If pictures can speak a thousand words, these Photos of the Year 2020 gave us volumes. We bring you to you the photos that defined the year, and all the crazy, volatile, surprising, horrifying, events this year has entailed.
From the anti-CAA protests that started 2020, the farmer protest that is wrapping up 2020, and the pandemic in between, India has gone through a LOT.
Article 51-A (g) of the Indian Constitution says that it shall be duty of every citizen of India to have compassion for living creatures. The pregnant elephant in pic was killed in human- wildlife conflict.Action has already been initiated. But where lies our duty? N humanity?? pic.twitter.com/V1ufNt3HfN
This youth getting all praise from Punjab farmers for his act at Kurukshetra Hry, he reached water canon vehicle stopped it saving farmers from high velocity water and jumped bk on tractor trolley to continue journey towards Delhi to protest against farm laws @BKU_KisanUnionpic.twitter.com/iYDlnuglDl
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has accused Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and several top officials of committing crimes against humanity in a criminal complaint filed in Germany. The 500-page complaint, filed on Monday with the German Public Prosecutor General in the Karlsruhe federal court, includes allegations of arbitrary detention of more than 30 journalists and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Prince Mohammed has denied any involvement in Khashoggi's killing.
U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared inclined to uphold two Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona in a case that could further hobble the Voting Rights Act, a landmark 1965 federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. During nearly two hours of oral arguments by teleconference the court's conservative justices, who hold a 6-3 majority, asked questions indicating they could issue a ruling that would make it harder to prove violations of the Voting Right Act. The important voting rights case was heard at a time when Republicans in numerous states are pursuing new restrictions after former President Donald Trump made false claims of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 election he lost to Democratic President Joe Biden.
TOKYO — Two Americans suspected of helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn skip bail and escape to Lebanon in December 2019 have been extradited to Japan. Michael Taylor and his son Peter had been held in a suburban Boston jail since May. They were handed over to Japanese custody on Monday and arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday. Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for more than two decades, was arrested in 2018, and charged with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for personal gain. He says he is innocent. WHAT ARE THE FATHER AND SON ACCUSED OF DOING? Michael Taylor, with the help of another man, George-Antoine Zayek, hid Ghosn in a large black box supposedly containing audio equipment, according to the authorities. The box passed through airport security in Osaka, central Japan, and was loaded onto a private jet that flew Ghosn to Turkey. Peter Taylor is accused of meeting with Ghosn and helping his father carry out the escape. Authorities say the Taylors were paid at least $1.3 million. WHERE WILL THEY BE TAKEN AND WHAT HAPPENS THERE? The Taylors, like other suspects, can be held up to 23 days without any formal charges at the Tokyo Detention Center on the outskirts of the capital and questioned for hours almost daily by prosecutors, without a lawyer present. Their lawyer can visit and they can receive snacks and books. The detention can be extended with “rearrests,” if more charges are tagged on. Ghosn spent more than 100 days at the centre before gaining his release on bail. The solitary cells are simple, with Japanese-style futon mattresses. The centre, which is different from prisons for people who have been convicted, also has an exercise area and clinic. IS THIS THE ROUTINE TREATMENT OF SUSPECTS IN JAPAN? The Japanese treatment of suspects has been widely criticized as “hostage justice,” designed to coerce suspects to confess and often resulting in false confessions. The Taylors’ lawyers in the U.S. say they worry they may be treated unfairly in Japan and subjected to “mental and physical torture.” They also argue that jumping bail is not a crime under Japanese law. That is technically accurate, but most people who escape are easily caught in Japan. Japanese prosecutors say they have enough evidence to convict the Taylors. WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED IF THEY GO ON TRIAL? Even after formal charges are filed, closed-door pre-trial sessions by the prosecutors and defendants before a judge generally go on for months. The media have no access to such sessions. Jury trials exist in Japan, but only for murders and other heinous crimes. A panel of three judges will hear the Taylors' case in a trial that could last months or even years. English translation will be provided during the trial. Media coverage is allowed, but no filming or recording. If convicted, the Taylors face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,900). They could get a suspended sentence and not serve time. In principle, just as in the U.S., people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But 99% of criminal trials end in convictions. WHERE IS CARLOS GHOSN AND CAN HE BE TRIED? Japan has put Ghosn on Interpol's wanted list, but Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. Extradition from the U.S. isn’t common, so the extradition of the Taylors for an alleged nonviolent crime reflects the determination of Japanese prosecutors to pursue the case against Ghosn. Ghosn is almost certain to be extradited if he sets foot in the U.S. Former Nissan senior executive Greg Kelly is on trial in Tokyo on charges he helped under-report Ghosn’s compensation. Kelly, an American, says he is innocent. ___ Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
Newfoundland and Labrador's four health authorities have signed a deal with a U.S.-based health-care company that promises financial incentives — totalling tens of millions of dollars — if it cuts costs at hospitals and long-term care homes across the province. The contract puts the Change Healthcare Canada — its Canadian headquarters are in British Columbia — in charge of building software that involves health-care scheduling and collaborating with the health authorities on "improved operational efficiency and anticipated cost savings." Those savings could come from reducing staffing costs, overtime, sick time, payroll errors and time-keeping labour, the contract states. The contract comes with a lucrative possibility: the more savings Change Healthcare helps find, the more money it makes, up to $35 million over the course of the deal. The provincial government, however, said the goal of the project is not to cut spending but to avoid staff burnout. The contract came into effect in June with no public announcement before or after the deal was done — a signing that gave $3 million up front to Change Healthcare to begin months of preparation prior to the five-year operational side of the deal kicking in. The contract's signatures include those of a Change Healthcare executive vice-president, the chief executive officers of Eastern, Central, Western and Labrador-Grenfell Health, and the CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, an entity that oversees the province's health-care information system and electronic records. The deal also states the health authorities will cover sales tax and fees for any work Change Healthcare does beyond the contract's original scope. The authorities will also have to pay up to $5 million in penalties if they don't achieve 95 per cent adoption of the program within the organizations. Eastern Health, where the program will roll out first, did not respond to CBC's request for an interview or comment by deadline. Fears of job cuts: union The deal came as a surprise to at least one union, representing 3,000 health-care workers in the province, which learned about it months later. Sherry Hillier, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, attended a virtual meeting in the fall to discuss details of the deal with stakeholders. "I was kinda like, 'Holy God, what is this all about?'" said Hillier. The contract doesn't get into the fine details of where savings will be achieved, and how much, but in a slide presentation from October, Change Healthcare stated its software will anticipate peak demand in the system, and will "align staffing to demand" as well as "optimize staff effectiveness." Sherry Hillier, president of the provincial branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says members of her union who are employed in health care are overworked and racking up overtime because there aren't enough people to do the work before them.(Heather Gillis/CBC) Hillier said she doesn't see how that can happen, as her members are stretched thin as it is. To her, the contract means job cuts, and she questions whether an algorithm can match up to the reality of people's day-to-day duties. "My biggest fear is for our members out there. Our members are overworked right now, they're understaffed, and this system is only going to make the health-care system that much worse," Hillier said. When the meeting ended, Hillier said, she "didn't leave with a good feeling about this company," and contacted CUPE counterparts across the country. In Manitoba, CUPE's experience with Change Healthcare was one of widespread job cuts, she said, leaving those still employed struggling to manage their workloads. "It's actually made for a devastating workforce in a couple of the hospitals in Winnipeg that CUPE represents there. It's been bad times in Winnipeg just with this company, because of the cuts," she said. A spokesperson for a government health agency in Manitoba, however, disagreed, saying the company's software has "improved patient flow" and reduced reliance on overtime staffing. "We strongly dispute the assertion that there were any 'job cuts' related to the implementation of this software," the spokesperson said in an email, "and have continued to actively recruit for CUPE support staff during this time." According to its website, Change Healthcare is "focused on accelerating the transformation of the healthcare system through insight and innovation," and says it is one of the largest health-care networks in the United States. Hillier questions the motives of Change Healthcare to make changes — "This corporation is actually in it for the money," she said — and asks why the health authorities could potentially give millions of dollars to an American company when the province is in dire financial straits. After the story was published, and after Hillier originally spoke to CBC News, CUPE issued a media release late Tuesday afternoon stating it wanted the four health authorities to "cancel their deal" with Change Healthcare. The union draws a connection from the contract to Ronan Seagrave, chief operating officer of Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, who was on hand when the company's plan for N.L. was presented to stakeholders last fall. Seagrave, according to the union's release, was a KPMG consultant working on a report for the Manitoba health care system. "His health system transformation team made 'title changes' to hundreds of full-time jobs, converting the hours of work to part-time. At least 500 nurses received 'job deletion notices' that fall, along with more than 700 hospital support staff," reads CUPE NL's media release. Unions were at the table from the 'get go': Haggie Health Minister John Haggie said he is surprised to hear CUPE take issue with the contract. "The unions were there from the get-go.… I don't understand where they are coming from," he told CBC News on Tuesday. "You have a company that is incentivized to produce the best results because they share in our success. And I think over the term of the contract they get somewhere around 10 or 15 per cent of the value of the savings. The health authorities, the health-care system, the province keep the rest, if there are savings." After Haggie's interview, CUPE said it was not informed that the contract had already been signed when members were invited to a presentation about it last fall. Health Minister John Haggie, seen here in a Skype interview with CBC, said the contract with Change Healthcare Canada also aims to reduce worker burnout, too. (CBC/Skype) Haggie said the project originated in 2016 and came out of discussions at the time with the Registered Nurses' Union. He said former president Debbie Forward was "enthusiastic" about the approach. Haggie said the approach and contract may be new to the province, but Vancouver Coastal Health has used the approach and "their reports were very favourable." "It's not new, it's simply just not paper-based, it's electronic. Where it stemmed from was from our desire to help avoid burnout among staff. So they're not being mandated back or they're not doing extra shifts and overtime, since you can match the needs for staff and the right mix and right numbers, with the number of patients, and the level of illness you see on the floor." "All scheduling on health care and front lines is done on paper and this was a way of getting that all sorted out, so that it was electronic,and you could match the staffing in a two-week period to the expected demand on the unit." CBC News asked the Registered Nurses' Union if, in fact, Forward did support the contract. A spokesperson said the union "did not see or have any input on a contract. What we have been doing is pushing for government to move to acuity-based staffing." A statement from the union went on to say: "The current staffing model for nursing is not meeting the needs of patients and results in chronic understaffing, excessive overtime and burnout among registered nurses." It also said the union supports "staffing based on the real time needs of patients, not the number of beds or allocated budget," and added its executive will be "monitoring the rollout of the new system and remain hopeful that it will improve workloads, better align staffing to meet patient needs, and improve scheduling and patient flow." Haggie, meanwhile, challenged those who see this as a roundabout way of making cuts. "They are mistaken," he said. "The motivation behind this was to match better the needs of patients and meet them, also with the needs of our workforce. We have heard how hard people have worked during the pandemic, this tool will help make their life easier." PCs, NDP slam the contract Opposition House leader David Brazil says the financial incentives in the deal are a non-starter for him. "I have a real problem with that. I would think the people in Newfoundland and Labrador would have a problem with that. And I would think the health-care professionals would first be asking, 'Why not engage with us?'" he told CBC News on Tuesday. "Taking a company that looks at a software package to decide how we better access health care, and the particular needs, to me is not the best solution." While the contract was part of a competitive public tender process, NDP Leader Alison Coffin asked why there has been no information about it, until now. "If this was good news for our hospitals, clinics, and long-term care homes, you can bet the Liberals wouldn't have kept this a secret," said Coffin in a statement. Dire need for savings It's no secret Newfoundland and Labrador has a money problem. With a net debt of $16 billion, the province is close to insolvency, and the prospect of cuts to many sectors looms as a distinct possibility. Health-care spending, comprising more than 37 per cent of the last provincial budget, is a target. The economic task force was scheduled to deliver an interim report on Sunday with potential recommendations for change, before announcing on Saturday it would miss that deadline by up to six weeks. Under those harsh realities — complicated further by the pandemic and the provincial election — Hillier said hiring Change Healthcare still isn't the right move. While overtime and sick leave may be a spending issue, she said a larger problem is not having enough staff in the first place, particularly in long-term care, causing people to rack up overtime to get the job done. She said the province needs to instead train and hire more workers to drive overtime costs down. "To increase the workload on our members is just crazy. It can't be done," she said. The contract states the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's will be the pilot site for the new system before it expands to the rest of the province.(CBC) She also said any cuts will have a clear impact on patients, causing service reductions and longer wait times. The deal hasn't been brought to union members' attention yet, she said, in part because it took six weeks after CUPE-NL found out about it to even get a copy of the contract to peruse. With the contract signed months ago, the project is now well into the first of three phases. The goal is to begin implementing the plan by September, starting at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's. The program will then roll out through the rest of the health authorities' acute-care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care homes throughout the province, with the contract set to conclude in September 2026, with an option to renew the contract after that point. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
An Amherstburg nurse denied immediate reentry into Canada, despite believing she would have no problem crossing the border as an essential worker, says the federal government and Canadian border officials need to "get on the same page" as concerns continue over how rules at the Canada-U.S. land border are enforced. She's far from alone. Windsor West MP Brian Masse says his office has been flooded with calls from individuals who used to cross the border without issue — but, as of last week, were being denied immediate reentry back home into Canada. "Nurses, engineers, teachers, business owners and workers in social services, for example, are now penalized," Masse said Friday in the House of Commons. "How can people be expected to comply [with the land border rules] when they don't have a definite directive from the minister? This situation needs to be altered." On Friday, CBC News reported that an Ontario man who serves as president of a construction company was fined $3,755 by Canadian border officials after attempting to cross back into Canada through the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel. He was deemed a non-essential traveller last Tuesday after previously crossing the border in the past about once every two weeks with no issue. Following the publication of that story, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reached back out to CBC News to clarify its enforcement of rules at the land border. According to the agency, its rule regarding frequency of travel (affecting whether or not an individual would be permitted reentry back into Canada without having to meet pre-testing or quarantine requirements) applies only to cross-border workers — and not essential workers. "CBSA officers use all of the information available to them when a traveller is seeking entry into Canada, to determine which set of instructions (exempt or required to quarantine) apply to the traveller," the CBSA said. This means cross-border workers can only enter Canada without having to meet pre-testing and quarantine requirements if they a "normal place of employment" to work and "establish a regular pattern of travel," generally defined as daily or weekly. In practice, this should also mean essential service providers — including health-care workers, truck drivers and law enforcement — are exempt from pre-testing and quarantine requirements when crossing the land border into Canada for work-related reasons. The Canada Border Services Agency says essential service providers, including health care workers, are exempt from pre-testing and quarantine requirements when crossing the border for work-related reasons. However, CBSA says it does not comment on individual cases. But that's not what happened to Kaitlyn Desjardins. Ten days ago, she crossed into the U.S. to attend an orientation session for her new job as a registered nurse at William Beaumont Hospital. On her way back, she said, the CBSA informed her that she was crossing into Canada as a non-essential traveller. Before crossing the border, Desjardins had been told by her new employer that she'd be exempt from pre-testing requirements due to the nature of her work, she added. "I let them know I was a nurse. I gave them my letter of employment. I had all my documents on me. I even had my work visa. It didn't matter. They said that what I was crossing for wasn't essential," she said. Desjardins was pulled into secondary and given two options: drive straight to Toronto without stopping anywhere and quarantine in a Toronto hotel for 14 days or go back into the U.S. and come back to the border crossing with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. She chose the latter option. "I had to make some arrangements for somewhere to stay and ended up getting a swab in Detroit," said Desjardins, adding she paid $150 US for the test and was unable to return to Canada until the next day. "I think the most important is that everyone gets on the same page. Right now, even still, they're not. I'm hearing so many different things from nurses, CBSA, public health. Everyone is on a different page." As a health-care worker, Desjardins said she understands the importance of keeping people safe. But these current border rules are affecting people's livelihoods. "It's not really a good feeling when you're told you can either drive four hours away without going to pick anything up or you have to go back and not be able to enter Canada." Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, says his office has fielded calls from nurses, teachers and business owners who have been given trouble at the border while trying to cross back into Canada. In a follow-up statement to CBC News, the CBSA said it does not comment on individual cases.
The past year has fractured our world in countless ways. Now, as people look to pick up the pieces, those managing debt need to account for their position in our uneven economic recovery. In this so-called K-shaped recovery, one part of the population is rebounding quickly while another has a longer, slower path. For example, in January the unemployment rate for whites was 5.7%, compared to 8.6% for Hispanics and 9.2% for Black workers and 6.6% for Asians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who remain unemployed or underemployed might continue to rely on debt to get by. Meanwhile, those whose finances have held steady or improved may be primed to wipe out debt. MANAGING DEBT IN THE BOTTOM HALF Some consumers have had no choice but to rack up debt — including unpaid rent or mortgage, credit card debt and overdue utility bills. If this is your situation, focus on basic needs and paying minimums to avoid collections. — PROTECT THE ESSENTIALS: If you’re among the millions of Americans unable to cover your housing costs right now, take advantage of the eviction moratorium and mortgage relief programs now extended through June 30. Keep an eye out for additional benefits in the COVID-19 relief package being discussed in Washington and call 211 to get connected to local assistance for basic needs like food and shelter. Add transportation, internet and cellphone to your priorities list, too, so you can stay connected to friends and family for help and to hunt for work. “All creditors will make it sounds like they’re the most important ones to get paid,” says Amanda Christensen, a financial coach based in Morgan, Utah. “Housing and transportation have to come to the top of that list and take priority.” — IF NEEDED, LOOK FOR CHEAP CREDIT: If you need to add debt to cover your regular expenses, like groceries and utilities, financial coach Vineet Prasad of Fulton, California, suggests finding the cheapest options. “A revolving credit line on your home equity has a much lower APR than a credit card. Another option is a personal loan at a credit union.” To qualify for a HELOC, you’ll generally need equity of at least 15% of your home’s value. And weigh the risks: HELOCs tend to have adjustable interest rates, which can make them more expensive over time, and your house is at risk of foreclosure if you can’t repay the debt. — FOCUS ON LONG-TERM RECOVERY: Once your situation stabilizes, focus on paying down debt and make savings a priority, too. Consider using a debt payoff calculator that can track your debts and monthly payments. And while you may be tempted to throw all your spare income toward debt payoff, having some cash tucked away can help you weather the next financial crisis. Saving even a small percentage of your income helps, Christensen says: “If you’re not saving anything right now, see if you can get in that 1% to 5% range.” MANAGING DEBT IN THE TOP HALF If your finances held steady or improved over 2020, think about how you can take advantage of your situation, whether through charitable giving or using some of your cash to improve your finances. And if you’re focused on reducing debt, the classic payoff playbook works well: First, take stock of what you owe. Consider using a spreadsheet or online debt tracker to organize your balances. Then choose a payoff strategy, like the debt snowball method where you focus on your smallest debt by paying as much on it as you can while paying minimums on the others. Once it’s paid off, roll the amount you were paying on it into the payment for your next largest debt and so on until you’re completely debt-free. Paying off debt can be a long-haul game. To stay focused, Prasad advises finding someone who can serve as a confidant and provide encouragement. “Getting an accountability partner who is good at managing their money generally can be a huge differentiator with actually following through with your plan and the grind of paying it off over time,” he says. ANYONE CAN HAVE OVERWHELMING DEBT Regardless of your income or employment status, you may have too much debt to realistically pay off with a strategy like debt snowball. If all your monthly debt payments, including housing, total more than 50% of your monthly gross income, you may need to look into debt relief, like a debt management plan at a non-profit credit counselling agency or bankruptcy. The goal is to resolve your debt quickly and in a way that sets you up to meet future financial goals. Otherwise, you may spend years funneling money toward insurmountable debt, sacrificing retirement, an emergency fund and other goals. Bankruptcy in particular may be a good option, as it can help you resolve what you owe in a matter of months instead of years. While bankruptcy filings were down 30% in 2020, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, that may change in 2021 as consumers’ financial pictures begin to stabilize. To make the most of the fresh start bankruptcy offers, don’t wait so long that you can’t even afford the filing fees. Act when you are in a position to improve your financial situation, says bankruptcy attorney Cathy Moran of Redwood City, California. “When you’ve hit the bottom and things are about to get better, that’s when you want to file,” Moran says. _____________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Sean Pyles is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @SeanPyles. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Pay off debt: tools and tips http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-debt-tools-and-tips Sean Pyles Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland — The European Union's top court ruled Tuesday that Poland’s new regulations for appointing judges to the Supreme Court could violate EU law. The ruling obliges Poland’s right-wing government to discontinue these regulations and observe the principles of judicial independence and the right to judicial protection. In a decision that could have a powerful effect on future court verdicts regarding judicial appointments, the ruling also allows Poland's courts to refrain from applying the regulations introduced by the government in 2018 and 2019. The legislation in Poland strengthened political influence over a top judicial body, the National Council of the Judiciary, and the body's procedure of appointments to the Supreme Court. It also curbed the right to appeal the council's decisions. The regulations “which have the effect of removing effective judicial review of that council’s decisions ... (proposing) candidates for the office of judge at the Supreme Court — are liable to infringe EU law," the European Court of Justice said in its ruling. The ruling was in response to a query by Poland's top administrative court to the European court regarding a complaint by some judges. The judges said the new regulations stripped them of the right to appeal a decision rejecting them as candidates for the Supreme Court. Based on Tuesday's ruling, Poland's Supreme Administrative Court can now review the appeals by the five judges. Some lawmakers praised the court's decision. The ruling on Polish government’s “political interference in the judiciary is concrete evidence that the government is blatantly flouting the rule of law, despite multiple warnings. It is also destroying Europe’s trust in the legal system there," said Jeroen Lenaers, a European Parliament member. ___ This story has been corrected to say Poland's top administrative court turned to the ECJ, not the judges themselves. The Associated Press
Prior to the pandemic, the Gurudwara temple in Saskatoon was used as a venue to vaccinate hundreds of people against the flu. Religious leaders at the Sikh temple found it was a good way to build trust within their community while advocating for equal access to health care. "They come to the golden hour for their religious prayer anyway," said Jaswant Singh, a faith leader within the Sikh Society of Saskatchewan. It made getting vaccinated easier than going to a pharmacy. Those who didn't have a vehicle were driven in from as far as 150 kilometres to get the shot. Helping with vaccinations isn't new for religious leaders, but their efforts have become even more important due to a lack of racial data on the people getting immunizations in Saskatchewan. The lack of data means the province doesn't know if members of any particular groups have been hesitant to be inoculated. This means it doesn't know if education efforts should be targeted at specific groups. Religious leaders are often strong voices in their communities, meaning they can help combat vaccine reluctance. At the Sikh temple, vaccination clinics fulfil their religious beliefs of building community, protecting humanity and eliminating discrimination between different castes. In-person congregations at the temple have now been reduced to 30 people, so all advocacy efforts have moved online. However, with Saskatchewan now distributing COVID-19 vaccines throughout the province, religious leaders say they can help eliminate ethnic disparities during the rollout, just like they do with the flu shot. "We need to be involving diverse groups of people, and that includes religious groups so that nobody is left behind," Singh said. "Particularly, we need to pay close attention to disadvantaged people who are marginalized, who may not have usual media reach." Lack of racial data in Saskatchewan In the U.K., the government has worked closely with mosques, temples and churches to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Suresh Tikoo, director of vaccinology and immunotherapeutics program at the University of Saskatchewan, says the same should be done in this province as it helps eliminate inequalities associated with language or technological barriers. "Vaccine access has to be equal to everyone," Tikoo said. "If [the government] can involve ethnic groups and their leaders and places of worship, it would really help to get the vaccination done properly, particularly in those groups." Volunteers welcome those with appointments to a vaccination centre at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury in North London, where they are aiming to give 1,300 vaccinations a day. Faith leaders in Saskatchewan would like to see similar centres set up here. The Ministry of Health says Panorama, the vaccine tracking system used by the majority of the provinces including Saskatchewan, does not gather information about race or ethnicity, so it's unknown if any groups are being left behind. Tikoo said racial and ethnic data is important to have, and will become useful for developing future vaccines for future pandemics. "The data will help to see whether there is any disparity between different ethnic groups," Tikoo said. "Secondly, it will help to determine if any particular age group or ethnicity or sex — if any of those groups have or have not responded to a particular vaccine. "If that data is available it can very quickly be analyzed and another vaccine can be given. If that data is not available, it will take a lot of time to figure out what is the reason that the vaccine is not working in one individual or individuals." The federal government does not have its own vaccine tracking system. With gaps in the data, religious leaders are taking it upon themselves to ensure access to the vaccine and information is equally distributed. WATCH | How the U.K. is handling vaccine hesitancy in racialized communities Faith leaders take on vaccine hesitancy Since the pandemic began, faith leaders have played a central role in addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and debunking misinformation. "In many cases, people trust more of their religious leaders than politicians," said Rabbi Claudio Jodorkovsky. Pastors in the Mennonite Church have been responsible for delivering information to communal living settings and those who live remotely, said Ryan Siemens, executive minister at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. COVID-19 news is often the topic in weekly sermons and a vaccine endorsement by a faith leader can lead to acceptance by the congregation. "There's a tremendous opportunity to disseminate information that is related to public health, related to vaccination and other things that are needed for the pandemic response," said Mateen Razi of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan. As new vaccines continue to be approved by Health Canada, faith leaders have taken on the role of debunking misinformation, and educating their congregation on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine. Others lean on their religious leaders to understand public health orders, or to feel comfortable asking questions. "People believe you when you speak their language, and many times people have questions they're unable to express. It'd be OK to speak in English, but you're not able to express at the same level," Singh said. Religious leaders also help congregations understand what's in the vaccine. For example, members of the Muslim and Orthodox Jewish communities might have concerns about it having any sort of connection to pigs or pork. "Health and the preservation of life goes first," said Jodorkovsky. "The opposition of vaccines can not be supported by religion." Setting up clinics in places of worship Some faith leaders feel they are being underutilized during the province's vaccine rollout. "I think there's a lot of missed opportunities," Jodorkovsky said. "We are totally left out of the most important things to educate." In December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a video conference with faith leaders that was geared specifically toward the vaccine rollout. But faith leaders say they haven't heard much else from the provincial or federal governments since. Saskatchewan will offer three types of clinics to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine: mass vaccination clinics, drive-thru clinics and mobile clinics. The province does have regular conversations with an interfaith group, but vaccine rollout has not been a main part of the conversation, Siemens said. "It has been very, very messy and not organized. We can be real partners with the government," Jodorkovsky said. In addition to the province opening up clinics across the province, faith leaders say places of worship could also be used to reach ethnic minorities and ensuring the vaccine is equally available to all. The Saskatchewan government says there will be additional clinics set up in community based-settings. "When the time comes, that would be good," Siemens said. "But I think all of us are sort of in the wait and see when delivery actually gets here."
Google is teaming up with two global insurers to cover cyber breaches and related risks for businesses that use its cloud services, the first time a major provider has opened up such insurance to its clients, the companies said on Tuesday. Major insurers have been treading carefully on cyber risks for years, but the tie-up between Google, Allianz and Munich Re gives the insurers special access to data to see what controls are in place at client firms to help them price the risk.
Qui de mieux placé qu’un adolescent pour supporter, sensibiliser et référer les autres adolescents aux prises avec des problématiques leur causant des souffrances? C’est ce qui a motivé la mise en place du projet Pairs aidants dans les écoles secondaires de la Haute-Côte-Nord. Initié par le Carrefour jeunesse-emploi de la Haute-Côte-Nord (CJE HCN), le projet vise à outiller les jeunes pour venir en aide à leurs camarades, soit en leur transmettant plus de connaissances sur certaines problématiques et sur les ressources disponibles à l’intérieur des murs de l’école ou à l’externe. « J’ai commencé par proposer l’idée à la direction de la polyvalente des Berges. Une fois que j’ai reçu la confirmation que le projet était accepté, un groupe de jeunes a été ciblé par la technicienne en travail social, Christine Savard », raconte l’initiatrice du projet, Florence Lessard, agente de projets jeunesse au CJE HCN. « Pour choisir les participants, j’ai ciblé des élèves ayant déjà un comportement leader, ceux qui parlent à tous les groupes, qui sont déjà une figure de confiance pour les autres. Je leur ai proposé de faire partie du projet et ils étaient emballés », explique Mme Savard. Pour Matisse Gauthier-Bossé, Rosalie Gravel et Rose Dufour, il n’était pas question de refuser. « J’aime aider les autres, alors je n’ai pas hésité une seconde à participer au projet », déclarent-ils. Laurence Gagné, Lorie Barrette, Émilie Gauthier et Daphney Villeneuve complètent le groupe de Pairs aidants. Une première rencontre s’est tenue en décembre, mais la COVID complique l’organisation d’ateliers. Comme l’affirme Florence Lessard, « on doit s’adapter et faire des activités en mode virtuel ». Par exemple, Mme Lessard et sa collègue Sarah Boulianne, qui s’est jointe au projet en janvier, ont offert des conférences sur l’intimidation et la santé mentale de façon virtuelle. « En ce qui concerne l’atelier sur les techniques d’écoute, donné par notre partenaire 12-18, nous n’avons pu le compléter puisqu’on ne peut pas être en présentiel », ajoute Mme Boulianne, aussi agente de projets jeunesse. Objectifs Pairs aidants est un projet de bénévolat qui comporte deux objectifs précis : outiller et sensibiliser les jeunes. Quelques actions ont déjà été posées pour ce qui est de la sensibilisation. « On a ouvert la page Facebook Pairs aidants sur laquelle est publiée du contenu de sensibilisation sur des sujets pointés par nos participants comme la cyberintimidation et la santé mentale. Par la suite, on pourra créer des affiches pour exposer à l’école ou autre idée qui ressortira pendant nos rencontres », soutient Florence Lessard, déclarant qu’un budget est alloué par le CJE HCN. Plusieurs problématiques touchant les adolescents veulent également être abordées par le groupe. « On aimerait parler de la toxicomanie tant pour la consommation de drogues que d’alcool ainsi que du consentement sexuel », fait savoir Rosalie Gravel. « Une des participantes nous a dévoilé qu’elle aurait aimé être sensibilisée sur la toxicomanie en secondaire 1, qu’elle aurait fait de meilleurs choix », poursuit la technicienne en travail social. Si la COVID est venue compliquer les plans du projet, elle s’avère toutefois un bon moment pour implanter une telle initiative. « Avec la pandémie, certains jeunes peuvent trouver l’isolement plus difficile. On est donc dans un bon temps pour sensibiliser les jeunes à écouter et aider leurs amis », estiment les agentes de projets jeunesse. Déploiement De son côté, Sarah Boulianne s’affaire à instaurer le projet à la polyvalente des Rivières. Les premiers balbutiements ont été réalisés, mais il reste à mettre en place un groupe de jeunes. Les premières actions devraient donc voir le jour en février ou mars. Partie prenante de Pairs aidants, le CJE HCN réalise majoritairement ses projets sur une base annuelle. Mais, il est possible que celui-ci soit renouvelé en septembre si les écoles sont toujours ouvertes à y prendre part. « C’est sûr qu’on aimerait que le projet perdure et qu’il se poursuive d’année en année », soutient Mme Lessard.Pour Christine Savard, cette vision est tout à fait réalisable puisque le premier groupe de jeunes de la polyvalente des Berges est composé d’étudiants de troisième et quatrième secondaire qui pourront perpétuer le projet lors des années futures. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
Marie-France Boudret, who works in a French home for the elderly, watched a patient suffocate to death in front of her because COVID-19 had infected his lungs. Around half of health workers in French care homes do not want to be vaccinated, according to the group of experts guiding the state's vaccine rollout - compared to only 20% of the residents who have not been inoculated. If significant numbers of care home workers do not get the jab, they could transmit the disease to residents who are not vaccinated and at high risk of serious illness, say advocates for the elderly.
British Columbia will delay giving people their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months in order to vaccinate more people sooner. While some say the decision is ‘risky,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry says data shows people have strong protection for several months after the initial dose.
Nova Scotia RCMP are worried about possible increased friction between rival motorcycle gangs with the opening of a new Outlaws Motorcycle Club prospective chapter in the Halifax region — an area the Hells Angels consider their territory. "The Hells Angels may see this expansion of the Outlaws as a competitive move and also disrespectful," said Det. Const. Jeff Temblett, an intelligence officer with the RCMP's criminal intelligence service. "It could lead to violence," he said. "Where they're in their backyard now there may be more opportunity for confrontation." The two motorcycle gangs have been enemies for years. Up until now the two groups have mostly been able to avoid each other, with the Outlaws set up in Cape Breton. That changed in February when the Outlaws opened a prospective chapter in Lake Echo, in the Halifax Regional Municipality. "With a new club starting up in Halifax, police believe the rivalry could escalate between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws. The Outlaws in Cape Breton remained generally out of sight to the Hells Angels," said Tremblett. The Outlaws Motorcycle Club has a one full patch chapter in Cape Breton and has opened an additional prospective chapter in the Lake Echo area of the Halifax Regional Municipality. The Hells Angels haven't had an official chapter in Nova Scotia since 2001, when their Halifax chapter was shut down by police. But their power base in the province has remained largely intact through their 10 support clubs. Support clubs are small groups that have aligned themselves with a larger, more powerful biker gang. These clubs copy the structure of the gang they've partnered with and follow the dominant club's orders. Support club members can be used to assist in criminal activities and protect the dominant club from prosecution, said Tremblett. The clubs also act as a recruiting ground for potential new members and help funnel money to the dominant club through the sale of merchandise like shirts and hats emblazoned with the gang's logos. In Nova Scotia, the Red Devils and several other groups are support clubs for the Hells Angels, while the Black Pistons support the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The Red Devils are the top support club for the Hells Angels. It's not clear why the Outlaws have chosen to expand into Halifax where the Red Devils are situated. "Right now it's unclear if the expansion is to gain more control over the illicit drug trade in Nova Scotia," said Tremblett. Generally, each gang wants better control of Nova Scotia's ports to more easily move illegal drugs like cocaine, meth and illegal marijuana. They also want to establish networks to move drugs from province to province. The Hells Angels and the Outlaws have been rivals across North America for years, and have even faced off in Nova Scotia before, but so far haven't come to blows. A member of the Hells Angels waves towards photographers as he enters the Hells Angels Nomads compound during the group's Canada Run event in Carlsbad Springs, Ont., near Ottawa, on Saturday, July 23, 2016. In 2019, things became tense between the two groups at a motorcycle show at Halifax's Exhibition Park. Hells Angels supporters and members of the Black Pistons had heated words when they came across each other. It was much the same in 2018, at the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, N.S., when the groups got into a fiery verbal exchange on the community's main street. There are 14 active outlaw motorcycle gangs in Nova Scotia right now, according to Tremblett: • Outlaws MC - Cape Breton • Outlaws MC - Halifax • Black Pistons MC - Cape Breton (Outlaws Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Cape Breton (Hells Angels Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Antigonish County (Hells Angels Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Pictou County (Hells Angels Support Club) • Katt Sass MC - New Glasgow (Hells Angels Support Club) • Red Devils MC - Halifax (Hells Angels Support Club) • Darksiders MC - Dartmouth (Hells Angels Support Club) • Sedition MC - Fall River (Hells Angels Support Club) • Sedition MC - Yarmouth (Hells Angels Support Club) • Bacchus MC - Sambro • Niners MC - McGraths Cove (Hells Angels Support Club) • 103 Riders - South Shore (Hells Angels Support Club) Tremblett said it's very difficult to shut these clubs down. "Police need to prove there are laws being broken within the clubhouse. There's lease agreements, rights of the persons inside, so for the police it's not an easy task to simply go in there and shut it down." The Cape Breton Regional Police seized $120,000 worth of drugs, $12,000 worth of cash and several Black Pistons vests after searching two homes and a clubhouse in Glace Bay in 2020. Oftentimes, police will need to partner with municipal agencies to determine if clubs are abiding by a community's bylaws, and if they're not, then the clubs can be closed down, said Tremblett. He said people need to remember that most motorcycle riding clubs are made up of law-abiding citizens, and only about one per cent of clubs are actually outlaw motorcycle gangs. Clubhouses run by gangs are usually easy to spot because they have lots of video surveillance, they often have painted windows, and usually sport the gang's logo. A Hells Angels clubhouse in Rosser, Man., a rural community that's part of the Winnipeg Metro Region. Anyone with concerns about outlaw motorcycle gangs in their area can contact their local police, municipal or city councilors, and the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods group for advice, said Tremblett. "Don't believe the narrative that often goes around that ... your outlaw motorcycle gangs are just good old boys that like to hang out and party and do good for the community. That's not the case," said Tremblett. "They want the public to see them as community-spirited men, and they want people involved in organized crime to fear them." MORE TOP STORIES
A woman puts a red sign with words Closed Due To COVID-19 onto a glass door. It's been a difficult year for small businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the sudden move back to the lockdown provisions of Alert Level 5 hasn't made things any easier. For businesses that started during or just before the COVID-19 pandemic, rolling with the punches has been routine. However, the punches have been coming again, and some businesses say they'll need more than light at the end of the tunnel. Even businesses off the Avalon are still feeling the prolonged pinch, despite the move there back to Alert Level 4. Robyn Pearce, owner of Intervals Music Studio in St. John's, said the greatest difficulty has been reverting to an entirely online model in an industry so reliant on face-to-face instruction. "The hardest part is the fact that we really pour our heart and soul into everything that we're doing, and then just to know that purely because the vehicle doesn't work for everybody, the way that we're offering it — it's hard to see that it's just not enough for some people," she said. There have been other setbacks, too. Just before the lockdown began, her wallet was stolen from her office. Later, her studio was later broken into. Pearce said that while it's been encouraging to see some benefits to online learning, with some students opening up more in the comfort of their own homes, she said overall it's an exhausting process. "There's a completely different energy that you have to have when you're in front of a screen versus being in person with the classes," she said. As a small business owner and operator, Pearce hopes that after the election the government will try to focus on addressing businesses and their individual needs, rather than implementing broad programs. One area to address, Pearce said, is the high cost of rent. "I actually discovered a couple of years ago when I made the move to a commercial space that my rent was higher than somebody in California, which was a big shocker," she said. "The rent incentive program that [government] had was no good for someone like me," said Pearce, who noted that in order to qualify she would have had to have lost 75 per cent of her business outright. "So I'd love to have more support in that area, where someone can look at my business model and look at what I have and go from there, because a lot of the support I just didn't qualify for." Changing gears to get by Mark Murphy, co-owner of the Postmaster's House B&B in downtown St. John's, said while government programs have been designed to help businesses stay afloat, those that began during the pandemic are falling through the cracks. His business incorporated just before the first local cases began to appear in March 2020. "We bought the property in February, and coming into the pandemic there was support for mortgage deferral, but having a new mortgage, we weren't eligible for it," he said. As well, his business wasn't eligible for many of the programs rolled out to provide some pandemic relief. "All these one-size-fits-all support programs, we weren't eligible for a lot of those either," he said. "So businesses like ours, and like Intervals, are just feeling like we're falling through the cracks." With the notable downturn of the tourism industry, Murphy pivoted his business from a B&B to include baking, and while he said the community response has been great, it's only barely keeping them afloat. Murphy wants to see the government take initiative in supporting the province's newest businesses and their specific needs over the kind of support they're currently providing. "That is not working for the businesses that started right before and during the pandemic," Murphy said. "While I realize it might take more resources in the government, taking a look at each individual business model would help." Rest of the island down to level 4, bars and restaurants still closed While businesses continue to struggle across the province, the shift back into level 4 is a welcome change for those beyond the Avalon, according to Sheldon Handcock of the Gander Area Chamber of Commerce. Last week, the Gander-based organization, which represents 300 businesses in the area, posted a letter to Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, publicly asking for regions outside the Northeast Avalon to be moved into Alert Level 3. Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Sheldon Handcock, seen here during a Zoom interview with CBC, says he hopes Dr. Janice Fitzgerald takes a regional approach to reopening businesses. While the drop down to level 4 will see the continued closure of bars and restaurants, Handcock said that many seem to be acclimating to the process. "It has to be public health first, and the economy obviously is second," said Handcock. "Restaurants can still do their takeout orders, and I think that they've gotten quite a bit better from the last lockdown at being able to do curbside orders and that type of thing." While they're committed to following all directives from public health, for many local businesses, Handcock said, economic disaster is growing closer as funds begin to dwindle. "We've heard from quite a few businesses that it is pretty close," said Handcock. "We did have quite a few businesses that had said to us that if this continues on long, we can't keep our doors open." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — George Weston Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago as it was hit by one-time charges. The company, which operates through Loblaw, Choice Properties and Weston Foods, says it earned a profit available to common shareholders of $289 million or $1.88 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The result was down from a profit of $433 million or $2.81 per diluted share a year earlier. However, on an adjusted basis, George Weston says it earned $2.03 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.69 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2019. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020, which included 13 weeks, totalled $13.81 billion, up from $12.11 billion a year earlier when George Weston's fourth quarter only had 12 weeks. Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.89 per share and $14.06 billion in revenue, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:WN, TSX:L, TSX:CHP.UN) The Canadian Press
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 2 ... What we are watching in Canada ... VANCOUVER — Experts say a national vaccine panel's recommendation against administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to seniors could be good news for essential workers and younger populations, but it has to be promoted that way. Caroline Colijn, a COVID-19 modeller and mathematician at Simon Fraser University, and Horacio Bach, an adjunct professor in the division of infectious diseases in the faculty of medicine at the University of British Columbia, say it's up to provincial officials to advertise it as a valuable resource. Oxford-AstraZeneca has reported the vaccine is 62 per cent effective against preventing infection while Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have reported those vaccines have 95 per cent efficacy. Colijn and Bach say people seem to be fixated on the different numbers, but what really needs to be underscored is that Oxford-AstraZeneca has prevented serious illness leading to hospitalization and there haven't been any deaths. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with most of it coming from the United States between April and September. British Columbia's provincial health officer, Doctor Bonnie Henry, says the vaccine may be offered to essential workers and they'll have limited choice in waiting for the other two vaccines, but should take whatever they're offered first. --- Also this ... OTTAWA — A new poll suggests a majority of Canadians believe Ottawa will follow through on its plan to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for everyone who wants a shot by the fall. An online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies says 56 per cent of respondents are confident the federal government can buy enough vaccine to ensure inoculation for those who seek it by September. Canadians on both coasts and in Quebec were optimistic about their provinces' rollout plans as well as that of the feds. People in Ontario and the Prairie provinces were more skeptical, with just one in three Albertans expressing faith in their government's delivery scheme. Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the ramp-up in vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Moderna last week likely brightened Canadians' views of federal distribution efforts. The Public Health Agency of Canada is expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — The White House is making it abundantly clear it has no plans to share America's COVID-19 vaccines with Canada or Mexico. Press secretary Jen Psaki has been indicating for weeks that the Biden administration would not allow the export of doses manufactured in the U.S. any time soon. She says President Joe Biden is focused first on making sure the vaccine is available to every American. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was expected to ask Biden directly for doses when the two meet virtually Monday evening. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly stopped short of making a similar request in his virtual meetings with Biden last week. "No," Psaki said Monday when asked whether the U.S. would be willing to share its supply of vaccine doses. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are available to every American. That is our focus." Psaki hinted last week that the White House position could change later this year once more Americans are vaccinated and the doses are no longer in such short supply. Johnson and Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine began shipping out Monday after it received emergency authorization over the weekend from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That now makes three vaccines that are available in the U.S., along with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health Canada has yet to approve the Johnson and Johnson shot, but gave the green light last week to a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... YANGON, Myanmar — Demonstrators in Myanmar took to the streets again today to protest last month’s seizure of power by the military, as foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries prepared to meet to discuss the political crisis. Police in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, used tear gas against the protesters. The planned special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comes in the wake of worsening violence in Myanmar. The country’s new military rulers over the weekend escalated their use of deadly force and mass arrests to try to quash protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The UN said it believed at least 18 people in several cities were killed on Sunday when security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrating crowds. Funerals were being held today for several of the victims. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule, coming the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. --- On this day in 1964 ... The House of Commons approved a bill changing the name of Trans-Canada Air Lines to Air Canada. The law, proposed by then Liberal MP Jean Chretien, took effect the following Jan. 1. --- In entertainment ... The show must go on at the Stratford Festival, but this summer it will be happening outdoors. Organizers say they have made tentative plans for "about a dozen" live productions held in-person at the renowned southwestern Ontario festival between late June and the end of September. The plays and cabarets will take place beneath two canopies, one at the Festival Theatre and the other at the new Tom Patterson Theatre. The idea was inspired by the original tent where the Stratford Festival first performed in the early 1950s. Under the outdoors model, the festival's organizers expect to seat up to 100 people in "socially distanced pods," double the usual number of audience members who could be seated at the indoor theatre. The full slate of plays and cabarets will be announced in the spring. The plan will keep the Stratford Festival in operation throughout this summer after COVID-19 forced the entire 2020 season to be cancelled, leading the organization to dip into its endowment and secure a line of credit to stay afloat. Stratford Festival's executive director Anita Gaffney says this summer's schedule is designed so that it can be modified to either shrink or grow in size, depending on provincial and community health guidelines. She added that it's "only through significant and thorough advance planning that we can put in place the safety measures that will be essential for any eventuality." Performances will be streamed online for those who cannot attend in-person shows. --- ICYMI ... CALGARY — It's been bananas at the Leftovers Foundation as the Calgary not-for-profit tries to find a use for thousands of bunches of the long, yellow fruit, which were donated all at once last week. Interim CEO Audra Stevenson said a call came in last Friday from produce distributor Fresh Direct and it had more than seven pallets of bananas with nowhere to go. That amounted to 346 cases, each with about 10 bunches in them. "Our bread and butter is rescuing food that doesn't have a home and getting it into the hands of people who need it," Stevenson said Monday. She said the priority is to get as many of the fresh bananas as possible to organizations that serve people in need, such as homeless shelters. As of Monday morning, there were about 150 cases left and a lineup of service agencies waiting to pick some up. But by Tuesday, Stevenson said, it's likely there will be a pallet left of bananas that are past their prime, like ones that start to turn brown on your kitchen counter. "You wouldn't give one to your kid, but you would make it into banana bread." The Leftovers Foundation also has a program that brings large quantities of rescued produce to local food artisans that can upcycle it into tasty treats. The groups' website says that in the past, Made by Marcus has made ice cream from bananas it procured through the program. This time, Stevenson said Hoopla Donuts and restaurant Donna Mac are on standby to grab whatever is left once the service agencies get their fill. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published xxx. x, 20xx The Canadian Press
About 1,200 NB Power customers are without electricity and some roads are impassable as strong wind gusts continue Tuesday night. The largest outages are in central York and Sunbury counties, with 541 customers in the dark around 9:50 p.m. AT Tuesday, according to NB Power's online outages list. The Crown utility didn't have an estimated restoration time for about half of those outages, with roughly 200 estimated to have their power back on by 12:30 a.m. Wednesday at the latest. Meanwhile, roughly 303 outages were reported in the Acadian Peninsula, 221 in the Carleton County area, and 100 in the Charlotte County southwest area. Restoration times for those outages ranged from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday. There were around 40 customers without power in other areas of the province. More than 4,000 customers were without power earlier Tuesday evening. Snow-covered roads The Department of Transportation is reporting several roads are either impassable or only open to emergency and service vehicles, primarily in the northern part of the province. Highway 11 between Six Roads and Tabusintac on the Acadian Peninsula is closed to general traffic, along with Highway 113 from Baie de Shippagan to the Miscou Channel, and the Trans-Canada Highway from Grand Falls to Saint-Leonard. The province says there is drifting snow, poor visibility and icy patches throughout those areas. Highway 11 from Janeville to Bertrand is closed. Most of the Trans-Canada Highway is marked as partly covered in snow and ice, with travel not recommended. Other roads north of Fredericton and Moncton are either fully or partly covered in snow and ice with travel not recommended, while roads south of Fredericton are bare. The outages and road closures come as Environment Canada issued wind warnings for the Acadian Peninsula, Bathurst and Chaleur region, Campbellton and Restigouche County, warning that wind gusts could reach 90 km/h in those regions. Wind gusts are expected to last throughout the day and end by Wednesday morning. "These very strong winds will cause extensive blowing snow, especially over exposed areas, and a blowing snow advisory is now in effect for these regions as well," Environment Canada said in a statement. "High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break."
BOSTON — Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author's legacy said Tuesday. “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families," it said. The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP. “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalogue of titles," it said. Books by Dr. Seuss — who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 —- have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991. He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson. As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations. The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children. School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumours last month that they were banning the books entirely. “Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement. In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized a gift of 10 Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.” In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype. “The Cat in the Hat," one of Seuss' most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio." Numerous other popular children’s series have been criticized in recent years for alleged racism. In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?,” the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilize” his fellow animals. One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. Critics also have faulted the “Curious George” books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa. And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s portrayals of Native Americans in her “Little House On the Prairie” novels have been faulted so often that the American Library Association removed her name in 2018 from a lifetime achievement award it gives out each year. ___ AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed from New York. Mark Pratt, The Associated Press
India is ready to offer incentives to ensure Tesla Inc's cost of production would be less than in China if the carmaker commits to making its electric vehicles in the south Asian country, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters. Gadkari's pitch comes weeks after billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla registered a company in India in a step towards entering the country, possibly as soon as mid-2021.