Thousands of people across Russia marched Wednesday in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, fearing he may die while on a hunger strike. A human rights group said nearly 1,500 people were arrested.
Thousands of people across Russia marched Wednesday in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, fearing he may die while on a hunger strike. A human rights group said nearly 1,500 people were arrested.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India as the country battles a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections. Authorities said Tuesday they haven't yet determined the cause of death. Health officials working through the night Monday retrieved 71 bodies, officials in Bihar state said. Images on social media of the bodies floating in the river prompted outrage and speculation that they died from COVID-19. Authorities performed post mortems on Tuesday but said they could not confirm the cause of death due to the decomposition of the bodies. More corpses were found floating in the river on Tuesday, washing up in Ghazipur district in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state. Police and villagers were at the site, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Monday’s incident. “We are trying to find out where did these dead bodies come from? How did they get here?” said Mangla Prasad Singh, a local official. Surinder, a resident of Ghazipur who uses one name, said villagers didn't have enough wood to cremate their dead on land. “Due to the shortage of wood, the dead are being buried in the water,” he said. “Bodies from around 12-13 villages have been buried in the water.” Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are experiencing rising COVID-19 cases as infections in India grow faster than anywhere else in the world. On Tuesday, the country confirmed nearly 390,000 new cases, including 3,876 more deaths. Overall, India has had the second highest number of confirmed cases after the U.S. with nearly 23 million and over 240,000 deaths. All of the figures are almost certainly a vast undercount, experts say. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A Liberal MP is advising the Public Health Agency of Canada not to rely on legal advice from the federal Justice Department because it is not always right. Toronto MP Rob Oliphant, parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Affairs minister, gave the advice late Monday at a House of Commons committee that is trying to find out why two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory were fired. PHAC president Iain Stewart told the special committee on Canada-China relations that revealing details would breach the Privacy Act and jeopardize national security and an ongoing RCMP investigation. He says that advice was given by the Justice Department. Committee members, backed up by parliamentary law clerk Phiippe Dufresne, insist they have the constitutional authority to order the production of any documents they please and that their authority takes precedence over any other laws. But Christian Roy, director and senior general counsel of health legal services at the Justice Department, says the department has never recognized the power of committees to compel documents in violation of the Privacy Act or other laws. Oliphant questioned Roy's legal opinion. "Lawyers are not always right and Justice lawyers are particularly, in my mind, not always right," he told the committee. He noted that Justice lawyers were wrong in claiming a law banning genetic discrimination was unconstitutional, after fighting it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Moreover, Oliphant said he was "horrified" to discover that Justice lawyers had advised the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to illegally keep potentially revealing electronic data about people over a 10-year period. "I have learned to now question of Department of Justice lawyers," Oliphant said, suggesting that Stewart get "a second opinion because the Justice Department is not giving you the best advice." The committee voted unanimously later Monday to give PHAC 10 days to turn over unredacted documents about the fired scientists, which the parliamentary law clerk is to review and advise committee members as to what needs to be blacked out to protect privacy, national security and the police investigation. If the agency continues to refuse to disclose the unredacted documents, the committee will seek an order to do so from the House of Commons. PHAC formally terminated the employment of Canadian scientists Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, in January. The pair was escorted out of the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in July 2019 over what Stewart has described as "relating to possible breaches in security protocols." The Winnipeg lab is Canada’s only Level Four laboratory, designed to deal safely with deadly contagious germs such as Ebola. PHAC has previously said the pair's escorted exit had nothing to do with the fact that four months earlier, Qiu had been responsible for a shipment of Ebola and Henipah viruses to China's Wuhan Institute of Virology. Stewart has released some redacted documents to the committee about that virus transfer, which he said show that all laws and protocols were followed. He also assured the committee Monday that there is no link between those viruses and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which first surfaced in China's Wuhan province. That didn't stop Conservative MP Michael Chong, who referred to the two fired scientists as being Chinese when they are in fact Canadians. "There is no doubt that (Qui) trained technicians at that very institute of virology to establish a Level Four lab, the only Level Four lab in the People's Republic of China, and there is no doubt that the coronavirus emerged ostensibly in Wuhan a number of months later," Chong said. He dismissed suggestions that he was peddling a conspiracy theory, citing various experts who've posited that the coronavirus may have been inadvertently released from the Wuhan lab. Oliphant accused Chong of "drawing two threads that are completely unrelated together," calling it "absolutely irresponsible" and "cheap politics." Bloc Quebecois MP Stephane Bergeron agreed that Chong's language was inflammatory. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Toronto Zoo says an endangered tiger cub born just over a week ago has died after experiencing serious health issues. The zoo says in a Facebook post that the Amur tiger cub, one of three born on April 30, was euthanized Sunday evening. It says the decision was made after the cub's health deteriorated despite days of critical care by veterinarians. The zoo says the male cub started looking lethargic last Friday, and tests eventually showed it had severe liver damage and life-threatening electrolyte imbalances. The organization says an autopsy has since confirmed the liver damage and indicated the cub was not properly digesting milk. It says the two other cubs appear to be doing well and continue to be monitored by zoo staff. The cubs were born after their mother, an Amur tiger nicknamed Mazzy, was paired with the male tiger Vasili through a program meant to promote conservation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021. The Canadian Press
Business owner Jeremy Regan woke up angry and dejected Monday — yet another day when his barbershop had been forced to shutter again by the Manitoba government without any evidence about why it needed to happen, more than 14 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, Regan is frustrated for his storefront not even because it had to close. “But I’m just absolutely confused and irritated that public-health officials and Premier Brian Pallister lied to us for weeks leading up to this,” the Hunter & Gunn owner told the Free Press. “We would’ve all been OK with these type of circuit-breaker closures, but it’s completely ruthless that they get a free pass on doing this, when all they did was tell us that the virus wasn’t coming from businesses and that we were doing a good job... When Pallister said the same things about us today, while telling us we still had to close, I just sighed so loudly. I literally wanted to yell.” Regan is not the only such business owner expressing this kind of discontent. In fact, stakeholders like the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce insist the provincial government has “completely flip-flopped” on its messaging leading up to new restrictions that came into effect Sunday, just before further measures were announced for schools and educators. “We simply don’t have the rationale, data or any such evidence provided to us right now for why this happened,” said Chuck Davidson, president and chief executive officer for the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “It seems businesses are bearing that brunt certainly, not because they’re the cause of the soaring cases, but because they’re lumped into helping turn down the dial on transmission overall at other places — mostly gatherings which the province isn’t enforcing to its full capacity,” said Loren Remillard of the Winnipeg Chamber. On Monday, Premier Pallister announced new grants, after a weekend of outrage from the business community. Pallister failed to provide such supports earlier at a press conference announcing the restrictions, which he also did not attend. The Manitoba Bridge Grant, which will dole out $5,000 a pop, is expected to be automatically provided to small- and medium-sized business owners who had qualified for its previous three iterations by the end of this week. “We’re grateful for this grant because, yes, we’d been asking for this for weeks,” said Davidson. “Is it going to be enough? I don’t think $20,000 will ever be enough when you’ve been basically closed for well over a year.” Pressed Monday, Pallister would not answer why the Tory government changed its tune about imposing new restrictions that required these grants in the first place. And Pallister also refused to say how this “tough decision” was made without any modelling or contact tracing data showing they were needed. “I’m not going to apologize. We had to act. We chose to act,” Pallister told reporters at a news conference, about his “unapologetic” demeanour for imposing restrictions that he admitted were “done out of a sense of urgency without a lot of advance notice.” The premier acknowledged restaurants, in particular, were “caught off guard” by the Mother’s Day measure. “So, this is a thank-you to them,” he said of a new top-up for eateries on top of the bridge grant for their plight. “We continue to offer the most generous programs and supports in the country,” said Pallister inaccurately, when asked about assistance for workers, who will lose hours or be stuck without pay altogether due to the new provincial measures. He touted a new provincial pandemic sick leave program that provides workers $600 for up to five full days, but only if it’s related to COVID-19 and if they’re taking time off completely — not if they lose hours because of the new measures. Last week, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced more than a dozen new measures, as coronavirus infections reached a level not seen since the peak of the second wave in November. The new orders will last at least until May 30. “I think it’s a valid question to ask why businesses are being closed when all we’ve heard is cases are coming from elsewhere,” said Jonathan Alward, Prairies director for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, on Monday. “That said, I know for a lot of people this grant extension will definitely be very helpful as they deal with that.” The CFIB, Retail Council of Canada (Prairies), and the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce all expect future closures and layoffs as a result of the new restrictions. Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including confirmation of a presumptive case in a school on Newfoundland's west coast. With five new recoveries, there are now 77 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Six of Tuesday's new cases are in the Eastern Health region, four are in Central Health, and five are in Western Health. Thirteen are related to travel within Canada and the other two are close contacts of previous cases, the Department of Health said in a media release. On Tuesday morning, before confirmation of the presumptive case announced Monday, the department asked students and staff of Belanger Memorial School in the Codroy Valley to arrange a test, even if they did not have any COVID-19 symptoms. "This testing is part of a public health investigation to determine whether there has been transmission within the school. Being tested is an opportunity to help protect the health of all school and community members," reads a media advisory issued by Western Health on Tuesday morning. Belanger Memorial School is in the Codroy Valley and has an enrolment of 143 students, according to its profile on the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District website. The department issued a batch of flight advisories in relation to the new cases. Public health is asking passengers who travelled on these flights to arrange COVID-19 testing: Air Canada Flight 678 from Montreal to St. John's on Friday. WestJet Flight 3422 from Halifax to St. John's on Friday. Air Canada Flight 7542, leaving Toronto on Friday and arriving in Deer Lake on Saturday. Air Canada Flight 678 from Montreal to St. John's on Saturday. Air Canada Flight 7542, leaving Toronto on Saturday and arriving in Deer Lake on Sunday. Air Canada Flight 8016 from Montreal to St. John's on Sunday. Air Canada Flight 7542, leaving Toronto on Sunday and arriving in Deer Lake on Monday. Passengers can complete the online self-assessment tool or call 811 to arrange testing. There were also five more recoveries on Tuesday: one in Eastern Health, three in Central Health and one in Western Health. One person is in hospital due to COVID-19. To date, 136,615 people have been tested, including 317 since Monday's update. How to book a test To book a test, students and staff should complete the online self-assessment and referral tool here or call 811. When asked if they require a COVID-19 test as a result of an advisory from public health, people should select "Yes," and also answer "Yes" when asked if they're involved in the Belanger Memorial investigation. Residents will be contacted to book an appointment time. A temporary drive-up testing site is set up for Tuesday and Wednesday at at St. Ann's Social Centre in the Codroy Valley. People can check their test results here and they will usually be available within 24 hours. Anyone who has symptoms must isolate themselves, under public health guidelines. Individuals who do not have symptoms do not need to isolate themselves unless they have been advised to do so by public health. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Philippines has detected its first two cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, its health ministry said on Tuesday, even as confirmed daily COVID-19 infections fell to a near eight-week low. The World Health Organization has classified the coronavirus variant, known as B.1.617, as a variant of global concern with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Monday May 10, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 340,118 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,257,673 doses given. Nationwide, 1,267,117 people or 3.3 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 42,897.053 per 100,000. There were 112,500 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 18,154,594 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 89.55 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 24,249 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 205,902 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 393.22 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (9,676) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 244,930 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 6,556 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 59,758 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 376.715 per 1,000. In the province, 6.78 per cent (10,750) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 76,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 45,179 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 366,089 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 375.13 per 1,000. In the province, 3.86 per cent (37,699) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 450,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.24 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 36,324 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 308,215 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 395.127 per 1,000. In the province, 3.83 per cent (29,878) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 373,815 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 63,377 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,781,451 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 441.931 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 4,119,439 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 94,093 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,238,778 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 424.722 per 1,000. In the province, 2.68 per cent (393,884) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 7,056,415 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 7,799 new vaccinations administered for a total of 565,219 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 410.47 per 1,000. In the province, 5.52 per cent (76,060) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 686,160 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 50 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 9,124 new vaccinations administered for a total of 527,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 447.149 per 1,000. In the province, 3.93 per cent (46,393) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 542,935 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 97.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 27,918 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,916,957 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 435.47 per 1,000. In the province, 7.24 per cent (318,841) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,002,215 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.74 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 116,661 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,159,103 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 420.749 per 1,000. In the province, 2.07 per cent (106,058) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 112,500 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 2,442,540 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 397 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,836 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,194.22 per 1,000. In the territory, 55.72 per cent (23,253) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 55,920 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 89.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 1,804 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,811 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,103.992 per 1,000. In the territory, 49.87 per cent (22,501) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 58,800 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 84.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 201 new vaccinations administered for a total of 29,297 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 756.52 per 1,000. In the territory, 33.25 per cent (12,878) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 44,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 66.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Alberta's environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province's official animal, the bighorn sheep. Jeff Kneteman, a now-retired senior biologist with Alberta Environment, says the department failed to follow up his research showing high selenium levels in sheep living on the sites of old mines. The government's own management plan for bighorns acknowledges the problem as far back as 2015. But Kneteman says he was unable to interest the department in finding out what was going on. Kneteman says his research showed selenium in those sheep were "miles higher" than in any other population in the province. He says those sheep have some of the worst reproductive success of any herd he's measured, which is one of the effects of selenium contamination. The news comes as the United Conservative government tries to convince Albertans that its regulatory and monitoring system can protect against the negative effects of more coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. The Canadian Press
The Higgs government is cutting income taxes to offset the impact of carbon taxes on the majority of New Brunswickers. Finance Minister Ernie Steeves introduced legislation Tuesday that would lower the tax rate on the lower income bracket from 9.68 per cent to 9.4 per cent, a rate that applies to the first $43,835 of income. The tax cut accounts for $28 million of the $163 million in carbon tax revenue the province will collect this year under a pricing system it adopted to comply with the federal government's requirements. "It is anticipated to benefit over 420,000 taxpayers, putting money back in the pockets of the taxpayers," Steeves said, as he introduced the bill. The Progressive Conservatives had faced calls to use the revenue on climate fund projects. Tax cut 'a sensible approach' But returning the money to New Brunswickers falls in line with calls by many economists and environmentalists. "It's a sensible approach," said University of Ottawa economist Nic Rivers, an expert on carbon pricing, who said it creates a disincentive to burn fossil fuels while giving people more money to stimulate the economy. Nic Rivers, an economist at the University of Ottawa, commended the province's tax cut in the context of offsetting the carbon tax.(Nicholas Rivers) "This is 'tax what you burn, not what you earn,'" Rivers said. Premier Blaine Higgs said it was always the goal of the federal plan to have at least a portion of carbon tax revenue refunded to consumers. "That was kind of the principle, and that's why we did it," he said. In provinces that have refused to adopt carbon prices, Ottawa is applying the tax and is sending people rebates. The national climate plan requires provinces to tax greenhouse gas emissions at $40 per tonne this year, which translates into 8.8 cents per litre of gasoline. Last year Higgs opted to slash the provincial gas excise tax to partially offset the carbon tax. But this year, rather than slash it even more — an approach Ottawa frowns on — he said he wanted to find another way to return some of the money to New Brunswickers. Use extra revenue to further reduce emissions, says opposition Opposition Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said he calculated the tax cut would work out to $68 per person per year. "It's not significant when you stop and do the math." Melanson said he'd rather see the $28 million used to pay for more government programs to reduce emissions. Opposition Liberal leader Roger Melanson says he wants to see the $28 million earned from income tax cuts used to fund programs to reduce emissions.(CBC News) Higgs said Melanson's per-person math "wouldn't be far off," but he said the reduction is an important signal the province wants lower taxes. "This is a start to continue the momentum that we're feeling right now in our province, the people who want to live here, who want to work here," he said. But he ruled out using the entire $163 million in carbon tax revenue for a much larger income tax cut. "There's a balance here," he said. The income tax cut only accounts for a small portion of the total carbon tax revenue this year, and $36 million will still be devoted to climate change projects, about the same as last year. Ottawa requires the carbon tax to increase each year, and the premier said he could lower income taxes further each year in tandem with carbon price hikes. "I'd like to say yes," he said. "A tax reduction is as good as a wage increase." Steeves's bill also raises the low-income tax threshold to $17,840 from $17,630. People below that threshold pay no provincial income tax.
The final chapter of a land claim dating back more than 100 years has finally been closed. On Monday, the Mosquito-Grizzly Bear's Head-Lean Man First Nation announced a final settlement with the federal government for $141 million, plus interest. In January, the Specific Land Claims Tribunal gave the First Nation a $121 million settlement, acknowledging that the surrender of the land was invalid and that the Crown had breached its duties to the First Nation. The increase in the settlement money came from the passage of time since the land was appraised in 2017, as well as loss of use stemming from the time of the appraisal. The settlement came after decades of advocacy by the First Nation's members over 5,800 hectares of reserve land taken by the federal government in the Battlefords area in 1905. "The award of $141 million is a huge success for the Mosquito-Grizzly Bear's Head and Lean Man First Nation," read a statement from Chief Tanya Aguilar-Antiman. "Our people have been seeking a fair and just settlement for the unlawful taking of our lands for more than 26 years." The land claim was started back in the 1990s and the First Nation spent decades negotiating with the government. "Although the facts in this claim were egregious, the Chief and Council are proud that Canada and the First Nation have taken a meaningful step toward reconciliation, as reflected in the agreement of the parties," said Chief Aguilar-Antiman.
A New Brunswick mom whose seven-year-old was hospitalized after eating what he thought were Oreo cookies is calling for a crackdown on cannabis-product packaging. Tobi Russo, who lives on Eel Ground First Nation southwest of Miramichi and is recovering from surgery, says she was having a rest on the couch Saturday morning when her youngest son, Moises, came upstairs to tell her he wasn't feeling well. Russo said it was plain to see he was in distress — his pupils were dilated and he was having heart palpitations — and she asked him what had happened. He told her he'd eaten some cookies, and she asked him to bring her the package. Russo was astonished: the packaging looked strikingly similar to the packaging for Oreo cookies, right down to the distinctive shiny blue cellophane wrap, and the font on the image of a chocolate creme cookie against a splash of white cream in the background. Except that they were in fact Stoneo cookies, by "Dabisco," which is not a legal product, and contained a total of 500 mg of THC. For comparison, a typical legal edibles product for sale at Cannabis NB contains between 2.5 and 10 mg of THC. Moises had eaten both of the cookies in the package. Alarmed, Russo called the poison control line and an ambulance. Moises was taken to Miramichi Regional Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an overdose and was hospitalized and monitored for 24 hours. He's home now and safe, and is not expected to have any long-term health issues because of the incident, but it has left Russo badly shaken. Stoneo cannabis cookies are sold in packaging that is almost identical to Oreo cookies packaging. (Weed Deals ) Cookies brought into home without her knowledge Russo said she had no idea the cookies had been brought into the house. "I live a drug- and alcohol-free life," said Russo, who has worked as an addictions counsellor. "If I would have known they were in the house, I would have destroyed them." There are adult relatives and four children, including teenagers, in the house, and there are friends who come and go, Russo said. She is quick to point out that she isn't trying to spark a "witch hunt" in her household or in her community. If anything, she said, she blames herself. "I am his mother and I'm responsible for what comes into this house," Russo said. Her real beef is with the companies that appear to directly target children with packaging that is dangerously similar to that of products they love. Stoneo cookies, by Canadian online dispensary Weed Deals, are just one example. There are Stoner Patch Kidz gummies, whose packaging mimics the distinctive packaging of Sour Patch Kids gummy candies, Fruit Gushers medicated gummies, Nerds Rope candy, and others. All of them mimic the original candies, from the packaging colour to the font to the graphic design. Oreo brand tries to stop 'misappropriation' "These big corporations should have a responsibility to not make it so inviting" to children, Russo said. "Adults would buy these products whether they had fancy packaging or not, they would buy it for the effect, so there's really no need to make it look all fun and fanciful." CBC News has reached out to Weed Deals, which sells the Stoneo cookies and other edibles, but did not immediately receive a response. On Tuesday, Mondelez International, which owns Oreo and many other snack brands, said in a statement that it takes the misuse of its products and brands seriously and "will act as necessary to protect consumers from actions that misrepresent" them. "In this case, the misappropriation of our OREO name and our packaging to sell THC-containing products is particularly troubling as the use of our designs may make the products more attractive and appealing to children," the statement said. "While we have reported the misuse to various agencies globally, we feel strongly about taking action to defend the OREO brand and to prevent its use by third parties to sell unregulated and infringing products. …Our products are safe to consume." Oreo cookies packaging. (Mondelez International) First Nation dispensary drops products The sale of cannabis in Canada has had some grey areas from the start. While Cannabis NB is the only legal retailer of cannabis in New Brunswick, First Nations leaders have argued that their communities weren't consulted when the Cannabis Act was being established, and that they do in fact have the right to sell cannabis in their own territories. Federal cannabis laws will come up for a three-year review this fall, giving First Nations an opportunity to make a new deal with the Canadian government that would allow them to sell legally. Cannabis NB does not sell Stoneo or other edibles that do not conform to Health Canada's quality control standards and guidelines, including packaging and THC levels. But such products are available online and at some dispensaries throughout the province, including some First Nation dispensaries, and calls for something to be done about their packaging are mounting. On Monday night, the co-owner of a cannabis dispensary on the Eel Ground First Nation, also known as Natoaganeg, posted a statement on Facebook announcing it will be dropping all products that employ the brand-mimicking tactic in the wake of Moises' accidental overdose. Although we may not be able to convince a company to alter their marketing strategies, we can make a difference by choosing not to offer these products in our store. - Devin Ward, co-owner of Lefty's Canna dispensary Lefty's Canna did not sell the Stoneo product in question, Devin Ward noted in his statement. However, he said, distributors have a responsibility to ensure that "incidents like the one this past weekend are avoided." "Ultimately, we are a collection of families that operates Lefty's. We have kids of our own and really sympathize with this unfortunate situation," he said in the statement. "Although we may not be able to convince a company to alter their marketing strategies, we can make a difference by choosing not to offer these products in our store." In an interview Monday night, Ward, himself a father of young boys, explained that Moises' hospital scare "hit close to home." "Moises is the same age as my son, they were in kindergarten together a few years ago. We know them on a personal level, so it was upsetting," he said. Devin Ward, with wife Kayla and their sons, Dexter, left, and Jackson. Ward co-owns a dispensary on the Eel Ground First Nation and said Monday night that the dispensary will be dropping all products whose packaging mimics brands known to children.(Submitted by Devin Ward) Public Health to discuss incident with Health Canada In an email Tuesday, New Brunswick's Public Health department said it was not aware of the packaging, but now plans to share the information with Health Canada. "We will share with Health Canada colleagues for followup as they are responsible for packaging," department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said. He noted individuals can also report concerns to Health Canada, via the Cannabis Reporting Form section on Health Canada's website. Health Canada said Monday that it is looking into the matter. MLA commends Russo for coming forward Michelle Conroy, the People's Alliance MLA for Miramichi, also knows Russo and Moises. On Monday, Conroy called Moises' close call "horrifying," and questioned how companies can be allowed to blatantly target children in their marketing of adult products. "We've been seeing posts about Doritos bags, candies and gummies, all of which are pointed towards children's treats. … it's very concerning." Conroy praised Russo for sharing her story, knowing that she would face online trolling and posting hurtful comments. "I really commend her for having the bravery to come forward because it will bring a lot of awareness to people who have no idea this is even happening," Conroy said. "I have two teenage boys here and you never know who's coming and going half the time, they're in the basement, they're bringing in treats and snacks … it can easily happen." Conroy said she'd like to see "stronger rules" around the packaging of such products, similar to the rules around cigarettes, and plans to look into the matter further. "It's really alarming that this can be done on any level," she said. "I don't think they should be able to do this at all."
The B.C. RCMP has identified a person of interest in the suspicious death investigation of 35-year-old Brenda Ware. Philip Toner, 41, is described by police as white, with brown hair and brown facial hair, although RCMP said he is presently described as being bald. He is 5 feet 11 inches and 190 pounds. His current whereabouts are unknown, but police say he has ties to B.C. and Alberta. "Brenda Ware and Toner were known to each other, however the nature of that relationship will not be released at this time," RCMP Supt. Sanjaya Wijayakoon said in a statement. Ware's body was found May 6, 54 kilometres northeast of Radium, B.C., along Highway 93. She had been travelling from Didsbury, Alta., through Kootenay National Park. Philip Toner is described by police as white, and as having brown hair and brown facial hair, although RCMP said he is presently described as bald. Police are looking to speak with him about the suspicious death of Brenda Ware.(B.C. RCMP) Police have deemed her death suspicious but have not released any details about what happened. "If Philip hears, or sees this call for information, we ask him to contact the police of jurisdiction," Wijayakoon said. Police are advising anyone who comes across Toner not to approach him, but to call 9-1-1 immediately. Investigators have also asked anyone who saw Ware or her vehicle from May 4 to May 6 to contact them at 1-877-987-8477. They'd also like to speak with anybody who may have encountered hitchhikers in the area or who has dashcam video from Kootenay National Park between May 5 and 6.
NAXOS, Greece (AP) — A vaccination program for Greek islands is being accelerated to cover all local residents by the end of June, the government announced Tuesday ahead of the launch of the tourism season. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said a nationwide priority system for age groups and medical vulnerability was being waived for permanent residents of nearly 100 islands. “This initiative is aimed at supporting local island communities and their economy and it also aspires to send a positive overall message for our tourism,” Mitsotakis said after a video conference with island mayors and regional governors. Greece is fighting to revive its key tourism sector that was battered by the pandemic in 2020 but its vaccination rates remain below the European Union average and the country has only recently stabilized a surge in cases. On the island of Naxos, a popular family holiday destination, officials welcomed the initiative. Mayor Dimitris Lianos told The Associated Press that the single dose vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson was also being deployed to speed up the program. “By the end of June, all our year-round residents will be vaccinated and that’s very important for us because it creates a sense of safety for the people that live here and for the people who will visit our island,” Lianos said. Robin Rose Varthalitou, and 69-year-old Naxos resident from Wales said she was relieved the vaccination drive was expanding. “There's been no problem. No worries. It’s fine,” she said of the immunization program so far. "I reckon everybody should do it by law... This (pandemic) is a tragedy everywhere, financially and for people. A tragedy.” Islanders make up around 1.5 million of Greece’s population of 10.7 million. Many holiday islands have a year-round population of under 10,000, while Crete has the largest with more than 600,000 residents, followed by Evia, Rhodes, Corfu, Lesbos, and Chios. The tourism season officially opens Friday. ___ Derek Gatopoulos and Theodora Tongas in Athens contributed. Thanassis Stavrakis And Srdjan Nedeljkovic, The Associated Press
Labor organizers spread 1,200 hard hats across the grounds of the Michigan Capitol, saying they represented jobs that would be lost without the Line 5 oil pipeline (May 11)
A comprehensive new survey of Jewish Americans finds them increasingly worried about antisemitism, proud of their cultural heritage and sharply divided about the importance of religious observance in their lives. The survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, estimated the total Jewish population in the country at 7.5 million — about 2.3% of the national population. The survey of 4,178 Jewish Americans was conducted between November 2019 and June 2020 — long before the current escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the findings reflected skepticism among U.S. Jews regarding that conflict — only one-third said the Israeli government was sincere in seeking peace; just 12% said Palestinian leaders were sincere in that regard. Compared with Americans overall, Jewish Americans, on average, are older, have higher levels of education and income and are more geographically concentrated in the Northeast, according to Pew. Yet even as the Jewish population is thriving in many ways, concerns about antisemitism rose amid the deadly attacks in 2018 and 2019 on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California; and a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey. Three-quarters of Jewish Americans say there is more antisemitism in the U.S. than five years ago, and 53% say they feel less safe. Jews who wear distinctive religious attire such as head coverings are particularly likely to feel less safe. The impact of such worries on people's behavior seems limited: Pew reported that the vast majority of American Jews — including those who feel less safe — say concern about antisemitism hasn't deterred them from participating in Jewish observances and events. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union of Reform Judaism, said American Jews believe they are being singled out for attacks and vitriol, yet also see antisemitism as part of a broader national problem of bigotry and intolerance. “We have to get a lid on the tolerance of intolerance in the United States,” he told The Associated Press. “Hatred and bigotry existed before five or six years ago, but in recent years it has become OK to do it in a very public, unrestrained way.” According to Pew’s criteria, Jews are notably less religious than American adults as a whole. For example, 21% said religion is very important in their lives, compared with 41% of U.S. adults overall. A majority of U.S. adults say they believe in God “as described in the Bible," compared with 26% of Jews. And 12% of Jewish Americans say they attend religious services at least weekly, versus 27% of the general public. Orthodox Jews stand apart in this regard. They are among the most religious groups in U.S. society in terms of the share — 86% — who say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 78% of Black Protestants and 76% of white evangelicals. According to Pew, 9% of U.S. Jews describe themselves as Orthodox. Far more belong to the two long-dominant branches of American Judaism: 37% identify as Reform and 17% as Conservative. More than one in four don't identify with any particular branch yet consider themselves to be Jewish ethnically, culturally or by family background. Interfaith marriage is commonplace: 42% of married Jewish adults said they had a non-Jewish spouse, according to Pew. Jacobs said he wants Reform congregations to embrace this phenomenon rather than view it as a sign of demise. “Intermarriage can expand who’s part of the Jewish community,” he said. “You see Black, brown, Asian families choosing to be a part of Jewish life.” Pew found evidence that the U.S. Jewish population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Overall, 92% of Jewish adults identify as non-Hispanic white, and 8% identify with all other categories combined. But among Jews ages 18 to 29, that figure rises to 15%. Pew’s survey suggests other generational changes are unfolding. For example, among Jews ages 18 to 29, 17% self-identify as Orthodox, compared with just 3% of those 65 and older. And among Jewish adults under 30, 37% identify with either Reform or Conservative Judaism, compared with about 70% of those 65 and older. Politically, U.S. Jews on the whole tend to support the Democratic Party. In the survey, which was conducted months before the 2020 election, 71% said they were Democrats or leaned Democratic. But Orthodox Jews have moved in the opposite direction: 75% of them said they were Republicans or leaned Republican, compared with 57% in 2013. And 86% of them rated Donald Trump’s handling of policy toward Israel as “excellent” or “good,” while a majority of all U.S. Jews described it as “only fair” or “poor.” While there are signs of political polarization among U.S. Jews, the survey also found areas of consensus. For instance, more than 80% say they feel at least some sense of belonging to the Jewish people, and three-quarters say “being Jewish” is very or somewhat important to them. Pew asked respondents which of various causes and activities are “essential,” “important but not essential” or “not important” to what being Jewish means to them. More than 70% said remembering the Holocaust and leading a moral and ethical life are essential, and 59% cited working for social justice. Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in Encino, California, said he hopes Jewish Americans can maintain solidarity even as their ranks diversify and many forego religious observance. “It is our imperative to find ways to be nimble and compelling enough for the Jews to want to invest their time and resources in the broader community,” he said via email. “So the struggle for me is not the identity, but the practice of Jewish life and how we hold a community together when others are trying to tear us apart.” Rabbi Motti Seligson, media director of the Hasidic organization Chabad-Lubavitch, expressed pride and optimism as the ranks of young Orthodox Jews remain robust. Yet he commended other young adults who don't identify as religious but still embrace Jewish culture and traditions. “They are eschewing the old construct of denominational affiliation and choosing a Jewish lifestyle that is uniquely their own yet ultimately connected to their people and heritage,” he said. Pew's survey was conducted online and by mail; the margin of error for questions posed to all respondents was plus or minus 3 percentage points. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. David Crary, The Associated Press
Alberta is about to hit the two-million dose milestone in its efforts to vaccinate the province's population against COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday. "By tomorrow, we fully expect to administer our two-millionth dose in Alberta," Kenney told a news conference. "To put it in perspective, it took Alberta 119 days to reach our first one million doses administered. "And if we stay on target for tomorrow, it will have taken only 29 days to reach the second million." Kenney joined Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, in an update on efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the ongoing vaccination campaign. The premier said he's heard many parents say that it was more emotional for them to book appointments for their kids this week than it was when they booked their own shots. "All of these moments give us a brief glimpse towards the exit and the end of this pandemic and a return to normal life," he said. Alberta reported 1,449 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and three new deaths: a woman in her 70s in the South zone who died Saturday; a man in his 90s in the North zone who died Sunday; and a man in his 90s in the Central zone who died Monday. There are 705 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 163 in intensive care. As of Tuesday, there were 24,998 active cases in Alberta. In the last 24 hours, 11,852 tests were completed. The testing positivity rate was 12.7 per cent. Kenney said work is underway to develop a new one-stop, centralized booking system that will let people book vaccination appointments at AHS clinics, pharmacies or participating physicians' offices. The system will launch sometime in June, he said. Push down spike, then plan the reopening Kenney said he is watching with interest a plan announced in Saskatchewan linking its reopening to vaccination rates. Alberta is still in the early stages of developing its own plan but that vaccination rates are a consideration, he said. "Our immediate focus is just getting through the next couple of weeks, really through the end of May, to push down this spike and then I think we can really begin to look forward to reopening many, many things to have a good summer," he said. He said government polling suggests about 10 per cent of Albertans say they definitely won't get the vaccine and another 10 per cent say they might get it. The balance of the province's population say they are somewhat or very likely to get immunized against COVID-19, Kenney said. New advertising campaign Alberta has launched Back to Normal, a new phase of the province's vaccination campaign aimed at emphasizing the importance of getting people vaccinated. "Your vaccine is your ticket back," an upbeat Kenney said Tuesday. A billboard-type ad that is part of the campaign shows kids and families at a community soccer game with the slogan, "Get vaccinated so we can all get back to normal." More ads are to follow, the government said in a news release. Here is how active cases break down throughout the province: Calgary zone: 11,532 Edmonton zone: 5,707 North zone: 3,689 Central zone: 2,713 South zone: 1,328 Unknown: 29
Health Minister Paul Merriman recently challenged Saskatchewan millennials to match the high COVID-19 vaccination numbers recorded so far among the province's older populations. Like the cool kids say: Challenge accepted. Statistics reported daily by the Ministry of Health show Saskatchewan residents in their 30s are taking their first doses at a rapid clip. As of May 9, just over a quarter of Saskatchewan residents aged 30 to 39 — or 27 per cent of the province's estimated 183,246 thirtysomethings — had received their first dose of vaccine. That level of vaccination, among one of the province's largest age populations, was reached only six days after the first chunk of the 30s cohort, people aged 37 to 39, were allowed to book vaccine appointments starting on May 4 —aside from any young workers or vulnerable people offered early doses, that is. In the days since, eligibility has opened up to people aged 32 to 36. But the 27-per-cent vaccination level reported Monday was reached even though remaining cohort members aged 30 and 31 only became eligible on Monday morning and therefore did not factor into those latest vaccine takeup numbers. (Government of Saskatchewan) What's more, Saskatchewan residents in their 30s reached the benchmark of one quarter of their population receiving one dose more quickly than either people in their 40s or 50s. By comparison, one quarter of fortysomethings were vaccinated with a single dose as of April 28 — 13 days after the first segment of that group, people aged 48 and 49, could book an appointment. Meanwhile, 26 per cent of Saskatchewan people in their fifties had been inoculated once against COVID-19 as of April 12 — 11 days after the first segment of that group, people aged 58 and 59, became eligible for vaccination. Seniors prioritized in rollout Data on when people in their 60s reached the 25-per-cent first-dose level was not available at the time due to an update in the province's reporting systems, according to the ministry. Exactly when people in their 70s and 80s hit that goal is also unclear because the ministry's table on vaccine uptake did not become a staple of its daily reporting until late March, by which point the vaccination of Saskatchewan's seniors was well underway. However, by March 23, 30 per cent of Saskatchewan residents in their 70s had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That's 11 days after the first segment of people in that age group, people 76 and older, became eligible. Many caveats should be noted when comparing vaccine take up between age groups, not the least of which is vaccine supply, which has ebbed and flowed at various points in Saskatchewan's vaccine rollout but increased considerably as of last week. More location options, including drive-thrus and pharmacies, have launched since the early days of the vaccine rollout. Also worth considering is that young prioritized health care workers may have been vaccinated early. On the other hand, seniors and others living in care homes were also among those prioritized for early vaccination ahead of younger portions of the general population and had vaccine clinics come to them, as opposed to having to travel to a clinic or drive-thru. As of Sunday, 88 per cent of Saskatchewan seniors aged 80 and over had received one dose — the highest uptake rate of any age group. Initially, the Ministry of Health reported separately on vaccine levels among care home residents and seniors living independently. Now all seniors are simply recorded in the same age categories, regardless of whether they were inoculated while in a care home or not. Merriman, the health minister, expressed hope late last week that the strong vaccination numbers among seniors would be bested by younger generations. "It'd be very interesting to see if the millennials could take up that challenge," Merriman said. "They seem to be very interested in challenges these days. It seems to be the trending thing online." For more stories of vaccinated Saskatchewan thirtysomethings, click here.
A senior Republican U.S. senator on Tuesday asked the chief executives of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Seagate Technology, and Western Digital Corp if the companies are improperly supplying Huawei with foreign-produced hard disk drives. Senator Roger Wicker, the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, said a 2020 U.S. Commerce Department regulation sought to "tighten Huawei's ability to procure items that are the direct product of specified U.S. technology or software, such as hard disk drives."
Doctors in India are warning against the practice of using cow dung in the belief it will ward off COVID-19, saying there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness and that it risks spreading other diseases. The coronavirus pandemic has wrought devastation on India, with 22.66 million cases and 246,116 deaths reported so far. In the state of Gujarat in western India, some believers have been going to cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope it will boost their immunity against, or help them recover from, the coronavirus.
TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan's foreign minister criticised what he called China's "shameless lies" on Tuesday in an escalating dispute about Beijing blocking the island from the World Health Organization (WHO), saying China clearly did not care about Taiwan's people. The United States and the rich-nation Group of Seven (G7) have called for Chinese-claimed but democratically ruled Taiwan to attend the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, which meets from May 24. Taiwan is excluded from most global organisations such as the WHO because of the objections of China, which considers the island one of its provinces not a country.