Pluto the parrot lends a helping hand with this bread-making process. Looks like he's loving it!
Pluto the parrot lends a helping hand with this bread-making process. Looks like he's loving it!
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Another type of COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on Friday. The new vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University. Canada also approved the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Afterwards, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced that Canada has secured two million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India. AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive by mid-May. “The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing a highly diverse and extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive them,” Anand said in a release. “We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September. I am grateful for the collaboration of our partners in India to finalize this agreement, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the weeks ahead.” The two million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses. The application for authorization from AstraZeneca was received on Oct. 1, 2020 and from from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements. These are the first viral vector-based vaccines authorized in Canada. These are also two-dose regiments and can be kept refrigerated for at least six months. Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.. These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order on the importation of drugs for COVID-19 The process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canadian standards. Health Canada has placed terms and conditions on the authorizations requiring the manufacturers to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to be demonstrated through market use. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s prime minister-designate has found himself in a difficult diplomatic position ahead of taking the post following his country’s diplomatic ties with Israel. Albin Kurti of the Self-Determination Movement party, or Vetevendosje!, is expected to be Kosovo’s next prime minister after his party won the Feb. 14 parliamentary election. On Monday, Kurti met with the Turkish ambassador in Pristina, and Kosovo’s decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem was among the topics of discussion. “The place where the embassy will be located is to be considered following checking of the documentation of the outgoing government,” said a statement issued after the talks. On Feb. 1, Kosovo established diplomatic ties with Israel and decided to open an embassy in Jerusalem — becoming the first European country and Muslim-majority one to make such plans. It followed the U.S. and Guatemala in doing so. Most countries’ embassies are in Tel Aviv. Kosovo's decision was taken when outgoing Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met with Serb President Aleksandar Vucic at the White House in September with then-President Donald Trump. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Kosovo that the move could damage future relations with his country. “I believe that it would be beneficial to avoid such a move that would cause great damage to Kosovo,” Erdogan said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote that “I attach much importance to Kosovo’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem and I look forward to hosting you in Israel for its inauguration.” The letters sent in February were published by Kurti’s spokesman, Perparim Kryeziu, on his Facebook page as part of congratulations from world leaders on his victory. Last week, Kosovo sent its ambassador to Israel. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed, as the capital of a future state. Most of the international community doesn't recognize the Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem and says the competing claims to the city should be resolved through negotiations. Kosovo’s Parliament declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after a U.S.-led 78-day NATO airstrike campaign against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians — most of whom are Muslim — in Kosovo. Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not. ——- Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara, Turkey. Zenel Zhinipotoku And Llazar Semini, The Associated Press
Alors que Québec signale son intérêt pour l’énergie gaspésienne de façon de plus en plus évidente, Ottawa entre dans la danse. Le gouvernement fédéral vient d’annoncer une contribution de 1,5 million $ au centre de recherche sur les énergies renouvelables Nergica de Gaspé. L’organisation compte continuer à développer les filières des énergies solaires et éoliennes grâce à cette aide. Le centre de recherche pourra embaucher quelques nouveaux employés et acquérir de nouveaux équipements avec l’aide annoncée ce matin par les ministres Lametti et Lebouthillier. Le financement d’Ottawa se détaille en deux projets. Tout d’abord,un peu plus d’un million sera consacré au fonctionnement de l’organisme à but non lucratif. «Cette somme va nous servir à payer des factures, engager du personnel et entretenir nos installations. C’est quelque chose de récurrent», explique le directeur général de Nergica, Frédéric Côté. Ensuite, quelque 400 000$ seront dédiés à l'acquisition de matériel nécessaire au développement de l’organisme. «C’est de la quincaillerie, des équipements de recherche pour nos installations de Rivière-au-Renard», note M. Côté, qui juge que cette somme servira de levier pour s’engager dans de nouveaux projets. «Ce montant aura un effet multiplicateur. Il va nous permettre de développer des partenariats, nous donner les moyens de développer avec l’industrie.» Le vent dans les voiles pour l’éolien gaspésien Au cours des derniers mois, M. Côté a constaté un engouement de plus en plus visible pour les énergies renouvelables gaspésiennes. La semaine dernière, le premier ministre François Legault donnait la responsabilité de la Gaspésie et des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, (https://www.lesoleil.com/actualite/en-region/jonathan-julien-devient-ministre-responsable-de-la-gaspesie-iles-de-la-madeleine-aecf58dc40721ea52353e51805bfff37?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter) au ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, Jonatan Julien. Le directeur de Nergica voit d’un bon œil l'arrivée d’un nouveau ministre bien au fait des dossiers énergétiques. «La nomination de M. Julien est une excellente nouvelle pour le milieu. C’est quelqu’un qui a une réputation d’affaires et d’ouverture. On sent que l’éolien est au cœur de ses propos, au cœur de la vision du gouvernement», rapporte-t-il. Nergica embauche environ une trentaine d’employés et a un budget annuel d'environ 5 millions de $. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
B.C. is moving into the second phase of its immunization plan, vaccinating seniors in the community aged 80 and up over the course of this month. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also said the second dose of the three approved vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca—will be delayed to four months or 16 weeks, to provide more protection to more people sooner. Henry said the initial dose provides “a very high level of real-world protection.” In Phase 2, more than 400,000 people in B.C. will receive their first vaccine dose from March to early April, including: • seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and seniors' supportive housing (including staff); • home-care support clients and staff; • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older); and • seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older). Today, first-dose immunizations begin for those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff. Health authorities will directly contact those in this priority group to book appointments—there is no need to call. Beginning Monday (March 8), seniors aged 80+ and Indigenous peoples aged 65+ who are not living in independent living or seniors' supportive housing can make one call to book their appointment through their local health authority call centre according to a staggered schedule. This is to avoid long waits and system overload. Immunization clinic locations will be confirmed at time of booking, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15: • March 8: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+) and Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; • March 15: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; and • March 22: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment. Health authority contact information, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment for yourself, for a family member, for a friend or neighbour will be available on March 8, here: www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all. To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. "We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one, and my new provincial health officer order significantly expands the range of health professions and occupations who can support our immunization clinics, including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, paramedics, firefighters and retired nurses." For health professionals who want to sign up to support B.C.'s immunization efforts as immunizers, visit: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19 Immunizing other priority groups identified in Phase 2, many of whom have already received their first dose, is also underway, including: • Indigenous communities, Indigenous Elders, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1; • vulnerable populations living and working in select congregate settings; and • staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors. In mid-April, Phase 3 will begin mass vaccination of people aged 79 to 60 years, and people aged 16+ who are extremely clinically vulnerable, at community immunization clinics throughout B.C. Mobile clinics will be available in some rural communities and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues. In Phase 3, British Columbians will register and book their appointments to receive their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine through an online registration tool. People born between 1942 and 1946 (ages 79-75), and Indigenous peoples born between the years of 1956 and 1960 (ages 64-60), will be able to register for an appointment online or by phone by March 31. As of last week, 252,373 people in B.C. have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 73,808 who have received their second dose. “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from out of this,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have a long way to go.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
As B.C. cities start to take a closer look at the energy consumption and carbon footprint of their buildings, the heated swimming pool is attracting some unusual attention. Building Benchmark BC, a pilot project that pulls energy and emissions data on the buildings sector from a dozen cities across the province, found that heated pools had the highest energy use intensity in its category. Indoor swimming pools and convention centres are two types of buildings that have large, cavernous spaces to heat or cool, so they would be expected to have a high energy use intensity, a measure of energy consumption per square metre of floor space. But in B.C., there is a key difference between these two energy guzzlers, according to the annual report released Feb. 24. “Convention centres can be — and often are — heated with electricity, which in British Columbia is 94-plus per cent non-emitting. Meanwhile, pools are heated with natural gas, a leading source of climate pollution,” the report said. “While both use a lot of energy, only one also produces a lot of carbon.” Donovan Woollard, managing director of the OPEN Green Building Society, the host of the project, said it was not a large enough dataset to start drawing any conclusions about policy. Woollard is hoping to more than double the program for its second year. But already, he said, there were some clear trends emerging. Buildings represent 13 per cent of Canada’s emissions by economic sector, and natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits heat-trapping carbon pollution into the atmosphere when burned. In a carbon-constrained world, electric heat pumps may start to play a bigger role in space heating in buildings. Heat pumps are like two-way air conditioners: electrified devices that can be used to both heat and cool a room. Energy experts like Adam Rysanek, assistant professor of environmental systems and director of the Energy, Technology, and Architecture Lab at the University of British Columbia, say technology has improved in the last decade that has made electric heat pumps much more commercially viable. “I would not be surprised if we see in the next 20 years the kind of transition away from natural gas in the building heating market that is already underway in parts of the U.S. and even also here in parts of Canada,” said Rysanek. “I don't think it's impossible that we'll see a major phase out of natural gas use in the buildings sector within a generation.” The natural gas delivery industry says its environmental performance should not be counted out just yet. Aysha Raad, communications director for the Canadian Gas Association, said the industry is continually improving on that front, and has welcomed the introduction of renewable natural gas, which is produced from organic waste from places like landfills or farms instead of obtained through drilling. Renewable natural gas, and natural gas blended with hydrogen, are key components of FortisBC’s objective of cutting its customers greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030, for example. Other utilities across the country are introducing renewable natural gas into their networks or launching hydrogen-blending pilot projects to cut down on their carbon. The industry also champions its “reliability,” noting gas supply was available 99.99 per cent of the time in 2019. Utilities continue to add between 70,000 and 100,000 new customer locations per year, said Raad. “If one were to try and move gas customers to a different energy system, the costs — and the logistical challenge — would be staggering,” Raad argued. Rysanek said the current state of heat pump technology means that, in B.C., after accounting for the price of electricity and energy efficiency, operating costs are now on par with natural gas. For building maintenance officials, heat pumps also offer a single piece of equipment to maintain instead of a configuration that uses both a furnace and an air conditioner. “Until recently, heat pump technology was not sufficiently developed or ready for the coldest weather we get in Canadian cities,” Rysanek said. “This has now changed. Today, you can buy cold weather heat pumps for all sizes of buildings, but 10 years ago it was a different story.” Rysanek is leading a building retrofits project that is part of UBC research in collaboration with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, looking at how cities and urban planners can cut emissions to meet climate targets. In a simulation involving Victoria’s Hillside Quadra neighbourhood, published in October, the researchers found that switching away from natural gas for heating and cooling to electricity would reduce emissions by roughly 80 per cent across three different scenarios. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
MILAN — Fashion is off the hamster wheel, taking a deep breath that is allowing some freshness to seep into the once relentless cycle. “It is so weird thinking about fashion, and the kind of hamster wheel of fashion, and how we never had a break and always complained about it,’’ Marc Jacobs said during a Milan Fashion Week video chat with Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons post-digital show. “And then you get a break, and you complain.” Instead, he said, he was taking the moment to watch others, and be inspired. Milan Fashion Week of mostly womenswear previews for next fall and winter wrapped a nearly all-digital edition on Monday. Only one designer — Daniel Del Core, marking his brand's debut — held a live runway show for a small number of guests. While the bustle of live shows with the parade of itinerant fashionistas decamping from New York to London, Milan and finally Paris was missed, designers also were stimulated by the slower pace of the pandemic-era fashion cycle. Austrian designer Arthur Arbesser shrank his collection to just 25 looks, which he presented in visits to his Milan studio and video calls, opting out of a digital runway show. For the creations, he upcycled textiles from previous collections that had been stashed in a studio cubbyhole. The designer revitalized them either by printing a new design on the other side, in the case of a pretty pleated skirt, or printing over the original with a different pattern, in the case of a black architectural detailing over a striped cotton. Arbesser said the enforced quiet of the COVID-19-era restrictions, along with the necessity of saving money, pushed other creative forces to the fore. He and his team created a patchwork mini-dress out of cotton, silk and technical nylon, and they experimented with Shibori hand-dying for a wool mini skirt. The collection bears Arbesser’s love of prints, this season’s inspired by an actual painter’s palette that he picked up at a flea market, which he mashes up with geometrical patterns and materials that range from soft silk jersey to wool to knits. “I felt it was important to keep writing this story, my little story, keep adding chapters,’’ Arbesser said of his 8-year-old brand. “I am happy that even doing something so reduced, so little, while at the same time producing quality, you can still be seen, you can actually sell your production.” Global masters Dolce&Gabbana took a technological leap forward with a no-holds-barred, youth-inspired collection featuring technical textiles in bold hues intermingled with hologram finishes, metallic glimmers and even multi-colored Styrofoam beads, for a feast of colorful confections. The 140 looks included some reinterpretations of Domenico Dolce and Stefan Gabbana’s iconic pieces — including Madonna’s bejeweled bodysuit and corsets worn by dancers in Prince’s “Cream” video — from the early days when Dolce&Gabbana helped define the bold sexiness of the 1990s. The result was a mix of Dolce&Gabbana’s trademark tailoring, often under strands of layered pearls and gold, alongside more futuristic elements that bely our new protective bearing: elaborate eye shields, plastic sneaker coverings and transparent slickers. Underlining this leap forward, a humanoid robot developed by the Italian Institute of Technology acted as master of ceremonies for the digital runway show. “The collection is a tribute to this generation that asks us about the 1990s,” Dolce said during an in-person presentation of the looks at the designers' showroom. The designers said the younger generation’s idea of sexy is much freer of preconceived notions than in the past, meaning men can wear lace T-shirts without a second thought. “It has nothing to do with sexuality,’’ Gabbana said. “It is almost a euphemism; it’s about pleasing themselves.” Giorgio Armani staged separate digital men's and women's collections in his own theatre both around a replica of a gorilla statue dubbed Uri that has been part of his personal home decor for decades. This green version of Uri evoked the designer's support of wildlife preservation, but also echoed the collections' ties to the natural world. Prints and designs that can be interpreted as leaves, or water lilies, or simple sea creatures, provided the motif for elegantly relaxed looks. The fashion world also paid tribute to creative colleagues in the theatre, which have been mostly empty in Italy since the start of the pandemic. Pierpaolo Piccioli staged the Valentino Fall/Winter 2020/21 collection live to empty seats in Milan’s Piccolo Theater, while the singer Cosima hauntingly intoned Sinead O’Conner’s lyrics: “It’s been so lonely without you here.” The Valentino collection was a sombre affair, fitting the moment. It featured tailored jackets that have been reconstructed into capes, layered with pointy-collared white shirts, skin-fitting tops with seemingly hand-cut holes. For women, there was a movement in flouncy miniskirts peeking out of jacket hems, while feminine flourishes like ruffles on shirts were employed with discipline. Accessories featured studded bags and boots. Milan designer Francesca Liberatore had planned an extravagant show in a Milan theatre with holographic effects, but decided against it in solidarity with theatre creatives who can't occupy that space. “I had the moral problem. How could I do a show in a theatre at this moment when artists themselves cannot recite in this place?” Liberatore said by phone. Instead, her virtual show featured an actor on an empty stage, and two-dimensional models, like paper dolls, in creations including reinvented trenches in camouflage, representing the state of siege society is living under in the pandemic. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
Two Yukon First Nations are renewing calls for a regional land use plan to be completed before any new development on their traditional territories is considered, including a mineral exploration project right next door to Tombstone Territorial Park. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun recently sent letters to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board stating that approving the quartz exploration project, called Antimony Creek, without a land use plan for the Dawson region would violate their rights. The board is in the midst of evaluating whether Ryanwood Exploration Inc., the Dawson City-based company behind the project, has provided enough information to develop the project without adversely affecting the environment. The assessment board is responsible for issuing recommendations to the Yukon and federal governments, which ultimately decide whether to greenlight a project. Regional land use plans determine what can and cannot occur in a particular region, essentially balancing conservation values, First Nations’ rights and industrial pursuits. These plans are created by independent commissions and signed off on by the Yukon government and affected First Nations. Creating them is a requirement under the Umbrella Final Agreement, which was signed by 11 First Nations in 1990 and paved the way for their self-governance. However, most First Nations have been waiting decades for these plans. Resource development in the absence of an approved land use plan “will negatively affect Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in rights under the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in final agreement,” Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Jan. 14 letter states. “This is unacceptable.” Antimony Creek is on Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Na-Cho Nyäk Dun territory and about 2.5 kilometres away from Tombstone, the territory’s flagship park that boasts towering, jagged peaks and abundant wildlife. The project is in an area of great importance to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, whose citizens frequently harvest plants and wildlife for cultural and subsistence purposes. Traditional gravesites and heritage travelling routes are a short distance away from the project area. According to the company’s April 2020 permit application, up to 300 holes will be drilled per year, with some burrowing 10,000 metres into the earth, to find what appears to be gold and silver deposits. The 10-year project involves the construction of an access road, a network of trails and a drill pad. The company is proposing up to 883 round-trip helicopter flights on an annual basis to transport workers and supplies. According to GeoYukon, a Yukon government mapping tool, the project area covers roughly 86 square kilometres. Ryanwood Exploration Inc. didn’t return a request for comment. In its permit application, the company said First Nations haven’t been engaged, “but discussions will be conducted.” According to a 2020 assessment board report, the company intends to regularly host discussions with affected First Nations “to ensure that this project does not adversely affect surrounding local and First Nations lands, culture and people.” The Dawson Regional Planning Commission is in the process of developing a land use plan that will manage and monitor lands, waters and industry within the region — a roughly 40,000 square-kilometre area representing about 10 per cent of the territory’s land mass. According to a Jan. 26 letter the commission sent to the assessment board, permitting development before the completion of a land use plan “may impact the commission’s ability to develop recommendations for the appropriate use of land, water and other renewable and non-renewable resources within the planning region.” Sue Thomas, a spokesperson for Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, told The Narwhal in an email land use planning doesn’t negate tenure holders’ ability to develop their mineral claims. “Development and/or exploration projects, like any other industrial and non-industrial uses, are allowed to continue while the planning process is underway,” she said. Allowing industry to explore in a region where land use planning is underway could rule out protecting areas with high conservation values, Sebastian Jones, wildlife and habitat analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society, told The Narwhal. “It’s no secret that if projects like this can get permitted before the land use plan is in place, it will [predetermine] land use planning,” he said, adding that projects like Antimony Creek are designed to eventually result in a large mine. Jones said miners likely recognize their days are numbered to develop claims in sensitive areas, which explains why they appear to be racing to get permits before land use plans are completed. “It’s very likely that developing a mine will not be one of the approved activities in the project area,” he said. If mineral deposits are located, several mines could crop up, leading to cumulative impacts on an otherwise undisturbed area, Jones said. In a Jan. 8 letter to the assessment board, the Yukon Conservation Society recommended the project not proceed, saying access roads and the eventual building and operation of mines would cause cumulative impacts on the region. The Antimony Creek project area is in a region that’s of very high cultural value to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens, according to the First Nation’s letter. The region, known as the “cultural integrity area,” which contains roughly 88 per cent of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s settlement land, provides critical habitat for caribou, moose, sheep and salmon. It is also home to mineral licks, rare plants and old-growth forests, all of which help sustain wildlife and, in turn, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in harvesters. “The whole ecosystem contributes to our lifestyle and our culture,” Chief Roberta Joseph told The Narwhal. “It’s not only about food value — it’s about ensuring our connection and our spirituality with the land, it’s about bonding and passing on traditional teachings through stories and teaching about harvesting.” There are also significant heritage sites in the area. The project is located about 300 metres away from a settlement land parcel that was originally selected to protect traditional gravesites, according to the letter. The letter suggests there are likely even more burial sites, as not all heritage areas have been mapped by the First Nation. “It is concerning that there could be potential impacts on our ancestors who may have been buried in the area near the proposed application,” Joseph said. “There needs to be regard and consideration on the burials of our ancestors, wherever they’re buried throughout our traditional territory.” “It’s just a matter of ensuring that our heritage as First Nations people of this land, since millennia, is being respected in accordance to our final agreements and the spirit and intent of our final agreements.” The area is considered so important to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens because it has yet to be disturbed by industry, the letter states. “Until a land use plan is in place that takes into account Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in rights under the final agreement, the cultural integrity area must remain intact in order for land and wildlife to thrive and for traditional pursuits to continue,” the letter states. Staking should be off-limits in the Dawson region until a land use plan is in place, according to a Jan. 20 letter Na-Cho Nyäk Dun sent to the assessment board. The letter said completion of the plan is “an essential prerequisite of any further permitting in this area.” Chief Simon Mervyn didn’t reply to a return for comment. According to the letter, land use planning helps facilitate development because it provides certainty “for all.” “It will allow for Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, other Indigenous nations, public government and industry to make decisions together respecting priorities, values and criteria for development and minimize future land use conflicts by making clear where development can and cannot be pursued,” the letter states. “Most importantly, it will ensure that development respects and supports, rather than undermines, the Treaty Rights of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun.” Former vice-chair of the Dawson land use planning commission Art Webster also recently called for a halt on staking in the Dawson area. “By allowing the staking of mineral claims, it basically sends out a message saying, ‘This is the highest value of this land, the extraction of minerals’ … at the expense of considering any other values for that land,” Art Webster told The Narwhal in an interview. According to Na-Cho Nyäk Dun’s letter, the First Nation has been waiting for a completed land use plan in its traditional territory since it signed its final agreement 25 years ago. This would be separate from the Dawson land use plan. While Na-Cho Nyäk Dun is not an official party to the land use planning process in the Dawson region, it has observer status, as its territory overlaps with that of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. The nations have an agreement in place to settle possible disputes linked to overlapping traditional territories. “In the view of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, public government’s failure to initiate a land use planning process for the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun traditional territory is a fundamental breach of a key commitment enshrined in our treaty, and is flatly inconsistent with the honour of the Crown,” the letter states. The Antimony Creek project is only one mining application on Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s traditional territory, Joseph said. “There are many of them every year,” she said. A similar quartz exploration project, called Coal Creek (Monster) located roughly 85 kilometres north of Dawson City is making its way through the environmental assessment process. The Vancouver-based proponent, Go Metals, is searching for battery metals such as copper, gold and silver, according to the project proposal. According to a letter Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in sent to the assessment board, the First Nation continues “to strongly oppose” any development in the northern reaches of its traditional territory, which is relatively intact and undisturbed wilderness. Go Metals spokesperson, Scott Sheldon, told The Narwhal in an email, “We’re committed to continuing our conversations with local First Nations and we look forward to progress being made by the Dawson Regional Planning Commission to help us create better exploration plans for our battery metals project.” The Coffee Gold project, a proposed hard rock mine in a remote corner of Yukon, is also on the traditional territories of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Yukoners can submit feedback on that project until March 26. If this proposal is approved, the mine would be the largest in Yukon’s history. Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
(Submitted by Bill Schurman - image credit) Islanders who have lost their incomes or had their hours reduced by 12 hours a week between Feb. 28 and March 14 because of new COVID-19 restrictions are eligible for $500 in help from the provincial government, a P.E.I. cabinet minister said Monday. Matthew MacKay, the minister of economic growth, tourism and culture, said the King government is relaunching the P.E.I.'s Emergency Payment for Workers as of Tuesday. He said the payment will be provided in addition to any government assistance such as employment insurance. On Sunday, the province announced a 72-hour circuit breaker that left non-essential businesses closed or limited, meant no in-room dining at restaurants, shut down recreational facilities, and reduced the capacity at retail stores still allowed to serve the public. MacKay said the province is also relaunching $100 grocery gift cards for workers laid off from Feb. 28 to March 14, and rolling out a $1-million fund for Islanders who must take time off work due to illness and don't have paid sick leave. "We want to make sure people can put food on their table," MacKay said. MacKay said the province will be meeting with the business community as well, about support the owners of affected companies might need in order to stay afloat. Information on the new assistance will available on the provincial government website. No new cases yet After a weekend that saw 11 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Islanders got good news Monday afternoon: No new cases have been identified since Sunday evening. "A total of 6,632 COVID-19 tests were completed on Saturday and Sunday," said a provincial government release issued just after 3 p.m. AT. "This includes 2,250 results from the Three Oaks Clinic in Summerside, which was set up for targeted testing of young people in the area. "All results so far are negative, and an additional 1,600 results are still pending." P.E.I. Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling later told CBC News: Compass that about 3,000 tests had been collected as of late afternoon Monday, with many more expected at clinics scheduled to stay open until 8 p.m. Since there are no new cases, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison was not holding a media briefing Monday, the news release said. Her regular weekly briefing will take place on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. AT, the usual time. The news comes on the first day of a three-day period of enhanced public health measures intended to slow transmission of the coronavirus after outbreaks in Summerside and Charlottetown late last week. "There are currently 18 active cases of COVID-19 in the province; all are self-isolating and being followed daily by public health," said Monday's news release. "Over 190 people have been identified as close contacts of the cases." P.E.I. continues to have no deaths or hospitalizations due to COVID-19, but there are 18 active cases thanks to two recent outbreaks. Officials feared the virus that causes COVID-19 might be spreading among asymptomatic teens and young adults, so Premier Dennis King and Morrison's office brought in what they called "Alert Level Red measures with modifications." Schools across P.E.I. have shut, non-essential businesses are closed to the public, and private and organized gatherings are being strongly discouraged. Meanwhile, testing is being ramped up at several locations, especially for those who visited sites of potential public exposure in the last two weeks. More from CBC P.E.I.
LONDON — British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Monday that he understood the “conundrum” faced by developing countries as they wait for vital supplies of coronavirus vaccine. But Raab urged poorer nations to wait for the “gold standard” vaccines delivered by a U.N.-backed program rather than opt for shots from China and Russia. The COVAX initiative, formed to ensure fair access to vaccines by low- and middle-income countries, has been hampered by the severely limited global supply of doses and logistical problems. Speaking on the day that the first COVAX-supplied vaccine shots were given to people in Ivory Coast, Raab said “we understand the conundrum that they feel.” However, he said countries should consider advice from scientists and the World Health Organization about which vaccines are safest. Raab said COVAX “is the gold standard of international support for the most vulnerable countries around the world. And I think they ought to be ambitious to have their people vaccinated according to that gold standard.” Although it aims to deliver more than 1 billion shots this year, COVAX currently has legally binding agreements only for several hundred million doses. The chief of the World Health Organization said Monday it was “regrettable” that younger and healthier adults in some rich countries are being vaccinated against the coronavirus ahead of at-risk health workers in developing countries. At a press briefing on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said immunizations provided by the U.N. backed effort COVAX have begun in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, but lamented that this was happening only three months after countries such as Britain, the U.S. and Canada began vaccinating their own populations. “Countries are not in a race with each other,” he said. “This is a common race against the virus. We are not asking countries to put their own people at risk. We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere.” Britain’s vaccination program is the fastest in Europe, with more than 20 million people so far, almost a third of the population. receiving the first of their two doses. Britain also has Europe's deadliest outbreak, with more than 123,000 people confirmed victims in the pandemic. The British government has pledged to give “the majority of any future surplus vaccines” to the COVAX effort, but has not said when that surplus might become available. Raab said the domestic vaccination program had gone “better than expected … So we hope to be in a position to be clear about that in due course.” He said the ambitious COVAX goal of delivering jabs to the most vulnerable people in 92 countries by June was achievable. “It’s doable, but we’ve got to galvanize the effort, the will, the logistics on the ground,” he said. “We need this to be a whole-team effort.” ___ Maria Cheng in London contributed to this story. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Mass vaccinations will be the key to controlling a potential third wave in Chatham-Kent, says the region’s top doctor. Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said the highly transmissible variants are keeping public health officials on their toes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other health officials have warned a third wave could be the worst yet, but Dr. David Colby remains optimistic. “I really think that widespread vaccination will have a significant impact to blunt the effect of the third wave,” said Colby. “The worrying factor are these variants, and that’s really what is fueling the speculation about a third wave.” Colby said there are three variants of concern. “The common variant, the B.1.1.7 variant, remains susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines that we have,” said Colby. “We need to push ahead with our vaccination program and get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” The interval between the first and second doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, Colby said it could be up to 45 days as there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. “There isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. He added that most of the protection happens with the first dose, while the second dose is to consolidate protection and ensure that it lasts for a longer time. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines,” said Colby. On Feb. 23, the John D. Bradley Convention Centre opened its vaccination clinic. There were 700 appointments for health-care workers and essential caregivers on the first two days. Colby said the clinic is running smoothly. “It’s such an important step for Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “The Bradley Centre clinic is really doing very, very well, and they hit the ground running.” While he could not go into detail regarding more vaccine shipments, Colby said we’re heading in the right direction. “All indicators that we have right now point to the fact that vaccine supplies will be stable or increasing over the next while,” said Colby. Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall is warning the public about recent robocalls claiming to be for booking vaccinations. These calls can be dangerous as they are really aimed at collecting people’s personal information. She said these calls are not official and should be ignored. Marshall said a live person will make all vaccination booking calls. “People will be contacted by a live person, and no one should be giving out their personal information like social insurance numbers and those kinds of things on the phone,” said Marshall. CK Public Health said Chatham-Kent Police are aware of the issue, and there is no need to report these calls to them at this time. Colby said people who can’t travel to Chatham would have an opportunity to get vaccinated at pop-up clinics across the municipality when they are set up. Paramedics will be vaccinating individuals who are housebound when they’re identified through their doctors. The homeless population falls under Phase 2. Additionally, Colby said there are mechanisms in place to get to those who are missed. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Peel Public Health says it made a mistake in some of its information sent home to parents regarding advice for asymptomatic children sent home from school. While its website says they can isolate with a caregiver, the flyer did not. Matthew Bingley reports.
(Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC - image credit) York Regional Police have identified a man who was found dead on a road in Vaughan, Ont. last week and say he died as a result of gunshot injuries. On Feb. 25, at approximately 8 a.m., officers received a call regarding a body located at the end of a dead end street on Teston Road at Rodinea Road, just east of Keele Street. When officers arrived, they located a man who was pronounced dead at the scene. The death was deemed suspicious and York police's homicide unit was called in to investigate. On Monday, the man was identified as 57-year-old Gus Kouboules of Richmond Hill. A post-mortem revealed his cause of death was as a result of gunshot injuries. Police didn't release any more information about the circumstances leading up to his death. Investigators are appealing to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area or anyone with home surveillance video to contact them.
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Residents of a backpackers’ hostel now being used as housing for low-income people hope they’ll be able to stay permanently, but the future of 1025 Granville St., along with 20 other Metro Vancouver hotels recently leased by the province, is up in the air. “I have friends, good friends here, who lived on the streets for years,” said Chris, a resident who became homeless last February when he lost his job. “You know what I see here? I see them smile every day.” The building is a standard single-room occupancy hotel, an older style of hotel that features small rooms and shared bathrooms, and often houses very low-income people. Between 2002 and 2020, the Granville hostel was operated as a low-cost tourist accommodation by Hostelling International Canada. But with tourism falling during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became one of 21 Metro Vancouver hotels leased by the province to provide shelter or to use as COVID-19 isolation space. Some residents came from a tent city that had been located at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside for two years, while others had been living rough in other parts of Vancouver or staying in shelters. With the hotels in place, the province and City of Vancouver removed the Oppenheimer Park encampment in May 2020. The province also bought the 110-room Howard Johnson Hotel at 1176 Granville St. for $55 million, just a block away from the Granville hostel, and awarded an operating contract to Atira Women’s Resource Society. Community Builders operates the former hostel at 1025 Granville St. Initially, public reception to the new housing on Granville Street was rough, with neighbours complaining about discarded needles and an increase in street disorder. But the current operator of the hostel says leasing 1025 Granville St. to formerly homeless Vancouverites has worked out well, with residents now thriving in a well-maintained building that has fostered community. “The Granville hostel has been a really remarkable success story,” said Julie Roberts, the executive director of Community Builders. “Some people that have been long-term residents of the park hadn’t been housed for a number of years or longer. We just found that people have really settled in, and a really strong community has formed.” Martin, who had been homeless for three years before ending up in the hospital with pneumonia, went first to a shelter and then to the hostel last June. “It’s fantastic here,” Martin said. “It’s safe and it’s clean, they feed us if we’re hungry. They really take good care of us. I hope I’m staying here for life!” Along with building staff, Martin, Chris and other residents often do volunteer work to keep the sidewalk clean and have made an effort to build relationships with nearby business owners. Roberts also sits on a community dialogue committee that includes other housing operators, businesses and neighbouring residents. “We’ve been an operator of shelters and non-profit housing on Granville Street for the last 15 years, so we know that homelessness has been a long-standing issue,” Roberts said. “And I think that sites like the Granville hostel and some of the shelters we operate actually make the businesses safer because people are inside and not outside, and they have a safe place to be. That’s our perspective, though I do know that there are some concerns that remain.” When it comes to how long the residents will be able to stay at 1025 Granville St., BC Housing says the length of the leases for the hotels vary, “and we typically have the option to extend by mutual agreement for as long as necessary.” Laura Matthews, a communications staffer with BC Housing, told The Tyee in an email that the agency usually has the option to extend the lease if the building owner agrees. But Matthews said BC Housing cannot release lease terms for any of the hotels and will not reveal the locations of the hotels. “Generally, as we get closer to a lease expiring, we either work to help people stay where they are by extending the lease or through other means, or we support them to transition to alternate accommodation,” Matthews wrote. “We understand the concerns people may have and we will communicate as much as possible with people as plans are finalized for individual locations. We do not want to see anyone forced back into homelessness.” A spokesperson for the owner of the hostel, Hostelling International, said the association cannot comment on the terms of the lease. Hostelling International operates 50 hostels across Canada. “Out of an abundance of caution, we made the very difficult decision to temporarily close our hostels in light of public health advice at the time,” Shelby Sy wrote to The Tyee in an email. “With our properties closed, HI Canada was pleased to give back to the city by leasing HI Vancouver Central as a housing solution to the most vulnerable in our city.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Goldman Sachs Group Inc has restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk and will begin dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients from next week, a person familiar with the matter said. The team will sit within the U.S. bank's Global Markets division, the person said. The desk is part of Goldman's activities within the fast-growing digital assets sector, which also includes projects involving blockchain technology and central bank digital currencies, the person said.
Health Canada has approved the third vaccine to help combat the spread of COVID-19. After a months-long review, Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University-AstraZeneca for use in Canada. On February 26, the federal agency approved its use for adults over the age of 18. The department’s regulators concluded the shot has an efficacy rate of 62 percent. While it is less effective than Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at preventing infection, the shot is 100 percent effective in preventing the severe outcomes of COVID-19. This includes serious illness, hospitalizations and death, according to the regulators. Additionally, it can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures. Canada has secured access to 22 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Most are expected to arrive between April and September. “This is very encouraging news. It means more people vaccinated, and sooner,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Because for AstraZeneca, just like we were for Pfizer and Moderna, we are ready to get doses rolling.” According to Trudeau, with these new doses, Canada now stands to receive about 6.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines by the end of March. That’s enough to vaccinate just over 3.2 million people fully. Also awaiting approval is a vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which is the only vaccine submitted to Health Canada for review, requiring only one dose. “The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. It doesn’t have any booster doses in the regimen that’s been applied for Health Canada approval,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health. Colby said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears to have a bit of a slow start to its immune response. However, it continues to build for a substantial amount of time and the longer you follow the vaccinated population, the better the numbers look. “I’m really hoping Health Canada approves it soon. Because a single dose product that only needs refrigeration, wow, we can really work with that and get it distributed in a widespread way,” said Colby. He added that the other vaccines that need freezing are very effective, but they’re cumbersome to transport and deal with. Despite the other vaccines requiring two doses, Colby said there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. So there isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines.” Approval for two more vaccines, made by Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are still under review. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is pressing ahead with efforts to counter economic-based threats to national security, such as theft of valuable intellectual property and damage to critical energy and information networks. In its newly published plan for the coming year, Public Safety Canada says it will lead the governmentwide development of a comprehensive framework to deal with the broad range of risks to Canada's economic well-being. The move comes as security agencies warn Canadians of the rising danger of hostile nations pilfering trade secrets and cybercriminals demanding ransom for sensitive files. The government says in a few short years, the threat landscape — once dominated by the scourge of international terrorism — has evolved dramatically as potential adversaries develop new and aggressive tactics made possible by the rapid spread of technology. Canada has already taken steps during the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to more strictly scrutinize foreign investments. National security expert Wesley Wark says the federal plan will require improved economic intelligence-gathering and related threat assessments, which currently have no central focus within the Canadian security-and-intelligence community. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press