Defensive schemer Nick Nurse is preparing for the challenge of the new-look Nets but how will the Raptors adjust for the matchup in Brooklyn?
Defensive schemer Nick Nurse is preparing for the challenge of the new-look Nets but how will the Raptors adjust for the matchup in Brooklyn?
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s woeful home form is developing into a full-blown crisis after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory on Thursday inflicted a fifth straight league loss at Anfield on the Premier League champions — the worst run in the club’s 128-year history. With Liverpool's title defence already over, this was billed as a battle for a Champions League place and Mason Mount’s 42nd-minute goal lifted Chelsea back into the top four. Chelsea’s previous win at Anfield, in 2014, effectively ended the title hopes of Brendan Rodgers’ side. This one was a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s side is four points adrift of Chelsea and with Everton and West Ham also ahead. Liverpool has now gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield. The hosts failed to register an effort on target until the 85th minute and Georginio Wijnaldum’s weak header was never going to beat Edouard Mendy. They have taken one point from the last 21 on offer at home since Christmas and scored just two goals, one of which was a penalty. None of Liverpool's established front three — Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino — impressed but the sight of Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, being substituted just past the hour mark was baffling. The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea, by contrast, looked full of threat with Timo Werner — a player Liverpool was interested in but decided it could not afford last summer — a constant problem. Despite one goal in his previous 17 league outings, he caused problems with his movement, drifting out to the left then popping into the middle to give Fabinho a real headache on his return to the side. The Brazil midfielder, replacing Nat Phillips after he became the latest centre back to pick up an injury, was partnering Ozan Kabak in Liverpool’s 15th different central-defensive starting partnership in 27 league matches. Faced with a statistic like that, it is perhaps understandable why there was a lack of cohesion at the back and Werner should really have profited. He fired one early shot over and then failed to lift his effort over Alisson Becker, back in goal after the death of his father in Brazil last week. Even when Werner did beat Alisson, VAR ruled the Germany international’s arm had been offside 20 yards earlier in the build-up. Liverpool’s one chance fell to Mane but Salah’s first-time ball over the top got caught under his feet and Mane missed his shot with only Mendy to beat. Chelsea was still controlling the game and caught Liverpool on the counterattack when N’Golo Kante quickly sent a loose ball out to the left wing, from where Mount cut inside to beat Alisson having been given far too much time to pick his spot. All five of Mount’s league goals have come away from home. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spent the first five minutes of the second half screaming at his players to press harder and play higher up the pitch but Liverpool’s players were equally vocal when Firmino’s cross hit the raised arm of Kante from close range. No penalty was awarded. Andy Robertson cleared off the line from Hakim Ziyech after Alisson parried Ben Chilwell’s shot as Chelsea continued to look more dangerous. Klopp’s attempt to change the direction of the game saw him send on Diogo Jota for his first appearance in three months, along with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jota’s first touch was a half-chance from a deep cross but he was not sharp enough to take it. Werner, meanwhile, was doing everything but score as Alisson’s leg saved another shot as he bore down on goal. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Kelly McLeod has been elected the new president of Inuvik's Nihtat Gwich'in Council, according to preliminary results published Thursday morning. McLeod defeated acting president Robert Charlie 108 votes to 64. According to a post on McLeod's Facebook page, official results will be posted in five days, as per the council's election policy. "Just want to say Mahsi Cho to everyone that was able to vote in the Nihtat Election. Very great turn out of 174 voters, a significant increase from 65 in the last election," he wrote on Facebook Thursday morning. "Extremely excited here, very humbled by the amount of support from membership. Truly thankful for that.... Very excited to get started working with the newly elected council and create a positive future for the Nihtat Gwichin Membership!" Elections were also held for eight council positions on Wednesday, with the preliminary results as follows: Chris Smith: 147 votes (elected) Michael Francis: 132 votes (elected) Mary Ann Villeneuve: 125 votes (elected) Lenora McLeod: 111 votes (elected) Wanda McDonald: 101 votes (elected) Tony McDonald: 100 votes (elected) Barry Greenland: 86 votes (elected) Richard Ross: 83 votes (elected) Bobby Ross: 82 votes Sallie Ross: 76 votes
A group of Indigenous youth called on supporters to block a Vancouver intersection leading to the port in protest of an elder who was sentenced to 90 days in jail for anti-pipeline actions in 2019. For most of the day March 3, the police held off traffic around the intersection of Hastings St. and Clark Drive in east Vancouver where police say 43,000 vehicles pass through daily. But in the evening they moved in to disband the blockade, arresting four adults for mischief and intimidation by blocking a roadway, both criminal offences, according to a police spokesperson. Those arrested were released that night under orders to appear in court. The blockade, organized by a group called the Braided Warriors, was peaceful. There were elders, youth, and many non-Indigenous supporters gathered in the intersection. People were sitting on blankets reading, chatting in small groups, all wearing masks. A sacred fire was lit in the centre of the intersection, and people sat around it in picnic chairs. The mood was peaceful and somber, punctuated occasionally with songs and chants. RELATED: Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester RELATED: A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer The Braided Warriors shared on social media that they were there in solidarity with elder Stacy Gallagher who had been sentenced the night before to 90 days in prison. A police spokesman says the group marched from the courthouse to the East Vancouver intersection late Tuesday following the sentencing. The Braided Warriors shared an update mid-Wednesday that Gallagher was released on bail, but the blockade continued until VPD moved in. After police broke up the blockade, the protest moved to the nearby jail as they awaited the release of the four who were arrested. RELATED: Arrests at anti-pipeline protest call Vancouver police actions into question In February the Braided Warriors coordinated a protest in the lobbies of two insurance companies who are backing the Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension. That protest went on for three days before being disbanded by police on Feb. 19, where four people were arrested. Arrests at that time are under investigation for allegations of aggression and violence. The Braided Warriors said they would file complaints with the UN Human Rights Tribunal with regards to the treatment from police. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
One of Canada's top public health officials sought to reassure Canadians today that a recommendation from a federal vaccine advisory committee to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses is a sound one. Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months due to limited supplies. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said the advice is based on real-world data that shows doing so would lead to more people being protected from COVID-19 in a shorter time period. "This recommendation is based on clinical trial reports and emerging real-world evidence from around the world. Data shows that several weeks after being administered, first doses of vaccines provide highly effective protection against symptomatic disease, hospitalization and death," Njoo told a technical briefing today. Confusion over conflicting advice Njoo's comments appeared to be addressing the confusion created by the fact that NACI's recommendation conflicts with those issued by Health Canada when it granted regulatory approvals for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Regulatory documents provided by Health Canada upon approval of each vaccine state that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech should be taken three weeks after the first, the second Moderna shot should come four weeks after the first, and the second AstraZeneca dose should be delivered between four and 12 weeks after the first. All of those recommendations are in line with the product monograph provided by the manufacturers. Adding to the confusion, NACI recommended on Monday against giving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people 65 and older, although Health Canada has authorized it for use in adults of all ages. But Njoo said the discrepancies can be explained by the fact that Health Canada is a regulator and NACI is an advisory body made up of medical experts. "You have likely noticed that NACI's recommendations are sometimes different, possibly broader or narrower than the conditions of vaccine use that Health Canada has authorized. As the regulator, Health Canada authorizes each vaccine for use in Canada according to factors based on clinical trial evidence, whereas NACI bases its guidance on the available and evolving evidence in a real-world context, including the availability of other vaccines," Njoo said. "What we expect is that NACI recommendations will complement — not mirror — those of Health Canada." WATCH: Njoo comments on NACI recommendation to delay second COVID-19 vaccine doses The issue burst into the open on Monday when B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Some medical experts questioned that decision. Canada's chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, said doing so without proper clinical trials amounts to a "population level experiment." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., told the Washington Post that the science doesn't support delaying a second dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. He said there isn't enough evidence to determine how much protection is provided by one dose of those vaccines, and how long it lasts. Despite those warnings, several provinces followed Henry's lead and even more have indicated they intend to stretch the dosage interval. While it appeared to some at the time that Henry was moving faster than the science, Njoo said that NACI's experts briefed provincial medical officers of health over the weekend on the results of their analysis before releasing their recommendations publicly. NACI concluded that stretching the dosing interval to four months would allow up to 80 per cent of Canadians over the age of 16 to receive a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, without compromising vaccine effectiveness. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. As for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Njoo said it is safe and that evidence shows it provides protection against very serious disease and death in people of all ages. He said Health Canada has a rigorous scientific review process and only approves vaccines that meet high standards for safety, efficacy and quality. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said expert advice will continue to change as more data becomes available from ongoing mass vaccination campaigns, and she urged provinces and territories to consider recommendations and evidence from both bodies when making decisions about their vaccine strategies. "The messaging would be simpler if we had one set of data and we had one message and it never changed, but that's not what science does," said Sharma. Decision on Johnson and Johnson imminent At today's briefing, health officials also indicated that a regulatory decision on whether to approve Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is expected soon. "The review of the Johnson & Johnson submission is going very well, it's progressing, and we're expecting to have that completed and a decision in the next few days. I would say in the next seven days or so," said Sharma. The company has said its vaccine is 66 per cent effective at preventing moderate to severe illness in a global clinical trial, and much more effective — 85 per cent — against the most serious symptoms. Canada has agreed to purchase up to 38 million doses if it is approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in that country last Saturday. The approval of a fourth vaccine would give a significant boost to Canada's vaccine rollout. Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is widely seen as one of the easiest to administer because it requires only one dose and can be stored for long periods of time at regular refrigerator temperatures. Njoo said additional vaccines, coupled with the NACI recommendation on dosage intervals, could allow Canada to meet the goal of inoculating all adults who want a vaccine "several weeks" before the current target date of the end of September. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading Canada's COVID-19 vaccine logistics, said that while more vaccines would be good news, the current target remains the end of September.
It was promoted as a way help residents “reconnect” with their food and, in some ways, get back to nature. But a motion which would have looked into the feasibility of Aurora adopting a backyard hen program pilot project, one which would have allowed property owners to raise chickens and collect their own eggs, was scrambled on arrival last week. On a vote of 4 – 3, lawmakers defeated a motion from Councillor Rachel Gilliland which would have tasked staff to report back to Council by the end of next month on the feasibility of such an initiative and the implications any programs might have on the community. “It has been proven to work in other municipalities such as Toronto, Newmarket and Georgina,” said Councillor Gilliland, kicking off the debate. “Let’s find out why this worked. I was skeptical too at first, so I decided to do a little digging and came across this quote from Toronto City Staff [on their pilot] which said, ‘None of the predicted blights have materialized. The predicted chorus of neighbours [with] complaints, not a peep. There aren’t any complaints about noise or unsanitary conditions in any of these locations with registered hens. We have made a couple of educational visits about coop sizes, but everything seems to be going smoothly.” Making her pitch to colleagues, Councillor Gilliland said that hens are great for keeping pests such as mosquitos, ticks and fleas under control, help homeowners keep down unwanted vegetation and, of course, are organic fertilizers. “This is what led me to believe that raising chickens [for eggs] is something people can do in a healthy and safe way,” she said. “These urban backyard hens will produce sustainable, organic, non-GMO foods, offer an educational and therapeutic value for both kids and adults. It is not about raising roosters or chickens for meat.” Prior to the discussion itself, the motion received a boost from residents at large who submitted written delegations to Council supporting the initiative, including from Marc Mantha, a former resident of Newmarket, who said he saw the benefits of backyard hens firsthand. “It is wonderful how we’re reconnecting with food and healthy lifestyles,” he said. “People are gardening in record numbers and backyard hens enrich a progressive community. Pilot projects are the best path to due diligence and being able to observe and report firsthand a very manageable sampling. A pilot project also provides everyone the opportunity to learn and better understand backyard hens. It was a wonderful experience.” Aurora resident Miriam Klein Leiher expressed similar sentiments, adding that within online community discussion forums the interest level is high. “Many of us have done our research and feel Aurora would greatly benefit from hen coops in private backyards,” she said. “Many of our neighbouring towns and cities have successfully launched pilot projects in their backyards with great success. Myself and my family are not keen on factory farms. Urban hens are a more ecological answer to how we get our food to the table. Hens in the community bring citizens and families together as well. This year has been challenging and this will help my family start a wonderful life-changing project. We all want to do it. Plus, they make great little companions.” The Councillor’s motion received support from Councillors John Gallo and Wendy Gaertner who said it was worth exploring some of the positives. “I think it is a great idea,” said Councillor Gallo. “I am actually quite excited about it. The benefits to us are far and wide, especially for children and how much they can learn. There are many, many good reasons to do this.” Added Councillor Gaertner: “It doesn’t sound like [a feasibility] report would be onerous or a huge amount of time for staff to put together. I would like it to be on a public report what the findings are and then vote on it as a Council.” Others, however, disagreed and nixed the feasibility report before it was able to get off the ground. Councillor Harold Kim, for instance, said he did not question the merits of backyard hens, dubbing it a “noble cause” but he said he believed “the vast population of our Town are not ready and do not want chickens at this time.” “People are just not ready to live next to a house where their backyard has chickens running around,” he said. “Perhaps within a few years of public education and marketing and communication we will get people’s buy-in.” In Toronto, Newmarket and other communities that have put a similar program in place, the feasibility studies are already out there, he argued, and there is enough information to make a decision. “I don’t want to waste more time on studies. They are available. We either do this or we don’t,” he concluded. In stating his opposition, Councillor Michael Thompson said there are already pockets of the community, primarily in more rural areas, that are currently zoned for backyard hens, but he too said the feedback he had received since a hen program was first floated at Council this winter by resident Darryl Moore has been largely negative. “The conversations I have had with residents, I have simply said to them, ‘How would you feel if your neighbour put up a coop?’ The vast majority of the people I have spoken to don’t want it next to them,” he said. “Many of our [residents] don’t want to see it in their neighbourhood. I am cognizant of that. I am also concerned with the health risk. I have seen a number of different reports and studies with regards to health risks. The most relevant one I found for myself was put out by Public Health Ontario [which] talks about health risks associated with backyard chickens… we are living in the midst of a pandemic and even though everyone takes as much precaution as they can, there is still a risk associated with it. Based on all that I have read and looked at, I don’t see a report changing my mind.” Also opposed, but for a very different reason, was Councillor Sandra Humfryes who said that specific lot sizes would be required for backyard hens and, with that in mind, such a program would not be “inclusive” for the whole community. “They all said it is a great idea, but not beside my house,” she said, instead stating that emphasizing garden boxes and other means to grow food would be a better fit for Aurora. Similarly, in stating his opposition, Mayor Tom Mrakas cited the complaints the Town generally receives from abutting properties when community gardens are proposed. “I agree that a lot of people think it is a great idea, but not beside them. I think we will run into those issues,” she said. “Also, with the issues as far as how big of a yard you need, it wouldn’t be inclusive to everybody in our Town. The program wouldn’t be available to everyone. I think as Councillor Thompson mentioned, as we do have areas that do allow for hens…in a chicken coop, that we continue to look at those areas. Maybe we have staff report back to us on any findings from the areas that are allowed currently in our Town and if there is anything in those areas that can show us how things are happening, if there are chicken coops right now being utilized in those areas, and you can see the information that comes from that… I don’t think that there is anything that would come back in a report that would change my mind, so I won’t be in favour of asking staff to move forward in working on this and bringing us back a report.” Although it was clear by the end of the discussion the matter wouldn’t move forward, Councillor Gilliland said it was important for a report to look at “what is good for Aurora.” “The point is allowing people to [have] that option,” she said. “I don’t know who this vast majority is because I haven’t seen the vast majority [of communications cited by the rest of Council]. Part of the process in each municipality is for public consultation and I don’t take that lightly. If the public says, ‘That’s not what I want,’ I would like to listen to what the public has to say.” Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
PORTLAND, Ore. — Jean Andrade, an 88-year-old who lives alone, has been waiting for her COVID-19 vaccine since she became eligible under state guidelines nearly a month ago. She assumed her caseworker would contact her about getting one, especially after she spent nearly two days stuck in an electric recliner during a recent power outage. It was only after she saw a TV news report about competition for the limited supply of shots in Portland, Oregon, that she realized no one was scheduling her dose. A grocery delivery service for homebound older people eventually provided a flyer with vaccine information, and Andrade asked a helper who comes by for four hours a week to try to snag her an appointment. “I thought it would be a priority when you’re 88 years old and that someone would inform me," said Andrade, who has lived in the same house for 40 years and has no family members able to assist her. “You ask anybody else who's 88, 89, and don’t have anybody to help them, ask them what to do. Well, I’ve still got my brain, thank God. But I am very angry.” Older adults have top priority in COVID-19 immunization drives the world over right now, and hundreds of thousands of them are spending hours online, enlisting their children’s help and travelling hours to far-flung pharmacies in a desperate bid to secure a COVID-19 vaccine. But an untold number like Andrade are getting left behind, unseen, because they are too overwhelmed, too frail or too poor to fend for themselves. The urgency of reaching this vulnerable population before the nation's focus turns elsewhere is growing as more Americans in other age and priority groups become eligible for vaccines. With the clock ticking and many states extending shots to people as young as 55, nonprofits, churches and advocacy groups are scrambling to find isolated elders and get them inoculated before they have to compete with an even bigger pool — and are potentially forgotten about as vaccination campaigns move on. An extreme imbalance between vaccine supply and demand in almost every part of the United States makes securing a shot a gamble. In Oregon, Andrade is vying with as many as 750,000 residents age 65 and older, and demand is so high that appointments for the weekly allotment of doses in Portland are snapped up in less than an hour. On Monday, the city's inundated vaccine information call line shut down by 9 a.m., and online booking sites have crashed. Amid such frenzy, the vaccine rollout here and elsewhere has strongly favoured healthier seniors with resources “who are able to jump in their car at a moment’s notice and drive two hours” while more vulnerable older adults are overlooked, said James Stowe, the director of aging and adult services for an association of city and county governments in the bistate Kansas City area. "Why weren’t they the thrust of our efforts, the very core of what we wanted to do? Why didn’t it include this group from the very outset?” he said of the most vulnerable seniors. Some of the older adults who have not received vaccines yet are so disconnected they don't even know they are eligible. Others realize they qualify, but without internet service and often email accounts, they don't know how to make an appointment and can't get to one anyway — so they haven't tried. Still others have debilitating health issues that make leaving home an insurmountable task, or they are so terrified of exposure to COVID-19 that they'd rather go unvaccinated than risk venturing out in public to get a shot. In Kansas City, Missouri, 75-year-old Pat Brown knows she needs the vaccine because her asthma and diabetes put her at higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. But Brown hasn’t attempted to schedule an appointment and didn’t even know if they were being offered in her area yet; she says she is too overwhelmed. “I don’t have no car, and it’s hard for me to get around places. I just don’t like to go to clinics and have to wait because you have to wait so long,” Brown said, adding that she is in constant pain because of spinal arthritis. “I couldn’t do it. My back would give out...and I don’t have the money to take a cab.” The pandemic has also closed senior centres, libraries and churches — all places where older Americans might remain visible in their communities and get information about the vaccine. And some public health departments at first relied on mass emails and text messages to alert residents they were eligible, thereby missing huge chunks of the senior population. “Do you think everyone has internet access? Do you really think everyone has email?” Denise LaBuda, spokeswoman for the Council on Aging of Central Oregon, said. “We just don’t know where they all are. They have to raise their hand — and how do they raise their hand?” To counter access disparities, the Biden administration said Wednesday that it will partner with health insurance companies to help vulnerable older people get vaccinated for COVID-19. The goal is to get 2 million of the most at-risk seniors vaccinated soon, White House coronavirus special adviser Andy Slavitt said. Slavitt says insurers will use their networks to contact Medicare recipients with information about COVID-19 vaccines, answer questions, find and schedule appointments for first and second doses and co-ordinate transportation. The focus will be on reaching people in medically underserved areas. Non-profits, churches and advocates for older people have already spent weeks figuring out how to reach disadvantaged Americans over age 65 through a patchwork and grassroots effort that varies widely by location. Some are partnering with charities like Meals on Wheels to distribute vaccine information or grocery-delivery programs like the one which alerted Andrade. Others are mining library card rosters, senior centre membership lists and voter registration databases to find disconnected older people. Reaching out through organizations and faith groups that marginalized older Americans already trust is key, said Margaret Scharle, who developed a vaccine outreach toolkit for her Roman Catholic parish in Oregon. The “low-tech” approach, which other charities started using, relies on door-knocking, paper brochures and scripted phone calls to communicate with residents over 65. “Once you’ve been blocked so many times in trying to make an appointment, you might give up. So we are working as hard as we can to penetrate the most marginalized communities, to activate networks that are already existing,” said Scharle, who after the initial contact offers assistance with scheduling appointments and transportation. In Georgetown, South Carolina, a rural community where many of the 10,000 residents are the descendants of slaves, the local NAACP chapter is using its rolls from a November get-out-the-vote drive to get the oldest citizens out for the vaccine. Chapter president Marvin Neal said they are trying to reach 2,700 people to let them know they are eligible for a shot and to offer help booking appointments. Many of those individuals don’t have internet service or transportation, or suffer from medical issues like dementia, he said. “Some are not even aware that the vaccine is even in their community, that’s the challenge,” Neal said. “It’s like they’re just throwing up their hands in the air and hoping somebody steps in. Because all the ones I have talked to want the vaccine. I haven’t had one yet that didn’t say, ‘Sign me up.’” Outreach workers are also identifying holes in the system that prevent the most vulnerable seniors from accessing shots. For example, a dial-a-ride service in a rural part of Oregon doesn't take passengers beyond their town limits, meaning they can't get to their county's mass vaccination site. In the same region, only the largest city has a public bus system. Such obstacles underscore what outreach workers say is a huge demand for mobile vaccine clinics. Some local governments and non-profit organizations are partnering with paramedics and volunteer groups that specialize in disaster response to inoculate the hardest-to-reach seniors. In South Carolina, pharmacist Raymond Paschal purchased a van and a $3,000 refrigerator to start a mobile clinic for underserved areas, but his independent pharmacy in Georgetown can't get ahold of any vaccine. “There’s a lot of people falling through the cracks,” Paschal said. “These older people who have still not received their vaccine, they’re going to have all this younger generation they have to compete with. So we’ve got to get to these older people first.” ____ Hollingsworth reported from Kansas City, Missouri. Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia. Associated Press reporter Sara Cline in Portland, Oregon contributed to this report. Gillian Flaccus, Heather Hollingsworth And Russ Bynum, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Premier Iain Rankin says Nova Scotia should have enough COVID-19 vaccine to give all residents at least one shot by the end of June. Rankin told reporters today following his first cabinet meeting as premier that his estimate is based on new federal government guidelines about increasing the interval between first and second doses of vaccine. He says he will likely have more details about the province's plan at Friday's COVID-19 briefing. The province is to get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next week, which will complement Nova Scotia's vaccine supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health officials are also announcing that restrictions on restaurant operating hours and sporting events will be lifted in Halifax and its surrounding regions on Friday morning. Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today, all in the Halifax area. Two involve contacts of previously reported cases and the third is under investigation. The province has 29 active reported cases of the disease. Residents of long-term care homes in the Halifax area are still limited to receiving visits from two designated caregivers. Officials say the restrictions for long-term care residents will remain in place in the region until March 27. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Town of Magrath is the newest partner to team up with the recently created Ridge Utilities as a marketing associate. “Council wanted to explore innovative ways to support the long term financial sustainability of recreation in our community,” said Magrath CAO James Suffredine in a recent media release. Ridge Utilities and the village of Stirling have made a number of presentations to councils in the region about their new venture and plan to improve community sustainability in Southern Alberta. Magrath council is excited to join in this initiative, and Suffredine shares that “a partnership with Ridge Utilities allows us to create a new and incremental revenue stream beyond property taxes and user fees” (https://www.ridgeutilities.net/townofmagrath.html). Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Sherbrooke — Un petit marathon attend les restaurateurs de Sherbrooke d’ici leur ouverture, la semaine prochaine. Mais la joie et le soulagement sont bel et bien au rendez-vous, assure la propriétaire du restaurant Auguste, Anik Beaudoin. « C’est certain qu’on ne s’attendait pas à ce que ce soit bien d’avance quand on a vu comment ça fonctionnait depuis un bout. On se retrousse les manches et il faut accélérer tout ça, mais on est contents », indique celle qui prévoit ouvrir son restaurant de la rue Wellington Nord les 11, 12 et 13 mars. Les restaurateurs qui ouvrent leur salle à manger devront se plier à plusieurs règles : en plus de fixer la limite à deux adultes (pouvant être accompagnés de leurs enfants) par table, de tenir un registre et d’imposer la réservation obligatoire, ils devront s’assurer que les clients demeurent bel et bien dans une zone du même palier que l’Estrie. C’est surtout cette dernière consigne qui inquiète Mme Beaudoin. « Ça va être quelque chose à gérer, mais on le dit quand les gens réservent et je pense qu’ils sont assez respectueux pour comprendre les règles, alors ça devrait bien se passer. La seule crainte que j’ai, c’est qu’on prenne des réservations dans le vide, par exemple certains pourraient réserver et quand on va leur dire qu’ils doivent présenter une pièce d’identité, ils vont décider de ne pas se présenter tout simplement. » Mme Beaudoin rouvrira son établissement avec une plage horaire rétrécie. En attendant, elle devra planifier ses commandes rapidement et procéder à des embauches pour compléter sa brigade. « J’ai eu un départ en congé de maternité et deux réorientations, alors j’ai quand même perdu trois personnes depuis un an. Mais mon équipe a bien bien hâte! » s’exclame-t-elle. Interrogé mercredi sur la possibilité de faire basculer certaines régions au rouge à nouveau, François Legault a assuré qu’il s’agissait d’un « risque bien calculé » et qu’une marge de manœuvre était prévue en cas de propagation accélérée durant la semaine de relâche. Mme Beaudoin ne craint pas non plus de devoir refermer. « Je suis assez confiante que cette fois-ci soit la bonne, dit-elle. Les restaurants, honnêtement, ils font bien leur travail. On n’a jamais été une zone d’éclosion. Ça n’a jamais été nous le problème. On va continuer à faire notre beau travail et à appliquer nos règles. » Au centre-ville Comme coprésidente de l’Association des gens d’affaires du centre-ville de Sherbrooke, Mme Beaudoin témoigne de la même effervescence au cœur de la ville. « Tout le monde est un peu stressé et tout le monde trouve ça un peu rapide. Ça nous demande de nous revirer de bord assez rapidement, et certains devront comme moi embaucher, mais tout le monde est content de rouvrir. On est vraiment rendus là », rapporte-t-elle. La réouverture des restaurants devrait apporter un vent de fraicheur au quartier et aider à faire monter les ventes des détaillants déjà ouverts, mais pourquoi ne pas donner un coup de pouce final et permettre à nouveau le stationnement gratuit au centre-ville? suggère celle qui avait beaucoup apprécié cette initiative de la Ville durant le temps des Fêtes. Pour la suite, l’entrepreneure est remplie d’espoir malgré les grands travaux qui teinteront le centre-ville encore un bon moment ainsi que les multiples fermetures et déménagements. « On s’engage dans de gros travaux et on s’en va dans une période qui va brasser, mais on sait pertinemment que c’est pour le mieux. Tout le monde a le souci de se serrer les coudes. C’est assez impressionnant ce qui va se passer dans les prochains mois. Il ne faut pas juste voir les travaux et les problèmes que ça apporte. Ça fait des années et des années qu’on attend ça à Sherbrooke et ça fait des décennies que le centre-ville crie. Il doit recevoir de l’amour et ça passe par un peu de souffrance. Il y a des mesures d’atténuation avec la Ville et on est toujours en communication avec eux pour exprimer nos besoins pendant les travaux. » Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Efforts to ban applying Kentucky's death penalty to some people with severe mental illnesses ran into resistance Thursday, but the bill mustered just enough votes to be sent to the full state Senate. The measure was advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 vote, leaving it potentially one step away from being sent to the governor. But that final hurdle could be a formidable one in the Senate after the bill won 75-16 House passage this week. Republicans control both chambers. Afterward, the committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield, said the bill’s prospects in the Senate appeared to be “dimmer.” Westerfield, who supports the bill, put its chances of passing the Senate at “50-50,” adding: “I’m not as confident as I once was.” The measure would block use of the death penalty for people who, at the time of the offence, have a documented history of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder or delusional disorder. “This is not, despite all the rhetoric we’ve been hearing, going to do away with the death penalty," said Republican Rep. Chad McCoy, the bill's lead sponsor. "It is a very, very narrow bill.” The bill reflects a long-running goal of mental health advocates in Kentucky. The measure drew opposition from prosecutors Thursday. Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron objected to the bill's reference to a person's documented history of disorders. He said it's too “loose a term” that would cause more legal disputes in cases that already can drag on for years. The bill's critics worry that a decades-old diagnosis could prevent that person from being held accountable for a heinous crime later in life. Disorders listed in the bill are seen frequently in criminal cases, and defence attorneys could try to have the proposal applied to existing death row cases if the measure became law, Cohron said. “The odds of this not being challenged and litigated retroactively is zero,” he said. McCoy insisted the bill applies only apply to future cases where the death penalty might be considered. “I don’t think we could be more clear on the retroactivity,” McCoy told the committee. Offenders with a history of such disorders would still face severe punishment if the bill became law, he said. “This is not a decision of whether somebody’s not going to be tried or not going to be punished,” McCoy said. “They’re still going to get life in prison without parole.” ___ The legislation is House Bill 148. Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press
Spring break is less than two weeks away for most B.C. students and parents needing childcare will be happy to hear that many day camps are a go in Metro Vancouver for the upcoming school holiday. The dire reality of COVID-19 was coming to light during spring break last year, and when businesses were shut down and a public health emergency declared in mid-March, camps closed and families were left in the lurch. This year, Metro Vancouver camp organizers say everyone is more prepared and a range of activity options are available. Alison Cristall, recreation supervisor at Trout Lake Community Centre in East Vancouver, said nearly all community centres in the Lower Mainland are holding camps. She said all camps must follow strict WorkSafeBC safety plans that include staggered arrival times and designated entrances and exits. Parents will also be asked to fill out a daily health assessment for their children. Cristall said campers will be kept in pods all week and there will be one supervisor to every seven children, as opposed to past years when the ratio has been one to 10. Community centre camps are starting to fill up, but wait lists are available. Christine Pilkington, publisher of the blog Vancouver Mom, has a list of a dozen camp options on her site for families in the region to consider this spring that include sport, fine art and outdoor options. "There was pandemonium," said Pilkington, referring to spring break 2020. Now, children and parents are familiar with wearing masks and following safety protocols, she said — as are camp organizers who want to keep their businesses operating. Arts Umbrella, a non-profit organization that offers a range of arts classes at four locations in Vancouver and Surrey, still has spaces available and is one option profiled on Pilkington's blog. Online options Another option for children is to go to virtual camp this year. Paula Neuman, manager of Humane Education at the B.C. SPCA, said in past years the animal organization has hosted in-person camps but this year it will all be done online. Children aged 8-11 can be registered for week-long camps that will include animal meet-and-greets, guest speakers, virtual shelter tours and daily games and challenges. A one-day camp is also being offered on March 20 for older children, aged 11-14, who are considering a career involving animals. Financial assistance is available for children if cost is a barrier to participating in B.C. SPCA camps. Nueman said the animal non-profit is hoping to offer in-person camps again this summer. According to Cristall, online camps can be more affordable options in many cases. But she is looking forward to seeing children play together in-person. "You get to see that kids are kids," she told CBC. "It just normalizes things for them." LISTEN | CBC's Margaret Gallagher reports on 2021 spring break camps in Metro Vancouver:
This column is an opinion piece from Deborah Yedlin, a long-time CBC Calgary contributor who has worked as a columnist for both the Calgary Herald and the Globe and Mail and is the chancellor of the University of Calgary. The climate change dialogue continued in earnest Wednesday at the annual CERAWeek conference hosted by IHS Markit, with comments made by UN special envoy for climate action and finance Mark Carney, offering an optimistic perspective on the future of the oil and gas industry that is grounded in its past. Carney, who is also vice-chair of Brookfield Asset Management, said the sector has reinvented itself many times. It's easy to forget that, but it's more relevant than ever. In Canada, work in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin morphed from one that was homogenous — conventional oil and natural gas — to one that is now dominated by the oilsands and natural gas produced from tight formations. The United States has experienced a similar change, shifting from conventional production to the short-cycle shale phenomenon in both oil and natural gas. In both cases, technology changed the game. UN special envoy for climate action and finance Mark Carney says the oil and gas sector has reinvented itself many times.(Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press) And now technology will play a leading role in decreasing the carbon footprint of the sector, but it's going to need more policy support, clarity from regulators and assurances for the financial markets that the transition to a low-carbon economy is not going to strand assets. Carney's session — which included the International Energy Agency's executive director, Fatih Birol, and Thomas Gottstein, chief executive of Credit Suisse — took a macro view of the transition, which is critical because too often we get stuck within our own narrow lenses rather than opting for the wide-angle option. Think for a moment on this comment from Birol: that carbon emissions don't have a passport and that the bulk of emissions continue to be generated in emerging countries and that's where investment is needed. "All the voices are coming from the advanced economies … the international financial architecture needs to accelerate the flow of investment to those (emerging) countries … it's one of the blind spots in the climate debate," said Birol. Among the bigger unknowns are how the transition will be financed, the coordination by regulators in terms of climate-risk disclosure, the size and structure of the carbon offset market and carbon pricing. These questions — adequately addressed and striking the right balance — will contribute to predictability and transparency for companies, investors and regulators, and support the transition. As things stand today, there is much that needs to be determined. How prescriptive do policies need to be? What happens to existing infrastructure, such as coal-fired plants in India and China that still have years of useful life, or natural gas pipelines that have been transporting hydrocarbons? Is it a seamless shift to shipping hydrogen? 'All the voices are coming from the advanced economies … the international financial architecture needs to accelerate the flow of investment to those (emerging) countries … it's one of the blind spots in the climate debate,' said Fatih Birol, executive director International Energy Agency.(Pat Sullivan/Associated Press) While financial institutions such as Credit Suisse, which has committed $300 billion US to sustainable finance over the next 10 years, see themselves as playing a critical role, they face uncertainty in the context of consistency of disclosure, reporting regulations, industry standards and regulatory oversight. As pointed out by both Gottstein and Allison Herren Lee, the acting head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who spoke on Monday, there needs to be international alignment on rules and regulations and reporting requirements related to climate disclosure in order to understand both financial and systemic risk. The disclosure, said Herren Lee, must be reliable, standardized, relevant and comparable because the complexity of climate risk makes it difficult to build models using standard tools. Without that consistency of metrics, it's difficult for institutions to allocate and deploy capital, not to mention the challenge of financial markets to properly price risk. Finding consensus on all these issues will be a challenge, but clearly one that must be addressed if financial institutions and markets are going to support companies and governments engaged in addressing climate change and meeting net-zero targets. Another missing link is the importance of a robust and transparent carbon offset market. As Carney points out, the goal is to decrease absolute emissions, but there is a point where that has been achieved and an offset market can close the gap. What could that look like? And how big does it need to be? The size of the current market for offsets, said Carney, is $350 million per year, the price per tonne is inconsistently set and it's very fragmented. He estimates the size should be between $50 billion and $100 billion, which could reduce emissions by 21 gigatonnes by 2030, and be linked to carbon capture and storage and sustainable fuel production in order to generate carbon credits. Much like any exchange, the market is liquid, has spot and forward contracts, and is linked to verification of carbon credits and supply. Success in decreasing global emissions will depend on establishing common policies that set both steps and direction for achieving climate goals and emissions targets, while respecting inherent differences in countries and regions around the world. But it will also come from the energy sector's ability to reinvent itself, as it has done throughout history, and continue to be the engine that powers the global economy. This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ.
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
An animal tranquillizer called xylazine has been linked to several drug-related deaths in Saskatchewan over the past three weeks. It's a new phenomenon in the province. The provincial coroners office says four deaths since Feb. 14 have seen high levels of xylazine in combination with other drugs such as fentanyl, acetyle fentanyl and methamphetamine. "This is a fatal combination," chief coroner Clive Weighill said in a news release. "Anyone who uses street drugs like these is at a much higher risk of overdose, especially when they are combining drugs like these together." Also concerning is that naloxone, a common emergency treatment for opioid overdoses, is not effective on xylazine, the release said. Naloxone may reverse the effects of opioids that are present along with xylazine, however. Xylazine is typically used by veterinarians to sedate large animals. Its effects include central nervous system depression, blurred vision, disorientation, dizziness and drowsiness. So far this year, there have been 10 confirmed and 65 suspected overdose deaths in Saskatchewan.
After several false starts, Marble Mountain is open for the season — an unusual one that is not only late starting but also sternly warns ski enthusiasts on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula to stay away. People took to the slopes Thursday, with many remarking the conditions were great. "I'm so excited I barely slept last night," said Marble Mountain operations manager Richard Wells. "We have world-class skiing right now.… It puts a smile on your face." Wells says there about 15 centimetres of fresh snow fell within the last 24 hours, on top of the 90 centimetres that fell in recent days. There are many changes, however. Visitors need to wear masks at the base of the mountain and while waiting in line for the lifts. The day lodge is open for bathroom facilities only and people have to wear masks inside. Rental and repair service is suspended, and so is food and beverage. People are urged to bring their own lunch and leave it in their car. Getting to the top of the hill follows this motto: "Live Together = Ride Together," according to the rules listed by Marble Mountain on its Twitter account. Joey Pearce and Dustin Parsons, both from Pasadena, said Day 1 has been a smashing success. "There's so much fresh snow it's unbelievable," said Pearce. "It feels safe. I'm happy that the hill is open and I'm happy that the situation is the way that it is." Joey Pearce and Dustin Parsons of Pasadena say Day 1 of the Marble Mountain ski season has been epic.(Colleen Connors/CBC) Parsons agrees. "I don't know if there will be another day like this all year," he said. Please, stay away if you're from the Avalon Another major difference is that Wells is imploring people who live on the Avalon Peninsula, which remains in Alert Level 5, to stay away for now. "Perhaps now is not the best time to travel to Marble Mountain. We welcome you when the time is right, but it has to be safe to do so, and I think most of us can agree that right now it is not safe to do so and we would, please, highly recommend, keep the rest of us safe and respect what the public health has put in place here," Wells told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning ahead of Thursday's opening. Several passes that were purchased ended up being refunded because they were bought by people on the Avalon. Richard Wells, Marble Mountain operations manager, is ecstatic the ski season is finally underway. (Colleen Connors/CBC) Marble Mountain is able to tell a customer's location once a pass is bought with a credit card. Wells is imploring people to not break the rules. "Don't be the reason we lose our season," he said. No walk-up ski passes are being sold, and there is an outdoor ticket window so people don't have to congregate inside to get their pass. As for White Hills in Clarenville, the board of directors will decide on March 12 if the resort will open. That's the day Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of health is expected to announce whether the Avalon will move out of Alert Level 5. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
YELLOWKNIFE — Residents of the Northwest Territories who are from Norman Wells and Fort Simpson can now self-isolate at home if they leave the territory. A previous public-health order required anyone who left N.W.T. to isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River or Inuvik. The territory's chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, says the order was changed because Norman Wells and Fort Simpson both have a wastewater surveillance program to test for COVID-19. The two communities also have adequate medical resources to support new infections. Kandola says only residents of Normal Wells and Fort Simpson will be allowed to self-isolate there. They must also submit a self-isolation plan to the territory's public-health office. There are currently two active cases of COVID-19 in the territory. The Canadian Press
BOSTON — Distance running, traditionally one of the world's most genteel sports, has been roiled by an ugly mid-pandemic squabble over who should get a shot at a coveted Boston Marathon medal. Rival camps in the running world began snapping at each other's heels this week. It began after the Boston Athletic Association, which still hopes to hold a truncated in-person edition of the planet's most prestigious footrace in October, said it will award medals to up to 70,000 athletes if they go the distance wherever they are. Practically within minutes of the BAA's announcement greatly expanding its virtual version of the race, a boisterous social media maelstrom ensued. On one side: Runners who've spent years training to qualify to run the real thing, including some who complain that mailing medals to people who run the 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometres) in Dallas or Denver will cheapen the iconic Boston experience. “A dagger through the heart to someone who has worked hard to finally earn the qualifying standard,” one runner, Mark Howard of Salisbury, North Carolina, groused on Twitter. On the other: Pretty much everyone else, including the plodding masses and runners who raise millions for charities, who counter that anything that helps the 125-year-old marathon survive the COVID-19 crisis is worthwhile. “A virtual Boston race that invites everyone is a reason to celebrate,” said Maria Arana, a marathoner and coach in Phoenix. “It in no way takes away from my personal Boston Marathon experience or anyone else’s.” The bickering seems to have caught many off-guard, if only because road racing has long had a reputation as a kind and egalitarian sport. It's one of the few disciplines where ordinary amateurs compete in real time on the same course as elite professionals, and where trash-talking is rare. As four-time Boston champion Bill Rodgers famously said: “Running is a sport where everyone gets along.” A notable exception to that gentility was the 1967 race, when race director Jock Semple ran after Kathrine Switzer — the first woman to run with an official bib number — and tried unsuccessfully to pull her off the course. It also comes as the Boston Marathon and other big-city races are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic and looking for creative ways to keep runners engaged online. The BAA put on a virtual version of the marathon last year, after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to first postpone its usual April running to September, and then cancel in-person racing altogether. But that was limited to athletes who had already qualified to race or had registered as charity runners. This time, the first 70,000 people aged 18 or older who sign up and pay a fee will be able to earn a finisher's medal simply by covering the classic distance wherever they happen to be. They don't even need to run — they can walk. “For the first time in our history, most everyone will have the opportunity to earn a Unicorn finisher’s medal,” BAA president and CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement. Grilk said the in-person race, if it comes off as scheduled on Oct. 11, will have a reduced field to help keep athletes and spectators safe. Typically the Boston field is capped at around 30,000; the BAA hasn't said how much smaller it will be this autumn. Josh Sitzer, a San Francisco runner who's qualified for the Boston Marathon three times, initially was among those who trashed the idea of giving out 70,000 medals as “a blatant money grab.” “Respect yourself and the game. Don’t do Boston unless you earn it,” he tweeted. Then he had a change of heart, tweeting: “I was wrong. It's not the same as the actual Boston Marathon, and it doesn't devalue” the experience of those who meet strict qualifying standards for a chance to line up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. It's been a bad look, acknowledges Erin Strout, who covers the sport for WomensRunning.com. “If there ever was a time to put our elitism and cynicism aside, it’s now,” she wrote in an opinion piece. “Let’s welcome each other in, cheer each other on, and seize the opportunity to bring back running bigger, better, and more inclusive than it was before.” ___ This story has been corrected to delete a reference to a $70 entry fee for the virtual marathon; organizers say they haven't yet decided on entry fees. ___ Follow AP New England editor Bill Kole on Twitter at http://twitter.com/billkole. William J. Kole, The Associated Press
Scientists have spotted a planet orbiting a star relatively near our solar system that may offer a prime opportunity to study the atmosphere of a rocky Earth-like alien world - the type of research that could aid the hunt for extraterrestrial life. The researchers said on Thursday the planet, called Gliese 486 b and classified as a 'super-Earth,' is not itself a promising candidate as a refuge for life. But its proximity to Earth and its physical traits make it well suited for a study of its atmosphere with the next generation of space-borne and ground-based telescopes, starting with the James Webb Space Telescope that NASA has slated for an October launch.