The federal government has introduced tough new restrictions for travellers in an effort to stem the spread of COVID variants. SFU Health Sciences Associate Professor Anne-Marie Nicol discusses what impact, if any, the new rules will have.
The federal government has introduced tough new restrictions for travellers in an effort to stem the spread of COVID variants. SFU Health Sciences Associate Professor Anne-Marie Nicol discusses what impact, if any, the new rules will have.
Hello, royal watchers. This is a special edition of The Royal Fascinator, your dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. The revelations just kept coming Sunday night as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave Oprah Winfrey — and a worldwide television audience — their view on why they had to leave the upper echelons of the Royal Family. The reasons were many, but amid all they had to say, there was one statement that stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: Meghan's declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. In an interview Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said Harry told her neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about Archie's skin colour. "I think it's very damaging — the idea that a senior member of the Royal Family had expressed concern about what Archie might look like," Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian, said in an interview late Sunday night. Meghan told Winfrey the concern had been relayed to her by Harry, and when questioned further on it, Harry refused to offer more specifics, saying it's a "conversation I'm never going to share." And that, Harris suggests, speaks to the seriousness of the matter. "It's very clear that Harry didn't want to go into details feeling that it would be too damaging for the monarchy." WATCH | Royal Family expressed concerns about son's skin colour, Meghan tells Oprah: It will take time to digest the impact of all that Harry and Meghan had to say to Winfrey. But some early comments in the British media this morning suggest Harry and Meghan's account will have a profound impact. "They have revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview," the BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote in an online analysis. "But Harry describing his brother and father as 'trapped,' and Meghan revealing that she repeatedly sought help within the palace only to be rebuffed is a body blow to the institution." 'A damning allegation' The Guardian reported that Harry and Meghan telling Winfrey of conversations in the Royal Family about Archie's skin colour is "a damning allegation that will send shockwaves through the institution and send relations with the palace to a new low." Many themes and issues developed over the two-hour broadcast, which sprinkled lighter moments — they're expecting a girl, they have rescue chickens and Archie, age almost two, has taken to telling people to "drive safe" — with much more serious concerns, including the lack of support they say they received, particularly as Meghan had suicidal thoughts. WATCH | Meghan had suicidal thoughts during royal life: "A theme that emerges again and again, and it's something that Harry explicitly states in the interview, is the Royal Family being concerned with the opinion of the tabloid press," said Harris. "This may very well have influenced decisions not to speak out about the way Meghan was being treated and that may have influenced some other decisions as well." One of those might be the question of security, something that was of considerable concern to the couple when they learned royal support for it would be withdrawn. "The Royal Family has frequently in the past received bad press regarding minor members ... receiving security,"said Harris. 'Negative headlines' "There were a lot of negative headlines regarding Beatrice and Eugenie continuing to receive security and their father's [Prince Andrew's] insistence they receive security despite being comparatively minor members of the Royal Family who do not undertake public engagements representing the Queen." There was also a sense out of Sunday's interview that issues that troubled the Royal Family in the past may still be a worry now. "Even in the 21st century after all of the problems that the Royal Family encountered in the 1990s with the breakdowns in the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew … there still doesn't seem to be a consistent means of mentoring new members of the Royal Family," said Harris. Meghan said she had to Google the lyrics for God Save the Queen, and was filled in at the last minute about having to curtsy to Elizabeth just before meeting her for the first time. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, pose for a picture at a Buckingham Palace reception following the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards ceremony in London on June 26, 2018. Both Meghan and Harry spoke warmly of the Queen during the interview Sunday night.(John Stillwell/Reuters) Throughout the interview, Harry and Meghan repeatedly expressed respect and admiration for the Queen, if not for how the Royal Family as an institution operates. But there is considerable murkiness around just who may be responsible for some of the more serious issues they raised. "We know they respect the Queen and have a good personal relationship with the Queen. We know that Meghan had a conflict with Kate but says Kate apologized and Meghan forgave her and she doesn't think Kate's a bad person," said Harris. Lacking 'specific details' "But when it comes to who made racist comments about Archie's appearance or who was dismissive directly of Meghan's mental health, [on] that we don't have specific details." High-profile royal interviews such as this — particularly one by Harry's mother Diana, in 1995 — have a track record of not turning out as the royal interviewees may have intended, and it remains to be seen the lasting impact of this one. Harris sees parallels with Diana's interview, as she "spoke frankly" about a lack of support from the family, and felt that she had been let down by Prince Charles. Meghan spoke with Winfrey before they were joined by Harry.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Harry talked of hoping to repair his relationship with his father — "I will always love him but there's a lot of hurt that happened" — but said he felt really let down, and noted a time when his father wasn't taking his calls. Harris expects the interview will prompt further critical scrutiny of Charles, and Harry's older brother Prince William. The relationship with William has already been under intense scrutiny, and is clearly still a delicate matter for Harry, who hesitated noticeably before responding as Winfrey pressed him on it. "Time heals all things, hopefully," Harry said. How Buckingham Palace responds to all this remains to be seen. Generally, the public approach in matters such as this is silence, and a determination to be seen as carrying on with regular duties. Whether a member of the family might make a more informal comment — say in response to a question from someone at a public event — also remains to be seen. WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry: But from what did emerge Sunday evening, there is a sense that whatever efforts the House of Windsor has made to put a more modern face on the monarchy, they appear not to have yielded the fruit that might have been hoped. "There's been some elements of modernization, but it's very clear that the institution has difficulty adapting to the needs of individuals who marry into the Royal Family," said Harris. "It's clear that Meghan came away from her experiences feeling that she was not supported or mentored in her new role." Sign up here to have The Royal Fascinator newsletter land in your inbox every other Friday. I'm always happy to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, feedback and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Problems with the newsletter? 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A New Brunswick tree planter is branching his volunteer-based planting efforts to more provinces this year, COVID-19 permitting. Jonathan Clark's tree planting company Replant has an environmental division that plants trees in New Brunswick's forests and develops community parks with the help of volunteers and private donations. "This year there has been so much interest that we're expanding to at least five provinces and possibly seven," said Clark. Clark said the operations will expand to British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. He said Replant had the means to expand in 2020, but couldn't due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Clark is relying on an Atlantic Bubble for it to happen this year. It's nice to think that the trees we're planting are good for just being trees - Jonathan Clark Clark said Replant's environmental division, based in Sackville, planted 10,000 trees in New Brunswick in 2020. This year, it's goal is to plant 250,000 across the country. "There's certainly demand for it, there's a lot of people who want to see more trees in Canada, partly because of the environment and partly because it's good for public recreation," he said. He said donations are growing every year and, because of this will likely have the ability to plant 1 million trees within the next two years, but declined to give figures. Clark said there are a handful of volunteers in New Brunswick who consider themselves professional tree planters. He expects to have a dozen volunteers in the province this year. Group is working on 2 community forest projects Replant's environmental division is currently working on two community forest projects in New Brunswick, that will take three years to complete. These parks will have picnic areas and trails for public use. Clark said another part of Replant's volunteer work involves buying privately-owned woodlots that have been harvested for firewood and other purposes. Once they're fully cleared, the owners no longer has a use for the land and typically look to sell the lots cheap. A Replant volunteer poses with 12,000 seedlings. (Submitted by Jonathan Clark) He said he uses this opportunity to buy and refill these harvested plots. "Our expectation is we don't want to let those trees be harvested in the future. We want to have a lot more forest that just becomes an old-grown forest eventually," he said. "It's nice to think that the trees we're planting are good for just being trees." He said Replant is looking to expand its operations through New Brunswick, by partnering with Fundy National Park and provincial parks throughout. Replant contacts these parks offering to provide its volunteers and cover the cost to replenish the forests and add diversity in tree populations. Current tree populations not sustainable Balsam fir are New Brunswick's most common tree species, which are best-suited for extremely cold climates. As temperatures rise, this species becomes more vulnerable. Clark said Replant is putting a focus on planting hardwood trees, including Birch and Mountain Ash species, as they're more adaptable to the climate, better at collecting and storing carbon, and are preferable for Canada's wildlife. "This is good for climate change adaptation, certainly a lot of wildlife prefer to see hardwood trees," said Clark. He said the challenge is these seedlings aren't popular or easy to find. A longtime tree planter Clark began his 30-year-long tree planting career travelling between British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Replant began as an educational website for prospering tree planters, to learn about job opportunities and planting techniques. Clark said the company grew to offer larger scale commercial reforestation contracts and forestry consulting engagements. Just a few years ago, he opened the environmental branch of Replant in Sackville.
In Japan, convenience is king and getting tested for COVID-19 can be highly inconvenient. Part of solution, as it is for a range of daily necessities in Tokyo, has become the humble vending machine. Eager to conserve manpower and hospital resources, the government conducts just 40,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests a day, a quarter of its capacity, restricting them to people who are quite symptomatic or have had a high chance of being infected.
NEW YORK — Before posting a selfie with her COVID-19 vaccination card on Twitter, Aditi Juneja debated whether to include an explanation for why she was eligible for a shot. “The first draft of the tweet had an explanation,” says Juneja, a 30-year-old lawyer in New York City. After some thought, she decided to leave out out that her body mass index is considered obese, putting her at higher risk of serious illness if infected. A friend who disclosed the same reason on social media was greeted with hateful comments, and Juneja wanted to avoid that. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. is offering hope that the pandemic that has upended life around the world will finally draw to an end. But as distribution widens in the U.S., varying eligibility rules and unequal access to the coveted doses are also breeding guilt, envy and judgement among those who’ve had their doses — particularly the seemingly young and healthy — and the millions still anxiously awaiting their turn. Adding to the second-guessing about who should be getting shots is the scattershot feel of the rollout, and the sense that some might be gaming the system. Faced with a patchwork of confusing scheduling systems, many who aren’t as technically savvy or socially connected have been left waiting even as new swaths of people become eligible. The envy and moral judgements about whether others deserve to be prioritized are understandable and could reflect anxieties about being able to get vaccines for ourselves or our loved ones, says Nancy Berlinger, a bioethicist with the Hastings Center. “There’s the fear of missing out, or fear of missing out on behalf of your parents,” she says. Stereotypes about what illness looks are also feeding into doubts about people's eligibility, even though the reason a person got a shot won't always be obvious. In other cases, Berlinger says judgements could reflect entrenched biases about smoking and obesity, compared with conditions that society might deem more “virtuous,” such as cancer. Yet even though a mass vaccination campaign is bound to have imperfections, Berlinger noted the goal is to prioritize people based on medical evidence on who’s most at risk if infected. Nevertheless, the uneven rollout and varying rules across the country have some questioning decisions by local officials. In New Jersey, 58-year-old software developer Mike Lyncheski was surprised when he learned in January that smokers of any age were eligible, since he knew older people at the time who were still waiting for shots. “It didn’t seem like there was medical rationale for it,” says Lyncheski, who isn't yet eligible for the vaccines. He also noted there's no way to confirm that people are smokers, leaving the door open for cheating. The suspicions are being fueled by reports of line jumpers or those stretching the definitions for eligibility. In New York, a Soul Cycle instructor got vaccinated after teachers became eligible in January, the Daily Beast reported, and later apologized for her “terrible error in judgement.” In Florida, two women wore bonnets and glasses to disguise themselves as elderly in hopes of scoring shots. Hospital board members, trustees and donors have also gotten shots early on, raising complaints about unfair access. It's why some feel obligated to explain why they were able to get the vaccine. In an Instagram post, Jeff Klein held up his vaccination card and noted he was given a shot as a volunteer at a mass vaccination hub. “I definitely mentioned it on purpose, because I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea,” says Klein, a 44-year-old musician in Austin, Texas. As she waited for a shot in Jacksonville, Florida, 33-year-old Amanda Billy said it could be frustrating seeing people her age in other states posting about getting vaccinated. She understood that state rollouts vary, but felt anxious because she has a medical condition that makes COVID-19 “very real and scary.” “I’m just happy for them that they got it. But also, I want it,” she said in an interview before getting her first shot. Others are finding they are opening themselves up to criticism when sharing news that they got a shot. Public figures in particular might become targets of second-guessing by strangers. In New York, local TV news co-host Jamie Stelter posted a photo of herself after getting the first shot earlier this month. Many replies were positive, but others noted that she didn’t look old enough or that she must “have connections.” Afterward, Stelter's co-host Pat Kiernan weighed in and tweeted that the “you don't look that sick to me” commentary she received was “evidence of the hell that COVID has placed us in.” For Juneja, the decision to get a shot after becoming eligible wasn't easy, given the struggles she knew others were having securing appointments because of technology, language or other barriers. But she realized it wouldn't help for her to refrain from getting vaccinated. “It’s not like with other types of things where I could give my spot to someone else who I think is more in need,” she says. “We are sort of all in this situation where we can only really decide for ourselves.” ___ Candice Choi, a reporter on The Associated Press' Health & Science team, has been covering the pandemic and vaccine rollout in the United States. Candice Choi, The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday March 8, 2021. There are 886,574 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 886,574 confirmed cases (30,268 active, 834,067 resolved, 22,239 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,489 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 79.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,880 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,697. There were 26 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 245 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 35. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 25,159,921 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,006 confirmed cases (91 active, 909 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 19 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,814 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 141 confirmed cases (26 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 16.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 112,416 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,659 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,565 resolved, 65 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 366,679 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,455 confirmed cases (36 active, 1,391 resolved, 28 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.61 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 242,695 tests completed. _ Quebec: 292,631 confirmed cases (7,100 active, 275,059 resolved, 10,472 deaths). There were 707 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 699. There were seven new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 122.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,452,036 tests completed. _ Ontario: 308,296 confirmed cases (10,389 active, 290,840 resolved, 7,067 deaths). There were 1,299 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 70.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,069. There were 15 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,205,314 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,225 confirmed cases (1,130 active, 30,188 resolved, 907 deaths). There were 56 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 81.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 366 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 52. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 541,269 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,709 confirmed cases (1,517 active, 27,794 resolved, 398 deaths). There were 116 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 128.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,062 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 152. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 590,938 tests completed. _ Alberta: 135,837 confirmed cases (4,949 active, 128,974 resolved, 1,914 deaths). There were 300 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,333 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 333. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,445,307 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 83,107 confirmed cases (4,975 active, 76,752 resolved, 1,380 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 96.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,653 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 379. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.81 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,969,444 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,232 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,849 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 381 confirmed cases (25 active, 355 resolved, one deaths). There were four new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 63.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,852 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order on Monday directing the Department of Education to review policies implemented by Donald Trump's administration, including changes to Title IX regulations that prohibit sex discrimination in federally funded institutions, according to administration officials. Biden focused on gender equity during his campaign and promised to strengthen Title IX if he won the White House. He also will sign a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council, according to two administration officials who briefed reporters on the plan. Biden’s transition team announced his plans to create the council before he took office. The order directing the review of Title IX could pave the way to a major shift in how colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct moving forward. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in 2018 rescinded an Obama-era administration standard in cases of reported sexual assault from requiring a “preponderance of evidence” — meaning it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred — to “clear and convincing evidence." The DeVos changes reduced the liability of colleges and universities for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstered the due process rights of the accused, including the right to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party advocate at campus hearings. Biden, as vice-president, along with then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2011 laid out the legal guidance of what was expected of college campuses in response to allegations of sexual violence on behalf of President Barack Obama's administration. With the Education Department review, Biden's intent is to set policies that help ensure students have an environment that’s free from sexual harassment and without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to one White House official who briefed reporters on the orders. The order establishing the Gender Policy Council comes after Trump disbanded an office specifically focused on women’s issues created during the Obama administration that was called the White House Council on Women and Girls. While the new council is a resurrection of the Obama-era one, one administration official said that giving it a new name was acknowledgement that inequities can affect people of all genders. Still, the official said the council will primarily focus on issues facing women and girls because of “disproportionate barriers" they face. The new council is tasked with helping push gender equity on the administration's domestic and foreign policy efforts. Some of the issues the council will focus on include combating sexual harassment, addressing structural barriers to women's participation in the workforce, decreasing gender wage and wealth gaps, addressing caregiving issues that have disproportionately impacted women and responding to gender-based violence. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chloe Zhao's success — she's the first Asian woman and the second woman ever to win a Golden Globe for best director for her film “Nomadland” — has not been met with universal applause in her country of birth. The Beijing-born filmmaker, now a leading Oscar contender, instead finds the news of her success overshadowed by a nationalist backlash regarding her citizenship and her identity. Censors have removed some social media posts about the film, which has raised questions about whether it will still be released in China. Over the past week, Chinese web users questioned whether Zhao, who was educated in the U.K. and the U.S., was still a Chinese citizen and if she could be counted as Chinese given a critical comment she made about the country in 2013. Even as some celebrated her win, others dug up two interviews where Zhao said things that they considered an “insult to China.” Now publicity about the film has been removed from social media, and at least two hashtags related to it have been disabled. Searching for the hashtags “Nomadland has a release date” and “No land to rely on” (the film's Chinese title) on popular microblog platform Weibo results in a message: “According to the relevant laws, regulations and policies, the page is not found.” A post on Weibo from the government-backed National Arthouse Alliance of Cinemas that had featured a poster for the film no longer displays the poster. On Douban, a popular app where many urban Chinese users discuss books, films and TV shows, the official Chinese poster for the movie as well as a release date in China were deleted Friday, according to Variety. The app's landing page for the movie, with comments and its English-language poster, remain visible. At the heart of the controversy are two quotes from previous interviews done by Zhao. Online users circulated screenshots from a 2013 interview with Filmmaker magazine where Zhao said, “It goes back to when I was a teenager in China, being in a place where there are lies everywhere.” The interview no longer shows the quote, but archived versions of the webpage showed the original. The second quote came from an interview Zhao did with an Australian website, news.com.au, in December last year where she said “the U.S. is now my country.” Although the news site updated the story on March 3 to say they had misquoted Zhao, and that the article “has been updated to reflect she said (the U.S. is) 'not' her country," the uncorrected version of the story was the one circulating widely on the Chinese internet. It is unclear if the film will still be released in China. It was slated to be released on April 23, according to Chinese media. The China Film Administration did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment. The online debate has been split. Nationalist commentators say Zhao betrayed her country, calling her “two-faced” and saying she left the country based on her father's wealth as a former CEO of a state-owned enterprise. Other observers called for the debate to remain focused on her movie, which follows the story of a woman who lives in a van after the company that was the economic engine of her town in Nevada shut its doors. A popular film critic, Chu Mufeng, praised Zhao and her film on his Weibo where he has 3 million followers, noting that “not only was she the first ethnically Chinese female director to win best director, she was also the first Asian woman.” However, one of the top comments underneath his post said: “An American female film director, thanks, don't praise her too much.” Chu responded to the comment, saying, “If an ethnically Chinese chef was great at cooking, would you ask him where he was from? Treat a good movie as if it's a feast, all you need to do is enjoy.” ___ Associated Press researcher Chen Si in Shanghai contributed to this report. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
NEW DELHI — Thousands of female farmers held sit-ins and a hunger strike in India's capital on Monday in protests on International Women's Day against new agricultural laws. The demonstrations were held at multiple sites on the fringes of New Delhi where tens of thousands of farmers have camped for more than three months to protest against the laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of big corporations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the laws are necessary to modernize agriculture. About 100 women wearing yellow and green scarfs sat cross-legged in front of a makeshift stage in Ghazipur, one of the many protest sites. Holding the flags of farm unions, they listened to female farm leaders speak from the stage and chanted slogans against the laws. At least 17 took part in a day-long hunger strike. “Women are sitting here, out in the open, in protest, but Modi doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about mothers, sisters, and daughters. He doesn’t care about women. That’s clear,” said Mandeep Kaur, a female farmer who travelled 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) from Chhattisgarh state to participate in the protests. Multiple rounds of talks between the government and farmers have failed to end the stalemate. The farmers have rejected an offer from the government to put the laws on hold for 18 months, saying they won’t settle for anything less than a complete repeal. They fear the laws will make family-owned farms unviable, eventually leaving them landless. Women have been at the forefront of the protests, which have posed one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took office in 2014. Many accompanied thousands of male farmers who arrived at the protest sites in late November and have since organized and led protest marches, run medical camps and massive soup kitchens that feed thousands, and raised demands for gender equality. “Today Modi is sending wishes to women across the country on International Women’s Day. Who are these women he is sending wishes to? We are also like his daughters, but he clearly doesn’t care about us,” said Babli Singh, a farm leader. International Women’s Day, sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, celebrates women’s achievements and aims to further their rights. Women often embody what agricultural experts call an “invisible workforce” on India’s vast farmlands that often goes unnoticed. Nearly 75% of rural women in India who work full-time are farmers, according to the anti-poverty group Oxfam India, and the numbers are expected to rise as more men migrate to cities for jobs. Yet, less than 13% of women own the land they till. Demonstrations were also held at Jantar Mantar, an area of New Delhi near Parliament where about 100 women held placards denouncing the new laws and calling for their withdrawal. “Today we are finding ourselves under attack at all fronts. As women, as peasants, as workers, as youth and students," said women rights activist Sucharita, who uses one name. “We are opposed to the laws that have been passed in favour of corporations." ___ Associated Press video journalist Shonal Ganguly contributed to this report. Neha Mehrotra And Rishi Lekhi, The Associated Press
Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world's original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals – raising alarm that a key natural buffer against climate change is quickly vanishing. The forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon. Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34% of the world's original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30%, leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.
Seabird biologists are concerned about medical masks ending up in the province's waterways and entangling birds and other wildlife after images were posted online of a gull at Quidi Vidi Lake trapped in the ear loop of a mask. "It's incredibly disheartening and discouraging. It would be anyway, but this lake has an international designation as an important bird area," said Holly Hogan, who has been studying marine birds for 30 years. Hogan told CBC Radio's The Broadcast another image from the same set shows another gull with the plastic rings from beer cans around its beak. Hogan said an awareness around plastic pollution in the environment, specifically the ocean, already exists, but when single-use personal protective equipment became a staple during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said pollution was the first thought that occurred to her. "Everybody disposing of these single-use masks, I thought 'where are they going to go?' and well, we know where some of them are ending up, unfortunately," she said. Hogan said about 129 billion face masks and 69 billion disposable gloves were used every month in 2020. "Not surprisingly, a large number of these ended up in the ocean, and there are very conservative estimates between 1.5 and two billion face masks ended up in the ocean in 2020," she said. Single-use mentality Hogan said there's a feeling of stepping backwards in the public's attempt to limit plastic use. Using bulk food retailer Bulk Barn as an example, she said people used to be able to bring reusable containers to the store, but during the pandemic, the store handed out single-use plastic gloves to be worn while shopping and didn't allow reusable containers. "Some of it is certainly justified, people need to protect their health and that is the number one priority," Hogan said. "Not to pick on the Bulk Barn, I mean they're doing it for our safety, but it seems like in the face of the pandemic, people are almost in a state of panic." A second gull was entangled in plastic rings used for soda or beer cans. (Lancy Cheng/Facebook) Not many people are aware that the single-use non-medical masks they're buying and discarding are made from plastics, meaning they won't break down in a landfill, Hogan noted. She said masks break down into micro-plastics, creating other health problems for the environment. "As an intact mask, with its loops, it entangles creatures, potentially. But it is, and it remains, plastic waste in the environment doing the damage that all plastics do," she said. So, what's the solution? Hogan says awareness and education should be the main focus. "These things don't disappear when they leave your hands or when they leave your face," said Hogan. "Cut off the ear loops so that if they do unintentionally end up in the environment then they're not suddenly a nuisance for some animal." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday said the city's government “fully welcomes” changes to the city’s electoral system that will substantially increase central government control over Hong Kong politics and exclude critics of Beijing. Chinese authorities have said the draft decision before China's National People’s Congress would mean the largely pro-Beijing committee that elects Hong Kong’s leader would also choose a large part of the legislature to ensure the city is run by “patriots.” The Election Committee would also have the right to vet candidates for the Legislative Council, weeding out any people suspected of being insufficiently loyal to China and the ruling Communist Party. Currently, half of Hong Kong’s legislature is directly elected by voters, although the mass resignation of opposition legislators to protest the expulsion of four of their colleagues for being “unpatriotic" means the body is now entirely controlled by Beijing loyalists. “There are loopholes in the electoral systems, there are also flaws in the systems in Hong Kong,” Lam said at a news conference after she returned from the National People's Congress in Beijing. “I fully understand that this is not a matter that can be addressed entirely by the government.” “I’m glad that the central authorities have, again, exercised its constitutional powers to help address this problem for Hong Kong,” she said. She declined to elaborate on the views she had shared with the central authorities regarding electoral reforms, and said many pieces of legislation in Hong Kong would have to be amended. The NPC, China’s ceremonial legislature, will all but certainly endorse the draft decision, though it may not take immediate legal effect. The planned electoral changes have drawn criticism in Hong Kong and abroad, including from the United States. On Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price denounced them, saying, “These are a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Hong Kong’s freedoms, and the democratic processes, limiting participation, reducing democratic representation, and stifling political debate in order to defy the clear will of the people of Hong Kong and to deny their voice in their own government and governance." On the same day, China rallied its allies at the U.N., with Belarus — a country whose security forces have cracked down brutally on opponents of longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko — speaking in support of the changes. “That a large number of developing countries have once again joined hands to raise their voices for justice at the U.N. Human Rights Council fully reflects that facts speak louder than words and will always prevail," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a briefing on Monday. “China’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering." Unconfirmed reports say the legislation will also expand the size of the Legislative Council from 70 to 90 and the Election Committee from 1,200 to 1,500. Seats on the Election Committee now reserved for directly elected district counsellors will also be eliminated, further cementing Beijing's control over the body. Lam also said she could not confirm whether legislative elections — already postponed last September for one year, ostensibly because of the coronavirus pandemic — would be further deferred due to the electoral reforms. She said central government authorities are “very sincere and very committed in trying to move towards the objective of universal suffrage,” which was promised to Hong Kong under the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution that was drawn up when the British handed Hong Kong to China in 1997. Universal suffrage would give Hong Kong voters the right to vote for the city’s leader, although only candidates approved by Beijing would be allowed to run. Hong Kong has in recent months cracked down on dissent, and most of the city's prominent opposition figures — including pro-democracy activists and former lawmakers — are in jail or in exile. About 100 people, most of whom are pro-democracy activists and supporters, have been charged under the city's sweeping national security law since it was implemented in June. The NPC imposed the law on Hong Kong, bypassing the Legislative Council, saying it was necessary to restore order after increasingly violent anti-government protests in 2019. The legislation criminalizes secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces to intervene in the city's affairs and terrorism. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
Prince Edward Island has another two cases of COVID-19, both contracted by men in their 20s. There are now 28 active cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., which is currently more than Nova Scotia. For the first time since Feb. 12, Nova Scotia on Monday reported no new cases of COVID-19. It has 24 active cases. A rotational worker from eastern P.E.I. is calling on the province to ease restrictions put in place in December. Charlottetown police say they have responded to six separate complaints of large gatherings at city residences since Thursday. Premier Dennis King says he's "open to any conversation" about the province sending some of its COVID-19 vaccine supply to harder-hit provinces. King also said he expects the Atlantic bubble to be put back in place this spring. The province released more details of how Prince Edward Island's vaccine campaign will roll out in the coming months. P.E.I. has had 143 diagnosed cases since the outbreak began. New Brunswick reported five new cases on Monday, bringing its number of active cases to 36. Newfoundland and Labrador's three new cases Monday bring its active total to 84. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
For Tendai Dongo, the stress and anxiety was just too much at times. A project manager at a digital education company based in Calgary, she has spent much of the pandemic balancing her job with the needs of her young daughters. With her husband's insurance job requiring him to be out of the house frequently, the majority of the child-care responsibilities fell to her. Everything came to a head in December. "I felt that I had to quit," said Tendai Dongo, who works at Xpan Interactive Ltd. "I had to choose … a full-time career or my mental health." The mother of two girls aged five and eight years old told her employer that working full-time from home while parenting was causing her a lot of stress and anxiety. "I was just going to throw in the towel. I did not have any other opportunity out there waiting for me," said Dongo. But the chaos of watching employees juggle school closures, virtual learning, quarantines and their jobs could lead to more empathetic workplaces. Some companies, including Dongo's, are thinking creatively about how to build more flexible work arrangements for their employees. A year into the pandemic, parents are feeling the effects of being tugged in all directions — particularly women. An online survey of 1,001 working Canadians conducted between Feb. 9 and 15 by ADP Canada and Leger found half of working mothers (50 per cent) reported experiencing high stress levels due to balancing child-care obligations and work, compared to 40 per cent of working fathers. Data released by Statistics Canada also shows pandemic job losses are disproportionately affecting women. In January, for example, the employment decline for woman was more than double that of men, with 73,000 fewer women working that month compared to 33,500 fewer men. The numbers also showed the decline in employment was pronounced among mothers whose youngest child was between the ages of six and 12. Their employment rate fell 2.9 percentage points, compared to a drop of 0.9 percentage points for all working adults. 'It's really, really impossibly hard' For Danielle Ellenor, working a full-time job as an account associate for a printing company that offered little flexibility while she was home with her young children was too overwhelming. "It takes a huge toll on your mental health, on your kid's mental health," said Ellenor, an Ottawa mother of two girls aged six and seven. "It's really, really impossibly hard." Her partner has been working from home too, but his management job in software sales has him in virtual meetings most of the day. Ottawa mother of two Danielle Ellenor quit her job in December for a more flexible career.(Mathieu Thériault/CBC) In December, knowing that more school closures were coming, Ellenor left the company she had been with for almost 10 years to focus on her kids and transition to a more flexible career in real estate. "It's a gamble that I decided to make," said Ellenor. There's concern that many other women may drop out of the workforce permanently. 'We could lose an entire class of future leaders' McKinsey & Company conducted an online survey of more than 40,000 workers across Canada and the United States between June and August 2020. The survey found that one in four women were contemplating downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. "We would lose an entire class of future leaders and in some cases existing leaders, because it spans all the way to the highest levels of organizations," said Alexis Krivkovich, a senior partner at the global consulting firm. But amidst the crisis comes opportunity, she said. Some companies are finding creative ways to retain their employees, such as flexible time-off schedules, re-imagining performance management and thinking differently about working hours. "We need more of that creative thinking now to make sure that the one in four women who are saying, 'I'm not sure I can make it through this moment' come out the other side," Krivkovich said. Letting employees chart their own paths Vancouver-based software company Bananatag has embraced flexibility during the pandemic by coming up with a "choose your own adventure" schedule for its 130 employees. "We are quite flexible on location, preferred work style, preferred hours," said Agata Zasada, vice-president of people and culture at Bananatag. Agata Zasada, vice-president of people and culture at Vancouver-based Bananatag, says the company's 'choose your own adventure' schedule has kept all of their staff employed over the course of the pandemic (Dillon Hodgin/CBC) With about 50 per cent of their workforce made up of women and many parents on staff, the company wanted to remove a level of uncertainty for all of its employees. "We haven't lost anyone through the pandemic due to not being able to be flexible enough," said Zasada. Post-pandemic Bananatag will continue to let employees choose their own schedules. The company also plans to become even more flexible by entertaining the idea of job sharing and becoming more project-based. Carly Holm, founder and CEO of Holm & Company, a human resources company, is hopeful that some good will come out of this challenging year. "We've proven that we can be flexible and still be successful and be productive and that nine-to-five is irrelevant," said Holm. "It is completely arbitrary and doesn't work for a lot of people." Holm's firm offers HR services for small to medium-sized businesses. She says results of her client's employee engagement surveys show that employees are happier when given flexibility, and that companies offering it are performing better. "The companies that encourage that and have kind of that flexible, remote work, they're going to be the ones that are going to retain the people, retain women," said Holm. COVID ... has catapulted institutional mindsets around flexible work into the future - Jennifer Hargreaves, founder of Tellent When Dongo, the project manager in Calgary, told her boss she couldn't mentally handle being a full-time employee and a mother right now, her workplace took action. Instead of letting her quit, Xpan Interactive came up with a solution that she says is working well. The company dropped her workload from eight clients to one and reduced her to part-time flexible hours. She now works when she wants and when she can. Dongo's salary has also been reduced. She admits she and her husband have had to start dipping into their savings, but she appreciates that her company came up with a solution that allows her to stay in the workforce. "I still have that sense of purpose that I am still continuing in my career," said Dongo. Creating your own flexibility Since 2016, Jennifer Hargreaves has been an advocate for more flexibility and has successfully placed women in flexible higher paying jobs through her virtual networking platform. "One of the benefits … of COVID is that it has catapulted institutional mindsets around flexible work into the future," said Hargreaves, founder of Tellent, a network that provides women with access to flexible job opportunities. Jennifer Hargreaves, founder of networking platform Tellent, says the need for flexible work among her members has skyrocketed.(Submitted by Jennifer Hargreaves) Among her 10,000 members, she says the need for flexible work has skyrocketed. The first step in finding that flexible job, according to Hargreaves, starts with your current employer. She encourages women to approach their companies, as Dongo did, to see if they can draw up new arrangements. "There's no better time like right now to negotiate what you want because everything's up in the air," Hargreaves said. "Employers are starting from scratch and they're trying to figure out what this looks like as well."
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year's census until 2022 over pandemic-related health concerns that could erode the quality of data relied on by policymakers across the country. An agency document noted the plan for the 2021 census was developed in a "normal operating context" where tens of thousands of staff and temporary hires would interact with each other and Canadians. In a pandemic, the document noted, that plan had "a high probability of failure." The behind-the-scenes look at how Statistics Canada rethought this year's census operation is contained in 50 pages of internal reports and presentations obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. The agency ultimately decided to forge ahead with the census for this year using a plan that relies more heavily on Canadians filling out census forms online than on face-to-face interactions. Jan Kestle, president and CEO of Environics Analytics, said the census needed to go ahead as planned this year to get a baseline reading on how families, communities and businesses are faring to guide decision-making for a post-pandemic recovery. "It's not like we're in a period where there's something weird for a month. We have lived for a year (with the pandemic) and we're going to live with the implications of this for a long time," she said. "Having a census that's as good as it can be, is extremely important to the economic recovery, and the health of Canadians." Census results can help reshape electoral ridings and determine federal funding to provinces for health care, and to cities for infrastructure. Local officials use the census to decide where to plan new transit services, roads, schools and hospitals. A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data. "This is a large piece of machinery that does not turn on a dime," said Michael Haan, an associate professor of sociology from Western University, and director of the school's Statistcs Canada Research Data Centre. "If they were going to shift courses by perhaps extending the census for a year, or whatever they may have chosen to do, they needed to have those deliberations well in advance of the census moment." Waiting until 2022, after the widespread distribution of vaccines, could lead to a more "normal" operation , officials wrote in one document, adding that results would better reflect typical trends rather than "an atypical year of widespread societal disruption." But it would also miss some impacts of COVID-19, including connecting detailed income data from the Canada Revenue Agency to different neighbourhoods to see the full effects of pandemic aid programs. "We have a bit of a sense of this already, but nothing as accurate and as complete as the census for giving a true picture of how much hardship the (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) may have saved us," Haan said. In July, officials said no to adding any pandemic-specific questions to the census form because it was "not the right vehicle" for collecting the information. As well, adding a question on short notice could be problematic since every question has to be thoroughly tested. "When you introduce new subject matter into a questionnaire, you run the risk of changing the way people respond to other questions," Haan said. It also takes the agency months before it can release the data for public consumption, meaning the information could be far out of date by 2022 given the fluidity of the pandemic. Statistics Canada's plan for this year's census relies more on online responses and telephone follow-ups than going door-to-door, opening up the internet option to everyone in the country for the first time. Geoff Bowlby, director general at Statistics Canada responsible for the census, said the agency expects about eight in every 10 people to respond to the census online. Enumerators going door-to-door will be masked and get responses from outside the home rather than inside as in previous census cycles, Bowlby said. Hundreds of workers hired as administrators for enumerators are going to work from home rather than temporary office space, he added. Some work can't be done remotely, such as in the scanning centres that turn paper returns into digital data. Bowlby said the agency has adjusted the number of workers in the facility, split them into cohorts, and put in a health and safety plan that includes the provision of N95 masks. "At the end of the day, we do expect to have high response to the census and that data will be of high quality, the same quality that Canadians expect from the census, and it will be a safe operation," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Janet Perry isn't dependent on supermarkets or industrial operations for her maple fix; she's been tapping trees in her own backyard and boiling down that experience into memories for years. "We can even enjoy [the maple syrup] all year round," Perry told CBC Radio's In Town And Out. "It brings back the memories and the joys of what we did." She said her fondness for the sugary treat dates back to a childhood spent on her family's farm. Now, after a few trips to the local hardware store, and with jars on hand, she taps trees at her home in Manotick. For those thinking of attempting their own do-it-yourself sugar bush, Perry suggests drilling the spigot approximately two to three centimetres into the tree. The angle of the spigot is also important, she said. Keep it pointed slightly upwards. Boil it down or drink it straight After collecting the sap – with one of her trees bringing in more than a litre of the sticky substance – she and her husband use a propane cooker to begin the outside boiling process. They then finish boiling it inside, using the "spoon test" to know when the sap hits the magical temperature and is ready to be turned into syrup. "Take up your sap with a spoon, you pour it off, and it should start to become viscous and drip slowly off," she said. Perry said she doesn't limit herself to finished maple products. "My grandkids love to drink just the sap straight," she said. "You just need a cup." As a science teacher at Frederick Banting Alternative High School in Stittsville, Perry incorporates tree tapping in the classroom and enjoys teaching her own grandchildren about the delights of tapping trees. It's a way to get outdoors, she said, adding she finds even the smell of boiling sap enough to improve her mood — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. "My spirits would jump like 10 notches. Just incredible."
COLUMBIA, S.C. — In his first public address since the end of the Trump administration, former Vice-President Mike Pence is travelling to South Carolina, set to speak to a conservative Christian non-profit in the state that plays a crucial role in the presidential nominating process. Next month, Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a Pence aide told The Associated Press on Sunday. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity due to a lack of permission to discuss the plans publicly. The Palmetto Family lobbies for what it considers to be “biblical values,” such as heterosexual marriage, and most recently helped push through a ban on most abortions in South Carolina. That law is now being challenged in court. Pence, who since leaving the administration has been doing work with the Heritage Foundation and Young America's Foundation, has not indicated if he plans a future run for office, but his choice of making his post-administration debut in South Carolina helps set down a marker for a potential 2024 presidential bid. The state holds the first presidential primaries in the South, and candidates of both major parties typically spend more than a year in the state ahead of those votes, introducing themselves and trying to secure support. As vice-president, Pence made numerous trips to South Carolina, meeting several times with Gov. Henry McMaster for coronavirus-related forums. He also recently campaigned in the state for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace. Throughout his political career, beginning as an Indiana congressman-turned-governor, Pence has long advocated for restrictions on abortion and has voiced support for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The speech to Palmetto Family is advantageous for Pence in a state that Republican candidates use as a proving ground to test their “pro-life” mettle. The Pence aide described the former vice-president's speech as one that will focus on traditional conservative talking points but will also tout what Pence sees as the accomplishments of the Trump administration. According to Dave Wilson, president of Palmetto Family, Pence will speak to between 450 and 600 guests at a ticketed, sponsored dinner at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on April 29. Wilson told AP that he considered Pence a “prime person” to address the organization due to the “level of faith” the former vice-president embodied while in office. “Vice-President Mike Pence ... is very reflective of the ideas, policies and direction that we at Palmetto Family want to see in South Carolina: bringing faith to the forefront and growing the next generation of conservative leaders for our state,” Wilson said. ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com.MegKinnardAP. Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
A high school mechanics course wasn't enough to satisfy Saedene Simmons's automotive appetite. As soon as the teenager got home, she insisted on helping her father work on his car. It's a love that father and daughter have shared for decades. Now at 38, Simmons is making a mid-career shift rarely achieved by any woman, let alone a Black woman. Simmons is studying to be a truck mechanic. "I just figured, why not go back to what I love most?" Simmons, a mother of three, told CBC News. "I wanted to be a mechanic coming out of high school, so I figured why not try and see where that takes me." Simmons is one of the first African Nova Scotian women to study heavy-duty equipment and truck and transport repair at the Nova Scotia Community College. Simmons has always had an interest in mechanics.(CBC) During the year-long course, she is developing entry-level skills to work as a heavy-duty equipment or truck and transport apprentice. The former caterer wants others to know it's never too late to follow their dreams. "If Saedene can do it, so can I" is the message she has for young women. "I'm taking the mechanics [program] because I want to drive trucks, so I want to learn the truck inside out before I actually drive it," she said. Simmons was first introduced to heavy-duty trucks while watching her father, uncles and grandfather run the family's paving company in North Preston. "Dad picking me up in the dump truck every day, I used to love doing that," she said. "And him taking us to the gravel pit to unload the gravel and asphalt." Saedene Simmons's dad, Calvin (Ricky) Simmons, says his daughter always loved being around cars.(CBC) Her father, Calvin (Ricky) Simmons, noticed his daughter's mechanical infatuation early on. He took Saedene to her first car show when she was three, and her passion for vehicles has grown ever since. "She loves being around cars," he said. "I can honestly say none of my three sons have a passion for vehicles, cars, trucks, equipment like Saedene does — none of them." 'A woman can do just about anything a man can do' His pride in his daughter's barrier-busting career path is tempered by fatherly concern. He said that as a Black woman, Saedene will have to prove herself in a field that is mostly white and male. In his decades in the trucking industry, Ricky Simmons said he has never seen a Black woman under the hood. However, Saedene Simmons doesn't think gender or race should determine one's fate in the field of mechanics. "A woman can do just about anything a man can do," she said. "I think I've been living by that my whole life or I wouldn't be here, I'd probably be sitting in an office at a mechanic shop." Simmons with her instructor, Dayna Gillis-Lynds.(CBC) Simmons's instructor at NSCC has an idea of what awaits women trying to break into the field. Dayna Gillis-Lynds was the first woman to obtain her Red Seal certification at NSCC back in 2013. She said the industry counts just six women in all of Nova Scotia. "Being a female in the trade, I find you have to prove yourself a little harder than being male," said Gillis-Lynds. "You know that eyes are on you, you know you're being watched, you know you have to push yourself just that much harder, you have to show your abilities." Simmons said she wants to join the family's paving business, but her immediate focus is graduating in June. Completing the truck repair course goes hand in hand with setting an example for her three children, she said. "For them to see that mom loves doing this and that she's getting good grades — maybe if they see me doing that, then what they love to do most, they will carry that throughout school and their lives." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC) MORE TOP STORIES
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A Harvard University professor has ignited an international uproar and faces mounting scrutiny for alleging that Korean women who were kept as sex slaves in wartime Japan had actually chosen to work as prostitutes. In a recent academic paper, J. Mark Ramseyer rejected a wide body of research finding that Japan’s so-called “comfort women” were forced to work at military brothels during World War II. Ramseyer instead argued that the women willingly entered into contracts as sex workers. His paper has intensified a political dispute between Japan, whose leaders deny that the women were coerced, and South Korea, which has long pressed Japan to provide apologies and compensation to women who have shared accounts of rape and abuse. Decades of research has explored the abuses inflicted on comfort women from Korea and other nations previously occupied by Japan. In the 1990s, women began sharing accounts detailing how they were taken to comfort stations and forced to provide sexual services for the Japanese military. Hundreds of scholars have signed letters condemning Ramseyer's article, which united North and South Korea in sparking outrage. Last Tuesday, North Korea’s state-run DPRK Today published an article calling Ramseyer a “repulsive money grubber” and a “pseudo scholar.” Ramseyer, a professor of Japanese legal studies at Harvard Law School, declined to comment. Ramseyer’s article, titled “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War,” was published online in December and was scheduled to appear in the March issue of the International Review of Law and Economics. The issue has been suspended, however, and the journal issued an “expression of concern” saying the piece is under investigation. Most alarming to historians is what they say is a lack of evidence in the paper: Scholars at Harvard and other institutions have combed though Ramseyer's sources and say there is no historical evidence of the contracts he describes. In a statement calling for the article to be retracted, Harvard historians Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert said Ramseyer “has not consulted a single actual contract” dealing with comfort women. “We do not see how Ramseyer can make credible claims, in extremely emphatic wording, about contracts he has not read,” they wrote. Alexis Dudden, a historian of modern Japan and Korea at the University of Connecticut, called the article a “total fabrication” that disregards decades of research. Although some have invoked academic freedom to defend Ramseyer, Dudden counters that the article “does not meet the requirements of academic integrity.” “These are assertions out of thin air,” she said. “It’s very clear from his writing and his sources that he has never seen a contract.” More than 1,000 economists have signed a separate letter condemning the article, saying it misuses economic theory “as a cover to legitimize horrific atrocities.” A separate group of historians of Japan issued a 30-page article explaining why the article should be retracted “on grounds of academic misconduct.” At Harvard, hundreds of students signed a petition demanding an apology from Ramseyer and a university response to the complaints against him. Harvard Law School declined to comment. A United Nations report from 1996 concluded that the comfort women were sex slaves taken through “violence and outright coercion.” A statement from Japan in 1993 acknowledged that women were taken “against their own will,” although the nation’s leaders later denied it. Tensions flared again in January when a South Korean court ruled that the Japanese government must give 100 million won ($90,000) to each of 12 women who sued in 2013 over their wartime sufferings. Japan insists all wartime compensation issues were settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing relations with South Korea. In South Korea, activists have denounced Ramseyer and called for his resignation from Harvard. Chung Young-ai, South Korea’s minister of gender equality and family, expressed dismay over the article last week. “There is an attempt to distort (the facts about) the Japanese military’s ‘comfort women’ issue and tarnish the honours and dignity of victims,” Chung said, according to comments provided by her ministry. Lee Yong-soo, a 92-year-old South Korean and survivor, described Ramseyer’s assertion as “ludicrous” and demanded he apologize. An influential activist, Lee is campaigning for South Korea and Japan to settle their decadeslong impasse by seeking judgment from the International Court of Justice. When asked about Ramseyer last Wednesday, Lee said: “That professor should be dragged to (the ICJ) too.” The controversy, amplified by its source at an Ivy League university, has yielded new scrutiny of Ramseyer's other work. In response to new concerns raised by scholars, The European Journal of Law and Economics added an editor's note saying it's investigating a recent piece by Ramseyer — this one studying Koreans living in early 20th century Japan. Cambridge University Press said a forthcoming book chapter by Ramseyer is “being revised by the author after consultation between the author and the editors of the book.” Ramseyer repeated his claims about comfort women in a submission to a Japanese news site in January. In it, he alleged the women entered into contracts similar to those used under a separate, licensed system of prostitution in Japan. He rejected accounts of forced labour as “pure fiction,” saying the Japanese army “did not dragoon Korean women to work in its brothels.” “Expressing sympathy to elderly women who have had a rough life is fine,” he wrote. “Paying money to an ally in order to rebuild a stable relationship is fine. But the claims about enslaved Korean comfort women are historically untrue.” Opponents counter that many of the women were so young they would have been unable to consent to sex even if there was evidence of contracts. “We're really talking about 15-year-olds,” said Dudden, at the University of Connecticut. “This article further victimizes the very few number of survivors by asserting claims that even the author knows cannot be substantiated.” ___ Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung contributed from Seoul. Collin Binkley, The Associated Press
Bishop Richard Howell Jr. thundered from his North Minneapolis pulpit Sunday that the city "is under great stress right now" as the George Floyd murder trial tests how much, if anything, will change in the U.S. almost 10 months after the killing sparked global outrage. Jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose knee pressing on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes was captured on graphic video last May, is expected to get underway this week. "This officer coldly refused to respond to his plea and kept his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck, snuffing the very life out of him," preached Howell as his congregants shouted out their acknowledgement. "A senseless, cold, hideous act of hate, bigotry and brutality," said Howell, who is opening his church to those who may struggle watching the live-streamed trial. WATCH | Security high in advance of trial in George Floyd's killing: Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family's lawyer, told CBC News that the upcoming case is "one of the most important civil rights cases in the last 100 years. It is the Emmett Till of today." Till, a 14-year-old Black teenager, was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly flirting with a white woman in a grocery store. His killers were swiftly acquitted. "Mississippi or Minnesota, I don't see much difference," Deborah Watts, one of Till's cousins, said at a Minneapolis news conference on Friday surrounded by dozens of families whose relatives have been shot or killed by police. "Emmett Till was murdered in August 1955, and we are still fighting for justice. "Something is wrong with that ... we have not made much progress." Last summer, millions of people protested across the U.S. against Floyd's killing in scenes not witnessed since the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Protests against racial injustice and police brutality spread to Canada and many cities internationally. WATCH | Lawyer for George Floyd's family discusses upcoming trial: Crump said the video of Floyd — handcuffed, face down on the pavement, gasping for breath — is "ocular proof" of a man being "tortured to death by the very people who are supposed to protect and defend." "The world had gotten used to seeing reality TV, but we were still shocked," he told CBC News from his office in Tallahassee, Fla. The criminal trial against Chauvin will be prosecuted by the state of Minnesota. While Crump is not directly involved in this case, its outcome will inevitably impact the family's civil case against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers involved in Floyd's death. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, with the potential addition of a third-degree murder charge. The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week ordered the judge in the case to reconsider a request by prosecutors to reinstate a third-degree murder charge, which means jury selection will not begin until at least Tuesday. Three other officers involved in Floyd's death go on trial in August. Increased security around courthouse Cameras in the courtroom will capture the trial and live stream it for broadcast on some TV channels — a first for Minnesota. The trial is being compared to that of the Los Angeles police officers who were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King 30 years ago, as well as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which commanded large TV audiences. "The killing of George Floyd by Officer Chauvin is akin for many Americans to some type of public lynching, the likes of which we haven't seen for decades," said Kami Chavis, a law professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. "I don't want people to underestimate the power and the importance of this case and what might happen," she said. "It's a huge signal, I think, to law enforcement about what they can and can't do." The Hennepin County courthouse and many federal buildings in Minneapolis are barricaded and surrounded by concertina wire ahead of the trial.(Sylvia Thomson/CBC) The Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis is now surrounded by three rings of cement barriers, three-metre high fencing and concertina wire. The state has allocated $36 million US to security and has activated the Minnesota National Guard. Staff in the building, which includes the county government office, have been told to stay home. The courtroom has been modified to accommodate physical distancing due to COVID-19, restricting the number of people allowed inside. One person per family, four each for the defence and prosecution teams and two media members are allowed in at a time. Masks are mandatory, but cannot have anything written on them. Challenges in selecting a jury Three weeks have been allotted to jury selection as lawyers try to screen potential jurors for bias, a complicated task in such a highly publicized case. Activists in Minneapolis say Chauvin is the fourth police officer to be prosecuted in the death of a citizen in Minnesota. Two were acquitted, while one other was convicted in the death of a white woman. "For the most part, officers are pretty sympathetic figures in a lot of these cases. And juries give a great deal of deference to what police officers do. So that will be a challenge as well," Chavis said. The courtroom for Chauvin's trial has been modified to allow for physical distancing due to COVID-19.(Hennepin County) One of those acquittals involved the death of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police in July 2016 in a St. Paul suburb while stopped at a traffic light with his girlfriend and a four-year-old in the car. The officer, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter, was acquitted — but fired from the force. Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, sent a message to legislators during Friday's emotional news conference. "We're gonna have to be brutally honest about what's going on in this country", she said. "To the State of Minnesota: we are not going to shut up, we are not going to sit down, we are going to stand in unity and we're going to bring it to you". 'Many other people were murdered before George Floyd' The death of Floyd, who was originally from Texas, has propelled the fight against anti-Black racism and police brutality back into the forefront.. Artwork of the 46-year-old's face has popped up on billboards, buildings and in museums, and his death has become a lightning rod for thousands of Black families whose relatives have been stopped, shot or killed by police in their communities. "What happened after George Floyd's death — the riots, the uproar — did not happen as a result of one man's life. It happened because many other people were murdered before George Floyd. And nothing happened. Nothing changed", Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, told CBC News. Garraway's fiancé, Justin Teigen, died following a run-in with police 12 years ago. According to St. Paul police, Teigen was fleeing police and did not die in their custody. A mural showing his face along with dozens of others, including Floyd's, covers the side of a building in North Minneapolis. It serves as a visual reminder of the more than 400 people who've been killed in altercations with police in Minnesota in the last 20 years, according to the Communities United Against Police Brutality advocacy group. "If George Floyd did something wrong, if all the rest of our loved ones did something wrong, [police] were to arrest them. Not take their lives, not destroy our lives," Garraway said. Toshira Garraway, who founded Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, stands in front of a mural of Minnesotans who have died after police encounters.(Sylvia Thomson/CBC) Crump said the Floyd family is "very, very anxious" and wants "a conviction to the fullest extent of the law." He said anything less has the potential to unleash more unrest. Violence and riots last summer in the days after Floyd's killing burned blocks of the city, with damage estimated at $350 million US. Minneapolis is bracing against heightened tensions when the case goes to the jury, which is expected to happen late April or May. "Historically in America, the police have not been held accountable for killing African Americans," said Crump, who has taken on dozens of cases where Black men and women have been shot or injured by police. "The George Floyd case will be a referendum on how far America has come in this quest for equal justice under the law."