The Raptors ended the game on an 11-0 run to rally past the lowly Timberwolves to crawl back to .500 on the season.
The Raptors ended the game on an 11-0 run to rally past the lowly Timberwolves to crawl back to .500 on the season.
LOS ANGELES — When “WandaVision” wraps its initial run next month on the Disney+ streaming service, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda will make her next appearance in the big-screen “Doctor Strange” sequel. It’s storytelling that determines how and when characters from the Marvel Comics universe hopscotch between TV and movies, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said Wednesday. “All of the crossover between series, between films, will always vary based on the story,” Feige said. “Sometimes (a series) will go into a season two, sometimes it’ll go into a feature and then back into a series.” Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, plays opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s title character in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” planned for a 2022 release. Feige wouldn’t say whether “WandaVision,” Marvel Studios' first original series for Disney+, has a future after its March 5 season finale. The riff on generations of TV sitcoms — with the added superhero twist — brought Wanda and Paul Bettany's character, Vision, to the fore from the “Avengers” movie franchise. “I’ve been at Marvel for too long to say a definite no or definite yes to anything,” Feige replied when asked about the show's future during a virtual panel discussion held by the Television Critics Association. But second seasons are being considered and planned for series, he said, without giving away details. There’s a flurry of potential new Disney+ candidates, including “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” debuting March 19 with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprising their roles from “Avengers: Endgame.” “Loki,” starring Tom Hiddleston revisiting his character following the events of “Endgame,” debuts June 11. After “Ms. Marvel” arrives on the streaming service (with the date yet to be announced), the character will move to the next “Captain Marvel” movie, Feige said. He was asked if shifting Marvel stories and characters between film and TV might end up cutting into the potential audience. “I always say when the lights go down and and a movie starts, it’s a clean slate — forget everything that’s come before and be able to enjoy something that’s its own self-contained story line,” Feige said. He acknowledged that as the studio makes more shows and films and introduces new characters, it “becomes harder and harder” to meet that goal. “But it is something that all of our writers and filmmakers pay great attention to, to make sure that fans can follow" the latest chapter and that newcomers can enjoy it too, he said. When the Walt Disney Co. acquired Marvel Entertainment for about $4 billion in 2009, prior deals left some of its properties with other studios. Asked if Marvel Studios might be able to regain them, Feige said he believes it could happen, but added that “rumours online about things reverting” to Marvel aren't always true. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The hand-picked successor to former House Speaker Michael Madigan's seat abruptly resigned Wednesday, under pressure from his sponsors, who accused him of unspecified “questionable conduct." Edward Guerra Kodatt submitted his resignation to the House clerk Wednesday morning, according to Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, citing a spokesman for the new House speaker. Kodatt quit just three days after he was chosen from among 10 candidates to replace Madigan, a Democrat from the Southwest Side of Chicago who had held the post for more than 50 years. “After learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt, it was suggested that he resign as state representative for the 22nd District. We are committed to a zero tolerance policy in the workplace,” Madigan and Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn, who share office space, said in a statement. They did not elaborate on the allegations against Kodatt, who was previously a bilingual outreach and budget assistant in Madigan and Quinn's constituent services office. Technically, Madigan's replacement is chosen by ward committee members for the 22nd House district — volunteer Democratic Party officials responsible for organizing elections and boosting turnout. But Madigan, committeeman for the 13th Ward since 1969, controls 56% of the weighted vote, based on the number of ward votes cast for the seat in the 2020 election. So, he single-handedly chose Kodatt and retains that control for another selection hearing scheduled Thursday morning. The 26-year-old Kodatt's rise and demise marked another curious turn in the meteoric crash of Madigan's own career. The product of the old-style Chicago political machine, Madigan was head of the House for all but two years since 1983, the longest-serving legislative leader in U.S. history. But utility company ComEd admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors last summer that it engaged in a yearslong bribery scheme to influence Madigan for favourable legislation. After that, support for Madigan, 78, began to peel away, with 19 formerly loyal Democrats announcing they would not support him for a 19th term at the helm. He failed to collect the necessary 60 votes in January and suspended his campaign while the caucus coalesced around Welch. Madigan then resigned his job as state representative last week and relinquished control of the state Democratic Party by stepping aside as its chairman on Monday. Enthusiasm for Madigan had been deteriorating since the resurgence of the #MeToo movement more than three years ago, with critics questioning his handling of reported incidents of sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation by campaign workers, lawmakers, and legislative staff, including Madigan's longtime chief of staff, Timothy Mapes, who was forced to resign in June 2018. One highly publicized case involved Kevin Quinn, a Madigan political consultant and Marty Quinn's brother. Veteran campaign worker Alaina Hampton complained in early 2018 that Madigan and party officials had reacted too slowly after she reported that Quinn had sent her unwanted text messages commenting on her appearance and asking her for dates, beginning in 2016 and continuing despite her requests that he stop. She reported Quinn to Marty Quinn, his supervisor, in February 2017 and later wrote Madigan a letter, but Kevin Quinn was not fired until after Hampton quit her campaign job and was about to go public. In November 2019, Hampton received $275,000 in settling a federal lawsuit against several Madigan political committees alleging her complaints about Quinn halted her career advancement. ___ Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor John O'Connor, The Associated Press
Provincial police demonstrated life-saving measures when falling through ice at Lower Reach Park in Smiths Falls last week, on Friday, Feb. 18. After a hole was cut into the ice, Ontario Provincial Police Constable Sean McCaffrey jumped into the Rideau River waters to exhibit how to survive such an incident. The 1-10-1 rule was used as a helpful reminder for best course of action. The first 1 is for one minute, when a person is to likely gasp with shock. Breathing calmly is important in this first minute. The 10 is for the first 10 minutes, which is how long effective use of fingers, arms and legs will likely last. Because of this, it is in the first 10 minutes that self-rescue is at its most critical. The second 1 is for one hour, which is the time before hypothermia could potentially set in. Self-rescue is still recommended past the 10-minute mark, but police note it is important to be calling for help and continuing to focus on breathing. Other tips recommended by PC McCaffrey include ensuring anyone venturing out onto ice carries ice picks, wears appropriate clothing and never goes alone or at night. Assisting PC McCaffrey with the demonstration was the Ontario Provincial Police's East Region Snowmobile, ATV, and Vessel Enforcement (SAVE) Unit, Smiths Falls police and other emergency services. More safety tips can be found online at www.redcross.ca/. Marshall Healey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
MONTREAL — Nathan Todd had two goals and an assist as the Manitoba Moose downed the Laval Rocket 4-2 on Wednesday in American Hockey League action.Mikhail Berdin stopped 29-of-31 shots and Tyler Graovac had three helpers to lead Manitoba to its fourth win in a row.Kristian Reichel and Nicholas Jones also scored for the Moose (4-2-0), AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.Brandon Baddock and Jesse Ylonen supplied the scoring for the Rocket (3-2-1), the Montreal Canadiens' AHL club.Charlie Lindgren turned aside 12-of-15 shots for Laval.---This report by The Canadian Press was first published February 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Submitted by Chris Haines - image credit) Grace Haines has always enjoyed a challenge, but she is now facing the biggest challenge of her life — recovering from devastating injuries from a hit-and-run. "She took pride in being able to out-lift boys at the gym," said her father Chris Haines, who often trained with her. "She could deadlift just under 250 pounds, which when you weigh 120 pounds is pretty good." But one month after being hit by a car, the 17-year-old has almost no movement on her left side and is struggling to speak. 17-year-old Grace Haines enjoyed weightlifting with her father before she was injured in a hit-and-run crash. Haines went for a run in North Vancouver around 9:45 p.m. PT on Jan. 25, 2021 after a long day of studying for exams, according to her father. She was found around half an hour later, injured and unconscious near Keith Road East and St. Andrews Avenue. Haines was rushed to Lions Gate Hospital where she had emergency surgery for bleeding on her brain. The accident damaged her corpus callosum — the part of the brain that allows both sides to communicate. Her father says the damage was clear after she awoke from her coma. "She could open her right eye, but not her left eye. She can move her right hand, but not her left hand," he said. Grace Haines (right) enjoyed weightlifting and often trained with her father Chris (left). Signs of progress Last week Haines was moved to the Sunny Hill Health Centre at BC Children's Hospital for rehabilitation. Her father says she still has some confusion, but understands she was in an accident. On the bright side, he says they are already seeing small signs of improvement. "There are some little movements in the left hand and left leg... Take those little victories as you can," he said. Investigation continues North Vancouver RCMP say a driver was arrested the same night of the crash, but the person was released and no charges have been laid yet. Several witnesses have come forward, but police are still appealing for information from anyone who may have seen anything in the area around the time of the accident. Sgt. Peter DeVries says these types of investigations are complex, and can take a few months as it may involve accessing video and technical information from the car computer. Focusing on Grace But Chris Haines isn't thinking about any of that. "I'm not focused on a month from now or a year from now, that scares me, that depresses me. I'm focused on tomorrow. What can we do today to make it for a better tomorrow," he said. Grace Haines underwent emergency surgery to relieve bleeding on her brain. He says he has been overwhelmed with community support, including from people who are still dropping off food and offering to raise funds. He's encouraging people now to donate to the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation or Children's Hospital. Haines says a social media campaign titled "#liftingforgrace" is also bringing inspiration. People from as far away as Brazil and Australia have posted videos of themselves weight-lifting or doing other fitness activities in her name. Even Canada's Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan did chin-ups in Haines's honour. Sajjan served in the military with her father. Haines says he has shown his daughter the videos, which have elicited a thumbs-up. Grace Haines has been moved to the Sunny Hill Health Centre for rehabilitation, and her father says she is already asking him to wheel her to the gym where they lift small weights together. He says she is already asking him to wheel her to the gym where they lift small weights together. "She will outlift the boys of the gym, again. She will outlift me one day, probably very soon. I've got no doubt about that," he said. "She's very strong, and she's very driven, and she's very intelligent and none of that is going to change."
Paramount Pictures is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday announced that some of the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theatres. Like all studios in the past year, Paramount has had to adapt. Paramount sold some of its films to streaming services, including “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which went to Netflix, and “Coming 2 America” to Amazon, but held back its biggest titles, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick” for more traditional theatrical releases. “A Quiet Place Part II” has been delayed several times over the past year. It was originally set to come out last March, but was pulled from the schedule when theatres closed nationwide. Both it and “Mission: Impossible 7” are currently scheduled to open in the fall. The 45-day plan is yet another sign of how quickly the pandemic has changed the business of Hollywood. In the past theatre owners have been able to insist upon exclusive 90-day theatrical windows, but most have had to compromise to stay afloat during the pandemic. In the past few months, Universal Pictures reached an agreement with many theatre chains to shorten the theatrical window for its films. Warner Bros. and parent company WarnerMedia followed with the more controversial decision to debut films simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max. And there's also the pressure to get premium content to new streaming services faster. Paramount+ launches March 4 and has some hefty competition for audience dollars and attention in Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max. A few films are being produced to go directly to to the service, including a new “Paranormal Activity” and a new “Pet Sematary” origin story. The company has also struck a deal with EPIX that will add thousands of other movies to Paramount+. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally revoked a series of presidential orders and memorandum signed by Donald Trump, including one that sought to cut funding from several cities the 45th president deemed “anarchist” havens and another mandating that federal buildings should be designed in a classical esthetic. Since taking office last month, Biden has revoked dozens of Trump orders and issued dozens more of his own as he’s sought to target foundational aspects of Trump's legacy and promote aspect of his own agenda without going through Congress. The latest slate of revocations targeted a grab-bag of issues, including a few that Trump signed in his last months in office. Trump issued a memorandum in September that sought to identify municipal governments that permit “anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities.” The memorandum followed riots during anti-police and anti-racism protests over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The Justice Department identified New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed. Those cities in turn filed a lawsuit to invalidate the designation and fight off the Trump administration’s efforts to withhold federal dollars. Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes welcomed the Biden revocation, saying he was “glad to have this nonsense cleared from the decks." Trump in his “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” intoned that America’s forefathers “wanted public buildings to inspire the American people and encourage civic virtue." The memorandum added that architects should look to “America’s beloved landmark buildings” such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Department of the Treasury and the Lincoln Memorial for inspiration. Another order halted was one Trump issued in the final days of his presidency dubbed the “Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking." It called for limiting the ability of federal agency employees in making regulatory decisions. Biden also revoked a 2018 order that called for agency heads across the government to review welfare programs — such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing aid — and strengthening work requirements for certain recipients. ___ Associated Press writer Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Emilio Estevez said “The Mighty Ducks” TV series wooed him out of the director’s chair and back into acting, but only because it was a worthy successor to the 1990s movie franchise. Estevez reprises his role as youth hockey coach Gordon Bombay for the Disney+ streaming service's “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers," debuting March 26. When approached for the project by Steven Brill, screenwriter for the movies and executive producer of the series, Estevez said he'd be interested if it could capture the “magic” of the films and not just “cash in on the nostalgia.” “I think that's ultimately what we've done,” he said during a virtual panel to promote the 10-episode series Wednesday. Set in contemporary Minnesota, the Ducks are now a successful, win-at-all costs team. When they suddenly boot 12-year-old Evan (Brady Morrow), he and his mom, played by Lauren Graham of “Gilmore Girls” and “Parenthood,” decide to form their own team and conscript Gordon to help. Estevez, part of an acting family that includes father Martin Sheen ("The West Wing") and brother Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"), said he had largely stepped away from acting to make independent films, including 1996's “The War at Home.” The Associated Press
Les délais d’entrée au pays compliquent le recrutement de travailleurs étrangers. Le manque criant de main-d’œuvre qui frappait de plein fouet la région de Chaudière-Appalaches avant la pandémie hante de nouveau la région, où le taux de chômage a chuté à 4 % le mois dernier. Pour ajouter au casse-tête des employeurs, les délais d’immigrations freinent l’embauche à l’international. « On a actuellement une trentaine de travailleurs au Nicaragua qui attendent de venir ici », raconte en entrevue Louise Couture, conseillère en ressources humaines pour le fabricant de semi-remorques Manac. Leur usine de Saint-Georges, en Beauce, emploie déjà près de 80 personnes venant de l’étranger, sur un total de 700 employés. Cette trentaine d’ouvriers « partiellement embauchés » peine à entrer au pays en raison surtout des délais administratifs dans leur pays d’origine. La pandémie retarde l’obtention d’un examen médical, d’une photo d’identification et d’un relevé d’empreintes digitales, tous nécessaires pour entrer au Canada. « Les bureaux sont fermés ou partiellement ouverts, explique Mme Couture. [Les travailleurs] ne sont pas capables de franchir toutes les étapes nécessaires avant de rentrer dans l’avion. Ils ne sont pas capables de quitter le pays parce qu’il leur manque des documents. » Son entreprise sollicite ainsi le gouvernement fédéral pour autoriser les immigrants à fournir leurs données biométriques après leur arrivée au Canada. « Ce n’est pas un processus tellement long, ils pourraient faire ça quand ils arrivent ici », précise Louise Couture. Cette pratique existe déjà pour les travailleurs agricoles du Mexique et du Guatemala qui viennent travailler l’été dans les fermes québécoises, et qui sont considérés comme essentiels par Ottawa. Les retards actuels d’embauche de travailleurs étrangers touchent autant les petites, les moyennes que les grandes entreprises. « Tout le monde a de la misère avec leur personnel », déplore la directrice générale de la Chambre de commerce de Saint-Georges, Annie Gilbert. Pour répondre à ce « besoin criant », elle travaille actuellement à créer une foire de l’emploi virtuel. « 70 entreprises figurent déjà dans la liste, mais je vais faire quelques appels et je suis sûr que ça va ajouter un autre 20 kiosques. Ils ont tous le même problème », avance-t-elle. Or, l’embauche à l’étranger ne convient pas à tous les employeurs, nuance Mme Gilbert, qui dit privilégier l’embauche de citoyens canadiens. « Quand on se décide d’embaucher du côté de l’immigration, ça prend un an, un an et demi avant d’avoir quelqu’un. » En attendant ses nouveaux employés, l’entreprise Manac voit des contrats lui filer entre les doigts et accuse une perte de compétitivité. « Ce sont des heures supplémentaires qu’on est obligé de payer. Tant mieux pour les travailleurs, mais pour l’entreprise, c’est sûr que les profits sont moindres », indique Louise Couture. L’usine beauceronne de Manac est également aux prises avec un niveau d’absentéisme élevé en raison de la pandémie, ce qui plombe la chaîne de production. « C’est une grosse charge pour les contremaîtres. Ils doivent parfois conjuguer avec un quart de travail de soir où il peut y avoir trois employés de moins dans le département parce qu’il y en a un qui a été déclaré positif à la COVID-19 et qu’il habite avec les deux autres, relève Mme Couture. Toutes les semaines, il arrive quelque chose. » Chaudière-Appalaches n’est pas la seule région où le manque d’employés se fait sentir. Dans la Capitale-Nationale, selon un sondage publié le mois dernier par la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Québec, 80 % des entreprises comptent recruter dans la prochaine année. Et 60 % des gestionnaires de la région comptent embaucher du personnel issu de l’immigration, note l’enquête réalisée auprès de 500 d’entre eux. La pandémie a également freiné la croissance continue de délivrance de permis de travail. Pour l’ensemble du Québec, le Canada avait autorisé en 2019 près de 41 000 nouveaux immigrants à travailler. En 2020, ce chiffre a chuté à 31 265. Quant aux quelque 16 000 travailleurs étrangers attendus dans les champs québécois cet été, tous devraient pouvoir entrer au pays, selon Fernando Borja, de la Fondation des entreprises en recrutement de main-d’œuvre agricole étrangère (FERME). L’an dernier, environ 80 % des travailleurs temporaires prévus avaient réussi à franchir la frontière. Des vols nolisés et des tests de dépistage de la COVID-19 au préalable sont prêts pour satisfaire aux exigences du Canada, assure M. Borja « Le gouvernement du Mexique s’est mis aussi à la tâche pour que les travailleurs se préparent. » « Ceux qui rentrent au pays doivent faire trois jours à l’hôtel, mais les travailleurs pour le moment font leur quarantaine dans leur logement », ajoute Fernando Borja. « Mais, ça se peut que ça change. La COVID-19 nous a appris que la situation peut changer en une heure. Il faut qu’on soit prêt, mais on a une bonne expérience de l’année dernière. » Le gouvernement fédéral doit détailler le protocole sanitaire pour l’arrivée des travailleurs étrangers temporaires le 14 mars prochain. Jean-Louis Bordeleau, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
(Talish Zafar/CBC - image credit) Following a series of hate motivated acts of vandalism directed at the WE Trans Support offices in the last week, community members showed up at the organization to deliver messages of positivity and hope. WE Trans staff, families and local artists arrived at the offices Wednesday in support of the LGBTQ community. The event was in response to three incidents that took place, which included homophobic and racist vandalism, along with a window being smashed. WATCH: Community members talk about the importance of spreading messages of love and hope in the community Windsor police's morality unit officers are investigating the incidents as hate crimes. 10-year-old Peyton O'Brien was one of those in attendance. She came with her sister and grandparents to spread messages of love. "[We] came to colour on to the windows to support because we heard what happened in the window and everything else and I feel like it's important for others to feel loved and we want this to be a safe place for them to come to," O'Brien said. Community on edge CBC News spoke with members of WE Trans and those who are part of the LGBTQ community about the recent events. Jamie Plouffe said the incidents were hard to hear about. "I spent all day yesterday crying about it in bed ... it's very disheartening, it's very triggering, it's not something that, even as a member of a queer community you don't want to have to hear about anything happening to a member of the LGBTQ community," Plouffe told CBC News on Tuesday.
Canada's main stock index is expected to extend its record-setting rally this year as a global economic recovery boosts the outlook for the index's heavily weighted financial and resource stocks, a Reuters poll found. "The TSX Composite with its heavy makeup of financials, energy and material stocks should be a perfect proxy and beneficiary of a global economic reopening," said Matt Skipp, president of SW8 Asset Management. Investors expected the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, historically low interest rates and fiscal stimulus to support an economic recovery.
(Submitted by Dennis Banks - image credit) A Black oil executive who has found success in Canada's oil and gas sector is working toward making the industry more inclusive. Dennis Banks has been working with Suncor in Canada for almost a decade and is vice president of its Edmonton refinery. He wrote a post on the company's website for Black History Month divulging some of his experiences and calling on employees to come together to do and be better. Banks said the company has had many conversations about inclusive diversity for people of all backgrounds and that the industry has made progress. "I stand as a living testament that we are making progress," Banks said in an interview with CBC's Radio Active. "I'm not going to tell you that it's perfect but it's better now than it was 20 years ago or 40 years ago." Banks is sponsoring the creation of a Black employee network across the company, still in the process of being organized but currently sitting at about 120 members and climbing. "I've had Black employees that didn't even know there were other Black employees in the company," he said, adding that some biracial employees would not identify themselves as Black for years. "[They're] coming forward now to tell their story and to belong." Black workers are getting the opportunity to share their experiences and support each other as well as educate their peers and coworkers, Banks said, as the sector, both in corporate offices and on the ground, is becoming more inclusive for people of colour. But oil and gas is an industry he says is similar north and south of the border — mostly white males. "At first you get the feeling that you're carrying the load for the entire race but then after a while you realize you're at tables because you belong there." 'Persevere and overcome' Although his parents grew up in Jim Crow-era Alabama, Banks was raised in the Motor City itself: Detroit. While his siblings went directly from high school to the auto industry, his talent for math and science landed him at Louisiana State University where he got a degree in chemical engineering with an emphasis on petroleum. Banks came to Canada from the United States in 2012 to work with Suncor. In both countries, he's had to deal with microaggressions and bias. "I find it's not necessarily what you face is how you face it and how you persevere and overcome," Banks said. Education has always been his tool of choice to combat bias. He recalls an incident at a hockey game when a man said Banks reminded him of Aunt Jemima. "I turned it around, said 'Hey, you know, I love pancakes — true, that's not one of my favourite syrups.' "And we proceeded to have a conversation where I let them know that type of comment isn't appreciated and why," he said, turning that negative experience into a positive educational opportunity. "Now granted, 20 years ago that would have been a fight," he said. While Banks says society has grown since his parents were making their way through the world, events akin to the massive groundswell of outcry after the death of George Floyd have been repeated time and again. "Th events of the last year, it's been going on a very long time," he said, adding that he is excited to see what change has come of resultant conversations. "But go back in time we had the same, similar conversations when MLK was killed, when Rodney King was beaten ... but I think each event, each opportunity propels us closer to equality and I'm hopeful in that regard." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
NEW YORK — A public service ad campaign unveiled Thursday aims to convince Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, telling them “It's Up to You.” The campaign by the Ad Council and its partners is focused on those who may be hesitant to get the shots. One print ad reads: “Getting back to hugs starts with getting informed,” and directs readers to a website with information about vaccines in seven languages. “Our goal is to move them from being hesitant to being confident” in vaccines, said Lisa Sherman, the Ad Council’s president. As many as 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Some scientists estimate that more than 2 in 3 Americans will need to get vaccinated to stop the epidemic that has killed more than 500,000 people in the U.S. The large, national campaign is producing an array of English and Spanish ads for TV, billboards, bus shelters, social media and publications that will be rolled out over the next few months. A few of the ads are expected to feature celebrities like the actors Angela Bassett and John Leguizamo, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The spots are expected to run throughout the year. The effort includes materials specifically for church leaders, doctors, pharmacists and others in Black and Hispanic communities The new campaign was funded by $52 million in donations — supplemented with donated labour and resources, said Sherman. The advertising industry-backed group calls it one of the largest public education efforts in U.S. history. It’s famous for many iconic public service campaigns that include “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love” campaign for the Peace Corps. Print versions show an adhesive bandage framing the words “It’s Up to You.” One video spot shows a series of illustrated arms of different colours and one robotic, all with a bandage on the upper arm, blending in to a mosaic of the U.S. map. “You’ve got questions. And that’s normal” reads another ad. It invites viewers to go to a website, GetVaccineAnswers.org, to get more information. Although vaccines have been available — in limited supplies — in the U.S. since mid-December, the timing of the ad campaign is actually good, said Jay Winsten, a Harvard University public health communications expert. It takes a while for people who question the effectiveness or safety of vaccines to gain faith in shots, said Winsten, who is known as the architect of a national designated driver campaign that aimed to reduce drunk driving injuries and deaths. But it also helps that millions of Americans have already gotten shots, and they did not suffer serious side effects, he added. “People will be more open to the messaging now” because of that, he said. The federal government is involved in the Ad Council’s campaign, but also has its own in the works. A $300 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services campaign was put on pause late in the Trump administration. Biden administration officials have picked it up but have not said when it will launch. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
TORONTO — William Nylander is used to the outside noise swirling around him in hockey's biggest market. And he knows some of the criticism is justified. Breathtakingly skilled, Nylander can make the absurd look easy one moment, and appear disinterested and disengaged the next. The Maple Leafs' enigmatic winger demonstrated what he's capable of Wednesday with two goals that couldn't have been more different. Nylander tied the game late in regulation on a chaotic scramble in tight before adding the winner on a graceful drive to the net at 1:06 into overtime as Toronto defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1. "Nice to be able to score," he said. "Finally." It's certainly been an interesting week for the 24-year-old, who was recently called out on the front page of one of the city's daily newspapers before getting benched in the third period of his team's 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. "It's kind of always been around me," the soft-spoken Nylander said of the heat he takes in some circles. "I know I've underperformed and I know I can do better. I've got levels to get to where I want to be." Leafs forward Zach Hyman said he wishes people on the outside got to see the work his much-maligned teammate puts in away from the fans and cameras. "You don't do the things he does away from the rink, and when people don't watch, if you don't care and you don't love the game and you don't want to get better, you don't want to help your team win," Hyman said. "He gets misunderstood a lot of the time. "Guys in the locker room know how much he cares and how much he wants to win." Michael Hutchinson stopped 21 shots for North Division-leading Toronto (15-4-2) in his second consecutive start in place of the injured Frederik Andersen, who remains out with a lower-body ailment. Auston Matthews added two assists as the Leafs ground out a result in a game that didn't have any scoring through 56 minutes. Andrew Mangiapane replied for Calgary (9-9-2), which had lost four of its last five in regulation before Monday's 3-0 victory at Scotiabank Arena. David Rittich made 37 saves in his second straight start in place of injured No. 1 goalie Jacob Markstrom (upper-body, day-to-day). "Lots of positive things (with) what we did in those two games," Rittich said. "That's a good thing." Nylander took a pass from Matthews in the extra period and beat the Flames goaltender upstairs after quick move to the forehand for his seventh of the season as the Leafs spilled over the boards to celebrate. "Why is he misunderstood?" Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said of the No. 8 pick in the 2014 draft. "Willy has to own some of that. He's got to find more consistency in his game. He and I have talked a lot about those kinds of things. He's got to be engaged and good without the puck. "Part of it, perhaps, is being misunderstood, but part of it is he's still gotta grow as a player." Mangiapane finally snapped a 0-0 tie with 3:27 left in the third period when he took a pass from Matthew Tkachuk behind the net and beat Hutchinson for his seventh. Rittich, who made 34 saves for his first victory of the season Monday in Toronto, had made 70 straight stops against the Leafs, but Nylander jammed home his sixth with 1:28 remaining to force OT. "We've learned a lot early in the season and the importance of sticking with it," Leafs captain John Tavares said. "Eventually with the type of depth that we have, our opportunities will come." Next up for the Flames is four in a row against the Ottawa Senators, including three straight in the nation's capital, starting Thursday. The Leafs, meanwhile, open a five-game road trip Saturday in Edmonton with the first of three against Oilers before two more versus the Vancouver Canucks. Apart from missing Andersen, Toronto was without first-line winger Joe Thornton (lower body) and top-4 defenceman Jake Muzzin (facial fracture) for the second consecutive game. All three players continue to be listed as day-to-day, while backup goalie Jack Campbell (leg) and forward Wayne Simmonds (wrist) remain on injured reserve. Hyman returned after missing Monday with a suspected foot injury, slotting into Thornton's spot on the top line with Matthews and Mitch Marner to start the game. Hyman also spent some time with the Leafs' stars earlier in the schedule when Thornton missed 10 contests with a rib fracture. Toronto's power play, which remained tied for first in the NHL entering Wednesday despite going 0 for 7 in that shutout loss to Calgary, got a chance seven minutes into the third after a disjointed 0-for-3 performance in the first, but still couldn't get anything going with Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Nylander loaded up on the top unit. Rittich continued to shut the door, including a nice stop with Alexander Barabanov in alone with under five to go in the third before the teams traded late goals. "He gave us a chance to win both hockey games," Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. "He played so well." Tavares had a great chance to open the scoring in the second off a pass from Matthews, but Rittich made a terrific right-pad save at full stretch. Toronto, which hadn't been shut out this season before Monday, got another opportunity on a 2-on-1 break shorthanded later in the period only to see the Calgary netminder rob the snake-bitten Ilya Mikheyev. Rittich then shut the five-hole on Matthews, who crashed into the end boards after a shove from Rasmus Andersson and subsequently had his right wrist taped by a trainer. Keefe said the injury was definitely bothering his No. 1 centre, but added it's something the NHL goal leader has been dealing with all season. Nylander and Matthews were actually the second pair of forwards over the boards in overtime — Keefe usually starts with Marner and Mattews — because the latter didn't feel like he could take the faceoff at centre. Nylander took a subsequent draw alongside Matthews in the defensive zone on the next shift in the extra period before securing the win with his deft touch. "People get on him a lot," Hyman said. "He's an incredible player, and I think that people don't realize how much he cares and how much he wants to win. To see him be the hero ... it's just great. "Really happy for him." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
The Chinese military criticised the United States on Thursday for undermining regional peace and stability after a U.S. Navy warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait a day earlier. A spokesman for the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command said in a statement the Chinese military tracked the USS Curtis Wilbur as the destroyer made what the U.S. Navy called a "routine Taiwan Strait transit".
Despite various changes in how the province releases information about COVID-19 cases in schools, parents still aren’t satisfied with the data being made public. Halfway through the academic year, families behind a new letter-writing campaign are calling for more detail about cases in both school and child-care settings, citing heightened concerns about the risk of new coronavirus variants. The group wants daily updates on exposures that include facility names, dates and total cases broken down into student and staff categories, historical data so the public can track trends, and information about variants identified. “In terms of what they’re publicly reporting on, it’s very, very limited. I think it undermines confidence in the statement that schools are safe and they aren’t seeing transmission,” said Susan Wingert, a mother of two K-12 students in Winnipeg. Wingert said reporting via an online dashboard, which launched earlier this month, falls short of providing all the information parents need to weigh decisions about sending children to school. The provincial dashboard shows cases among student and staff populations within the last 14 days, as well as totals dating back to Sept. 1. A map allows users to view recent cases in specific schools, including people who might not have been infectious in a classroom; there is no information on which — if any — cases were acquired at school. It’s a stark contrast to the first-ever alert, which detailed the grade, classroom and time frame at Churchill High School for a student who was asymptomatic but tested positive Sept. 8. Following pushback after that notice, the province began to publish a running list of less-specific notices, including exposure dates and letters sent to families until mid-December. That’s when letters disappeared online for more than a month while the province finalized its dashboard. Child-care centres are not included in the provided information. The most recent data shows there were 75 cases, involving 59 students and 16 staff members, during the incubation period prior to Feb. 21. Michelle Driedger, who researches health-risk communication at the University of Manitoba, questions the usefulness of that information if it isn’t contextualized. “There has to be a happy medium between full disclosure of absolutely everything and, ‘Here, we’re giving you some information, but in such an opaque environment that you can almost interpret what you want from it,’” said Driedger, a professor of community health sciences and parent of two K-12 students. Buy-in to COVID-19 protocols requires confidence in the system, she said, adding the province should be frank about how exactly it has come to the conclusion schools are safe. Education Minister Cliff Cullen was not made available for an interview Wednesday. In an email statement, he wrote the province is confident parents are receiving the “appropriate information” on the dashboard while noting letters are still being sent to parents when there is an outbreak. School-related cases represent approximately seven per cent of the number of confirmed cases in Manitoba, to date. On the subject of asymptomatic testing, Cullen said in the email the province is seeing its COVID-19 curve bend significantly. “Our government will continue to listen to our public health leaders and take action accordingly,” he wrote. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
The European Space Agency is currently recruiting astronauts from EU member states - and one country is serious about getting their candidate amongst the stars.
CAMEROON, Cameroon — Russian supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova became a United Nations goodwill ambassador on Wednesday, pledging to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls and tackle stigmas surrounding their bodies. She will be a campaigner for the U.N. Population Fund, which now calls itself the U.N.’s sexual and reproductive health agency, known as UNFPA. UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem, who announced her appointment, called Vodianova “above all a passionate, longtime advocate for the rights and the needs of women and girls and in particular people living with disabilities.” Working with UNFPA for the last three years, Kanem said, Vodianova has focused on “breaking harmful taboos and tackling the stigmas that surround women’s bodies and health, including menstrual health even during humanitarian crises, and all forms of gender-based violence.” Vodianova, who will celebrate her 39th birthday on Sunday, said she was honoured by her new role and told a U.N. press conference by video link: “I look forward to continuing my work to tackle the myths and taboos that billions of women, girls and vulnerable young people have to live with and raise the standards of women’s health and dignity.” Vodianova was raised in poverty by a single mother with a half-sister who has cerebral palsy and autism. She signed with Viva Model Management at the age of 17 and has worked for fashion companies including Calvin Klein, Balmain, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton and appeared on many magazine covers, including Vogue. She made the Forbes top models list in 2012 and is nicknamed Supernova. Vodianova founded the Naked Heart Foundation to help children with special needs and their families in 2004 and is a member of the Special Olympics International board of directors. She told reporters that one focus of her work as a goodwill ambassador will be on the taboo and stigma surrounding menstruation, a monthly challenge for girls and women. On any given day, UNFPA said more than 800 million girls and women between ages 15 and 49 are menstruating, and may face exclusion from public life, barriers to opportunities, lack of proper sanitation and health, and neglect. “These stigmas and taboos are deeply rooted in our cultures and held there with such an overwhelming power,” Vodianova said. “And it doesn’t matter where you’re born ... you will face these issues growing up in one way or another.” She said a good example is that “period products, something that is a right for women, not just something nice to have” are still not widely publicly available in many countries. “It is now our responsibility to culturally redefine what is normal,” Vodianova said. “As UNFPA goodwill ambassador, I want to work to build a world where we no longer need to explain this.” Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors' offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not this year. Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades. Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — mask wearing, social distancing and virtual schooling — were a big factor in preventing a “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19. A push to get more people vaccinated against flu probably helped, too, as did fewer people travelling, they say. Another possible explanation: The coronavirus has essentially muscled aside flu and other bugs that are more common in the fall and winter. Scientists don't fully understand the mechanism behind that, but it would be consistent with patterns seen when certain flu strains predominate over others, said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert at the University of Michigan. Nationally, “this is the lowest flu season we’ve had on record,” according to a surveillance system that is about 25 years old, said Lynnette Brammer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals say the usual steady stream of flu-stricken patients never materialized. At Maine Medical Center in Portland, the state's largest hospital, "I have seen zero documented flu cases this winter,” said Dr. Nate Mick, the head of the emergency department. Ditto in Oregon's capital city, where the outpatient respiratory clinics affiliated with Salem Hospital have not seen any confirmed flu cases. “It's beautiful,” said the health system's Dr. Michelle Rasmussen. The numbers are astonishing considering flu has long been the nation's biggest infectious disease threat. In recent years, it has been blamed for 600,000 to 800,000 annual hospitalizations and 50,000 to 60,000 deaths. Across the globe, flu activity has been at very low levels in China, Europe and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. And that follows reports of little flu in South Africa, Australia and other countries during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months of May through August. The story of course has been different with coronavirus, which has killed more than 500,000 people in the United States. COVID-19 cases and deaths reached new heights in December and January, before beginning a recent decline. Flu-related hospitalizations, however, are a small fraction of where they would stand during even a very mild season, said Brammer, who oversees the CDC's tracking of the virus. Flu death data for the whole U.S. population is hard to compile quickly, but CDC officials keep a running count of deaths of children. One pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season, compared with 92 reported at the same point in last year’s flu season. “Many parents will tell you that this year their kids have been as healthy as they’ve ever been, because they’re not swimming in the germ pool at school or day care the same way they were in prior years,” Mick said. Some doctors say they have even stopped sending specimens for testing, because they don't think flu is present. Nevertheless, many labs are using a CDC-developed “multiplex test” that checks specimens for both the coronavirus and flu, Brammer said. More than 190 million flu vaccine doses were distributed this season, but the number of infections is so low that it’s difficult for CDC to do its annual calculation of how well the vaccine is working, Brammer said. There’s simply not enough data, she said. That also is challenging the planning of next season's flu vaccine. Such work usually starts with checking which flu strains are circulating around the world and predicting which of them will likely predominate in the year ahead. "But there's not a lot of (flu) viruses to look at," Brammer said. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
(Facebook, Jo Smith - image credit) The man accused of fatally beating two dogs says he confessed to abusing the animals only because he believed it would keep his family together. John Geick, 39, is on trial on three counts of animal abuse. On Wednesday, he testified in his own defence. In February 2019, Geick lived with his son and then-girlfriend, Joanna Smith, who owned a basset hound named Sophie and a Chihuahua named Tyler. Over a three-day span, both dogs died of what a forensic veterinarian would eventually determine was multiple blunt force trauma. "I am a very good dog parent," Geick said at the beginning of his testimony. 'Major trauma' suffered by dogs In her testimony Tuesday, Smith testified that after the second dog died, she confronted Geick, asking him if he had hurt the dogs. Smith testified that Geick nodded and cried when she asked if he'd kicked the animals. After her second dog died suddenly, Smith had become suspicious and had asked the veterinary hospital to get the Calgary Humane Society involved in an investigation. Later, in an interview with police, Geick said he had thrown Sophie outside, across the patio and into the wall of the garage. He also said he kicked Tyler once because the dog had bitten him in the garage. Geick said that just before he was questioned by police, Smith and her mother told him he needed to tell investigators he was responsible for the deaths. He said he believed if he took responsibility, he could save his family. Geick also testified that he felt like the police officers were his friends and "wanted to say what they wanted to hear." And although the descriptions do not match the "major trauma," the Crown's theory is that Geick minimized the beating he delivered to Tyler and Sophie. 'I would never hurt Tyler' On Feb. 15, Geick woke Smith up to say Sophie wasn't well. When she got to the dog's side, Sophie was dead. Geick told defence lawyer Efrayim Moldofsky he performed CPR on Sophie when he found the dog unresponsive, cold and not breathing. The veterinarian who performed the necropsy found injuries to Sophie's lips, mouth, eye, legs, stomach, head, chest and ears and said the dog wouldn't have lived more than 60 minutes after being abused. The basset hound's liver had been "pulverized" and she bled into her abdomen. The dog, said the vet, would have been in "immense pain." Two days later, Smith woke up to find Tyler shaking and unable to stand. She and Geick brought him to the vet, who ultimately euthanized the dog because of catastrophic injuries to his belly, inside his mouth, ears and lungs. Blood had also pooled in the dog's eyes, indicating he had been choked. "I would never hurt Tyler," said Geick. "I loved that dog, he was my best friend." Prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood will cross-examine.