West Midlands Police discovered a garage workshop in Dudley Port had been turned into a bar, which had a sign on the wall reading The Covid Arms. A dozen people in the makeshift bar were allowed to leave, however the owner was fined £1,000.
West Midlands Police discovered a garage workshop in Dudley Port had been turned into a bar, which had a sign on the wall reading The Covid Arms. A dozen people in the makeshift bar were allowed to leave, however the owner was fined £1,000.
LOS ANGELES — Emilio Estevez said “The Mighty Ducks” TV series wooed him out of the director’s chair and back into acting, but only because it was a worthy successor to the 1990s movie franchise. Estevez reprises his role as youth hockey coach Gordon Bombay for the Disney+ streaming service's “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers," debuting March 26. When approached for the project by Steven Brill, screenwriter for the movies and executive producer of the series, Estevez said he'd be interested if it could capture the “magic” of the films and not just “cash in on the nostalgia.” “I think that's ultimately what we've done,” he said during a virtual panel to promote the 10-episode series Wednesday. Set in contemporary Minnesota, the Ducks are now a successful, win-at-all costs team. When they suddenly boot 12-year-old Evan (Brady Morrow), he and his mom, played by Lauren Graham of “Gilmore Girls” and “Parenthood,” decide to form their own team and conscript Gordon to help. Estevez, part of an acting family that includes father Martin Sheen ("The West Wing") and brother Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"), said he had largely stepped away from acting to make independent films, including 1996's “The War at Home.” The Associated Press
When Patrick Lo co-founded computing networking provider Netgear Inc in 1996, he envisioned an online utopia in which "the internet was going to drive everything." Who would have guessed that the distant future Lo had imagined would be here in a virtual flash? "When the pandemic happened, that got compressed into a 1-1/2 year time frame," said Lo, 64, chief executive of the San Jose, California-based supplier of networking hardware for consumers, businesses and service providers.
Scuffles broke out between rival protesters in the southern Mexican city of Iguala on Wednesday amid growing anger over President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's backing of a gubernatorial candidate accused of rape. Video shared on social media showed one woman hitting another woman with a megaphone, bloodying her face, following a joint event between Lopez Obrador and Argentina's president, Alberto Fernandez. The injured protester, Yolitzin Jaimes, was demonstrating against Felix Salgado, a gubernatorial candidate for the southern state of Guerrero and a member of Lopez Obrador's ruling MORENA party.
For eight years, Waheeda Giga has struggled with an eating disorder that was triggered by the death of her father. She viewed food as an enemy that needed to be restricted, and if she failed, she’d throw herself into a punishing routine of vigorous exercise. “I use food and exercise to control and feel safe when I can’t deal with heavy emotions or grief,” she says of her ongoing battle with anorexia nervosa and compulsive exercise. Giga, a 37-year-old city of Toronto employee, is now a year into her recovery at the eating disorders outpatient program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, which she participates in virtually from home. It’s a journey that took place under the unusual backdrop of the global pandemic, for better and for worse. It’s also a journey that isn’t unique to Giga. Hospital data from the Greater Toronto Area points to an alarming rise in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia during the pandemic, as people try to cope with widespread grief from losing loved ones, income, or even a sense of routine and normalcy. The pandemic has also disrupted the way eating-disorder care is provided, shedding light on cracks in the system and the continued need for access as more people struggle. Ontario’s public health officials nodded to the issue in their latest COVID-19 projections on Feb. 11, where they noted a substantial increase in eating-disorder-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits among young people aged three to 17. In July 2020, the hospitalization rate for youth was three per 100,000, higher than the average of around 1.8 per 100,000. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre helpline has seen a 70 per cent increase in calls and texts, said Alexa Giorgi, a spokesperson for the University Health Network, which runs the helpline. This includes an 87 per cent increase in chats from individuals 25 and younger. Experts and people with lived experience say it’s a problem that has affected adults too. Dr. Michele Laliberte, a clinical psychologist and lead of the eating disorders program at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which treats adults, said wait-times for the program have doubled from three months to five or six months since the pandemic began, partly due to COVID’s interruption of the admission process while the program was transitioning to virtual care. But a virtual outpatient program may stay for the long-term beyond the pandemic, Laliberte added, as it could improve access to an already-scarce type of eating-disorder care in the region. It’s been especially helpful for Giga, who was able to attend her recovery program from the comfort of her own home instead of commuting weekly to Hamilton — the closest city to Toronto that houses an outpatient eating disorder program covered by OHIP. “I was scared to start because I didn’t know what it would involve with getting accommodations from work, and I was anxious because of the commute,” said Giga, who began treatment a month before the pandemic after being on a five-month long wait-list. At that point, Giga’s Body Mass Index (BMI) reached a critical point of 17.5 — what is considered to be close to severely underweight. She had weighed about 102 lbs. at that time, and was told she would require more intensive treatment if her BMI slipped any further. “I think that was a wake-up call for me,” she said. Limiting barriers to care is now paramount with more people looking to access eating-disorder care as a result of the pandemic. Kyle Ganson, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, said COVID-19 has presented many triggers for eating disorders, all tied to how our lives have changed in the last year. “The major disruptions in routines for people is key,” Ganson said. We’ve been forced to stay home where opportunities for exercise are limited, which could trigger changes in eating habits for some who worry about maintaining “a healthy lifestyle.” Some anticipate they will gain weight as a result of these changes, Ganson added, which creates stress, anxiety and even feelings of stigma. “There’s also a lot of loss and a lot of trauma,” Ganson said. “Food is a way to control some of that.” Maria Estrada, a 25-year-old woman who struggled with an eating disorder at age 15, said some elements of the disorder have resurfaced during the pandemic, mainly due to isolation and feelings of losing control over her life. “Nobody’s supervising you, nobody’s seeing you, nobody’s gonna notice,” Estrada said. “You’re not seeing your friends. They’re not going to feed you, or ask to go out for lunch. I don’t have that anymore.” Ganson is careful to add that these issues affect both women and men, albeit in different ways. For men, eating disorders can sometimes manifest in the form of seeking masculinity or leanness through excessive exercise or the use of supplements. “In our culture, we are much more OK with these types of behaviours and we don’t necessarily shun them or acknowledge there might be a problem,” Ganson said. For youth in particular, the pandemic has meant more time spent on screens and social media as schools transitioned online. Research has shown that increased time spent consuming social media can lead to issues like body dissatisfaction, Ganson said. “We also know that kids with eating disorders are known to have what we call co-occurring mental health issues, specifically anxiety and depression,” said Christina Bartha, the executive director of the brain and mental health program at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. At Sick Kids, the number of admissions for eating disorders began to dramatically increase in late August of last year, said Dr. Debra Katzman, co-founder of the hospital’s eating disorders program. It’s a trend that continues to be observed well into 2021. “We’re seeing a 35 per cent increase in the number of kids we are admitting in the hospital, and they’re coming in primarily in the latter half of the year,” Katzman said. Since April of last year, Sick Kids admitted 175 children for eating-disorder-related issues, compared to 120 children in the same time-frame before the pandemic. The wait-times for the outpatient program at Sick Kids have also more than doubled as a result, Katzman said. “Our systems were not designed for this sort of level of necessary clinical intervention, so we’re trying to adjust to that,” she said. Eating disorders are hard to treat, Katzman added. It’s not a health issue that is treated with prescription medication, but rather one that requires intensive care with a multidisciplinary team of experts that can continue for weeks to months on end. “I think we are taxing the system right now given the number of kids that are presenting to care,” Katzman said. The Ontario government announced a few funding initiatives geared towards eating disorders last October, though none involve directly supporting existing services. One includes $3.7 million for a new eating disorders program for youth aged 25 and under, with four pilot sites to start. “At this time, the program is in development as it is brand new,” said Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, in an email. Another $800,000 has been put forward to support the creation of Eating Disorders Ontario, a pilot program to train and deploy eating disorder prevention experts who will work with local communities and schools in the province. The program is also currently in development, Hilkene said. At St. Joseph’s Hospital’s eating disorders program, demand has quadrupled since 2010, Laliberte said. Despite that, staffing hasn’t increased in that time due to lack of resources. “Eating disorders are never at the table,” Laliberte said. But the pandemic hasn’t been all bad, especially for patients like Giga who have endured lengthy waits to receive adequate treatment. For example, the closure of gyms in Toronto heightened her anxiety as she tried to increase her food intake, a necessary and early component of her recovery plan. But gym closures also meant she had to increase her calorie-count knowing she wouldn’t be able to offset it by vigorous exercise — a feat that would have been harder to achieve with the temptation of open gyms and yoga studios. Being able to receive treatment in her own home, she added, meant she could receive treatment in a space she considered safe without the pressure of commuting. “My nutritionist at treatment called it a divine intervention,” Giga said. “Sometimes I feel like it honestly probably took a pandemic for me to recover.” Giga is now close to a fully-restored weight of 112 lbs. and a BMI of 20.3. It’s a small hopeful note in an otherwise difficult time for many. With a renewed focus on eating disorders, Laliberte and others hope the pandemic could be an opportunity to revamp what has been traditionally an inaccessible care system for the long term. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
CAMEROON, Cameroon — Russian supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova became a United Nations goodwill ambassador on Wednesday, pledging to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls and tackle stigmas surrounding their bodies. She will be a campaigner for the U.N. Population Fund, which now calls itself the U.N.’s sexual and reproductive health agency, known as UNFPA. UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem, who announced her appointment, called Vodianova “above all a passionate, longtime advocate for the rights and the needs of women and girls and in particular people living with disabilities.” Working with UNFPA for the last three years, Kanem said, Vodianova has focused on “breaking harmful taboos and tackling the stigmas that surround women’s bodies and health, including menstrual health even during humanitarian crises, and all forms of gender-based violence.” Vodianova, who will celebrate her 39th birthday on Sunday, said she was honoured by her new role and told a U.N. press conference by video link: “I look forward to continuing my work to tackle the myths and taboos that billions of women, girls and vulnerable young people have to live with and raise the standards of women’s health and dignity.” Vodianova was raised in poverty by a single mother with a half-sister who has cerebral palsy and autism. She signed with Viva Model Management at the age of 17 and has worked for fashion companies including Calvin Klein, Balmain, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton and appeared on many magazine covers, including Vogue. She made the Forbes top models list in 2012 and is nicknamed Supernova. Vodianova founded the Naked Heart Foundation to help children with special needs and their families in 2004 and is a member of the Special Olympics International board of directors. She told reporters that one focus of her work as a goodwill ambassador will be on the taboo and stigma surrounding menstruation, a monthly challenge for girls and women. On any given day, UNFPA said more than 800 million girls and women between ages 15 and 49 are menstruating, and may face exclusion from public life, barriers to opportunities, lack of proper sanitation and health, and neglect. “These stigmas and taboos are deeply rooted in our cultures and held there with such an overwhelming power,” Vodianova said. “And it doesn’t matter where you’re born ... you will face these issues growing up in one way or another.” She said a good example is that “period products, something that is a right for women, not just something nice to have” are still not widely publicly available in many countries. “It is now our responsibility to culturally redefine what is normal,” Vodianova said. “As UNFPA goodwill ambassador, I want to work to build a world where we no longer need to explain this.” Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — Megan Rapinoe scored twice and the United States won the SheBelieves Cup title with a 6-0 victory over Argentina on Wednesday night The United States is undefeated in 37 games in a row overall and 53 on American soil. Carli Lloyd, Kristie Mewis, Alex Morgan and Christen Press also scored, and the U.S. women also become the first team to have three straight shutouts in the SheBelieves Cup, which is in its sixth year. The United States shut out Canada in the round-robin tournament opener and then downed Brazil 2-0 on Sunday. Earlier Wednesday, Brazil beat Canada 2-0 at Exploria Stadium. Brazil finished second. Argentina, a late addition after Japan dropped out because of coronavirus concerns, did not win a match but did impress with gritty performances. Rapinoe scored in the 16th minute with a well-timed strike on a through ball from Rose Lavelle for the early lead. Rapinoe added another in the 26th minute, tapping in a cross from Lloyd. Rapinoe is the top all-time SheBelieves scorer with seven goals, including three in this edition. Lloyd added a goal in the 34th. It was Lloyd's 124th international goal and it came in her 299th appearance with the national team. Kristie Mewis scored on an angle into the far corner for her fourth career international goal in the 41st minute, and the United States took a 4-0 lead into the half. Morgan scored in 84th, her first goal since giving birth to her daughter Charlie last May. It was her 108th international goal, moving her into sole possession of fifth place on the team's career list. Press scored on a header a short time later for her 11th goal in her last 15 games. The United States improved to 4-0 against Argentina. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The European Space Agency is currently recruiting astronauts from EU member states - and one country is serious about getting their candidate amongst the stars.
OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped down as chief of the defence staff as he is investigated on unspecific allegations. Sajjan said in a release late Wednesday that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is doing the investigation. Sajjan said he takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and continues to take strong action on any allegation of misconduct that is brought forward "no matter the rank, no matter the position." Sajjan said as of Wednesday he has appointed Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre as acting chief of the defence staff. He said he will have no further comment at this time due to the ongoing investigation. Military investigators are probing allegations of sexual misconduct against McDonald's and Eyre's predecessor, Gen. Jonathan Vance. Global News has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked, and that he made a sexual comment to a second, much younger soldier in 2012, before he was appointed chief of the defence staff. Vance has denied the allegations raised by Global and The Canadian Press has not verified them independently. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A public service ad campaign unveiled Thursday aims to convince Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, telling them “It's Up to You.” The campaign by the Ad Council and its partners is focused on those who may be hesitant to get the shots. One print ad reads: “Getting back to hugs starts with getting informed,” and directs readers to a website with information about vaccines in seven languages. “Our goal is to move them from being hesitant to being confident” in vaccines, said Lisa Sherman, the Ad Council’s president. As many as 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Some scientists estimate that more than 2 in 3 Americans will need to get vaccinated to stop the epidemic that has killed more than 500,000 people in the U.S. The large, national campaign is producing an array of English and Spanish ads for TV, billboards, bus shelters, social media and publications that will be rolled out over the next few months. A few of the ads are expected to feature celebrities like the actors Angela Bassett and John Leguizamo, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The spots are expected to run throughout the year. The effort includes materials specifically for church leaders, doctors, pharmacists and others in Black and Hispanic communities The new campaign was funded by $52 million in donations — supplemented with donated labour and resources, said Sherman. The advertising industry-backed group calls it one of the largest public education efforts in U.S. history. It’s famous for many iconic public service campaigns that include “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love” campaign for the Peace Corps. Print versions show an adhesive bandage framing the words “It’s Up to You.” One video spot shows a series of illustrated arms of different colours and one robotic, all with a bandage on the upper arm, blending in to a mosaic of the U.S. map. “You’ve got questions. And that’s normal” reads another ad. It invites viewers to go to a website, GetVaccineAnswers.org, to get more information. Although vaccines have been available — in limited supplies — in the U.S. since mid-December, the timing of the ad campaign is actually good, said Jay Winsten, a Harvard University public health communications expert. It takes a while for people who question the effectiveness or safety of vaccines to gain faith in shots, said Winsten, who is known as the architect of a national designated driver campaign that aimed to reduce drunk driving injuries and deaths. But it also helps that millions of Americans have already gotten shots, and they did not suffer serious side effects, he added. “People will be more open to the messaging now” because of that, he said. The federal government is involved in the Ad Council’s campaign, but also has its own in the works. A $300 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services campaign was put on pause late in the Trump administration. Biden administration officials have picked it up but have not said when it will launch. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors' offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not this year. Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades. Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — mask wearing, social distancing and virtual schooling — were a big factor in preventing a “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19. A push to get more people vaccinated against flu probably helped, too, as did fewer people travelling, they say. Another possible explanation: The coronavirus has essentially muscled aside flu and other bugs that are more common in the fall and winter. Scientists don't fully understand the mechanism behind that, but it would be consistent with patterns seen when certain flu strains predominate over others, said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert at the University of Michigan. Nationally, “this is the lowest flu season we’ve had on record,” according to a surveillance system that is about 25 years old, said Lynnette Brammer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals say the usual steady stream of flu-stricken patients never materialized. At Maine Medical Center in Portland, the state's largest hospital, "I have seen zero documented flu cases this winter,” said Dr. Nate Mick, the head of the emergency department. Ditto in Oregon's capital city, where the outpatient respiratory clinics affiliated with Salem Hospital have not seen any confirmed flu cases. “It's beautiful,” said the health system's Dr. Michelle Rasmussen. The numbers are astonishing considering flu has long been the nation's biggest infectious disease threat. In recent years, it has been blamed for 600,000 to 800,000 annual hospitalizations and 50,000 to 60,000 deaths. Across the globe, flu activity has been at very low levels in China, Europe and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. And that follows reports of little flu in South Africa, Australia and other countries during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months of May through August. The story of course has been different with coronavirus, which has killed more than 500,000 people in the United States. COVID-19 cases and deaths reached new heights in December and January, before beginning a recent decline. Flu-related hospitalizations, however, are a small fraction of where they would stand during even a very mild season, said Brammer, who oversees the CDC's tracking of the virus. Flu death data for the whole U.S. population is hard to compile quickly, but CDC officials keep a running count of deaths of children. One pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season, compared with 92 reported at the same point in last year’s flu season. “Many parents will tell you that this year their kids have been as healthy as they’ve ever been, because they’re not swimming in the germ pool at school or day care the same way they were in prior years,” Mick said. Some doctors say they have even stopped sending specimens for testing, because they don't think flu is present. Nevertheless, many labs are using a CDC-developed “multiplex test” that checks specimens for both the coronavirus and flu, Brammer said. More than 190 million flu vaccine doses were distributed this season, but the number of infections is so low that it’s difficult for CDC to do its annual calculation of how well the vaccine is working, Brammer said. There’s simply not enough data, she said. That also is challenging the planning of next season's flu vaccine. Such work usually starts with checking which flu strains are circulating around the world and predicting which of them will likely predominate in the year ahead. "But there's not a lot of (flu) viruses to look at," Brammer said. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
Provincial police demonstrated life-saving measures when falling through ice at Lower Reach Park in Smiths Falls last week, on Friday, Feb. 18. After a hole was cut into the ice, Ontario Provincial Police Constable Sean McCaffrey jumped into the Rideau River waters to exhibit how to survive such an incident. The 1-10-1 rule was used as a helpful reminder for best course of action. The first 1 is for one minute, when a person is to likely gasp with shock. Breathing calmly is important in this first minute. The 10 is for the first 10 minutes, which is how long effective use of fingers, arms and legs will likely last. Because of this, it is in the first 10 minutes that self-rescue is at its most critical. The second 1 is for one hour, which is the time before hypothermia could potentially set in. Self-rescue is still recommended past the 10-minute mark, but police note it is important to be calling for help and continuing to focus on breathing. Other tips recommended by PC McCaffrey include ensuring anyone venturing out onto ice carries ice picks, wears appropriate clothing and never goes alone or at night. Assisting PC McCaffrey with the demonstration was the Ontario Provincial Police's East Region Snowmobile, ATV, and Vessel Enforcement (SAVE) Unit, Smiths Falls police and other emergency services. More safety tips can be found online at www.redcross.ca/. Marshall Healey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Les délais d’entrée au pays compliquent le recrutement de travailleurs étrangers. Le manque criant de main-d’œuvre qui frappait de plein fouet la région de Chaudière-Appalaches avant la pandémie hante de nouveau la région, où le taux de chômage a chuté à 4 % le mois dernier. Pour ajouter au casse-tête des employeurs, les délais d’immigrations freinent l’embauche à l’international. « On a actuellement une trentaine de travailleurs au Nicaragua qui attendent de venir ici », raconte en entrevue Louise Couture, conseillère en ressources humaines pour le fabricant de semi-remorques Manac. Leur usine de Saint-Georges, en Beauce, emploie déjà près de 80 personnes venant de l’étranger, sur un total de 700 employés. Cette trentaine d’ouvriers « partiellement embauchés » peine à entrer au pays en raison surtout des délais administratifs dans leur pays d’origine. La pandémie retarde l’obtention d’un examen médical, d’une photo d’identification et d’un relevé d’empreintes digitales, tous nécessaires pour entrer au Canada. « Les bureaux sont fermés ou partiellement ouverts, explique Mme Couture. [Les travailleurs] ne sont pas capables de franchir toutes les étapes nécessaires avant de rentrer dans l’avion. Ils ne sont pas capables de quitter le pays parce qu’il leur manque des documents. » Son entreprise sollicite ainsi le gouvernement fédéral pour autoriser les immigrants à fournir leurs données biométriques après leur arrivée au Canada. « Ce n’est pas un processus tellement long, ils pourraient faire ça quand ils arrivent ici », précise Louise Couture. Cette pratique existe déjà pour les travailleurs agricoles du Mexique et du Guatemala qui viennent travailler l’été dans les fermes québécoises, et qui sont considérés comme essentiels par Ottawa. Les retards actuels d’embauche de travailleurs étrangers touchent autant les petites, les moyennes que les grandes entreprises. « Tout le monde a de la misère avec leur personnel », déplore la directrice générale de la Chambre de commerce de Saint-Georges, Annie Gilbert. Pour répondre à ce « besoin criant », elle travaille actuellement à créer une foire de l’emploi virtuel. « 70 entreprises figurent déjà dans la liste, mais je vais faire quelques appels et je suis sûr que ça va ajouter un autre 20 kiosques. Ils ont tous le même problème », avance-t-elle. Or, l’embauche à l’étranger ne convient pas à tous les employeurs, nuance Mme Gilbert, qui dit privilégier l’embauche de citoyens canadiens. « Quand on se décide d’embaucher du côté de l’immigration, ça prend un an, un an et demi avant d’avoir quelqu’un. » En attendant ses nouveaux employés, l’entreprise Manac voit des contrats lui filer entre les doigts et accuse une perte de compétitivité. « Ce sont des heures supplémentaires qu’on est obligé de payer. Tant mieux pour les travailleurs, mais pour l’entreprise, c’est sûr que les profits sont moindres », indique Louise Couture. L’usine beauceronne de Manac est également aux prises avec un niveau d’absentéisme élevé en raison de la pandémie, ce qui plombe la chaîne de production. « C’est une grosse charge pour les contremaîtres. Ils doivent parfois conjuguer avec un quart de travail de soir où il peut y avoir trois employés de moins dans le département parce qu’il y en a un qui a été déclaré positif à la COVID-19 et qu’il habite avec les deux autres, relève Mme Couture. Toutes les semaines, il arrive quelque chose. » Chaudière-Appalaches n’est pas la seule région où le manque d’employés se fait sentir. Dans la Capitale-Nationale, selon un sondage publié le mois dernier par la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Québec, 80 % des entreprises comptent recruter dans la prochaine année. Et 60 % des gestionnaires de la région comptent embaucher du personnel issu de l’immigration, note l’enquête réalisée auprès de 500 d’entre eux. La pandémie a également freiné la croissance continue de délivrance de permis de travail. Pour l’ensemble du Québec, le Canada avait autorisé en 2019 près de 41 000 nouveaux immigrants à travailler. En 2020, ce chiffre a chuté à 31 265. Quant aux quelque 16 000 travailleurs étrangers attendus dans les champs québécois cet été, tous devraient pouvoir entrer au pays, selon Fernando Borja, de la Fondation des entreprises en recrutement de main-d’œuvre agricole étrangère (FERME). L’an dernier, environ 80 % des travailleurs temporaires prévus avaient réussi à franchir la frontière. Des vols nolisés et des tests de dépistage de la COVID-19 au préalable sont prêts pour satisfaire aux exigences du Canada, assure M. Borja « Le gouvernement du Mexique s’est mis aussi à la tâche pour que les travailleurs se préparent. » « Ceux qui rentrent au pays doivent faire trois jours à l’hôtel, mais les travailleurs pour le moment font leur quarantaine dans leur logement », ajoute Fernando Borja. « Mais, ça se peut que ça change. La COVID-19 nous a appris que la situation peut changer en une heure. Il faut qu’on soit prêt, mais on a une bonne expérience de l’année dernière. » Le gouvernement fédéral doit détailler le protocole sanitaire pour l’arrivée des travailleurs étrangers temporaires le 14 mars prochain. Jean-Louis Bordeleau, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
Despite various changes in how the province releases information about COVID-19 cases in schools, parents still aren’t satisfied with the data being made public. Halfway through the academic year, families behind a new letter-writing campaign are calling for more detail about cases in both school and child-care settings, citing heightened concerns about the risk of new coronavirus variants. The group wants daily updates on exposures that include facility names, dates and total cases broken down into student and staff categories, historical data so the public can track trends, and information about variants identified. “In terms of what they’re publicly reporting on, it’s very, very limited. I think it undermines confidence in the statement that schools are safe and they aren’t seeing transmission,” said Susan Wingert, a mother of two K-12 students in Winnipeg. Wingert said reporting via an online dashboard, which launched earlier this month, falls short of providing all the information parents need to weigh decisions about sending children to school. The provincial dashboard shows cases among student and staff populations within the last 14 days, as well as totals dating back to Sept. 1. A map allows users to view recent cases in specific schools, including people who might not have been infectious in a classroom; there is no information on which — if any — cases were acquired at school. It’s a stark contrast to the first-ever alert, which detailed the grade, classroom and time frame at Churchill High School for a student who was asymptomatic but tested positive Sept. 8. Following pushback after that notice, the province began to publish a running list of less-specific notices, including exposure dates and letters sent to families until mid-December. That’s when letters disappeared online for more than a month while the province finalized its dashboard. Child-care centres are not included in the provided information. The most recent data shows there were 75 cases, involving 59 students and 16 staff members, during the incubation period prior to Feb. 21. Michelle Driedger, who researches health-risk communication at the University of Manitoba, questions the usefulness of that information if it isn’t contextualized. “There has to be a happy medium between full disclosure of absolutely everything and, ‘Here, we’re giving you some information, but in such an opaque environment that you can almost interpret what you want from it,’” said Driedger, a professor of community health sciences and parent of two K-12 students. Buy-in to COVID-19 protocols requires confidence in the system, she said, adding the province should be frank about how exactly it has come to the conclusion schools are safe. Education Minister Cliff Cullen was not made available for an interview Wednesday. In an email statement, he wrote the province is confident parents are receiving the “appropriate information” on the dashboard while noting letters are still being sent to parents when there is an outbreak. School-related cases represent approximately seven per cent of the number of confirmed cases in Manitoba, to date. On the subject of asymptomatic testing, Cullen said in the email the province is seeing its COVID-19 curve bend significantly. “Our government will continue to listen to our public health leaders and take action accordingly,” he wrote. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The hand-picked successor to former House Speaker Michael Madigan's seat abruptly resigned Wednesday, under pressure from his sponsors, who accused him of unspecified “questionable conduct." Edward Guerra Kodatt submitted his resignation to the House clerk Wednesday morning, according to Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, citing a spokesman for the new House speaker. Kodatt quit just three days after he was chosen from among 10 candidates to replace Madigan, a Democrat from the Southwest Side of Chicago who had held the post for more than 50 years. “After learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt, it was suggested that he resign as state representative for the 22nd District. We are committed to a zero tolerance policy in the workplace,” Madigan and Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn, who share office space, said in a statement. They did not elaborate on the allegations against Kodatt, who was previously a bilingual outreach and budget assistant in Madigan and Quinn's constituent services office. Technically, Madigan's replacement is chosen by ward committee members for the 22nd House district — volunteer Democratic Party officials responsible for organizing elections and boosting turnout. But Madigan, committeeman for the 13th Ward since 1969, controls 56% of the weighted vote, based on the number of ward votes cast for the seat in the 2020 election. So, he single-handedly chose Kodatt and retains that control for another selection hearing scheduled Thursday morning. The 26-year-old Kodatt's rise and demise marked another curious turn in the meteoric crash of Madigan's own career. The product of the old-style Chicago political machine, Madigan was head of the House for all but two years since 1983, the longest-serving legislative leader in U.S. history. But utility company ComEd admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors last summer that it engaged in a yearslong bribery scheme to influence Madigan for favourable legislation. After that, support for Madigan, 78, began to peel away, with 19 formerly loyal Democrats announcing they would not support him for a 19th term at the helm. He failed to collect the necessary 60 votes in January and suspended his campaign while the caucus coalesced around Welch. Madigan then resigned his job as state representative last week and relinquished control of the state Democratic Party by stepping aside as its chairman on Monday. Enthusiasm for Madigan had been deteriorating since the resurgence of the #MeToo movement more than three years ago, with critics questioning his handling of reported incidents of sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation by campaign workers, lawmakers, and legislative staff, including Madigan's longtime chief of staff, Timothy Mapes, who was forced to resign in June 2018. One highly publicized case involved Kevin Quinn, a Madigan political consultant and Marty Quinn's brother. Veteran campaign worker Alaina Hampton complained in early 2018 that Madigan and party officials had reacted too slowly after she reported that Quinn had sent her unwanted text messages commenting on her appearance and asking her for dates, beginning in 2016 and continuing despite her requests that he stop. She reported Quinn to Marty Quinn, his supervisor, in February 2017 and later wrote Madigan a letter, but Kevin Quinn was not fired until after Hampton quit her campaign job and was about to go public. In November 2019, Hampton received $275,000 in settling a federal lawsuit against several Madigan political committees alleging her complaints about Quinn halted her career advancement. ___ Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor John O'Connor, The Associated Press
Paramount Pictures is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday announced that some of the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theatres. Like all studios in the past year, Paramount has had to adapt. Paramount sold some of its films to streaming services, including “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which went to Netflix, and “Coming 2 America” to Amazon, but held back its biggest titles, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick” for more traditional theatrical releases. “A Quiet Place Part II” has been delayed several times over the past year. It was originally set to come out last March, but was pulled from the schedule when theatres closed nationwide. Both it and “Mission: Impossible 7” are currently scheduled to open in the fall. The 45-day plan is yet another sign of how quickly the pandemic has changed the business of Hollywood. In the past theatre owners have been able to insist upon exclusive 90-day theatrical windows, but most have had to compromise to stay afloat during the pandemic. In the past few months, Universal Pictures reached an agreement with many theatre chains to shorten the theatrical window for its films. Warner Bros. and parent company WarnerMedia followed with the more controversial decision to debut films simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max. And there's also the pressure to get premium content to new streaming services faster. Paramount+ launches March 4 and has some hefty competition for audience dollars and attention in Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max. A few films are being produced to go directly to to the service, including a new “Paranormal Activity” and a new “Pet Sematary” origin story. The company has also struck a deal with EPIX that will add thousands of other movies to Paramount+. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Nathan Todd had two goals and an assist as the Manitoba Moose downed the Laval Rocket 4-2 on Wednesday in American Hockey League action.Mikhail Berdin stopped 29-of-31 shots and Tyler Graovac had three helpers to lead Manitoba to its fourth win in a row.Kristian Reichel and Nicholas Jones also scored for the Moose (4-2-0), AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.Brandon Baddock and Jesse Ylonen supplied the scoring for the Rocket (3-2-1), the Montreal Canadiens' AHL club.Charlie Lindgren turned aside 12-of-15 shots for Laval.---This report by The Canadian Press was first published February 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Submitted by Dennis Banks - image credit) A Black oil executive who has found success in Canada's oil and gas sector is working toward making the industry more inclusive. Dennis Banks has been working with Suncor in Canada for almost a decade and is vice president of its Edmonton refinery. He wrote a post on the company's website for Black History Month divulging some of his experiences and calling on employees to come together to do and be better. Banks said the company has had many conversations about inclusive diversity for people of all backgrounds and that the industry has made progress. "I stand as a living testament that we are making progress," Banks said in an interview with CBC's Radio Active. "I'm not going to tell you that it's perfect but it's better now than it was 20 years ago or 40 years ago." Banks is sponsoring the creation of a Black employee network across the company, still in the process of being organized but currently sitting at about 120 members and climbing. "I've had Black employees that didn't even know there were other Black employees in the company," he said, adding that some biracial employees would not identify themselves as Black for years. "[They're] coming forward now to tell their story and to belong." Black workers are getting the opportunity to share their experiences and support each other as well as educate their peers and coworkers, Banks said, as the sector, both in corporate offices and on the ground, is becoming more inclusive for people of colour. But oil and gas is an industry he says is similar north and south of the border — mostly white males. "At first you get the feeling that you're carrying the load for the entire race but then after a while you realize you're at tables because you belong there." 'Persevere and overcome' Although his parents grew up in Jim Crow-era Alabama, Banks was raised in the Motor City itself: Detroit. While his siblings went directly from high school to the auto industry, his talent for math and science landed him at Louisiana State University where he got a degree in chemical engineering with an emphasis on petroleum. Banks came to Canada from the United States in 2012 to work with Suncor. In both countries, he's had to deal with microaggressions and bias. "I find it's not necessarily what you face is how you face it and how you persevere and overcome," Banks said. Education has always been his tool of choice to combat bias. He recalls an incident at a hockey game when a man said Banks reminded him of Aunt Jemima. "I turned it around, said 'Hey, you know, I love pancakes — true, that's not one of my favourite syrups.' "And we proceeded to have a conversation where I let them know that type of comment isn't appreciated and why," he said, turning that negative experience into a positive educational opportunity. "Now granted, 20 years ago that would have been a fight," he said. While Banks says society has grown since his parents were making their way through the world, events akin to the massive groundswell of outcry after the death of George Floyd have been repeated time and again. "Th events of the last year, it's been going on a very long time," he said, adding that he is excited to see what change has come of resultant conversations. "But go back in time we had the same, similar conversations when MLK was killed, when Rodney King was beaten ... but I think each event, each opportunity propels us closer to equality and I'm hopeful in that regard." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
(Viking Press - image credit) Jack Whyte — a Scottish Canadian novelist who lived in Kelowna, B.C., for 25 years — died of cancer Monday at 80. Born in 1940, Whyte is the author of several historical novels, including the Arthurian-rooted Dream of Eagles series and the Templars Trilogy, which have been translated into more than 20 languages and read by millions of people around the globe. After immigrating to Canada in 1967, Whyte taught English at a local high school for a year before becoming a professional writer as well as a musician and actor. Michele and Michael Neill, who co-own Mosaic Books in downtown Kelowna, first met Whyte when the couple moved to the central Okanagan city in 1995 and purchased the bookstore. They remember Whyte as a fun-loving man dedicated to excellence in creative writing. Whyte was a frequent visitor to the store for his book launches. "We'd go upstairs to the office and have a bottle of wine sitting there … we'd have a smoke [cigarettes] up there and have a few words," Michael Neill said Wednesday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South of the launch of Whyte's book Uther in 2000. "He was just full of energy and what a storyteller," Neill said of his friend who also loved to sing. "You could hear a pin drop in the room (of more than 200 people) while he read from his book." In September 2018, Whyte told fellow novelists that research on historical details played a substantial role in his crafting process. "By and large the plot development of each of my books was dictated by the research I conducted and the ancillary details that grew out of it," he said to fantasy fiction writer Sarah Raughley. "Research, for me, takes on a life of its own, and I do all of it to serve a single purpose, which is to allow me to write intelligibly about something that, up to that point, I might have known little or nothing about," he told Haisla and Heiltsuk writer Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster. Michele Neill says Whyte collected an incredible amount of historical detail and went to great lengths to embellish them in his stories, not hesitating to toss his imperfect drafts. "He once wrote 600 pages of a book and then realized it was all wrong and threw it out and started again," she said. Michele Neill, right, co-owner of Kelowna's Mosaic Books store where Jack Whyte, left, hosted several book launches, remembers the writer for his exhaustive research on his novels. Whyte is survived by his wife Beverley. "He loved his wife really well. They loved one another so much, so I feel sad for Beverley," Neill said. Tap the link below to hear Michele and Michael Neill's interview on Daybreak South:
Thousands of delegates from across the country will gather in Beijing next week for the annual meeting of parliament, where China will announce goals for 2021 as well as its next five-year plan for economic development. The annual meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's rubber-stamp parliament, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), are known as the "two sessions." The events typically draw a combined 5,000 delegates and will be held under strict COVID-19 controls.
Plastic bags have been overtaken by face masks as one of the most common pieces of plastic waste. In fact, 102 million are thrown every week in the UK alone. View on euronews