With the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on small businesses, there is a push for people to shop locally this holiday season, with groups setting up shopping and delivery for multiple local businesses in one place.
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on small businesses, there is a push for people to shop locally this holiday season, with groups setting up shopping and delivery for multiple local businesses in one place.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
After a five-year hiatus marked by grievances over their rival claims to Mediterranean waters, Turkey resumes talks with Greece on Monday in the first test of its hopes to reverse deteriorating relations with the European Union. While diplomats say that rebuilding trust will be a hard slog, the talks follow Turkey's decision to stop its search for gas in disputed waters which angered Greece and Cyprus and a cooling of rhetoric around Ankara's wider disputes with the EU. They could also pave the way for an imminent visit to Turkey by EU leaders.
TORONTO — Two winning tickets were sold for the jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw -- one in Quebec and the other in British Columbia.Each ticket is worth $4.2 million.The draw's guaranteed $1 million prize also went to a lottery player in B.C.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Jan. 27 will be approximately $5 million. The Canadian Press
COVID-19's disastrous effects on Canada's hotel industry are well-documented, but as owners struggle to survive the pandemic, they are also battling a second crisis: skyrocketing insurance rates. It seems counterintuitive, since hotels are serving fewer guests and many of their restaurants and lounges are closed, but hospitality insurance rates across the country have increased dramatically in the past year, putting more pressure on an already pinched industry. Michael Mazepa, who is part of an ownership group for the St. Albert Inn and Suites, the Continental Inn and Suites in west Edmonton, and a Best Western in B.C. said rates doubled at two of the hotels, with insurance for each now costing more than $135,000 annually. "It's a lot of money and you don't have the money rolling in," Mazepa said. Dave Kaiser, president and CEO of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association, said in the past year, members have reported insurance increases of 100 to 300 per cent. Most of the association's members were part of a large group of businesses from British Columbia to Ontario that pooled their resources to help stabilize rates. The system worked well for years, Kaiser said, but this year, the group failed to find an insurance company that would insure this kind of model. The group turned to traditional insurance, but premiums went up, and in some cases, hotels failed to stay in the group or find insurance at all. Jay Deol, who owns the Westgate Motor Inn in west Edmonton, said his annual insurance rate quadrupled this year, rising from about $8,600 to $34,000. He can't afford the hike and said he was baffled because he has never made a claim. Deol said he tried shopping around for another option, but could not find a company that would even give him a quote. Why did rates rise? Industry experts say hospitality insurance has become more expensive for several reasons. The first is there have been more claims and losses in recent years. A recent report by Deloitte, relying on statistics from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, found that over the past 15 years, insurance loss ratios have climbed faster than premiums have. On the property insurance side, water damage and catastrophic weather events like hail in Calgary and flooding in Fort McMurray have been costly for insurers. On the liability side, slips and falls have led to expensive lawsuits. Recognizing this, some companies have stopped offering hospitality insurance, with the result being fewer players in the market and higher rates for hotels and restaurants. The pandemic is exacerbating the problem. "The lower the interest rates, the higher the insurance premiums because insurance companies can't make money on the investment behind the scenes," explained Brett Kanuka, marketing director for CMB Insurance Brokers in Edmonton. Pandemic-related closures and suspensions in the hospitality sector have also meant fewer hotels and restaurants are paying into the pool of money that covers losses. Experts say the issue is global and goes beyond hospitality insurance — condominiums, shopping malls, recycling plants and school districts are also struggling to pay for higher rates. "We're not immune to some of the events that are happening around the world," said Rob de Pruis, a director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Some hotels ditch property insurance Some hotel owners who can't afford the increases are choosing to accept the risks that come with reducing coverage. Kaiser said he is aware of hotels foregoing property insurance and only paying for liability. "To me, that's very scary," said Nona McCreedy, owner of Aurora Underwriting Services in Edmonton. "It must make it difficult for them to sleep at night because they're suddenly taking on that risk themselves." Though hotel owners cannot do much to prevent catastrophic weather events, they can ramp up their risk management systems in an effort to avoid making claims. At Mazepa's hotels, staff are checking rooms for damage weekly, even if they are not occupied, and Kaiser said risk management education and training will be a key focus for the hotel association going forward. Helping businesses find insurance In the meantime, there are efforts underway to help companies that have been unable to find insurance. The Insurance Bureau of Canada launched a business insurance action team in December to help connect hospitality businesses in Ontario with insurance companies. The pilot project may expand, if demand persists, to other parts of the country. For companies like Echelon Insurance, the problem presents an opportunity. In the fall the company expanded its commercial insurance offerings for small and medium-sized hospitality businesses in Ontario and as of Jan. 1, it has made those available to companies across Canada. "We are definitely hearing the noise from some businesses and brokers, which tells us that there's a need for this particular coverage because there's a gap in the industry," said Echelon Insurance president Robin Joshua. Experts say that with rates likely remaining high for at least another year, business owners should scrutinize their policies, go over them in detail with brokers and look for opportunities to reduce coverage or increase deductibles. "Most of us are really trying to do the best we can for the insured and get them the fairest price possible," McCreedy said.
Tattoos are popular for people of all ages and genders — even on the face — but for Indigenous women, it's not about being trendy. It's about reclaiming a traditional form of self-expression. A few years ago, Stacey Fayant, a Regina artist, decided to explore the art of traditional tattooing because it piqued her interest. "All my art is centred around my identity and culture and exploring how trauma from colonization has affected our identities," said Fayant. "I never knew that my people tattooed, so when I found out, there was a real strong pull to find out more about it and I knew I had to be involved in reawakening it here in Saskatchewan." Fayant, who is of Cree, Saulteaux and Métis descent, was professionally trained in the stick-and-poke and skin-stitch methods. These two forms of tattooing existed on this continent prior to contact, which is why she wanted to learn these specific techniques. Initially, Fayant thought she would share her knowledge with just her family, but has been overwhelmed by the response from the Indigenous community. Waiting lists for her tattoos, prior to the pandemic, were at least six months long. "People seem to know that they need this and it's for the right reasons," she said. "They are coming to me specifically for a traditional tattoo that connects them to their identity and their culture." Fayant said face tattoos such as chin and temple tattoos are not viewed as taboo among Indigenous cultures around the globe, so she's not surprised Indigenous women are choosing to get such markings. History older than Canada For Nina Wilson, a Saskatoon resident and co-founder of Idle No More, the decision to get her forehead tattoo seemed natural. "I was always a part of [Indigenous ceremonies] for at least 25 or 30 years and we always had paint," she said. "Indian paint was always used to mark us for certain things we were about to do, certain things we did, certain things we were known for." Traditional paints are extracted from the minerals in rocks, soil and plants and are mixed to create hues. "What I chose to do was permanently mark my face, so I wouldn't have to keep putting it on and taking it off and putting it on," said Wilson. She has recently added a chin tattoo. Wilson realizes such markings are considered unconventional in today's society, but says they are rooted in a history older than Canada. "They are not your average tattoo.They make people stop and stare," she said. Wilson believes these ancient markings serve a purpose and has no regrets about getting them. Most times she forgets she has them because they are a part of her now, until she notices the stares or when someone stops her and asks about them. Wilson said the tattoos are there to remind people of the old customs and rituals, which were deliberately erased through colonialism, so they shouldn't be feared. "The way it was explained to me by different ceremonial people, it's almost like a protection that you wear different," she said. 'Always looking at my Indigneous side' Kat Worm, who lives in Punichy, north of Regina, had her own reasons for deciding to get a chin tattoo, and like Wilson, she felt like it was meant to be there. She waited almost two decades before getting her tattoo last year. Initially, she wanted to get the tattoo after she graduated from university, but at that time face tattoos were rare. Worm did some research, but said there was limited information available. "I found out that some Cree women did have face tattoos and always below the chin," said Worm. "I was brought up on the reserve so I was raised always looking at my Indigenous side. So I started looking at my Celtic side and [found out] they would use face paint that also went below the chin." Born to a Cree father and Irish mother, she embraces both bloodlines equally, so when she did get her tattoo, she wanted it to symbolize that identity and chose to get two parallel lines down her chin. "Physical appearance is the first thing you notice about somebody, I've never been a big makeup person so I think I needed this type of statement for my own individuality," said Worm. Although her family supported her decision, the reaction she receives from strangers varies. While many Indigenous women admire her tattoo, strangers in the small town where she lives are more apprehensive toward her now, she said. Worm takes both reactions in stride because she knows face tattoos can carry a negative stigma for some people. However, she believes this is not a trend and it will become more common among Indigenous women. Educating others For Tasha Beeds, the decision to get a traditional temple tattoo is complex because of what it symbolizes for her. Beeds is a university professor at two Ontario institutions — the University of Sudbury and the University of Windsor college of law. She is also a water walker. She takes both roles seriously, and they are interwoven in her decision to get a face tattoo. Water walkers, who are also known as water protectors, are a group of primarily Indigenous women who pray for the health and preservation of water, embarking on walks to do that and celebrate the resource. Prior to a walk a round Lake Superior in 2017, Beeds had a dream of impending doom. Although frightened, Beeds said, the water spirit she heard in her dream told her she would be helped. "In my dream, she gave me a marking." Once the walkers crossed the Canada-U.S., border Beeds fell severely ill and sought medical attention. After a series of tests at hospital in Baraja, Mich., doctors discovered a tumour in the middle of her chest. Although she was both shocked and worried, she remembered her dream. Against the doctors' advice to go home and seek treatment, she continued the walk. While on the walk, Beeds and the other women were joined by Indigenous artists Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdock. "They were just starting to do the ceremonial tattoos and Isaac was going to have one done and I said, 'I want one, too, and I shared with them my dream.' " Belcourt and Murdock immediately agreed to do the tattoo. Although it was a painful experience, Beeds said she knows it was meant to be. Today, she said, her face tattoos spark curious questions from students and she uses those conversations to educate others about the importance of protecting the water. Fayant has also recently added a temple tattoo and like other women with facial markings, she believes they are powerful because they provide a connection to the past.
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet. In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order. "I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan. Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt. That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney. "I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton. "But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner." The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency. Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis." Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on. Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day. "Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said. "Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden." Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians." Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.
What reason did the federal government give for denying funding to a local Somali centre? Which neighbourhood is in line for a $129-million revitalization? And why is a 13-year-old boy and his surveillance cameras being feted by his neighbours? These are just a few of the questions designed to vex and perplex you in this week's CBC Ottawa news quiz. On a desktop computer? For the best quiz-taking experience, click on the arrows in the bottom right-hand corner of the quiz widget to expand it.
A couple of weeks ago, a snowy owl in the care of Atlantic Veterinary College staff was released back into the wild after recovering from severe emaciation. It was an event Dave McRuer says is uncommon — usually, by the time snowy owls are found in this condition, he said it is too late to save them. McRuer is a wildlife health specialist with Parks Canada based at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown. His job takes him to national parks across Canada, where he has periodically come in contact with snowy owls. He was also director of wildlife services for 11 years at the Wildlife Centre of Virginia, where they would occasionally receive snowy owls, and worked with them as intern at the University of Saskatchewan. Since snowy owls are in the news, we asked McRuer to share what he finds most interesting about the rarely seen species, and he generously obliged. 1. Why they're suddenly here Snowy owls breed and usually stay in the North, on the flat, frozen tundra territories of Canada, the U.S., Greenland and Russia. Some, however, migrate even further north to pack ice where they forage on polar bear kills, and to open water there where they feed on sea ducks. Still others will migrate as far south as the Carolinas and do so annually. Every five years or so there's what scientists call an irruption, when large numbers of them migrate south. Rarely — once every few decades or so — there's a "super movement" of snowy owls south. Right now, snowy owls are in an irruption year, which is why more are being spotted in southern locales including P.E.I. These periodic moves south were thought to be because of a lack of food, but scientists have now debunked that theory and are working to discover why, McRuer said. For more on the owls' migration, he suggests checking out the Project Snowstorm website. 2. 'Young and dumb' The snowy owls that show up here in Canada are typically younger, McRuer said. Scientists affectionately call them "the young and dumb" because they haven't had as much practice catching food. If they miss a few attempts in a row, they can become weak, which can lead to a "downhill spiral" ending in starvation and death, McRuer said. "Those are typically the birds that don't move at all when you walk up to them here," he said. They can end up at the AVC and other wildlife rehabilitation centres, and usually die because they are too severely emaciated. "It's pretty rare that they make it through," he said. "There's no muscle left on their bodies whatsoever." 3. Females are bigger Like most raptors, the females of the species are bigger by up to one third. The males are almost pure white, McRuer said. The females have some black marking or "barring" across their chests, wings and heads, and the young snowy owls have even more barring. 4. That's a lot of eggs Normally the females each lay five to seven eggs a year, but in years where food is very plentiful, they will lay 12 to 16 eggs in one nest. "Those years, there is a ton of snowy owls, and when winter comes, there are territories that these owls do have, and there's just not as much room for all of these young owls, so they tend to migrate south," McRuer said. Those are the years people report seeing more snowy owls. 5. 1,000-yard stare Snowy owls can see for up to a kilometre — really well. As in, a mouse half a kilometre away scurrying across the snow. That's lunch! "As soon as they see it they're off, and they can actually fly really quickly" in pursuit of food, McRuer said, even though at four to five kilograms they are the heaviest North American owls. 6. People make them nervous Because they can see so far away, they can of course see you coming, and they don't like people getting too close. McRuer said if they are fidgeting and staring directly at you, you're too close. The best way to observe them, he said, is with binoculars, from your car. "Cars are fantastic blinds," he said. "You can generally get closer to any kind of wildlife in a car than you can just generally walking." If you "bump" the owl, or get so close it flies away, that's a bad thing, McRuer said: It makes them more vulnerable to predation, and it uses up valuable energy they need to hunt and survive. It also stresses their immune system. 7. Mmm, tundra grouse Prey consists of small rodents like lemmings and voles, and the occasional ptarmigan, a small tundra grouse. And, because they are used to hunting in 24-hour darkness in the North, they usually hunt at night. "Never feed owls," McRuer said, even if they look hungry. "It just encourages the owls to come close to cars," and they are often hit by vehicles. 8. Watch out for that eagle Snowy owls are listed as a vulnerable species and therefore hunting is forbidden. There are 100,000 to 400,000 around the world, he said. But other animals don't know that. Arctic foxes eat the owls' chicks and eggs, but McRuer said adult owls can take on a small Arctic fox (about the size of a domestic cat) and win. Arctic wolves and polar bears will also scavenge on the nests if they find them, he said. People hunted them and stuffed them for show in large numbers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, McRuer said. In southern climes such as P.E.I., their main predators are red-tailed hawks and eagles. But mostly they die due to human activities, McRuer said, such as collisions with vehicles or utility wires, eating rodents that have been poisoned, or being snared accidentally by hunters. 9. Where to spot them The owls' habitat in the Arctic tundra is flat, so they're most at home along the shoreline or perching on a sand dune or telephone pole, but not in trees, McRuer said. 10. Life span Wild snowy owls, like most raptor species, can live as long as 15 years but generally most die "pretty quickly," McRuer said. That's why they attempt to have and care for as many chicks as possible. Snowy owls can live close to 30 years in captivity, McRuer said. 11. The myth of the wise owl McRuer is also a falconer, and trains raptors such as hawks, falcons and even some species of owls. "I can tell you owls are not as easily trained as other raptors. They just don't pick up on things as quickly," he said. "I'm not going to say they're dumb, but they're a little slow on the pickup." The birds he has trained are ones rescued at rehabilitation centres and are used for educational purposes, he said. However, he has not trained a snowy owl. "Having a bird on your glove, you get a lot more attention than just sort of standing up there with a power-point presentation," he said. "They make great education ambassadors." McRuer does not encourage people to try to keep them as pets. 12. They can breed with other owls Scientists have seen snowy owls breeding with other large owl species — so far only in captivity, McRuer said. But don't be surprised if climate change brings about a hybrid in the wild soon, he said. "That's occurred in other Arctic species like polar bears and grizzly bears, for example," he said. More from CBC P.E.I.
New U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, during his first phone call with his Japanese counterpart, reaffirmed America's commitment to Tokyo to defending a group of East China Sea islets claimed by both Japan and China, the Pentagon said. Austin, in talks with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, confirmed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, which stipulates U.S. defence obligations to Japan, covers the uninhabited islands, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday Jan. 24, 2021. There are 737,407 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 737,407 confirmed cases (65,750 active, 652,829 resolved, 18,828 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 5,957 new cases Saturday from 101,130 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 174.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 41,703 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,958. There were 206 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,100 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 157. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 50.09 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,996,450 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (10 active, 384 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Saturday from 146 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.68 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. 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 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 77,472 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (seven active, 103 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 418 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six 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 88,407 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,570 confirmed cases (22 active, 1,483 resolved, 65 deaths). There were five new cases Saturday from 721 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.69 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 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 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 200,424 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,087 confirmed cases (332 active, 742 resolved, 13 deaths). There were 30 new cases Saturday from 1,031 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 42.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 203 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 29. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. 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 1.67 per 100,000 people. There have been 133,199 tests completed. _ Quebec: 250,491 confirmed cases (17,763 active, 223,367 resolved, 9,361 deaths). There were 1,631 new cases Saturday from 8,857 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 18 per cent. The rate of active cases is 209.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,746 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,678. There were 88 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 423 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 60. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.71 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 110.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed. _ Ontario: 250,226 confirmed cases (25,263 active, 219,262 resolved, 5,701 deaths). There were 2,662 new cases Saturday from 69,403 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 173.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,918 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,703. There were 87 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 412 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 59. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.14 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,895,862 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 28,260 confirmed cases (3,261 active, 24,204 resolved, 795 deaths). There were 171 new cases Saturday from 1,998 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 8.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 238.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,118 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 160. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 36 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.05 per 100,000 people. There have been 448,638 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 21,643 confirmed cases (3,196 active, 18,200 resolved, 247 deaths). There were 305 new cases Saturday from 1,326 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. The rate of active cases is 272.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,928 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 275. There were eight new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.45 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 21.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 327,151 tests completed. _ Alberta: 119,757 confirmed cases (9,987 active, 108,258 resolved, 1,512 deaths). There were 643 new cases Saturday from 12,969 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 228.47 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,387 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 627. There were 12 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 110 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 34.59 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 63,484 confirmed cases (5,901 active, 56,455 resolved, 1,128 deaths). There were 508 new cases Saturday from 4,088 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 116.36 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,367 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 481. There were nine new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 81 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.24 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from six completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. 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 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,216 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (seven active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 105 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six 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 9,064 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 267 confirmed cases (one active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Saturday from 62 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been one new case. 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 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,241 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Former President Donald Trump considered replacing the acting attorney general with an official willing to pursue unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and he pushed the Justice Department to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate President Joe Biden’s victory, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the efforts in the last weeks of Trump's presidency failed because of resistance from his Justice appointees who refused to file what they viewed as a legally baseless lawsuit in the Supreme Court. Other senior department officials later threatened to resign if Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, several people familiar with the discussions told the Journal.
The European Union will make pharmaceutical companies respect contracts they have signed for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, European Council President Charles Michel said on Sunday. Pfizer Inc last week said it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output. On Friday, AstraZeneca also said that initial deliveries to the region will fall short because of a production glitch.
India said it will administer homegrown coronavirus vaccine COVAXIN in seven more states from Monday as it seeks to inoculate 30 million healthcare workers across the country. The government this month gave emergency-use approval to the vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd and state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, and another licensed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca PLC that is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s thousands of rotational workers are once again at the top of the province’s policy discussions, this time in relation to the timing of the provincial election. In a release Saturday, Chris Tibbs, a Progressive Conservative candidate in central Newfoundland, says a snap election called in the middle of winter makes it tough for rotational workers to vote. His concerns are echoed in a local Facebook group for rotational workers, which began in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when health authorities were rolling out special quarantine rules for people regularly travelling back and forth to other provinces for work. Many in the group are sharing information on how to vote by mail, urging their fellow rotational workers to be sure they get a ballot. In an interview, Gillian Pearson, who co-chairs a local group supporting women and gender-diverse people in politics, says snap elections can also make it harder for women to run, as they are often in charge of child- or elder-care and must make arrangements. According to the province’s election rules, Liberal leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey had to call an election before August 2021. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Under fluorescent lights, Wendy Muckle surveys the supervised consumption site that sits in quiet contrast to Ottawa's peppy ByWard Market nearby. Users filter into the brick building — dubbed "the trailer," a nod to the service's former digs — offering up greetings and grins en route to 16 basement booths, each furnished with a chair, a shatter-resistant mirror and a needle disposal box. The injection facility halved the number of booths to ensure distancing when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March, resulting in a "huge increase" in overdoses in the surrounding community, says Muckle, who for 20 years has headed Ottawa Inner City Health, which provides health care for vulnerable populations. She restored full capacity in response to the spike in overdoses but many services remain reduced or accessible only virtually. “We've seen a really frightening, rapid increase in the number of people using drugs in this pandemic," Muckle says. "I think people feel like maybe they just aren't going to make it through this one." Drug users face greater dangers as the second wave forces harm reduction sites and outreach programs to curtail their services, leaving at-risk communities out in the cold. Shorter hours, physical distancing measures and a curfew in Quebec, combined with a more lethal drug supply due to border closures, have sent addictions services scrambling to help users across the country as opioid overdoses and the attendant death toll continue to mount. In British Columbia, fentanyl-related deaths had been on the decline for more than a year until April, when monthly numbers routinely began to double those of 2019. Deaths linked to fentanyl, a lethally potent synthetic opioid, reached 360 in B.C. between September and November compared to 184 in the same period a year earlier, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. Opioid-related deaths countrywide could climb as high as 2,000 per quarter in the first half of 2021, far surpassing the peak of nearly 1,200 in the last three months of 2018, according to modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada. It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply and users turning to substances as a way of coping with high stress. Social services have limited capacity or shut down communal spaces, while programs from meal provision to laundry — some of which are near injection sites, encouraging their use — are now tougher to access. Canada's ongoing border shutdown has disrupted the flow of illicit drugs, and dealers looking to stretch their limited supplies are more apt to add potentially toxic adulterants. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, have been detected in drugs circulating in parts of several provinces. Users can be difficult to rouse and slow to respond to naloxone — the drug that reverses opioid overdoses — and more likely to overdose when fentanyl or other opioids are also in the mix. “With the benzodiazepine, there is no antidote for that," said Paula Tookey, program manager for consumption and treatment at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre in Toronto. "People are sedated deeply for hours, often 10 hours or even more," forcing workers to turn away other users who then may shoot up alone, she said. The Riverdale site saw 42 out of 1,110 visitors overdose last month — none fatally — compared to just two overdoses in 700 visits in December 2019, Tookey said. Pared-down services have also diminished harm reduction sites' role as de facto community spaces, cutting off a key point of social contact. "We used to have memorials, which were super important for people because we have constant deaths," Tookey said. “A lot of our folks don't have families ... The community and other people in their situations and the workers are kind of the informal family that people have." Limits on gathering in the pandemic have also closed off a critical source of knowledge sharing. "There’s no people to say, ‘Hey, that’s really, really strong, don’t use that much,'" said Karen Ward, a drug rights advocate as well as a drug policy and poverty reduction consultant with the City of Vancouver. "Those facts, that social information, is really, really important to have. You know, ‘Hey, there’s a bad batch,’ that sort of thing.” Health authorities run alert systems for poisoned drugs across B.C., but their patchwork structure leaves lives in jeopardy, she said. In Quebec, Montreal's four supervised consumption sites have seen visits drop sharply since the 8 p.m. provincial curfew came into force earlier this month. Even a mobile unit has reached far fewer users, says Kim Charest, outreach program coordinator at L'Anonyme, which runs the portable site. "Unfortunately, people are less likely to go outside their door basically past 8 p.m.," she said. "But we do know that people don't necessarily stop taking drugs." Even before the curfew, the number of EMS calls where paramedics administered naloxone to opioid users in Montreal and the suburb of Laval nearly doubled last year, reaching 270 compared to 146 in 2019, according to the Urgences-santé ambulance service. Another danger lies in sharing needles — injection sites provide clean ones — and the risk of blood-borne infections. Advocates, outreach workers and users are calling for better drug alert systems and broader support services in the short-term. However, nothing short of decriminalization of possession of small quantities of drugs — requested by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart to the federal government — and more stable housing will help beat back the tide of overdoses, Muckle says. "At the end of the day, if people are unhoused, all of the things that you're doing really have a marginal benefit," Muckle says. "You cannot heal in a shelter .... A home is such a fundamental part of our health." Meanwhile, the social isolation and unsupervised consumption of tainted drugs ratcheted up by the pandemic bode ill for vulnerable Canadians. "We had a pretty significant problem with addiction when this pandemic started. We're going to come out of it way worse." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Chinese air force planes including 12 fighter jets entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone for a second day on Sunday, Taiwan said, as tensions rise near the island just days into U.S. President Joe Biden's new administration. China views democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has in the past few months increased military activity near the island. But China's activities over the weekend mark a ratcheting up with fighters and bombers being dispatched rather than reconnaissance aircraft as had generally been the case in recent weeks.
Eleven workers trapped for two weeks by an explosion inside a Chinese gold mine were brought safely to the surface on Sunday.View on euronews
Flute player Tyler Evans-Knott, a member of Curve Lake First Nation near Peterborough, Ont., dreams of becoming a professional orchestra musician. The 20-year-old flautist has been playing the flute for 11 years. As a child, the sound of the flute caught his young ears while watching an orchestra performance on TV. "I liked that it sort of carried over the rest of the orchestra," Evans-Knott said. "It was the most prominent thing I could pick out." He was self-taught for a couple of years before joining a band program at his school in Grade 7. He said he struggled to get a sound out of the instrument for the first three or four days but once he did, the rest came naturally. His high school music teacher encouraged him to audition for the Kawartha Youth Orchestra (KYO). Founded in 2002, the KYO gives young musicians of the Kawartha region of Ontario the opportunity to learn symphonic music and perform in an orchestral ensemble. He was accepted into the advanced program and was a member of the KYO for five years. During his last year with the KYO, Evans-Knott won the senior Concerto Challenge, an opportunity to perform as a soloist during a larger orchestral work. "He is a remarkable young man with a fabulous, fabulous talent," said Maggie Goldsmith, president of the KYO. "I think Tyler has been a really big part of our recruitment team, he's been such an inspiring member of our organization." She said he's been a mentor to other students over the years and also jumps in to cover parts for other wind instruments when needed. Now that Evans-Knott's time with the KYO has come to a close he's begun planning his path to becoming a professional orchestra musician. There are a few music schools in Toronto, such as the Royal Conservatory of Music, and universities that offer four-year music degree programs that he said he's thinking about. "It basically sets you up for a professional career and other things like teaching," said Evans-Knott. He hasn't yet applied to any of the programs yet but is hoping to next year. Evans-Knott auditioned for and won principal flute in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra for the 2020-21 season. "Tyler is a man of few words," said his mother Janet Evans. "As a parent, I want him to be happy and I want him to be fulfilled." She said sometimes she will come home from work and he'll tell her he's practised for five hours. "It's really neat to watch Tyler bloom," she said.
Ottawa's police force has outlined how it will approach consultations with professionals and the public on its new mental health strategy. The details are found in a report, submitted by Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Chief Peter Sloly, that's slated to be presented to the city's police board Monday. It "recognizes that the OPS must improve the way its members respond to calls for service where mental health and addictions are an issue," according to a press release. "The community-led strategy will be co-developed with mental health care and addictions professionals, community-based organizations, academics and those with lived experience," the release said. No one from the force was available to speak to CBC ahead of publication, but the strategy follows public criticism over the death of Abdirahman Abdi, a Black man who'd struggled with mental health and died after a violent arrest by two OPS officers in 2016. The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition has since called for greater transparency and accountability from law enforcement agencies and for better police handling of mental health-related calls. Partnering with community groups and experts The report suggests getting community feedback through an online questionnaire on people's experiences with police, with data being shared on the OPS website and through social media. The plan also involves interviewing "community members, academics, subject matter experts, mental health professionals, addiction specialists, and other groups." Interviews have already begun, the report said. While the force usually relies on ride-alongs to connect with and educate the public, the COVID-19 pandemic has OPS looking for alternatives, the report said. It said OPS should be in regular contact with community partners and will use paid advertisements, social media and posters to showcase the work it's doing. OPS said it plans to begin public consultations this spring, while spending the year training members so that there are "an increasing number of officers with specialized mental health training embedded in every front-facing unit." Gaps in data The report also shows the number of mental health-related calls went up in 2020. Last year, police responded to 2,354 calls where mental health was a concern. That's compared to 2,181 calls in 2019, with similar totals for the two previous years. OPS said these numbers represent just a "fraction" of calls, however, where mental health could be a contributing factor. Part of the challenge, the force said, is that there gaps in the data around mental health and addictions. There is no national standard governing the collection and reporting of calls through the dispatch system, which means each police force individually defines the type of call it receives, its priority level and how to respond. Right now, 911 calls are directed to police, paramedics or fire services. OPS said it wants 911 dispatchers to have the option of redirecting mental health-related calls about people who are not in immediate danger to a specialized community mental health team.