Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse explains how Toronto came into the game planning to guard Atlanta and how the 3rd quarter binge of foul calls affected play.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse explains how Toronto came into the game planning to guard Atlanta and how the 3rd quarter binge of foul calls affected play.
That change in the air isn't just the coming of spring: there's a shift happening in the political dynamic surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations. After weeks of the federal Liberal government taking heat for the slow arrival of vaccines in Canada, it's provincial premiers who must now answer to jittery, impatient voters hoping to be immunized as soon as possible. New Brunswick's Liberal opposition is now pushing Premier Blaine Higgs and his Progressive Conservative government for more details about the provincial vaccination plan — details they say other provinces have been providing to their citizens. "We're not trying to play politics with this, but there's certainly not a lot of information being given out to New Brunswickers, and New Brunswickers are asking questions to their MLAs," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson. Opposition Liberal leader Roger Melanson (CBC News) In January, Higgs said many more New Brunswickers could be vaccinated each week, if only there were enough vaccine. Now those supplies are ramping up fast. New Brunswick received 11,760 doses last week and a similar number is expected this week. Melanson says those doses should be administered as quickly as they arrive. "We're seeing deliveries, much bigger deliveries than what we had been getting since January, so now the onus has shifted onto the provincial governments," says political scientist Stéphanie Chouinard of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. Deputy minister of Health Gérald Richard told the legislature's public accounts committee Feb. 24 that New Brunswick would be ready for what he called "a flood" of vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. "We are very confident that we have a good plan in New Brunswick," Richard said. "It was approved by the COVID cabinet and ratified by cabinet a few months ago." Department of Health deputy minister Gérald Richard, left(Jacques Poitras/CBC) But the only detail the province provided during Monday's vaccine update was that 2,400 more long-term care residents would be done this week, accounting for about a quarter of the doses expected to arrive. And officials have given varying estimates of how many people can be vaccinated per week. In January, when deliveries to the province were still a trickle, Premier Blaine Higgs said 45,000 could be done, if only the province had enough vaccine. On Thursday he told reporters the province could do 40,000, then added it might be possible to double that to 80,000. Last Saturday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told CBC's The House that New Brunswick could vaccinate "up to 4,000 people a day," which works out to a maximum of 28,000 per week — below Higgs's estimate. Meanwhile, other provinces are moving faster, or at least providing more detail, on their rollouts. This week, Nova Scotia announced its plan for 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third to be approved in Canada. A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press) The doses arrive next week and Nova Scotia doctors and pharmacists will administer the doses to people aged 50-64 in 26 locations around the province starting March 15. New Brunswick has provided no such detail on what it will do with the approximately 10,000 doses it will receive. Higgs says that will be discussed by the all-party COVID cabinet committee next Tuesday and spokesperson Shawn Berry said the province will probably use it for some of the groups identified for early vaccination. Berry said 3,200 people were scheduled to be vaccinated this week but some clinics were delayed because of winter weather. He said doses listed as "available" by the province — more than 13,000 as of Thursday — are earmarked for clinics. "To prevent the risk of disruption of clinics, we don't plan to use them the same week they are scheduled to arrive in case there is a delay," he said. As an example, he said the province received more than 11,000 doses last week and a similar amount will be used at First Nations clinics that started this week. Berry also said Higgs's figure of 80,000 vaccinations per week being possible is correct. Higgs said last Friday one reason for the lack of detail is the uncertainty of supply that plagued the provinces for the first two months of the year. "When we schedule appointments, we will have a vaccine to put with it," he said during last week's CBC political panel on Information Morning Fredericton. "I would like to see a map out over the next two or three or four months of a fixed quantity so that we can plan well." Not when, but how Melanson said he's satisfied with the "who" and "when" so far but wants to know about the "how" — how people will contact, or hear from, the province to arrange their shots. At the Feb. 24 public accounts committee meeting, Liberal MLA Jean-Claude d'Amours also pointed to a Brunswick News report that the province was "urgently" calling for help in long-term care homes from anyone qualified to administer vaccines — another sign of lack of preparedness, he said. Whether New Brunswick's plan is really behind other provinces remains to be seen. The fluctuations in vaccine deliveries to Canada caused short-term alarm and a lot of political finger-pointing but in the end did not endanger the overall vaccine delivery target for the first three months of 2021. Still, Chouinard points out that even those temporary delays probably led to more illness and deaths. D'Amours noted at the public accounts committee that the percentage of COVID-19 doses the province was administering was slipping. Liberal health critic Jean-Claude d'Amours(CBC) The week before the hearing, 21 per cent of all doses received in New Brunswick hadn't been used. It rose to 25 per cent last week and 28 per cent this week. "Supply is not the issue right now," Melanson says. "The issue is capacity to roll it out." The province has been holding back a lot of vaccine for second doses. But with the recent announcement that second doses will be delayed to maximize first doses, those hold-back numbers should now diminish. On Thursday the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island governments said the delay to second doses will allow everyone in those provinces who wants to be vaccinated to get their first dose by June. Higgs told reporters that's his target as well. He said more details on how delayed second doses and new vaccine approvals will change the province's rollout plan should be coming next week. Berry said 7,503 of 11,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and first-dose clinics for all long-term care facilities will be finished over the next two weeks.
Premiers say federal COVID-19 vaccine procurement delays have left them no choice but to stretch out the time between doses, as pharmacies in some parts of Ontario were preparing to start giving shots next week. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that he had asked chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw some time ago to take a serious look into allowing a four-month gap between shots after seeing "tremendous" results in the United Kingdom and Israel. He said an outbreak driven by a new, more transmissible COVID-19 variant started at a seniors' home in Edmonton on Monday just as residents were supposed to be receiving their vaccines. "They should have been vaccinated weeks ago, like they were in similar settings in the United States, Israel, the U.K. and many, many other countries," he said following a virtual premiers' meeting. "This is extremely frustrating and I think we have no choice but to expand the interval to get more people covered." British Columbia announced Monday that it would be allowing up to four months between doses. Several other provinces followed suit after a national panel of vaccine experts recommended Wednesday that such an extension would be appropriate if supplies are limited. Labels of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines call for a three or four-week gap between doses. Research has shown one dose is 70 to 80 per cent effective for up to two months, but it's unclear how long protection lasts beyond that. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Thursday his province is moving to the four-month interval because the federal government has done a "disappointing job at best" in quickly getting vaccines to provinces. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister added: "Let's face it: this strategy has become necessary as a consequence of an absence of vaccines." A Health Canada official said Thursday that a decision on Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine could come "within days." It would be the fourth to be approved, following ones from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Ottawa's vaccine rollout, told a media briefing that nearly three million doses have been distributed to the provinces and territories so far. "In April, we're anticipating a steep increase in vaccine availability," he said. That includes 23 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines between April and June and at least 1.5 million of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by mid-May. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said many of the Oxford-AstraZeneca doses the province receives will go to pharmacies for a pilot program beginning next week. The Ontario Pharmacists Association said about 380 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex will be doling out shots initially. A similar program in Alberta began with pharmacies in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary this week. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax. Health officials in the Atlantic province said rules that came into effect last week limiting restaurant hours, prohibiting sports events and discouraging non-essential travel will end Friday morning in the capital region. Nova Scotia reported three new cases Thursday and 29 active ones. Ontario, meanwhile, recorded 994 new infections, almost four per cent higher than the previous report, but the third straight day below 1,000. It also linked 10 more deaths to the virus. Quebec said it had 707 new cases, along with 20 additional deaths. It is easing restrictions in Quebec City and four other regions starting Monday, but keeping them in place in the Montreal area due to concern over variants. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
PARMA, Italy — Alexis Sánchez scored twice to help Inter Milan win 2-1 at relegation-threatened Parma on Thursday to open up a six-point gap at the top of Serie A. Romelu Lukaku had a hand in both Inter goals in the second half before Hernani pulled one back for Parma. Inter moved six points above second-place AC Milan, which was held to a 1-1 draw by Udinese on Wednesday. Nine-time defending champion Juventus is third but has played a match less. Parma remained second from bottom, six points from safety. Inter had won six of its past seven league matches heading into the game at Parma, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one. It was Parma which had the better of the earlier chances, but Inter broke the deadlock nine minutes into the second half. Lukaku chested down a pass on the edge of the area and tried to turn but the ball ended up ricocheting into the path of Sánchez. Sassuolo defender Riccardo Gagliolo tried to clear his shot off the line but it had already gone over. Lukaku did even better eight minutes later as he powered through from his own half and then rolled a great ball across for Sánchez to drive into the bottom right corner. Parma briefly threatened a comeback when Hernani volleyed in Germán Pezzella’s cross in the 71st. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the case involves a man in his 60s who is a close contact of a previously reported infection. She says the man initially tested negative but was retested after developing symptoms. Morrison is reminding all Islanders to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and to isolate until the results come back. Prince Edward Island has 23 active reported cases of COVID-19. The province has reported a total of 138 infections and no deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Canada's premiers are demanding that Ottawa immediately give them an extra $28 billion for health care this year, with a promise of at least a five-per-cent hike in the annual transfer payment each year thereafter.
OTTAWA — Canada is on the cusp of authorizing a fourth vaccine for COVID-19, raising the possibility that every Canadian adult will be offered at least one dose before Canada Day. Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said Thursday the review of Johnson and Johnson's vaccine "is going very well." "It's progressing, and we're expecting to have that completed and a decision in the next few days," Sharma said at a virtual news conference from Ottawa. Johnson and Johnson, which was authorized in the United States last weekend, would join Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca on Canada's list of approved vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna have been in use since December, with more than 1.5 million Canadians now vaccinated with at least one dose. Canada's deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said that with new vaccines being approved and moves by provinces to delay second doses, more Canadians will be vaccinated at a faster rate. All provinces have indicated they will accept a recommendation made Wednesday by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to delay second doses of vaccine by up to four months. The new guidelines say the science shows a first dose is so effective that delaying the second dose so everyone can get a first dose more quickly, is better both for individual protection and to establish herd immunity in Canada. Canada had been expecting enough doses of approved vaccines to vaccinate every adult with two doses by the end of September, based on Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all requiring two doses given 21 or 28 days apart. Canada is in line to get 26 million more doses of Pfizer and Moderna, and at least 3.5 million of AstraZeneca by the end of June. Those deliveries alone would be enough to offer a first dose to every Canadian over 16 years of age by Canada Day. No vaccines are approved for use on children under the age of 16 yet. Another 20 million doses of AstraZeneca and 10 million from Johnson and Johnson are to arrive by September, but it's not yet clear how many will arrive by June. Another 55 million doses expected from Pfizer and Moderna between July and September would more than cover the necessary second doses. The national advisory panel's recommendation to delay doses is the latest adjustment to vaccine guidelines that some fear may make Canadians hesitant to trust the vaccines. "We're very concerned about that," said Sharma. "We want to make sure that people have confidence in the decisions that are being made about vaccines." She said experts are basing vaccine decisions on evidence as it is presented. With more data coming almost daily about the vaccines, including how they're faring as millions of doses are administered around the world, new and changing guidance is not surprising. "The responsible thing to do is to make sure that we get all that information and incorporate that into our decision-making," she said. "So definitely, the messaging would be simpler if we had one set of data and we had one message, and it never changed. But that's not what science does." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2020. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
SAN DIEGO — More than 260 refugees who were vetted, approved and booked to come to the United States have had their flights cancelled by the State Department over the past two weeks because they do not qualify under restrictions imposed by former President Donald Trump, refugee resettlement agencies say. The restrictions came when Trump capped refugee admissions at a record low of 15,000. President Joe Biden proposed quadrupling refugee admissions and eliminating Trump's restrictions in a plan that was communicated to Congress three weeks ago. Meantime, the State Department, which co-ordinates flights with resettlement agencies, booked the refugees with the anticipation that Biden would have replaced Trump’s orders by now, according to the agencies. But Biden has not issued a presidential determination since his administration notified Congress, which is required by law, and Trump’s orders have remained in place. The action does not require congressional approval and past presidents have issued such presidential determinations that set the cap on refugee admissions shortly after the notification to Congress. As a result, the State Department has cancelled the flights of at least 264 refugees and more cancellations are expected, according to resettlement agencies. Most of the refugees are from Africa and do not qualify for entry under the restrictions that Trump implemented that allocated most of the spots for people fleeing religious persecution, Iraqis who have assisted U.S. forces there, and people from Central America’s Northern Triangle, the resettlement agencies say. Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, a Maryland-based Jewish non-profit that is one of nine agencies that resettles refugees in the U.S., said all flights for refugees who don't qualify under Trump's restrictions have been cancelled through March 19. “Real lives are being impacted," Hetfield said. “To say I am very disappointed that the Biden administration would treat refugees this way would be an understatement." Many of the refugees had sold their belongings and left places they were renting and now are scrambling to find another place to stay until they get word they can come to the United States. Melaku Gebretsadik, 54, an Eritrean refugee who lives in Greeley, Colorado, was on his way to the Denver airport Tuesday with flowers and gifts to greet his wife and three children when he was told their flights were cancelled. He has been waiting to be reunited with them for a decade. “My heart was broken," Gebretsadik said through an interpreter. His family was told they should be re-booked on a flight in a couple of weeks but Gebretsadik is not going to get his hopes up. “I don't know what to believe," he said. The Biden administration gave no explanation about the delay or cancellation of flights when asked about the situation Thursday. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Secretary of State Antony Blinken “believes that it is very much in our DNA to be a country that welcomes those fleeing persecution, welcomes those fleeing violence the world over. It is precisely why discriminatory travel bans were done away with." But he said he had no updates at this time on “our efforts to undo some of the damage to the program.” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which also resettles refugees, said many are in precarious situations. “After four years of draconian Trump administration policies, it’s critical that the Biden administration expeditiously issue its presidential determination to ensure these new Americans can safely enter their new home country," she said. ___ Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report. Julie Watson, The Associated Press
The Friends of Hudson’s Hope Society is already planning for the Christmas season, and have applied to the BC Hydro GO Fund asking for $7,500 toward its food bank and hamper programs. Both programs combined cost $24,000 to run each year, and half the funding has already been secured, says Society Administrator Patti Campbell. The Society's thrift store was closed for three months at the start of the pandemic, the main source of revenue for the non-profit. “Anything grants or assistance from the outside helps. Donations were a challenge for a while, but we’re ready for another year,” said Campbell. “We’re taking things day by day; our thrift store is a lot slower than it was, pre-pandemic.” The society remains a lifeline for many in Hudson's Hope, providing numerous social services including a mobile palliative care bed, financial support for medical travel, addiction and disability support, and disaster relief. “We’re close knit, and no one allows anyone else to go without. If it wasn’t for our community, we would have struggled last year,” said Campbell. “But the community really steps up, it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s our organization or others, we can always count on them.” The annual food drive wasn’t the same last year due to COVID. Campbell noted residents missed the face-to-face time with the local fire department, which was replaced with socially-distanced drop off points. “That’s part of the whole fundraiser, is people get to see the fire department, they get to talk with them, they get to interact with them,” Campbell. Anyone looking to donate or volunteer with the society can phone 250-783-9211, email email@example.com, or drop by in person. firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
Windsor will be working with existing shelters when it comes to providing services at a hotel it's in the process of purchasing to house people experiencing homelessness, according to a city councillor. Rino Bortolin says organizations such as the Salvation Army, Downtown Mission and The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women will not lose funding or be left in a lurch because of the city's plan to buy a facility of its own. "We as a city are not really the most direct [or] hands-on. We will be working with our partners on the ground to provide these services," explained the Ward 3 councillor, who represents a large section of the downtown core. "This is about everyone working together for a better system. By no means is the city leaving our partners and doing something rogue." Few details of the plan, including the location of the facility, have been released right now. But Bortolin said he anticipates more information will be provided in the next week or two. Andrew Teliszewsky, chief of staff for Mayor Drew Dilkens, told CBC News in an email Wednesday that city council had approved the deal during an in-camera meeting earlier this year and the legal steps to acquire the site are already underway. The planned purchase follows the Review of Emergency Shelter Services in Windsor Essex. A copy of the review on the city's website is dated July 14, 2020. Teliszewsky said it went to council in the fall of 2020. Among its findings was the need for more shelter space dedicated to women with or without children, youth and young adults. "The one thing that was a glaring need for specifically for families and specifically for women was increased services," said Bortolin. "So increased services means a bigger shelter." City tapping into provincial funding However, the recommendations section of the review also advises that the city deliver services through third-parties — namely the shelters and organizations already doing the work. "Direct delivery has the potential for higher costs and would not allow the city to leverage the resources and existing expertise of community partners to meet shelter needs," it reads. The review goes on to add that Windsor should explore opportunities for more family shelter beds and a dedicated facility, but notes funds "are currently not available to support" the investment in a building. When asked why buy a hotel, rather than investing in the services already running shelters in the city, Teliszewsky said the city is already regularly paying to house families in hotels when shelter space runs out. He also pointed to provincial funding that includes a grant program under which municipalities can buy a facility. "The province made available funding and we didn't want to leave it on the table," he said. "It provides the opportunity for the city to acquire a property, where in previous years we have been renting, so it relives an operating budget line item and will give us flexibility to implement some recommendations from the Emergency Shelter Review, which council had endorsed." Long-term goal is permanent housing Officials also said that just because the city is purchasing the site, does not mean it will be the one operating it. Ron Dunn, executive director of the Downtown Mission, said Wednesday evening that he was just hearing about the plans to purchase a hotel, but described the move as "progressive." "We need maybe smaller shelters. The hotel seems to fit that bill," he said. "[The mayor] did state that he's going to work with existing shelters. There's only three of us, so I think it's great." The Downtown Mission on Victoria Avenue is one of three shelters currently operating in the city. A review which went to council states ore services for women and young persons are needed in the community. (Dale Molnar/CBC) Bortolin said the need for services for the homeless community should be clear to anyone walking through downtown. While shelters serve an immediate need and can offer a bed for a night, they're just a start. "The long-term effort is permanent housing," he said. "The one cure for homelessness is housing"
TORONTO — Pharmacies in three Ontario regions, including Toronto, will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines next week, although the province provided few details Thursday on how the pilot program would work. Health Minister Christine Elliott said pharmacies will receive doses of the recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province has said those shots will go to residents aged 60 to 64 based on federal recommendations. "A large number will be delivered through pharmacies because it's easier to handle," Elliott said of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. "It will be very helpful as we're trying to roll out the COVID vaccines as quickly as we can to protect as many people as possible." Elliott said Ontario will soon be releasing a revised immunization timeline that accounts for expected shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot and new guidance on extending the interval between doses to four months -- both of which are expected to speed up the vaccine rollout. "We know that people are anxious and we're anxious to let them know when they will be able to receive the vaccine," she said. The Ontario Pharmacists Association said the vaccination pilot will begin with approximately 380 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex, with the first shots to begin possibly as early as Tuesday. "It's a move in the right direction," CEO Justin Bates said in an interview. "We're more than happy to partner and be a solution, and we're looking forward to a successful rollout beyond March." Bates said pharmacies will use their own booking systems to make vaccine appointments since a provincewide web portal isn't set to launch until March 15. Vaccines will likely go to people between the ages of 60 and 64, Bates said, although that will be evaluated based on supply. Sites are expected to be able to administer about 46 shots per day, he said. The program will eventually scale up as supply increases, Bates said, noting that the pharmacists' association has about 4,600 sites across the province. About 3,200 sites are already experienced with administering flu shots every year, he noted. "All Ontarians live within three kilometers of a pharmacy, so that's our advantage in terms of our footprint," he said. Opposition politicians said they were concerned about the government's lack of detail on the vaccine rollout. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government has not done enough to guarantee that older residents most at risk of death or severe illness from COVID-19 will be vaccinated first, as recommended by experts. "Where's the assurance that folks who are ... between 60 and 64, who are healthy, are not going to get that vaccine ahead of somebody in their 70s," she said. Liberal health critic John Fraser said the lack of a clear plan is another sign that the government is not ready for the broader rollout. "Just because a plan evolves, doesn't mean you don't do one or you don't show it to people," he said. Ontario has administered a total of 784,828 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine so far. The province's top doctor said Thursday that people should continue to follow public health guidelines even with the good news on increased vaccine supply, pointing to increased cases of COVID-19 variants. Public Health Ontario confirmed 678 cases of variants, which are more contagious strains of the virus, as of Thursday. Dr. David Williams said variants are a major factor as he considers whether to recommend lifting a stay-at-home order for Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay, Ont., that's set to expire Monday. "We want to be cautious at this time," he said, noting he was concerned about rising positivity rates in Toronto and Peel as well. The government will decide Friday what restrictions to impose on those three regions. The top doctors in Toronto and Peel have said they want the stay-at-home order lifted and their regions to be placed in the strictest category of the province's colour-coded pandemic framework. That "grey lockdown" category allows non-essential retail to open at 25 per cent, but still bans indoor restaurant dining and personal care services. Meanwhile, the top doctor for the Sudbury, Ont., area suggested she wanted stronger restrictions for her region amid rising cases that have lead to institutional outbreaks and school closures. Ontario reported 994 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
WASHINGTON — Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered her first Supreme Court majority opinion Thursday, ruling against an environmental group that had sought access to government records. President Donald Trump's third nominee wrote for a 7-2 court that certain draft documents do not have to be disclosed under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The case was the first one Barrett heard after joining the court in late October, and it took four months for the 11-page opinion to be released. Two liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented. It is something of a tradition for new justices to be assigned a case in which the court is unanimous for their first opinion, but it doesn't always happen. Both of Trump's other nominees, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, wrote unanimous first opinions. Sotomayor also got a unanimous opinion for her first assignment, but President Barack Obama's other nominee, Justice Elena Kagan, was assigned a first opinion where the court divided 8-1. The opinion Barrett wrote involved the environmental group the Sierra Club, which sued seeking access to federal government documents involving certain structures used to cool industrial equipment and their potential harm to endangered wildlife. Barrett began by explaining that FOIA makes “records available to the public upon request, unless those records fall within one of nine exemptions.” Those exemptions include “documents generated during an agency’s deliberations about a policy, as opposed to documents that embody or explain a policy that the agency adopts.” Barrett said the documents the Sierra Club was seeking were draft documents that did not need to be disclosed. And she dismissed concerns the group had raised that ruling against it would encourage officials to “stamp every document ‘draft’” to avoid disclosing them. Barrett said that if “evidence establishes that an agency has hidden a functionally final decision in draft form” then it won’t be protected from disclosure requirements. Barrett's predecessor on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, liked to recount that she was assigned a “miserable” case involving a federal law about pensions for her first opinion, a case on which the court had divided 6-3. She said that though she and the court's first female justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, were on different sides of the case, when she announced the opinion in court, O'Connor passed her a note that said: “This is your first opinion for the Court, it is a fine one, I look forward to many more.” Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the justices are not currently announcing their decisions in the courtroom but only posting them online. Barrett's opinion Thursday was not the first writing the public has seen from her as a justice. Last month, she wrote a paragraph-long concurring opinion in a case in which the justices told the state of California that it can’t bar indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic, but could maintain a ban on singing and chanting indoors. Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Breaking with other Southern GOP governors, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey extended her state’s mask order for another month Thursday but said the requirement will end for good in April. The move came a day after President Joe Biden slammed the governors of Texas and Mississippi for deciding to lift their mask mandates, saying their actions reflect “Neanderthal thinking.” Ivey has faced political pressure to lift the mask order like her Republican counterparts but said she will follow the recommendations of medical officials and keep the mandate that was set to expire Friday in place until April 9. “We need to get past Easter and hopefully allow more Alabamians to get their first shot before we take a step some other states have taken to remove the mask order altogether and lift other restrictions. Folks, we are not there yet, but goodness knows we’re getting closer," Ivey said at a news conference. The governor called masks “one of our greatest tools” in preventing the virus’ spread but emphasized that she will not extend the mask order further, saying it will become a matter of personal responsibility when the mandate ends. “Even when we lift the mask order, I will continue to wear my mask while I’m around others and strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and do the same,” Ivey said. Medical officials welcomed Ivey’s decision after urging an extension, arguing that easing restrictions before more people were vaccinated could reverse recent improvements. Alabama’s rolling seven-day average of daily cases has dropped from 3,000 in early January to below 1,000 and hospitalizations are at their lowest point since summer. “This is very good news. This gives us a month to vaccinate more people and to get a better handle on the role of the UK variant,” said Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association. So far only about 13% of Alabama’s 4.9 million people have received one dose of vaccine, according to state numbers. State Health Officer Scott Harris said vaccine supplies are increasing and if the state can get a cumulative total of 1.75 million shots delivered by early April, that would be a “terrific place to be.” Harris said about 500,000 people in the state have tested positive for the virus and there are likely others who had it but didn’t know. “We are striving to reach this herd immunity point at some point,” Harris said. Dr. Ellen Eaton, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said schools and organizations serving people who’ve yet to receive a vaccine will need to “carefully consider how to proceed” once the order ends. “For many, continuing masking will be necessary, such as in schools and colleges. But leadership in these spaces needs time to think through the health and policy implications of recommending masks in the absence of a mandate,” she said. Ivey faced backlash on social media for her decision, with some users sharing the phone number to the governor’s office and asking callers to voice opposition to the rule. And the Alabama Senate approved a resolution Wednesday evening urging Ivey to end the mask mandate. Republican Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth also asked Ivey to end the mask requirement, which he has opposed all along, saying individuals can make decisions for themselves and follow safety rules until vaccinations and immunity levels are sufficient. “But we can do all of these things without a Big Brother-style government mandate looming over us,” Ainsworth said in a statement. The governor did lift some restrictions on how many people can sit as a restaurant table, but tables are still required to be 6 feet (2 metres) apart or have a partition. The order also allowed senior citizens to resume some activities and hospitals to increase the number of visitors patients can have from one to two ___ Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kim Chandler, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Results of a study led by Metro Vancouver's transit operator reveal copper on high-touch surfaces is lethal to bacteria. A statement from TransLink says the findings of the industry-leading trial show copper products kill up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of surface contact. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TransLink was the first transit agency in North America to test copper on high-touch surfaces. The pilot study was launched after unrelated studies showed copper is both durable and effective at killing germs. Phase 1 of the pilot, which was fully funded by mining firm Teck Resources, began last November and continued for five weeks on surfaces of two buses and two SkyTrain cars. A second phase will begin in the coming months using a larger sample to verify the results, testing copper over a longer period on more transit vehicles, and focusing tests on the most effective products identified from Phase 1. TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo says they are excited to find out more about the impact of copper on viruses such as the ones that cause COVID-19. "This research could help us, other transit agencies, and anyone with surfaces in shared public spaces keep high-touch areas as clean as possible,” she says in the statement. The project stems from a partnership between TransLink, Teck, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. Teck funded the initial phase as part of its Copper & Health program and the company will also support Phase 2. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
À travers l’Histoire, ce sont surtout les hommes qui possédaient le pouvoir politique. Cela n’a pas empêché plusieurs femmes d’influencer leurs décisions, voire de tirer les ficelles en coulisses, souvent anonymement. Quelques femmes sont toutefois parvenues à s’affirmer comme personnage politique incontournable à part entière. Voici le bref portrait de trois d’entre elles. L’ère victorienne dure 63 ans, de 1837 à 1901, dépassée seulement par celle d’Elizabeth II (qui en est à sa 69e année). Le règne de Victoria marque une époque charnière pour l’empire britannique, qui s’industrialise et se modernise. En 1815, l’empire compte 61 millions de sujets. À la mort de Victoria, il en compte presque 389 millions, soit 24 % de la population mondiale. Elle obtiendra même le titre d’impératrice des Indes, en 1876. On la surnomme la grand-mère de l’Europe, puisque les mariages qu’elle arrange et les alliances qu’elle tisse permettent à ses petits-enfants d’accéder aux plus importants trônes du continent. Cette toile de liens familiaux devait assurer la stabilité politique de l’Europe, après les guerres napoléoniennes. Mais cela n’empêchera pas son petit-fils, Guillaume II, empereur d’Allemagne, de déclarer la guerre à ses cousins Nicolas II, tsar de Russie, et George V, roi de l’empire britannique, et de plonger le monde entier dans la Première Guerre mondiale, en 1914. Parmi tous les pirates de l’histoire, Ching Shih est la plus fascinante. Alors qu’elle travaille dans un bordel à Canton, en Chine, elle marie l’influent pirate Cheng I en 1801. Ensemble, ils parviennent à fédérer plusieurs petits groupes de pirates pour former une coalition redoutable. Lorsque son mari meurt en 1807, Ching Shih manœuvre pour demeurer au pouvoir. Elle marie son fils adoptif et gagne le support et la loyauté de membres influents de la coalition. En 1809, cheffe incontestée, elle contrôle une flotte de 1 800 jonques (voiliers chinois) et commande entre 60 000 et 80 000 pirates. Sa flotte est si grande et si disciplinée qu’elle rivalise avec celles de la Chine impériale et de l’empire portugais, terrorisant la mer de Chine méridionale. À toutes fins pratiques, elle gouverne l’équivalent d’un État, prélevant même des taxes dans plusieurs villages côtiers. Après une série de défaites, elle doit toutefois se rendre en 1810, mais réussit à négocier une amnistie auprès de la Chine, pour elle et ses pirates. Ils devront déposer leurs armes… mais pourront conserver leur butin. Il peut être difficile de séparer la réalité du mythe lorsqu’on parle de la dernière reine d’Égypte. Chose certaine, elle était une politicienne habile et rusée. Nommée co-régnante avec son jeune frère, à la mort de son père en 51 av. J.-C., elle parvient peu à peu à concentrer le pouvoir entre ses mains. Elle s’allie d’abord avec Jules César, alors qu’il devient maître incontesté de l’Empire romain. Ils auront un enfant ensemble : Césarion. Après l’assassinat de César, elle s’allie à Marc Antoine. Difficile de dire si leur alliance était le résultat d’un amour passionné comme le raconte Shakespeare, ou plutôt d’un calcul politique de Cléopâtre. Quoiqu’il en soit, lorsque la rivalité entre Marc Antoine et Octave mène à la guerre civile, Marc Antoine est défait. Cléopâtre préfère se suicider avec du poison plutôt qu’être capturée par Octave, qui deviendra Auguste, premier empereur romain. Malgré les meilleurs efforts de Cléopâtre pour préserver sa dynastie et l’autonomie de son royaume, l’Égypte deviendra une province romaine après sa mort. Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
TORONTO — Martinrea International Inc. capped a difficult year in which it faced automotive plant closures with its net profit falling 12 per cent to nearly $45 million in the final quarter of 2020. The autoparts manufacturer says it earned 56 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter, down from 63 cents per share or $51.2 million a year earlier. The adjusted profit surged 30.7 per cent to $44.2 million or 55 cents per share, up from $33.8 million or 42 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2019. Revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31 increased 16.7 per cent to $1.07 billion from $917.6 million in the prior year. Martinrea was expected to report an adjusted profit of 52 cents per share on $1 billion of revenues, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. For the full-year, it lost $27.3 million or 34 cents per share, compared with a profit of $181.2 million or $2.19 per diluted share in 2019. Adjusted profits dropped to $46.9 million or 58 cents per share, down from $187.7 million or $2.27 per share a year earlier. Revenues decreased 12.6 per cent to $3.37 billion, from $3.86 billion in 2019. "Looking at 2020, after a challenging second quarter where we generated minimal sales and an operating loss, our results rebounded sharply in the back half of the year, which saw us generate record adjusted diluted net earnings per share in both the third and fourth quarters," stated CEO Pat D'Eramo. "Our fourth-quarter results were characterized by continued strong volumes and an adjusted operating income margin above year-ago levels — a strong result despite renewed lockdowns and other public health restrictions in November and December as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which impeded some integration and launch activities." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:MRE) The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is planning to extend its ban on smoking in indoor public places to First Nations communities.A bill before the legislature proposes to remove an exemption for reserves and other areas of federal jurisdiction, including military bases, from the provincial smoking ban.Ceremonial tobacco use would still be allowed.Audrey Gordon, minister for mental health, wellness and recovery, says the aim is to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.She says band councils will be consulted.The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says the province does not have the right to enforce its smoking ban unilaterally.Grand Chief Arlen Dumas says all options are on the table to fight the government's move, including a possible court challenge.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — The B.C. government has eased the eligibility requirements for small and medium-sized businesses applying for funds under its $345-million pandemic recovery grant program. The province has also extended the deadline for businesses to apply from the end of this month to Aug. 31, or until all the money has been spent. Businesses with up to 149 employees must now show a 30 per cent drop in revenue in any one month between March 2020 and the time of application compared with the same time period during the year before. The grant program previously required businesses to show a 70 per cent drop at some point during March or April last year, plus additional revenue losses of 30 to 50 per cent from May 2020 until their application. Ravi Rahlon, the minister of jobs and economic recovery, says the province has been "nimble" with the program and the changes directly follow feedback from the business community. He says about $55 million has been distributed through the program so far and influx of applications hasn't slowed down, though he couldn't say how many more businesses may now apply given the latest changes. "Certainly we have some businesses that have applied that weren't able to get the funding because they didn't meet (requirements), and now we'll be able to call them and tell them that in fact they do have funding available." This is the second time the government has eased the program's eligibility requirements. Businesses may apply for grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, with additional funds available to tourism-related businesses, which Kahlon says represent just over half of applicants to the program so far. The province says businesses don't need to resubmit existing applications and those received previously will be reviewed under the new criteria. In a statement, Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone urged the NDP government to eliminate the requirement that businesses must be at least 18 months old. Kahlon says the rule stands and businesses that apply by the new deadline must have been operating since last March, "so essentially anyone that had a business when the pandemic started can apply for this grant." B.C. is also offering up to $2,000 to be paid directly to professional service providers for businesses that need help creating a required recovery plan. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
The province is sending some pandemic relief money to Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover to help the cultural institution get back on its feet. Lighthouse will receive $71,858 through the government’s Arts Recovery Support Fund. Lisa MacLeod, the minister overseeing the province’s tourism and cultural industries, announced the funding this week as part of a $25-million package for artists and arts organizations in Ontario. “Ontario’s arts sector was among the first and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a ‘high-touch’ sector that depends on gatherings of people, and will take the longest to recover,” MacLeod said in a statement. Reopening venues like Lighthouse “will play an important role in the mental health and well-being of Ontarians and an equally important role in the province’s economic and social recovery,” MacLeod said. The funding was available for organizations and individuals who already receive grants through the Ontario Arts Council. Venues with operating budgets of over $1 million automatically qualified. “We’re so grateful for it, and we’re thrilled,” said Lighthouse executive director Nicole Campbell. “The government recognizes the arts and culture industry as being devastated during this time, with not being able to open for the last year.” Lighthouse closed its doors in mid-March of last year, which meant scrapping the entire summer season, the popular community show starring local amateur actors, and a crowded slate of off-season events. It added up to “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in lost revenue, Campbell said. While the provincial money will help — as will almost $215,000 brought in by a summertime fundraising campaign — Campbell cautioned that there are more financial and logistical hurdles to overcome before the theatre can welcome patrons back. “We don’t want anyone to think that just by receiving this money, we can reopen,” she said. “With the regulations, up until a few weeks ago we couldn’t have anyone in the building. So we keep having to adapt.” One challenge for Lighthouse is even the loosest of the province’s COVID-19 restrictions means “severe revenue limitations,” Campbell explained, because a theatre that usually fits 350 patrons is limited to 50 per show. When Lighthouse can reopen is of keen interest to restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts throughout the region that rely on the theatre to bring in customers, as mentioned by Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett in the funding announcement. “This is quite welcome news for our Lighthouse Festival Theatre and all who enjoy its offerings,” Barrett said. “Lighthouse Theatre is an anchor for our area’s visitor-based economy.” Campbell expects to make an announcement about the summer season in the next few months. “We’re waiting as long as we can to announce anything,” she said, explaining that she and artistic director Derek Ritschel are mulling over scenarios that will ensure the safety of artists, patrons and staff. “We can pretty confidently say that we’re going to have theatre this summer,” Campbell said. “We just have a few different options of what it’ll look like.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Lorsqu’on s’intéresse à l’histoire et à la politique, on finit par croire qu’on en connaît tous les grands personnages. Mais il arrive que certains d’entre eux nous échappent, et on les découvre alors avec une curiosité renouvelée. Pour moi, ce fut le cas avec Solange Chaput-Rolland. Écrit avec l’aide de Mario Fauteux. J’ai grandi à Prévost. Durant mon adolescence et ma vingtaine, j’ai passé un nombre incalculable d’heures à discuter avec un ami, aussi de Prévost (allô Philippe!), de politique canadienne. Notre sujet préféré était probablement cette époque tumultueuse du référendum de 1980, du rapatriement de la Constitution et de l’accord du lac Meech (et son échec). Nous avons appris à connaître ses principaux acteurs : Trudeau père, Lévesque, Bourassa, Mulroney, Charest, et j’en passe. Nous avons même lu les mémoires de quelques-uns d’entre eux! Mais jamais le nom de Solange Chaput-Rolland n’est apparu dans nos discussions. Jusqu’à tout récemment, je ne savais même pas qu’elle avait existé. Née en 1919 à Montréal et décédée en 2001 à Sainte-Marguerite-Estérel, Solange Chaput-Rolland a eu une influence non seulement ici, dans les Laurentides, mais à l’échelle nationale, pancanadienne, à une époque charnière du pays. Comme journaliste émérite, elle écrit des éditoriaux dès les années 1940. Marc Laurendeau la décrit même comme une pionnière du journalisme d’opinion. En 1955, elle fonde le magazine mensuel Point de vue, dans lequel écriront Judith Jasmin et Pierre Bourgault, entre autres. Elle participera à plusieurs journaux, à plusieurs émissions de radio et de télé, tout au long de sa carrière. À sa mort, elle avait publié 25 livres. À la suite de l’élection du Parti québécois en 1976, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, alors premier ministre du Canada, forme la Commission Pépin-Robarts sur l’unité canadienne en 1977. Chaput-Rolland en sera membre et parcourra le pays pendant 2 ans. Dans ses recommandations, le rapport final propose un fédéralisme asymétrique avec le Québec, pour sauver la confédération, ainsi qu’une réduction du pouvoir fédéral au profit des provinces. Les positions de Chaput-Rolland auront une influence importante dans sa rédaction. À l’invitation du chef libéral Claude Ryan, Chaput-Rolland se présentera comme candidate dans la circonscription de Prévost aux élections partielles de 1979. Elle siégera à l’Assemblée nationale jusqu’en 1981, où elle sera défaite par le péquiste Robert Dean. Elle militera activement pour le camp du Non, et sera même conférencière aux rassemblements des Yvettes : un mouvement populaire de femmes opposées à l’indépendance. Brian Mulroney la nommera sénatrice en 1988 et elle siégera à la Chambre haute jusqu’à sa retraite, en 1994. Vous savez comment j’ai découvert Solange Chaput-Rolland? Parce qu’elle était l’épouse d’André Rolland, fils de Jean Rolland, celui qui gérait la papeterie de Mont-Rolland, à Sainte-Adèle. Mais ce sera probablement la dernière chose que je mentionnerai, lorsque je l’inviterai dans mes prochains débats politiques entre amis. « J’ai été déçue parce que la femme n’y a pas encore une place reconnue… Acceptée de la population, oui… Mais à l’intérieur du caucus, c’est plus difficile; à l’intérieur de l’Assemblée nationale, c’est infernal. J’ai les mêmes déceptions que Lise Payette à cause des mêmes choses. Les hommes sont très lents à prendre des décisions, en règle générale. La femme les prend vite. Elle ne les prend peut-être pas mieux que les hommes, mais sa vie de femme, sa vie de mère, sa vie de femme d’intérieur fait que tous les jours elle doit prendre une décision. » Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès