Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby returned after a 10-game absence and explained how the team playing small-ball impacts his game.
Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby returned after a 10-game absence and explained how the team playing small-ball impacts his game.
Most provinces, including British Columbia, announced this week they expect every adult will receive a first COVID-19 vaccine dose by June or July. The move came after a recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to delay a second dose for four months, following evidence of high levels of protection from one dose. All provinces have adopted the recommendation, potentially accelerating Canada's vaccination timeline by two months. But where does that leave kids? Close to one million people in B.C. are 19 or younger, and they make up nearly one-fifth of the province's population. Here's what you need to know about where they fall in the vaccination plan. Can kids get vaccinated? Not yet. Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people aged 16 and older, while the Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 and up. Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Supriya Sharma, has said there's not enough data from the initial clinical trials to know how the vaccines affect kids. So far, B.C.'s immunization plan is focused on residents 18 and older. B.C.'s health ministry said it will administer Pfizer vaccines to teens between the ages of 16 and 17 who are severely clinically vulnerable, and whose care provider has determined vaccination is the best course of action. Do kids need to be immunized? Dr. Manish Sadarangani, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and director of the Vaccine Evaluation Centre at B.C. Children's Hospital, said it's not yet not clear whether all kids need to get vaccinated. He is currently leading research that is testing children across B.C. for COVID-19 antibodies to understand asymptomatic infections and better estimate the true infection rate among younger people. Experts will also have a clearer picture once most adults are vaccinated, Sadarangani said. At that point, health officials can look at the number of cases among kids, whether severe cases are showing up and whether kids are a source of ongoing community transmission. Researchers are testing children across B.C. for COVID-19 antibodies to understand asymptomatic infections and better estimate the true infection rate among younger people.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Fiona Brinkman, a professor in the molecular biology and biochemistry department at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, said children should "definitely" be vaccinated. "Getting COVID is much worse in terms of potential for long-term side effects than getting the vaccine," said Brinkman, who is also working on Canada's variant containment efforts through the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network. When will kids receive a vaccine? The four pharmaceutical companies are at all different stages of testing the vaccines on kids. It's unclear when exactly those vaccines could be approved for kids. Sharma said Friday that data from teenagers will come first, followed by kids under 12. "Potentially, by the end of the calendar year, we might have some answers for children." Clinical trials are underway to determine vaccine effectiveness on children.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Sadarangani said the first clinical trial data from older kids is expected to come by the end of August. If the Health Canada approves the vaccines on kids, NACI will then recommend how to best deploy the doses, he said. Sadarangani said rolling out the vaccine as part of school immunizations will be far more efficient than immunizing adults, noting the system is "better set up" to vaccinate kids. Is achieving 'herd immunity' possible without vaccinating kids? Some experts have suggested that achieving "herd immunity" — the point at which the virus can no longer spread in the community because enough people have either been infected or vaccinated — may not be feasible without vaccinating kids. Brinkman said it's a reasonable concern, but the degree of protection to society from vaccines make them a powerful tool, even before they're available to children. "We have vaccines that have incredible efficacy. In fact, they're astounding," she said. "When you have vaccines that work that well, you don't actually have to vaccinate as many people in the population to have it be effective." A nurse administers a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination in Vancouver on March 4. B.C. says it expects every adult to receive a first vaccine dose by July.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Anna Blakney, an assistant professor at University of British Columbia's school of biomedical engineering, said herd immunity is often thought of as a percentage of a population that must be protected to ensure safety for all. But it's actually a more dynamic concept, she said, especially since it's unknown how long immunity from COVID-19 will last. "With herd immunity, you don't just reach that level and then it's there forever," she said. "People can lose their immunity over time, so most likely what's going to happen is that it will be a combination of natural infections and the vaccine that get us to that kind of steady state of herd immunity." Are there safety concerns for kids? Blakney, who also runs a popular TikTok account that educates viewers about COVID-19, said she's received many questions about the safety of the vaccine in children. She said clinical trials are generally designed with less vulnerable populations in mind — those between the age of 18 and 55. (Because COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly, older people were included in vaccine trials.) Once a vaccine is found to be safe in those populations, they're expanded out to children and pregnant women. "It's routine for children and babies to get vaccines. That's when you get the most vaccines in your life. They're just waiting for that safety to be proven," Blakney said. "We want to first test it in the less vulnerable population in case there are any side effects. That doesn't mean we expect there to be — that's just how it's evolved over time." Sadarangani explained that the dose may be adjusted to ensure the best protection possible for children. "Some vaccines do need a bit more because they need a bit more to stimulate their immune systems than adults do. And some vaccines, they need a bit less," he said. "This is one of the reasons in the trial for going down through the age groups, starting with the older kids that are likely to be most like adults." What about parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their kids? In a UBC study last fall, about 43 per cent of 2,500 families across Canada surveyed said they would accept less rigorous testing and expedited approval of a vaccine for their kids. Blakney said she finds some degree of vaccine hesitancy normal, especially because people are not accustomed to the speed with which the vaccine was developed. A B.C. COVID-19 vaccination immunization record card. Sadarangani says school immunizations will be far more time efficient than immunizing adults.(Ben Nelms/CBC) But she said the vaccine research involved an unprecedented level of funding and effort from scientists, doctors, and governments alike. "We have lots of safety data on this because not only were they trialled in tens of thousands of people, but now they've been implemented to millions of people," she said. "So we have a pretty good idea of the safety profile of them thus far, which is what gives us that extra confidence to go into other populations. These vaccines are incredibly safe in the data we have so far." What can parents do in the meantime? Brinkman said, for now, parents can ensure that their children's other vaccinations and booster shots are up to date, while also following public health orders until restrictions can safely be lifted. "That will help protect them and give their system the best chance against other diseases," she said, adding some people may have fallen behind schedule on immunizations while B.C. has been partially shut down. "It's very important at this stage that we keep the numbers of cases as low as we can because we really need to reduce the chance of the viral variant spreading."
NEW YORK — Taylor Swift, BTS, Cardi B and Billie Eilish are set to perform at next week’s Grammy Awards. The Recording Academy announced Sunday that Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa will also hit the stage at the March 14 event. The show will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS and Paramount+. The Grammys were originally supposed to take place on Jan. 31 but were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The academy said in a statement that “artists will be coming together, while still safely apart, to play music for each other as a community and celebrate the music that unites us all.” Trevor Noah is hosting the show for the first time. Other performers include Chris Martin, John Mayer, Doja Cat, Maren Morris, DaBaby, HAIM, Lil Baby, Brandi Carlile, Roddy Ricch, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Mickey Guyton and Black Pumas. Beyoncé is leading nominee with nine, followed by Swift, Lipa and Ricch, who each earned six nominations. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — With President Joe Biden on the verge of his first big legislative victory, a key moderate Democrat said Sunday he's open to changing Senate rules that could allow for more party-line votes to push through other parts of the White House’s agenda such as voting rights. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stressed that he wants to keep the procedural hurdle known as the filibuster, saying major legislation should always have significant input from the minority party. But he noted there are other ways to change the rules that now effectively require 60 votes for most legislation. One example: the “talking filibuster,” which that requires senators to slow a bill by holding the floor, but then grants an “up or down” simple majority vote if they give up. “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said. “Maybe it has to be more painful.” “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin added. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.” Democrats are beginning to look to their next legislative priorities after an early signature win for Biden on Saturday, with the Senate approving a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan on a party-line 50-49 vote. Final passage is expected Tuesday in the House if leaders can hold the support of progressives frustrated that the Senate narrowed unemployment benefits and stripped out an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Over the weekend, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, representing around 100 House liberals, called the Senate’s weakening of some provisions “bad policy and bad politics." But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., also characterized the changes as “relatively minor concessions” and emphasized the bill retained its “core bold, progressive elements.” Biden says he would sign the measure immediately if the House passed it. The legislation would allow many Americans to receive $1,400 in direct checks from the government this month. “Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” a jubilant Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told The Associated Press in an interview after Saturday's vote. Still, the Democrats’ approach required a last-minute call from Biden to Manchin to secure his vote after he raised late resistance to the breadth of unemployment benefits. That immediately raised questions about the path ahead in a partisan environment where few, if any, Republicans are expected to back planks of the president’s agenda. Democrats used a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to approve Biden’s top priority without Republican support, a strategy that succeeded despite the reservations of some moderates. But work in the coming months on other issues such as voting rights and immigration could prove more difficult. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pledged that Senate Republicans would block passage of a sweeping House-passed bill on voting rights. The measure, known as HR 1, would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to the campaign finance system. It would serve as a counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s repeated false claims about a “stolen” election. “Not one Republican is going to vote for HR 1 because it’s a federal takeover of elections, it sets up a system where there is no real voter security or verification,” Graham said. “It is a liberal wish list in terms of how you vote.” When asked about the voting rights bill, Manchin on Sunday left the door open to supporting some kind of a workaround, suggesting he could support “reconciliation” if he was satisfied that Republicans had the ability to provide input. But it was unclear how that would work as voting rights are not budget-related and would not qualify for the reconciliation process. “I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also,” Manchin said. On Sunday, the anti-filibuster advocacy group “Fix Our Senate” praised Manchin’s comments as a viable way to get past “pure partisan obstruction" in the Senate. “Sen. Manchin just saw Senate Republicans unanimously oppose a wildly popular and desperately-needed COVID relief bill that only passed because it couldn’t be filibustered, so it’s encouraging to hear him express openness to reforms to ensure that voting rights and other critical bills can’t be blocked by a purely obstructionist minority,” the group said in a statement. Manchin spoke on NBC's “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” CNN's “State of the Union” and ABC's “This Week,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures." ___ Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. Hope Yen, The Associated Press
Cleveland Indians third baseman José Ramírez and slugger Franmil Reyes have been isolated from teammates at spring training after breaking COVID-19 protocols. Manager Terry Francona said Sunday the two players have been sent to their temporary homes in Arizona as the Indians await word from the league as to when they can rejoin the team. Francona said Reyes drove to the Indians' exhibition game on Friday in Mesa and went to get a haircut following the 10-4 win. Reyes, who had a similar misstep last year when spring training resumed after the coronavirus-caused shutdown, told the Indians that he and Ramirez then went out to dinner and were indoors, which violates COVID-19 guidelines established by Major League Baseball and the players' union. Francona said Reyes and Ramirez came to the team's complex on Saturday and were immediately sent home. They did not have contact with any other players or team personnel. “We’re pretty fortunate here,” Francona said. "We have some medical people who are right on top of things and they came right to me and they said: ‘Look, this is what we’re doing. We’re informing the league.’ The players themselves actually self-reported that they had made a mistake. “So we told them: ‘This is not our rules. These are the rules that the players' association and Major League Baseball came up with. We have to enforce them.’” Francona said he has spoken to both players, who understand they could have put others in jeopardy. “They were both upfront and honest with us about what happened,” Francona said. “We’re not trying to put guys in the penalty box. We try to talk to guys almost every day. ‘Hey, this is gonna happen if — it doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not. These are the protocols that are in place and you have to live by it.’” Last season, the Indians were forced to isolate starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac when they broke COVID-19 protocols by going out to eat while the team was in Chicago. Clevinger was traded to San Diego a few weeks later. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tom Withers, The Associated Press
Residents of a central Edmonton neighbourhood are concerned about the proposed addition of a crematorium just steps away from some of their backyards. An application before city council could rezone industrial land that borders the Prince Rupert community at the corner of 119th Street and 114th Avenue, clearing the way for the current building at the site to be used as a crematorium. About 50 residents from the Prince Rupert neighbourhood gathered to protest the proposed rezoning Saturday afternoon. Potential health impacts are one of the biggest concerns for those living nearby. Organizer Marilyn Dumkee said some of their yards would be less than 100 metres away from the building. "That's our biggest concern that there is no minimum separation," Dumkee said. "I don't think people realize this and how close it really could be to your home. They wouldn't want it. "It's Prince Rupert today but it could be any community tomorrow as long as you're bordering on all of these commercial and industrial zones, it's a discretionary use and it could be coming to your neighbourhood next," Dumkee said. The western edge of the neighbourhood borders a medium industrial zone that is home to a number of businesses like body shops, couriers and storage facilities. Rezoning would see it turned into an industrial business zone, which allows for the discretionary use of a crematorium. In Alberta, any emissions coming from crematoriums are monitored by the Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board. Coun. Bev Esslinger said she's heard the worry from community members. "We're constantly reviewing our zoning bylaws and it might be something that we have to consider in the future," Esslinger said. "Do we put in separation distances? What are some other additional guidelines that we might need to consider? That would take a bigger body of work I believe but that might be something that we want to do out of this." The management of Trinity Funeral Homes says two other facilities have operated in Edmonton without issue since 2012. (Scott Neufeld/CBC) Trinity Funeral Homes, the business that has purchased the building, confirmed that they are currently working with the City of Edmonton on the proposed zoning change that would allow for the use of funeral, cremation and interment services at the site. In a statement, Trinity management said they often hear concerns when opening new facilities, while acknowledging that death can be an uncomfortable topic for many. The business has operated two other cremators in Edmonton since 2012 "without incident," they added. "Over the years cremators have been designed to be extremely safe to operate while minimizing emissions and environmental concerns," the statement said. The rezoning proposal will be before council on March 16.
TORONTO — Three major health care worker unions are launching a campaign to press the Ontario government for increased wages and better access to personal protective equipment. The unions say the campaign will launch on Monday in workplaces across the province ahead of the Ontario budget, which is expected to be delivered later this month. They say they are asking the government to raise the wages of personal support workers in all health care settings to $25 an hour as the pandemic continues. They also say the province has a stockpile of 12.4 million pieces of personal protective equipment such as N95 masks, but say staff still struggle to access what they need in some long-term care homes. The unions are calling on the province to ensure employers distribute the protective gear to staff as needed. The call for action is being led by members of Unifor, Service Employees International Union - Healthcare, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with 15 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 329 new cases in Toronto, 192 in Peel Region, and 116 in York Region. Sunday's data is based on 46,586 completed tests. The province also reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. There have been 308,296 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario since the pandemic began, including 290,840 classified as resolved and 7,067 that have resulted in death. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II highlighted the importance of staying in touch with friends and families during the coronavirus pandemic in a message broadcast on Sunday. Britain's monarch also touched on the role of technology in keeping people connected amid the global pandemic, in her royal address before Commonwealth Day on Monday. She made no mention of Oprah Winfrey's interview with Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan — the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — which is set to air Sunday evening in the U.S., and on Monday in the U.K. “The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others," the queen said in her audio message. People have become used to “connecting and communicating by our innovative technology" that allows them to “stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues, and counterparts,” she said. Online communication “transcends boundaries or division, helping any sense of distance to disappear.” The queen also paid tribute to the front-line workers helping in the fight against COVID-19 in Commonwealth nations. Her message of unity stood in contrast to the turmoil in the royal family before the interview, which promises to provide an unprecedented glimpse into the couple’s departure from royal duties and the strains it has put them under. Harry and Meghan departed royal life a year ago over what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is biracial. It's unclear what public reaction, if any, the queen and other royal family members will have to the interview. The U.K.’s Sunday Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, reported that the queen wouldn't watch it. The Associated Press
BERLIN — Swiss voters narrowly approved on Sunday a proposal to ban face coverings, both the niqabs and burqas worn by a few Muslim women in the country and the ski masks and bandannas used by protesters. The measure will outlaw covering one's face in public places like restaurants, sports stadiums, public transport or simply walking in the street. It foresees exceptions at religious sites and for security or health reasons, such as face masks people are wearing now to protect against COVID-19, as well as for traditional Carnival celebrations. Authorities have two years to draw up detailed legislation. Two Swiss cantons, or states, Ticino and St. Gallen, already have similar legislation that foresees fines for transgressions. National legislation will put Switzerland in line with countries such as Belgium and France that have already enacted similar measures. The Swiss government had opposed the measure as excessive, arguing that full-face coverings are a “marginal phenomenon.” It argued that the ban could harm tourism — most Muslim women who wear such veils in Switzerland are visitors from well-heeled Persian Gulf states, who are often drawn to Swiss lakeside cities. Experts estimate that at most a few dozen Muslim women wear full-face coverings in the country of 8.5 million people. Supporters of the proposal, which came to a vote five years after it was launched, argued that the full-face coverings symbolize the repression of women and said the measure is needed to uphold a basic principle that faces should be shown in a free society like Switzerland's. In the end, 51.2% of voters supported the plan. There were majorities against it in six of Switzerland's 26 cantons — among them those that include the country's three biggest cities, Zurich, Geneva and Basel, and the capital, Bern. SRF public television reported that voters in several popular tourist destinations including Interlaken, Lucerne and Zermatt rejected it. Backers included the nationalist Swiss People's Party, which is the strongest in parliament. The committee that launched the proposal is led by a lawmaker from the party, Walter Wobmann, and also initiated a ban on the construction of new minarets that voters approved in 2009. A coalition of left-leaning parties that opposes the proposal put up signs ahead of the referendum that read: “Absurd. Useless. Islamophobic.” Wobmann told SRF that the initiative addressed both “a symbol of a completely different system of values ... extremely radical Islam” and security against “hooligans.” He said that “this has nothing to do with symbolic politics.” Voters had their say on two other issues Sunday. They clearly rejected a proposed voluntary “e-ID” to improve the security of online transactions — an idea that ran afoul of privacy advocates, as it would have been issued by private companies — and narrowly approved a free-trade deal with Indonesia. Geir Moulson, The Associated Press
GLASGOW, Scotland — Rangers won its first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years Sunday to complete its recovery from financial implosion and being forced to start again in the fourth division. A world record 55th domestic league title — although some rivals will claim it is the reborn club's first — was sealed after Glasgow rival Celtic drew 0-0 with Dundee United. The pandemic-defying fan celebrations outside Ibrox began the previous day as Rangers beat St. Mirren 3-0. Now Steven Gerrard’s side has an unassailable lead of 20 points with six games to spare. Rangers is home to Canadian international midfielder Scott Arfield and former Toronto FC forward Jermain Defoe, both of whom came off the bench in Saturday's win over St. Mirren. Celtic has dominated since Rangers was demoted to the lowest professional league in 2012 but has now been prevented from winning the title for an unprecedented 10th straight season, and for a 52nd time overall. It is the first league title ever won by Gerrard, who spent most of his playing career at Liverpool. Gerrard came agonizingly close in 2014 to finally landing the one club prize that eluded him: The Premier League title. Adding to the anguish, Gerrard’s own slip against Chelsea contributed to a 2-0 loss that ended up costing Liverpool the title as Manchester City emerged victorious. After seeing out the final two years of his playing career at the Los Angeles Galaxy, the midfielder retired from playing in 2016 and embarked on his coaching career with Liverpool's youth teams. Gerrard made the step up to first-team management in 2018 when he was hired by a Rangers side in the doldrums after being thrashed 4-0 by Celtic in a Scottish Cup semifinal. It has taken three years for Gerrard to restore Rangers to its once-customary position as champions of Scotland. It has been a tumultuous journey back to the summit: 2012-13 Manager Ally McCoist saw millions of dollars worth of talent walk away for free as llan McGregor, Steven Whittaker, Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith opted not to transfer their contracts to the club that emerged from liquidation. Forced to throw together a squad of journeymen, the team comfortably sealed the first leg of their journey with promotion to the third tier. 2013-14 Only six points were dropped as Rangers strolled to the League One title but things were much rockier behind the scenes as chief executive Charles Green went head to head with McCoist in a public row before being forced to sell his shares to Greenock tycoon Sandy Easdale. There were further embarrassing results as the Light Blues crashed out of the League Cup to Forfar and suffered defeat to Raith Rovers in the final of the Challenge Cup. 2014-15 More boardroom wrangling saw Newcastle owner Mike Ashley emerge as the main Ibrox power broker before he and his Easdale-fronted board were eventually ousted by Dave King. However, the King coup came too late for McCoist, who had been placed on gardening leave after a series of fall-outs with the ruling regime. Stuart McCall was brought back to salvage their title bid but Rangers finished third and lost in the playoffs. 2015-16 Rangers looked to have finally got its house in order as new manager Mark Warburton transformed the Ibrox squad and implemented a slick new passing style. His side strolled to the Championship crown and dumped Celtic out of the Scottish Cup semifinals on penalties. But there was another bleak day in the final, with Hibernian snatching victory. 2016-17 Rangers unveiled a huge display declaring they were ‘Going for 55’ as they made a topflight return. Warburton added the experience of Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar and Philippe Senderos but they were outclassed in an early 5-1 defeat by Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic. Warburton was fired in February with youth coach Graeme Murty placed in temporary command. Pedro Caixinha was then brought in but he could not prevent Rangers experiencing two more humiliating defeats before finishing third. 2017-18 Rangers’ return to the Europa League ended in a loss to Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg. Caixinha only lasted until October when Murty was again called in to take temporary charge. Things appeared to be going well under the former Reading defender for a spell but a 3-2 loss to 10-man Celtic in March saw the wheels come off again and he was stood down, with Jimmy Nicholl taking charge of the final three games of the season as another third-placed finish beckoned. 2018-19 A new era dawned as Gerrard was hired and he made an immediate impact, leading the club into the Europa League group stage but his side’s title challenge faltered after the winter break and they finished nine points adrift of Celtic. 2019-20 Further work was done to restore Rangers’ reputation as Gerrard’s side marched into the last 16 of the Europa League. But again he faced big questions as his side folded under pressure. Celtic clinched victory in the final of the League Cup and streaked 13 points ahead before the lockdown forced the premature end to a season which also saw Rangers lose to Hearts in the Scottish Cup. 2020-21 Celtic was favourite ahead of a season in which their fans expected them to clinch a Scottish record 10th consecutive title, but Rangers took firm control of the title race following victory at Parkhead in early October and never looked back. Celtic could have briefly delayed the celebrations by winning at Dundee United on March 7 but a goalless draw sent the title back to Ibrox. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
“A book,” author Neil Gaiman may or may not have said, “is a dream you hold in your hand.” And right now, in an era of pandemic and polarization, Americans have — and need — a lot of dreams. We dream of unfettered travel, of a world free of face masks and hand sanitizer, of days that are exciting and new and not the grinding tedium of spending hour after hour staring, horrified, at the TV news. We dream of going back to school. Of eating a meal with family. Of hugs. And some of us — well, some of us dream of murder. Small-town murder. Gentle murder. Quiet murder. For those who find their dreams in books, there’s a group of readers who are hungrily consuming a particular style of narrative to escape from the past year's reality: “cozy” mysteries. In an unfathomably complex year, a gently told tale of murder and mayhem whittles the sharp edges of reality to a manageable, smooth surface. “Murder is definitely dark, but in a cozy the reader is with the protagonist every step of the way as each clue is revealed,” says Michelle Vega, executive editor of Berkley, who works with several cozy authors. “You can enjoy the perfect cup of tea and pretend you’re sitting in that comfy bookshop with the protagonist, smiling along with the banter as she and friends figure out whodunit. It is escapist perfection.” In television form, the cozy can be seen in popular shows such as “Murder, She Wrote,” “Midsomer Murders” and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.” Cozies claim roots in early 20th-century British mysteries by such writers as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. But with the advent of the e-book, authors are setting their gentle crime scenes in RV campgrounds in the American South, tourist towns in the Pacific northwest and in neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, to name a few. The genre’s parameters are few: no swearing, no sex, and little to no gore. Just what the pandemic-era doctor ordered. “The cozy mystery is a familiar way to encounter the two seemingly unreconcilable realities of death and country peace at the same time,” says Sarah Allison, an associate professor of English at Loyola New Orleans who is working on a book about “escape reading.” “The restoration of order at the end of the novel might be less significant than the way this genre makes beautiful scenery and grisly details feel like they go together naturally,” she said in an email. Such mysteries, she says, promise a messy murder and a tidy resolution, “a welcome contrast to the way we’ve all been suspended between life as it was before COVID and life as it will be after.” Kelly Vaiman, a longtime cozy fan, has tried to avoid thinking about real life this past year. First she was wary of going places due to the pandemic, then her elderly mother’s health declined while in a Pennsylvania nursing home. Vaiman couldn’t travel to say goodbye, and her mother died. “After her passing, during the mourning period, I just couldn’t handle the grief,” Vaiman says. “So I’d pick up a cozy mystery to take my mind off everything.” She estimates that she reads 120 books a year. They're not all all cozies, but those are what she turns to when she needs a comforting read. Valerie Burns writes gentle murder mysteries under the pen name of V.M. Burns, and her “Mystery Bookshop” series is now six stories long. Since the pandemic began in early 2020, she’s noticed more readers are taking the time to email her about her work, seeking that human connection that’s sorely missing. Burns, who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is an avid cozy reader as well as a writer of them. She acknowledges the unusual nature of cozies — that they revolve around a murder yet are also soothing to read. But, she adds, trying to solve a mystery gives a feeling of accomplishment when so much of life seems stalled. “It’s basically a puzzle, but there’s that safety net in knowing there’s not going to be a whole lot of blood and guts and violence,” she says, laughing. “It’s contradictory. A murder mystery with no violence. But I can pick up a cozy, and can figure out clues and try to figure out whodunit but I don’t have to live in all of the horror associated with true crime or a noir.” Esi Sogah, a senior editor at Kensington Books, says she’s seen an uptick in cozy mystery sales in the past year. She believes that the genre’s settings — often picturesque small towns, quirky villages, or unique neighbourhoods — allow homebound readers to travel in their minds. “Sitting in cafes, going book clubs. Browsing in a bookstore in fictional world,” she says. “All the stuff you can’t do right now.” Unlike big blockbuster stories that revolve around one near-superhuman character (who is usually a man), cozy series cultivate an amateur sleuth (usually a woman) and a cast of quirky secondary characters. Readers become attached to the entire ensemble, says author Bree Baker, and consider them old friends. That's why readers love series that stretch to multiple books. “I think we all need a place to belong, at the core of everything. We need to have our people,” Baker says. And at a time when we can’t see our own people in real life, fictional stand-ins will have to do. Solving a murder in one’s mind, dreaming of the day when we can languidly enjoy a coffee and conversation with friends, knowing that what’s right will prevail in the end — those are the reasons people turn to cozies. And, not coincidentally, they overlap with the ways people are coping at this moment in history. “We have enough horror in our day to day lives,” Burns says. “Right now, that’s all I want to do is escape. Escape into a world where justice prevails.” ___ Former Associated Press journalist Tamara Lush, who worked for the AP from 2008 to 2021, is the author, under the pseudonym Tara Lush, of “Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover's Mystery)” (2020), a cozy mystery published by Crooked Lane Books. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TamaraLush Tamara Lush, The Associated Press
Canada's chief public health officer is expressing hope for the future as the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Dr. Theresa Tam says it's been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice. But she says it's been "a good week" for Canada's vaccination program thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. Tam says the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks. The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. A stay-at-home order in Ontario's Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions will be downgraded from red to orange on the province's colour-coded regional alert system. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March. 7, 2021 The Canadian Press
A little grant money has helped take the chill out of winter in several Calgary communities. Parks Foundation Calgary launched the Embrace the Outdoors Grant last year but quickly ran out of capital as the grant was snapped up by enthusiastic groups. Now, the foundation can offer the grant again. Each group can apply for up to $4,500 as long as they meet all the criteria and can create an experience for citizens that adheres to Alberta's COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Projects must be carried out before the end of April. For the first round, there were approximately nine projects, and the foundation hopes with this second offering they can fund 15 additional ideas. "Winter is long and people spend a lot of time indoors," said Sheila Taylor, the foundation's CEO. "Coming out of this past summer … outdoor spaces became more important to people's physical health and mental health, and there was a strong desire to find ways to help people continue to go outside." One of the first projects made hay with the grant — literally. Larry Leach with the Phoenix Education Foundation School said they quickly agreed that a hay maze would be a fun way to get kids outside. It's quickly become a favourite activity for students and has even created some fun conversations online. Leach said on Twitter someone asked him how many passes it would take through the maze to make 10,000 steps. He immediately had to try it out. The Phoenix Education Foundation School created a hay maze with the help from a grant from Parks Foundation Calgary.(Helen Pike/CBC) With the extra funds, Leach said they will create a music wall that can become a permanent fixture outside of the school. "This music wall will be something that's permanent and will be, you know, used forevermore," Leach said. Taylor said this was a theme — many communities fit their applications within the winter mandate, but chose to come up with projects they can continue to use. "If a community purchased dozens of sets of snowshoes, they'll be able to continue to use that next winter, too," she said. While the doors to Fort Calgary remain closed at this time, an outdoor storytelling exhibit takes walkers back through time with help from a grant from Parks Foundation Calgary.(Helen Pike/CBC) Fort Calgary may be closed, but outside its doors, there's a storytelling exhibit taking walkers through time. Dating way back, before the fort walls went up — told through the Indigenous storytellers and their connection to the confluence. Those passing by can scan a QR code to listen to audio stories. "Going into this project we just really wanted to find out the real significance of this site," said Troy Patenaude, director of cultural development at Fort Calgary. "In that regard, the staff at Fort Calgary are very much learning alongside the public." At the fort, they've worked to deepen relationships with Indigenous groups. Patenaude added while the outdoor grant helped get this project started, it's something Fort Calgary plans to build off of to include more stories and voices. After adopting a rink in Bridgeland, lead volunteer Keith Hlewka said the funding helped bring the 9A Street N.W. rink to life. Now, it's a fixture — with public art, games, seating and fire pits, it's a space the community is now going to that didn't exist last year. "We get notes all the time and comments from people that they never would have made it through winter without this," Hlewka said. The group was even able to buy yarn for residents in nearby seniors homes who, in turn, adorned the trees with colourful creations. The seniors are now renting a bus to drive by and see their work. "It's really, really interesting how it's sort of taken on a life of its own and never really anticipated," Hlewka said. The group was able to make it happen in partnership with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. While the grant isn't a permanent fixture, Taylor said it's made an impact. The foundation hopes to bring it back. "What does it take to create habits and people?" she said. "Or to inspire people to change how they're doing things? I hope that if a family got in the habit of going outside and enjoying winter in a different way, that would be something that could continue as well."
Le milieu port-cartois a lui aussi souligné les efforts de jeunes étudiants durant la semaine de la persévérance scolaire. Durant les journées de la persévérance scolaire qui se déroulaient du 15 au 19 février 11 bourses de 100$ ont été remises à des étudiants, afin de valoriser leur persévérance scolaire. Le tout a été rendu possible grâce au Carrefour jeunesse emploi de Duplessis qui a mobilisé de nombreux acteurs du milieu tel que la Maison des jeunes de Port-Cartier, le travailleur de rue, la Caisse Desjardins, le Centre Éducatif l’Abri (CEL’A) ainsi que l’école aux adultes. Pour l’occasion, Patrick Gosselin, la Maison des jeunes de Port-Cartier, travailleur de rue, a créé une magnifique murale, un arbre de la persévérance, qui sera affiché au CEL’A durant l’année. Il faut aussi noter, la contribution de Signalisation 138 qui a commandité le matériel pour cette murale. Les onze jeunes qui se méritent une bourse de 100$ sont Mathew St-Laurent, Antoine Girard, Amy Dastoust, Thalia Beaulieu, Alexis Gaudreault, Gabriel Fugère, Deven Beauprè, Koralee Riendeau. Par voie de communiqué, La Maison des jeunes, la Caisse Desjardins, le travailleur de rue, le Carrefour Jeunesse emploi indique qu’il était important d’unir leur voix pour montrer l’importance de la détermination de ses jeunes communautés, «mais aussi que leur réussite scolaire est importante et nécessaire pour que la société puisse se développer.» Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Charlottetown's manager of planning and heritage says his department is seeing an unprecedented number of applications. "It's everything," said Alex Forbes. "There's building permits. There's applications to the planning advisory committee for variances, subdivision, rezonings, amendments to the zoning bylaw, sign permits, subdivisions." Forbes said it's been busy in the development industry for three or four years, with no slowdown during the pandemic. Even 2020 was a record year for building permits in the city, he said. "COVID has certainly impacted some businesses, but the construction industry is very busy," he said. It's consistent across all kind of construction as well, from single-family dwellings to office buildings to commercial use. Phenomenal growth province-wide in 2019 Province-wide, investment in building construction, year over year from January to November as measured by Statistics Canada, was virtually flat in 2020. But that followed phenomenal growth in 2019, a 57 per cent increase in residential construction investment and 30 per cent in non-residential construction. The focus shifted from residential to non-residential development, with a five per cent decline in residential investment and 20 per cent increase in non-residential. In September, building permit values on the Island crushed a monthly record with $98,991,000 worth of permits, 45 per cent higher than the previous record set in May 2019. The high volume in Charlottetown continues even as the planning department is down a position. "To get another person back in our office and up to speed takes a little bit of time. But if people could be patient, that would be much appreciated."
The tradition began in 1946 when feminists chose the mimosa as a rival flower to the traditional red rose of Valentine's Day.View on euronews
YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar careened deeper into crisis, as police occupied hospitals and universities and reportedly arrested hundreds of people involved in protesting last month’s military seizure of power, while a coalition of labour unions called a strike for Monday. Tension was high Sunday in the country’s biggest city, Yangon, where for a second night running gunshots from heavy weapons rang out randomly in the streets of several neighbourhoods after the start of an 8 p.m. curfew. The sounds of what apparently were stun grenades could also be heard on videos posted on social media. The purpose for security forces using such weapons when protesters had left the streets appeared to be part of a strategy to strike fear in anyone who might think about defying the authorities. In a similar vein, there were many filmed incidents of police and soldiers in plain view savagely beating protesters they had taken into custody. Some of the shooting was heard near hospitals, where reports said neighbourhood residents sought to block the entry of police and soldiers. Security forces have often targeted medical personnel and facilities, attacking ambulances and their crews. Members of the medical profession launched the Civil Disobedience Movement, which is the nominal co-ordinator of the protests, frequently hailed on demonstrators’ signs by its CDM initials. Taking over hospitals would allow the authorities to easily arrest wounded people presumed to be protesters. Large protests have occurred daily across many cities and towns in Myanmar, and security forces have responded with ever greater use of lethal force and mass arrests. At least 18 protesters were shot and killed on Feb. 28 and 38 on Wednesday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. More than 1,500 have been arrested, the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said. Protests in various cities and towns were again met Sunday by police firing warning shots, and employing tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades. In a single Yangon neighbourhood, Shwepyitha, at least 100 students were reported arrested, and many protesters were also said to have been detained in other cities, especially at universities. Myanmar labour unions, meanwhile, issued a joint call for a nationwide work stoppage beginning Monday, with the goal of a “full, extended shutdown of the Myanmar economy.” “To continue the economic and business activities as usual, and to delay a general work-stoppage, will only benefit the military as they repress the energy of the Myanmar people,” said the appeal, issued Sunday night. The statement called for the strike to continue “until we receive our democracy back.” Workers in several industries have joined the protest movement, most notably from the state railway and the banking sector. Factory workers, mostly in the Yangon area, are largely involved in the garment industry, which generates major export earnings for Myanmar. The workers have participated occasionally in the campaign against the junta, but are unable to do so on a daily basis for fear of losing their modest incomes. Advocates of sanctions against the junta have purposely avoided calling for comprehensive trade sanctions for fear they would hurt the general populace. Instead they have called for, and enacted, targeted sanctions aimed at hurting the military’s leadership and military-linked companies. Earlier Sunday, police in Myanmar’s ancient former capital, Bagan, opened fire on demonstrators protesting the Feb. 1 coup, wounding several people, according to witness accounts and videos on social media. At least five people were reported hurt as police sought to break up the Bagan protest, and photos showed one young man with bloody wounds on his chin and neck, believed to have been caused by a rubber bullet. Bullet casings collected at the scene indicated that live rounds were also fired. The city, located in the central Mandalay region, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of the more than 2,000 pagodas or their remnants situated there, dating from the ninth to 13th centuries, when it was the capital of a kingdom that later became known as Burma and is now Myanmar. Bagan is best known for being one of the country’s top tourist attractions, but it has also been the scene of large protest marches against the junta. Multiple reports from Yangon said there had been police raids Saturday night seeking to seize organizers and supporters of the protest movement. A ward chairman from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, which was ousted from power in the coup, was found dead in a military hospital Sunday morning by fellow residents of his Pabedan neighbourhood, according to a post on Facebook by NLD lawmaker Sithu Maung. Suspicion was rampant on social media that Khin Maung Latt, 58, died due to a beating in custody after being taken from his residence, but no official cause of death was immediately announced. In Yangon and elsewhere, raids are carried out nightly after the 8 p.m. curfew by police and soldiers. The arrests are often carried out at gunpoint, without warrants. The escalation of violence has put pressure on the global community to act to restrain the junta. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. Suu Kyi’s party led a return to civilian rule with a landslide election victory in 2015, and with an even greater margin of votes last year. It would have been installed for a second five-year term last month, but instead Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and other members of the government were placed in military detention. The Associated Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Monday: ENGLAND Having beaten Chelsea in December when Frank Lampard was manager, Everton goes to Stamford Bridge to face Thomas Tuchel's revived side. But the Merseyside club is also on a high after three victories in a row. It is a point behind fourth-place Chelsea and has a game in hand. Tuchel has made a huge impression since taking over from Lampard in late January. He has not lost any of his 10 matches and has taken the side from ninth in the table to top-four contenders again. Like Everton, West Ham is another surprise package this season, sitting only a point behind Carlo Ancelotti's side heading into Monday's game against Leeds. ITALY Inter Milan’s title credentials face a big test when high-scoring Atalanta visits the San Siro. “Atalanta puts everyone in trouble,” Inter coach Antonio Conte said. “Whoever attacks better will win.” While Atalanta is no longer a surprise package after reaching the quarterfinals of last season’s Champions League, the Bergamo-based club has more big-game experience now and is better organized in defence. Inter, however, is on a six-match winning streak and looking to restore its six-point lead over AC Milan atop the table as it chases its first Italian league title in more than a decade. SPAIN Real Betis tries to stay in the fight for European qualification spots in the Spanish league when it hosts second-to-last Alavés. Coming off three consecutive wins, Betis is sixth in the standings. It trails fifth-place Real Sociedad by three points and has a two-point lead over seventh-place Villarreal, which lost 2-1 to Valencia on Friday. Alavés has lost three straight matches, with only one win in its last 11 league games. FRANCE In the remaining French Cup game, it's a short trip of 21 kilometres (13 miles) along the French Riviera for Monaco as it visits Nice. A place in the last 16 of the competition is at stake, along with the pleasure of beating a local rival. Nice has won its last two games and has forward Amine Gouiri in good form with 15 goals in 33 games this season. Monaco's attack has been purring but the recent 1-0 league defeat against Strasbourg was the club's first loss in 13 league games. Monaco has won the trophy five times but not since 1991, while three-time winner Nice last won it in '97. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The board that oversees the U.S. Capitol Police is beginning a search for a permanent police chief, a person familiar with the matter said, as the fallout from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol continues. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has faced scrutiny from Capitol Hill leaders and congressional committees over law enforcement failures that allowed thousands of rioters to overtake police officers during the insurrection. The search for the permanent leader of the force, which has more than 2,300 sworn officers and civilian employees, will be nationwide, and while Pittman can apply for the position, she is not guaranteed it, according to the person, who had direct knowledge of the search. This person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies are trying to determine the best way to secure the Capitol over the long term. Officials last week quibbled over requesting National Guard reinforcements to remain in the District of Columbia and whether to remove the massive fence that has encircled the Capitol grounds since January. The Capitol Police Board, which includes the House and Senate sergeant at arms and the Architect of the Capitol, is charged with oversight of the police force. ___ Merchant reported from Houston. Michael Balsamo, Nomaan Merchant And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
French billionaire Olivier Dassault was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash, a police source said, with President Emmanuel Macron paying tribute to the 69-year old conservative politician. Dassault was the eldest son of late French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose namesake Dassault Aviation, builds the Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.
A semi-trailer caught fire Sunday morning on Highway 1 near Scott Lake Hill, around 50 kilometres west of Calgary. Shortly after 9 a.m., Cochrane RCMP responded with fire services from Springbank to the report of the ablaze vehicle in the westbound lanes of Highway 1, just west of Highway 68, according to an RCMP news release. The driver of the semi-trailer was hauling frozen foods. Police say he was able to stop and get out of the vehicle. No injuries were reported. Rocky View County's fire department said the fire was put out at 10 a.m. and that the driver stayed on scene. The cause is still unknown. RCMP says westbound traffic on the highway is delayed and advises motorists to take an alternate route.