How can you be better prepared for winter power outages? Kim MacDonald has the story.
How can you be better prepared for winter power outages? Kim MacDonald has the story.
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
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.
The death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken last week set off a searing wave of grief across the province. But it has also triggered a reckoning, with mental health experts taking a hard look at a worsening mental health crisis and legal experts saying her death was at least partly brought on by years of government underfunding. Lexi, a Grade 10 student who had previously attempted suicide, was taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 18, by a school guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. After she was told by a nurse that calling a psychiatrist would take another two hours, Lexi said later, she left the hospital with a referral for followup. Her mother said no one ever contacted the family. Less than a week later, Lexi died by suicide. In an interview with Information Morning Fredericton on Monday, the executive director at the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick was overcome with emotion while discussing Lexi's death. Christa Baldwin, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick, said Lexi's death was shattering. "I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I have in the past week." 'This has to be the piece that moves us forward' Christa Baldwin noted that last week had started off with the promise of change, with a new mental health action plan, unveiled by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, "that would allow us to move forward." "But then later in the week, hearing the news about Lexi — it broke our hearts, to be honest. … I don't think I've ever cried as much as I have in the past week." But Lexi's death has also been a turning point, Baldwin said. She noted that Lexi's father, Chris Daken, said in an interview last week that "Lexi's death cannot be in vain." "This has to be a piece that moves us forward .... we can't have this happening to our youth in our province, we can't have this happening to anyone in our province." Baldwin said that resonated with her. "It feels like we have entered a new chapter in this province, building a service that is client-focused, client-centred," she said. "It has ignited a fire within me and within the CMHA to advocate and use our voice to make change happen. We need something to happen for Lexi's family … and for so many other individuals who have died by suicide in this province." The new mental health action plan has put some plans and pilot projects in place, Baldwin said. Those are positive steps, but more needs to be done, she said, noting barriers to service need to be removed and attitudes toward mental health issues need to change. "I think what bothered me most is after eight hours to ask about whether to call a professional to come in to asses Lexi further — if you went in with a broken leg, you would not be asked if someone should be called in to cast your leg," Baldwin said. "We need mental health parity. Mental health is a human right equal to physical health." In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr, above, and UNB law professor Kerri Froc say Lexi's death is a violation of her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A violation of Lexi's charter rights, lawyers say It's a point some legal experts are also making. In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr and University of New Brunswick law professor Kerri Froc said Lexi's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated. "Under Section 7 of the charter, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,' " Carr and Froc wrote in the op-ed. "Because successive provincial governments have wilfully under-resourced this sector of health care, leading to delays in access to mental health services anchored in the Mental Health Act, violations of New Brunswickers' rights to personal security, and ultimately to life, results. "While it is true that the direct cause of these deaths and injury is self-harm, the Supreme Court of Canada has said that government is responsible for actions that enhance the risk of these violations." Carr and Froc argued that "New Brunswick has a duty to ensure that they can talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist at their and their family's time of greatest need." In an email Monday, Horizon noted it does provide around-the-clock psychiatric services. "Horizon provides emergency psychiatric services 24 hours per day, seven days a week at our regional hospitals," Dr. Edouard Hendriks, vice-president of medical, academic and research affairs at Horizon. "Medical psychiatry staff are available for consultation as required, in collaboration with the on-site care team." Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered. Horizon did not immediately answer questions about whether it is tracking how often an on-call psychiatrist is called to come in to see a patient, or how often they decline or are unable to do so. It also did not answer questions about why Lexi was told she would face a two-hour wait for a psychiatrist, citing "confidentiality reasons." Pandemic taking deepening toll on mental health Meanwhile, the pandemic's toll on the mental health of almost every demographic in the province continues to deepen, Baldwin said. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Canadian Mental Health Association worked with more than 86,000 New Brunswickers, she said. "In the first three-quarters of this fiscal year, we were already at over 117,000 New Brunswickers. … Organizations are feeling that, hospitals are feeling that, Horizon and Vitalité are feeling that. We need to recognize what's happening here in terms of demand for service." Carefully developing programs and reaching out to certain demographics to make sure people are not falling through the cracks are more crucial now than ever, she said. But so is talking "openly" with people when you see they are struggling, even if it feels uncomfortable. "Asking someone if they're suicidal, having suicidal thoughts ... actually saying those words can help," Baldwin said. "We need to have these conversations, we can't sweep it under the rug. Not talking about mental health openly has done us no favours." If you need help: CHIMO hotline: 1-800-667-5005 / http://www.chimohelpline.ca Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566.
Ground will likely be broken later this month on a new $7.2-million greenhouse facility for the city's parks department. It will be built on the site of a current baseball diamond in Jackson Park at McDougall Street and and Memorial Drive, just south of Windsor Stadium. It will replace the aging greenhouses at Lanspeary Park, some of which are 100 years old. The new 22,000-square-foot greenhouse will be twice the size of the old facility. It will allow the city to grow plants for hanging baskets, which it currently has to buy from outside sources. It will also be one large greenhouse with more room for the tropical plants that have to be housed over the winter. "Many of the plants can't be replaced. These aren't the type of things you can go to your local garden centre in the spring and simply purchase. They're expensive. They're exotic, " said James Chacko, senior manager of parks. James Chacko, senior manager of parks for the City of Windsor. The new facility will be more energy efficient and could be used for school programs, horticultural workshops, a place to grow food for food banks and a winter garden open to the public. Chacko says neighbours need not fear light pollution such as the type being experienced from the greenhouses in Leamington and Kingsville. "The plants go to sleep over the night, just like you and I do, so that there won't be any light disturbance or light pollution," said Chacko, explaining there are no ongoing operations in the night time. The city will hear from the Lanspeary Park neighbourhood about how to utilize the three acres where the old greenhouses sit, but care will be taken to incorporate one greenhouse which originally came from Willistead. The 100 year-old building is on the city's heritage registry. The current greenhouse facility at Lanspeary Park is around 100 years old, inefficient and too small. Most will be torn down and the greenspace will be incorporated into Lanspeary Park. "That may involve it remaining in place as it is, may involve moving it slightly within the footprint of this property," said Chacko. "So certainly we're not in a rush to knock down anything that is heritage designated or we will go through all the proper channels and do our best to ensure that it can be incorporated into the new Lanspeary Park " The new greenhouse is expected to be finished by the end of the spring next year. The city will also try to rework some baseball diamonds at Mic Mac Park to accommodate fast ball as a replacement for the ball diamond that will be lost in Jackson Park.
Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday, pulled down by Apple and Tesla, while materials stocks climbed as investors waited for the U.S. Congress to approve another stimulus package. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.3 billion shares, compared with the 14.9 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Nova Scotia's film and TV industry is expecting the 2021 production season to be the busiest in years. While the pandemic has disrupted Hollywood's production pipeline, locales like Nova Scotia that have managed to control the infection rate and continue to produce film and television are appealing. Interest from American streaming companies and broadcasters increased by an estimated 100 per cent in 2020, according to Screen Nova Scotia. "I'd say probably between August and December of 2020, I was on the phone all day long with studios that were wondering what was happening in Nova Scotia," said executive director Laura Mackenzie. She wouldn't disclose which companies inquired about shooting in the province, but said she's heard from all the large U.S. streaming services. Predictable shooting schedule The Stephen King adaptation Chapelwaite, starring Adrian Brody and Emily Hampshire, shot last summer in Halifax, Dartmouth and Cole Harbour, while the new CBC series, Feudal, filmed on the South Shore. Local independent producer Marc Tetreault said it's the predictability of shooting in Nova Scotia during the pandemic that's put the province on the radar of American studios. "If you think about shooting in L.A. or Toronto or New York right now, you don't have any predictability or certainty," he said. "Film is like a really slow-moving train, and once it gets going, it's really hard to stop. And when it does stop, it costs a lot of money to get it going again." Local independent producer Marc Tetreault says quarantine costs are 'a drop in the bucket on a larger show.' He said even halting production for a day, let alone weeks, can be very costly. Tetreault said bigger shows can manage the costs associated with the pandemic, including the two-week quarantine in Nova Scotia, because those costs are quantifiable. "If you're in Nova Scotia, you should be reasonably confident that you should be able to complete your production without a major shutdown or hiccup, and I think that's really attractive to a lot of out-of-town producers," he said. The costs related to the province's quarantine rules are "a drop in the bucket on a larger show," Tetreault added. "What I think it comes down to is convincing the people who are quarantining that they're going to quarantine for two weeks — less so, you know, paying the 200 bucks a night for a hotel," he said. Is N.S. prepared to support productions? The challenge will be providing the infrastructure and support to visiting productions. In 2015, the Stephen McNeil government axed the provincial film tax credit, a 50 to 65 per cent fully refundable corporate income tax credit offered to productions hiring Nova Scotia film personnel. It was eventually replaced with the Production Incentive Fund, which offers a refund to foreign service production of 25 per cent and 26 per cent for local content. It also offers a refund of up to 32 per cent in an all-spend model on any money spent in the province for labour, accommodations and locations. Laura MacKenzie is the executive director of Screen Nova Scotia. That helped make Nova Scotia competitive with other provinces, but the film business still isn't as robust as it was in the tax credit era. "We've had amazing momentum in building our industry here over the past five years," said Mackenzie. "But we did lose quite a few crew members in 2015 when the tax credit was changed. "And so that, alongside with the loss of some production studio spaces, it's put us at a disadvantage because we can't possibly supply the demand." That's why she's putting a call out to any Nova Scotian working elsewhere. "Time to come home. We need you here," she said. Mackenzie also said finding studio space so that out-of-town productions can shoot interior scenes is as much of a challenge this year as finding skilled crew. She's looking for anyone who has comparable warehouse space. Diggstown creator struggling to cast show While it's a challenge to build up enough skilled crew for shows that may be coming to the province, it could also provide opportunity for film workers who are traditionally under-represented on film and TV sets and in front of the camera. Diggstown, a CBC legal drama shot in Dartmouth and Halifax, has also benefited from the American production slowdown — the first two seasons were recently bought by the Fox Network in the U.S. With the third season set to go to camera in April, producer and creator Floyd Kane said he's struggling to cast his show. Floyd Kane is the writer, executive producer and showrunner of Diggstown. Diggstown tells stories from Nova Scotia's Black communities, and Kane said it feels like he's seen and chosen almost every local actor of colour in the province. Now, he has to fly in racialized cast from Toronto or elsewhere, which, for a low-budget TV series, is very expensive. "I came up in the industry in Nova Scotia where I would be the only Black person or person of colour in the room," Kane told CBC Radio's Mainstreet recently. "I want to have more Black people, more people of colour working in our industry. I want to encourage that. The acting piece of this is a huge challenge. Frankly, we've done a very poor job of developing the talent pool [for people of colour] and retaining that pool by there being opportunities to work." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA, the actor's union. He said his organization is very aware of that need. "We are looking at ways to go into those communities and let people know what the opportunities are," said Hadley. "And that is a specific area of our membership that we really want to encourage to grow, absolutely." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA. Mackenzie from Screen Nova Scotia said it's also one of her organization's top priorities to increase diversity behind the camera. The organization has formed a diversity outreach committee to work on a strategy to come up with long-term fixes. While the industry has proven that the health and safety protocols are a draw for service production — shows that come from elsewhere to shoot here — they do still pose a challenge for lower-budgeted local shows, as Kane is finding with Diggstown. 'You will be hired on something' Tetreault said he fully supports the health protocols that are in place to keep Nova Scotians safe, "but they definitely are a hindrance to the local, usually lower budget, independent films." He said paying for supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and for the extra set space to allow for physical distancing, can also stretch a local production's limited budget. That said, Tetreault is still planning to make a feature film this year — and he's looking for a crew. "Now's the time," said Tetreault. "Call the unions, get the referral. Figure out what it is you're interested in and you will be hired on something." MORE TOP STORIES
BIELEFELD, Germany — Relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld hired Frank Kramer as coach on Tuesday, a day after firing Uwe Neuhaus. Kramer has only limited experience in the Bundesliga after a two-game spell as interim coach at Hoffenheim in 2012 and relegation with Greuther Fürth a year later. In more recent years, he coached age-group German national teams up to the under-20 level and coached Austrian champion Salzburg's youth team. Bielefeld, which was promoted last year, is in third-to-last place in the 18-team league. Hertha Berlin is just ahead on goal difference, and improving Mainz is only one point behind in a direct relegation place. Bielefeld still has a game in hand, however. Its next game is against Union Berlin on Sunday. Bielefeld earned only one point from its last five games — a 3-3 draw at Bayern Munich — and the 3-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday was the fifth in a row in which the team conceded at least three goals. The 61-year-old Neuhaus was immensely popular with Bielefeld’s fans after leading the team to a surprise promotion following 11 years out of the Bundesliga. He had been in charge of the club since December 2018. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Islanders eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can now book appointments online through Skip the Waiting Room. The P.E.I.-based company said it has secured a contract with the province to help provide more efficient access during the pandemic. "We saw reports of people waiting in a car for 8 hours to get testing done," said CEO and co-founder Mark Richardson. "COVID seemed like a great fit for me, so I started rattling the chains that I could rattle and said: 'As an Islander and a business, we'd love to help out with this.'" The company was born five years ago after Richardson found himself sitting in the waiting room at a walk-in clinic — for four and a half hours. "I thought to myself: 'There's got to be a better way to do this.'" 'I had seen some of the frustration and seen some of the lineups at the testing centres,' says Mark Richardson, the CEO and co-founder of Skip the Waiting Room. From there, the online site and app were created, giving others the option of pre-booking appointments to reduce time spent lingering in clinics. So far, Richardson said around 60,000 people have used the service for walk-in care on the Island. "I think every Canadian understands the frustration and wasted time of sitting in a waiting room or trying to get through a phone line." Now, in addition to becoming available to other provinces, Richardson said the company has expanded on P.E.I. to areas like internal medicine, MRI appointments and mammography appointments. Meeting an urgent timeline For those looking to book online before heading into a walk-in clinic, there is a fee of $5. But because of the terms of his contract with the P.E.I government, Richardson says it's free to schedule provincial services such as COVID-19 vaccines. I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population. - Mark Richardson, Skip the Waiting Room A statement from Health P.E.I said it entered into a short-term agreement with Skip the Waiting Room after it was identified as the only option available to "meet the urgent timelines to launch an online scheduling system to support COVID vaccine delivery." According to the statement, all safeguards outlined under the P.E.I Health Information Act are being maintained. "We had to jump through a lot of privacy hoops and some threat-risk assessments and all those things," said Richardson. "It was an extensive process but I'm glad to be on the other side of it." 'Going to do our best' Richardson said he doesn't know the exact number of people who have used the company to book vaccines so far — but he said he does expect it to increase. "I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population," he said. "I know people will be very eager to get their vaccine, as I am." For now, Richardson said, the company is spending time making improvements so that when Islanders do reach out to book virtually, Skip the Waiting Room is ready. "We might be able to book, you know, thousands of people a day, 24/7," he said. "We're working our best to make sure that there will be no hiccups. "No promises, but we're certainly going to do our best." More from CBC P.E.I.
All of Newfoundland and most of southern Labrador is under some kind of weather warning Tuesday, as transit, government offices and municipal services are closed or delayed opening due to the stormy conditions. "It's on your doorstep right now," said Environment Canada meteorologist Wanda Batten on Tuesday morning. The storm began overnight Tuesday in the island's southwest, with heavy bands of snow moving into the Gander and St. John's areas through the morning. The storm has prompted many delays and cancellations. The province closed some sections of the Trans-Canada Highway on the west coast, and asked drivers to avoid travelling if possible. Witless Bay Line was closed due to poor weather conditions, with RCMP asking motorists to avoid the highway between Witless Bay and Butter Pot Park due to whiteout conditions. In St. John's, Metrobus announced it would be suspending transit services as of 10 a.m. due to the weather. They City of St. John's also pushed garbage collection scheduled for Tuesday to Wednesday, with other municipalities in the metro region following suit. Provincial government offices in parts of the province closed for the morning, as did courts in St. John's. The College of the North Atlantic closed some of its campuses for the morning, while the Newfoundland and Labrador English School district said some virtual classes may be disrupted. The weather cancelled flights at airports in the province, with Marine Atlantic also cancelling its crossings for the day. Newfoundland Power reported outages in the Bay St. George South and St. George's areas due to severe weather conditions. "It's going to be quite blustery there for a few hours," Batten said. "I expect this to come in, and it's going to deteriorate really quickly, and then it's going to improve quickly as well," she said, forecasting the worst is to come in the morning and early afternoon, before the snow lets up and the winds drop later Tuesday. On the west coast, between five and 15 centimetres of snow is on the way, but up to 25 centimetres could fall in some higher-elevation areas, along with wind gusts between 80 and 120 km/h into Tuesday afternoon. For St. John's, the northern Avalon, and the Bonavista Peninsula, strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h are expected to combine with about 15 centimetres of snowfall starting Tuesday morning. Environment Canada said "visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow." It's a similar story on the southern Avalon, Connaigre and Burin peninsulas, where 10 to 15 centimetres of snow is expected — though it may change to a brief period of rain later this morning, before turning back to flurries this afternoon. In southern Labrador, the area from Norman Bay through to Red Bay and L'Anse-au-Clair could get up to 45 centimetres of snow, and conditions on the Trans-Labrador Highway are expected to be rough. 'Nasty conditions' for drivers Early Tuesday morning the RCMP had responded to a few calls of stranded drivers on west coast roads, and Const. Matthew Christie said he expected conditions to get dicey in eastern Newfoundland later in the morning — especially on the Trans-Canada Highway between Butter Pot Park and Witless Bay Line. "Those areas, we've seen in the past, when the snow kicks up and the wind combines with it, it makes for nasty conditions," he said. "So I would expect those areas to deteriorate quite quickly as people make their way toward the city." Road conditions are expected to get rough around eastern portions of the island mid-Tuesday morning. If they have to be out, Christie said drivers should take it slow. "Mostly what we see is just people failing to adjust their driving to the road conditions," he said. "Those posted speed limits — whatever the posted speed limit is for the area that you're travelling in — that's meant for ideal conditions. So if you have the snow, and you have the wind that's with it, and you have the slippery surface on the roadway, that speed limit is not something that you should be travelling." Cold weather coming Once the system moves out, said Batten, there should be consistent flurries and strong winds over the next few days. "We're in for pretty blustery weather in behind this," she said. "It actually could get quite nasty along the west coast and Northern Peninsula Wednesday into Thursday." Batten said it will also get colder, with temperatures dropping to minus double digits in western and central areas of Newfoundland. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
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.
Critics of the gambling industry say they're concerned about a recent move toward online gambling, especially in light of the Halifax casino's uncertain future. Elizabeth Stephen, a counselling therapist who works with people with gambling addictions, said news that the Nova Scotia government has cleared the way for online casino-style gambling is "pretty significant." "What's behind that?" said Stephen. "Is it because the physical casino is in such decline and perhaps is even going to close down? Is it to replace that revenue? The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, the Crown corporation that oversees the gaming business, released documents to CBC News showing the Halifax casino has struggled with declining and unsustainable revenues for approximately 15 years — even before the arrival of COVID-19. The documents raise the possibility of moving the casino away from its waterfront location, but the corporation said those decisions are on hold during the pandemic. Stephen is an addictions counsellor in Halifax with a private practice. "My sense is that the government is looking for alternative revenue streams, hence the talk about the online casino," said Bruce Dienes, chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit that aims to reduce gambling harms. "The problem with that, of course, is if you want to go to a brick-and-mortar casino, you have to actually go to a brick-and-mortar casino. You have to really intentionally do that, you have to be there for a certain piece of time. "Online, if you've got a phone or if you've got any internet connection, 24/7 you're at risk of being impacted negatively by that casino." 'Two very different offerings' Bob MacKinnon, the gaming corporation's CEO, said there are similarities in the gambling that takes place in a physical casino and online. "I think it is possible that some of the casino business that we would have had at the Halifax casino has gone online. There's no way for us to know an exact number," he said. "But I'll also add that generally over the longer term, we would think of them as two very different offerings: that some people like to go online, and many people like to go for a broader entertainment experience where there's music, there's food, there's shows going on, in addition to the gaming offerings." Stephen said the people she treats in her practice often start gambling in a physical casino, but later move to other venues, such as bars with video lottery terminals. The majority of gambling addicts Stephen counsels became addicted to machines like VLTs. "I think [casinos] are the foundation in some places for the start of gambling, and the kind of glamour of gambling and the excitement of gambling," she said. Stephen said most people who come to her with gambling addictions have become addicted to VLTs, although a few have been addicted to table games such as poker or blackjack. "They get to the point where they're spending way too much time there and more money than they can afford to lose. And so often their first step is to exclude themselves from the casino. Often, though, they don't do that until they maybe have reached bankruptcy," she said. Falling revenues The Halifax casino hit peak revenue of about $75 million in 2006-07, which fell to about $54 million in 2014-15 — a drop of about 30 per cent that MacKinnon said was not sustainable. Visitation during the pandemic is down 90 per cent, and MacKinnon said it's believed the Halifax casino will make about $9 million this year. The Sydney casino failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the 2 years leading up to the pandemic, which closed its doors altogether for about eight months. The casino in Sydney, N.S., failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the two years leading up to the pandemic. In 2018-19, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation hoped the Cape Breton casino would have revenue of $22.1 million from at least 410,000 visitors. Instead, it brought in $19.5 million from 372,000 visitors. In 2019-20, its targets were $19.2 million in revenue and 410,000 visitors, but it ended up with $18.8 million from 344,806 visitors. Dienes said it shows a need for the province to move on from the gambling business, which was legalized in Nova Scotia in 1995. Dienes is the chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit organization with the goal of reducing harms related to gambling. "Here is a business model that's failing, that isn't meeting the needs of the customers. And rather than acknowledging that and moving on to a different kind of business — a different way to entertain, a different way to raise funds — they're trying to increase the risk and increase the access for something that people clearly don't want," he said. Dienes said gambling is "psychologically manipulative" and he disagrees with the government's stance that online gambling can be done safely. "This is something that's been created by government policy," he said. High-stakes bets Will Shead, an associate professor of psychology who primarily researches gambling, said he's doubtful that limitations can be placed on online gambling that would keep people safe. "We don't really know what effect this is going to have on people. You can make arguments and say this is how it's going to work, but it could potentially be disastrous for people to have access to such high betting limits online," said Shead, who teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Shead is also a board member of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, whose members are particularly concerned about high-stakes wagers online that could lead a gambler to lose thousands of dollars per hour. Shead is an associate professor of psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. His research specialty is gambling. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has said the online casino would include age and residency verification, privacy controls, self-exclusion options, deposit limits, time displays, analytics on player activity and information about responsible gambling. But Shead said he's concerned about young people finding ways to get around age checks, and about research that shows people are more likely to use drugs and alcohol while gambling online. In a physical casino, people are not supposed to be allowed to gamble while impaired, he said. According to its code of conduct, Casino Nova Scotia will refuse entry to someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. "I'm not sure if that happens all the time," said Shead, "but it's certainly not going to happen in the confines of your own home." MORE TOP STORIES
Photographer Mick Rock, known for some of the most recognisable pictures of rock legends such as David Bowie and album covers of the 1970s, is marking his 51 years working in the music industry with a new project collaborating with urban artist Fin DAC. "MIDARO" fuses photography with painting, with the Irish artist reworking Rock's photos of Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry to create a series of limited edition prints and canvas artworks. Released on Tuesday, to coincide with what would have been Reed's 79th birthday, they each show a woman wearing a T-shirt adorned with one of Rock's photos of the music stars.
The future of work might not be at the office, or even at the kitchen table — it could be in the backyard. Some B.C. builders say the demand for backyard officers has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, with homeowners looking for a little extra space and privacy while working from home. Brian Borsato, president of Surrey-based Maas Designs, a First Nations-owned company that builds housing for Indigenous communities, says backyard offices have been wildly popular. "It's astronomical," he said. "The interest has been unbelievable. Everybody wants them." Borsato's company started building the offices earlier in the pandemic, when First Nations closed to visitors and income dried up. They started building the offices and it quickly caught on. They're typically around 100 square feet, Borsato said, with windows and enough space for a TV, desk and chair. The company builds them for clients who have the money and space to fix a situation many of us find ourselves in: huddled in our kitchens or living rooms on Zoom meetings all day, trying not to disturb other family members. Borsato recently built a backyard office for a woman who needed that extra space to focus on work and not have to move her setup when the kids came home. "Now she can come in and close the door and do all the video conferencing that she needs to do without being interrupted or interrupting anybody else," he said. A backyard office can be turned into a workshop or workout room if people return to work after the pandemic, builders say. Cole Kiez, a sales manager at CoreVal Homes in Port Moody, says backyard offices weren't part of their business before the pandemic. Now, it's their best seller and they've built 36 of them. Building a backyard office generally doesn't require a building permit as long as it's less than 108 square feet — but that clients should do some research to fully understand what each municipality will allow under their specific zoning. According to the City of Vancouver, contractors and businesses must ensure they consider the city's land use and permitting requirements for all new buildings. Some homeowners may choose to forgo the approval process on the advice of a contractor, the city said in an email, but liability ultimately falls on the owners to ensure work is permitted. They don't run cheap — Kiez says they can cost up to $25,000, depending on the size and features. They can be built with baseboard heaters and WiFi. Even once the pandemic is over, if people return to the office, the space can be used in other ways, he said. "It has a bit of a different feel and that's what people really like about it. It's part of the home, but also a little bit separate," Kiez said. "For people working from home right now, it's a backyard office. If they do end up going back to work, [it] could be an art studio, a workout room, really just extra space."
YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar repeatedly used tear gas and rubber bullets Tuesday against crowds protesting last month's coup, but the demonstrators regrouped after each volley and tried to defend themselves with barricades as standoffs between protesters and security forces intensified. Myanmar authorities have escalated their crackdown on the protests in recent days, making mass arrests and firing into the crowds. The United Nations said it believed at least 18 people were killed on Sunday by security forces. Foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries were meeting Tuesday to discuss the increasingly volatile crisis. Despite the crackdown, demonstrators have continued to flood the streets — and are beginning to more rigorously resist attempts to disperse them. Hundreds, many wearing construction helmets and carrying makeshift shields, gathered in Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, where a day earlier police had fired repeated rounds of tear gas. They dragged bamboo poles and debris to form barricades, chanted slogans and sang songs at the police lines. They even threw banana skins onto the road in front of them in a bid to slow any police rush. The mainly young demonstrators fled in panic each time tear gas canisters were fired but soon returned to their barricades. Videos posted on social media showed similar chaotic scenes in the Insein neighbourhood of northern Yangon. Protesters also took up their flags and banners to march through the streets of Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen almost daily large demonstrations against the coup. One group of demonstrators was targeted by the security forces as it entered a narrow street on its way to pay respects at the house of a man killed in Sunday’s crackdown. Another was attacked on the main street in the city’s centre. Yangon and Dawei were among the cities where security forces reportedly fired live ammunition into crowds Sunday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. There were reports that they also fired live rounds Tuesday, but they could not immediately be confirmed. Some fear the junta’s escalating use of force is meant to provoke a violent backlash by the demonstrators — who have largely remained nonviolent — in order to discredit them and justify an even harsher crackdown. Videos from recent days show a greater number of protesters trying to stand their ground and throw objects at the police. “I beg the people in Myanmar not to fall in this trap, so to stay peaceful,” U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said in interview with CNN, acknowledging that it was easier for her, safely away from the violence, to urge peaceful protesting. She also accused the authorities of spreading rumours about the conditions of people in detention to stir up even more anger on the streets. The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. The military government has charged Suu Kyi, 75, with several offences that critics say are trumped up merely to keep her jailed and potentially prevent her from participating in the election promised in a year’s time by the military. Her party says it does not know where Suu Kyi — who has a long history of campaigning for democracy in Myanmar — is being held. The weekend crackdown drew international condemnation. In addition to the use of force, authorities also detained more than 1,000 people over the weekend, according to the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Those detained included at least eight journalists, among them Thein Zaw of The Associated Press. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the use of force and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” according to his spokesperson. The U.S., British and other governments issued similar statements of concern. But the military has showed no sign of backing down. The protesters and their supporters have appealed for help from abroad, but there are few prospects for major intervention. The results of Tuesday's special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, held by video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic, were expected to be announced in the evening. But the 10-nation regional group's policy of seeking a consensus among its members makes it unlikely to take strong action. The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, has proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar and “tough, targeted and co-ordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses. But any kind of co-ordinated action at the United Nations would be difficult since two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it. Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions. ___ Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report. The Associated Press
Unlike many teenagers, Abdoulaye Diakhaby was petrified to turn 18. He had spent the previous four years in the child-welfare system living first in a foster home, then a group home. But at 18, he was forced to be on his own. Diakhaby, who is now 21, says he didn't feel ready; he was still perfecting his English, he didn't know how to cook and needed help with homework. "I was thinking, 'How am I going to be able to do my groceries? How to cook? How to go to school? How to pay my rent? How to get a job?'" he told CBC Toronto. Days after moving into his own place, Diakhaby returned to the group home for a couple of nights to sleep. He was lonely and isolated. Diakhaby says if he could, he'd still be living there, instead of having to make the transition away. "Everything was tough for me," he said. Diakhaby says prior to leaving care at 18, he worried about how he'd buy groceries, cook, get to school, pay rent and find a job.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province placed a moratorium on youth aging out of care and has extended it to Sept. 30, 2022. Just under 12,000 children and youth in care CBC News has learned the Ontario government will use the time to redesign how young people leave the system by doing away with the current age cut-off. Instead, provincial officials say they plan to ensure youths feel confident and prepared. According to the province, just under 12,000 children and youth are in the child-welfare system. About half of youths who experience homelessness in Ontario were involved in that system, more than half drop out of high school and 57 per cent rely on social assistance, according to a 2017 report by the now-closed Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women's issues, says the government wants children to meet key milestones before they leave care. "We're building a model that's going to work for them," Dunlop said in an interview. "Young people take different paths, but we want to ensure that the supports are there." Under the current system, some young people who leave care are eligible for financial assistance until age 21 and other supports until 24. Still, advocates who have been calling for a readiness-based model say those supports haven't been close to enough. "The system itself was traumatizing and it retraumatized them," said Irwin Elman, Ontario's former — and only — child and youth advocate. "When they left the system, they felt dumped out and as one young person said, 'shoved off the edge of a cliff, alone, with nothing and expected to do well.'" The Ford government cut Elman's position and closed the office in 2018 and moved his responsibilities to the Ombudsman's office. What the new system will look like and how it will work is still being determined. The ministry says it's working with former children in care, advocates and others to design the program. More than 2,500 young people expected to age out by 2022 will be protected by the moratorium, according to Dunlop. New system must give youth a voice, advocates say When Cheyanne Ratnam aged out of care at 18, she took a blanket with her that symbolized a piece of family she knew she was losing. She survived childhood sexual abuse and other trauma before entering the child-welfare system, and says although it was the "lowest low," she was relieved to finally have a safe place to sleep. "I was just so happy to be away from abuse and not really having stability," she said. Ratnam is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children's Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the ministry to help develop the new model. She calls it an "ethical system reset" and says the decision on when a youth leaves should include input from designated support people. Ultimately, she says, the people in care should decide when it's time to be on their own. Cheyanne Ratnam was in the child-welfare system and is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the government to help develop the new model. (Children's Aid Foundation of Canada ) "It should be in a way where young people are supported to make those decisions and not have decisions made for them so they can take ownership of their lives," she said. She also says the new model shouldn't include any sort of age cut-off and young people should be able to return to care if they choose to after leaving. "When you're alone in the community, a lot of trauma gets relived," she said. Ratnam says the child-welfare system funnels young people into homelessness, mental health issues and the justice system, and that the new model should help avoid that and set young people up for success. Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care, co-authored a letter to the province calling for a new system to be designed.(Honour Stahl) Ratnam and Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care Canada, co-authored a letter in June to the ministry calling for a new system to be designed. Lowes is also working with the province on the new model and says it's imperative it listen to those who experienced the current system. "It sets the precedent for that to be the standard, that the people [the system] is being designed for should be helping to create it," he said. "Because how else can we know what a system should look like if you're not asking the people that you're making the system for?" Support networks vital Shomari Mabayeke was placed in five different foster homes in five years. "It's kind of hard to trust people," he told CBC Toronto. "I'd move again and then it was kind of numbing after that because then I didn't make any new friends." Mabayeke first entered the system at 13 and says some homes were better than others. He aged out five years ago. "My process of coming out of care was more like, 'I just want to be gone. I don't care. Like, this is the worst thing ever,'" he said. Mabayeke says while he felt ready to be on his own at the time, he realizes now he wasn't taught certain skills, such as cooking or financial planning. Shomari Mabayeke looks through a basket of groceries delivered to him by StepsStones for Youth, a charity that helps young people transition out of the child-welfare system.(Angelina King/CBC) "They didn't do anything to prepare us for reality," he said. "You don't really get all the skills that growing up with an actual family and interacting with a loving family would give you." Mabayeke says he received some government assistance while transitioning out of care, but still relies on StepStones for Youth, a charitable organization in Toronto. "I feel like there would have been a really disastrous, chaotic moment if I didn't … use resources," he said. StepsStones helps youths who leave care secure housing, complete education and build support networks based on their interests. Heather O’Keefe, who runs StepStones for Youth, says the biggest challenge young people face when they leave the child-welfare system is not having a support network.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) "They deserve what other young people deserve," executive director Heather O'Keefe said. "They need to have people that care about them and guide them through life choices. And not only people who are paid to care for them, but people who actually genuinely care for them." Diakhaby also receives support from StepStones. He's unemployed right now and says it's been hard finding a job during the pandemic, but would like to be a plumber one day. He recently turned 21 and will soon lose his government financial assistance, but says he'll continue to rely on help and guidance from StepsStones. "They care about me," he said.
Living near the volcano is no easy task for locals, as they have to clear huge amounts of ash from the streets, and sometimes even run for cover.View on euronews
Britain's Prince Philip was receiving treatment and undergoing heart tests on Tuesday, two weeks after the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth was admitted to hospital in London as a precaution after he felt unwell. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was transferred on Monday from the private King Edward VII hospital to St Bartholomew's Hospital, which is a centre of excellence for cardiac care, for tests for a pre-existing heart condition and treatment for an unspecified infection which is not COVID-related. His 14-night stay in hospital is the longest he has needed treatment, although Buckingham Palace has said he is comfortable and responding to treatment.
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
WARSAW, Poland — A court in Poland on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for adding the LGBT rainbow to images of a revered Roman Catholic icon. The three women created posters in 2019 that used the rainbows in place of halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Their aim was to protest what they considered the hostility of Poland’s influential Catholic Church toward LGBT people. The court in the city of Plock did not find any signs of a crime and also found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports in the Polish media. The case of the three women was being watched in Poland as a test of freedom of speech under a deeply conservative government that has been seeking to push back against secularization and liberal views often seen as a foreign imposition. Abortion has been another flashpoint in the country after a top court ruling last year that resulted in a near total ban on abortion. One of the defendants, Elzbieta Podlesna, said when the trial opened in January that the 2019 action in Plock was spurred by an installation at the city’s St. Dominic’s Church that associated LGBT people with crime and sins. The image that they created involved altering Poland’s most-revered icon, the Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. The original has been housed at the Jasna Gora monastery in the city of Czestochowa — Poland's holiest site — since the 14th century. Podlesna told the Onet news portal that the existence of a provision in the penal code "leaves a door open to use it against people who think a bit differently. “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer,” Podlesna told Onet. If Podlesna and the other two activists — Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar — had been found guilty, they could have faced up to two years of prison. An LGBT rights group, Love Does Not Exclude, welcomed the ruling as a “breakthrough." “This is a triumph for the LGBT+ resistance movement in the most homophobic country of the European Union," it said. Podlesna was arrested in an early morning police raid on her apartment in 2019, held for several hours and questioned over the posters of the icon that were placed around Plock. A court later said the detention was unnecessary and ordered damages equaling some $2,000 awarded to her. Because of all the attention the altered icon has received, it is now also a very recognized image in Poland and is sometimes seen at street protests. The Associated Press
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was set to throw a Zoom party in quarantine to celebrate his 90th birthday on Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin hailed him as an "outstanding statesman" who influenced the course of history. Gorbachev, who championed arms control and democracy-oriented reforms as Soviet leader in the 1980s, is widely credited with helping end the Cold War. His critics in Russia blame him for what they regard as the unnecessary and painful breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.