The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine vials might contain more than the five doses listed on the label. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she hasn't heard yet whether that's meant health-care providers have managed to give extra injections.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine vials might contain more than the five doses listed on the label. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she hasn't heard yet whether that's meant health-care providers have managed to give extra injections.
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
Many Canadians spent a lot of time working from their homes in 2020. In response, and to provide Canadians some tax relief, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) tweaked their rules on how employees can claim home office expenses on their 2020 personal tax returns. If employees spent more than 50 per cent of their time over four consecutive weeks working from home, they are eligible to make home office expense deductions. There are two methods to claim these expenses. The simplified, or flat fee method, allows for a $2 per day deduction up to a maximum of $400. This method is straight forward and involves little in the way of effort or documentation. The other option is more onerous as it requires some research, calculations and all the receipts to justify the deductions. However, the tax savings are potentially much higher as the deduction amount is not capped. The longer a person worked from home in 2020, the stronger the argument is for using the more detailed method in determining expenses. Eligible expenses Your first stop should be the CRA website. They provide a list of eligible expenses as well as a useful calculator to help with the computations. Some common eligible expenses are electricity, heat, water, Internet service, cellphone minutes, minor home repairs, rent and office supplies such as paper, ink and pens. It is important to note that the expenses must be prorated based on their business use. For example, if you pay $100 for Internet a month but only used 30 per cent for businesses purposes, then your Internet deduction would be $30 for each month that you worked from home. Many people are tempted to write off the full amount but this is not correct and may flag you for an audit by CRA. For homeowners, mortgage interest cannot be claimed. However, those who worked on commission can deduct their home insurance and property taxes. Renters can claim their rent, but only the square footage which is dedicated to their workspace. For example, if rent is $2,000 a month and the home office or workspace took up 25 per cent of home, then 25 per cent or $500 of the rent would be eligible as an expense. Supply expenses is an interesting category as they are often fully deductible. They also are not limited to office supplies. An accountant mentioned to me that even personal protection equipment such as face masks, if bought and used by an employee to conduct business, are eligible. T2200 form If you opt for the detailed method of determining expenses, you will need a T2200 form from your employer. From your employer's perspective, there is an extra cost to provide this and it takes time to prepare the form. Be sure to request this form from your employer with plenty of advance warning, or risk not receiving your T2200 before the tax filing deadline. Another thing to remember is not to double dip. You can only deduct at-home expenses that were paid for out of your own pocket. If your company already pays for your Internet, cellphone, etc., the company is writing off these business expenses which means you don't get to. Unless you paid for it yourself do not write it off. This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
Spain's top general resigned on Saturday after allegations he had received the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of priority groups, one of a number of public officials who have sparked public anger because of reports they have jumped the vaccination queue. Defence Minister Margarita Robles had asked General Miguel Angel Villaroya, chief of defence staff, for explanations after media reports on Friday that he had received the vaccination.
Exactly a year ago, Wuhan shocked the world by confining its 11 million inhabitants to their homes, beginning a 76-day lockdown. View on euronews
BERLIN — Bayern Munich’s closest challengers, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, both lost in the Bundesliga on Saturday to give the eight-time defending champions a chance to move seven points clear at the top. Second-place Leipzig lost 3-2 at relegation-threatened Mainz and third-place Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Bayern visits last-place Schalke on Sunday. American midfielder Tyler Adams got Leipzig off to a great start with a goal in the 15th minute, but Moussa Niakhaté scored twice for Mainz, either side of Marcel Halstenberg’s 30th-minute strike for the visitors. New signing Danny da Costa set up Leandro Barreiro for Mainz’s winner in the 50th. Midfielder Ridle Baku’s 35th-minute header was enough for Wolfsburg. Leverkusen made a good start but Nadiem Amiri and Lucas Alario missed early chances, with Alario striking the post before Wolfsburg gradually settled. Leverkusen maintained its pressure but the defence took a break and left Baku to head in Renato Steffen’s cross against the run of play. Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz reacted at the break by bringing on former Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah for his Bundesliga debut, but Wolfsburg saw out the win. Luka Jovic scored his third goal in as many substitute appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt since returning from Real Madrid to seal a 5-1 win at Arminia Bielefeld. Augsburg goalkeeper Rafa Gikiewicz saved a penalty to secure a 2-1 win over his former team Union Berlin. Gikiewicz denied Marcus Ingvartsen in the 56th, then produced a fine save to also thwart Taiwo Awoniyi. Florian Niederlechner, who conceded the spot kick, had already scored twice for the home side. Freiburg beat Stuttgart 2-1. Hertha Berlin hosted fellow struggler Werder Bremen later Saturday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
An overnight fire in the city's south end left one woman with burns and left one unit of a south end row house uninhabitable. Multiple 911 calls were made about the fire shortly before midnight on Friday, according to a media release from Ottawa Fire Services. Upon arrival, crews confirmed a working fire in a middle unit of the six-door row house, located on Millstream Way near Alanis Private. Firefighters immediately began providing care for the woman in her 60s, who reported burns and sought shelter in the backyard, said the release. The woman was transferred to the care of Ottawa Paramedic Service. The fire was deemed under control shortly after midnight, with crews being able to protect the other units of the row house. On Saturday, a spokesperson for Ottawa Fire Services said it's suspected the fire was caused by cooking.
VANCOUVER — Residents of British Columbia's south coast are being urged to prepare for a blast of wintry weather this weekend. Environment Canada warns that snow is in the forecast for parts of Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Central Coast. The federal weather agency expects snowfall to begin on Saturday night and continue Sunday morning on Vancouver Island and in the southwest area of Metro Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta. It says two to four centimetres of snow are forecast in Richmond and Delta, while on the island, amounts could range from two centimetres on the coasts to five to 10 centimetres inland. By Sunday afternoon, the snow is expected to become mixed with rain in many areas. Meanwhile periods of snow are anticipated Saturday night through Monday morning in the Fraser Valley, including Chilliwack and Hope, with the potential for significant snowfall Sunday night. Environment Canada warns that wet and slushy snow may make for a messy commute in the valley Monday morning and power outages are also possible if heavy, wet snow accumulates on trees. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
A woman who was found dead in an apartment unit near York University on Thursday night has now been identified by Toronto police. Officers say they responded to a medical call at 9:41 p.m. on Thursday near Murray Ross Parkway and Sentinel Road. When they arrived, they said they found a woman suffering from serious injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the homicide unit was called in to take over the investigation. In a release issued Saturday, police identified the victim as 32-year-old Leah St Jean of Toronto. Police also said they have arrested and charged a 26-year-old man from Toronto with second-degree murder. He is set to appear in court on Saturday. Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police or CrimeStoppers.
South Africa jazz trombonist and composer Jonas Gwangwa, whose music powered the anti-apartheid struggle, died on Saturday aged 83, the presidency said. President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes to the legendary musician who was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song of the 1987 film "Cry Freedom". "A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest," Ramaphosa said.
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he was once willing to give his former leadership rival Derek Sloan the benefit of the doubt, but no longer. And he dismissed the idea that kicking Sloan out of caucus this week has pitted him against one of the party's most powerful wings, social conservatives, whose support O'Toole courted directly during the leadership race last year in part by backing Sloan at the time. In an interview with The Canadian Press, O'Toole said he didn't believe Sloan meant to be racist last year in his characterization of chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam. That's why he opposed efforts then to kick him out of caucus, O'Toole said. "I always will give a colleague, or anyone in Parliament, in public life, the benefit of the doubt or, you know, listen to them the first time," O'Toole said. "And that was the case early on with Derek, when he said he did not mean to malign the intentions of Dr. Tam." But O'Toole said a "pattern developed" since then, and frustrations mounted that Sloan's extreme social conservative views posed an ever-present danger to the party's goal of forming government. It all appeared to come to a head last week. In the aftermath of riots in the U.S. led by extreme right wing supporters of now-former U.S. president Donald Trump. O'Toole faced pressure from caucus, conservative supporters and his rivals to firmly disavow any elements of extremism in his party's ranks. Last Sunday, O'Toole issued a statement doing just that. The next day, media organization PressProgress reported O'Toole's outrage over Sloan's leadership campaign accepting a donation from a known white nationalist. While O'Toole moved swiftly to start the process of kicking Sloan out — getting 20 per cent of MPs on side as required by law — he insisted the demand was driven by caucus, as evidenced in the majority vote to remove him. "The caucus was ready to make that decision and send a strong message that we are a welcoming party, we respect one another, and we respect Canadians," he said. O'Toole disputed accusations from Sloan and anti-abortion groups that the decision to kick him out had nothing to do with the Ontario MP's previous statements. In recent weeks, Sloan has been pushing to get as many socially conservative delegates as possible registered for the party's policy convention in March. Sloan, as well as the Campaign Life Coalition and RightNow, want enough delegates in their camp so motions they support will pass, including one that would remove the existing policy stating a Conservative government would never regulate abortion. They also want to elect a slate of directors to the party's national council to entrench their strength. Sloan said the decision to kick him out was a kneejerk reaction to what happened in the U.S. But he also contends the move was driven by anger from his fellow MP's unhappy to se him actively courting money and support in their ridings. He's pledged to name them so social conservatives know who is trying to silence their voices, he said. "They think they are little petty princes ruling these fiefdoms and no one else can have a say," Sloan said. O'Toole rejected the idea that Sloan's efforts amount to an attempt to take over the party, and O'Toole's own move was a bid to stop it. "There is no such effort to the extent that Mr. Sloan is suggesting," he said. Sloan had little national profile when he entered the Conservative leadership race just a few months after becoming an MP. But early on, he garnered attention for suggesting he wasn't certain of the scientific basis for a person being LGBTQ. From there, he quickly became well known for his often extreme social conservative views. His comments about Tam, in which he suggested her loyalty lay with China rather than Canada, sparked outrage and took criticism against him to the next level. Last spring, in discussing the Liberal government's pandemic response and Tam's use of suspect World Health Organization data from China, Sloan provocatively asked whether Tam was working for Canada or China. Tam was born in Hong Kong. Questioning someone's loyalty is considered a racist trope. Sloan denied he was being racist. Still, a number of Ontario MPs — some who were supporters of leadership contender and longtime Conservative Peter MacKay — began an effort to have him removed from caucus. O'Toole shut it down, for reasons he wouldn't divulge then, but to observers, it smacked of politics. MacKay was running a progressive campaign. O'Toole's was aimed at the more centre right, while Sloan and Leslyn Lewis were targeting the socially conservative right. With Sloan gone, his backers would have more likely gone to Lewis, splitting the vote on the right between her and O'Toole, giving MacKay a path to victory. Except O'Toole backed Sloan, and would later take out social media ads hyping his decision. It was one of several steps he took to directly court Sloan's supporters, and when it came to voting time, they would ultimately help put O'Toole over the top to beat MacKay. The way the race played out has led to questions for O'Toole ever since about how he'd balance the demands of the social conservative wing of the party with his stated intent to broaden its overall appeal. O'Toole said he's aware people have "trust issues" with his party, suggesting social media contributes to the issue and noting he must break that online bubble if he hopes to see his party win. "The Prime Minister has to try and bring the country together: the diversity of its people, its geography, its industries, and the points of view and backgrounds of everyone," he said of the office he hopes to hold. "No one ever said it's easy." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, just hours before the province's Edmundston region was set to enter a 14-day lockdown at midnight. Ten of the new cases are in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province, while there were five in the Moncton region and one case each in the Campbellton and Saint John regions. There are currently 328 active cases in the province. Five patients are hospitalized, with three in intensive care. There have been 1,104 positive cases and 13 COVID-related deaths in the province since the pandemic began. Health officials say the strict health order of a lockdown is needed to curb a steady rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control. "Our objective with the implementation of the lockdown measures ... is to reduce opportunities for transmission by having people limit their movements to the greatest extent possible," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Saturday in a statement. "When we stop moving and interactions, we stop COVID-19," she said. Starting Sunday, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the Edmundston area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited. The province says the situation in the region will be evaluated every seven days and that the provincial cabinet may extend the lockdown if required. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Health officials say a U.K. variant of COVID-19 is behind a deadly outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from Roberta Place Retirement Lodge have been identified as the highly contagious variant. The local health unit announced earlier this week that they had found a variant at the home and were conducting tests to determine what it was. Known variant strains of the virus were first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. An outbreak at Roberta Place was first declared on Jan. 8. A news release says as of Friday, 124 of 127 residents, and 84 staff were positive for the virus, resulting in 29 deaths. The health unit, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, says it accelerated its immunization program on Friday and vaccinated all eligible residents and staff. Officials say they're also immunizing residents at the other retirement homes throughout Simcoe Muskoka this weekend. As of Jan. 16, eligible residents of all long-term care facilities in Simcoe Muskoka have also received their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place long-term care home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said in a statement Saturday. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 52 more deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 708 new cases in Toronto, 422 in Peel Region, and 220 in York Region. She said there were also 107 more cases in Hamilton and 101 in Ottawa. Nearly 63,500 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Since the pandemic began, there have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 222,287 have recovered and 5,753 people have died. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 new cases and 87 more deaths. Meanwhile, the Ontario government has announced it's expanding its "inspection blitz" of big-box stores to ensure they're following COVID-19 guidelines this weekend. The workplace inspections, which started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, will now stretch out to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions. Officials want to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
The United States is closely watching the more infectious variant of COVID-19 after British officials warned that it may also be more deadly, two top U.S. health officials said on Saturday, cautioning more data is needed. Officials are somewhat more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top COVID-19 medical adviser, also said.
LAHTI, FINLAND — Canadian Katherine Stewart-Jones had a career-best 24th place finish Saturday in a women's World Cup cross-country ski event. Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., posted a time of 41 minutes 8.6 seconds in the women's 15-kilometre skiathon. Cedrine Browne, of Saint-Jerome, Que., was 27th - her best-ever skiathon finish - in 41:30.0, marking the first time since 2014 that two Canadian women registered a top-30 finish on the World Cup. And Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., finished 29th in the men's 30-kilometre skiathon. The skiathlon, which combines classic and skate skiing, was the first World Cup start in nearly 10 months for the Canadians. They trained at home for the first half of the World Cup season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was good to get the first race of the season done, and I’m also very happy to get a new personal best result,” said Stewart-Jones after just her second career top-30 result. “I wanted to ski as relaxed as possible in the classic part and get myself in good position. "My legs started to feel heavy in the skate, so I just held on to the skiers around me. The wax techs did an incredible job with the skis today. They were very fast.” Browne registered her fourth top-30 result despite getting tangled up in an early crash. “There was a big fall in the first kilometre of the race that I couldn’t avoid and ended up nearly last," she said. "I had to be very strong mentally, be patient and trust myself for the rest of the race.” Norwegians Therese Johaug, Helene Marie Fosssesholm and Heidi Weng swept the top-three positions. Laura Leclair, of Chelsea, was 44th in her first-ever World Cup start in 44:26.8. Kennedy, who shared guiding duties for Brian McKeever at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, was quite happy with his finish. "That was a sweet first race to start the season off,” he said. "It’s a hard way to get into the World Cup season but it was so nice to finally race again." Emil Iverson led another Norwegian sweep of the medals. Sjur Roethe was second ahead of Paal Golberg. Antoine Cyr, of Gatineau, Que., was 37th (1:14:08.5) while Philippe Boucher, of Levis, Que., was 47th (1:15:52.6). Remi Drolet, of Rossland, B.C., finished 49th (1:16:48.5). This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
The Scottish National Party published a "Roadmap to Referendum" on Saturday, laying out plans for another vote on Scottish independence just as the United Kingdom grapples with COVID-19 and the impact of Brexit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who would have to agree to a new referendum, argues there is no need for a new vote after independence was rejected by Scottish voters in 2014. But the SNP has said that if it wins a parliamentary majority at elections scheduled for May 6, it will pass its own bill so that a referendum can take place once the pandemic is over.
Houses of worship in Quebec are now allowed to reopen, but with strict limits on the number of people that can show up. Two weeks into the province's latest round of restrictions, which include an overnight curfew, the government has changed course. It's now possible for a place of worship to host a maximum of 10 people for religious gatherings. All places of worship were ordered to close earlier this month, except for funeral ceremonies. The changes come by way of a government decree published on Thursday, and provide exceptions to public health rules put into place Jan. 9, which ban all gatherings — indoors and outdoors — across Quebec. "By limiting the number to 10 people, it allows people to continue practicing their religious rites in a secure space, because with 10 people, social distancing can easily be respected," said a spokesperson with the province's Health Ministry. The rules may have been softened, but religious community leaders are expected to show "exemplary rigour" and encourage their members to respect physical standing rules, wear masks, wash their hands when entering and exiting the building, and refrain from singing, the spokesperson said. A registry of the people who attend ceremonies will also be mandatory, in order to help trace them in the event of an outbreak. The decree maintains the maximum size of gatherings for funerals at 25 people. "Places of worship cannot serve as a refuge," the Health Ministry spokesperson said. "However, if a person needs to get in touch with a representative of a place of worship to find support or comfort, it will be allowed to do so inside the place of worship, outside of the usual ceremonies."
Dutch police have arrested the alleged leader of a large Asian drug syndicate who is listed as one of the world's most-wanted fugitives and has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was detained on Friday at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70 billion-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said on Saturday. Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
A concrete manufacturing facility in Surrey has been destroyed by a massive overnight fire. Surrey firefighters responded to the call just before 4 a.m. Saturday, and arrived on the scene at 192 Street and 54th Avenue to find a 20,000 square foot building engulfed in flames. The fire had also spread to several buildings nearby. Steve Serbic, assistant chief of operations for the Surrey Fire Service, said 36 firefighters and 15 fire trucks responded, and were forced to fight the fire from the outside, because of the explosive nature of the flames. "The fire consumed the whole building and the crews went into a defensive attack," said Serbic. Serbic said there were large propane tanks just outside the building, which the crews protected to avoid an explosion. "The challenging part of this fire was the gas, there were large propane tanks and natural gas that took some time to get shut off so the crews were battling some gas fires," he said. Serbic said there were no employees on the scene when the fire broke out, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. "It was a very cold night. There was lots of ice, lots of water, lots of aerials went up and the crews did a really good job," he said. "There were no injuries, so it was a productive outcome considering what they arrived to." Crews remained on the scene into Saturday morning, and excavators will go through the collapsed building to ensure hotspots are completely put out.