavirus outbreak better than many of its allies, including the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, in a rare public comment on the faltering U.S. effort. Canada - with a population one-tenth the size of the United States - has so far recorded 8,711 deaths and 106,167 cases and Trudeau said the situation was stabilizing, although some hot spots remained. In contrast, the United States has recorded more than 3 million cases and 131,336 deaths.

  • Windsor Assembly Plant workers coming to terms with possible lay off
    Business
    CBC

    Windsor Assembly Plant workers coming to terms with possible lay off

    Three assembly line workers at Fiat Chrysler's Automobile's Windsor Assembly Plant said they've accepted they might be unemployed starting next week following the elimination of the third shift.The shift, which has been in place since 1993, was originally expected to end last year, but has been extended until July 13. Windsor Assembly Plant worker Jared Ferencik said the situation has been frustrating, especially since the company hasn't told the employees who exactly will be laid off."At this point, I just want it over. It's been so dragged out," he said. "All these extensions are just more annoying than anything because you don't get to move on with your life."He said he started looking for jobs as soon as he received the first notice of the elimination of the third shift, but COVID-19 has made it difficult."I'm basically just going to be unemployed for the next however long," he said.Ferencik said he does, however, feel fortunate that he's single and doesn't have a family he needs to support, unlike Nathan Prindler, who is a father of two young children.Prindler was hired in 2018 and said being one of the more recent hires, he's certain that he will be laid off."I was planning on buying a house this year and now a lot of things are going to have to come to a halt while we figure out how to  move forward from this," he said."I think I've just had to come to grips with it. You know, it's been a year on coming now. As it draws closer, though, you know it weighs a little bit more emotionally."Prindler said he's looking into going back to school and learning a new trade, but hopes the company will bring him back if they do let him go. "I believe long term that things are going to work out," he said.Carisa Bondy started working at the Windsor Assembly Plant in 2016 and was told she might just make the cutoff of keeping her job."I kind of fit in the middle of the layoffs. So, I didn't know for sure if ... I'm getting axed. I hear I might be safe," she said, adding that she was initially very stressed when she first heard the news of the elimination of the shift, but her attitude has changed since then."You're freaking out like, 'what am I going to do? I'm going to lose my job. I have a house. I have a car. How do I pay for everything?' And then, I just kind of accepted the fact that ... I'll probably lose my job. What do I got to do to stay afloat until I get a call back?" she said."At this point, it's been 14 months since we first found out. So, if you haven't come to terms with it in 14 months, it's a big problem."Like Ferencik, Bondy said job hunting has been challenging due to the pandemic."With COVID, I'm not going to rush trying to find anything right away. A lot of people will be looking for jobs and I'm sure a lot of people would be in a worse situation than I am," she said.Buyouts being issuedBondy and other newer employees hope long-time plant workers will accept buyout offers, which will open jobs.Bill Alder, who's been working at the plant for 24 years, has already accepted his buyout.He said he's happy with it as he was planning to retire next year and isn't losing out on much money."Part of my hope is that somebody gets to stay up there," he said, adding that not everyone will be accepting their buyouts, leaving many young employees out of a job.

  • Health
    The Canadian Press

    Is it safe to visit the dentist during the pandemic?

    Is it safe to visit the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic? Dentists can’t eliminate all risk, but they are taking steps to minimize the chances of spreading the coronavirus. You'll likely notice changes as soon as you enter the office.

  • Self-isolating Quebecer warns visitors to avoid New Brunswick after confrontation on beach
    News
    CBC

    Self-isolating Quebecer warns visitors to avoid New Brunswick after confrontation on beach

    A Quebec woman who visited her mother in New Brunswick says she was threatened and is now warning others from her province to stay away.Sarah Sweet-Fortin said that on her second day in Beresford she was harassed by an unknown neighbour who aggressively yelled at her to go back to her home city.The Sherbrooke, Que., resident said the incident occurred while she walked with her mother, dog and son on an empty stretch of beach at night on June 27. An unknown neighbour at a distant property, at least 50 feet (15 metres) away, began yelling from his yard. "He was like 'You should go return into Quebec, you're not welcome here. Don't you dare come near my property,'" she said.After the incident, the 36-year-old said, she felt uncomfortable on the walk home."He was very threatening in the way he was talking and I was scared with my son," she said. "I was scared of him, I didn't like the situation at all. I didn't feel welcome and I didn't feel at my place there."Half an hour after the walk, police arrived at her house and said they received a complaint about her walking on the beach."The policeman seemed embarrassed about the situation," she said. "He was saying 'this is all new to everybody.'"Sweet-Fortin said the officer told her he would make calls to Public Health to learn more.  Confusion on isolation rulesNew Brunswick loosened its restrictions on June 19 to allow Canadians who have immediate family or own property in the province to enter, provided they self-isolate for 14 days.When crossing the provincial border, Sweet-Fortin said she was told by officials she would be allowed to walk her dog on the road if she didn't come into contact with other people.The officer who stopped at her cottage called to say the information she was given at the border was incorrect. She could leave the house but had to stay on her mother's property.Sweet-Fortin works in health care in Sherbrooke and said she understands the safety measures the government has put in place. But she thinks stopping her from walking her dog on an empty stretch of beach goes too far."For me it was beyond nonsense not to be able to walk," she said. "There wasn't a soul on the beach around the road when I went to walk."'The rules are there'Beresford Mayor Jean-Guy Grant said he first heard of the situation when reached by CBC News.The small community of about 4,200 is near Bathurst on the province's north shore, across Chaleur Bay from Quebec. "They are welcome but they have to stay isolated for 14 days," Grant said. "That's the same thing for everybody."Grant said there are many summer cottages in the community, some owned by Quebecers. The mayor said he has heard few concerns about visitors. But he received a call from a concerned resident Monday night who spotted Quebec licence plates at cottages in her neighbourhood and suspected they weren't self-isolating.He said he has heard people crossing into New Brunswick are being told different rules on the self-isolation requirements."The rules are there and people have to follow the rules, and if somebody sees them they can call the cops and the cops will take care of it," Grant said.A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety did not respond to a question asking what the province is doing to ensure rules are consistent and clearly communicated with travellers. Warning Quebecers to stay homeSweet-Fortin said she has come to the province every year since she was a child, and her mom has owned a cottage in Beresford for more than 20 years. "To me it's like my second home, but this year I didn't feel like it was," she said. "It was disappointing."After the incident, she hid her car in the garage in fear of having people spot her Quebec licence plates and attempt to vandalize her vehicle.Sweet-Fortin said she was closely following news on the borders, waiting for an opening for family members to allow her to visit her mother."I knew there was the fear of the virus — but I did not expect at all to live that kind of situation," she said.She was planning on staying two weeks —  which required her to isolate the entire stay — but left on July 5 after only nine days. Even if they open the borders for unrestricted travel, Sweet-Fortin thinks the fear and tension will continue. She recommends other Quebecers avoid New Brunswick for the near future. "After what I experienced this summer for sure I would not recommend it at all to any friends right now."

  • 'You haunt my dreams:' Sex assault victim confronts ex-nightclub worker in court
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'You haunt my dreams:' Sex assault victim confronts ex-nightclub worker in court

    EDMONTON — A woman who was sexually assaulted by a former nightclub employee says he may not remember her, but she will always remember him.Matthew McKnight, 33, was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 between 2010 and 2016. He pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him in January on five of the 13 counts.Court heard he met most of the women in bars and assaulted them at his Edmonton apartment.Two of the victims and four family members, including the sister of a third victim, spoke at the start of McKnight's sentencing hearing in Court of Queen's Bench on Wednesday.One woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, addressed McKnight directly as she read her victim impact statement. "You sexually assaulted me," she said through tears."For years, I have been terrified of you. You haunt my dreams and dictate my waking moments."She said she hasn't been able to forget the night he attacked her."The bruises you left on my skin faded, but the nightmares ... will forever be with me."Another woman, who also cannot be named, told court about how her life changed four years, two months and 23 days ago."I remember walking into a pub with friends ... to waking up in a nightmare that I will have to relive for the rest of my life," she said. "I still cannot get over the thought of having a stranger inside of me, violating my body."I did not want to believe what happened to me was real."The woman said she was traumatized by the sexual assault and often wouldn't leave her house to go for groceries or walk her dog."I feared there were other men out there just like you," she said.The Crown, which said alcohol and "something else" were used in at least three of the offences, is seeking a total sentence of 22 1/2 years for what it calls "drug-facilitated" sexual assaults."These are gravely serious offences and Mr. McKnight's degree of moral responsibility is high," said prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga in his opening submission."He's a man who has had a privileged upbringing in many ways."Huyser-Wierenga said the judge must "denounce and deter" the vile abuse of the five women.Justice Doreen Sulyma challenged the Crown's submission that evidence of drugs had been proven in court or accepted by the jury."I don't think there was evidence of drugs, just evidence of blackouts," she said.Huyser-Wierenga said one of the woman only had one drink, which she testified was given to her by McKnight before she blacked out."She's come to and she's in Mr. McKnight's bed," the prosecutor said.The Crown recommended consecutive sentences, which would be served one after another, because each of the five offences was separate. It asked for two terms of four years, one of 4 1/2 years and two at five years.Defence lawyer Dino Bottos is to give his submissions Thursday.The hearing, which is to also to get statements from at least two more of the victims, is to run until Friday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

  • Calgary hailstorm that caused $1.2B in damage ranks as Canada's 4th costliest natural disaster
    News
    CBC

    Calgary hailstorm that caused $1.2B in damage ranks as Canada's 4th costliest natural disaster

    The hailstorm that hit Calgary on June 13 cost at least $1.2 billion in insured damages, making it the fourth costliest natural disaster in Canada's history, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada."We're looking at the most expensive hailstorm, and I think the residents on the ground are probably not surprised as they're going through the rebuild on this," Celyeste Power, western vice-president of the bureau, told CBC News Wednesday.The storm hit northeast Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County hardest.It damaged at least 70,000 homes and vehicles, and destroyed entire crops, as hailstones the size of tennis balls fell at 80 to 100 km/h.The $1.2 billion is just a preliminary estimate and could rise, Power said, as total costs are finalized in the coming months."It is clear this is a devastating thing for many people," Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Wednesday. "Many people in Calgary have had their homes completely wrecked … a lot of people have had their livelihood taken away, and even those who were fully insured are still looking at huge deductibles, having to come up with thousands of dollars today for an expense that can't be delayed."The provincial government announced financial support for residents who experienced overland flooding, as overland flooding insurance is often not available in flood-prone areas.But some residents in northeast Calgary have said that's not enough. Nenshi, who also lives in the area, said it's important for the province to understand the impact to residents and said much of that money isn't flowing to homeowners. Many residents in that quadrant of the city are immigrants to Canada, and many were already facing financial hardships tied to the pandemic and oil price crash.Nenshi said he spoke to one couple who are fully insured but out of work. He said their house was hit with $16,000 in damage and insurance will cover only $6,000, leaving them to come up with the remaining $10,000."We've got to come up with a better solution," he said. 6 of Canada's 10 costliest disasters have hit AlbertaSix of the 10 costliest natural disasters in Canada's history have hit Alberta, Power said. The most expensive on record was the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, which cost nearly $4 billion. The next highest was the 2013 flooding that put downtown Calgary and much of southern Alberta under water, at a cost of $3.5 billion.Power said while no single storm will cause insurance premiums to increase, June's hailstorm is part of a pattern."It's hard to ignore the fact Canada has been hit hard with natural disasters over the last decade, we're seeing much more frequent severe weather.… We are working with all levels of government to try and reduce risk and build as resilient of communities as possible, investing in infrastructure, getting people out of floodplains," she said.The Insurance Bureau of Canada said it has deployed its mobile assistance unit to help people in the region access insurance information.

  • U.S. will act to deny China access to Americans' data, says Pompeo
    News
    Reuters

    U.S. will act to deny China access to Americans' data, says Pompeo

    The Trump administration will take steps to ensure the Chinese government does not gain any access to the private information of American citizens through telecommunications and social media, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, when asked if the U.S. was planning to ban Chinese-owned app Tiktok. Pompeo also praised U.S. technology giants Google <GOOGL.O>, Twitter Inc <TWTR.N> and Facebook Inc <FB.O> for 'refusing to surrender' user data to the Hong Kong government and urged other companies to follow suit, after China's establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city. Speaking two days after he said Washington was "certainly looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, Pompeo said the U.S. evaluation was not focused on a particular company but that it was a matter of national security.

  • Trump to US schools: Reopen or you may lose federal funds
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Trump to US schools: Reopen or you may lose federal funds

    Determined to reopen America's schools despite coronavirus worries, President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to hold back federal money if school districts don't bring their students back in the fall. He complained that his own public health officials' safety guidelines are impractical and too expensive.Shortly afterward, Vice-President Mike Pence announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be issuing new guidance next week “that will give all new tools to our schools.” The recommendations will keep students safe, he said, but "the president said today we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough. ”Despite Trump's increased pressure on state and local officials, New York City announced that most of its students would return to classrooms only two or three days a week and would learn online in between. “Most schools will not be able to have all their kids in school at the same time,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.For a nation that prides itself on its public school system, it's an extraordinary situation in this pandemic year.With millions of the nation's parents anxious about their children's safety in the fall — and their own work interruptions if they must stay home — Trump continued to inject politics into public health. He accused Democrats yet again of wanting to keep schools closed for election-year reasons rather than health concerns. And he issued a veiled threat to CDC officials over their reopening guidelines, tweeting, “I will be meeting with them!!!”Elsewhere in the nation, many states continued to confront a resurgence of the the virus, which has claimed more than 130,000 lives in the U.S. But safety obstacles in schools can be surmounted, Trump insisted, and reopening "is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”He did not say what funding he would pull, but Pence suggested at a coronavirus task force briefing that future COVID-19 relief bills could be tied to reopening schools as one way “to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back in school.”On Twitter, Trump argued that countries including Germany, Denmark and Norway have reopened schools “with no problems.”Germany did begin to reopen its schools in May, but in many cases students are taking turns going to school and studying at home for half the week — just the thing administration officials have criticized. Germany authorities are aiming for classes to resume in close to normal fashion after the summer vacation.Trump's Twitter warnings drew backlash from some governors who said he has no authority over schools' fall plans. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said officials will reopen when it's safe to do so.“School reopenings are a state decision, period,” he said at a news conference. “That is the law, and that is the way we are going to proceed. It’s not up to the president of the United States.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Our schools & child care providers need MORE federal funding — not less — to be able to safely open."Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made reopening schools a priority to help parents get back to work, and he said Wednesday he supports CDC guidance to help that happen.Senate Democrats have proposed $430 billion for schools and child care providers as part of the next aid package to be debated in Congress later this month. McConnell, too, has suggested more money for schools will be needed.Trump made his threat a day after launching an all-out effort pressing state and local officials to reopen the nation’s schools and colleges this fall. At a White House event Tuesday, health and education officials argued that keeping students out for the fall semester would pose greater health risks than any tied to the coronavirus.Among those pushing for a fall reopening was the chief of the CDC. But Trump on Wednesday complained the agency’s school opening guidelines were too tough and costly.“While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things,” Trump wrote.The CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, has emphasized that his agency’s guidelines are only recommendations.“I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC’s guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed,” he said at Wednesday’s coronavirus task force briefing, which was held at the Education Department.The CDC’s guidance recommends that students and teachers wear masks whenever feasible, spread out desks, stagger schedules, eat meals in classrooms instead of the cafeteria and add physical barriers between bathroom sinks.Trump did not clarify which of the guidelines he opposed. But a White House spokeswoman later offered an example, saying the president takes issue with the CDC's suggestion that students bring their own meals to school when feasible.“There are 22 million children in this country who depend on these meals at schools, who depend on access to nutrition in schools,” Kayleigh McEnany said.Democrats slammed the president over his threats and warned him to keep out of the CDC's work. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, ranking Democrat on the Education Committee, said the agency needs to be trusted to make decisions based on scientific evidence, “not on President Trump's Twitter outbursts.”At the task force briefing, and a day earlier in a call with the nation's governors, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said anything less than a full reopening would be a failure for students and taxpayers. But some of the nation's largest districts plan to bring back limited numbers of students for only a few days a week, saying it would be unsafe for all to return at once.DeVos singled out Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools, which are asking families to decide between fully remote instruction or two days a week at school.“A choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” she said, according to audio of the call with governors obtained by The Associated Press.In announcing New York City's plan for in-person instruction two or three days a week, de Blasio said schools can’t accommodate all their students at any one time while maintaining social distancing. The city’s public school system, with 1.1 million students, is by far the nation’s largest.Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said, “Educators want nothing more than to be back in classrooms and on college campuses with our students, but we must do it in a way that keeps students, educators and communities safe.”The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued guidelines suggesting that districts aim to start the academic year with students “physically present in school.” Keeping students at home can lead to social isolation, the organization said, and prevent schools from identifying learning deficits, abuse, depression and other issues.___Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Washington and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.Collin Binkley, The Associated Press

  • Doctor accused in Campbellton, N.B., COVID-19 outbreak won't face criminal charges, says lawyer
    News
    CBC

    Doctor accused in Campbellton, N.B., COVID-19 outbreak won't face criminal charges, says lawyer

    The doctor accused of being patient zero in a northern New Brunswick COVID-19 outbreak after he travelled to neighbouring Quebec in May and didn't self-isolate upon his return has been notified he won't face criminal charges, his lawyer said.Dr. Jean Robert Ngola's defence team is now "seeking answers as to why proper procedures were not followed, why [he] was singled out and why privacy laws were breached," said a statement issued by EME Professional Corporation, the Toronto-based law firm representing him.Ngola, who is from Congo but has had a practice in Campbellton, N.B., for about seven years, is also still seeking an apology from New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs for what his lawyer calls "unacceptable and unfounded public accusations" and for the "extreme racism and threats of violence that he and his family have had to endure."If Higgs refuses to apologize, Ngola's legal team will seriously consider taking the matter to court, his lawyer, Joël Etienne, said."We firmly believe the premier should publicly apologize for the condemnation he hurled against Dr. Ngola without taking, in our opinion, satisfactory steps to learn the truth in the matter," Etienne said in the statement.The absence of criminal charges does not preclude the possibility of charges being laid under the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Act.A spokesperson for the New Brunswick RCMP said the investigation is ongoing.During a news conference late Wednesday afternoon, Higgs told reporters he stands by the comments he made on May 27.Higgs never publicly named Ngola but blamed a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton region and a resurgence of the coronavirus in the province on an "irresponsible" medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons, "was not forthcoming about their reasons for travel upon returning to New Brunswick" and didn't self-isolate."If you ignore the rules, you put your family, your friends and your fellow New Brunswickers at risk," Higgs had said. "Today's case is evidence of that.""My position hasn't changed," Higgs said Wednesday. "The comments I made previously, I stand behind those comments. I don't intend to withdraw them."Ngola drove to Quebec the week of May 10 to retrieve his four-year-old daughter because her mother had to travel to Africa for a funeral. He immediately returned to work at the Campbellton Regional Hospital without self-isolating for 14 days.He and his daughter were both tested for COVID-19 on May 25 after he was informed one of his patients had tested positive for the respiratory disease. Although neither of them were exhibiting symptoms, their results came back positive. A total of 41 people in the Campbellton region became infected with COVID-19 during the outbreak that began May 21, and two of them, who were in their 80s, died. As of Wednesday, there is only one active case remaining in the province and it's linked to that outbreak.Etienne said his client was questioned by the RCMP to determine whether he should be charged with negligence causing death or bodily harm.But the lawyer said he received confirmation a few days ago that no criminal charges will be laid.No timeline on investigationCpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, spokesperson for the New Brunswick RCMP, said she is not aware if the RCMP had a conversation with any lawyer."However, we would not discuss any private conversations we have had anyway," she said in an emailed statement."The investigation is still ongoing, that has not changed. I cannot speculate on the status of any charges as we are still investigating."On May 30, the New Brunswick RCMP received a complaint from the provincial government and the Vitalité Health Network regarding an individual who "may have violated the mandatory order under the current Emergency Measures Act by travelling outside of N.B., and not following the guidelines of self-isolating upon their return," Rogers-Marsh said.The RCMP are continuing to investigate to "determine if a violation has occurred."Rogers-Marsh declined to discuss the details of the investigation.There is no timeline on how long the investigation will take, she said.Doctor still suspendedNgola, who is also known as Ngola Monzinga and as Jean Robert Ngola Monzinga, declined to comment on Wednesday, directing media inquiries to his lawyer.He remains suspended, said Vitalité spokesperson Thomas Lizotte, identifying Ngola only as "the individual.""Unfortunately, we cannot add any more comments as this is a confidential file in human resources' hands," he said.Ngola was suspended on May 28, the day after provincial officials announced his case without naming him.He has about 2,000 patients and also works at the Campbellton Regional Hospital's emergency department. He cannot practise anywhere in the province while suspended.Ngola's lawyer, who wrote a letter to the premier last month saying he had proof his client was not patient zero and seeking a public apology, has written him another letter."For us, it is a truth that he has always been innocent and that is why we ask the premier of the province once again to apologize," Etienne said.The defence team contends the province should have, "at a minimum," initiated an investigation "before immediately blaming Dr. Ngola."The investigation, it contends, should have included: * Performing out-of-province contact tracing, in consultation with pandemic medical experts. * Investigating and tracing a "massive breach of privacy" that allegedly originated from within the government within an hour of Ngola testing positive for COVID-19 and resulted in the "unlawful outing and shaming" of him, complete with his photograph circulating on social media.Defence hired its own investigatorsPrivate investigators for Ngola concluded last month that he "could not have been the first patient" and that his trip to Quebec was not the source, his lawyer said.During Ngola's overnight round trip, he interacted with only a few people — all of whom subsequently tested negative for COVID-19, Etienne said.Based on the coronavirus incubation period of up to two weeks, Etienne said, the investigator concluded Ngola was infected in New Brunswick by either a patient or a colleague and did not carry the virus over the border.The premier said at the time he's bound by privacy rules and limited in what he could say."But I am quite comfortable in the position that I've taken, how I've spoken about it and the reality of how this situation developed," he said."And if the facts are all on the table, I am sure that others will be clear as well."Asked Wednesday what the government is doing to look into the defence's allegations of a privacy breach, Higgs replied, "Well, I appreciate that's been the accusation."I don't believe that certainly that I did that. I was concerned about the protocols being followed. I think that Vitalité [has] done a lot of research in that regard. We've had lessons learned from that experience in Campbellton."Rules for health-care workersPublic Health officials did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.At the time of Ngola's trip, health-care workers who live and work in New Brunswick were required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return from travel outside the province, officials have said.There were exceptions, however. Doctors and nurses who work in New Brunswick but live across the border and commute regularly don't have to isolate, for example.Out-of-province doctors who fill in on a temporary basis, known as locums, had not been required by Vitalité to fully isolate. But the province's pandemic task force became concerned about the number of locums coming in and issued a directive on May 19 requiring the regional health authorities to seek isolation exemptions for their locums through WorkSafeNB.Before the Campbellton outbreak, New Brunswick had managed to flatten the COVID-19 curve, going more than two weeks without any new cases.

  • Strained relationship between police and Indigenous people needs long-term solutions: criminologist
    News
    CBC

    Strained relationship between police and Indigenous people needs long-term solutions: criminologist

    Erick Laming remembers the first sentence that rushed into his mind when he saw video footage of Evan Penner getting punched by a Saskatoon police officer during an arrest this past weekend."How can we stop doing this?"Laming, who is from the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation in Ontario, is used to seeing cases of police violence against people of colour. As a PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto, he focuses his studies on police use of force and Indigenous and Black community members' experiences with law enforcement. Still, he said, it doesn't get easier to watch.Penner was arrested on July 4. The owner of an apartment complex on 11th Street East, where it happened, told CBC News she called the police's non-emergency line after a tenant reported a man using the building's garden hose to bathe. The video shows an officer on top of Penner as the two struggle. The officer punches Penner several times. Later, after more officers arrive, one of them uses a taser on Penner while he is still on the ground.Watch the video here:The video led to calls from Saskatoon advocates for the officers involved to be fired.The Saskatoon Police Service announced Monday that the officer from the start of the video had been put on leave pending a review of his actions.Making room for non-police responsesLaming said cases like these show how frayed the relationship between the police and Indigenous people is across Canada. He listed the arrest of Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta, who was tackled and punched in the face by RCMP, as another recent example."It's clearly broken, that trust with the community," he said. Laming said completely eradicating police use of force is unrealistic, but that more needs to be done to prevent them.He said his research has shown that non-police responses to some situations can be a potential solution."It's still important to have that police response [when people are] in need, but maybe they shouldn't be the first responders to a lot of these calls — especially if these individuals are unarmed," he said. "Having mental health or mobile crisis response teams helping police can de-escalate these situations."> Violence against Indigenous communities, it's been there and it's going to keep being there until we have these real, meaningful conversations. \- Erick Laming, PhD candidate in criminology at the University of TorontoMichelle Stewart, an associate professor at the University of Regina whose research focuses on policing practices in Canada and social justice, agreed."[In the video] I saw more police officers arriving on scene. What I didn't see arrive on scene was someone who looked like a mental health expert," Stewart said. "If we can't ensure the safety of all individuals when the police arrive at their home — especially when they're in a mental health crisis — then we should ask why the police are being called."Change begins with government, experts sayIrvin Waller, a professor emeritus of criminology at the University of Ottawa, said it comes down to prevention at the political level.In 2014, Waller sat on a panel of experts as part of a federally-commissioned report from the Council of Canadian Academies called Policing Canada in the 21st Century: New Policing for New Challenges. "Although the police are now considered the 'informal first responders of the mental health system,' they lack the support or necessary resources to effectively carry out this mandate," the report said.It goes on to list statistics on how mental health calls are on the rise across the country, attributing them to "a lack of consistent evidence-based practices for how police respond to emotionally disturbed people, and the low interoperable communication system between police and emergency medical services."Waller and his colleagues listed several recommendations, including ways police forces can work with local agencies — such as those that focus on mental health and youth — on prevention.Six years later, Waller said there has been little movement."Opinion polls all show the public in line with science. Two-to-one, they want prevention and education more than police," he said. "We know the solutions, we just don't have the actions."Laming said Saskatchewan has missed the mark so far. He said a recent move to expand the mandate of the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission is not a solution."Sure, it can act as independent observers in an investigation, but they really have no teeth," he said.Laming said police themselves also have to be willing to be open to reform.He said providing the public with more-detailed data, with a focus on race and use of force, is also crucial."If we don't have that data, we really can't have a conversation about how to fix those things," he said.'It can't just be a week-long discussion'Laming said any solution must begin with wide-reaching, purposeful, ongoing dialogue."A lot of the [Indigenous] people I've interviewed, they've had one negative experience and it's enough to break that trust and it's really hard to repair it," he said."It can't just be a week-long discussion and then it fades on into the distance."He emphasized that reform won't fit within a set timeline."Violence against Indigenous communities, it's been there and it's going to keep being there until we have these real, meaningful conversations," he said. Laming noted there is optimism in some communities thanks to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the spotlight it has cast on racism worldwide.He said his research makes him skeptical. In the past, these movements have come in cycles of popularity, leaving behind a minimal impact, he said. But he's not giving up just yet."I think there will be some change to come out of it and I'm hopeful that it will be meaningful," he said. "We have to be patient with it, but we can't be complacent."

  • Libyan migrant centres are like concentration camps, pope says
    News
    Reuters

    Libyan migrant centres are like concentration camps, pope says

    Pope Francis on Wednesday compared migrant detention centres in Libya to concentration camps, saying the world was being given only a diluted version of how hellish life really was for the people living there. "All these people had was hope as they were crossing the sea," Francis said.

  • Why more great white sharks are showing up in Atlantic Canada
    Science
    CBC

    Why more great white sharks are showing up in Atlantic Canada

    Climate change, a supply of seals to eat and effective conservation in the United States are all possible explanations for the apparent increase in great white sharks in Atlantic Canada, according to a newly published paper in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.The peer-reviewed report, led by authors from the University of Windsor in Ontario, speculates on why more of the apex (top-of-the-food-chain) predators are being seen in the summer months, especially off Nova Scotia.One hypothesis is that the great white shark's range has shifted, bringing them into an area where they were rarely seen in the past."A northward range expansion could be related to multiple factors, including warming Canadian waters due to climate change, population recovery and/or increased regional prey abundance," the authors state.Or maybe they've been here all along and we didn't notice."A large, highly mobile, predatory shark may have been historically abundant in Canadian waters yet considered 'rare' simply due to our inability to observe them," the paper states.It documents records of 60 great white shark "observations" in Atlantic Canada between 1872 and 2016: There were 27 sightings; 26 caught in nets; and seven others inferred from teeth in gear and wounds on seals and porpoises.What the tagging showsThe report is based primarily on satellite tracking data from Florida-based Ocearch, an organization that collects and publishes ocean data, in part through tagging sharks and taking samples from them. The organization staged heavily promoted and highly publicized tagging events off Nova Scotia in 2018 and 2019.Over the two-year period, 17 great white sharks were captured — most at Ironbound Island near Lunenburg, N.S., and some near Scatarie Island off Cape Breton. Holes were drilled through their dorsal fins, and they were fitted with a satellite-transmitting tag.All six of great whites tagged in 2018 returned in 2019. Because the satellite tracking data is not precise, hot spots for occurrence were estimated based on modelling.The main hot spots occurred on the southeastern coast of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. A secondary hot spot occurred in waters off southern Newfoundland that include the Grand Banks.Since 2013, Ocearch has also tagged 18 great white sharks in U.S. waters. Half of them have since been seen in Atlantic Canada."The frequency of U.S.-tagged sharks entering Canadian waters, and the successful targeted capture and tagging of multiple white sharks off Nova Scotia over two consecutive years, indicate seasonal, inter-annual presence of white sharks in Canadian waters and higher regional frequency and abundance than previously thought," the report states.Water temperatureThe authors suggest great white sharks may move north in the summer months because ocean temperatures off the United States are getting too warm and Canadian waters are now just warm enough."An increase in Atlantic Canada white shark sightings in recent years may therefore be the result of white sharks seeking cooler northern waters during the warm summer months," the report states.They may also be attracted by more abundant prey as grey seal populations explode."It is therefore possible that with greater prey availability, white sharks are experiencing a similar increase in fecundity and survival rates. An increase in shark sightings in Atlantic Canada due to an increase in the local seal population would mirror that observed in Massachusetts," the report states.White shark populations have grown in the Massachusetts area in recent years as conservation measures to protect seals have resulted in their population rebounding in that area, as well, the report notes.DFO taggingCanada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) also tagged a great white shark, a young male, in Nova Scotia off Port Mouton in 2018.It was the first great white shark tagged in Canada.That shark and a female tagged off Cape Cod spent the summer of 2018 off Nova Scotia.The tracking device showed what appeared to be a search pattern to intercept grey seals moving from the huge colony on Sable Island to areas where seals come ashore in Nova Scotia and elsewhere on the eastern seaboard.It is part of a government effort to identify where the endangered predator lives — its "critical habitat" — when in Canada.DFO doubtsThe DFO scientist leading that project, Heather Bowlby, told CBC News in 2019 there are likely very few great white sharks coming north."We are talking low numbers," she said.To put the numbers in perspective, it took DFO three days to find the great white off Port Mouton and three hours to find 15 off Cape Cod.The DFO research was not affiliated with Ocearch, and the data it generated does not appear to have been used in the Fisheries Journal article.The corresponding author, Nigel Hussey, of the University of Windsor, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from CBC News.  MORE TOP STORIES

  • Alberta air force base to use goats, sheep to chew down unwanted vegetation
    Science
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta air force base to use goats, sheep to chew down unwanted vegetation

    A Canadian Forces base in Alberta is recruiting a new battalion of lean, mean, eating machines for a mission that will require limited action this summer.The Department of National Defence has put out a tender for goats and sheep to graze on part of the base at 4 Wing Cold Lake."We did this in (CFB) Comox a few years ago and I have a feeling the idea kind of kicked off from that experience," said Captain Mat Strong, public affairs officer for 1 Canadian Air Division based in Winnipeg."The reason we're using goats is because the areas that need to be trimmed are in precarious locations such ... where drainage ditches exist."The tender, which has now closed, said the base has areas that are difficult to maintain due to the degree of slope and accessibility."To get people in there with trimmers and stuff takes days, because they do it by hand. But you can just dump a bunch of goats in there and they can take care of it in no time," Strong said.The contract calls for a herd of 250 animals: 70 per cent goats and 30 per cent sheep.Strong said it's not something planned for other bases across the country.Using goats for weed control isn't new. It's been around in Europe for centuries and the critters have been employed in Kamloops, B.C., and Regina to deal with invasive weeds.The City of Calgary started to use goats to wipe out noxious weeds — most notably the Canada thistle — in a more environmentally friendly way at an urban park in 2016."We've got three different goat herds operating in the city right now. I would say it has been a success," said Chris Manderson, who handles urban conservation for Calgary Parks.Manderson said the newest area to get a goat herd next week is a steep bluff north of the Bow River downtown."Goats are a lot better at negotiating that hillside than people would be. A conventional approach would be guys out there with backpack sprayers."Strong said removing vegetation is a good way to keep down unwanted wildlife at the base where bears, moose and deer have wandered onto the runway.The new recruits will only be used as needed, he said."It's kind of like a snow removal or lawn care service you'd have for your house," Strong said."They basically use them for a defined period of time. And if they're not needed again for a week or two, they go away and then they come back."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press

  • Pence says COVID-19 fatality rate remains 'low and steady'
    News
    CBC

    Pence says COVID-19 fatality rate remains 'low and steady'

    U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence thanked health care workers and the American people for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Wayne Mixson, Florida's governor for 3 days, has died

    Former Florida Gov. Wayne Mixson, whose three-day term was shortest in state history, died Wednesday. Mixson took over the top spot on Jan. 3, 1987, when Gov. Bob Graham resigned early to be sworn into the U.S. Senate. Mixson died at his home in Tallahassee surrounded by his wife, Margie, and loved ones, according to a statement issued by his family.

  • Montreal police say policy to stop street checks represents culture change
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Montreal police say policy to stop street checks represents culture change

    MONTREAL — A new Montreal police street check policy aimed at curbing arbitrary and discriminatory stops was described by the police chief as "an important change to the culture," but critics said it will do little to reduce profiling.The policy unveiled Wednesday is aimed at ensuring officers stop people based only on observable facts and not on discriminatory motives, such as a person's race, gender or religion.At a press conference at police headquarters, police Chief Sylvain Caron said the policy is the first of its kind in Quebec and a way for officers to build better relations with the communities they serve."We are not going to stop street checks," Caron told reporters, referring to the practice that involves police stopping a person and recording their information regardless of whether an offence has been committed. "But we are very conscious that people's rights are important."Montreal's police service pledged to introduce a street check policy following a 2019 report by independent researchers indicating people from certain groups were much more likely than others to be stopped by police.It found that Black and Indigenous Montrealers were between four and five times more likely to be questioned than their white counterparts, with Indigenous women 11 times more likely to be subjected to stops. Those of Arab descent were twice as likely to be stopped by police.Caron acknowledged the existence of systemic discrimination in the police force, and said the discrepancy was likely due to unconscious biases among officers.The policy released Wednesday says police stops must be based "on observable facts and without discriminatory motives." It directs officers to approach people "without regard to their real or perceived ethnocultural identity, religion, gender, identity, sexual orientation or socio-economic status."Street checks must meet the criteria of helping a person in need, preventing incivilities or crimes, collecting information that serves the force's mission or helping to identify someone who is missing or cited by a warrant.The policy also states police cannot use the pretext of enforcing a law to stop someone when their real goal is to identify the person and obtain information. Officers must also inform a person why they have been subjected to a street check.The policy notes that members of the public are not required to answer questions during a street check, but it stops short of forcing police to inform citizens of this fact.Caron also said the policy does not apply to stops involving people in vehicles, despite many complaints involving cases of so-called "driving while Black."He also defended the general practice of street checks, saying they can prevent crime and help officers to give aid to people in need.The policy was quickly denounced by a prominent civil rights group and the head of the municipal opposition, who said it would have little effect in curbing discriminatory stops.Lionel Perez, the head of the Ensemble Montreal party, accused the police of working to "maintain the status quo and give false hope to the racialized population."He noted that, in addition to failing to include drivers and to force police to inform citizens of their rights, the new policy doesn't come with any sanctions for officers who fail to apply it.And, while police officers will be required to collect detailed data, including the person's ethnocultural identity, after they stop and question someone, the report will only be required if the information gathered from the stop is considered to be of interest to the police force.Fo Niemi, the director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, described the policy as a "huge disappointment," saying it failed to stand up for human rights.He said it lacked clear mention of racial profiling and contained problematic language that "opens the door for more abuse."In particular, he criticized police for including "preventing incivilities" on a list of justified reasons for a street check, describing the term as "basically a catchword for a policy to allow police intervention against minorities in a low-income neighbourhood."Niemi also criticized the consultation process, noting that many of the groups involved were only contacted last week.Caron said the policy was not a final document, and would be revised in the future.However, he said that laying out clear expectations for officers was the first step in creating a framework to discipline officers who violate the rules, which he expects to roll out in the next few months. "As I said earlier, there's more to do," he said. "Is it perfect? No it's not perfect, but we'll try to improve, and there will be more actions."He said the data collected from the street check reports would be handed over to independent researchers who could suggest further change, while officers would receive coaching on how to apply the policy before it comes into effect this fall.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 8, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

  • Racist graffiti in Lakeshore 'disappointing' for community members
    News
    CBC

    Racist graffiti in Lakeshore 'disappointing' for community members

    Lakeshore resident Camille Armour was "frustrated" and "angry" when she saw a friend had shared a photo to Facebook of the N-word graffitied on a path near her home that she frequently walks. "We've been faced with a lot, with the pandemic and then with racial tensions and just the idea that someone decided it was a good idea to post that word, it was just very frustrating and disappointing," Armour said. The racist word was found on a path near St. William Catholic Elementary School on Monday morning and was reported to the Ontario Provincial Police, according to local resident and former Essex NDP Member of Parliament Tracey Ramsey. The incident comes after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. Essex OPP Const. Jim Root said via email that the incident was reported and is being investigated by police. The force is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them.Ramsey had tweeted out a picture of the graffiti Monday evening and said she's "not having it." She then continued to ask what others in her community will do to fight against anti-Black racism. "Immediately when I saw it, I was shaken by what I was seeing," Ramsey said, adding that it's "completely unacceptable." She said she instantly reached out to Lakeshore's Deputy Mayor Tracey Bailey and Ward 4 Coun. John Kerr and let them know that "this needs to be taken care of immediately." The graffiti has now been covered up, though it doesn't appear to be the municipality's doing, Ramsey said. The graffiti has been scribbled over and replaced with "BLM," which stands for Black Lives Matter. Armour said when she informed Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain about the incident, he apologized to her. "He was taken aback that it had happened," Armour said, adding that when others in the community found out, many reached out to offer support. The Town of Lakeshore released a statement Wednesday saying that a team was sent out Tuesday to blend the slur, including the "BLM" that was placed above it, into the pavement. "We do need to face up to the fact that there is racism here in Canada, here in southwestern Ontario, right here in Windsor-Essex," she said. Armour continued to say that with awareness, along with getting people informed and educated, there will be an "outward intolerance for this sort of thing."For Ramsey, the issue shows that Lakeshore needs to do more. She said there needs to be policies and practices put in place so that if an incident like this occurs again, it will be quickly resolved. Ramsey said city council should condemn the act, look at any gaps in the town's anti-racism policies and enforce a "zero tolerance policy around [racism] in Lakeshore." "Looking for those policies and how we can challenge systemic racism in our town is incredibly important," she said.

  • Three patients dead: Edmonton hospital declares full COVID-19 outbreak
    Health
    The Canadian Press

    Three patients dead: Edmonton hospital declares full COVID-19 outbreak

    EDMONTON — A hospital in Edmonton is no longer admitting patients due to a full outbreak of COVID-19, including three deaths.The outbreak at the Misericordia Community Hospital was earlier declared by Alberta's chief medical health officer and restrictions have tightened as case numbers increased.Alberta Health Services announced Wednesday that 20 patients and 15 staff have tested positive.Three other patients have died from the infection."I know the public will think that this is difficult news and I want to assure everybody that we're taking this aggressive step to stop the transmission," Dr. David Zygun, medical direction with AHS Edmonton Zone, told a news conference Wednesday."This is an exceptional situation is what has been an excellent safety record in managing outbreaks."He said it was necessary to declare a full outbreak to protect remaining patients and staff.The 312-bed hospital, which is run by Catholic health provider Covenant Health, is not allowing visitors except in end-of-life situations and is postponing day procedures. Its emergency department is also closed.Alberta Health Services said people who were to come in for health services are being contacted and will be cared for at another city hospital.Current patients who have tested positive are being treated at two units in the Misericordia.Zygun added that the hospital has enough supplies and staff to deal with the outbreak and continue to treat those patients who are there.He said officials have reinforced with all 2,700 workers and physicians that it's important to make sure each day that they're fit for work, use appropriate personal protective equipment, wear masks and wash their hands.On Monday, the province announced 46 new infections across Alberta, for a total of 8,482 cases. So far, 7,716 people have recovered and 158 have died.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020The Canadian Press

  • Border crossing numbers a sign that manufacturing has returned, says expert
    News
    CBC

    Border crossing numbers a sign that manufacturing has returned, says expert

    Border crossing numbers released by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) indicate that overall travel continues to remain heavily affected by border restrictions enforced as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.But while approximately 91 per cent fewer people crossed Canada's land borders and approximately 95 per cent fewer people entered Canada by air during the week of June 29 to July 5 — compared to about the same time last year — there's almost no difference in commercial truck traffic.According to the CBSA's latest numbers, approximately 87,550 truckers crossed the border between June 29 and July 5 — about the same as last year. Bill Anderson, director of the University of Windsor's cross-border institute, says truck drivers numbers indicate that "the sort of large-scale manufacturing that has supply chains that stretch across the Canada-U.S. border is back up and running."CBSA numbers from late April showed a 33 per cent decline in commercial truck traffic across Canada's border."And the reason the numbers were much lower if you looked around the beginning of April was the fact that most of the automotive plants have been shut down, and that's the biggest single industry that drives the movement of trucks certainly through the crossing here at Windsor," Anderson said.Major U.S. automakers began reopening their North American factories in May, after instituting wide scale shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Canada-U.S. border is currently set to remain closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21. According to numbers released by the Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association — which has yet to release figures for May and June — 36,729 passengers cars crossed through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in April 2020, compared to 347,738 passenger cars in 2019. As for the Ambassador Bridge, 52,060 passenger cars crossed through the Ambassador Bridge in April 2020, compared to 572,289 cars in 2019. Though confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in the U.S., Anderson said it's difficult to predict how the economy will be affected."There's a lot of discussion about what's going to happen in terms of the level of economic demand over the next six months to a year," he said. "I don't have a prediction on that."

  • Evan Penner healing with family after arrest by Saskatoon police caught on video: FSIN
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    CBC

    Evan Penner healing with family after arrest by Saskatoon police caught on video: FSIN

    After not being heard from since a court appearance on Monday, following an arrest caught on video and widely shared, Evan Penner has been found and is healing with his family, according to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.Penner was the subject of an arrest in the 500 block of 11th Street East on Saturday that was captured on video. In the video, officers can be seen punching Penner numerous times as he struggles on the ground. Penner was also pepper sprayed and Tasered during the incident.How Penner and the officer became engaged in a physical confrontation is unclear, but witnesses who encountered Penner before his arrest say he was quiet and non-confrontational.The call that led to his arrest was a non-emergency call. A tenant told her landlord she was feeling unsafe, as Penner was using the apartment block's garden hose to bathe and was said to be acting erratically.Penner is facing numerous charges following the arrest, including attempting to disarm a peace officer, assaulting a police officer, mischief and possession of a controlled substance.The video of his arrest resulted in advocates calling for the firing of the officers involved, as both the Indigenous Joint Action Coalition and Black Lives Matter YXE say police "violently brutalized" Penner, who is from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in northern Manitoba."This is a very serious and stressful situation for Mr. Penner and his family," said the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in a news release. Evan's mother, who travelled from northern Manitoba after seeing video of her son's arrest, is now in Saskatoon, the FSIN said.Before he was located on Wednesday morning, Penner's lawyers and his family were unsure about his whereabouts, and hadn't heard from him since he made an appearance via telephone at Saskatoon's provincial court on Monday morning.The FSIN, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, added its voice of concern about the video on Tuesday. It is calling on the Saskatoon Police Service to immediately review and amend its use of force policies."We are still healing the relationship between the First Nations community and the Saskatoon police following the Stonechild Inquiry. Incidents like this one continue to put a heavy strain on that relationship," FSIN Vice-Chief Dutch Lerat said in a news release Tuesday."There are still instances of police brutality taking place at the hands of SPS members."Officer not on administrative leave: policeIn a release from Saskatoon police, the service said it's treating the matter as a "critical and serious incident," noting Penner sustained a non-life-threatening injury to his face during the arrest.The statement indicated "addictions and related mental health issues were present during the incident and this will form part of the investigation.""I recognize this incident was a traumatic event for our community, for those involved and for those who witnessed it," police Chief Troy Cooper said in the statement."Whenever force is used we are accountable and I want to assure the public that this is being taken seriously and we will do our utmost to be open and transparent as the investigation unfolds."The Saskatoon Police Association, which represents Saskatoon police members, said in a statement on Tuesday it feels a fulsome investigation into the matter will find that its officers acted appropriately, given the circumstances."The resulting video, which only depicts the use-of-force aspect of the arrest, doesn't show much needed context around the interaction, and the Saskatoon Police Association hopes people will hold judgment in this incident until a full, independent investigation can take place," said the association's president, Dean Pringle, in the release.The association also said Penner was the subject of an indecent exposure call on the day of his arrest. The Saskatoon Police Service confirmed Wednesday that call happened in the 600 block of Clarence at around 8 a.m., but said Penner was released after being apprehended.The police service originally issued a statement indicating that one of the officers involved in the arrest was placed on leave. However, on Wednesday, the police association and the police service clarified that the officer is not on any kind of punitive leave, but was given time off following the incident, ahead of previously scheduled time off."This is in line with the SPS response to serious incidents," the police service said in a statement Wednesday."The officers most involved in the incident take a leave before taking part in a debrief regarding the incident. This is different from when an officer is placed on administrative leave for disciplinary reasons or during a criminal investigation."The association says the officer is set to be back on shift next week. 'Need to see immediate changes'Anger about the video has now spread beyond Saskatchewan's border, with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, a political advocacy group that represents roughly 72,000 First Nations people in northern Manitoba, also condemning the actions of the officers in the arrest. "I am very concerned with the handling of incidents across the country where police have been called for assistance," MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said in a Wednesday news release."It is devastating to our relationships with police when we see arrests of Indigenous peoples being handled with such violence. We need to see immediate changes to the ways in which the RCMP, and other police, are working with Indigenous peoples."In the release, Settee says MKO will protect its citizens regardless of where they live, saying it is concerned for "the well-being of Indigenous peoples from coast to coast to coast." "The Saskatoon Police Service needs to take a good look at their organization to investigate what is happening within their ranks," Settee said in the release."They must work closely with First Nations leaders to eliminate the systemic discrimination that exists within their force."Saskatoon's board of police commissioners is set to hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss Penner's arrest. A representative for the board said it is refraining from further comment until after the meeting.

  • Almost 35,000 people pegged for removal from Canada evade border agency
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Almost 35,000 people pegged for removal from Canada evade border agency

    OTTAWA — Canada's border agency has failed to promptly remove most of the people under orders to leave the country, and in tens of thousands of cases it has simply lost track of them, the federal auditor general says.In a report tabled Wednesday in Parliament, the auditor said the Canada Border Services Agency's efforts were hampered by poor data quality and case-management flaws, resulting in avoidable delays in thousands of cases.Problems in information-sharing with immigration officials also slowed things down.The border agency is responsible for carrying out removal orders to ensure public safety and the integrity of the immigration system.The report noted the federal government had made significant investments over the last decade to improve the efficiency of the asylum system, including removals.However, the level of enforceable removal orders — those involving people who have exhausted or waived all legal avenues to stay in Canada — remained largely unchanged, even for priority cases.As of April 2019, there were about 50,000 people in Canada with enforceable removal orders. Two-thirds of these — 34,700 cases — involved individuals whose whereabouts were unknown. Of these, 2,800 had criminal histories.Still, the border agency was often not conducting regular follow-ups to try to find them by opening each file at least every three years, or once a year for people with criminal issues.Data integrity shortcomings limited the agency's ability to know which removal orders to enforce, the report said."Without a reliable inventory of removal orders, the agency could not effectively prioritize removals according to risk and complexity. We also found cases in which the agency was unaware that removal orders had been issued," it said."Many cases we examined were also stalled because officers had done little to overcome impediments like missing travel documents."The auditor noted that many countries, mostly in Europe, offer assistance programs that promote the voluntary return of foreign nationals to their countries of origin. Some operate through independent third parties and are not limited to failed asylum claimants, the report said."All recognize that voluntary returns are preferred to enforced removals, are more cost-effective, and facilitate rapid departures."The government will do a better job of ensuring the integrity of the system, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged at a news briefing Wednesday.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the cabinet member responsible for the border agency, said the government accepts the auditor's recommendations to fix the various problems.In addition to improving its removals strategy, the border agency will enhance the way it tracks and triages cases to ensure priority ones are addressed promptly, Blair said in a statement."This includes continuing to implement a data integrity strategy to ensure that it can quickly identify the stages all cases are at so they can move forward in a timely fashion."The border agency is taking steps to find foreign nationals whose whereabouts are unknown by reviewing all outstanding cases, prioritizing criminal cases and focusing investigations on the most serious ones, Blair added.Finally, the agency will develop an "incentive program" to increase voluntary compliance, he said.The agency's problems with managing removals date back more than a decade, long before the Liberals took the government reins from the Conservatives.But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said it was another example of the Liberal government being unable to ensure a fair, orderly and compassionate immigration system. "We need a government that takes this kind of thing seriously."NDP public safety critic Jack Harris said the Liberals must make sure the border agency "has sufficient resources to perform their duties."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020.—Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

  • First On-Screen Kiss: Stanley Tucci
    Entertainment
    Canadian Press Videos

    First On-Screen Kiss: Stanley Tucci

    Stanley Tucci recalls "the kiss of horror" in a George Romero movie. (July 8)