As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, several provinces are weighing the potential benefits of temporarily closing schools by extending the winter break.
As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, several provinces are weighing the potential benefits of temporarily closing schools by extending the winter break.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
Despite adding 13 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the overall number of active cases in Nunavut fell as more people recovered, according to figures by the territory's government.Eleven of the new cases were in Arviat, while two were added in Whale Cove, according to a Sunday release.As of Sunday, Nunavut has 112 active cases, down from 131 a day earlier."Nunavummiut are doing a remarkable job, and I encourage everyone to keep it up and stay vigilant. It remains critical that we keep working hard to slow the spread of this virus," said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer in the release. "Remember that fluctuations in the number of new cases are normal, and not a reason to feel defeated. Please continue to practise all recommended public health measures, limit visiting and do not travel if it isn't essential."As of Sunday, Arviat has 90 active cases, 16 fewer than it did on Saturday. Whale Cove has 14 active cases, one more than it did a day before, while Rankin Inlet has eight active cases, four fewer than it did on Saturday.As of Sunday, there have been a total of 177 cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut with 65 of those listed as recovered.
Defying public health rules amid the coronavirus pandemic, 27 people were ticketed and two were arrested at a house party in Mississauga, Ont. early Sunday morning said Peel Regional Police. Katherine Ward has the story.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars fired general manager Dave Caldwell on Sunday after the team’s 10th consecutive loss and sending a clear message that the small-market franchise is headed in a new direction.It was a move many thought owner Shad Khan should have made at the end of last season. But Khan gave Caldwell another chance to make Jacksonville a playoff contender for just the second time in his eight-year tenure.Caldwell came up well short of the owner’s winning expectations, making Khan’s decision an easy and somewhat expected one.Khan will keep coach Doug Marrone and his staff in place to finish out the season and likely let the next general manager decide his fate. It would be stunning to see Marrone return in 2021.“I’ve met with Dave Caldwell to express my appreciation for his service to the Jacksonville Jaguars as our general manager," Khan said in a statement that followed the team's 27-25 loss to Cleveland. "Dave was exceptionally committed and determined to bring a winner to Jacksonville, but unfortunately his efforts were not rewarded with the results our fans deserve and our organization expects."Our football operation needs new leadership, and we will have it with a new general manager in 2021.”The Jaguars are 39-87 since Khan gave Caldwell his first GM job in 2013, falling a few plays shy of the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 2018 and miring mostly in mediocrity since. The Jaguars (1-10) have dropped 16 of their last 19 games, including 11 by double digits.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLMark Long, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole accused the Liberal government Sunday of putting too much emphasis on partnering with a Chinese company for a COVID-19 vaccine in what turned out to be a failed deal.O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August when its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine-maker CanSino finally collapsed after months of delays.The Council had issued CanSino a licence to use a Canadian biological product as part of a COVID-19 vaccine. CanSino was supposed to provide samples of the vaccine for clinical trials at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University, but the Chinese government blocked the shipments."I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said at a morning news conference."If you look at the timeline, that's when Canada started getting serious with Pfizer, Moderna, the other options," he added, saying he was concerned that "the Trudeau government was willing to almost double down on partnering with China" earlier in the pandemic.The government announced its major vaccine purchases in August after it confirmed the CanSino partnership had fallen through. At the time, it said its decision had come after careful consultations with its vaccine task force of health experts.The CanSino partnership with Dalhousie predated the deep freeze in Canada-China relations that occurred after the People's Republic imprisoned two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in apparent retaliation for the RCMP's arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou nearly two years ago on an American extradition warrant.This past week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.As questions grew about the CanSino deal, Trudeau continued to defend his government's vaccine procurement policy, which he says has secured multiple options for the country. Trudeau also appointed a Canadian Forces general to lead the logistics of an eventual vaccine rollout with the Public Health Agency of Canada. The chairman of American vaccine maker Moderna told the CBC on Sunday that Canada is near the front of the line to receive 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it pre-ordered.Noubar Afeyan was asked on CBC's Rosemary Barton Live whether the fact that Canada committed to pre-purchase its doses before other jurisdictions means it will get its supply first. Afeyan confirmed that was the case."The people who are willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," he said.O'Toole said with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland poised to deliver the government's long-awaited fiscal update on Monday, the Liberals need to do two things to spur economic recovery: offer a better plan on how it will rollout vaccines for Canadians and step up the distribution of rapid tests."There can't be a full economy, a growing economy, people working, people being productive without the tools to keep that happening in a pandemic. Those two tools are rapid tests, and a vaccine."Freeland's fall economic statement is expected to give a full accounting of the government’s record spending on programs to combat the pandemic. In July, the deficit was forecast to be at a record $343.2 billion but some estimates say it could easily top $400 billion.The government could announce new spending such as taking steps towards a national child-care system, and relief for battered industries such as travel and restaurants that will face an uphill struggle to recover from the pandemic.NDP finance critic Peter Julien sent Freeland a three-page letter urging her to take action on a variety of fronts to help struggling Canadian families during the pandemic.They included taking concrete action on establishing a national pharmacare plan to help Canadians pay for soaring prescription drug costs, and establish a national day-care strategy to help women who have been disproportionately hindered by the pandemic. Julien also urged Freeland to help Indigenous communities and abandon the government's plans to pay for the Trans-Mountain Pipeline and ramp up its fight against climate change.Green party Leader Annamie Paul called on Freeland to deliver "a positive vision for a green recovery" to accelerate Canada's transition to a carbon-neutral economy."We are optimistic that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be widely available next year and so we must be prepared for what comes next," Paul said in a statement.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
A draft agreement between Ottawa and a Nova Scotia First nation over a "moderate livelihood" fishery has the potential to be a historic recognition of Mi'kmaq treaty rights, the community's chief said Sunday.Mike Sack of Sipekne'katik First Nation said he is reviewing a draft memorandum of understanding he received from the office of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan late Friday.He said the Sipekne'katik Treaty Fishery agreement would allow the Mi'kmaq community to legally sell their catch."It's very significant," Sack said in an interview. "It can help lift our people out of poverty."The community's lawyers are going over the agreement and clarifying a few points to ensure nothing infringes on the treaty rights of future generations, he added.But the chief said he'd like to get a deal finalized as soon as possible, noting that "these last couple of months have seemed like a lifetime to us."Indigenous fishers faced violence and vandalism earlier this fall after launching a rights-based fishery in southwest Nova Scotia. Tension with non-Indigenous fishers ignited almost as soon as Mi'kmaq boats entered the St. Marys Bay area. An escalating series of events ensued, leading to the destruction of a lobster pound that had housed the Indigenous fishers' catch.Other flareups included the cutting of Mi'kmaq lobster traps, warf-side gatherings of large crowds of protesters hurling racist insults at fishers, and the alleged torching of multiple vehicles.The attacks prompted widespread condemnation and calls for clarification on Mi'kmaq treaty fishing rights. Jane Deeks, press secretary for the Fisheries and Oceans Minister, said the federal government and the Sipekne’katik First Nation are continuing to work collaboratively towards an agreement. "Our negotiations have been positive, constructive, and progress is being made," she said in an email on Sunday. "While there is still more work ahead of us, we are making progress together.”She confirmed that a draft memorandum of understanding is currently with Sipekne’katik First Nation. "We share the same goals of a productive and sustainable fishery, and to further implement Sipekne’katik First Nation’s Treaty Rights," Deeks added.Meanwhile, Sack said the agreement follows through on the Supreme Court of Canada's recognition of Indigenous treaty rights in its landmark 1999 Marshall decision.The ruling affirmed the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood," though the top court later clarified that the federal government could regulate the fishery for conservation and other limited purposes. “This agreement has the potential to be a historic recognition of our treaty rights and to make good on the promise and legacy of Donald Marshall Junior’s work," Sack said. "The big part for us is making sure we can harvest and sell and it's reflected in there."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin finished a recount of its presidential results on Sunday, confirming Democrat Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in the key battleground state. Trump vowed to challenge the outcome in court even before the recount concluded.Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County, the state's other big and overwhelmingly liberal county targeted in a recount that Trump paid $3 million for, reported its results Friday, a 132-vote gain for Biden.Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden's winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes.“As we have said, the recount only served to reaffirm Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin," Danielle Melfi, who led Biden's campaign in Wisconsin, said in a statement to The Associated Press.Trump campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said in a statement that the Wisconsin recounts have “revealed serious issues” about whether the ballots were legal, but she offered no specific details to validate her claim.“As we have said from the very beginning, we want every legal vote, and only legal votes to be counted, and we will continue to uphold our promise to the American people to fight for a free and fair election,” Ellis said.With no precedent for overturning a result as large as Biden's, Trump was widely expected to head to court once the recount was finished. His campaign challenged thousands of absentee ballots during the recount, and even before it was complete, Trump tweeted that he would sue.“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!”The deadline to certify the vote is Tuesday. Certification is done by the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, which is bipartisan.The Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative group, has already filed a lawsuit against state election officials seeking to block certification of the results. It makes many of the claims Trump is expected to make. Gov. Tony Evers’ attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss the suit. Evers, a Democrat, said the complaint is a “mishmash of legal distortions” that uses factual misrepresentations in an attempt to take voting rights away from millions of Wisconsin residents.Another suit filed over the weekend by Wisconsin resident Dean Mueller argues that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted.Trump’s attorneys have complained about absentee ballots where voters identified themselves as “indefinitely confined,” allowing them to cast an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID; ballots that have a certification envelope with two different ink colours, indicating a poll worker may have helped complete it; and absentee ballots that don’t have a separate written record for its request, such as in-person absentee ballots.Election officials in the two counties counted those ballots during the recount, but marked them as exhibits at the request of the Trump campaign.Trump’s campaign has already failed elsewhere in court without proof of widespread fraud, which experts widely agree doesn’t exist. Trump legal challenges have failed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.The Associated Press
Ottawa police are trying to track down a man charged with sexual assault with a weapon against a child under 16. The 37-year-old Ottawa man was also charged Sunday with two counts of forcible confinement, robbery with a weapon and three counts of uttering death threats. According to the Ottawa Police Service, the charges are related to incidents involving two teenage girls that happened early Friday evening in the city's west end.Police say the man doesn't have a fixed address, and are asking anyone with details on his whereabouts since Nov. 1 to come forward.Investigators with the force's sexual assault and child abuse unit are concerned there could be other victims.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6:20 p.m. Alberta is reporting its second-highest number of new COVID-19 cases. The province is reporting 1,608 new cases today. The figure is down slightly from the record single-day high of 1,731 diagnoses reported the day before. The province says there are also nine additional deaths linked to the virus over the past 24 hours. --- 3:30 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting 351 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths today. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the province stands at 45. Saskatchewan's daily COVID-19 updates have noted this weekend that community transmission can happen quickly. The updates state that 17 nurses in one hospital were recently required to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts to positive cases linked to sporting events and general community transmission. --- 2:30 p.m. Nunavut health officials are reporting 13 new cases in the territory. The number of local active cases, however, declined today due to 32 people who have recovered. That figure now stands at 112. The territory reports that everyone with active COVID-19 is doing well, with mild to moderate symptoms. --- 2:15 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 365 new COVID-19 cases today and 11 new deaths. Those who died range in age from their 60s to their 90s, and the province says almost all were linked to outbreaks in care homes. Manitoba's daily COVID-19 update says an outbreak has been declared in the acute care inpatient unit at The Pas Hospital, and the site has been moved to critical on the provincial pandemic response system. --- 2:00 p.m. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to creep up across most of Atlantic Canada. New Brunswick is reporting 14 new cases of the novel coronavirus today, the highest in eastern Canada. Elsewhere Nova Scotia says it's identified 10 new diagnoses, nine of which are in the province's central zone, while Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting four new cases. Health officials IN Prince Edward Island held a rare weekend news conference today, but say there are no new cases in the province. --- 11:10 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,395 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths linked to the virus. Health officials say four of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours and eight others took place between Nov. 22 and 27. Hospitalizations went down by 13 today for a total of 665, including 92 people in intensive care - a decrease of one compared to the previous day. Quebec has now reported 141,038 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 7,033 deaths. --- 11:00 a.m. Ontario is reporting 1,708 new cases of COVID-19 today and 24 new deaths related to the virus. More than half of the new cases remain in Toronto and Peel Region, which recorded 463 and 503 respectively. The two regions are the only ones currently under lockdown under the province's tiered, colour-coded pandemic response framework. The province is moving five regions to higher alert levels tomorrow, which means tougher COVID-19 restrictions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
Somehow, there are even more Christmas movies on the way.
WASHINGTON — She's fended off protesters who made a run at her husband. She's moved him farther from reporters during the coronavirus pandemic. She's supported his presidential ambitions again and again — except in 2004, when she deployed a novel messaging technique to keep Joe Biden from running.“No,” Jill Biden, then clad in a bikini, wrote in Sharpie across her stomach and then marched through a strategy session in which advisers were trying to talk her husband into challenging Republican President George W. Bush.Protecting Joe stands out among Jill Biden's many roles over their 43-year marriage, as her husband's career moved him from the Senate to the presidential campaign trail and the White House as President Barack Obama's vice-president. She's a wife, mother, grandmother and educator with a doctoral degree — as well as a noted prankster.Now, with her husband on the brink of becoming the 46th president, Jill Biden is about to become first lady and put her own stamp on a position that traditionally is viewed as a model of American womanhood — whether that means hewing to old ways or finding new, activist ones, in the manner of Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, for example.She intends to keep working as a college professor, which would make her the only first lady to keep her day job outside the home. And if four decades in the public eye are any indication, she'll continue being Biden's chief protector.The role isn't completely unfamiliar territory for Jill Biden. She's been a political wife the entire time she's been married to Joe Biden. Plus, she had a bird's-eye view of what a first lady does during Obama's two terms.But the scrutiny level will change. And all eyes are on the incoming Biden administration to deliver what both Joe and Jill have promised — getting the coronavirus pandemic raging across the country under control.Myra Gutin, a professor at Rider University and the author of several books about first ladies, recalled Barbara Bush telling her: “You know, when I was second lady, I could say anything I wanted, and no one really paid much attention. But the minute I became first lady, everything became newsworthy.”Still, Jill Biden won’t have the learning curve most other new first ladies faced. “She’s been in the public eye for a long time," Gutin said. “She’s going in eyes wide open.”The coronavirus has killed more than 260,000 Americans and upended much of daily life. The Bidens offered themselves as agents of comfort at a time of loss and grief, experiences they know well particularly after their son Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.From the start, she brought comfort to the Biden family.Joe Biden's first wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972. Jill Biden helped raise his surviving young sons, Beau and Hunter, before giving birth to their daughter, Ashley, in 1981. She refers to all of them as her children.As Joe Biden commuted from Delaware to Washington while serving as a senator, Jill Biden built a career as a teacher, ultimately earning two master’s degrees and then a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007.Throughout, Jill Biden's protective streak was notable. There she stood at his side, when Joe Biden withdrew from his first presidential bid under accusations of plagiarism. She says she emulated her mother's stoic style. Jill Biden's mother, she said, didn't even cry when her own parents died. She saw that as strength. “I decided early that I would never let my emotions rule me,” she wrote in her memoir, ”Where the Light Enters.”“As a political spouse, I’ve found that my stoicism often serves me well,” Jill Biden wrote. “In 1988, when Joe’s first presidential campaign started to look bleak, people were constantly looking for cracks in our team. We all felt scrutinized, but I refused to show weakness.”It showed early in the 2020 race when several women accused Biden of inappropriate touching. The candidate denied acting inappropriately but acknowledged that social norms had changed. He pledged that he would change, too.Jill Biden defended him.“I think what you don’t realize is how many people approach Joe — men and women, looking for comfort or empathy,” she told ABC’s ”Good Morning America." “But going forward, I think he’s gonna have to judge — be a better judge — of when people approach him, how he’s going to react. That he maybe shouldn’t approach them.”She recalled a time in her life when she had been treated inappropriately and didn't speak up.“I can remember specifically — it was in a job interview," Jill Biden said. "If that same thing happened today, I’d turn around and say, ‘What do you think you’re doin’?”She's quick to rally to her husband's side, sometimes physically.In New Hampshire in February, a man tried to cross into the roped-off area near Joe Biden. In a flash, Jill Biden crossed behind her husband and put her arms around the man, turned him around and helped push him away.A month later in Los Angeles, she similarly blocked one protester, then a second one, who had stormed the stage while Joe Biden was delivering his Super Tuesday victory speech.When the first one approached waving an anti-dairy sign and yelling, Jill Biden stepped between the protester and her husband. She did the same with the second one, this time putting her arms up to block the intrusion.Both were removed without coming in contact with the candidate. After the 27-second confrontation, Jill turned around saying, “We're okay,” and encouraged Joe to keep the event going. The Bidens then said it might be time for Secret Service protection, and they got it soon after.“I worry about Jill,” Joe Biden said.She's been protective during the pandemic.On Oct. 5 at New Castle Airport in Delaware, she moved her husband back from members of the media as he spoke outside his campaign plane before a trip to Miami.Like many American families, the Bidens spent Thanksgiving differently this year. They stayed at their house in Rehoboth, Delaware, rather than their usual “Nana-tucket,” as her grandchildren have called the Massachusetts island where the Bidens started going early in their marriage to establish a new holiday tradition.In 2020, instead of the usual sprawling family tableau, their daughter and her husband were the only Biden visitors to the house in Delaware. A Zoom call with the larger group was on the evening's agenda.Look, too, for Jill Biden to try to keep things light.“She's not your average grandmother,” granddaughter Naomi said on a video shown at the Democratic National Convention, recalling that Jill Biden once woke her up at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning to go “soul cycling.”“She’s a prankster, she’s very mischievous,” Naomi added with a grin. “When she goes on a run, sometimes she'll find, like, a dead snake and she’ll pick it up and put it in a bag and use it to scare someone.”—-Follow Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellmanLaurie Kellman, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — George Clooney is just like us, maybe. The star said he does his own haircuts with a device famously touted in infomercials.In an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning,” the Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker said he's been cutting his own hair for more than two decades.“My hair is really like straw,” Clooney said of his thick, salt-and-pepper thatch. “So it's easy to cut, can't really make too many mistakes. So years ago, I bought a thing called a Flowbee."“You did not,” said skeptical interviewer Tracy Smith.“The thing with the vacuum cleaner and clippers, yeah. I still have it," Clooney replied. “My haircuts take, literally, two minutes. ”Flowbee sales surged when the coronavirus pandemic limited access to salon and barber shops in some areas, Fortune magazine reported in late March. But as Clooney told CBS News correspondent Smith, he's been cutting his hair “for 25 years” and relies on the Flowbee.The product's Texas-based maker didn’t immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment.The device, first marketed in the late 1980s, has become entrenched in popular culture: It was spoofed in the movie “Wayne's World" and served as a punchline in TV's “Glee" and “The Nanny.”Stan Rosenfield, Clooney's longtime publicist, said Sunday he didn't know if Clooney tends his own hair. Although the actor is famed for pranking his co-stars, Rosenfield said it seemed unlikely this was one of his practical jokes.___AP Business Writer Sarah Skidmore Sell contributed from Portland, Oregon.Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
STEINBACH, Man. — Mounties have ramped up enforcement at a Manitoba church that was slapped with a fine for holding a service last weekend that allegedly violated provincial COVID-19 health orders. The Church of God Restoration in Steinbach posted videos on its Facebook page that appear to show the church's empty, snow-covered parking lot, with RCMP officers positioned at its entrances and a long line of vehicles parked along the roadway. In one video, Pastor Tobias Tissen addressed the people in the vehicles via a radio transmitter from a pulpit outside the church, and claimed the officers blocking the entrance were "blocking God." No one with the church could be reached for comment. RCMP say that their officers were stationed at parking lot entrances to remind would-be churchgoers of public health rules, and warn them that attending a service would result in a fine. They say most people heeded the warning, save for one man who continued on to the church property and was fined $1,296. The province ordered churches to close earlier this month to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases that has clogged the hospital system, saying people could only attend services virtually. The church previously confirmed it was ticketed and fined $5,000 for breaking a provincial public health order last Sunday, and RCMP said there were well over 100 people inside the church at the time. "What you all see this morning is not people recognizing the supremacy of God. Come on, if other stores can be essential and church is not essential, you're saying that God is not supreme," Tissen said from the pulpit in the Facebook video on Sunday. RCMP reminded people Friday that participating in any type of large gathering is now a contravention of the public health orders, and it specifically mentioned worship services in the Steinbach area. “Our goal is certainly not to hand out a bunch of tickets,” Steinbach Detachment Commander Harold Laninga said in the release. It said Sunday the investigation is continuing and that more tickets are possible. The Manitoba government said Sunday that officers would have been aware of the service, as well as reports of a drive-in church service on the weekend in Winnipeg, but that an update on enforcement action would not be available until Tuesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
Several Canadian universities are preparing to test wastewater from long-term care homes in Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton to get early warnings of COVID-19 outbreaks.Researchers in municipalities in six provinces are already testing wastewater for traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease. Many of those infected shed the virus through their feces, even if they don't have symptoms, according to researchers. But that kind of testing uses samples from wastewater facilities and shows the results for an entire community. Researchers currently aren't able to pinpoint the exact locations where outbreaks are flaring up."We all go to the toilet, whether you have COVID or not, whether you're symptomatic or not," said Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital involved in the program."It's a way of doing a survey or census on everyone, every day. Instead of testing thousands of people, we can just test the sewer system once a day at the treatment plant." The federal government's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force is supporting efforts by several labs to use that technology to detect outbreaks occurring where the most vulnerable Canadians live.The University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto and Ryerson University are working together on the project and their work is being supported by that task force, said Bernadette Conant, CEO of the Canadian Water Network. A team at the University of Alberta also plans to start testing at long-term care homes with federal support, she said.Conant's non-profit organization started a wastewater coalition in Canada to help coordinate the work of researchers across the country, and to provide technical guidance to scientists, laboratories, wastewater utilities and public health authorities."You want to know the neighbourhoods where testing might need to increase, or where there are hotspots," said Conant. Health officials in the U.S. say such sampling may have helped them head off an outbreak at the University of Arizona. When tests of wastewater at the dorms came back positive for COVID-19, two asymptotic students were identified and quickly quarantined.'It could catch an early signal'Robert Delatolla is an engineering professor and researcher co-leading the University of Ottawa's program. His work monitoring the capital's wastewater daily and posting the results online has caught the attention of the chief science advisors to the prime minister and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Delatolla's group plans to test samples from individual sewers connected to long-term care buildings in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area. "It could catch an early signal," he said. "It could be like a smoke detector signaling that things are starting to come online, outbreaks are happening."By being able to monitor a facility that is doing well and doesn't have an outbreak, the wastewater is a potential tool to actually catch when that outbreak first happens."Delatolla points to tests his team conducted on July 17 which detected COVID-19 levels suddenly increasing 400 per cent in Ottawa's water treatment plant. That surge was discovered in the wastewater two days before Ottawa Public Health reported an increase in the number of people testing positive, he said.Testing could detect when an outbreak has stoppedDr. Alex MacKenzie is a senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute, which is co-leading the team in Ottawa. He said the wastewater testing has been acting as the "belt and suspenders" supporting the data epidemiologists are obtaining through swab testing sites — data he said is "flawed" because not everyone is getting tested. "It's hard to get a clear lens on exactly how many are infected in the community," said MacKenzie. "We have the advantage here in Ottawa of actually having a different window."Researchers said that more than 910,000 Ottawa residents are now providing them with testing samples through the wastewater system — more than 90 per cent of the city's population.MacKenzie said applying wastewater testing to long-term care homes could be a way to ease the strain on front line workers."It will be a way of monitoring the outbreak within a facility and knowing when it actually has stopped," he said. "So it will offload some of those individual testing resources that we do, ideally."'You would be able to intervene faster'Currently, long-term care homes are conducting surveillance testing on residents every week or two weeks. Residents are sometimes missed in that timeframe, said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's chief medical officer of health. Wastewater testing could help monitor for COVID-19 between those testing periods."You would pick up the signal potentially earlier," she said. "So you would be able to intervene faster."Dr. Etches said that's important because "there can be a lot of exposures and a lot of spread" when people are asymptomatic, or in the days before patients start exhibiting symptoms."Eighty-eight per cent of people who have died from COVID so far have been residents of long-term care homes," she said. "So this would be an opportunity to try to limit that outcome."But there are still challenges with the testing. Delatolla said rainwater can dilute the samples and chemicals in wastewater can alter them, causing variance in the samples. Public health officials also don't know yet how quickly the virus shows up in wastewater once someone contracts COVID-19, said Dr. Etches.She said she is using both COVID-swab results and wastewater testing to get a better picture of outbreaks, because the science isn't advanced enough to depend on wastewater tests alone.The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force said funding agreements for its most recent set of studies aren't finalized yet, so it can't publicly comment right now.
OPEC and allies led by Russia have yet to find a consensus on oil output policy for 2021, after an initial round of talks on Sunday and ahead of crucial meetings on Monday and Tuesday, four OPEC+ sources told Reuters. OPEC+, a grouping comprising members of the of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, plus Russia and others, had been due to ease production cuts from January 2021, but a second coronavirus wave has reduced demand for fuel around the world. OPEC+ is now considering rolling over existing cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day, or around 8% of global demand, into the first months of 2021, sources have said.
Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade – Y aura-t-il des petits poissons des Chenaux à Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade cette année? C'est la question que plusieurs se posent, dont l'Association des pourvoyeurs de la rivière Sainte-Anne, alors que l'hiver débute tranquillement et que l'événement, lui, approche à grands pas. «On attend des réponses», souligne Jessika Lessard-Voisard, la directrice générale. Ces réponses, elle doivent venir de la santé publique régionale, qui doit notamment statuer sur le nombre de personnes qui seraient autorisées dans les chalets de pêche. «On souhaite pouvoir offrir une activité aux gens. On a pensé à des bulles familiales pour les chalets et on pourrait garder la patinoire ouverte aussi, il y aurait moyen de faire les choses», explique la DG. Il y a également toujours le risque que des pourvoyeurs lancent la serviette pour cette saison, une situation difficile à prévoir, soutient Mme Lessard-Voisard. «Souvent, c'est difficile d'avoir les éléments en main pour se faire un plan. On doit avoir plusieurs scénarios, des plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G... On essaie de rassurer tout le monde à travers de ça.» Bien qu'elle souhaite sauver la saison, Jessika Lessard-Voisard est réaliste : ce sera une année bien différente des autres. «On le sait que ça ne sera pas pareil, c'est pourquoi on va se concentrer sur la pêche particulièrement. On n'aura pas de festival ou ce genre d'activités pour s'assurer de respecter les consignes de la santé publique», ajoute-t-elle. Son collègue à l'Association et pourvoyeur lui-même, Steve Massicotte, s'avoue confiant de voir l'événement avoir bel et bien lieu dans les dates habituelles. «Je suis positif. Les pourvoiries sont ouvertes. On ne peut pas être mieux isolé qu'une famille dans une cabane de pêche», sourit-il. Une rencontre doit avoir lieu d'ici la fin de la semaine avec les autorités de santé pour déterminer la suite. «Vendredi, on devrait être fixé. On a hâte de savoir, c'est certain. Nous sommes bien positionnés avec la députée Sonia LeBel, qui porte bien le dossier à Québec. C'est vraiment la santé publique qui va décider, cependant», concède celui qui précise qu'une proposition de six personnes d'une même famille par cabane est actuellement étudiée. Amenée à se prononcer sur la question, la principale intéressée a réitéré l'importance de l'événement pour elle. «J’ai rencontré l’Association des pourvoyeurs de la rivière Ste-Anne il y a deux semaines pour discuter des enjeux entourant leurs activités cet hiver. Depuis, nous sommes en soutien aux démarches qu’ils effectuent auprès de la Santé publique afin de trouver un protocole sanitaire convenable pour encadrer adéquatement la pêche aux petits poissons des Chenaux pour cette saison-ci. Les discussions se poursuivent et il me fait plaisir de les soutenir à ce niveau», relate la députée de Champlain. Chez Tourisme Mauricie, le président Donald Desrochers confie que l'annulation de cette tradition mauricienne ferait «très mal», surtout sur le plan touristique. «C'est gros. Ça draine beaucoup de gens de l'extérieur. Tout le monde connaît ça, la pêche aux petits poissons.» «C'est l'une de nos activités hivernales très importante. Je reste optimiste que ça se tienne et j'ai bon espoir que les cabanes soient louées», exprime-t-il. En plus du maintient de l'événement lui-même, Mme Lessard-Voisard affirme qu'il faut par ailleurs réfléchir à l'avenir de l'Association des pourvoyeurs. «Il faut planifier la survie de l'association et pour ce faire, il faut qu'on puisse se voir en personne, dans le respect des mesures. C'est pourquoi on a demandé à la santé publique de pouvoir avoir une permission spéciale pour tenir une rencontre en ce sens. On a 18 pourvoyeurs, donc 18 façons de penser pour la pérennité des choses.»Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Aiden Farrow is a lactation consultant who works to help maintain the breastfeeding bond between birthing parents and apprehended infants. “A large number of the children in our program are in foster care, many removed soon after birth and this is obviously a huge barrier to breastfeeding,” Farrow says. They work for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, as a lactation and infant feeding consultant, with newborns and children under the age of six. Aiden came into the lactation consultant role with over ten years of experience supporting breastfeeding parents and their babies. “I have a special interest in helping babies achieve one of their first developmental milestones, which, after breathing, is breastfeeding,” Farrow says. The right to breastfeed one’s baby should be upheld in the same way harvesting rights and traditional foods are protected, Farrow argues. “Human milk provides all the food and water a baby needs in their first six months of life and continues to be an important part of their diet until age two or beyond,” Farrow explains. “Breastfeeding is a traditional food that should be protected.” Breastfeeding can be really difficult for new parents, in many different ways — from the judgement others impose in public spaces, to the baby having trouble latching, Farrow adds. For Indigenous peoples, mothers, Two-spirit, transgender, or gender diverse peoples, this experience can be even more difficult, they add, due to the impacts of colonization, systemic racism, and a loss of connection to traditional breastfeeding and birthing practices. “Child removal interrupts social, cultural, and emotional bonds between parents, their children, and their Indigenous heritage. Supporting breastfeeding for babies in care needs to take a holistic view of what child removal means to the baby, the mother or parent, the family and the community,” says Farrow. B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY), together with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), published a joint report in 2018, ‘Promoting Access to Breastfeeding in Child Welfare Matters.’ The report, which examines policies and practices to enhance and support access to breastfeeding, came after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favour of an Indigenous mother whose baby was removed from her care by MCFD three days after birth. In this particular case, the community’s lawyer petitioned for the mother to have daily access to her baby for breastfeeding and bonding. Soon after, the Court ordered MCFD to return the baby to the mother’s care. In the report, MCFD committed to producing guidelines for social workers regarding breastfeeding after child removal. Until those guidelines are established, social workers make decisions about breastfeeding babies who are in care, often without proper guidance, Farrow says. 57 percent of apprehended newborns in B.C. are Indigenous. The removal of children from their families can be devastating in more ways than one. “Child removal interrupts social, cultural, and emotional bonds between parents and their children and their Indigenous heritage. Indigenous children are grossly overrepresented in the care system in BC, removed primarily from their families for issues related to poverty,” Farrow adds. Consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Bill C92: An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, Farrow believes child removal should be the “last resort.” A baby or child should have access to their family and community, as much as possible, Farrow argues. “Allowing for breastfeeding is part of that,” they add. “Giving the mother or parent a breast pump without adequate emotional support and little time with the baby at supervised visits in ministry office spaces, or busy playgroups, doesn’t create adequate conditions for parental bonding and successful breastfeeding.” Farrow wants to see social workers and parent support workers strategizing together on ways to help protect the important breastfeeding bond between parent and child. Jessie Hemphill, from the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations, is a first time parent of 18 month-old Ida, named after her grandmother and great grandmother. For Hemphill, breastfeeding happened fairly easy, but she says she understands that’s not always the case. “Breastfeeding is so much harder than you would expect,” Hemphill says. “Those first few days or weeks, as my body got used to it, were a big struggle but at the same time, the connection was so profound. I was so happy that I was able to feed her.” Even now, at 18 months, Ida still nurses to get to sleep every night, Hemphill explains, and through the day to keep the connection going. “The depth of pain and grief that would come from being separated from your baby when you wanted to breastfeed, to not be able to do that, must feel like death,” she says. “It’s one of the most horrific punishments I can think of imposing on a mother and especially the child.” Breastfeeding is a fundamental part of how a new person comes into the world, Hemphill says. “There’s such a feeling of power that my body, this mother body, is able to produce the food that nourishes my baby, even after she’s come out of the womb,” Hemphill says. “To continue to provide for her that way made me feel powerful and connected, and just feels like such a universal experience, or near universal experience, that generations of women in my family experienced.” There was a time when breastfeeding in public was shamed, but Hemphill says that she hasn’t felt public pushback. In fact, she says she was supported in her workplace. Hemphill, who lives in Cowichan, is an instructor at UBC and Vancouver Island University, and has brought her baby to work with her and nursed her while lecturing. “There’s something about breastfeeding and the way that it connects our own well being so directly to our children. The better I take care of myself the better I am able to take care of my little one,” says Hemphill. “I just wish that any person that wishes to breastfeed their child, it’s important for them to have the right to do so.” Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.Catherine Lafferty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Police in Abbotsford, B.C., are investigating a drive-by shooting that happened Saturday night and is believed to have targeted the wrong family.According to a written statement from police, officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 32000-block of Adair Avenue Saturday night at 8:18 p.m.Officers said shots were fired into a residence occupied by a family, including young children. No one was injured.Police say the motive is not known, but investigators believe the wrong home was targeted. The family is not known to police. Abbotsford Police Patrol officers, Forensic Identification Unit officers and Major Crime Detectives are canvassing the area for video and additional witnesses. Anyone who was in the area at the time of this shooting, or has CCTV, dashcam video or information about the investigation is asked to contact the Major Crime Unit at 604-859-5225.