Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday some Americans could be just days away from getting a coronavirus vaccine. But CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield fears there are some people who may not want it. (Dec. 3)
Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday some Americans could be just days away from getting a coronavirus vaccine. But CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield fears there are some people who may not want it. (Dec. 3)
The federal government is eyeing a comprehensive North American energy strategy as workers reel from cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's presidential permit was rescinded by U.S. President Joe Biden on his first day in office, prompting outrage from Alberta's provincial government. TC Energy, the proponent, had pre-emptively ceased construction of the project. "I was the minister of natural resources when the Obama administration cancelled Keystone XL. So for me, it's Round 2 of deep disappointment," Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's representative for the Prairies, said Monday. "We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy." That North American energy strategy is enticing to Alberta's premier as well, with Jason Kenney suggesting to the prime minister that they approach Washington together to pitch a collaborative approach to North American energy and climate policy. "Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated energy system, including criss-crossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system," Kenney wrote. The premier has called the Keystone cancellation an "insult" and a "gut-punch," repeatedly pressing for retaliation against the U.S. and suggesting economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the future of the pipeline. Last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing it would never be completed without the infusion. The pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. The Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit. TC Energy has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta. A continental energy partnership has been an elusive goal for more than 15 years, with multiple trilateral meetings ending with consensus but often without measurable outcomes. It's been five years since Carr, then the minister of natural resources, hosted his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss the potential of such a partnership. They agreed to collaborate on things like energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture and emissions reduction. While they signed a document stating these shared goals, synergy between the three countries has been slow to develop. In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. That data website hasn't been updated since 2017. In that meeting, then-natural resources minister Greg Rickford was making the pitch to the Obama administration for why Keystone XL should be permitted to live. It was cancelled — for the first time — less than a year later. "We've gone through a period over the last number of years where relations around energy have kind of died a slow death and become more and more narrowly focused around individual projects," said Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. "There's tremendous potential between Canada and the United States to collaborate around energy and environmental objectives in the long term." Gattinger said changes in the United States around hydrocarbon and shale have diminished the country's motivation for a broader energy approach. With the national governments in Canada and the U.S. now more closely aligned on climate priorities, she added there's the potential for a breakthrough. "Both countries have vast potential across a whole host of energy resources," she said. "Those are the conversations that we have not been having in North America for a number of years now. And there is a real opportunity to do so at this time." Carr is optimistic, too. "We're hardly starting from scratch, and there will be alignment," he said, alluding to his hope for co-operation between the U.S. and Canada, but also with the Prairie provinces. "There is an awful lot of work to be done and an awful lot of potential."
The Charlottetown Islanders say they will play by the COVID-19 rules when their season resumes in Cape Breton on Friday. The Charlottetown Driving Park is the only open harness racing track in Canada right now, and it was first to open in the spring, and that created a surge in revenues in 2020. The final numbers are in, and they show what many observers already suspected — 2020 was the worst year on record for the Charlottetown Airport in the last 45 years. The pandemic has slowed down the process of turning Hog Island, along P.E.I.'s North Shore, into a national park reserve. Provincial qualifiers for the Scotties and the Brier are short on competitors, and Curl P.E.I. says it is because of the self-isolation requirements. A trauma and orthopedic surgeon has been splitting his time between work in three New Brunswick hospitals and his home and family in P.E.I. And he's got dozens of COVID-19 test results to show for it. UPEI's writer-in-residence will not actually be in residence this year. A 24-year-old P.E.I. woman from the Summerside area has been fined for not following the province's COVID-19 self-isolation rules. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with six still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 14 new cases Wednesday. Nova Scotia had four new cases, with 12 active. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
BERLIN — A German state governor has apologized for referring to Chancellor Angela Merkel as “little Merkel” during a recent online event, saying he had unintentionally displayed macho behaviour. Bodo Ramelow, who governs the state of Thuringia, told German weekly Die Zeit that he greatly regretted using the term “Merkelchen” while talking chatting with other politicians and the public on the social networking app Clubhouse. Die Zeit on Wednesday quoted Ramelow saying that he should have used the diminutive form in reference to male politicians. “Instead, I spoke about a woman. That was dumb and appeared disrespectful,” he said. Ramelow, a member of the Left Party, said he had since apologized personally to Merkel. The 64-year-old has also faced criticism for playing the game “Candy Crush” during lengthy video meetings with Merkel and other governors to discuss the coronavirus pandemic. He defended playing games on his smartphone, saying he only did so during lulls in the meeting when others were replying to emails or going outside to smoke. The Associated Press
A veteran member of First Nations politics in Saskatchewan has died. For more than 30 years, Ron Michel served in leadership as chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, then grand chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council. He died late Monday night. "We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Senator Ron Michel," read a statement from Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron. "He was instrumental and played an influential role in my life." Michel was well-known as a strong advocate for northern Saskatchewan. He served as chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation for 20 years and went on to serve as the Prince Albert Grand Council Grand Chief (PAGC) for 12 years. "There are some leaders who simply command respect, not only because they display a determined, fierce and confident attitude in their cause, but because they display this vision of determination, fierceness and confidence that is driven by compassion and a deep love for the people," read a statement from the current PAGC executive. "Senator Michel was one of those leaders." Michel was also a strong advocate for First Nations children. At a youth suicide conference in 2016, he spoke out about a then-recent wave of suicides in the north. "We're going to strategize about what we can do about these crises. We can no longer wait. We can no longer stand by," Michel said. "Things are getting worse … Our kids are crying out for help." Michel was married to his wife Nancy for more than 50 years. He was 69 years old.
A former residence for horse racing jockeys is now being used to give Edmontonians struggling with homelessness better odds at finding a home. The former jockey dorms at Northlands have been renovated and operating as a bridge housing facility for the past month. Kevin Chapman, 56, has been staying at the dorms for about a month. He's one of 35 people who have a private room and is provided daily meals through the building's dining service. His stay is expected to be temporary. Chapman has been struggling with homelessness for the past two years and say he's grateful to be staying somewhere private. "I don't have to worry when I get up and crawl from underneath that pine tree or wherever," he said. "Shelters turn me away sometimes, because they're full. So, you look wherever you can. Having a place over your head is a big thing." Like other guests at the dorsm, Chapman has a housing support coordinator from Homeward Trust who helps him get what he needs to find a permanent home, from proper documentation to finding suitable vacancies and setting up viewings. "It's helped get my mind straightened out a little bit more focused on what I do," Chapman said. "So in the end, I think it helps tremendously." Guests at bridge housing facilities are expected to stay for anywhere from one to three months before transitioning into a home. They're referred through Boyle Street Community Street Community Services. The jockey dorms bridge housing facility opened last month after signing a three-year lease with the City of Edmonton. So far, five people have found or are in the process of moving into permanent housing. While the facility is in its early stages, Homeward Trust's CEO Susan McGee says it's allowed coordinators to find housing options specific to individual needs of guests. "It's really meeting a very important gap and certainly it's building off of the experience we've had in our community with the bridge housing offered at the Coliseum Inn," she said. "So as we work and as we grow as a system to make sure that we get that immediate access to really stable environments, a focus of the team has been to really nuance and make sure that as the folks that are being referred there, we're identifying potential barriers, challenges." 2 of 3 bridge housing facilities considered temporary Two Edmonton hotels are also being used as bridge housing. An EconoLodge in south Edmonton has 35 available rooms and The Coliseum Inn on Wayne Gretzky Drive has 95 rooms. Since the Coliseum Inn bridge housing opened in the spring of 2020 there have been 231 people who have moved from the hotel to permanent housing. The two bridge housing hotels have been funded through pandemic relief money, as a part of the City of Edmonton's plan to get people out of encampments and into safe shelter during the pandemic, which also included opening the Edmonton Convention Centre and Commonwealth Stadium as 24/7 shelter spaces. The plan is expected to be in place until the end of March, but it doesn't mean the temporary bridge housing programs will be scrapped. "Those funding programs are time limited. They potentially run out in March, but we are also just continually assessing our needs and ability to continue to keep them open," said Colton Kirsop, manager of project development for affordable housing and homelessness with the City of Edmonton. "So if there is a major need to keep those open, I think we will be continually looking at whether or not we can fund them through a different funding stream. The federal government may extend their funding packages as well." As for Chapman, he's happy that bridge housing now exists in the city at a time when he's ready to find a home. "I'm glad. Finally somebody is doing something about it. it's great. It's good for me, so far and anybody else," he said. "You can just start working on getting your life straight."
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
L’implication du directeur des travaux publics et inspecteur municipal par intérim, Jérôme Durocher, au sein de l’entreprise privée de ski hors-piste Ski Saguenay, soulève des questions parmi les membres du conseil municipal de L’Anse-Saint-Jean. À la suite de la publication, dans les derniers jours, d’un reportage dans Le Progrès portant sur l’ouverture de deux secteurs de ski hors-piste par l’entreprise exploitée par Philippe Pichon et M. Durocher, certains citoyens et élus s’interrogent afin de savoir si le fonctionnaire n’est pas en situation de défaut de loyauté envers son employeur. En effet, L’Anse-Saint-Jean exploite également une telle activité via la station de ski du Mont-Édouard, dont elle est propriétaire. Ski Saguenay a été fondée et enregistrée auprès du registre des entreprises en novembre dernier. Lors d’une réunion plénière virtuelle tenue par le conseil lundi, des membres ont fait part de leur surprise d’apprendre que le cadre municipal allait procéder à l’ouverture d’un centre privé de pistes hors route sans en avoir informé la municipalité, sans demande de permis ou autres démarches. La surprise s’ajoute au fait que les deux associés projettent de développer un secteur d’hébergement doté d’un sauna et de bains nordiques, ainsi qu’une remontée sur chenillette tel qu’indiqué dans l’article. Interrogé à ce sujet, le maire Lucien Martel est visiblement mal à l’aise et admet qu’il s’agit d’un sujet plutôt délicat qui soulève des interrogations. « Je sais qu’au conseil, des gens posent des questions. Je voudrais prendre le temps d’analyser les dessous ainsi que le contexte », a déclaré M. Martel. Il a ajouté qu’il revenait à l’administration de la municipalité de répondre aux questions soulevées. Un appel logé auprès de la direction générale n’a pas obtenu de retour. Parmi les conseillers, Anicet Gagné a mentionné qu’il a proposé de discuter du sujet avec ses collègues, mais qu’il a été convenu qu’il revenait au maire Martel de faire toute déclaration. M. Durocher est présentement en congé de maladie à la suite d’un accident de travail. Il a subi des blessures lors d’une altercation physique survenue en septembre dernier avec un entrepreneur en construction. L’incident avait été rapporté par Le Quotidien.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
GUYSBOROUGH – Three times wasn’t the charm, so the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) invited representatives from ambulance provider Emergency Health Services (EHS) – Derek LeBlanc and Phil Stewart – to council, once again, to answer questions about the provision of service in the area. And, once again, council was disappointed. The EHS representatives joined council by video link at its regular meeting on Jan. 20. They answered questions from Warden Vernon Pitts, CAO Barry Carroll and councillors for almost an hour, but they failed to satisfy the concerns council has about lack of service and long wait times for ambulance transfers between hospital facilities. These issues are, in part, due to staffing shortages. The EHS representatives noted that the company, like any health care service in the province, has had difficulty attracting employees. A full-time job was posted for Canso three times and couldn’t be filled, said Stewart. Councillor Desmond asked if there was a minimum or maximum response time for EHS service. Warden Pitts reiterated that question and was told by Stewart that the complexities pertaining to the question didn’t allow him to provide the answers they were looking for. After council adjourned, Pitts told media present, “In regard to medical first response by EHS what really blew me away, as the warden, was there are no expected minimum or maximum response times within our municipally and to me, that is totally unacceptable … We should be given a minimum time – if your live in a city or whatever, I expect a minimum time in regard to response; same as the fire department or police. If you don’t have a minimum response time what are you measuring it by – this is totally unacceptable. “What it comes right down to is we’re playing Russian roulette and the gun is going to go off one of these times, if it hasn’t already gone off, and it has lately. We want a minimum level of service within MODG and surrounding areas – that’s not too much to ask for,” said Pitts. ‘Unacceptable’ continued to be the theme of the council meeting, with MODG receiving a response from the Department of Environment stating that a freedom of information request would need to be filed in order for the municipality to gain access to information regarding Irving Oil’s plans for a contaminated lot on Main Street in Guysborough. “That’s the only way they will release that information to us,” said Pitts, “And that is also totally unacceptable. “My understanding is that Irving has submitted a plan; now I haven’t got this from a legal source, but my understanding is that Irving has submitted a plan. It’s waiting approval from the province. Apparently, there are two avenues that this can go down. I don’t know exactly what those avenues are, but we just want to be made aware of what the plan is now; that we can have some input into it as a municipal unit as well as the residents. This is not acceptable. This is Main Street in Guysborough and this is impacting people’s lives and property values,” said Pitts. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
GUYSBOROUGH – Last week (Jan. 21) the government relaunched its Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) online portal, https://iaprequest.novascotia.ca . The reboot became necessary after a data breach discovered in April of 2018 on the previous website resulted in a shutdown of the site, a return to mail-in request forms and the creation of a website where the public could only access previously completed requests. The security breach and the length of time it has taken to restart the system is only one of many issues facing access to information in Nova Scotia. The Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) is quick to highlight two more: the timeliness of request fulfillment and lack of willingness to provide information by both business and other levels of government. At the regular MODG council meeting on Jan. 20, council was informed that a letter they sent to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, in regard to the future of a contaminated site that belongs to Irving Oil Ltd. in Guysborough, was met with a response advising the municipality to file a FOIPOP request. To say that council was not satisfied with that answer would be an understatement. Warden Vernon Pitts said the response was “unacceptable.” Pitts, in a media interview, went on to outline the lack of success the MODG has had with similar requests. “The municipality made a FOIPOP request a number of years ago in regard to TDR, Tire Derived Aggregate. We FOIPOPed for information from the Province of Nova Scotia because we thought that that contract was awarded illegally—was our opinion at that time -- and the only way we could find out was to have an actual look at the contract. It took us five years to obtain that information and almost all of it was blacked out, so the information was absolutely useless,” he explained. It isn’t only the MODG that has gotten a lacklustre response to a recent FOIPOP request. The PC Party of Nova Scotia has run up against the FOIPOP wall in recent months in regard to a request they submitted to obtain the results for air quality testing in public schools. No information was made available. In a release issued on Jan. 18, PC Education Critic and Dartmouth East MLA Tim Halman said, “I worry that the only reason for the Liberals to withhold the schools’ air quality reviews from the public is that they are embarrassed by the results … If that is the case, then swift action is needed urgently.” The PC release also stated, “On January 7, after the Liberal Cabinet meeting, Education Minister Zach Churchill confirmed that data from school ventilation reviews was being tracked and kept, but dodged questions about actually releasing that information.” Tricia Ralph, Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner, told The Journal in a Jan. 22 interview that while she could not speak directly to either of these cases, the office encouraged open access to information. “As a general principal we encourage the ideas of open government and open data,” said Ralph, “but the legislation doesn’t require it. So, it is possible for one government to say to another ‘You have to file a FOIPOP request.’ … I don’t know how common it is, but I suspect it isn’t terribly uncommon. But it is not the only way; government is not restricted or bound by legislation to only reply in the form of a FOIPOP request. They could do it another way. They could just give it out.” More information about how to request information under FOIPOP is available online at https://oipc.novascotia.ca/faq. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
The European Union failed to make a breakthrough in crisis talks with AstraZeneca on Wednesday and demanded the drugmaker spell out how it would supply the bloc with reserved doses of COVID-19 vaccine from plants in Europe and Britain. The EU is making more comprehensive checks on vaccines before approval, which means a slower rollout of shots than former EU member Britain and growing public frustration. The issue has been exacerbated by Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca and Pfizer of the United States both announcing delivery hold-ups in recent weeks.
Answering growing frustration over vaccine shortages, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. is ramping up deliveries to hard-pressed states over the next three weeks and expects to provide enough doses to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall. Biden, calling the push a “wartime effort,” said Tuesday the administration was working to buy an additional 100 million doses of each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. He acknowledged that states in recent weeks have been left guessing how much vaccine they will have from one week to the next. Shortages have been so severe that some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people seeking their first shot. “This is unacceptable," Biden said. "Lives are at stake.” He promised a roughly 16% boost in deliveries to states over the next three weeks. The administration said it plans to buy another 100 million doses each from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna to ensure it has enough vaccine for the long term. Even more vaccine could be available if federal scientists approve a single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to seek emergency authorization in the coming weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the government plans to make about 10.1 million first and second doses available next week, up from this week’s allotment of 8.6 million. The figures represent doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It was not immediately clear how long the surge of doses could be sustained. Governors and top health officials have been increasingly raising the alarm about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much vaccine is on the way so that they can plan. Biden's team held its first virus-related call with the nation's governors on Tuesday and pledged to provide states with firm vaccine allocations three weeks ahead of delivery. Biden's announcement came a day after he grew more bullish about exceeding his vaccine pledge to deliver 100 million injections in his first 100 days in office, suggesting that a rate of 1.5 million doses per day could soon be achieved. The administration has also promised more openness and said it will hold news briefings three times a week, beginning Wednesday, about the outbreak that has killed more than 425,000 people in the United States. “We appreciate the administration stating that it will provide states with slightly higher allocations for the next few weeks, but we are going to need much more supply," said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican. The setup inherited from the Trump administration has been marked by miscommunication and unexplained bottlenecks, with shortages reported in some places even as vaccine doses remain on the shelf. Officials in West Virginia, which has had one of the best rates of administering vaccine, said they have fewer than 11,000 first doses on hand even after this week’s shipment. “I’m screaming my head off” for more, Republican Gov. Jim Justice said. California, which has faced criticism over a slow vaccine rollout, announced Tuesday that it is centralizing its hodgepodge of county systems and streamlining appointment sign-up, notification and eligibility. Residents have been baffled by the varying rules in different counties. And in Colorado, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said that the limited supply of vaccine from the federal government is prompting the state to repurpose second doses as first doses, though he expects that people scheduled for their second shot will still be able to keep their appointments. The weekly allocation cycle for first doses begins on Monday nights, when federal officials review data on vaccine availability from manufacturers to determine how much each state can have. Allocations are based on each jurisdiction’s population of people 18 and older. States are notified on Tuesdays of their allocations through a computer network called Tiberius and other channels, after which they can specify where they want doses shipped. Deliveries start the following Monday. A similar but separate process for ordering second doses, which must be given three to four weeks after the first, begins each week on Sunday night. As of Tuesday afternoon, the CDC reported that just over half of the 44 million doses distributed to states have been put in people’s arms. That is well short of the hundreds of millions of doses that experts say will need to be administered to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak. The U.S. ranks fifth in the world in the number of doses administered relative to the country’s population, behind No. 1 Israel, United Arab Emirates, Britain and Bahrain, according to the University of Oxford. The reason more of the available shots in the U.S. haven’t been dispensed isn’t entirely clear. But many vaccination sites are apparently holding large quantities of vaccine in reserve to make sure people who have already gotten their first shot receive the required second one on schedule. Also, some state officials have complained of a lag between when they report their vaccination numbers to the government and when the figures are posted on the CDC website. In the New Orleans area, Ochsner Health said Monday that inadequate supply forced the cancellation last week of 21,400 first-dose appointments but that second-dose appointments aren’t affected. In North Carolina, Greensboro-based Cone Health announced it is cancelling first-dose appointments for 10,000 people and moving them to a waiting list because of supply problems. Jesse Williams, 81, of Reidsville, North Carolina, said his appointment Thursday with Cone Health was scratched, and he is waiting to hear when it might be rescheduled. The former volunteer firefighter had hoped the vaccine would enable him to resume attending church, playing golf and seeing friends. “It’s just a frustration that we were expecting to be having our shots and being a little more resilient to COVID-19,” he said. The vaccine rollout across the 27-nation European Union has also run into roadblocks and has likewise been criticized as too slow. Pfizer is delaying deliveries while it upgrades its plant in Belgium to increase capacity. And AstraZeneca disclosed that its initial shipment will be smaller than expected. The EU, with 450 million citizens, is demanding that the pharmaceutical companies meet their commitments on schedule. ___ Associated Press writers around the U.S. contributed to this report. ___ Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic Jonathan Drew And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
After hanging up her scrubs in 2019, retired Windsor nurse Susan Ellsworth wants to return to the front lines and help out health-care professionals during the pandemic. But she says one thing is stopping her from doing that — the cost to reinstate her license to work as a nurse again. According to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the cost to apply and re-instate is $226 and the annual registration fee that is also required is $305.10 — making that a total of at least $531.10 — a fee that Ellsworth said she can't afford. "With this pandemic, people want to help out. And I think that it would free up licensed nurses, RNs and RPNs, to do other things. Then we could say, help out doing testing, help out with paperwork, help out with giving the vaccines," she said. "I'm sure I'm not the only person that feels this way." She said there is a series of procedures she must follow in order to return to work which can add up in cost. She wants the fees to activate her license to be waived. "Especially when there's some of us that have worked in nursing for years and they're not going to give us a break?" Ellsworth said, adding that the pandemic is far from over. "I worked through SARS. It was not near anything like this, but just when you hear people saying, like, 'oh, the cases are down today. ... It's going to get better now,' but, you know from working yourself and nursing that it's not," she said. Early in the pandemic last year, the Ontario government declared it needs "all hands on deck" to fight the pandemic and has called in the military to assist front-line workers, Ellsworth says feels heartbroken that she can't help and she's willing to volunteer her time and work unpaid. In an email statement to CBC News, CNO said retired nurses can work as an unrelated care producer which has no cost attached to it. "Retired nurses who are no longer registered with CNO and who want to help with the pandemic efforts, including the vaccination rollout, can choose to work as an unregulated care provider. As an unregulated care provider, any controlled acts they are performing, such as administering a substance by injection, would have to be delegated to them," the statement reads. "However, if they want to resume practice as a nurse and they have practised within the last three years, they can choose to reinstate their CNO membership," it continues. After being informed of this, Ellsworth said this brought her hope and she would look into working as an unregulated care provider immediately. One hospital says it's not suffering a shortage of nurses CBC News reached out to local hospitals to see if there was a demand for nurse volunteers. In an email statement, Erie Shores Healthcare said it's currently "not suffering a shortage of nurses, so this is not an issue we have discussed. That being said, if we ever found ourselves in a nursing shortage situation, this would be something we would have to consider on a case-by-case basis, along with any other relevant options." In another email statement from Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital (HDGH), it said it "will explore any and all options available to assist with the recruitment of nursing staff." "We have been actively recruiting since the beginning of the pandemic. To date, we have not had any retired nurses express an interest to join our hospital. With that said, HDGH would agree to pay the fees associated with reinstating a retired nurses licence." the statement reads. "However, in the interest of not disadvantaging our current nursing staff, we would pay the fee and establish an agreed-upon process that would allow for the hospital to recover the expense by way of payroll deduction," it continues. CBC News reached out to the provincial government for comment, but officials didn't respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
GUYSBOROUGH – When the Citizens Supporting Community Health Care group in Guysborough asked to take part in the consultation process on the state of health care in the area, they were expecting more involvement before the report was submitted to the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA). At a Jan. 19 meeting, the group met with health care consultant Mary Jane Hampton – via Zoom – and was told that the report had already been presented to the NSHA and the minister for review. Paul Long, who has been active in the citizens’ group since it formed last August, told The Journal on Friday (Jan. 22) that the group was surprised to learn the report had already been submitted. “I guess we thought that was a little bit backwards to do it that way but that is the way she has gone about it, so we agreed to be as cooperative as possible and review what she has come up with.” As Long understands the situation, once the report has approval from the NSHA and the minister, it will be brought to the community for comment and adjustments. “To be fair,” said Long, “we’ll reserve our judgement on things until we see it. It just didn’t seem like a real process of consultation. My understanding, most of the consultation was done within the health authority’s parameters and really wasn’t as extensive in the community as some people would have liked to have seen.” During the meeting, Hampton reportedly said that she thought the people in the area would be pleased with the report and that there was no recommendation to close the hospitals in Guysborough and Canso. Long said, “There is no indication of what the hospitals would look like, what the services would be, but it wouldn’t be a recommendation for closure. That part is a positive. But we’ll wait and see what the structure is going to look like.” More information should be forthcoming this week and Long said, “I think the idea is that once it is presented (to the citizens’ group), it will be out there for public consumption – for people to look at and make their opinions known.… If it is not something that is palpable to the community then certainly the municipality will have something to say about it and surely the individual citizens will let their feelings be known.” Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Saskatchewan’s top doctor spoke for the first time following a rally outside of his family home over the weekend.
LONDON — Arsenal has signed Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season, the latest step in the career of a player who is looking to fulfil the promise he showed after making his international debut as a 15-year-old. Odegaard has been at Madrid since 2015 — when he joined at the age of 16 — but failed to establish himself at the Spanish giant and has had loan spells at Heerenveen and Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands and then at Real Sociedad last season. Following the departure of Mesut Ozil to Fenerbahce last week, the 22-year-old Odegaard will provide competition in the attacking-midfield department at Arsenal. “Martin is, of course, a player that we all know very well,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Wednesday, “and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while. Martin will provide us with quality offensive options.” Odegaard was the youngest ever player to feature in Norway’s top division when he made his debut for Stromsgodset at 15 in April 2014. He made his first senior international appearance the following August — as Norway’s youngest debutant — before joining Madrid five months later, when he was billed as one of Europe’s most talented youngsters. Emile Smith Rowe, 20, currently plays in the No. 10 role at Arsenal under Arteta, who has been keen to promote youth since taking charge in December 2019. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive body warned the Polish government Wednesday that it has a month to address long-standing concerns about laws that Brussels fears undermine the independence of Supreme Court judges or Poland faces possible legal action. The European Commission considers Poland in violation of EU law for allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court to make decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they do their jobs. It says the chamber's independence and impartiality are not guaranteed. The commission warned that it “may refer the case” to the European Court of Justice, Europe’s top court, unless Poland takes action to fix the problem and replies to Brussels’ concerns in time. A series of legislative acts approved in late 2019 governs the way Poland's justice system operates. The laws entered force in February of last year. The European Commission started infringement proceedings against the government in Warsaw in April, and took further steps in October and December. The EU is concerned about cases involving the lifting of judges’ immunity to bring criminal proceedings against them, moves to temporarily suspend them and to cut their salaries. The Supreme Court disciplinary chamber can also rule on labour law, social security and the retirement of judges. The European Commission, which supervises the way EU laws are applied in the 27 member countries, said “the mere prospect for judges of having to face proceedings before a body whose independence is not guaranteed creates a ‘chilling effect’ for judges and can affect their own independence.” In November, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber suspended Judge Igor Tuleya and cut his salary by 25%. Tuleya, who has been critical of the changes to the justice system, has become the symbol of the struggle for judicial independence in Poland. Tuleya’s immunity was also waived, allowing prosecutors to press charges against him, for having let the media hear the verdict in a politically sensitive trial. He's the third judge critical of Justice Ministry policy who has been suspended by the chamber, which is largely composed of government loyalists. Poland’s largest association of judges, IUSTITIA, has condemned the decisions. The EU commission's case is part of a long-running row between Brussels and the nationalist governments in Poland and Hungary over concerns that they are undermining democratic standards and the rule of law in the world's biggest trading bloc. The Associated Press
During the last three months of 2020, Apple Inc delivered its flagship iPhone 12 model weeks later than normal iPhone debuts and shuttered some of its stores due to the pandemic. But Wall Street is still expecting a near-record sales quarter for the Cupertino, California company's signature device when it reports fiscal first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, with estimates of $59.8 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of Jan. 26. If Apple beats the number, it could eclipse its all-time record of $61.58 billion in iPhone sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2018.
MONTREAL — CGI Inc. topped expectations as it reported its first-quarter profit rose to $343.5 million compared with $290.2 million a year earlier, helped by improved margins and lower restructuring and integration costs. The technology and business consulting firm says the profit amounted to $1.32 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $1.06 per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue totalled $3.02 billion, down from $3.05 billion. CGI says the most recent quarter included $3.7 million in acquisition-related and integration costs compared with the same quarter a year earlier that saw $16.5 million in acquisition-related and integration costs and $28.2 million in restructuring costs. Excluding specific items, CGI says it earned $1.33 per diluted share for its most recent quarter, up from $1.23 per diluted share a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.24 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GIB.A) The Canadian Press
The Writers' Trust of Canada is renaming its annual fiction award after co-founders and literary power couple Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson.In a news release Wednesday, organizers announced that the prestigious honour will now be known as the Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.The name change comes with a $10,000 increase in prize money, with future winners set to receive $60,000. Atwood and Gibson, who were partners for more than a half-century until Gibson's death in 2019, were among the wordsmiths who co-founded the Writers' Trust in 1976.In a statement, playwright and fellow co-founder David Young says the prize is a "perfect" way to honour their commitment to Canada's literary culture.Since 1997, the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize has been handed out to the author of the year's best novel or short story collection. Previous winners include Andre Alexis, Emma Donoghue, Lawrence Hill, Alice Munro and Austin Clarke.The finalists for the 2021 prize will be announced on Sept. 28, and the winner will be named on Nov. 3.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Harvey Murlin Price hurled homophobic slurs as he reached into his truck, pulled out a shotgun and levelled it at his former brother-in-law and his partner. He fired two shots as the men threw themselves to the rocky ground for cover. Both shots missed, sailing somewhere into the trees surrounding a picturesque cabin in Hatchet Cove, a rural settlement on Newfoundland's east coast. Price is now facing serious jail time, after being convicted on two counts of uttering threats to cause death and five weapons offences related to that day in 2018. But a question lingers over his upcoming sentencing hearing: Will Price's homophobic motivations net him a longer prison term? "We're just two people trying to live a normal life and it boggles my mind," said Edison Avery, the former brother-in-law who found himself staring down the barrel of Price's gun. "Because in my mind, a lot of this is not just a family thing, but a hate crime." Family dispute turns violent Avery had once been married to Price's sister. The couple divorced; Avery came out as gay and began openly dating a man. A dispute began within the family about a cabin in Hatchet Cove, which Avery built while he was married to Price's sister. Price inserted himself into the disagreement in August 2018, when he called Avery and told him he was going to kill him and his partner, Chris Neal, if he ever saw them in Hatchet Cove again. On Sept. 2, 2018, the couple was at the cabin when they heard a truck coming down a long and secluded driveway. Avery confronted Price before he could get out of the truck, telling him to leave and urging him not to do anything stupid. That's when he spotted the shotgun on the backseat of the truck and yelled out for Neal to take cover. WATCH | In 2018, Edison Avery and Chris Neal described their encounter with an armed man: Price got out of the truck with the gun and fired two shots as they ducked for cover. The men then chased him back down the driveway with rocks in their hands. "We couldn't give him an opportunity to load the gun again," Avery told CBC News three days after the shooting. Price was arrested at his home in nearby Hillview soon after the shooting. Why wasn't it a hate crime? Avery and Neal told CBC News at the time they were disappointed it wasn't being prosecuted as a hate crime. They're not the first victims of crime to be let down by the judicial process when it comes to violent offences motivated by hatred, according to Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. "It sucks for most people," Balgord said. "When somebody is the victim of a hate crime and they're part of a community, they wonder, why isn't this person being charged with a hate crime? Because there isn't one. It doesn't exist." The Canadian Criminal Code does have three sections on hate crimes, but it only covers vandalism at religious sites, public incitement of hate and publicly advocating for genocide. The law does not have separate charges for when physical assaults are based on hatred. Instead, what people typically classify as hate crimes are cases where an accused is charged with something common, like assault, and the Crown prosecutor will urge the judge to consider the hateful motivations when handing down a sentence. It requires the police to do extra work to prove the person's motive was rooted in something like homophobia or racism. A recent study by Dr. Barbara Perry at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology showed there were several problems with this system of policing hate crimes. She polled more than 200 officers involved in reporting hate crimes at eight police departments in Ontario. Some officers reported they weren't sure if their work actually resulted in longer prison sentences. Some said it was too difficult to prove the leading motivation was hate. Several said the public lacked knowledge on the definition of a hate crime in Canada and it eroded public trust when hate-related charges weren't laid. Many said they didn't feel it was worth doing the extra work. "The net result is we actually have no idea how often things are being followed through [with] treating a crime like a hate crime to try and get an enhanced sentence," Balgord said. "There's massive systemic problems here." Hatchet Cove victims suffering Avery hopes it's a factor at Price's sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for April 9. Anything that can net a longer prison sentence is good with him. "I don't wish any ill or harm to his family. They used to be my family," he said. "But reality is reality and this man shouldn't be walking the streets and living his life while I'm living in fear every day." While neither Avery nor Neal were physically injured in the shooting, the mental scars have taken a toll on the couple. Avery was a funeral director in St. John's, but hasn't been able to return to work since the shooting. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and now suffers seizures that he had never experienced before Sept. 2, 2018. He's tried to park the homophobic aspect of the crime and tuck it away in his mind. He's more worried now about his ongoing safety, since Price is still free on bail while awaiting sentencing. Still, he said an acknowledgement that homophobia was an element would be meaningful. "It would have made a difference, not so much for me as it would for the gay community," Avery said. "The part that still eats me alive is the charges against this man — I'm glad he's guilty of all charges — but in my mind it's attempted murder .... It's hate." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador