April has meant a steady NE flow for Newfoundland. The drizzly, cool days went back to some flurries this morning and will happen again Friday morning. The Weather Network meteorologist Kevin MacKay has more
April has meant a steady NE flow for Newfoundland. The drizzly, cool days went back to some flurries this morning and will happen again Friday morning. The Weather Network meteorologist Kevin MacKay has more
Calgary police have released surveillance images of a suspect after several people were robbed on the street by an armed man in the downtown core last week. Police say nine robberies or attempted robberies happened from May 10 to May 12 in the core, mostly on the LRT platforms or along Eighth Avenue S.W. One incident happened in the Beltline near 12th Avenue and 11th Street S.W. "In each instance, a man approaches a female victim, shows a knife and then robs the victim of cash, their wallet or their purse," police said in a release. The culprit has been described as being in his early 20s, five foot six to five foot seven with a slim build and distinctive light blue to grey eyes. He was wearing dark clothing with his face and head covered during the robberies. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.
VICTORIA — British Columbians who've had a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will have the option of choosing their second shot within a four-month interval, the provincial health officer says. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are set to expire at the end of June and were reserved for people who, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to get an mRNA vaccine such as the one made by Pfizer-BioNTech. However, further data are expected by the first week of June from a study in the United Kingdom on the effectiveness of switching vaccines for the second dose, and Henry said that information will be shared with B.C. residents. "I ask people to be patient," she said. "We know that we have some time in which your immune system is developing its protective response to your first dose," she said of evidence from the U.K. and other countries suggesting it may be more beneficial to wait up to 12 weeks for the second dose. "You will have the option of receiving the second dose of AstraZeneca and we have stock coming in to be able to support that. Or you can take the information once we have it and make your own decision about what you want for your second dose." An increase in the supply of vaccines in the coming weeks means everyone can expect to have their second dose moved up following a strategy that allowed for more people to get their first doses in order to provide greater community-wide protection, Henry said. British Columbia reported on Monday 1,360 cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period. Fourteen more people died, for a total of 1,648 fatalities, including one person in their 40s and another in their 50s. Over 55 per cent of B.C. residents have now received their first dose of a vaccine, while three per cent, or 130,023 people, have had their second shot, she said. Details about vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 are expected to be announced later this week. Henry said COVID-19 restrictions will not be eased by the Victoria Day long weekend to allow any non-essential travel as protective measures such as wearing masks must continue, even as more people are being immunized. "We now have 400 to 500 people a day that are still testing positive for COVID-19. And that reminds us that the virus continues to circulate and we have to do what we can to stop those transmissions as we are all developing this protection. We can't be travelling and we can't be having large gatherings this weekend." Four extra vaccination clinics have been set up in Surrey this week to ramp up immunizations in a COVID-19 hot spot with a high number of essential workers. The first 1,000 people to show up will be given wristbands for same-day appointments at the clinics, and residents aged 18 and up must present identification proving they live in Surrey, the Health Ministry said in a release. Everyone in B.C. aged 18 and up can now book an appointment to get immunized as part of the province's age-based approach. An independent COVID-19 modelling group said continuing restrictions such as a ban on indoor dining until June 15 would keep case counts low, while reopening too soon could risk a surge. Sarah Otto, a professor at the University of B.C. and a member of the modelling group that includes researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, said behaviour changes such as a ban on indoor dining and social gatherings inside were probably the two most important factors in driving down cases. However, an uptick in vaccinations last month helped lower transmission of the virus in areas like Whistler before more widespread immunizations elsewhere in mid-April, leading to fewer cases two weeks later as immunity developed, she said. "We're now seeing vaccines make a big difference and it is causing the case numbers to decline even faster," she said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
The U.S. Senate voted 86-11 Monday to open debate on a measure authorizing more than $110 billion for basic and advanced technology research over five years in the face of rising competitive pressure from China. The Endless Frontier Act would authorize most of the money, $100 billion, to invest in basic and advanced research, commercialization of the research, and education and training programs in key technology areas like artificial intelligence (AI). Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate will debate the bill for a week or two beginning on Tuesday.
Alberta has seen a major drop in residents' unwillingness and hesitancy to get the COVID-19 vaccine between the beginning of the year and this month, according to a new Angus Reid survey. It suggests 17 per cent of Albertans now are either not interested or not sure about getting the vaccine. That's well down from the end of January, when 45 per cent of Albertans surveyed weren't sure about the vaccine, according to the public opinion research organization. The survey found that in Saskatchewan, one-quarter continue to be hesitant or opposed to vaccination, while all other regions hover around the 1-in-10 mark. Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute, says the results should be reassuring to public health officials about the ability to reach herd immunity — the point when a sufficient percentage of the population has become immune to the disease that it is no longer a major threat. "Public health officials still have their work cut out for them if they want as many Canadians as possible to be vaccinated, but it looks like overall the country — in terms of its enthusiasm for a vaccine — is on track for herd immunity," she said. "In the next weeks, the conversation for Canadians is going to no longer be, 'Should I get a shot?' It's going to be, 'Where's my second dose?' I think that is where this conversation is going to go very quickly." The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 14 to 16, among a representative randomized sample of 1,319 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. Nationally, the poll suggests the percentage of those unwilling to be vaccinated continues to hover at around 10 per cent of the population, although it is slowly decreasing. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/– 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. A poll conducted by Trend Research under the direction of Janet Brown Opinion Research for CBC News earlier this spring found at that time 20 per cent of Albertans had a wait-and-see approach to vaccination, with another 14 per cent saying they refused to get vaccinated. Dr. Jia Hu, a public health physician and chair of 19 to Zero, a coalition addressing vaccine hesitancy, says the newer Angus Reid survey numbers are good news. He said the trend away from vaccine hesitancy could be due to several factors, from people following the example of others whose judgment they trust, to people's reaction to the pandemic's third wave and a heightened desire to bring it to an end. The results come as Alberta continues to fight a devastating third wave that has set records for active infections, daily infections and ICU admissions for COVID. It also follows more widespread vaccinations and a proliferation of social media posts celebrating the jabs as younger generations swarm vaccine sites. "The worse the COVID situation is, the more people want to get vaccinated," said Dr. Hu. He says it takes time and effort to find out why people are not willing to get a vaccine — and then find a way to build trust in those communities.
Prince Albert police have released more details about their investigation into the death of Braden Herman. They say that on May 11, veteran RCMP officer Cpl. Bernie Herman phoned a co-worker and said he had "killed someone." He agreed to go to his co-worker's house, located just north of Prince Albert. The RCMP, whose district the house was in, were then contacted and Bernie Herman was taken into custody. On May 12, 53-year-old Bernie Herman was charged with first-degree murder. He had served on the force for 32 years. He and Braden Herman are not related but knew each other for several years, according to police. During the initial RCMP response, Bernie Herman provided information as to where police could find the victim. Police say that when they located 26-year-old Braden Herman on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park, he was dead and appeared to have been shot. At that time, the Prince Albert Police Service took over the investigation. Braden Herman, 26, was found dead on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park. (Braden Herman/Facebook) Investigation continues, motive unknown Braden Herman's siblings have told CBC News the 53-year-old Mountie was known to them as having a "personal" and oftentimes "controlling" relationship with their brother. Braden Herman came from Clearwater River Dene Nation and Bernie Herman comes from the neighbouring community of of La Loche. Police say they cannot confirm what weapon was used in the homicide at this time. But Prince Albert police have seized Bernie Herman's service pistol and other "use-of-force equipment." Police say he was not on duty at the time of the offence. But upon investigation it was been determined that he left work in full uniform and utility belt after finishing his shift at 5 p.m. on May 11. Police have taken statements from family members of both Bernie Herman and Braden Herman. Investigators are continuing to gather statements in order to gain insight into the nature of their relationship, as well as the possible motivation for the offence. Bernie Herman made his first court appearance on May 13. His next court appearance is expected to be on May 26.
CALGARY — A Calgary mayoralty candidate and a pastor who were both arrested for allegedly violating COVID-19 laws over the weekend were released from custody Monday pending future court appearances. Calgary police allege Kevin J. Johnston, who is running in this fall's municipal election and has been a vocal supporter of anti-lockdown protests, was in violation of a court order when he attended illegal gatherings Saturday. An injunction obtained by Alberta Health Services on May 6 mandates that event organizers comply with public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. The Court of Queen's Bench also imposed a restraining order on Johnston last week. It required that he stay at least 100 metres away from health officers and not publish any threats or hate speech directed at them. Johnston's lawyer asked the court if his client's interim release would preclude him from continuing to campaign for mayor. He was assured it would not. "From AHS' interests, as long as there is compliance with the two orders enjoining conduct, it doesn't matter to us what Mr. Johnston does or doesn't do," said Mark Jackson, who was representing Alberta Health Services, the agency that delivers healthcare in Alberta. Johnston has appeared regularly online, promoting far-right ideology, and AHS has said he has been aggressive and threatening towards two particular health workers as well as to its general workforce. He expressed concern from the prisoner's docket Monday about being required to wear a mask. "I simply cannot wear a mask. I'm already feeling the anxiety of this right now and I'm sweating. I'm bothered by having to have this on. I could not possibly wear a mask for that entire amount of time," he told the court. Johnston has been ordered to return to court June 16 to deal with contempt charges for violating the directive. About 20 people, meanwhile, gathered outside the Calgary court in support of Pastor Tim Stephens, who was arrested Sunday for organizing a church service at Fairview Baptist Church. Police allege the service did not comply with public health orders. Holding signs that said "Free Pastor Tim" the supporters prayed and sang hymns prior to the court appearance. Police said they received repeated calls from concerned citizens about services at Fairview Baptist Church in recent weeks, and that Stephens was proactively served a copy of the May 6 order last weekend. But his lawyer said the order has been modified by a judge, which narrows its scope, and Stephens was not in violation. "The effect of that amendment to our understanding was essentially that the May 6 order would only be applicable to the respondents and people who were under their direction. That would not include Mr. Stephens," said Leighton Grey. The contempt matter will also be heard June 16. Edmonton Justice Adam Germain said he has been directed to deal with all matters related to violations of the COVID-19 court orders. "The reality may be there are going to be other arrests in the Calgary area and elsewhere and that I may see the same personnel appearing in front of me," Germain said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Questions are still outstanding around what Ontario will do with its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses.
HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) -Hong Kong government's suspended on Tuesday operations at its representative office in Taiwan in a sign of escalating diplomatic tension between the global financial hub and the democratically ruled island that Beijing claims. Tension between Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government and Taiwan have risen since pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong in 2019 and China responded by imposing a sweeping national security law in the city that prompted many activists to leave, some for Taiwan. A Hong Kong government representative did not provide an explanation for the decision to halt operations at the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office, adding only that the decision was not related to the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Taiwan.
BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanon's president said on Tuesday critical comments made by the foreign minister about Gulf states did not reflect official policy, seeking to avoid a further strain on ties with countries that have been Lebanon's allies and donors. Mired in its worst economic crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war, Lebanon has lost the financial backing it once relied on from wealthy Sunni Muslim Gulf states that are increasingly frustrated at the rising influence of Hezbollah, a Lebanese group backed by regional rival Shi'ite Iran. Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe stoked tensions in a television interview on Monday, when he appeared to blame Gulf nations for the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
Vancouver police have released the names and photos of six known gangsters they believe pose a significant risk to residents as the Lower Mainland gang war continues to claim victims and play out during the daytime in busy public places. Vancouver police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said the men are being identified because, according to police intelligence, they are the most likely next targets of rival gangs and a danger to anyone who happens to be nearby. "I want to make it clear that today's announcement is not about naming and shaming," he said on Monday. "We are providing these photos and names so Vancouverites can know them and take steps to ensure their own safety and safety of friends and family." The Lower Mainland has recorded 20 gang-related homicides in 2021 and 20 gang-related attempted murders. In the past three weeks alone, seven men tied to gangs have been shot dead in public settings that include Vancouver International Airport, a recreation centre, a community park, a mall parking lot and outside shops and restaurants. The men identified by the VPD are Garinder Deo, 35; Harjit Deo, 38; Barinder Dhaliwal, 38; Meninder Dhaliwal, 28; Ekene Anigbo, 22; and Damion Ryan, 41. 2015 murder attempt Ryan, a full-patch member of the Hells Angels, was the target of a wild 2015 murder attempt at the Vancouver airport food court, carried out by a teen disguised in a black burka. Would-be killer Knowah Ferguson was from Ontario, had no previous criminal record and was promised $200,000 for the hit. WATCH | Surveillance video shows failed assassination of Hells Angels member: Security video played at his trial shows a burka-clad Ferguson walking up to Ryan and putting a gun to his head. The gun jams and both men flee. The 18-year-old was later sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder and four years for conspiracy. Palmer said neither Ryan nor the other five men identified on Monday are currently wanted by police. He said releasing their names is in the interest of public safety, similar to when police release the name and photo of a sex offender who has moved into the community. "[The six] not only pose a risk to friends, family and acquaintances, but also to people who don't even know them every time they go to the gym, go shopping, to the grocery store, to a restaurant or a bar, when bars are open." Palmer said he expects other police agencies to follow Vancouver's lead and release more names and photos of gang members in their jurisdictions. He said the VPD is deploying a suite of overt and covert operations in an attempt to tamp down the violence and that officers would be seizing gang members' cars, homes and other valuables gained through crime. RCMP officers stand near a body covered with a tarp in the parking lot of a shopping complex in Burnaby, B.C., on May 13. Police later said the victim, Jaskeert Kalkat, was connected to gangs and targeted.(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) A new department task force that was recently formed to react quickly to gang activity stopped a retaliation shooting last week, according to Vancouver police Supt. Lisa Byrne. Two men were arrested in a stolen car loaded with gas canisters. One of the individuals was a youth, the other had a loaded firearm. Deputy Chief Howard Chow said citizens should report any suspicious cars they notice to police. "We know gang members park stolen cars in neighbourhoods in advance of targeted hits that they later use as getaway vehicles that we find later burned," he said. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced Monday that it is reviving its gang violence awareness campaign.(CBC) Earlier Monday, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced it is reviving a gang violence awareness campaign thanks to new funding. The campaign encourages people with information on gangs and illegal guns to report anonymously. "If you see something, say something," said Crime Stoppers executive director Linda Annis. "We only want your information so we can pass it on to police. We do not want to know who you are." The widow of Paul Bennett, who was killed in 2018 in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity, said she is pleased the Crime Stopper guns and gang campaign is coming back. "Every arrest, every gun seized means a threat to an innocent life will be reduced," Darlene Bennett said. "Next month marks three years since Paul's life was so senselessly taken. Our lives will never be the same."
Galina Ermakova was looking forward to Mother's Day. The 28-year-old Edmonton mom planned to have a physically distanced, over the gate visit with her own mother, Anna. "Unfortunately, that morning I woke up to two policemen at my door telling me that my mom has passed away, " Galina Ermakova told CBC News as she struggled to hold back tears. Anna Ermakova, 49, was found dead on May 8. RCMP said officers were called to a firearms complaint at a rural property in Redwater, Alta., at about 9:45 p.m. and Ermakova's body was discovered at the scene. The man who lived with her, Robertas Kalkius, was severely injured and taken by ambulance to hospital, police said. Kalkius was charged with first-degree murder five days later. On Monday, he made his first court appearance in Vegreville provincial court, appearing virtually from a hospital bed where he remains under police guard. An autopsy is expected to be performed this week on the much-loved daughter, mother and grandmother. Galina Ermakova did not want to elaborate on any problems her mother and common-law partner may have been experiencing but in a recent Facebook post, she wrote that she believes her mother was a victim of domestic violence. On a fundraising page, the victim's friend called Anna's death a "senseless tragedy." Sheila Wilson said her friend came to Canada from Russia to escape domestic abuse and to give her daughter a better life. "We came to Canada when I was 11-years-old," Galina said. "We came with $5,000 and just the two suitcases … We didn't have much but we kind of almost had everything we needed. Because we had each other." When she came to Canada, Anna forged a new career as an insurance broker. She eventually traded in the insurance business and purchased a 169-acre farm outside of Redwater. Galina said she met Lithuanian immigrant Robertas Kalkius about four years ago at a Polish hall and he moved in with her shortly thereafter. Robertaas Kalkius in a 2015 photo with a family member.(Facebook) "At first, I would love to think she was happy," Galina said. Previous assault charge Court records show Kalkius was charged with assaulting Anna on Dec. 27, 2018. The charge was withdrawn in October 2019. The 46-year-old was also charged with impaired driving on March 2, 2020, and was scheduled to appear in court on May 13, 2021. By that time, he was in hospital and the court issued a warrant for his arrest. Galina said it's regretful that the impaired driving trial was delayed due to the pandemic. "Maybe if things went a little bit differently, my mom would still be here," she said. "There are not many things I can say at the moment, but if I could have done something, I would." The victim's mother was living with her and has now moved in with Galina as both women try to cope with the loss and make funeral arrangements. Galina tries to focus on the love and stability her mother brought to her life. Three generations of Ermakova women.(Facebook/Galina Ermakova) "She was my rock. She was just the most wonderful grandmother," Galina said. "She was a beautiful soul and she did touch so many hearts." Galina said she agreed to an interview with CBC News with the hope it might help someone else who could be struggling. "I do believe people need to have a certain awareness of domestic violence, especially being cooped up at home," she said. "We do need to make sure everybody is safe." Galina is asking people to consider placing a flower and light near a window or in a front yard to remember those impacted by domestic violence.
MADRID (Reuters) -A Spanish study on mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer's drug to people who already received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective, preliminary results showed on Tuesday. The Combivacs study, run by Spain's state-backed Carlos III Health Institute, found the presence of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream was between 30 and 40 times higher in people who got the follow-up Pfizer shot than in a control group who only received one AstraZeneca dose.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said on Monday that the military investigation into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, will not derail a massive push to get shots into arms over the coming weeks. “I can assure Canadians that it won’t have any impact in terms of the operational capacity of the CAF to deliver,” said Qualtrough.
Recent developments: What's the latest? Ontario has lowered its general vaccine booking age to 18, earlier than expected for people age 18 to 29. People who are turning 18 this year are also eligible. Local health units say more appointments will open if and when all available slots fill up this morning. The health units for the Belleville and Kingston area say all available appointments are currently filled. Quebec Premier François Legault is set to announce a roadmap to reopen the province by a 5 p.m. ET news conference. Sources tell Radio-Canada the curfew could end and outdoor dining could return by the end of the month. The prime minister is also part of an 11:45 a.m. update. Ontario Premier Doug Ford's unclear comment on summer camps reopening this summer, along with fears of COVID-19 infections, have shaken the confidence of some Ottawa parents. WATCH | The sudden, dramatic increase in young people needing mental health care: How many cases are there? The region is coming down from a record-breaking peak of the pandemic's third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants. The rate of spread is still high. As of Monday, 26,111 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,066 known active cases, 24,509 resolved cases and 536 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 47,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 44,900 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 183 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 208. Akwesasne has had more than 680 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Friday, there were 22 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least June 2. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area. A young man wearing a life jacket paddles in his kayak on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River on May 15, 2021. (Olivier Plante/CBC) The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Ontario has moved to online learning. Daycares remain open. WATCH | Lessons from a full school year of pandemic disruptions: Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds and the Belleville area is doing for the agriculture industry. Western Quebec Western Quebec is under red zone rules. High schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are now able to reopen, albeit with restrictions. The curfew is now in place from 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. WATCH | Latest legal arugment against curfew rejected: Private gatherings remain banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Small religious services are allowed and people can go to theatres. Older secondary school students will be going to classrooms every second day. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. People can't travel to yellow or green zones or risk a fine. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. The wind blows sand into the air as three masked beachgoers take in the warm weather at Mooney's Bay beach in Ottawa May 15, 2021.(Justin Tang/Canadian Press) People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Ontario and Quebec have both stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, but plan to give second doses. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 1,040,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 470,000 doses to Ottawa residents and more than 210,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people 18 and older and 17-year-olds turning 18 in 2021. People can look for a provincial appointment online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems as supply allows. Ontario plans to allow everyone over age 12 to make an appointment starting the week of May 31. Individual health units and First Nations can choose to vaccinate that age group at pop-up clinics. Local health units have other kinds of flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. Western Quebec Quebec is vaccinating everyone age 18 and older. Teens age 16 and 17 are eligible if they have certain jobs or a chronic illness or disability. The province plans to reach children as young as 12 in June. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. There are currently no local walk-in options. WATCH | U.S. sharing more vaccines: Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. People can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
CEUTA, Spain (AP) — Spain deployed its military to the Moroccan border Tuesday as thousands of migrants jumped fences or swam onto European soil for the second day in a row after Rabat loosened border controls amid a deepening diplomatic spat. Overwhelmed soldiers separated the adults from the young and carried children in their arms while Red Cross workers helped an endless trickle of migrants who were emerging from the water shivering and exhausted. One unconscious woman laid on the sand before she was carried away on a stretcher. The sudden influx of migrants has fueled the diplomatic spat between Rabat and Madrid over the disputed Western Sahara region and created a humanitarian crisis for Ceuta, the Spanish city of 85,000 in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, separated from Morocco by a double-wide, 10-meter (32-feet) fence. Video cameras captured how some people rushed up the hills surrounding the city and jumped over the double fence. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez canceled a trip to Paris, where he was to attend a summit on international aid to Africa, and announced an imminent visit to the southern city. While calling Morocco a “friend of Spain," Sánchez also urged authorities to “respect the shared border.” By Tuesday morning, at least 6,000 sea-soaked people had crossed the border into Ceuta since early Monday, the Spanish government said, including 1,500 thought to be teenagers. The number getting in slowed but didn't stop Tuesday even as Spain deployed additional police and soldiers to the border. Some 2,700 adults were already returned to Morocco, according to Spain's Interior Ministry. Morocco and Spain signed an agreement three decades ago to expel all those who swim across the border. Yet many arriving Tuesday were sub-Saharan Africans who are usually fleeing poverty or violence back home. Spain has agreements to return some of those migrants to their native countries but not all. By Tuesday afternoon, Moroccan authorities closed the road leading to the border post with Ceuta and anti-riot police dispersed crowds of would-be migrants. Neither the government in Rabat nor local officials have commented about the mass influx or responded to queries by The Associated Press. “It’s such a strong invasion that we are not able to calculate the number of people that have entered,” said Juan Jesús Vivas, the president of Ceuta, an autonomous city of about 20 square kilometers (7.7 square miles). “The army is at the border in a deterrent role, but there are great quantities of people on the Moroccan side waiting to enter,” he told Cadena SER radio. One young man drowned and dozens were treated for hypothermia. The arriving adults were being transferred to Ceuta’s main soccer stadium as they waited to be returned to Morocco while those thought to be minors were sent to warehouses run by charity group. Four Spanish armored vehicles parked Tuesday at Tarajal beach in Ceuta, where the border fence leads to a short breakwater. In a video shared by a Spanish police union urging authorities to send in reinforcements, anti-riot officers behind the border fence were using shields to protect themselves from stones being thrown by people in Morocco. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska denied local media reports saying that unaccompanied Moroccan migrants under 18, who are allowed to remain legally under the tutelage of Spanish authorities, were being deported. The European Union’s top migration official – Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson – described the incidents as “worrying” and called on Morocco to prevent people from setting out in the first place. “The most important thing now is that Morocco continues to commit to prevent irregular departures, and that those who do not have the right to stay are orderly and effectively returned,” Johansson told the European Parliament. “Spanish borders are European borders. The European Union wants to build a relationship with Morocco based on trust and shared commitments. Migration is a key element,” she said. Morocco's loosened border watch came after Spain decided to grant entry for medical treatment to the chief of a militant group that fights Morocco for the independence of Western Sahara. Morocco annexed the sprawling region on the west coast of Africa in 1975. Morocco’s Foreign Ministry has said Madrid’s move to assist Brahim Ghali, head of the Polisario Front, was “inconsistent with the spirit of partnership and good neighborliness” and vowed there would be “consequences.” Vivas, Ceuta's conservative regional president, said residents were in a state of “anguish, concern and fear" and 60% of the city's children had not shown up for school on Tuesday. He also linked the sudden mass arrival to Spain's compassionate assistance to Ghali. The Spanish government itself, however, officially rejects the notion that Morocco is punishing Spain for a humanitarian move. “I cannot envisage that putting the lives of young people and minors at risk is in response to a humanitarian issue,” Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said. The prime minister appeared on live television to announce he would visit Ceuta and that his top priority was to ensure safety in the city “in the face of any challenge, any eventuality and under any circumstance.” Over the decades, Spain has built a close relationship with Morocco to crack down on illegal border crossings but also to increase economic exchanges and fight extremism. Sánchez on Tuesday avoided any direct criticism to Rabat in his speech. “To be effective,” he said, “that cooperation must always be based on respect — respect for the shared border.'' Sánchez was also facing a political storm at home, with the far-right Vox party blaming the migration crisis on the government's “inaction" and sending its leader on a quick visit to Ceuta. Many African migrants regard Ceuta and nearby Melilla, another Spanish territory, as a gateway into Europe. In 2020, 2,228 chose to cross into the two enclaves by sea or land, often risking injuries or death. On Tuesday, another 80 African migrants readed Melilla, 350 kilometers (218 miles) east of Ceuta, by jumping over the enclave’s double fence. Morocco scored a diplomatic victory last year when the previous U.S. administration under Donald Trump recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, paving the way for normalizing relations between Israel and Morocco. ___ AP journalists Tarik El Barakah in Rabat, Lorne Cook in Brussels, and Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Renata Brito And Aritz Parra, The Associated Press
Karine Spénard, the coroner investigating the death of Candida Macarine at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Montreal's West Island in February, has stepped aside after Macarine's family suggested she was in a conflict of interest. Macarine was found dead on the floor of a negative pressure isolation room in the emergency room at the hospital Feb. 27, a few hours after being admitted. Nurses had repeatedly warned managers it was difficult to monitor patients in the room because of visibility problems. The hospital did not tell Macarine's family about the circumstances of her death, which they only learned of two weeks later after seeing a CBC story. The family was hoping the coroner's investigation would finally bring some answers, but at a news conference Monday morning they said they were worried about Spénard's ability to look at the case impartially. Spénard's profile on LinkedIn shows that directly before she joined the coroner's office in 2017, she was the head of legal affairs for the CIUSSS de l'Ouest de l'Île de Montréal, the health agency that oversees the Lakeshore. "We are concerned that with the possible conflict of interest, the coroner's investigation will not shed light on all the facts and circumstances of my mom's death," Gilda Macarine, Candida Macarine's daughter told the news conference. Coroner steps aside Late Monday, Jake-Lamotta Granato, a spokesperson for the coroner's office, told CBC in an email that while the chief coroner still has full confidence in Spénard, she's no longer on the case. "She hasn't been an employee of the CIUSSS for several years. She has all the independence necessary to carry out this investigation," Lamotta-Granato said. Karine Spénard asked the Chief Coroner Monday to appoint another coroner to the case, saying she had lost the trust of the family.(LinkedIn) "However, as Ms. Macarine's family members withdrew their trust in Coroner Spénard, the latter requested that the investigation of the death be transferred to another coroner," Lamotta-Granato said. "The Chief Coroner accepted his request and a new coroner will be appointed to pursue the case," he added. Important to 'rebuild confidence' Emmanuelle Marceau, associate professor at Université de Montréal's school of public health, told CBC that while Spénard wasn't in a direct conflict of interest, it's probably best that a new coroner will be appointed. "Considering that the person (Spénard) was at the job for a certain number of years, maybe she made connections, she knows people internally, so perhaps she might not have been able to lead this investigation in the most objective fashion," Marceau said. "In situations where people have lost a loved one, and where they've lost confidence in the system, they have doubts because they don't understand what happened, there's miscommunication, it's important to rebuild that confidence," Marceau said. "It's important for this family, but also for Quebec society, to maintain confidence in our CIUSSSes and our health-care system," she added.
A Saskatchewan man who brutally attacked a woman and set her on fire has been denied parole. Leslie Black, 35, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the beating, burning and sexual assault of Marlene Bird in Prince Albert, Sask., in 2014. Bird's injuries resulted in the amputation of both of her legs and the Indigenous woman also lost much of her eyesight. She died in 2017 at the age of 50 from heart, liver and kidney failure. Her death was only a few months after Black was sentenced to 16 years for the vicious assault. He was given credit of four years, eight months for time already served, so faced just over 11 years in prison. “Your actions were unpredictable, brutal and indifferent,” said a decision released Monday by the Parole Board of Canada. Black told a parole board hearing last week that the attack on Bird happened around the anniversary of his own mother’s murder and he’d been drinking more frequently. He didn’t know Bird and told the board the sexual assault was “out of the blue.” After setting Bird’s shirt on fire, Black left the woman in flames and went to a store to get candy. He walked past Bird again, who was still on fire, and ignored her. Bird was found several hours later with burns so severe her facial bones were exposed. Black told the hearing that the decision to light Bird on fire “just happened” because he had a lighter in his coat pocket. He told the parole board that he prayed with an elder for Bird and her family when he learned of her death. The board’s decision said Black still shows “limited insight into the underlying factors that allowed (him) to engage in this level of violence.” Black has continued to have issues with violence behind bars, including fights with other inmates and weapons found in his cell, the board said. “Your inability to follow institutional rules raises concerns for the board about your ability and willingness to abide by conditions in the community." Psychological assessments presented at the hearing said Black presents a risk for future sexual offences and suggested any form of conditional release would be premature. After Black was sentenced, Bird, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, said she thought she “could forgive him” but friends said she was upset by the length of his incarceration. “I’m doing my best, because my mom told me to forgive people that do wrong,” Bird said at the time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
Pharmacists on Prince Edward Island are now delivering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Islanders 40 and over. Last week they stopped administering AstraZeneca-Oxford shots, on the direction of the province. Twelve pharmacies across P.E.I. are part of the vaccine program. "The use of AstraZeneca was suspended," Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin Monday. "Any of the AstraZeneca doses that they had on hand has been returned to [the] provincial pharmacy." Pharmacies are only giving first doses of vaccines for now, and are continuing to give shots of Moderna. Moderna uptake has been good The province does have enough AstraZeneca to deliver second shots to anyone who received it in the first round, but MacKenzie said the Chief Public Health Office will let pharmacies know around the end of May whether that will happen. She said the uptake of Moderna vaccines at pharmacies has been very good, especially since those 40 and over can now book appointments either at pharmacies or through the province's mass clinics. She said she is excited to hear pharmacies will be getting more Moderna delivered by the end of this week. Watch for online bookings at pharmacies to open up soon as the vaccine supply arrives, she said. She said pharmacists are getting a lot of questions about which vaccines are best, but she believes they are all safe and people should get vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More from CBC P.E.I.
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Roads were flooded, water-logged cars abandoned in the street and high water vehicles dispatched to help people as heavy rain fell across southern Louisiana Monday. In some areas of western Louisiana still recovering from back-to-back hurricanes last year more than a foot of rain fell. The National Weather Service said in a Facebook post Monday that south Lake Charles in western Louisiana saw 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) of rain in a 12-hour period. But the rainfall wasn't limited to that one area. Numerous areas in Calcasieu Parish where Lake Charles is located saw totals of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) of rainfall Monday. The mayor of Lake Charles, Nic Hunter, told The Advocate that they didn't have an exact number of flooded homes but that it would likely be in the hundreds. Hunter was mayor last fall when the city was hit by Hurricane Laura on August 27 and then six weeks later by Hurricane Delta. “We will continue to be resilient through this event. But I will admit it would be nice if Mother Nature would give us a break," Hunter told the newspaper. Parts of southeastern Texas and western Louisiana were under flash flood warnings on Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service's Lake Charles office. Several inches (centimeters) of rain also feel on parts of Arkansas. Tornadoes also were a threat as storms pounded south Louisiana. In Lafayette, The Daily Advertiser reported that multiple warnings of possible tornadoes prompted shelter-in-place warnings at area schools, where students were held past the usual dismissal time until the danger passed. The National Weather Service in Lake Charles reported that the public reported a possible tornado in the Church Point area of rural Acadia Parish, west of Lafayette. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage. The Baton Rouge area was also hammered with rain Monday. The National Weather Service's New Orleans branch said on its Twitter feed that according to radar estimates as much as 12 inches of rain may have fallen in parts of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Iberville parishes. In Ascension Parish, Parish President Clint Cointment put all employees responsible for drainage issues on alert after the “massive amount of rain.” Meanwhile, the sheriff's office for Calcasieu parish was asking residents to stay off the roads and said they had already deployed high water vehicles and boats to assist residents, KPLC reported. Photos on local media showed water up to the doorsteps in one subdivision of Lake Charles while vehicles sought to navigate flooded streets in another part of town. The rainy weather is expected to continue in southern Louisiana through the middle of the week. Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency late Monday for southwest Louisiana. Western Louisiana is still recovering from back-to-back hurricanes Laura and then Delta last year. And then, in February, frigid temperatures froze pipes and led to problems getting drinking water to area residents. The National Weather Service’s Little Rock office said on their Twitter feed, that parts of central Arkansas also had seen two to more than four inches (5-10 centimeters) of rain as of Monday morning. More rainfall is expected this week, the agency said. The Associated Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials are expecting the demand for intensive care beds to soon reach a record level as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the pandemic's third wave. There were 120 patients in intensive care beds on Monday, health officials reported. That is nine shy of the peak last December during the second wave of the pandemic. "I expect we're going to get to 129 very soon, the way we're admitting people," said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health. Siragusa couldn't predict how high the patient load might go. She said much depends on how quickly people recover and leave intensive care, and whether the daily number of new infections continues to be high. The province reported 430 new cases Monday and one death — a man in his 60s from the southern health region. Manitoba has experienced big daily numbers for more than a month now, and edged past Alberta on the weekend to post the highest per-capita infection rate in Canada. The third wave arrived in Manitoba later than other provinces, Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said when asked to explain the spike. Jason Kindrachuk, assistant professor in the department of medical microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba, said travel bans played a big role in delaying variants of concern from entering the province. But they eventually got in and began to spread quickly, causing a surge of infections in a restriction-weary population. "We are not dealing with the same pandemic that we were in 2020," he said. "The variants of concern have changed the game." The government has brought in stricter public health orders three times in the last month to try to bend the curve, including a ban on most social visits in private homes. Most recently, schools in some areas, including Winnipeg and Brandon, moved to remote learning. "At this point, we are looking to see that (case count) trajectory change with the updated orders," Roussin said Monday. When asked whether a stay-at-home order is a potential next step, Roussin said no options are off the table. Until the case numbers drop, the province is working to add staff to intensive care from other health-care areas. Some elective surgeries are being cancelled and more nurses are being recruited and trained for intensive care work. Sirgausa said having 129 people in intensive care beds in December was taxing, but the health system might handle a bigger number now. "Everybody was stretched. Everybody was stressed. Everybody was tried and not feeling good about the situation for sure," she said. "We learned a lot of lessons from that." One factor that could help this time around, she said, is that health-care workers are vaccinated, so fewer are having to miss work because they have fallen ill or need to self-isolate. "I don't know what the max number (of intensive care bed capacity) is," Siragusa said. "We are going to do everything we can to support Manitobans and support the demand that comes into the acute-care hospitals." Kindrachuk added that he's optimistic that Manitoba's cases will plateau in two to three weeks with the expanded eligibility for vaccinations and restrictions. "There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel but it's going to be a few weeks," he said. "We just have to get through this next part." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021 — With files from Kelly Geraldine Malone. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press