White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
Saskatchewan's COVID-19 active outbreak list continues to grow, with the province adding multiple sports teams and identifying two medical units to the list over the last few days.In non-household settings, the provincial government confirms an outbreak when two or more people test positive for COVID-19.On Thursday the Raymore Rockets Hockey Team was identified as having an active outbreak, as were Regina's Doogz Diggers Hockey Team, the Bro-Ci-Tops Hockey Team and the Southey Marlins Hockey Team. Gailenes Child Care and cast members of the Turvey Centre's Louis Riel play in Regina, and Standard Motors in Swift Current were also identified as sites of active COVID-19 outbreaks on Thursday. On Friday, more sports teams were identified as having active outbreaks, including Prince Albert's U15 Bantam Thunder Hockey and U18 Lehner Electric Foxes Hockey teams.The Lloydminster Men's Shelter, Regina's PTI Transformers Inc. and Prince Albert's River Breeze Personal Care Home and St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral were also identified as sites of active outbreaks on Friday.An outbreak was declared at the Shellbrook Curling Club, which was also the subject of a recent exposure alert released by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.On Saturday the Regina General Hospital's hemodialysis unit reported a COVID-19 outbreak, as did the dialysis unit at Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital and Fairview School in Swift Current.
ROME — Rescuers on Sunday retrieved the body of an elderly woman, the third fatality in the Sardinian town of Bitti, which was partially buried a day earlier by mudslides after torrential rainfall.The Italian news agency LaPresse said that the corpse of the 89-year-old victim had washed downhill from near her home to the town basketball court.On Saturday, the bodies of the two other victims were found. One was a rancher who was caught up in the raging muddy waters on his way home; the other was a 90-year-old man in his home.The mud in the streets reached the second floor of many buildings. Rescue crews and residents on Sunday, walking on top of the heavily packed mud, found themselves flanking upper-story balconies in the town of 2,700 people in east-central Sardinia in the province of Nuoro. The floodwaters and mounds of mud overturned and smashed cars, leaving vehicles half-buried in dirt and debris.Geologists noted that the storm-triggered calamity was the latest of several similar ones, including one in November 2013 that claimed 19 lives, to afflict the Mediterranean island. They stressed that many inhabited areas were developed on geologically unstable terrain.Sardinia Gov. Christian Solinas on Sunday lamented what he said was “excessive bureaucracy” in the failure to implement projects, funded in the wake of the 2013 flooding, to make areas of the island geologically safe.The Associated Press
TORONTO — Three promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates may be driving stock markets higher and fuelling hopes for an economic rebound, but experts say Canada's major banks will continue playing it safe as they report earnings and wrap up their fiscal years this week."You're seeing stock prices react to potential improvements in the economy that you know are quite a ways out from now, but the banks live in the moment," said James Shanahan, a senior equity research analyst for North American financials at Edward Jones."The fact that the vaccine could come in six months or be available widely in nine months doesn't do a lot to help banks with some troubled loans or help stressed borrowers.”Though Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have touted vaccines with efficacy rates above 90 per cent in trials so far, Shanahan believes banks won't be quick to bake those bright spots into their outlooks. Instead, the focus will remain on long-term resiliency when they unveil their fourth-quarter results. The quarter marks the end of a topsy-turvy year that no one predicted 12 months ago. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, financial institutions had to tear up their plans and start preparing for an economy where customers were losing their jobs and needing leniency with loans, with some even declaring personal bankruptcy.Banks have put aside record-breaking amounts of money — at least $16.5 billion across the Big Six — to cover loan defaults.Shanahan says that trend will start to ease."Because of the big reserve building that's already taken place, the big banks aren't going to need to provide for significant credit losses unless there is some big economic change in the material environment," he said.CIBC analysts Paul Holden and Kevin Lai made similar predictions in a note to investors.They believe provisions for credit losses — money banks set aside to cover bad loans — will decrease by 20 per cent quarter over quarter.TD Bank Group, Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia will likely see the largest drop in provisions because of the amounts they put aside in the previous quarter, they said. TD set aside $2.19 billion, Scotiabank $2.18 billion and BMO $1.05 billion in the third quarter.The CIBC analysts forecast adjusted earnings per share will be down 2 per cent on average, compared to the previous quarter, though they noted Scotiabank and TD will see an increase due to the change in loan loss provisions.Highlighting the difficulty of rating financial institutions' performance as a whole, Barclays analysts John Aiken, Joseph Ng and Aria Samarzadeh estimated earnings across all the Canadian banks would fall by 21 per cent year-over-year and anticipated a mixture of approaches to expenses.“In what is typically an expense-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Q4 to close out the fiscal year … we anticipate expenses could be lumpy and varied,” they said in a note to investors.They are expecting a strong bounce back in 2021 but are keeping predictions for earnings growth in 2022 “fairly muted” because of the challenging conditions.Travel, food, hospitality, retail and entertainment businesses have likely changed forever and even if government restrictions were to be lifted entirely, some people may still be hesitant to return to life as it were before the pandemic, the analysts said.“With the biggest economic decline since the Great Depression, we maintain that the road to recovery remains uncertain and will take some time.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:RY, TSX:CM, TSX:TD, TSX:BNS, TSX:BMO, TSX:NA)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Sunday that his “top priority” is a plan for COVID-19 vaccines, adding “there is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible.”
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
When Kelly Lopes learned back in the spring that the Ontario government was ordering her teenaged children to stay home from school for their own safety but expected them and their parents to continue going to work, fear and anger set in almost immediately. In the seven months since then, however, the grocery store cashier said those emotions have given way to a numbness she said is sustaining her as she battles through the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario's hardest-hit region.She said that as the second wave has swelled to shocking heights in Brampton, Ont., her job has gotten harder and customers have gotten more combative. "A lot of us are burnt out," Lopes said Friday. "I get that we're not paramedics or first responders, but we're still a huge essential to a country that needs to eat. Without us being here, how do you get your food?"Peel Region, just west of Toronto, has led the province in COVID-19 cases per capita for weeks now, with upwards of 180 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents — nearly triple the rate of the province as a whole. Brampton makes up less than half of Peel's population, but accounts for more than 60 per cent of its COVID-19 cases. Lopes said the fear she feels working on the front lines is compounded by customers who push back when she reminds them to keep a distance or wear a mask. "We're tired. We're numb. We're overworked. We're frustrated, because it's not our rules," she said. "We're just trying to keep everybody else safe."And data from Peel suggests that workplaces like Lopes' have some role to play in the virus's spread. Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, a public health expert involved in preparing the province's COVID-19 projections, said Thursday that the virus is hardest to control in regions such as Brampton where households are larger and there's a higher proportion of essential service workers. "These are long-standing structural factors here," he said. "These are not transient things related to the pandemic that drive these much higher rates of infection."A quarter of all households in Brampton consist of five or more people, compared to less than 10 per cent of households provincewide, according to the latest census. And just 12 per cent of Bramptonians live alone, the census data shows, compared to nearly a third of Torontonians. Meanwhile, Peel Public Health said there have been 137 workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 in the region since the pandemic began. A full third of those were in manufacturing or warehouse settings, while 14 per cent were in retail and 11 per cent were in food processing. Brampton has a disproportionately large number of people who work in the manufacturing industry, said Gagandeep Kaur, an organizer with the Warehouse Workers Centre. The city is home to numerous Amazon "fulfilment centres" and other large-scale warehouses. Kaur said she's heard from workers that it's hard to maintain physical distance while moving around some of those warehouses. But she said seeking safer employment isn't a simple matter, noting many workers are new immigrants to Canada trying to get on their feet. "If you are a new hire in that facility, and you are a new immigrant in this country, your priority at that time is not the working conditions or what the employer is offering, because you have a family to feed or you have bills to pay," she said. Dr. Farah Mawani, a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, said that's the sort of systemic racism that has put racialized people — and particularly new immigrants — at greater risk during this pandemic. "We know that there's a very high portion of racialized immigrants who are highly trained and skilled, but very underemployed. So they're forced to work in manufacturing because they can't get other jobs," she said."She said the issue is even worse for temporary foreign workers, whose migration status is tied to their employment at a certain company. If they complain about poor working conditions, Mawani said, they risk losing not only their income but their place in Canada. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he feels his city has been unfairly maligned by those who grouse about high rates of COVID-19 without examining the root causes. "There needs to be a bit of appreciation for the sacrifice that a lot of our essential workers are taking on," he said. "When you think about it, if you go to a grocery store, wherever you are in Canada, the likelihood is that someone from Brampton has helped process that food."He said essential workers in the city need greater support from the provincial and federal governments, while the city itself requires its own COVID-19 isolation centre. Ottawa announced Thursday that it would open such a facility in Mississauga, Ont., another part of Peel Region.But Brown said that's a 40 minute bus ride away for some of Brampton's more vulnerable residents, many of whom don't have cars. "An isolation center is useful when people can't afford to rent a hotel room for 14 days, or they don't have a place where they can safely isolate," he said. "So I want to make sure that we have that support."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
For City Cinema in Charlottetown, the pandemic has meant overcoming obstacles. Now there are more.In order to reopen in July, the theatre had to make a number of changes in order to comply with public health orders. Plexiglas was installed, stickers placed on the ground and seats marked off.Attendance steadily improved through the summer months."The last couple of months, we've really kind of hit a stride and had several sellout shows," said Marshall Harrington, the cinema's manager. "And we were in a good situation for December to continue that trend."They had three films lined up that were set to debut in theatres in December. City Cinema had already sold tickets and bought ads promoting the screenings.Films were set to run every night of the week, an increase from four nights a week the theatre was doing before.Releases suspendedBut, on Wednesday, days before the showings were set to begin, Harrington got an email from the studio responsible for those movies, saying that they were suspending the releases to theatres. "What they told us was that due to quite a few theatre closures across Canada, they cancelled their theatrical runs of these films in Canada. So they, unfortunately, had to pull those titles from our schedule," he said. "It was deflating." That left Harrington scrambling to fill the gaps. The theatre managed to find replacements, but the loss of the three films, as well as the situation around COVID-19, mean City Cinema has to return to the four showings per week.For the cinema, it's another challenge in an already challenging year. "We've had our challenges with reopening and adjusting to local health guidelines and trying to follow them as best we can," said Harrington."It's just another challenge that we need to overcome," he said.'We didn't see any hurt in keeping them'At a time when theatres around the world are hurting because of the pandemic, Harrington said the move to pull the films was one that City Cinema didn't quite understand. "From our perspective, we didn't see any hurt in letting us keep the titles. But … they just pulled the whole run across Canada. So there really wasn't much we could do."We do understand it from their perspective. They're looking at it as a big picture. But … for us, we didn't see any hurt in keeping them," he said. But, despite this, Harrington said he's looking forward to the December lineup. More from CBC P.E.I.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona's personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologistDr. Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighbourhood.Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona's relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor's office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday.It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona's medical records.Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.The Associated Press
Accroître l’autonomie agroalimentaire, énergétique et en produits manufacturés du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. C’est le projet dont la coopérative Système T souhaite être le fer de lance en unissant la classe politique derrière l’idée de faire de la région la deuxième FabRégion du Québec. Le concept a attiré l’attention de Jean Duplain, directeur général de la jeune coopérative fondée cet automne à Chicoutimi, lorsque le Bas-Saint-Laurent a décroché à la mi-octobre le titre de première FabRégion de la province et du pays. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent est en fait la quatrième FabRégion au monde, après deux régions françaises et une région mexicaine. Mais qu’est-ce qu’une FabRégion ? Une région qui s’engage à atteindre 50 % d’autonomie d’ici 2054 dans les secteurs de l’agroalimentaire, de l’énergie et de la production manufacturière. Jean Duplain a été séduit par le concept qui permettrait, à ses yeux, d’apporter une réponse aux enjeux de développement régional que connaît le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. « C’est un concept qui fédère tout le monde autour d’une vision commune », expose-t-il. Le projet permettrait aussi de rassembler des initiatives déjà existantes dans différents secteurs. « La FabRégion, c’est vraiment une démarche de devenir adulte comme région en prenant sa destinée en main », explique le directeur général de la coopérative dédiée au soutien de projets qui s’inscrivent dans l’accélération de la transition socioécologique. Parrainage Pour la soutenir dans ses démarches, la coopérative pourra compter sur le parrainage du Bas-Saint-Laurent. Rachel Berthiaume, co-coordonnatrice au Living Lab en innovation ouverte au Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup, s’est montrée enthousiaste à l’idée. Celle qui a été impliquée dans la reconnaissance du Bas-Saint-Laurent comme FabRégion préfère en fait se donner le titre de « contamineuse en chef ». Car le partage est au coeur du concept de FabRégion. Il s’inscrit dans l’initiative FabCity, un réseau mondial d’innovation ouverte qui rassemble, depuis 2014, une trentaine de villes qui souhaitent augmenter leur autonomie en misant sur les échanges numériques. « Profitons du fait que la société s’est numérisée et profitons du fait qu’on est capables d’échanger de la connaissance pour pouvoir mieux produire localement », résume la chercheuse. La FabRégion du Bas-Saint-Laurent est elle-même parrainée dans son développement par la FabCity de Paris. Rencontre avec des élus régionaux Système T souhaite organiser une rencontre avec des élus du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean après les Fêtes pour leur présenter le concept de FabRégion. Le soutien des élus, qui doivent signer une lettre d’appui, et la fédération de la communauté autour du projet sont essentiels pour intégrer le réseau. Si la mobilisation s’orchestre rapidement, le dossier de candidature de la région, appelé « déclaration », pourrait être présenté lors du prochain Sommet FabCity, sommet mondial du réseau qui doit avoir lieu en août 2021, à Montréal. Cet objectif semble réaliste aux yeux de Rachel Berthiaume. La région devra cependant faire vite si elle souhaite devenir la deuxième FabRégion du Québec et du pays, car le concept suscite aussi de l’intérêt dans d’autres régions depuis que le Bas-Saint-Laurent a décroché le titre. Le Québec pourrait même devenir la première « FabProvince » en devenant le « premier territoire interconnecté dans le monde », lance la contamineuse en chef, qui estime que l’intérêt envers le concept n’est pas étranger à la réflexion sur l’autosuffisance suscitée par la pandémie. Faire un état des lieux Le projet de FabRégion demande également de dresser un état des lieux sur le niveau d’autonomie du territoire. Un chantier important attend le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean sur ce plan. « C’est fou, on n’a pas la réponse, à savoir on en est où au niveau de l’autonomie présentement ; là, c’est très difficile », constate Jean Duplain, qui a effectué de premières démarches en ce sens. Les constats tirés peuvent parfois être surprenants, partage Rachel Berthiaume, en donnant l’exemple de la production de viande bovine pour le Bas-Saint-Laurent. « On sait qu’on produit ce qu’on mange. Mais 80 % de ce qu’on produit est parti, s’en va ailleurs et ce qu’on consomme en boeuf arrive d’ailleurs. On s’entend qu’il y a un petit décalage ? », soulève-t-elle. Une fois l’état des lieux connu, la réflexion pour repenser la production agroalimentaire, énergétique et manufacturière peut être lancée. « Devenir une FabRégion et être autonome à 50 %, ça ne veut pas dire produire plus, résume la chercheuse. Ça veut dire produire différemment, avec ce qu’il y a déjà aussi, sur notre territoire. » \+ UNE OPPORTUNITÉ POUR RÉUNIR DES INITIATIVES EXISTANTES Le projet de faire reconnaître le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean comme une FabRégion permettrait de réunir des initiatives déjà existantes qui visent à augmenter l’autonomie régionale, estime la directrice d’AgroBoréal. Le collectif Borée regroupe, par exemple, une dizaine d’acteurs qui mènent des projets liés à l’autonomie alimentaire, souligne en ce sens Isabelle T. Rivard, directrice du créneau d’excellence. Elle accueille favorablement l’idée que la région entre dans le réseau FabCity en devenant une FabRégion. « Nous, on n’aime pas quand on dédouble des choses. Essayer de regrouper ce qu’on fait déjà de bien, et le valoriser davantage, c’est un bon réflexe », estime-t-elle. Le collectif Borée a été lancé dans la région au début de l’année, lors du Sommet pour une alimentation durable. Saguenay, le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) de la région, la Fédération régionale de l’Union des producteurs agricoles, l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi et le Cégep de Saint-Félicien en font partie, entre autres. AgroBoréal, au nombre des membres du collectif, offre des « facilités administratives » pour soutenir l’initiative. Le projet a d’ailleurs reçu des fonds publics pour assurer sa coordination. Les partenaires devront identifier les actions et stratégies à soutenir. « Ce sont tous des chantiers qui sont en montage ou en développement pour la plupart », explique la responsable du créneau, dont la mission est de soutenir l’innovation et le réseautage dans le domaine agroalimentaire régional. L’amélioration des systèmes de production en serre et l’accès à la commercialisation de la viande grâce aux abattoirs de proximité font partie des chantiers de réflexion et projets sur la table.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
P.E.I. has no new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.P.E.I. announced two cases unrelated to one another on Saturday, and potential exposure sites. One of the cases announced Saturday was a student at Charlottetown Rural High School. Schools are open on Monday.P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the student should not be seen simply as P.E.I.'s 72nd case, but rather someone who deserves the province's love and support.City Cinema is scrambling to fill its December schedule after a studio pulled three films.Face coverings will be mandatory for everyone at the Mark Arendz Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., this winter, officials say. The rule will apply even when on the ski hill. On the hill, those coverings can be a knit balaclava.Starting this coming Monday, masks will be mandatory for staff and students in grades 10-12 at all times inside a school building, including while sitting at their desks. Exemptions will be made for when students are eating or drinking, and certain other situations.P.E.I. has seen a total of 72 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Nova Scotia reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the province's total active cases to 125.New Brunswick announced 14 new cases, bringing its total of active cases to 114.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
TOKYO — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.Japan’s Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to Games organizers.The sources were granted anonymity because Games organizers have not publicly divulged the losses incurred as a result of thje postponement.The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organizers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about $650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.Tokyo is becoming very expensive.The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.Tokyo said the Games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.The $2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.The IOC and organizers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a skeptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.The Olympics are to open July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and ten of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.IOC president Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many spectators from abroad will be allowed to attend.Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.—-More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Wade, The Associated Press
York Region Public Health says 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases are linked to the playing of soccer indoors at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.In a public notice issued on Sunday, the public health unit said the cluster of cases emerged after a group of people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. An investigation has found that 20 to 25 people in all were there."While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.The public health unit was told about the first confirmed case on Friday, and since then, a total of 11 cases have been confirmed. These include: 8 cases from Toronto; one case from York Region: one case from Simcoe-Muskoka Region; and one case from Peel Region.All of the people who played soccer over the two days are considered high-risk and all have been advised to go into isolation for 14 days. People who develop symptoms are urged to get tested and to continue to isolate until they obtain their test results.York Region Public Health says it is tracing the contacts of the 11 people who have tested positive.On Monday, Nov. 16, York Region moved to the province's red-control zone, which means team sports cannot be practised or played except for training.
Mummers might already wear masks, but they still have to abide by other COVID-19 restrictions. Having thousands of people disguised in doilies stroll down the streets of St. John's just doesn't jive with a recommendation from provincial health officials to only go mummering with close contacts this year. The annual Mummers Parade is moving online, along with most of the regular festival events leading up to it."Everything that we do, typically, is back. It's just in a digital platform," said Mummers Festival Executive Director Lynn McShane.No parade in pandemicA typical parade day starts with a "rig up," where people pick through tables of clothes to find a costume. This year, starting at 1:30 p.m. NT on Dec 12, organizers will be on Facebook Live offering up tips and ideas for what to wear.The parade itself will be replaced by a video of people in their mummering best. The festival is asking anyone who wants to be in it to dress up, record themselves, and send in a snippet by Dec 1.The parade day stream will end with a virtual concert.McShane said hosting most of the festival on the internet opens up possibilities for who can take part. "People who are not residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are just loving the opportunity to be able to join in from afar," she said. There are presentations, panel discussions and crafting lessons planned in the two weeks ahead of the parade.All the events and most of the required supplies are free, but donations are encouraged.Bring your own boot"The thing with mummering is eventually you take off your mask, so in terms of this year and COVID, I don't know if it offers much protection," Ryan Davis said in an interview ahead of his online ugly stick workshop Saturday. In past years, he's taught people how to put the instrument together in person.Festival volunteers predrilled the sticks and punched holes in bottle caps to ease at-home assembly. Participants could register and pick up a kit in St. John's containing all the ugly stick essentials at no charge — they just needed to have an old boot or sneaker for the bottom.For people who didn't have a kit from the festival, Davis offered up alternatives.He said they're not an essential mummering accessory, but they do amplify the experience."It's actually great if you want to go mummering because you don't want to take your nice guitar or your fancy instrument," Davis said."This is something you can beat up and beat around, so in that way, it's great for mummering."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — who sometimes has embraced the label “Trump of the Tropics” — said Sunday he’ll wait a little longer before recognizing the U.S. election victory of Joe Biden.Speaking to reporters while casting a ballot in municipal races, he also echoed President Donald Trump's allegations of irregularities in the U.S. vote.“I have my sources of information that there really was a lot of fraud there,” he said. “Nobody talks about that. If it was enough to define (victory) for one or the other, I don't know.”Asked if he would recognize Biden's victory, he said, “I am holding back a little more.”He also expressed doubts about Brazil's current electronic voting system, which he has suggested is vulnerable to fraud. He has urged the country to go back to a paper ballot system for the 2022 presidential election.The conservative Brazilian leader has appealed to the same sort of right-wing populist base in Brazil that Trump has courted in the United States, and has welcomed comparisons to the U.S. president.Like Trump, he has embraced unproven treatements for the new coronavirus and has campaigned to ease restrictions meant to combat it, arguing the economic loss is more damaging than the illness itself.The Associated Press
New HIV infections are at their lowest rate since the disease first hit British Columbia, according to top researcher Dr. Julio Montaner.Last year, on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Montaner declared the epidemic of HIV/AIDS over in B.C. because infection rates had fallen so low. This year, despite concerns that COVID-19 restrictions would get in the way, the spread of HIV has declined even further. Montaner is the executive director and chief physician at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the head of the HIV/AIDS Program at St. Paul's Hospital.He was instrumental in turning HIV infections from a death sentence to a manageable condition. Now, he is concerned the success he has helped create in B.C. is not happening elsewhere. "The rest of the country and the rest of the world are falling behind," said Montaner. In April, after pandemic restrictions came into place, Montaner and others were concerned. HIV testing rates fell and people struggled to access health care. After four decades of hard work on the AIDS pandemic, to Montaner, it was "unthinkable."Now, he worries, we squandered the opportunity to prepare for the second wave of COVID this past summer, when new COVID infections were low. "We wasted the summer celebrating our success without taking responsibility collectively that we need to be cautious," he said. "I am very concerned that the way things are going with shutdowns and lockdowns and competition for health-care resources."Montaner worries B.C. is not up to speed on contact tracing, hasn't managed to expand testing and implement rapid testing, approaches he calls "game-changers" in controlling HIV."We don't seem to learn from the past," he said. "It's very frustrating."Fight against HIV/AIDS 'in peril'Montaner is hopeful incoming U.S. President Joe Biden will show leadership internationally on HIV/AIDS.He blames the lack of leadership under President Donald Trump, the financial crisis, and now COVID, for stalling the global effort. "We have the threat of COVID today that, unfortunately, has taken all of the oxygen out of the room and made it so HIV services are in jeopardy." said Montaner. He says the next step is to "recapture the imagination" of world leaders who have let HIV/AIDS fall off the agenda. "We know what to do. All we have to do is implement it." To hear the complete interview with Dr. Julio Montaner on CBC's The Early Edition, tap the audio link below:
LOS ANGELES — Mike Tyson stepped through the ropes in his signature black trunks and heard the opening bell in a boxing ring for the first time in 15 years.The former world heavyweight champion traded lively punches with Roy Jones Jr. for eight entertaining rounds that ended with two middle-aged legends wearily hugging each other in mutual admiration.Their fight was only an exhibition and it ended in a draw. But for Tyson, the experience evoked the joy and excitement he felt so long ago at the start of his boxing career — and it was likely the start of a new chapter in his epic life.“I'm happy I'm not knocked out," Tyson said. “I'll look better in the next one.”Tyson showed glimpses of his destructive prime Saturday night during the 54-year-old boxing icon's return to the ring against the 51-year-old Jones.Tyson had the most impactful punches, showing off versions of the footwork and combinations that made him the world's most feared fighter. After eight two-minute rounds, both Tyson and Jones emerged from Staples Center smiling and apparently healthy.“This is better than fighting for championships,” Tyson said of the heavyweight exhibition, which raised money for various charities. “We’re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We've got to do this again.”Tyson's return to the ring for this show attracted international attention, and Iron Mike did his best to demonstrate his months of work to recapture a measure of the form that made him a legend to a generation of boxing fans.Tyson tagged Jones with body shots, head shots and a particularly nasty uppercut during a bout that was required by the California State Athletic Commission to be a reasonably safe, glorified sparring session.Tyson was exhausted two hours afterward, but also clearly energized as he recounted his emotions with his wife and team looking on.“I took my youth for granted,” Tyson said. “This event made me find out what I was really made of. ... My body feels splendid. I want to beat it up some more.”Tyson intends to fight in more exhibitions next year, perhaps heading to Monte Carlo next to challenge a European fighter. He didn't close the door on the possibility of a full-fledged comeback, although that would be many fights in the future.For one night, Tyson and Jones were back at the centre of the sports world, and they reveled in it.“I'm happy to scratch that off my bucket list and move on with my life,” said Jones, the former four-division world champion widely considered the most skilled boxer of his generation. “He hit harder than I thought."Everything hurt. His hands hurt. His head hurts. Everything hurt when I made contact. He's an exceptional puncher still. He can do anything he wants next.”Neither fighter was deceived by the quality of the bout. While both came out throwing punches that evoked echoes of their glorious primes, they also tied up frequently on the inside, and their occasionally laboured breathing could be heard on the microphones in the empty arena.Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg's witty television commentary was among the loudest noises inside Staples, and he had a handful of zingers: “This is like two of my uncles fighting at the barbecue!”But Tyson and Jones were the headliners in the most improbable pay-per-view boxing event in years, engineered by social networking app Triller and featuring fights interspersed with hip hop performances in an empty arena.The event was derided as an anti-sporting spectacle by some critics, yet both Tyson and Jones appeared to handle themselves capably and safely. Their fans were clearly enthralled, with the show getting enormous traction on social media.Some of that success was due to the co-main event, in which YouTube star Jake Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson in the second round of Robinson's pro boxing debut. Paul, in his second pro fight, recorded three knockdowns against Robinson, the three-time NBA slam-dunk contest champion, before an overhand right put Robinson flat on his face and apparently unconscious.But most of the fans tuned in to watch Tyson, many for the first time. Any boxing fan who came of age after Tyson retired from boxing in 2005 had never seen a live fight from the legendary figure — and within the bounds of this event, Tyson delivered.Tyson said he no longer had “the fighting guts or the heart” after he quit in a dismal loss to journeyman Peter McBride in his final bout.Finally free of his sport's relentless pressure, Tyson gradually straightened out his life, kicking a self-described drug addiction and eventually succeeding in acting, stage performance, charity work and even marijuana cultivation while settling into comfortable family life in Las Vegas with his third wife and their children.The idea of a boxing comeback seemed preposterous, but Tyson started toward this unlikely fight when he started doing 15 daily minutes on a treadmill a few years ago at his wife's urging in a bid to lose 100 pounds. The workouts soon became multi-hour affairs encompassing biking, running and finally punching as he regained a measure of his athletic prime through discipline and a vegan diet.Tyson posted a video of himself hitting pads on social media early in the coronavirus pandemic, and the overwhelming public response led to several lucrative offers for a ring comeback. With the chance to make money for himself and for charity, Tyson eventually agreed to take on Jones long after the chance of their dream matchup seemed dashed.Tyson and Jones negotiated with the California commission over the limitations of their bout, eventually arriving at eight two-minute rounds of hard sparring with only ceremonial judging and no official winner. The WBC still stepped in to award a ceremonial “Frontline Battle Belt” to both fighters.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsGreg Beacham, The Associated Press
PARIS — France’s highest administrative court on Sunday ordered a rethink of a 30-person attendance limit for religious services put in place by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus.The measure took effect this weekend as France relaxes some virus restrictions, but it faced opposition by places of worship and the faithful for being arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had announced they would not enforce the restrictions and some churches were expected to defy it.The Council of State has ordered that Prime Minister Jean Castex modify the measure within three days.French churches, mosques and synagogues started opening their doors again to worshippers this weekend — but only a few of them, as France cautiously starts reopening after its latest virus lockdown.Many people expressed irritation outside several Paris churches where priests held services for groups that numbered over 30.“People respected social distancing perfectly, each to his place and with enough space so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here,” Laurent Frémont told The Associated Press on his way home after Mass.To attend Mass, they had to book tickets online and give their names on their way in. However, the church’s protocol didn’t seem to help limit the number of people inside the building.Asked whether they would stay if the crowd was too large, most said they would.“I really think you couldn’t do better from a sanitary point of view,” said Humbline Frémont.For some, the new rules stirred up fears. French Catholics were sharing rules and recommendations on social media for how to behave if the police arrive at a church for a head count.Farid Kachour, secretary general of the group running the mosque of Montermeil, a heavily immigrant suburb northeast of Paris, says that his mosque simply wouldn’t open with too few people permitted.“We can’t choose people” allowed to enter for prayer. “We don’t want to create discontent among the faithful,” he said.Kachour noted that Muslims pray five times a day, further complicating the situation. To respect the rules, the mosque would need 40 services a day to allow all the faithful to pray, he said.Places of worship were allowed to continue during France’s latest nationwide lockdown, which is coming to an end in December, but regular prayer services were banned due to health concerns. Around the world, some religious services have been linked to coronavirus clusters, including superspreading events.France has reported over 52,000 virus-related deaths, the third-highest pandemic death toll in Europe after Britain and Italy.“Non-essential” shops reopened in France on Saturday, museums and cinemas will reopen on Dec. 15 but bars and restaurants will stay closed for indoor dining until Jan. 20.___Alex Turnbull and Elaine Ganley contributed to this report.__Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press