Host William Lou recaps the Toronto Raptors' 110-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Three stars: Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet
Gerald Henderson Award: Ben Simmons
Host William Lou recaps the Toronto Raptors' 110-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Three stars: Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet
Gerald Henderson Award: Ben Simmons
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — After more than a decade in power and a year spent battling the virus, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's popularity — boosted by his handling of the pandemic — remains high two weeks before a general election. But amid a tough COVID-19 lockdown, that support is showing signs of eroding as the Dutch grow weary of pandemic restrictions. The election is being held over three days, starting with a limited number of polling booths opening on March 15 and 16 for people who are extra vulnerable to the coronavirus before the main voting day on March 17. Some 2.4 million people aged over 70 are entitled to vote by mail. It's shaping up as a referendum on the government's handling of the unprecedented health crisis and political parties' differing plans for the country's economic and social recovery when it finally ends. Rutte's conservative People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, or VVD, is currently projected to win about twice as many seats as its nearest rival in the 150-seat lower house of parliament. Political science professor Tom van der Meer of Amsterdam University says the VVD's huge lead in the polls is partly a result of the pandemic. “The popularity of Mark Rutte ... got a big boost last year due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Van der Meer said. Rutte’s regular TV appearances — to explain new lockdown measures, relax some restrictions or announce multibillion state support packages for ailing businesses —have cast him as a strong, dependable leader working tirelessly to protect his nation from the worst of the pandemic. But with the election approaching, support for the virus lockdown is fading and many Dutch businesses are growing increasingly angry at being shuttered for months. The Netherlands has seen over 15,700 deaths in the pandemic and officials fear the impact of the highly transmissible and more deadly U.K. virus variant. “We see that this rally-around-the-flag effect has diminished,” Van der Meer said. “But at the same time, voters for the VVD haven’t really yet had this clear reason to move away.” If the VVD emerges as the largest party in parliament, the 54-year-old Rutte will be first in line to form the country's next governing coalition and begin a fourth term in office. That would make him the longest-serving Dutch prime minister, overtaking the 12-year tenure of Ruud Lubbers. Opposition parties, however, are keen to stress their differences with Rutte, even though they have largely supported his government's efforts to rein in the pandemic. Parties on the left accuse him of running the country's health service down with years of market-driven reforms. Rutte's ongoing popularity is all the more striking because his government resigned in January over a scandal involving tax office attempts to root out fraud among parents claiming child benefit payments, leaving Rutte as a caretaker leader. A parliamentary inquiry concluded last year that tax office policies that included racial profiling violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.” In the campaign's first major televised debate on Sunday, Rutte was confronted by one of the parents, Kristie Rongen, who told him: “You have failed me.” “Why do you think that you can stay on as the person who is ultimately responsible in the benefit scandal?” she asked. “I asked myself the same question,” Rutte replied. “This is such a stain, such a debacle, but I weighed up that so many things have gone well in the last 10 years and that I’m proud of and I decided in the end to keep going." The largest Dutch opposition party is the Party for Freedom led by populist, anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has harshly criticized the government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis, from the slow start of its vaccination program to its imposing a curfew. But most mainstream parties reject the idea of working in a coalition with Wilders because of his strident anti-Islam rhetoric, effectively putting his party out of the running to join a new government. The right-wing populist Forum For Democracy, which performed strongly two years ago during a provincial election, has imploded over the last year amid reports of anti-Semitism in its ranks. Some key members have left and set up a rival party that is fielding candidates in the March election. That new party is among a record 37 groups registered to take part in the election, a further fragmentation of the Dutch political landscape that could make forming a new ruling coalition tricky. After the last election in March 2017, it took a post-World War II record 225 days to form Rutte's third Cabinet. Labor Party leader Lilianne Ploumen has appealed to left-leaning parties to work together, saying “if we don't, the only one laughing will be the VVD.” ___ Follow all AP developments on the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic. Mike Corder, The Associated Press
Online retailer Amazon's new Polish website went live on Tuesday morning, the company said, marking a significant intensification of competition in the country's booming e-commerce sector. Amazon had said in January it would open a Polish site to better serve local customers previously reliant on its German version but did not set a date. The news had sent shares in Polish e-commerce firm Allegro sharply lower on the day.
A wide range of environmentally friendly products already exist, but a new Calgary-based online store is now offering items made, in part, using greenhouse gas emissions. Expedition Air sells an assortment of items manufactured from carbon dioxide including concrete planters, yoga mats, crayons and paintings. Those behind the new venture admit that buying a bar of soap or a pen isn't going to make a big difference in tackling climate change, but it could push bigger brands to pay more attention to the materials they use. "The vision is to see many more brands come and join this and show that swapping out material for their supply chains really isn't as difficult as it seems," said Madison Savilow, venture lead with Expedition Air. "Each product acts as a carbon sink. That's the whole goal — to showcase that this is possible and that everything around us should be made from carbon emissions." Expedition Air is a spinoff of Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Calgary-based firm that is a finalist for the Carbon XPRIZE, a global competition to create technology that converts CO2 into valuable products. The company has spent the past six years developing technology to capture emissions and use the material in making concrete and plastics, among other uses. Most of the carbon emissions are captured from a natural gas power plant in southeast Calgary. Instead of those emissions being released into the air, they are captured in a machine and turned into a powder. That substance is then used as one of the ingredients for the products featured on Expedition Air. Carbon Upcycling's latest piece of equipment can produce about eight tonnes of the carbon material every day. WATCH | How CO2 is captured and turned into a product: Some of the carbon material is supplied to Carbon Upcycling by companies that specialize in capturing emissions directly from the atmosphere, such as B.C.-based Carbon Engineering. Most of the items available at Expedition Air sell for about the same price as a comparable product, although some of the merchandise is unique and sells for a premium, such as concrete pens. Only a portion of each product is made up of the captured carbon material, so Expedition Air offers customers the option to buy carbon offsets to help cover the emissions associated with the other ingredients, packaging and shipping. The online store sells 22 different products, including goods from Clean02, a Calgary startup that specializes in turning CO2 emissions from industrial furnaces and boilers into material for soaps and detergents. While products made in part from CO2 have been around for several years, Clean02 founder Jaeson Cardiff said customers still have many questions, such as where the carbon goes when the soap is used. "I think that's the great part about what we're doing and creating these tangible products, whether it's concrete soap dishes from Carbon Upcycling Technologies or whether it's the soap from Clean02, it engages people to ask those questions and those are important questions to explore and understand," said Cardiff, who said the carbon is permanently sequestered in the soap. Products made from captured CO2 are not a cure-all for climate change, but they can help decrease the amount of emissions released into the air, says Jaeson Cardiff, founder of CleanO2, a company that specializes in turning CO2 emissions from industrial furnaces and boilers into material for soaps and detergents. Some environmental experts see a strong future for the carbon capture industry as the country strives to reach its climate goals. "When you see all the innovation that's happening these days with products that incorporate CO2, it's exciting," said Ed Whittingham, a Calgary-based clean energy consultant and former executive director of the Pembina Institute, an environmental policy think-tank. Whether CO2 products will be successful may depend on how much of the greenhouse gases can be stored and the level of consumer demand. "In some cases, it might be simpler, and especially in a place in Alberta, instead of putting that CO2 into a product, just injecting it into the ground," he said. The province has a few prominent large-scale carbon capture projects in which CO2 is stored several kilometres underground.
Nova Scotia's film and TV industry is expecting the 2021 production season to be the busiest in years. While the pandemic has disrupted Hollywood's production pipeline, locales like Nova Scotia that have managed to control the infection rate and continue to produce film and television are appealing. Interest from American streaming companies and broadcasters increased by an estimated 100 per cent in 2020, according to Screen Nova Scotia. "I'd say probably between August and December of 2020, I was on the phone all day long with studios that were wondering what was happening in Nova Scotia," said executive director Laura Mackenzie. She wouldn't disclose which companies inquired about shooting in the province, but said she's heard from all the large U.S. streaming services. Predictable shooting schedule The Stephen King adaptation Chapelwaite, starring Adrian Brody and Emily Hampshire, shot last summer in Halifax, Dartmouth and Cole Harbour, while the new CBC series, Feudal, filmed on the South Shore. Local independent producer Marc Tetreault said it's the predictability of shooting in Nova Scotia during the pandemic that's put the province on the radar of American studios. "If you think about shooting in L.A. or Toronto or New York right now, you don't have any predictability or certainty," he said. "Film is like a really slow-moving train, and once it gets going, it's really hard to stop. And when it does stop, it costs a lot of money to get it going again." Local independent producer Marc Tetreault says quarantine costs are 'a drop in the bucket on a larger show.' He said even halting production for a day, let alone weeks, can be very costly. Tetreault said bigger shows can manage the costs associated with the pandemic, including the two-week quarantine in Nova Scotia, because those costs are quantifiable. "If you're in Nova Scotia, you should be reasonably confident that you should be able to complete your production without a major shutdown or hiccup, and I think that's really attractive to a lot of out-of-town producers," he said. The costs related to the province's quarantine rules are "a drop in the bucket on a larger show," Tetreault added. "What I think it comes down to is convincing the people who are quarantining that they're going to quarantine for two weeks — less so, you know, paying the 200 bucks a night for a hotel," he said. Is N.S. prepared to support productions? The challenge will be providing the infrastructure and support to visiting productions. In 2015, the Stephen McNeil government axed the provincial film tax credit, a 50 to 65 per cent fully refundable corporate income tax credit offered to productions hiring Nova Scotia film personnel. It was eventually replaced with the Production Incentive Fund, which offers a refund to foreign service production of 25 per cent and 26 per cent for local content. It also offers a refund of up to 32 per cent in an all-spend model on any money spent in the province for labour, accommodations and locations. Laura MacKenzie is the executive director of Screen Nova Scotia. That helped make Nova Scotia competitive with other provinces, but the film business still isn't as robust as it was in the tax credit era. "We've had amazing momentum in building our industry here over the past five years," said Mackenzie. "But we did lose quite a few crew members in 2015 when the tax credit was changed. "And so that, alongside with the loss of some production studio spaces, it's put us at a disadvantage because we can't possibly supply the demand." That's why she's putting a call out to any Nova Scotian working elsewhere. "Time to come home. We need you here," she said. Mackenzie also said finding studio space so that out-of-town productions can shoot interior scenes is as much of a challenge this year as finding skilled crew. She's looking for anyone who has comparable warehouse space. Diggstown creator struggling to cast show While it's a challenge to build up enough skilled crew for shows that may be coming to the province, it could also provide opportunity for film workers who are traditionally under-represented on film and TV sets and in front of the camera. Diggstown, a CBC legal drama shot in Dartmouth and Halifax, has also benefited from the American production slowdown — the first two seasons were recently bought by the Fox Network in the U.S. With the third season set to go to camera in April, producer and creator Floyd Kane said he's struggling to cast his show. Floyd Kane is the writer, executive producer and showrunner of Diggstown. Diggstown tells stories from Nova Scotia's Black communities, and Kane said it feels like he's seen and chosen almost every local actor of colour in the province. Now, he has to fly in racialized cast from Toronto or elsewhere, which, for a low-budget TV series, is very expensive. "I came up in the industry in Nova Scotia where I would be the only Black person or person of colour in the room," Kane told CBC Radio's Mainstreet recently. "I want to have more Black people, more people of colour working in our industry. I want to encourage that. The acting piece of this is a huge challenge. Frankly, we've done a very poor job of developing the talent pool [for people of colour] and retaining that pool by there being opportunities to work." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA, the actor's union. He said his organization is very aware of that need. "We are looking at ways to go into those communities and let people know what the opportunities are," said Hadley. "And that is a specific area of our membership that we really want to encourage to grow, absolutely." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA. Mackenzie from Screen Nova Scotia said it's also one of her organization's top priorities to increase diversity behind the camera. The organization has formed a diversity outreach committee to work on a strategy to come up with long-term fixes. While the industry has proven that the health and safety protocols are a draw for service production — shows that come from elsewhere to shoot here — they do still pose a challenge for lower-budgeted local shows, as Kane is finding with Diggstown. 'You will be hired on something' Tetreault said he fully supports the health protocols that are in place to keep Nova Scotians safe, "but they definitely are a hindrance to the local, usually lower budget, independent films." He said paying for supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and for the extra set space to allow for physical distancing, can also stretch a local production's limited budget. That said, Tetreault is still planning to make a feature film this year — and he's looking for a crew. "Now's the time," said Tetreault. "Call the unions, get the referral. Figure out what it is you're interested in and you will be hired on something." MORE TOP STORIES
NEW YORK — The Tony Awards could bring Cynthia Erivo another Emmy. Days after the British performer belted Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” during a red carpet interview at the 2019 Tonys — explaining that it's her guilty pleasure song — she got a call from the producers of the National Geographic series “Genius: Aretha.” “I was like, ‘I beg your pardon,’” she continued. “In my head I’m like, ‘There is another film happening and I’m excited to see that, so what is this?’” NatGeo had already completed series on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and wanted to focus on the life of Franklin, who died 2018 and was arguably the greatest singer of all time. When Erivo went to meet with the producers, she had a bit of an epiphany. “Nothing else was playing in the hotel, it was just mood music,” she said. “All of a sudden ‘Day Dreaming’ comes on as I go to sit down. I’m like, ‘Am I the only one that noticed that?’” Laughing with a huge smile on her face, she continued: “I was like, ‘Either you planned that or someone’s trying to tell me something.’’” Fast forward two years and Erivo is playing the Queen of Soul in the eight-episode series debuting March 21. “Respect,” a film about Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson, will be released in August. Erivo’s exceptional performance in Broadway’s revival of “The Color Purple” won her a Tony, Emmy and Grammy, and she was a double Oscar nominee last year for “Harriet.” In an interview with The Associated Press, edited for clarity and brevity, the 34-year-old talked about meeting Franklin, playing icons on-screen and more. AP: What does Aretha mean to you? ERIVO: She means the world to me. As a singer, I truly believe that my job is to communicate and tell the stories that sometimes are difficult for people to tell for themselves ... Aretha did that with her eyes closed. She had a wonderful way of communicating the things that she had been through, through song. AP: She has this thing by which she can take someone else’s song and make it her own. ERIVO: Totally and it’s such a special thing. Not only does she take the song and make it her own, she takes the song and you forget it was someone else’s. That to me, it’s a really special thing that she was able to do. I don’t know that people realize that “Respect” wasn’t her song first. She finds messaging in songs, in music that you didn’t realize were there in the first place. I don’t know how, but she always managed to find a way into a song that you didn’t know existed. I know that this might not be a popular opinion but when she did her version of (Adele's) “Rolling in the Deep,” I was like, “Huh, never heard this song like this before. Didn’t think about this song like this before.” At that point because she was an older woman singing this song, you’re like, all the experience that this person must have gone through to get to this point, I didn’t hear this before. Now I’m hearing it with her voice. She was one of a kind, truly. AP: Did you get a chance to meet her? ERIVO: I met her the first time when she’d come to a performance of “The Color Purple.” I didn’t know she was there. When I saw her, I felt like an idiot because I was just in shock. There is Miss Aretha Franklin standing in front of me and I’ve just finished singing a show in her presence, oh my goodness. How do I do this? She was funny and lovely. She sang the last line of “I’m Here” back to me. That was a moment I had to put my heart back together. I was like, “This is happening for real.” She was wonderful. When you meet someone like that, you don’t think they’ll remember your face. I met her again at the Kennedy Center Honors. I was singing the very first time I did it. She remembered me. She said, “You’re the girl who was in that play. You can sing. You can sing.” I was like, “Yes that’s me. Thank you very much.” I remember she was wearing red. My favourite thing about that day was when I saw the recording of it, when it finally aired, during my performance they pan to Aretha and she’s singing along with her eyes closed. AP: Were you hesitant to play her? ERIVO: It’s about wanting to make sure you do her justice (and) put as much truth in it as you possibly can. There is only one Aretha Franklin so no one can be Aretha Franklin, but you can put as much grace and truth into the re-enacting of her, the realization of her so you can tell the story in the right way. I guess if I wasn’t nervous, I wouldn’t care. AP: How do you feel about the people who say, “Cynthia doesn’t really look like Aretha?” ERIVO: No, in the same way that Diana Ross didn’t really look like Billie Holiday, but she did an incredible, incredible job when she did “Lady Sings the Blues.” ... I don’t think anyone does look like Aretha. If you found someone who looks like Aretha who couldn’t do the work, who can’t sing the songs, then that’s where you have a problem. I’d rather someone that doesn’t look like her but can give me the essence. AP: Are you excited to see the Jennifer Hudson version? ERIVO: I am. I know that they were close, and I know that they had a conversation. This is something she had been dreaming of doing. I am excited to see it. AP: How’s it been playing real-life icons on-screen? ERIVO: It’s a huge honour and it’s part of what I want for my lifetime — to be able to tell these stories of women whose stories wouldn’t get the chance to be told, whose stories deserve to be told. The more I can do that whether it be Harriet, Aretha or a woman you don’t know about who I’ve done the research to find out about, I want to keep bringing these stories to the forefront because they deserve to be told. AP: The roles you’ve played reminds me of Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall on-screen. ERIVO: When (he died) I really did have that thought. I thought to myself, “What a wonderful legacy to leave behind. To be the person we could look to who was telling the stories of these incredible men who wouldn’t have had their stories told if he didn’t exist.” I guess it was like a wakeup call. This is the job at hand. Maybe this is part of your calling — to be able to tell these stories when others are finding it hard to let them come to the forefront. Maybe it’s my job to be me in it or me creating it, making sure someone is in it. That’s also the task at hand for me. AP: There’s been so much conservation about Black British actors taking roles away from Black American actors. What are your thoughts on that? ERIVO: I hope we get to a place where we understand that my telling a story doesn’t mean the story can’t be told again. I think the way I tell a story is one version and this just should serve as the introduction to someone else going, “Oh I’m going to tell the story again.” We have many stories, many versions of the Marilyn Monroe story ... we have many versions of Abe Lincoln. There are so many versions of these stories, but our stories aren’t told over and over again. We don’t have that. I hope that this only serves as fire. We’ve had it told once, let’s tell that again. Let’s tell this part of the story. Harriet’s story isn’t done yet. She lived until she was 91. I think my story ended when she was 40-something, 45. We have another 45 years of life to tell because she did keep going. I haven’t seen that story yet. I hope someone tells that story. I hope someone goes back and tells just the specific story about the war. I hope someone goes back and tells the specific story about her suffrage life. There’s so much scope. She was a spy. We don’t know that yet. I think our story on Aretha goes to the late 80’s, early ’90s. We have another 20 years of story left to tell. As a British actress, before I am that I’m a Black woman. My job is just to tell the story just as truthfully as I possibly can. That doesn’t have to be the only story that gets told. My version shouldn’t be the only version to get told. I hope many versions get told. I think we always think this is the only and the last and it shouldn’t be. Hopefully outside of being the actress I can create a space where the stories that we want to be told again get told again. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
The head of the breast imaging section of The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) says the department has a backlog of about 20,000 patients who haven't received routine screening during the pandemic — and is worried about seeing more advanced cancers in patients who skip appointments. Dr. Jean Seely said the department has rebuilt some of the capacity it lost early in the pandemic — but some people have not shown up for appointments. "They're so focused on COVID that they're not actually coming in," Seely said. She said the estimated backlog is based on the normal number of screenings performed in a year. Some patients and even family doctors weren't aware that mammography was resuming at the hospital, she said. The hospital is sending invitations to remind people to book and follow up on appointments. However, some patients are showing signs they should have been screened earlier, she said. "More women are coming in with lumps that are palpable," Seely said. "The more advanced cancers are when you're diagnosed, the more likely they're going to need more surgery, more expensive chemotherapy ... and more time off work. It's really critical to our health-care system to do this kind of early diagnosis." Seely said women between ages 50 and 74 who qualify for the Ontario Breast Screening Program will be getting appointment reminders. "Cancer doesn't stop with COVID." Expanding capacity The Champlain region, an area that covers the nation's capital and stretches across rural Ottawa under the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, reported a major drop in the number of MRIs and CT scans performed in April 2020 compared to February of that year — each fell by about 5,000 procedures. Dr. Richard Aviv, head of the medical imaging department at TOH, said the backlog was at its worst in November in the region, but both MRI and CT capacity was expanded and the health system is catching up. "We're not quite out of the woods yet but we're very, very close." Aviv said. "Our CT and MRI wait times have both reduced to lower than pre-COVID levels." Overnight bookings were reduced at The Ottawa Hospital because patients weren't taking them up, says Dr. Richard Aviv. Last June, there were about 22,000 patients in the backlog for MRIs in the region, which reduced to about 12,000 by mid-February, Aviv said. There were about 28,000 CT scans in the backlog in June and that number has been reduced to about 25,000 this past month, Aviv added. About 14,000 of those patients waiting don't have appointments booked, he said. However, he said, the hospital's efforts to have more scanners working 24/7 didn't help increase capacity, because patients weren't taking those appointments. Those overnight hours have since been reduced, he said. "Patients wouldn't show up. I'd really like to have a model where we could do our well, young outpatients overnight," he said, adding that this would allow health professionals to focus on more severely ill patients during the day. Aviv said the imaging department is building a more effective patient booking system.
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WARSAW, Poland — A court in Poland on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for adding the LGBT rainbow to images of a revered Roman Catholic icon. The three women created posters in 2019 that used the rainbows in place of halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Their aim was to protest what they considered the hostility of Poland’s influential Catholic Church toward LGBT people. The court in the city of Plock did not find any signs of a crime and also found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports in the Polish media. The case of the three women was being watched in Poland as a test of freedom of speech under a deeply conservative government that has been seeking to push back against secularization and liberal views often seen as a foreign imposition. Abortion has been another flashpoint in the country after a top court ruling last year that resulted in a near total ban on abortion. One of the defendants, Elzbieta Podlesna, said when the trial opened in January that the 2019 action in Plock was spurred by an installation at the city’s St. Dominic’s Church that associated LGBT people with crime and sins. The image that they created involved altering Poland’s most-revered icon, the Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. The original has been housed at the Jasna Gora monastery in the city of Czestochowa — Poland's holiest site — since the 14th century. Podlesna told the Onet news portal that the existence of a provision in the penal code "leaves a door open to use it against people who think a bit differently. “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer,” Podlesna told Onet. If Podlesna and the other two activists — Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar — had been found guilty, they could have faced up to two years of prison. An LGBT rights group, Love Does Not Exclude, welcomed the ruling as a “breakthrough." “This is a triumph for the LGBT+ resistance movement in the most homophobic country of the European Union," it said. Podlesna was arrested in an early morning police raid on her apartment in 2019, held for several hours and questioned over the posters of the icon that were placed around Plock. A court later said the detention was unnecessary and ordered damages equaling some $2,000 awarded to her. Because of all the attention the altered icon has received, it is now also a very recognized image in Poland and is sometimes seen at street protests. The Associated Press
China was the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world in 2020 for the second consecutive year and extended its lead over No. 2 filer the United States, the U.N. patent agency said on Tuesday. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, said China filed 68,720 applications last year while the United States filed 59,230. The rate of increase was higher for China with a 16.1% year-on-year increase versus 3% for the United States, it added.
Critics of the gambling industry say they're concerned about a recent move toward online gambling, especially in light of the Halifax casino's uncertain future. Elizabeth Stephen, a counselling therapist who works with people with gambling addictions, said news that the Nova Scotia government has cleared the way for online casino-style gambling is "pretty significant." "What's behind that?" said Stephen. "Is it because the physical casino is in such decline and perhaps is even going to close down? Is it to replace that revenue? The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, the Crown corporation that oversees the gaming business, released documents to CBC News showing the Halifax casino has struggled with declining and unsustainable revenues for approximately 15 years — even before the arrival of COVID-19. The documents raise the possibility of moving the casino away from its waterfront location, but the corporation said those decisions are on hold during the pandemic. Stephen is an addictions counsellor in Halifax with a private practice. "My sense is that the government is looking for alternative revenue streams, hence the talk about the online casino," said Bruce Dienes, chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit that aims to reduce gambling harms. "The problem with that, of course, is if you want to go to a brick-and-mortar casino, you have to actually go to a brick-and-mortar casino. You have to really intentionally do that, you have to be there for a certain piece of time. "Online, if you've got a phone or if you've got any internet connection, 24/7 you're at risk of being impacted negatively by that casino." 'Two very different offerings' Bob MacKinnon, the gaming corporation's CEO, said there are similarities in the gambling that takes place in a physical casino and online. "I think it is possible that some of the casino business that we would have had at the Halifax casino has gone online. There's no way for us to know an exact number," he said. "But I'll also add that generally over the longer term, we would think of them as two very different offerings: that some people like to go online, and many people like to go for a broader entertainment experience where there's music, there's food, there's shows going on, in addition to the gaming offerings." Stephen said the people she treats in her practice often start gambling in a physical casino, but later move to other venues, such as bars with video lottery terminals. The majority of gambling addicts Stephen counsels became addicted to machines like VLTs. "I think [casinos] are the foundation in some places for the start of gambling, and the kind of glamour of gambling and the excitement of gambling," she said. Stephen said most people who come to her with gambling addictions have become addicted to VLTs, although a few have been addicted to table games such as poker or blackjack. "They get to the point where they're spending way too much time there and more money than they can afford to lose. And so often their first step is to exclude themselves from the casino. Often, though, they don't do that until they maybe have reached bankruptcy," she said. Falling revenues The Halifax casino hit peak revenue of about $75 million in 2006-07, which fell to about $54 million in 2014-15 — a drop of about 30 per cent that MacKinnon said was not sustainable. Visitation during the pandemic is down 90 per cent, and MacKinnon said it's believed the Halifax casino will make about $9 million this year. The Sydney casino failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the 2 years leading up to the pandemic, which closed its doors altogether for about eight months. The casino in Sydney, N.S., failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the two years leading up to the pandemic. In 2018-19, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation hoped the Cape Breton casino would have revenue of $22.1 million from at least 410,000 visitors. Instead, it brought in $19.5 million from 372,000 visitors. In 2019-20, its targets were $19.2 million in revenue and 410,000 visitors, but it ended up with $18.8 million from 344,806 visitors. Dienes said it shows a need for the province to move on from the gambling business, which was legalized in Nova Scotia in 1995. Dienes is the chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit organization with the goal of reducing harms related to gambling. "Here is a business model that's failing, that isn't meeting the needs of the customers. And rather than acknowledging that and moving on to a different kind of business — a different way to entertain, a different way to raise funds — they're trying to increase the risk and increase the access for something that people clearly don't want," he said. Dienes said gambling is "psychologically manipulative" and he disagrees with the government's stance that online gambling can be done safely. "This is something that's been created by government policy," he said. High-stakes bets Will Shead, an associate professor of psychology who primarily researches gambling, said he's doubtful that limitations can be placed on online gambling that would keep people safe. "We don't really know what effect this is going to have on people. You can make arguments and say this is how it's going to work, but it could potentially be disastrous for people to have access to such high betting limits online," said Shead, who teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Shead is also a board member of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, whose members are particularly concerned about high-stakes wagers online that could lead a gambler to lose thousands of dollars per hour. Shead is an associate professor of psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. His research specialty is gambling. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has said the online casino would include age and residency verification, privacy controls, self-exclusion options, deposit limits, time displays, analytics on player activity and information about responsible gambling. But Shead said he's concerned about young people finding ways to get around age checks, and about research that shows people are more likely to use drugs and alcohol while gambling online. In a physical casino, people are not supposed to be allowed to gamble while impaired, he said. According to its code of conduct, Casino Nova Scotia will refuse entry to someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. "I'm not sure if that happens all the time," said Shead, "but it's certainly not going to happen in the confines of your own home." MORE TOP STORIES
The death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken last week set off a searing wave of grief across the province. But it has also triggered a reckoning, with mental health experts taking a hard look at a worsening mental health crisis and legal experts saying her death was at least partly brought on by years of government underfunding. Lexi, a Grade 10 student who had previously attempted suicide, was taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 18, by a school guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. After she was told by a nurse that calling a psychiatrist would take another two hours, Lexi said later, she left the hospital with a referral for followup. Her mother said no one ever contacted the family. Less than a week later, Lexi died by suicide. In an interview with Information Morning Fredericton on Monday, the executive director at the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick was overcome with emotion while discussing Lexi's death. Christa Baldwin, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick, said Lexi's death was shattering. "I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I have in the past week." 'This has to be the piece that moves us forward' Christa Baldwin noted that last week had started off with the promise of change, with a new mental health action plan, unveiled by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, "that would allow us to move forward." "But then later in the week, hearing the news about Lexi — it broke our hearts, to be honest. … I don't think I've ever cried as much as I have in the past week." But Lexi's death has also been a turning point, Baldwin said. She noted that Lexi's father, Chris Daken, said in an interview last week that "Lexi's death cannot be in vain." "This has to be a piece that moves us forward .... we can't have this happening to our youth in our province, we can't have this happening to anyone in our province." Baldwin said that resonated with her. "It feels like we have entered a new chapter in this province, building a service that is client-focused, client-centred," she said. "It has ignited a fire within me and within the CMHA to advocate and use our voice to make change happen. We need something to happen for Lexi's family … and for so many other individuals who have died by suicide in this province." The new mental health action plan has put some plans and pilot projects in place, Baldwin said. Those are positive steps, but more needs to be done, she said, noting barriers to service need to be removed and attitudes toward mental health issues need to change. "I think what bothered me most is after eight hours to ask about whether to call a professional to come in to asses Lexi further — if you went in with a broken leg, you would not be asked if someone should be called in to cast your leg," Baldwin said. "We need mental health parity. Mental health is a human right equal to physical health." In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr, above, and UNB law professor Kerri Froc say Lexi's death is a violation of her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A violation of Lexi's charter rights, lawyers say It's a point some legal experts are also making. In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr and University of New Brunswick law professor Kerri Froc said Lexi's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated. "Under Section 7 of the charter, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,' " Carr and Froc wrote in the op-ed. "Because successive provincial governments have wilfully under-resourced this sector of health care, leading to delays in access to mental health services anchored in the Mental Health Act, violations of New Brunswickers' rights to personal security, and ultimately to life, results. "While it is true that the direct cause of these deaths and injury is self-harm, the Supreme Court of Canada has said that government is responsible for actions that enhance the risk of these violations." Carr and Froc argued that "New Brunswick has a duty to ensure that they can talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist at their and their family's time of greatest need." In an email Monday, Horizon noted it does provide around-the-clock psychiatric services. "Horizon provides emergency psychiatric services 24 hours per day, seven days a week at our regional hospitals," Dr. Edouard Hendriks, vice-president of medical, academic and research affairs at Horizon. "Medical psychiatry staff are available for consultation as required, in collaboration with the on-site care team." Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered. Horizon did not immediately answer questions about whether it is tracking how often an on-call psychiatrist is called to come in to see a patient, or how often they decline or are unable to do so. It also did not answer questions about why Lexi was told she would face a two-hour wait for a psychiatrist, citing "confidentiality reasons." Pandemic taking deepening toll on mental health Meanwhile, the pandemic's toll on the mental health of almost every demographic in the province continues to deepen, Baldwin said. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Canadian Mental Health Association worked with more than 86,000 New Brunswickers, she said. "In the first three-quarters of this fiscal year, we were already at over 117,000 New Brunswickers. … Organizations are feeling that, hospitals are feeling that, Horizon and Vitalité are feeling that. We need to recognize what's happening here in terms of demand for service." Carefully developing programs and reaching out to certain demographics to make sure people are not falling through the cracks are more crucial now than ever, she said. But so is talking "openly" with people when you see they are struggling, even if it feels uncomfortable. "Asking someone if they're suicidal, having suicidal thoughts ... actually saying those words can help," Baldwin said. "We need to have these conversations, we can't sweep it under the rug. Not talking about mental health openly has done us no favours." If you need help: CHIMO hotline: 1-800-667-5005 / http://www.chimohelpline.ca Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. There are 870,033 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 870,033 confirmed cases (30,430 active, 817,586 resolved, 22,017 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,559 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 80.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,525 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,932. There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 295 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.93 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,545,470 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 989 confirmed cases (240 active, 743 resolved, six deaths). There were two new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 45.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 50 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 197,997 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were no new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 103,458 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,642 confirmed cases (35 active, 1,542 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 3.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 334,183 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,431 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,367 resolved, 27 deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There were no new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 237,242 tests completed. _ Quebec: 288,353 confirmed cases (7,590 active, 270,364 resolved, 10,399 deaths). There were 613 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 88.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,426 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 775. There were six new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 82 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,302,949 tests completed. _ Ontario: 301,839 confirmed cases (10,570 active, 284,283 resolved, 6,986 deaths). There were 1,023 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 71.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,695 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,099. There were six new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 114 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.41 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,898,699 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,894 confirmed cases (1,171 active, 29,827 resolved, 896 deaths). There were 35 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 84.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 419 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 60. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 532,555 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,801 confirmed cases (1,551 active, 26,865 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 154 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 131.59 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,004 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 143. There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 575,410 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,795 confirmed cases (4,674 active, 127,233 resolved, 1,888 deaths). There were 291 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 105.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,459 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 351. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 45 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,403,106 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 80,672 confirmed cases (4,533 active, 74,776 resolved, 1,363 deaths). There were 438 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 88.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,409 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 487. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,928,448 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were no new cases Monday. There have been no new cases over the past seven days. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,168 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were no new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been no new cases over the past seven days. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,519 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 358 confirmed cases (eight active, 349 resolved, one death). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 20.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,660 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Essential workers who are more likely to contract and transmit COVID-19 should be prioritized for immunization with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine now that a national panel is not recommending it for seniors, two experts say. Caroline Colijn, a COVID-19 modeler and mathematician at Simon Fraser University, and Horatio Bach, an adjunct professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia, also say the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could be better promoted by provincial health officials as a strong contender to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended that the Oxford-AstraZeneca not be used for people 65 and over due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations, even after Health Canada authorized its use last week for all adults. Oxford-AstraZeneca reported about 62 per cent effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 while Pifzer-BioNTech and Moderna have said the efficacy of their vaccines is about 95 per cent. Colijn and Bach say the fact that there have been no hospitalizations from severe illness and no deaths among those using Oxford-AstraZeneca needs to be underscored because people awaiting immunization seem to be fixated on the higher efficacy data for the first two vaccines approved in Canada. "If the AstraZeneca vaccine will prevent you from getting really sick that's still a win for you," Colijn said. "I see this huge, huge benefit of vaccinating young people, particularly people with high contact, essential workers, sooner." The national committee made its recommendation against vaccinating seniors with Oxford-AstraZeneca after several provinces announced their plans Monday to ramp up vaccination programs. However, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said after the vaccine was approved last Friday more information is forthcoming showing efficacy may be higher for Oxford-AstraZeneca. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with most of them expected to arrive from the United States between April and September. British Columbia's provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said essential workers including first responders, teachers and those who work in poultry factories where outbreaks have occurred may be offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine sooner, depending on availability. She said that while people will have limited choice on whether they could wait for the other two vaccines they should take the first vaccine that is offered. Colijn said that's all the more important if the wait for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is several weeks or even months off, meaning fewer people would be protected from the virus. She suggested giving people a choice isn't the way to go when it comes to distributing the valuable resource of vaccines. "Maybe it's political, but from a public health standpoint it feels like vaccination is a huge collective benefit," she said. "The more vaccines that we can get out, the more robust we're going to be, the more reopenings we're going to have, the more social and economic activity we're going to enjoy and the less pandemic we're going to have." However, Bach said it would be unethical to not offer people a choice of vaccines in the same way they can make their own decisions on other aspects of their health care, though everyone should take the first vaccine they can get. "I think the way we can attract more people is to tell them that is the reality. And repeat, repeat, repeat that more than likely you're not going to be hospitalized with disease." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
BIELEFELD, Germany — Relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld hired Frank Kramer as coach on Tuesday, a day after firing Uwe Neuhaus. Kramer has only limited experience in the Bundesliga after a two-game spell as interim coach at Hoffenheim in 2012 and relegation with Greuther Fürth a year later. In more recent years, he coached age-group German national teams up to the under-20 level and coached Austrian champion Salzburg's youth team. Bielefeld, which was promoted last year, is in third-to-last place in the 18-team league. Hertha Berlin is just ahead on goal difference, and improving Mainz is only one point behind in a direct relegation place. Bielefeld still has a game in hand, however. Its next game is against Union Berlin on Sunday. Bielefeld earned only one point from its last five games — a 3-3 draw at Bayern Munich — and the 3-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday was the fifth in a row in which the team conceded at least three goals. The 61-year-old Neuhaus was immensely popular with Bielefeld’s fans after leading the team to a surprise promotion following 11 years out of the Bundesliga. He had been in charge of the club since December 2018. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A majority of Canadians believe Ottawa will follow through on its plan to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for everyone who wants a shot by the fall, a new poll suggests. Fifty-six per cent of respondents are confident the federal government can buy enough vaccine to ensure inoculation for those who seek it by September, according to an online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies. Canadians on both coasts and in Quebec were optimistic about their provinces' rollout plans as well as that of the feds. Respondents in Ontario and the Prairies were more skeptical, with just one in three Albertans expressing faith in their government's delivery scheme. The poll also found that most residents are in no rush to lift anti-pandemic lockdowns, with two-thirds saying restrictions should remain at least until half the population is immunized. Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the ramp-up in vaccine shipments last week likely brightened Canadians' views of federal distribution efforts. Only two weeks ago, 69 per cent of respondents blamed Ottawa rather than provincial governments for delays in vaccine delivery, Léger found. "There’s been a bit of a change over the past couple of weeks," Bourque said in an interview. "The news we got about the doses coming in from Pfizer and the new doses acquired from (Moderna) plus the fact that we approved AstraZeneca … all of these elements together have actually had some positive influence on Canadians’ confidence that we will get vaccinated before the deadline that the federal government set for itself." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly promised to secure enough doses to immunize all willing Canadians by the end of September. The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses of various vaccines this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. It's unclear when the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — approved by the public-health agency on Friday — will arrive in the country, but a senior government official told The Canadian Press on background the first doses could land as early as mid-week, boosting the total. Now, attention turns to the provinces as shipments start to pour in and provincial administration is put to the test. Despite the challenges of ongoing public health restrictions, the more prudent strain of Canada's national character is visible behind the responses to the Léger survey, Bourque suggested. "The majority of Canadians are extremely careful about what should happen and when, depending on the pace at which we vaccinate," he said, referring to lockdown lifts. "Basically, there’s no rush." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was set to throw a Zoom party in quarantine to celebrate his 90th birthday on Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin hailed him as an "outstanding statesman" who influenced the course of history. Gorbachev, who championed arms control and democracy-oriented reforms as Soviet leader in the 1980s, is widely credited with helping end the Cold War. His critics in Russia blame him for what they regard as the unnecessary and painful breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
HONG KONG — A court hearing for 47 democracy activists charged under Hong Kong's national security law resumed Tuesday, following a marathon session that was adjourned well past midnight after one defendant appeared to collapse and was taken away in an ambulance. The court is weighing whether to grant bail to the activists, who were detained and charged Sunday over their involvement in an unofficial primary election last year that authorities say was part of a plot to paralyze Hong Kong's government. Less than half of the bail proceedings were heard on Monday when the court adjourned the session at about 2 a.m. The hearing resumed later Tuesday morning, although at least four defendants who were taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday were not present in the morning session. The national security law, which China imposed on Hong Kong last June in response to months of anti-government protests, makes it a crime to overthrow, seriously interfere in, disrupt or undermine Hong Kong's government. The law, which also criminalizes acts that incite Hong Kong's secession from China, collusion with foreign powers and terrorism, has largely silenced protest in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The 47 activists, who include prominent leaders such as Joshua Wong and Benny Tai, were among 55 arrested in January on suspicion of subversion in what was by far the biggest sweep by police since the security law's enactment. The 47 were formally charged Sunday. Authorities have not said whether the other eight will be charged. Defence lawyers are fighting against a bid by the prosecution to remand the activists in custody for three months while police conduct investigations, arguing that the activists should not have been charged if the case against them was not ready. A clause under the national security law specifies that bail will not be granted to suspects unless the judge has sufficient grounds to believe that defendants “will not continue to commit acts endangering national security." Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the courthouse Monday, displaying slogans in favour of the 2019 pro-democracy protests advocating greater local autonomy. Some chanted protest slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times" — which the Hong Kong government has said has secessionist connotations and thus could contravene the national security law. China has cracked down hard on such calls, demanding changes to the legal and educational systems to inculcate loyalty to the ruling Communist Party. Hong Kong's security secretary, John Lee, defended the national security law at a webinar Monday during a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting. “The effect of the law is obvious and direct,” he said, according to a transcript. “Violence has dropped significantly. Advocacy of ‘Hong Kong independence' subsided." The 47 charged this week were involved in primaries held by the pro-democracy camp last year to determine the best candidates to field to try to win a majority in the legislature. If the pro-democracy camp had won a majority, at least some members of the camp had plans to vote down major bills that would eventually force Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign. Authorities said the activists’ participation in the primary was part of a plan to paralyze the city’s legislature and subvert state power. Human Rights Watch said Hong Kong should drop the charges against the activists. “The Hong Kong authorities are using the Beijing-imposed National Security Law to wrongfully charge 47 people who sought peaceful change through the democratic process,” Maya Wang, senior China researcher at the New York-based organization, said in a statement. Nearly 100 people have been arrested under the national security law. Serious offenders could face life imprisonment. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
Unlike many teenagers, Abdoulaye Diakhaby was petrified to turn 18. He had spent the previous four years in the child-welfare system living first in a foster home, then a group home. But at 18, he was forced to be on his own. Diakhaby, who is now 21, says he didn't feel ready; he was still perfecting his English, he didn't know how to cook and needed help with homework. "I was thinking, 'How am I going to be able to do my groceries? How to cook? How to go to school? How to pay my rent? How to get a job?'" he told CBC Toronto. Days after moving into his own place, Diakhaby returned to the group home for a couple of nights to sleep. He was lonely and isolated. Diakhaby says if he could, he'd still be living there, instead of having to make the transition away. "Everything was tough for me," he said. Diakhaby says prior to leaving care at 18, he worried about how he'd buy groceries, cook, get to school, pay rent and find a job.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province placed a moratorium on youth aging out of care and has extended it to Sept. 30, 2022. Just under 12,000 children and youth in care CBC News has learned the Ontario government will use the time to redesign how young people leave the system by doing away with the current age cut-off. Instead, provincial officials say they plan to ensure youths feel confident and prepared. According to the province, just under 12,000 children and youth are in the child-welfare system. About half of youths who experience homelessness in Ontario were involved in that system, more than half drop out of high school and 57 per cent rely on social assistance, according to a 2017 report by the now-closed Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women's issues, says the government wants children to meet key milestones before they leave care. "We're building a model that's going to work for them," Dunlop said in an interview. "Young people take different paths, but we want to ensure that the supports are there." Under the current system, some young people who leave care are eligible for financial assistance until age 21 and other supports until 24. Still, advocates who have been calling for a readiness-based model say those supports haven't been close to enough. "The system itself was traumatizing and it retraumatized them," said Irwin Elman, Ontario's former — and only — child and youth advocate. "When they left the system, they felt dumped out and as one young person said, 'shoved off the edge of a cliff, alone, with nothing and expected to do well.'" The Ford government cut Elman's position and closed the office in 2018 and moved his responsibilities to the Ombudsman's office. What the new system will look like and how it will work is still being determined. The ministry says it's working with former children in care, advocates and others to design the program. More than 2,500 young people expected to age out by 2022 will be protected by the moratorium, according to Dunlop. New system must give youth a voice, advocates say When Cheyanne Ratnam aged out of care at 18, she took a blanket with her that symbolized a piece of family she knew she was losing. She survived childhood sexual abuse and other trauma before entering the child-welfare system, and says although it was the "lowest low," she was relieved to finally have a safe place to sleep. "I was just so happy to be away from abuse and not really having stability," she said. Ratnam is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children's Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the ministry to help develop the new model. She calls it an "ethical system reset" and says the decision on when a youth leaves should include input from designated support people. Ultimately, she says, the people in care should decide when it's time to be on their own. Cheyanne Ratnam was in the child-welfare system and is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the government to help develop the new model. (Children's Aid Foundation of Canada ) "It should be in a way where young people are supported to make those decisions and not have decisions made for them so they can take ownership of their lives," she said. She also says the new model shouldn't include any sort of age cut-off and young people should be able to return to care if they choose to after leaving. "When you're alone in the community, a lot of trauma gets relived," she said. Ratnam says the child-welfare system funnels young people into homelessness, mental health issues and the justice system, and that the new model should help avoid that and set young people up for success. Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care, co-authored a letter to the province calling for a new system to be designed.(Honour Stahl) Ratnam and Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care Canada, co-authored a letter in June to the ministry calling for a new system to be designed. Lowes is also working with the province on the new model and says it's imperative it listen to those who experienced the current system. "It sets the precedent for that to be the standard, that the people [the system] is being designed for should be helping to create it," he said. "Because how else can we know what a system should look like if you're not asking the people that you're making the system for?" Support networks vital Shomari Mabayeke was placed in five different foster homes in five years. "It's kind of hard to trust people," he told CBC Toronto. "I'd move again and then it was kind of numbing after that because then I didn't make any new friends." Mabayeke first entered the system at 13 and says some homes were better than others. He aged out five years ago. "My process of coming out of care was more like, 'I just want to be gone. I don't care. Like, this is the worst thing ever,'" he said. Mabayeke says while he felt ready to be on his own at the time, he realizes now he wasn't taught certain skills, such as cooking or financial planning. Shomari Mabayeke looks through a basket of groceries delivered to him by StepsStones for Youth, a charity that helps young people transition out of the child-welfare system.(Angelina King/CBC) "They didn't do anything to prepare us for reality," he said. "You don't really get all the skills that growing up with an actual family and interacting with a loving family would give you." Mabayeke says he received some government assistance while transitioning out of care, but still relies on StepStones for Youth, a charitable organization in Toronto. "I feel like there would have been a really disastrous, chaotic moment if I didn't … use resources," he said. StepsStones helps youths who leave care secure housing, complete education and build support networks based on their interests. Heather O’Keefe, who runs StepStones for Youth, says the biggest challenge young people face when they leave the child-welfare system is not having a support network.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) "They deserve what other young people deserve," executive director Heather O'Keefe said. "They need to have people that care about them and guide them through life choices. And not only people who are paid to care for them, but people who actually genuinely care for them." Diakhaby also receives support from StepStones. He's unemployed right now and says it's been hard finding a job during the pandemic, but would like to be a plumber one day. He recently turned 21 and will soon lose his government financial assistance, but says he'll continue to rely on help and guidance from StepsStones. "They care about me," he said.
Donwood Park public school is temporarily shutting its doors because of a COVID-19 outbreak that include four cases of variants or concern. Erica Vella has details.