Raptors Over Everything host William Lou breaks down Toronto's 126-124 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Raptors Over Everything host William Lou breaks down Toronto's 126-124 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
Le bilan lavallois pointe désormais à 739 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une baisse de 39 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. On décompte toutefois 66 nouveaux cas confirmés en date du 23 février. Ils s'ajoutent au total lavallois et portent celui à 24 212 cas confirmés depuis le début de la pandémie. Le nombre de décès augmente à 866 (+2). Parmi les personnes porteuses du virus, 34 sont hospitalisées, dont 13 aux soins intensifs. Le CISSS de Laval confirme que 15 employés de son réseau sont présentement absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Il y a maintenant trois secteurs de l'île Jésus qui comptent moins de 100 cas actifs sur leur territoire respectif. Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac (-10) rejoint Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (-7) et Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose (-3). Les trois secteurs ont respectivement 95, 86 et 96 cas actifs. Ce dernier présente d'ailleurs le plus bas taux d'infection du territoire avec 127 cas actifs par 100 000 habitants. Ce sont toutefois les secteurs Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides (-15) et Chomedey (-11) qui présentent les baisses les plus importantes du jour. De son côté, Vimont/Auteuil est le seul en augmentation avec sept nouvelles personnes porteuses du virus, ce qui porte son total à 120 cas actifs. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 48 cas jusqu’ici, dont 5 actifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
On Tuesday the maintenance supervisor at Riverview Gardens woke up excited as Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health woke up “pumped” and ready to go. Dr. David Colby inoculated Rick Walker with the COVID-19 vaccine at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre at 9:30 a.m. It was the first vaccine given to a local person that is not a long-term care resident and it is also the first Pfizer vaccine to be issued locally. “It’s like a train coming down the tracks. It (COVID) is going to come to you sooner or later,” Walker said. “I am excited to be a part of the solution honestly.” Chatham-Kent hopefully saw the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic when long-term care residents got their first doses of the Moderna vaccine in late January. Second doses for those residents started Monday. Now all staff in long-term care homes and the primary caregivers of its residents are able to receive their immunization. Riverview Gardens staff and caregivers were the first up, with more than 300 doses expected to be doled out. “This is an absolute milestone. This is ground zero,” Colby said. Walker said he would encourage all other Chatham-Kent residents to get the vaccine. “You always have (COVID) in the back of your mind. But this is the solution where we can get to the end of this and I firmly believe that.” “Who would have ever guessed that when we were celebrating New Year’s in 2020 what was to lie ahead of us? And here we are. It’s time to rid Chatham-Kent of this pestilence, it's the way to do it,” Colby said of getting vaccinated. Chatham-Kent reported 18 active cases Tuesday after five recoveries and one new case were reported on Tuesday morning. Fairfield Park long-term care home in Wallaceburg has one active case of COVID-19 among its residents and one active case among staff left active. The cumulative total of cases for Fairfield sits at 100 and now new ones were reported this week. The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance outbreak in the Medicine Unit remains active with 24 cumulative cases. Two patients are still in the hospital with the virus. Four staff are off work after testing positive for COVID-19, but not all are related to the outbreak. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
The weather-related impacts of climate change will increasingly threaten critical infrastructure in the future. Shifting electricity grids towards microgrids could help.
WASHINGTON — Security officials testifying at Congress' first hearing on the deadly siege of the Capitol cast blame and pointed fingers on Tuesday but also acknowledged they were woefully unprepared for the violence. Senators drilled down on the stunning security failure and missed warning signs as rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, in a misguided attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's election. Five people died in the attack, including a Capitol Police officer. The security officials lost their jobs, and Trump was impeached by the House on a charge of inciting the insurrection, the deadliest attack on Congress in 200 years. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Senate. Here are some takeaways from the testimony: FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE Intelligence warnings of an armed uprising by extremist groups heading to the Capitol didn't rise to the level of alarm — or even get passed up the chain of command — in time for the Jan. 6 attack. Crucially, a key warning flare from the FBI field office in Norfolk, Virginia, of a “war” on the Capitol was sent the night before to the Capitol Police's intelligence division. But then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified that he only learned about it the day before Tuesday's hearing. Instead, Sund said he was bracing for demonstrations on par with other armed protests by mobs of Trump’s supporters in the nation's capital in November and December after the presidential election. “No entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a co-ordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists,” he testified in written remarks about a conference call the day before the attack. The Democratic chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, said, “There was a failure to take this threat more seriously.” HE SAID, HE SAID As hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol, breaking into the iconic building's windows and doors, sometimes in hand-to-hand combat with police, there are conflicting accounts from the security officials over what happened next. Sund, who had raised the idea of calling on the National Guard for backup days earlier, specifically recounted a 1:09 p.m. phone call he made to the then-sergeant-at-arms of the House, Paul Irving, his superior, requesting National Guard troops. Sund said he was told they would run it up the chain of command . Irving said he has no recollection of the conversation at that time and instead recalls a conversation nearly 20 minutes later. He said the 1:09 p.m. call does not show up on his cellphone log. As the riot escalated, Sund was “pleading” with Army officials for Guard troops in another phone call, testified Robert Contee III, the acting chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers had arrived for backup. Contee said he was “stunned” at the delayed response from the military. Defence Department officials have said they offered National Guard troops days earlier but were rebuffed. Pentagon officials are scheduled to testify to the Senate next week. COMMON FACTS: ‘A PLANNED INSURRECTION’ At the start of the hearing, coming 10 days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate on the impeachment charge of inciting the insurrection, some common facts were agreed to. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the chair of the Rules Committee, asked the security officials if there was any doubt the riot was a planned attack and carried out by white nationalist and extremist groups. None of the witnesses disputed the characterization of the facts of Jan. 6. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin read an alternative account, of mostly peaceful protesters festive that day, that he encouraged colleagues to consider. But in closing, Klobuchar restated the testimony: “There was clear agreement this was a planned insurrection.” ONE OFFICER'S PERSONAL STORY The hearing opened with Capitol Police Capt. Carneysha Mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the force, delivering a compelling personal account of being called at home that day as she was spending time with her 10-year-old before the start of her shift. She rushed to the Capitol only to find “the worst of the worst” scene of her career. A former Army veteran, she recounted the deadly mayhem, fending off rioters inside the building’s stately Rotunda, inhaling gas and suffering chemical burns to her face she said still have not healed. Her Fitbit recorded four hours of sustained activity, she said. The next night and following day she spent at the hospital consoling the family of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the attack. “As an American, and as an Army veteran, it’s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens,” Mendoza told the senators. TRUMP'S SHADOW The former president was hardly a presence at the first hearing. Instead, senators largely set aside their sharply partisan ways to drill down on the facts of what happened that day — on how to prevent it from happening again. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., pointedly asked for the name of the commander in chief of the armed forces that day who was ultimately responsible for the military and security of the country. That drew out the former president's name. Among the senators on the panels are two of Trump's staunch allies who led the effort to overturn Biden's election victory — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. ___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
French antitrust investigators have accused Alphabet Inc's Google of failing to comply with the state competition authority's orders on how to conduct negotiations with news publishers over copyright, two sources who read the investigators' report said. In the 93-page report, known as a statement of objections, the investigators wrote that Google's failure to comply was of an exceptionally serious nature, the sources said. This comes amid complaints by French news publishers that Google failed to hold talks with them in good faith to find an agreement.
MONTREAL — Bombardier says it has been the target of a cybersecurity breach that compromised confidential information related to its employees, customers and suppliers. Hackers gained access to the data by exploiting a vulnerability in a third-party file transfer application, Bombardier said in a news release. The breach affected approximately 130 employees based in Costa Rica, the company says. Bombardier did not specify when the incident occurred, saying only that it happened recently. The company says it was not specifically targeted and the vulnerability affected multiple organizations using the software. Bombardier says it has been contacting customers and other external stakeholders whose data was potentially compromised. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B) The Canadian Press
A seemingly sharp decline of global COVID-19 cases has ignited exuberance among some infectious disease doctors and epidemiologists, even if they're not sure what exactly is causing that downward spike. Charts and graphs depicting the COVID burden among most countries, including Canada and the United States, are showing steep dives from all-time highs just weeks ago. Experts say a combination of factors is likely at play in the virus's apparent decline, including a seasonal aspect to SARS-CoV-2, some level of herd immunity in certain places, and the impact of lockdowns and our own behaviours. That the drop is happening now, amid the threat of more transmissible variants, seems a little confounding though, says Winnipeg-based epidemiologist Cynthia Carr. "That is the really interesting part about this," she said. "We know these variants spread much faster and we've seen them becoming more dominant, but the numbers still aren't spiking the way we might have anticipated." Carr says the variants of concern — those first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil — have been found in multiple countries and are quickly overtaking former strains in some places. In Berlin, for example, she notes the variant first detected in the U.K. is accounting for 20 per cent of new cases, up from 6 per cent two weeks ago. Carr suspects part of the reason for a lack of rising cases might be because governments have gotten better at setting public health guidance over the last year, and people have gotten better at adhering to them. But while the situation appears to be improving, Carr warns "we can't rest on our laurels now." "Once (the variants) account for 90, 100 per cent of all infections ... we could really see that escalation," she said. Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician in Mississauga, Ont., agrees people shouldn't assume the pandemic is over because global cases are dropping. But the worldwide decrease is a positive development that shouldn't be overlooked, he added. Chakrabarti says there are likely multiple reasons for the decline, with some countries' situations explained easier than others. Inoculation efforts might be credited in Israel, for example, where 87 per cent of the population has been given at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Countries like Canada meanwhile, which were mostly locked down over the last six weeks, can point to restrictions and limited contacts as a plausible reason for their COVID decline. More than one factor could be working within different regions too, Chakrabarti added. And a possible seasonal aspect to the COVID virus may be an overarching theme. Infections from certain viruses tend to peak once per season before tailing off naturally, Chakrabarti says, like influenza, which usually spikes between November and January. Other coronaviruses have followed a similar pattern. "Seasonality means that (viruses) get cycled at some point during the season," he said. "We don't know if that's 100 per cent the case with COVID. But it could be." While the timing of Canada's first COVID wave last spring would seem to go against the notion of seasonality, we weren't exposed to large quantities of the virus until March, so it didn't have a chance to circulate earlier, explains Chakrabarti. Parts of the U.S. may also be dealing with some level of herd immunity brought on by natural infection, Chakrabarti says, which could simplify, but not fully explain, their recent case drop. While exact numbers of total COVID infections are hard to gauge, Chakrabarti estimates undetected cases could be five to 10 times higher than reported cases, either because people were truly asymptomatic or had such minor symptoms that they never got tested. "If you have a significant chunk of people who have been infected and have, maybe not necessarily full immunity but some degree of immunity, at the very least that should slow outbreaks," Chakrabarti said. There are problems with the notion of herd immunity, however. Dr. Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto, says while experts believe people with past COVID infections may have some protection against the variants first detected in the U.K. and South Africa, that may not be the case with the one first found in Brazil. Jha points out that not all countries are experiencing decreases in COVID cases — Brazil is one area seeing either steady rates or possible increases — and he worries that labelling herd immunity as a reason for case decline may be dangerous. "We don't know what herd immunity actually means," he said. "It's a theory that at a certain number of people infected, the virus just runs out of customers. But we have very little basis to understand what that level is." Jha says the potential reasons for the global decline are only theoretical right now. "No one really has a clear sense of why the cases are dropping," he said. "So I think one needs to be very cautious when talking about plausible explanations." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Grey County has adopted a land acknowledgement statement after consulting local communities and looking at the use of statements in other municipalities. A land acknowledgement should be sincere and meaningful and provide a connection to history and to those First Nations and Metis who are living in the area now, the clerk said in presenting a report to county council. She said that it’s important to consider how to use the acknowledgement so that it remains meaningful, and continues to build connections with local First Nations people. There are supporting practices at the county addressing involvement of Indigenous Peoples, she said, such as required consultation and also having an indigenous-led component of social services budget. When it is possible to gather, an in-person ceremony will take place with representatives from Indigenous Peoples. Suggested times for use are inaugural council meetings of the county and municipalities, special events and on agendas where matters impact on land and on native issues. County Councillor Rob Potter of Blue Mountains said the statement can remain meaning when used more often, as they do in his municipality. “We consider it very meaningful and that’s why we have it at the beginning of every meeting,” he said. “I’m not sure how we would make it more meaningful by not using it as often.” “It’s simply acknowledging truth,” he said. Southgate Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne, who made the motion, said of the Grey County acknowledgement: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” Wording of the acknowledgement: “We acknowledge with respect, the history, spirituality, and culture of the Anishinaabek, Six Nations of the Grand River, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat-Wyandot-Wyandotte peoples on whose traditional territories we gather and whose ancestors signed Treaties with our ancestors. We recognize also, the Metis and Inuit whose ancestors shared this land and these waters. May we all, as Treaty People, live with respect on this land, and live in peace and friendship with all its diverse peoples.” M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
(Jose Cabezas/Reuters - image credit) Iranian authorities committed multiple violations of human rights and international law in the lead-up to and aftermath of the destruction of Ukranian International Airlines Flight PS752, according to the results of a damning investigation by two United Nations experts. Shortly after taking off from a Tehran airport on Jan. 8, 2020, the plane was shot down by two surface-to-air missiles launched by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The attack killed all 176 passengers and crew members aboard, including 138 people with ties to Canada. Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, released today the results of a six-month investigation into the event that call into question the findings of the official Iranian investigation. Callamard concluded that Iran violated the "right to life" of those 176 people by resorting to lethal force and failing to take proper precautions while allowing military units to operate so closely to civilian aircraft — at a time when the country was experiencing heightened military tensions with the U.S. Callamard also said the rights of many of the victims' family members were violated when they were denied access to the crash site and subjected to harassment by Iranian authorities for speaking out. "As a result of these systematic violations and failures by the Iranian authorities to meet their human rights obligations, 176 lives were lost and many more were harmed as a result of what happened after the strike," said Callamard during a virtual press conference today. "The families of the victims and, indeed, Iranian society ... are left without the answers they deserve. They are left churning over and over again in their minds: how could this have happened?" WATCH | UN experts says Iran broke international law after downing of Flight 752: Callamard faulted Iran for failing to close its airspace even though there was a possibility of a U.S. attack, saying this amounted to a "failure to protect" under international human rights law. The Iranian military was on high alert at the time of the incident because of the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike five days earlier, and a subsequent retaliatory attack by Iran on U.S. bases in neighbouring Iraq. Callamard said the apparent lack of co-ordination between civilian air authorities and Iranian military units — which had moved a number of anti-aircraft guns into the area near the airport — revealed a deep failure of the chain of command in both. Inconsistencies in Iranian investigation An Iranian investigation found that the IRGC military personnel who launched the missiles mistook the civilian aircraft for an incoming U.S. missile. But Callamard said the Iranian investigation did not meet international standards. In December, she sent a letter to the Iranian government detailing her observations and posing questions about the missile strike. Iran has yet to respond to the letter, which was made public today. Callamard's letter describes a number of inconsistencies she said raise questions about the official account: The Iranian investigation said a military commander launched both missiles at the plane without proper authorization. Callamard wrote that the investigation failed to explain why military personnel wouldn't be informed that the plane was set to take off. Iran alleged an error in the alignment of the mobile missile unit contributed to the mistaken targeting of the plane. Callamard said Iran hasn't properly explained how the radar miscalibration occurred, how it led to the targeting of the aircraft, and why it wasn't detected. Callamard said Iran's investigation didn't explain why standard procedures for evaluating a potential target weren't followed by IRGC military personnel — such as monitoring altitude, climb, descent rate or airspeed to evaluate the target's size, or checking the target visually. Callamard said Iran hasn't properly explained why other planes took off without incident that night. The IRGC Aerospace Force Commander has said the military unit had only 10 seconds to decide to whether to fire. Callamard said her investigation showed the unit had at least a 45 seconds to evaluate the target. Callamard said while she did not find any concrete evidence that the plane was shot down intentionally, the Iranian investigation had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't targeted. "The inconsistencies in the official explanation and the reckless nature of the mistakes have led many, including myself, to question whether the downing of Flight PS752 was intentional," she said. "The information released thus far makes it impossible to answer many basic questions and clarify conjectures. Without answers, suspicion that civilians were intentionally targeted will remain." Callamard told CBC News by email her investigation included reviewing all of the available documentation originating in Iran, reviewing technical and military information about the missile units, interviewing a large number of radar and military experts, and analyzing all the information against a legal framework. UN special rapporteur Agnès Callamard said the Iranian investigation into the downing of Flight PS752 didn't meet international standards. Questions of credibility Canada has raised questions about Iran's credibility regarding the PS752 investigation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's special adviser on the file, Ralph Goodale, has said Iran's pattern of behaviour has convinced Ottawa it can't trust its version of events. In December, Goodale issued a report saying that Iran should not be left in charge of the investigation since its military caused the deadly crash in the first place. Canada also has created a team, led by a former CSIS director, to try to piece together the sequence of events — despite having no access to the crash site, the evidence gathered by Iranian authorities, witnesses or the accused. Payam Akhavan, a former UN prosecutor at The Hague, told CBC News that the UN report corroborates many of Goodale's concerns. He said the fact that that a UN investigator for arbitrary executions pursued an investigation into Flight PS752 is quite significant. "Typically, when we're talking about arbitrary or extrajudicial executions — we're talking about someone being lined up and shot and executed," said Akhavan. "The mere fact that the special rapporteur has pursued this investigation signals her preliminary view that ... the steps taken resulting in its destruction represent a situation where death was foreseeable and preventable." Akhavan said the report will likely be tabled with the UN Human Rights Council and could be used in the future as the foundation of a human rights resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly or as evidence in international legal proceedings. Hamed Esmaeilion, who lost his wife and daughter, on Flight PS752, said the UN report shows the importance of the case. "I think it's a turning point," said Esmaeilion, who has become a spokesperson for victims' families in Canada. WATCH | Goodale says Iran should not be investigating Flight 752 crash: He said it's now time for the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN, and the five countries that lost citizens to take action. He said the families want the case taken to the International Court of Justice. "We're frustrated," he said. "We've been waiting for reaction. We want to see words turn into action. We're alive and we want to see truth and justice one day." Following the report's release, Goodale told CBC News the Canadian government would review the report carefully. He said that while the UN process is separate from Canada's examination, it raised many of the same unanswered questions as the ongoing Canadian one. "If Iran wishes to provide solace to the grieving families and gain credibility in the international community, it is incumbent upon them to fully answer the probing question the world is asking and to provide the hard evidence upon which those answers are based," Goodale wrote in an email.
REGINA — Eleven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, silence fills Regina's airport. Empty check-in counters line one side of the terminal while the odd employee moves behind reception along a row of vehicle rental desks. There's no one on the staircase passengers use upon arriving in Saskatchewan's capital city. The number of flights scheduled to land on Monday: four. “It’s almost like a ghost town," said James Bogusz, CEO and president of the Regina Airport Authority. Canada's aviation industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, because of federal travel restrictions and public-health advice urging would-be travellers to stay home. Bogusz said he's concerned that any comeback in air travel could be hampered in Regina by service reductions to air-traffic control. Nav Canada, the non-profit body that runs the country's civil air navigation service, is reviewing airport towers in Regina and six other small Canadian cities. That has triggered concerns from local leaders about the effect on their airports and community businesses. “I don’t want a small town," said Bogusz. "I want my mid-size city airport back." The other airport towers under review are in St-Jean, Que., Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Whitehorse, Yukon. At the heart of each review is whether air traffic at the airports warrants having a control tower as opposed to an advisory service for pilots. "We have to operate the right service, at the right place, at the right time," said Jonathan Bagg, Nav Canada's director of stakeholder and industry relations. "The COVID-19 pandemic does give us additional stimulus because of the financial environment; however, the studies are warranted regardless of COVID-19." He explained that an air traffic controller provides instructions to pilots during times including takeoff; an advisory service offers guidance through information that includes weather and runway conditions Bagg said the reviews will not compromise safety and Nav Canada is looking at air traffic numbers at the airports before the pandemic. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens wants his city off the list because of its proximity to Detroit, which makes airspace more complicated. Dilkens, who also chairs the airport's board, questions how losing the airport's tower would affect attracting new airlines and routes. "Anything that causes them an additional level of concern that makes us less competitive — that’s our economic concern.” WestJet has said control towers don't influence its operations. Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said losing towers "would have an impact on overall efficiencies as airline operations become significantly more complex." She cited possible delays at non-controlled sites and the need for additional fuel to cover delays or diversions to other airports. "These inefficiency factors all increase operating costs and can affect the overall commercial viability of routes." RJ Steenstra, president and CEO of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, said closing its tower could affect future efforts to diversify tourism in the region. "German charter carriers will not fly to an airport that doesn’t have a tower," he said. “When so much of the industry is in flux, it’s not a good time to make a decision like this." Bagg said Nav Canada hopes to present by spring its recommendations for the seven towers to Transport Canada, which must give final approval. Six premiers have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to delay a decision until after COVID-19 is under control enough so travel restrictions can be lifted. In a statement, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Transport Canada would do its own safety review of any proposed changes. Dilkens said it would be a mistake for Ottawa to ignore economic implications. The government has spent million of dollars improving Windsor's airport. Notices about layoffs were issued to air traffic controllers last month, raising concerns that closures have already been decided. "This has eroded our trust in the process," said Bogusz. Bagg said letters were sent because the collective agreement requires employees be notified that their jobs may be at risk. The layoffs are subject to the outcome of the reviews. The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, which represents air traffic controllers, has said about 60 jobs would disappear if the seven towers were closed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2020 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
A video obtained by Global News has gone viral showing the busy inside of a HomeSense in Vaughan, Ont. Taken on the first day York Region re-opened retail at 50 per cent capacity, the apparent lack of social distancing in the store has led to physicians voicing their concerns, and warnings over the province’s regional approach to relaxing restrictions. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
VANCOUVER — Federal government proposals to relax penalties for personal drug possession are a positive step forward for Vancouver's former drug czar, but they're too small to address skyrocketing overdose deaths. Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition at Simon Fraser University, introduced the city's drug strategy in the 1990s and the same principles guide the federal approach. Today, he says that strategy isn't enough and governments also need to adopt policy that matches the scale of the emergency. "Our policy framework has created a monster, really, which is a drug market laced with illegal fentanyl and its analogues," MacPherson said in an interview. "It's a terrible example of a catastrophic failure of public policy, in my mind, which urgently needs to be modernized." Last week, the federal government introduced a bill that would repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences and some gun-related crimes that it said unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders. The bill would allow for greater use of conditional sentences, such as counselling or treatment for people who do not pose a threat to public safety. It would also require police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures for cases of simple drug possession, including diversion to addiction-treatment programs. The proposed legislation comes after British Columbia recorded 1,716 overdose deaths in 2020, the highest ever in a single year. While a toxic drug supply has taken lives across the country, its toll has been most concentrated in B.C., making it home to some of Canada's most vocal advocates for change. MacPherson said there are parallels with Canada's first severe overdose crisis in the late-1990s. It was compounded by an HIV crisis among injection drug users in B.C. and a health emergency was declared in 1997, although the death rate didn't approach that seen today, MacPherson said. "We were sort of global pariahs. What was happening in such a good country as Canada that so many people could die of overdose deaths in British Columbia?" It has been almost 20 years since Vancouver adopted the so-called Four Pillars drug strategy that MacPherson introduced as North America's first drug policy co-ordinator. The strategy focuses on prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement. It originated in Europe and has also been used by Ottawa. Four Pillars is an effective way to mobilize the community and co-ordinate response from three levels of government, but the missing piece is policy, MacPherson said. There's an urgent need to decriminalize possession, concentrate enforcement on the illicit supply of drugs, regulate recovery facilities, reduce harm through a safe pharmaceutical supply, and invest in evidence-based treatment, he said. Eliminating minimum penalties for possession is positive but it's an example of incremental change, like adding 100 new treatment beds when the scale of the problem is much bigger, he added. "My reflection when we went to study the European examples was they had a disaster on their hands too. But at the time, in the '80s, they actually mustered the strength ... to respond in a way that was proportional to the problem," he said. At the same time that B.C. has suffered the worst of the crisis, it's also positioned to be the seed of change, he said. MacPherson said he's hopeful Ottawa will entertain requests from Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Premier John Horgan for exemptions that would allow decriminalization locally. "We can't expect the same old same old to get us out of this," said MacPherson. Leslie McBain of Moms Stop the Harm said the most troubling part of the federal government's approach on drug offence penalties would be the discretion it leaves to police and judges over charges and consequences. "Are police and judges skilled enough and knowledgeable enough in addiction?" asked McBain, who is based in B.C. and has been a longtime advocate of drug policy change. McBain said she worries that discretionary power could see people with a health problem funneled into the criminal justice system unnecessarily, increasing the harm they may face as well as the stigmatization. "It also drives people into the shadows with their drug use, especially marginalized people," she said. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said its members are pleased the proposed legislation supports police discretion and the notion that resources should target organized crime groups and individuals who import, produce or distribute illegal drugs. But for diversionary tactics to be effective, health and social services must be available for drug users to be diverted, the association said in a statement. "As a result, the enactment of this bill must be accompanied by significant investments at all government levels to support the creation and ongoing operations of an infrastructure of services in communities across the country," it said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
(Patrick Callaghan/CBC - image credit) Nova Scotia Power has decided to pull the plug on North America's only tidal power generating station and wants its customers to pay $25 million over the next decade to write off the asset. The utility says the decision to permanently retire the 37-year old Annapolis Generating Station in Annapolis Royal, N.S., was due to the failure of a "crucial component" in the generator and an authorization required by the Department of Fisheries Oceans after it determined the facility caused serious harm to fish. The station, which produced enough electricity to power 4,500 homes, stopped operations in 2019 after the generator failure and the order from DFO, also issued that year. "When these two events were evaluated in the ongoing review, NS Power determined that the Station had run to failure and should be retired and decommissioned," the utility told the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board in an application filed last week. Prior to its decision to retire the tidal plant, Nova Scotia Power spent $13 million between 2012 and 2018 to keep it going. Town unsurprised by decision The generating station had been a tourist destination in Annapolis Royal, but Mayor Amery Boyer is not surprised by the decision. "Would it affect Annapolis Royal as a destination? Well, you can't say no. It was a draw, but it's not the only draw and people did see this coming," Boyer told CBC News Tuesday. The mayor of Annapolis Royal said the generation station had been a tourist destination in the town. "It was an experimental facility. You couldn't depend that it would always be there or that somebody would replace it after its useful life. There's been so much evolution in tidal over the years." The company has applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to recover the $25.8 million current value of the plant from ratepayers through yearly amortization payments of $2.8 million from 2021 to 2030. "Allowing NS Power to amortize the unrecovered capital investment over a ten-year period reduces the cost pressures associated with the decision to retire the Annapolis station in the best interest of customers," NSP said in its application. A subsequent application will be made for approval of the decommissioning costs. The station in Annapolis Royal was the first tidal barrage facility built in North America and is one of only four tidal barrage facilities in the world. The company evaluated several options for the station including decommissioning, life extension, and modernization and new technology. It said decommissioning was the cheapest. The purported savings are also blacked out in the application, which was posted by the NSUARB on Monday. Nova Scotia Power said electrical output has been declining due to work shutdowns since 2012. The station was the first tidal barrage facility built in North America and is one of only four tidal barrage facilities in the world. The provincial government will get back ownership of the sluice gates, the fish passage and the causeway over the Annapolis River. Its Straflo turbine was designed specifically for the facility and was the largest Straflo turbine in operation in the world when the plant opened in 1984. The sluice gates, the fish passage and the causeway over the Annapolis River will be returned to the Nova Scotia government under the terms of a 1984 agreement. Lawyer William Mahody, who represents 400,000 Nova Scotia Power residential customers in regulatory cases, said he is now examining the submissions contained in the application. Nova Scotia Power said it cannot answer questions while its application is before regulators. MORE TOP STORIES
Une nouvelle étude change radicalement la façon d’appréhender l’évolution de cette espèce.
Facebook Inc's oversight board has received a "user statement" for the case it is deciding about whether the social media company was right to indefinitely suspend former President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts, a board spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday. Facebook handed the case to its independent board in January after it blocked Trump's access to his accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by the former president’s supporters. The board's process gave administrators of Trump's page the option to submit a statement challenging Facebook's decision.
The company's shareholders also approved compensation for Apple executives for fiscal 2020, the report said. Shareholders will not vote until next year's annual meeting on Cook's September grant of 333,987 restricted stock units, his first major stock package since 2011, which took effect at the start of Apple's fiscal 2021. It grants him stock units with a possibility to earn as many as 667,974 more if he hits performance targets.
(Nic Amaya/CBC - image credit) One of Canada's key national security oversight committees announced this morning it is launching a review of the federal policing mandate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — a probe that comes as concerns mount about the force's ability to adequately police emerging threats. The RCMP's federal policing department investigates cases involving national security, terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime. "While a number of reports over the last five years by prominent Canadians and other review bodies have highlighted significant challenges with the RCMP as an integrated organization, none have specifically focused on the RCMP's critical and diverse mandate in federal policing," said Liberal MP David McGuinty, chair of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), in a media statement. "I expect the committee's review to highlight areas where the RCMP could strengthen its federal policing activities and to help to inform the public discussion around the RCMP's unique role in this area." The special committee, whose members hold top secret security clearances and are bound to secrecy, said its review will dive into the RCMP's federal policing activities, authorities and capabilities. Based on their findings, the committee's MPs and senators could make legislative and policy recommendations or suggest changes to the RCMP's funding. The force has pushed in recent years for more money to cover what it calls "significant resourcing challenges" for its federal policing unit. "Without sufficient technology, tools and information systems, there is a risk that federal policing may not be able to meet critical operational requirements," the RCMP stated in a report last year. "Given the increasing demands on RCMP resources, particularly on national security files, the RCMP is facing significant resourcing challenges." Intelligence sharing slammed by ex-FBI official Sean Jorgensen, acting executive director of the NSICOP secretariat, said the review will touch on multiple issues facing the RCMP. "The committee's interest is in the RCMP's very broad roles and responsibilities in the federal policing mandate and the challenges they may face in fulfilling them in a criminal environment that is increasingly complex and global," he said. The national security review comes as concerns grow about how Canada's intelligence agencies, including the RCMP's federal policing unit, share information with each other. A federal briefing note prepared last year warned that the RCMP and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, Canada's domestic spy agency, are often hesitant to share information with the justice system — a reluctance that puts a number of national security court cases at risk. Earlier this year, the former head of counter-intelligence at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation released a book that pointed to systemic problems with how Canadian agencies investigate espionage. As reported by the Canadian Press, Frank Figliuzzi wrote that it fell to him to tell the RCMP about a spy in the Canadian navy, even though the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was already well aware of Jeffrey Delisle's sale of secrets to the Russians. Both agencies say they've worked to improve how they share intelligence and evidence. The committee said it plans to finish its RCMP review in 2022. NSICOP was set up to to give certain parliamentarians access to top-secret materials and to allow them to question leaders in the security and intelligence community. It meets in secret and reports directly to the prime minister on national security matters. Only redacted versions of its reports are made public. CBC News has requested comment from the RCMP.