WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
BEIJING — Asian stocks rose Tuesday after Chinese manufacturing improved, with investors looking ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before legislators.Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced.Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed down 0.5% overnight but ended November up 10.8% for its biggest monthly gain since April.Investors are increasingly optimistic about the expected development of a coronavirus vaccine despite caution about the short-term economic impact of rising virus cases in the United States and Europe.The future “seems incredibly bright and bullish,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2% to 3,433.77 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.5% to 28.824.46. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.8% to 26,569.69.The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.3% to 2,625.22 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was 1.4% higher at 6,608.70. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.An index of Chinese manufacturing released by a business magazine, Caixin, hit a decade high in November as the country’s recovery from the pandemic gained strength. A separate survey Monday by the government statistics agency showed activity at a three-year high.Strength in the Chinese economy is helping offset unease about rising virus cases in the United States and Europe and possible renewed controls on business and travel.In Washington, Powell said in a statement Monday that economic prospects are “extraordinarily uncertain” after the pace of improvement moderated. He said a full recovery is unlikely until the public is confident the disease is under control.Powell was due to appear Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The panel oversees the $2 trillion aid package approved by Congress in March.The S&P 500 declined to 3,621.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9% to 29,638.64. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 12,198.74.The slide followed reports showing the pandemic dragging down U.S. economic activity in the near future. But investors appear to be looking beyond that.Investors are encouraged by the end of uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. They are reassured Washington will be under divided control, reducing the chances of big changes in taxes or regulation.Markets also have been heartened by announcements from pharmaceutical companies of advances in vaccine development.One developer, Moderna, said Monday it is ready to apply for emergency approval in the United States and Britain. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are asking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 36 cents to $44.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 19 cents to $45.34 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank 32 cents to $47.56 per barrel in London. It dropped 59 cents from the previous session to $47.59.The dollar rose to 104.43 yen from Monday’s 104.34 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1960 from $1.1946.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.There are 378,139 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 378,139 confirmed cases (66,037 active, 299,972 resolved, 12,130 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 6,103 new cases Monday from 63,070 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,798.There were 66 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 609 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.27 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,475,642 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 338 confirmed cases (36 active, 298 resolved, four deaths).There was one new case Monday from 247 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. 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 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 62,520 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Monday from 846 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. 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 59,923 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,305 confirmed cases (138 active, 1,102 resolved, 65 deaths).There were 15 new cases Monday from 2,564 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.59 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 115 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 16.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 143,754 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 501 confirmed cases (120 active, 374 resolved, seven deaths).There were six new cases Monday from 1,079 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.56 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 56 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 100,485 tests completed._ Quebec: 142,371 confirmed cases (12,138 active, 123,177 resolved, 7,056 deaths).There were 1,333 new cases Monday from 8,655 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,165 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,309.There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 214 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,186,076 tests completed._ Ontario: 116,492 confirmed cases (14,197 active, 98,639 resolved, 3,656 deaths).There were 1,746 new cases Monday from 38,117 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,991 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,570.There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 151 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.1 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,069,726 tests completed._ Manitoba: 16,825 confirmed cases (9,260 active, 7,253 resolved, 312 deaths).There were 342 new cases Monday from 9,003 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,738 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 391.There were 11 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 76 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.79 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 347,108 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 8,564 confirmed cases (3,879 active, 4,638 resolved, 47 deaths).There were 325 new cases Monday from 2,451 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265.There were two new reported deaths 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 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is four per 100,000 people. There have been 260,818 tests completed._ Alberta: 58,177 confirmed cases (16,454 active, 41,182 resolved, 541 deaths).There were 1,733 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,756 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,394.There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,445,984 tests completed._ British Columbia: 33,238 confirmed cases (9,686 active, 23,111 resolved, 441 deaths).There were 596 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,831 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 833.There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 783,409 tests completed._ Yukon: 47 confirmed cases (17 active, 29 resolved, one deaths).There were two new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. 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 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,166 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Monday from 53 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. 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 6,355 tests completed._ Nunavut: 181 confirmed cases (108 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths).There were four new cases Monday from 55 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.3 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,242 tests completed.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnamese authorities are conducting intensive contact tracing after the country’s first confirmed local transmission of the coronavirus in 89 days.State media said Tuesday that a 32-year-old man in Ho Chi Minh City tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday after visiting a flight attendant who was undergoing self-quarantine at his home following his return from Japan two weeks ago. The flight attendant tested positive on Saturday, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.Health authorities ordered 137 people who had been in close contact with the man to stay in a central quarantine facility and shut down an English centre where the man works as a teacher, the newspaper said.The new case ended Vietnam’s streak of 89 days without any known local transmission of the virus. Earlier, it went 99 days without local transmissions until a cluster of cases broke out at a hospital in Da Nang in central Vietnam in July.Vietnam’s borders remain closed in an attempt to keep out the virus. Only limited international flights are operating to repatriate Vietnamese nationals and transport foreign diplomats and experts.The country has reported 1,347 coronavirus cases, including 35 deaths. Nearly half of the confirmed cases were imported, according to the Health Ministry.___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:— Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots— Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in coming weeks after Thanksgiving travel— U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots within days— Virus forces businesses to adapt or close down on the streets of London— New York City to reopen its schools to in-person learning, tests students more for COVID-19___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus quarantine restrictions will remain imposed in the Philippine capital during the Christmas season this month and officials said they will ban big Christmas parties in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation to prevent new infection spikes.President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks late Monday that aside from Metropolitan Manila, the bustling capital region of more than 12 million, the “general community quarantine” would be imposed in seven other cities and provinces in December.The restrictions ban large public gatherings, actual school classes and entertainment businesses but allow shopping malls, restaurants and essential shops, including barber shops, to operate with required safeguards, including the wearing of face masks and shields and social distancing.Duterte lamented that many still defy quarantine restrictions like the wearing of face masks and warned of a possible resurgence of infections like in some Western countries.“In the Philippines, it’s hard-headedness," Duterte said.The Philippines has reported more than 431,600 confirmed coronavirus infections, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 8,392 deaths.___SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico is moving to a county-by-county system for responding to COVID-19 that allows local communities to shed some restrictions on mass gatherings, restaurant dining, attendance at religious services and some nonessential businesses — if the virus retreats.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday that the colour-coded system aims to empower communities and incentivize behaviour and tactics that reduce virus transmission.At this point, only one of New Mexico’s 33 counties — Los Alamos County — would be eligible to ease tight restrictions on gatherings and resume indoor dining at restaurants.The new system will take effect Wednesday. Over the past week, one person in every 155 people in the state was diagnosed with COVID-19. The state Republican Party said the governor was stoking false hope that restrictions may be lifted.___UNITED NATIONS -- The head of the world’s largest humanitarian network is urging governments and institutions to combat “fake news” about COVID-19 vaccines which has become “a second pandemic” and start building trust in communities around the world about the critical importance of vaccinating people.Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a virtual briefing to the U.N. Correspondents Association on Monday that “to beat this pandemic, we also have to defeat the parallel pandemic of distrust.”He said there is “a growing hesitancy about vaccines in general, and about a COVID vaccine in particular” around the world, pointing to a recent Johns Hopkins University study in 67 countries that found vaccine acceptance declined significantly in most countries from July to October this year.In a quarter of countries, Rocca said, the study found that the acceptance rate for a vaccine against the coronavirus was near or below 50 per cent, with Japan dropping from 70 per cent to 50 per cent acceptance, and France dropping from 51 per cent to 38 per cent acceptance.He stressed that the lack of trust “is by no means a Western phenomenon,” citing the federation’s research in recent months in eight African countries -- Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya -- which showed a steady decline in the perceptions of the risk of COVID-19 infection.A growing number of people indicated the virus doesn’t affect young people or Africans, that the disease doesn’t exist now but did exist and the pandemic has ended, he said. “In several African countries, we have seen a common skepticism towards vaccines in general, with a common belief being that foreigners use Africa as a medical ‘testing ground.’”___MIAMI — The new mayor of Florida’s most populous county tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, officials said.Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the test result on Twitter. She said her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, was exposed to COVID-19 by a patient last Wednesday. He has also tested positive.“Rob and I are quarantining at home,” Levine Cava wrote. “We both remain in good spirits and have only mild symptoms.”Spokeswoman Rachel Johnson told the Miami Herald that Levine Cava has not been in contact with county employees since Wednesday and plans to participate in Tuesday’s county commission meeting by phone.Levine Cava, 65, assumed office Nov. 17 after being elected earlier in the month. The Democrat had previously served as a county commissioner since 2014.Levine Cava’s predecessor, Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez, tested positive for coronavirus last week. The Republican is set to assume his new office Jan. 3.—-SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California could see a tripling of hospitalizations by Christmas and is considering stay-home orders for areas with the highest case rates as it tries to head off concerns that severe coronavirus cases could overwhelm intensive care beds, officials said Monday.“The red flags are flying in terms of the trajectory in our projections of growth,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.”Hospitalizations have increased 89% over the past 14 days and nearly 7,800 coronavirus patients were hospitalized as of Monday. About 12% of Californians testing positive are likely to need hospital care within the next two to three weeks.The biggest concern is intensive care cases, which have increased 67% in the past two weeks. If that continues, it would push ICU beds to 112% of capacity by mid-December.That statistic is likely to drive state-mandated stay-at-home orders in 51 of California’s 58 counties that already are seeing the most restrictions on business activities, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services.___ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia has tested positive for COVID-19. That makes him the third Georgia congressman to contract the virus.Scott’s chief of staff Jason Lawrence confirmed the positive test result on Monday.Scott represents Georgia’s 8th District, which stretches through the interior of south Georgia. The chief of staff’s statement did not say if Scott was experiencing any symptoms but added he was heeding his doctor’s advice.All three Georgia congressman who’ve tested positive for the virus have been Republicans. Rep. Rick Allen announced a positive test result last week. Rep. Drew Ferguson tested positive in October.___MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that his administration plans to release details next week on when Minnesota will start getting its first doses of coronavirus vaccines and who will be the first to get them.Walz made the comments in a briefing for reporters following a conference call with several other governors, Vice-President Mike Pence; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious-diseases expert; and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on the status of the country’s plans for distributing the vaccines.The Democratic governor said he expects to hold “a very extensive briefing” for reporters and the public, possibly next Monday or Tuesday, on where Minnesota stands in the process. Details are still being worked out on the federal level about who gets priority — such as senior citizens and health care workers — and what the distribution plan will look like, he said.The governor has been critical of the Trump administration for its lack of co-ordinated federal plans for fighting the pandemic, which has put much of the onus on the states. But he had praise for the federal vaccine drive.“I believe the work around the vaccine and the plans around distribution have been incredibly well done,” Walz said.The discussion with the governors involved distributing the first doses coming from Pfizer and later Moderna.___SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New cases of coronavirus illness in Illinois dropped Monday for the third day in a row, but officials fear the fallout from Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings will push the numbers back up.Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said there will be no change in current restrictions on social interaction for several weeks. They ban indoor food service, limit retail-store capacity and cap gatherings at 10 or fewer.“We are still very much in a precarious place ...,” Pritzker said. “I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households. The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December.”November’s end marked a period as ghastly as April or May, when the virus first crawled through the state. Total cases rose 77% to 726,304. Deaths stood at 12,278 -- 26% higher than at the beginning of the month.___HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s two-month-old coronavirus exposure notification app can now be used by mobile phone users as young as 13 as health officials work to stop the virus’ spread in schools around the state, officials said Monday.The app, named COVID AlertPa, had previously been limited to people 18 and over.“By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said at a virtual news conference.A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said. So far, more than 627,000 mobile phone users have downloaded it, according to the state.Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — except for northwestern Pennsylvania’s rural Cameron County, with fewer than 5,000 residents — has passed the threshold of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction.___TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is vowing to spend tens of billions more dollars to help the country recover from the pandemic.Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country is facing its most severe challenge since the second World War, the worst economic shock since the Great Depression and the worse health crisis since the Spanish flu over a century ago.The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian (US$294 billion) this year, but the government says it could close in on $400 billion Canadian (US$308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown.The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian (US$19 billion) in new spending.___JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi is reporting a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations for a single day.The state Department of Health said Monday that 1,008 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, marking the first time the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has topped 1,000. Numbers have risen steadily since Nov. 10, when 669 virus hospitalizations were reported.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday on Twitter that the record comes ahead of an “anticipated Thanksgiving acceleration” in coronavirus cases.“This is truly serious,” he wrote. “Protect yourselves and your family now. We all know how.”The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 153,250 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,807 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday evening. That’s an increase of 1,485 cases and one death from the day before. The death occurred Saturday and was identified through a death certificate.___KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hospital and nursing officials fear that if COVID-19 cases continue unchecked there won’t be enough nurses to staff new hospital beds in the near future in the Kansas City metro area.Kansas health officials on Monday added 4,425 cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Friday, bringing the total to 157,446. Data showed that Kansas averaged 2,198 new confirmed and probable coronavirus a day for the seven days ending Monday. That is below the record average of 2,766 cases.The number of COVID-19 related deaths also rose by 31 to 1,560.It is too soon to see how Thanksgiving gatherings have impacted coronavirus numbers, but medical providers expect to see another rise in hospitalizations in 10 to 14 days once people begin showing symptoms.The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Monday 87 new hospitalizations, bringing the total of hospitalizations to 5,105 since the start of the pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 227 coronavirus patients were in ICU units, with 39% of ICU capacity remaining in Kansas.___MIAMI — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday that schools will be required to remain open despite the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, arguing lockdowns and closures have not worked.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the spread of the virus among children “is not really very big at all” and is now advising to get children back in the classrooms.The Republican governor said schools will continue to offer online classes for families who have chosen not to physically return, but school districts will require students who have fallen behind online to return to in-person instruction.Florida has seen cases rise again, now totalling more than 990,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began earlier this year. More than 18,700 people have died with COVID-19 since March.The Associated Press
TORONTO — As some provinces push for clarity on when they will receive their share of Canada's COVID-19 vaccines, one expert said Monday the government should be more transparent about the terms of its contracts with the companies making the shots.Kerry Bowman, who teaches bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said it's likely Ottawa doesn't have the information the provinces are seeking regarding the timing and quantity of vaccine deliveries, particularly if its contracts with drugmakers are conditional.But if that's the case, he said, the federal government should state it clearly or risk eroding public trust in its system.While news that COVID-19 immunizations could begin in some countries in a matter of weeks is good for Canada in the long term, it will lead to widespread frustration in the near future if the country is lagging behind, he added."There's benefits to all of humankind, no matter who's getting it," he said.Still, "if two weeks from now, the news is full of us watching people all over the world being inoculated, including the United States, and we're not, there's going to be some very unhappy Canadians."As well, he said, any delay in immunization translates to more COVID-19 cases and deaths, and mounting economic strain."People will die and other people's lives will continue to be ruined until we pull out of it. And so, to me, whether it's this month or that month (that we get the vaccine) is not irrelevant — it's highly relevant," he said.Ontario Premier Doug Ford renewed his calls Monday for a clear delivery date for the province's share of vaccines, stressing that "the clock is ticking" when it comes to fighting the novel coronavirus.Ford said he was set to speak to Pfizer, one of the drugmakers that has entered into an agreement with Canada, on Monday afternoon but expected to be told the information must come from Ottawa.The premier cited reports that other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are on track to start COVID-19 immunizations soon, adding Ontarians "need answers."Meanwhile, the American biotech company Moderna said Monday the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month.The chairman of the American vaccine maker told the CBC on Sunday that Canada is near the front of the line to receive the 20 million doses it pre-ordered, confirming that the country's early commitment to purchasing the shots means it will get its supply first.Moderna is one of several companies to have already submitted partial data to a "rolling review" process offered by Health Canada. Rather than presenting regulators with a complete package of trial results, the would-be vaccine makers file data and findings as they become available. Canada has been looking at Moderna's first results since mid-October.The issue of when Canada will receive its orders came to the forefront last week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country will have to wait a bit because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.Trudeau has repeatedly defended his government's vaccine procurement policy, saying Ottawa has secured multiple options for the country. The federal government was pressed on the matter further during Monday's question period, as some MPs called for greater transparency regarding vaccine rollout, noting other countries such as Australia have made their plans public.Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government has been working with the provinces and territories to ensure the plan is robust."Canada is well-served by the diversity of vaccines we have purchased early and in fact in great quantity. Canadians can be assured they too will have access to these vaccines that will bring us to the end of COVID-19," she said.Case counts remained high in several provinces Monday.Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, reported 1,746, 1,733 and 1,333 new infections respectively. Together, the three provinces had 39 new deaths related to the virus.Toronto, one of two Ontario hot spots currently under lockdown, recorded a daily high of 643 new infections.In Manitoba, health officials stressed residents must limit their contact with others in order to bring down the numbers, as the province reported 342 new cases and 11 additional deaths.The provincial government imposed strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, but officials said the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent.Nunavut, however, will begin to lift the lockdown measures it enacted in mid-November on Wednesday, as more people recover from the illness.Only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will continue to be in lockdown for at least another two weeks, with travel restrictions in place, Nunavut officials said.The territory reported four new cases Monday, bringing the total to 181.In British Columbia, the province announced the highest number of deaths for a three-day period as it recorded 46 fatalities over the weekend.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Out east, six new infections have been recorded in New Brunswick today, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported one.Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138.On Sunday, the federal government announced it will extend a series of travel restrictions meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 into January, in light of the steady rise in case counts across the country.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Hajdu said in a statement the measures, which were first enacted near the start of the global health crisis, would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
The Anishinabek Nation has launched a virtual documentary program to help reduce the stigma that surrounds the HIV/AIDS virus. “When we look at HIV as a whole it’s the stigma that is the killer. It leaves people voiceless and in gaps,” said Krista Shore, an advocate for people with HIV originally from the Peepeekeesis First Nation in Saskatchewan. Last week, the Anishinabek Nation, made up of 39 First Nations throughout Ontario, held the virtual premiere of Shore’s short film as part of the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Anti-Stigma Campaign. “Being a youth that was diagnosed (with HIV) at the age of 24 years old, I had to face the shame of the illness right off,” Shore said in her documentary titled Love Everyone. “Why did I feel so dirty? Why did I feel so low of myself?” Shore’s video talked about how she felt about the lack of understanding and education within her community when she was first diagnosed, which led to some strained relationships, including with an Elder (though they ultimately reconciled). “Along this journey it hasn’t all been strong, and sunshine and great teachings,” she said. Shore closed out her documentary with thoughts of hope. “We need to be surrounded by love, and healing hands, and helping hands.” Tuesday, Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day, and two more short documentaries will premiere premiere over Zoom, with the session starting at 2 p.m. eastern time. The documentaries will then be published on the Anishinabek Nation’s YouTube channel, available here. All of the films were compiled by the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Coordinator Laura Liberty and director Ed Regan. Liberty spoke about some of the challenges facing people living with HIV. “It’s the fear and the gossip. It’s the loss of friendship, family, the lack of respect, being treated like an unwanted disease,” she said. “Feeling not wanted or loved or understood can prevent an individual from reaching out for help, getting tested and receiving medications that can manage the illness.” Regan spoke about some of the benefits of launching the campaign virtually, including less resources spent on travel and a wider reach across the Anishinabek Nation’s 65,000-person population. “I think a nice advantage of this type of media is to educate people with the click of a button,” Regan said. “This is a real efficient way of managing and teaching people.” As well, Regan touched on the traumatic nature of these stories, saying that repeated telling of personal experiences can be ‘exhausting’ people. “Hopefully, [this campaign] can create the change that’s much needed.” While Shore’s piece focused on her own journey living with HIV, other background subjects related to Indigenous history were explored by Elders as part of the campaign. Mary Elliott provided a short history of Indigenous populations within Canada in A Snapshot of our Story. Elliott described first contact with Europeans and the period of “lost spirituality, the introduction of residential schools and the impact of various pieces of legislation, such as the Indian Act. “(Indigenous populations) lost that right to understand who they are or live by their traditions and customs,” Elliot said. Canada “wanted to remove the Indian out of us.” June Commanda was featured in documentary called A Survivor’s Story. She spoke about her first day at Spanish Indian Residential School in Spanish, Ont. “I remember with such clarity right to this day,” Commanda said. Tuesday’s premiere will see the launch of: When They Know with Carol Jones and Live. Love. Laugh. with Dawn Cameron. World AIDS Day was designated in 1988 and was the first globally recognized health day. An estimated 38 million people worldwide are currently living with the HIV virus. Outside of the documentary work, the Anishinabek Nation also offers other health resources and services for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBI). Windspeaker.comBy Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
An independent investigation has found clear evidence of widespread racism and discrimination against Indigenous patients and staff in the B.C. health-care system.
Imperial Oil says it will write down between $900 million and $1.2 billion this quarter as it no longer plans to develop "a significant portion" of its unconventional assets in Alberta. The Calgary-based company said the assets are non-producing and undeveloped, so Imperial doesn't expect any future cash expenditures related to the impairment charge. The impairment doesn't include the high-value, liquids-rich portion of the company's unconventional asset portfolio which it said it still plans to develop. "This decision is consistent with Imperial's strategy of focusing its upstream resources and efforts on its key oilsands assets as well as on only the most attractive portions of its unconventional portfolio. As such, the decision will not impact previously provided production estimates," the company said in a Monday release. Global demand for oil plummeted earlier this year as the pandemic struck. Prices have yet to truly bounce back.Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has predicted that global demand will return more slowly next year than previously thought, but that access to a vaccine could bring less uncertainty and economic growth. That and other outlooks have seen some companies scale back development plans. Exxon Mobil, which has a majority stake in Imperial, also announced an impairment Monday — its biggest ever — saying it would write down the value of natural gas properties by $17 billion to $20 billion US, as well as slash project spending next year to its lowest level in 15 years.Last week, Imperial said it would lay off about 200 of its 6,000 employees as part of a cost-cutting initiative. It has also reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.CBC News has reached out to Alberta's energy minister for comment.
Depuis le début de la crise, de nombreuses petites et moyennes entreprises albertaines peuvent compter sur l’aide du gouvernement fédéral grâce à l’octroi de subventions. Or, elles ne peuvent pas en dire autant du gouvernement albertain, alors que de grosses sommes sont injectées dans le secteur pétrolier. « Le gouvernement albertain se repose sur le gouvernement fédéral », lance, mécontent, Daniel Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone à Edmonton depuis 2012. La Cité est un espace qui permet la location de bureaux et qui offre des services de traiteur dans le quartier francophone de la ville. Sa réaction rejoint la réalité entrepreneuriale de celle de bien d’autres restaurateurs. Tammy Anast, originaire d’Ontario et propriétaire du restaurant grec Yiannis depuis 1989, une enseigne bien connue sur l’avenue Whyte, en sait aussi quelque chose. « Le gouvernement provincial ? Jusqu’à présent, rien pour moi », explique-t-elle. Les aides Comme beaucoup de gérants d’entreprise, elle a fait une demande pour obtenir la Subvention salariale d’urgence, une subvention fédérale qui a aidé jusqu’à présent un grand nombre d’entrepreneurs au pays. « J’ai obtenu une compensation pour la plus grande partie de ma masse salariale. J’ai également obtenu un prêt de 40 000 $ accordé aux petites entreprises », détaille-t-elle, faisant toujours référence à l’aide fédérale. Elle n’est pas la seule à avoir pu compter sur Ottawa. Shawn Good, gérant de la pizzeria Famoso, dit aussi avoir bénéficié de cette aide, mais sans aucun apport de la province. Il affirme avoir perdu jusqu’à présent entre 20 % et 30 % de son chiffre d’affaires. La subvention fédérale est tombée à pic au début de la pandémie, permettant de couvrir, lors de la première vague, jusqu’à 80 % de la masse salariale. Cependant, depuis septembre, les critères ont changé et sont de plus en plus restreints. La subvention n’est plus qu’à 30 %, au grand dam des entrepreneurs. « On ne se qualifie plus pour le même montant d’argent. On l’apprécie toujours, mais on aurait aimé que cela reste pareil qu’au mois d’août », explique M. Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone. Si les entrepreneurs ont pu aussi bénéficier de la subvention fédérale pour les loyers, la pandémie est là plus que jamais et l’aide provinciale demeure quasi absente. Que fait la province ? Pas grand-chose ou presque. Du côté provincial, si l’aide est inexistante pour les uns, elle demeure très modique pour d’autres. Mark Wilson, propriétaire depuis 2007 d’une entreprise d’impression d’affiches et de cartes, dit avoir bénéficié d’une aide de 3 000$ de la part du gouvernement provincial. Une réalité que vient corroborer le directeur de la Cité francophone. « Au niveau de la province, il y a des petits montants. Mais il n’y a presque rien », fait-il remarquer. Les aides sont donc majoritairement fédérales, voire municipales. En ces temps difficiles, les villes cherchent à prendre le relais. Certaines de ces sommes peuvent monter jusqu’à 5 000$ pour les petites entreprises. Daniel Cournoyer dénonce, lui, une certaine forme d’inertie de la part du gouvernement provincial. « Les municipalités en font autant qu’elles peuvent avec les petits moyens qu’elles ont. Mais c’est vraiment la province qui contrôle, et elle ne veut pas assumer ses responsabilités envers sa société », déplore-t-il. Une Alberta à deux vitesses En parallèle, le gouvernement de Jason Kenney a injecté 1,5 milliard de dollars dans le projet de Keystone XL. En Alberta, on assiste à un décalage inquiétant entre l’aide octroyée aux géants du secteur pétrolier et celle offerte aux acteurs d’une économie plus petite, mais indispensable au fonctionnement ainsi qu’à l’épanouissement de la société albertaine. Le cabinet de Jason Kenney n’a pas commenté sur l’aide éventuelle qu’il pourrait apporter aux entrepreneurs de la province. En attendant, les entrepreneurs en Alberta serrent les dents. « Je fais face à la situation en travaillant autant que je peux, en réduisant les heures de travail de mes employés, et en achetant des produits moins chers », explique Tammy Anast. Aujourd’hui, son chiffre d’affaires est à 50 % de son revenu normal. « Les mois d’été ont baissé d’environ 30 %. Maintenant, je pense que nous allons descendre à 70 % avec les restrictions sanitaires, et que la saison de Noël est complètement ratée », dit-elle avec angoisse. À la perte financière et au manque de soutien de la province vient s’ajouter l’inquiétude des « demi-mesures ». Comment encourager l’entrepreneuriat local quand les services de santé de la province envoient le message contradictoire de rester chez soi ? Entre malaise et confusion, l’Alberta ne sait plus où donner de la tête dans un modèle économique apparemment devenu à deux vitesses.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps are keeping much of their roster in tact next season, but are still working to secure the services of two veterans long term. The 'Caps announced Monday that the club has picked up options on seven young players, including forward Theo Bair, midfielders Michael Baldisimo and Patrick Metcalfe, centre back Derek Cornelius, right back Jake Nerwinski, and goalkeepers Isaac Boehmer and Thomas Hasal.“We see for all of those players next steps and development in the future that makes us believe that they can be an important part of our MLS team, maybe not at the starting point of next season but in the long term," sporting director Axel Schuster said on a video call Monday.The 'Caps opted not to pick up an option for veteran midfielder Andy Rose. Schuster said both Rose and the club agreed the contract that the option would trigger wasn't the best fit. “We are now in an ongoing process to find a better deal or better construction of a contract for him in our club. But there’s no question that we would like to keep him," Schuster said, noting that Rose has been key helping to develop the club's young talent. Discussions also continue with forward Fredy Montero, whose contract runs out at the end of December. Schuster said he was in contact with Montero's agent on Monday morning. “I can tell you that our first idea of a new contract was not exactly the idea Fredy and his agent had. So that’s part of negotiations," Schuster said. "Everyone is a little bit fighting for his position. But I can tell you that the communication is very open.” Whitecaps staff are also working with David Milinkovic to try and find the winger a new team. If they can't find the 26-year-old French winger a new home, he will remain with the club, Schuster said. “He’s showed that he can help this team," he said. "If it ends in another way, this is nothing that concerns us or would be a bad scenario for us.”Milinkovic had a goal and four assists in 16 appearances for the Whitecaps last season. Vancouver has opted not to exercise its option on academy product Georges Mukumbilwa, and 'keeper Bryan Meredith has not been offered a new contract.The Whitecaps finished the season with a 9-14-0 record, missing the playoffs for the third year in a row. Schuster said he's happy that the club isn't overhauling the roster this off-season.“We are confident with this squad that we are able to make next steps," he said, adding that the 'Caps are still looking to bring in a few key pieces. “For this quality that we want to add, you are never alone in the market and it costs always a little bit more.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A retired top doctor says public health orders have to balance science with society if they are to be effective."(Measures) will only work if you have a majority of the population that supports it," said Andre Corriveau, who was Alberta's chief medical officer of health from 2009 to 2012. "You can't pass measures that a majority of the public is not supportive of, because it's not enforceable."Corriveau, speaking from Iqaluit, Nunavut, where he was advising that territory on how to deal with its COVID-19 cases, spoke after recordings were released that appeared to show Alberta's current chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, expressing concern about politicians watering down her recommendations.That just goes with the job, said Corriveau, who also served until last year as the top public health official in the Northwest Territories. Experts such as himself or Hinshaw are responsible for winnowing through scientific evidence — often thin on the ground or hot off the research presses — to come up with the best advice they can. But, said Corriveau, judging what's acceptable or how something should be implemented is a political decision."There's a point beyond which you can't enforce any more," he said. "That's the role of the politician — to gauge that."Nor is it appropriate for the chief health officer to advocate for measures not approved by the government, said Corriveau. The two sides have to trust each other and undercutting political decisions would damage that. "There's always other people who can advocate," Corriveau said. "Our effectiveness is built upon trust. If you turn around and you're doing public advocacy, then you've lost the trust and you're not effective any more."Alberta has plenty of other voices for that, he said. Doctors in the Edmonton zone recently formed a group to provide what they see as unbiased, arm's-length COVID-19 advice. Members of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association felt people were losing trust in officials. "There's many considerations when you make these decisions — health ones, economic ones, capacity of hospitals," said association president Dr. Ernst Schuster. "There was a feeling that the political considerations were stronger than some other considerations."The committee is to hold its first meeting Tuesday. The legal powers of a chief medical officer of health are delegated by the minister and may not be absolute, Corriveau said. Hindsight is easy, he noted, and added that everyone involved in the fight against the pandemic is doing it for the first time. Corriveau said he ran into situations where the final decision diverged from his advice, but he saw it as his job to make it work. "It's a fine line to travel but I think it can be done. "It's not necessarily ideal, but I understand the context and why at the political level they might have decided otherwise."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. — Follow @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press
Ottawa is rolling out a wave of new funding for pandemic-battered industries including tourism, the arts and regional aviation, with smaller companies top of mind — and large airlines notably absent.The Liberal government's fiscal update sketches out a program that will provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million for badly hurt entrepreneurs.The aid, dubbed the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), comes on top of a newly expanded emergency loan program already in place for small businesses, and technically is not limited to certain industries.Meanwhile the devastated tourism sector will have access to one-quarter of the more than $2 billion that Ottawa is doling out to regional development agencies through June 2021, including a $500-million top-up announced Monday.The move aims to bolster an industry made up largely of small and medium-sized businesses and that accounts for roughly 750,000 jobs and two per cent of GDP, according to the government.Another $181.5 million will flow to show business and performers via the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, the fall economic statement says.Rent relief and nearly $700 million in capital investments are en route to airports over six years. About $206 million in further support is bound for regional aviation, including smaller airlines, via a new "regional air transportation initiative" overseen by development agencies.But an aid package targeting big players such as Air Canada and WestJet Airlines remains in the works as talks with Ottawa drag on, with the lack of specifics in the fiscal update frustrating industry leaders.“We had hoped to get a better sense of where the government was going. Instead they repeated the line that they've repeated several times over the past several months — that they’re ‘establishing a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance,’ ” said Mike McNaney, head of the National Airlines Council of Canada.Countries around the world have given carriers US$173 billion in support, he said. Many have also required airlines to offer refunds for cancelled flights, something Ottawa says will be a condition of any bailout."We are very much a global outlier and are ostensibly stuck at Stage Zero on the government planning process," McNaney — whose industry group represents Air Canada, WestJet, Transat and Jazz Aviation — said in a phone interview.The regional aviation support comes with question marks, as well."A regional initiative, what’s that?" asked John McKenna, CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada, which represents some 30 regional airlines. "We have no idea. We have not been consulted," he said in a phone interview. "Never mind new initiatives, try to support the existing services so they survive."In a speech to the House of Commons, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stressed the benefits of the broader government-backed loan program for smaller companies."We know that businesses in tourism, hospitality, travel, arts and culture have been particularly hard-hit," Freeland said."So we’re creating a new stream of support for those businesses that need it most — a credit availability program with 100 per cent government-backed loan support and favourable terms for businesses that have lost revenue as people stay home to fight the spread of the virus."The HASCAP credit program will offer interest rates below the market average, according to the fiscal update, with more details coming "soon."It also said the government is "exploring options to enhance" a federal loan program for big companies, little-loved by industry since its inception in the spring.The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) offers loans of $60 million or more to large businesses facing cash problems, but comes with an interest rate that jumps to eight per cent from five per cent after the first year — far above typical private-sector lending rates.Only two firms have been approved for LEEFF loans since the Liberals announced the program on May 11, according to the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation: a casino company and a producer of metallurgical coal.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh criticized the government for failing to offer industry aid that includes explicit job protections."They have not rolled out any sector-specific supports, meaningfully, that are tied to jobs," he said.Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet slammed the lack of "precision" in the fiscal snapshot."They basically say that there is no limit to what they will spend, without saying or without admitting how badly you spend it," he said.The $686 million in airport aid includes $500 million over six years, starting this year, to back infrastructure spending at large airports that would include massive transit projects, such as the new light-rail station at the Montreal airport.The government is also proposing to extend $229 million in additional rent relief to the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to Ottawa, with "comparable treatment" for Ports Toronto, which operates Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto.The supports unveiled Monday come on top of Ottawa's pan-sectoral announcement to raise the wage subsidy to 75 per cent of company payroll costs — it was reduced to a maximum of 65 per cent in October — as well as an extension of the rent subsidy to mid-March from the end of 2020.David Chartrand, Quebec coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, applauded the wage subsidy, but lamented the radio silence on large airlines."After almost 10 months of crisis, still nothing," he said in a release in French.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
More than a year after Derek and Emilie Muth left Calgary to adopt their daughter Zoe in Nigeria, they're finally returning home. But the couple says their ordeal contains lessons for the federal government on how it could improve its citizenship process for those in urgent need."We feel an obligation to take ownership over what we've seen with systemic prejudices and systemic injustices … Because we're citizens of Canada who've gone through immigration, which is pretty rare, we feel an obligation to effect change somehow," Derek Muth said. "This whole story is already not private because we were forced to go to the media. So we might as well use it the best we can … and hopefully something policy-wise changes."The Muths' adoption of their two-and-a-half year-old daughter was finalized in October 2019, but her citizenship was delayed when Canadian immigration staff were repatriated, because of the pandemic, from the only government office in West Africa that could finish processing their paperwork. Zoe has sickle cell anemia, and had contracted a life-threatening infection while in hospital in Nigeria, leading to sepsis and severe anemia requiring a blood transfusion.> If this is the treatment of Canadian citizens, then I can't imagine what refugees go through. — Derek and Emilie MuthShe and the Muths relocated to Barbados — one of the few countries that allows Canadian and Nigerian visitors to stay for months without visas — so they could receive better medical care. When the pandemic hit, all three were stranded in the Caribbean.There, the family say they went months with government officials seemingly not even opening their documents, according to an access-to-information request filed by their lawyer, and, until CBC News reached out, no reply from the immigration minister to their urgent requests for repatriation.But they said after news stories were published in September, there was suddenly a flurry of activity.Earlier this month, Zoe's citizenship application was finally approved. The Muths say they were told by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that's because an official was flown from Canada to Ghana to review their electronic file, which could have been viewed remotely. The official then interviewed the family over the phone."They ended up doing the interview over the phone, which is a massive head-scratcher, because back in March when … we were begging for repatriation, the answer from [IRCC] was that an interview might be required and [the Ghana office was] not doing interviews … and fast-forward eight months later and they do the whole thing over the phone anyways," Derek said."They had all the digital copies of our application, all the files."Emilie says, during that interview, the officer also accused the couple of breaking a Nigerian adoption law, based on the wait period before adoption finalization.But the law in question had been changed years ago and the couple was in compliance — something they knew but the Canadian officer seemingly did not.The official requested more paperwork via the family's lawyer and the matter was cleared up in a week or two. "Afterwards, I sent [IRCC and the Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino] a letter saying 'Your officer is making life-changing decisions for our family based on a misunderstanding of the law.' So it's just, it was really concerning and troubling for us," Emilie said.Their 13-page letter sent to the minister recommends changes they say the government should make to prevent other families from facing a similar situation. The recommendations focus on how to streamline the process for those in urgent need. "Without intervention from your office, ill treatment and undue hardship will continue for families who are opening their homes, hearts and finances to provide a Canadian future for a child in need. After going through this, I'm pondering — if this is the treatment of Canadian citizens, then I can't imagine what refugees go through," the letter reads.An IRCC spokesperson confirmed that Zoe's citizenship was approved after an officer went to the Ghana office to review their application, but would not provide more details. The IRCC also said, without addressing the Muths' specific complaints, that sometimes additional steps in the citizenship process are required to ensure adoptions meet the requirements of international conventions, and that time frames can vary even from case to case within a country."While IRCC officers have encountered some challenges in processing applications during the pandemic, officers continue to assess applications for adoption to ensure the adoption meets the requirements of the Citizenship Act, before recognizing a child as a presumptive Canadian," the IRCC said in a statement.MP Raquel Dancho, the Opposition critic for immigration, spoke with the Muths and on Wednesday asked the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration if IRCC would be doing a comprehensive review."International adoptions are a complicated business because so much depends on the host country," deputy immigration minister Catrina Tapley responded — without addressing that the delays were on the Canadian side. Dancho says the government has struggled to effectively manage immigration during the pandemic. "The Muth family's heartbreaking story is a clear indication that Canada's immigration system is failing to treat newcomers with dignity, compassion or respect," she said in a statement.The Muths arrived in Calgary on Monday afternoon.Emilie says, despite the problems they faced, she doesn't want to discourage others from adoption."It's hard, but it's worth it," she said. "The meaningful things in life are rarely easy."Now, they say their focus is on helping Zoe adjust to life in Calgary and, once it's safe, catching up with their loved ones."We would love to come back and have everybody at the airport and give big hugs to grandma and have a nice, really emotional time … but I mean, we've been isolated for 13 months, so it's still going to be way better [to be back,]" Emilie said.
SAN DIEGO — The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage. Restoring the 22-year-old ship for another use, perhaps as a hospital, would take almost as long as full restoration and cost $1 billion. Decommissioning the ship will take nine months to a year and cost $30 million, Ver Hage said. “We did not come to this decision lightly,” Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite said. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her." Navy officials and industry experts studied the cost and schedule with an eye toward “the art of the possible,” Ver Hage told reporters. They considered the impact that restoration would have on other spending priorities. “The dollars definitely would disrupt our strategy for investment,” Ver Hage said. Arson is suspected in the July 12 fire, and a U.S. Navy sailor was questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defence official said in late August. The sailor was questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an official with knowledge of the investigation said in August. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained. Ver Hage declined to comment Monday on the status of several investigations and he didn't give a timeline for their completion, saying they "will conclude when the time is right.” Ver Hage said about 60% of the ship would likely need to be replaced to have it fully restored, including the flight deck, mast and many levels directly below the flight deck. The ship will likely be decommissioned in San Diego. Crew members will be notified of reassignment. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started. About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot (256-meter) amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade. Firefighters attacked the flames inside the ship while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops. More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Lawrence B. Brennan, a retired Navy captain and adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, said the decision to decommission was “inevitable and correct.” Aside from the ship's extensive damage and advanced age, evidence would have to be preserved for any prosecution, delaying repair work, he said. Defence attorneys would be entitled to examine the wreck for expert witnesses to testify at trial. Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
Members of the Mount Royal University Cougars hockey team are in isolation as 18 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university's communications department.The number of cases includes coaching staff and the players.In an emailed release Monday, MRU said the entire team stopped training when one teammate began feeling symptomatic. The university said it did its own contact tracing and let people know if they may have come in contact with members of the team. MRU said this is the first known instance of community spread at the university. The team had been training while following safety measures, according to MRU.The Cougars' exhibition games against World Juniors prospects, set for next weekend, had already been cancelled last week by Hockey Canada due to the pandemic. With new provincial restrictions announced last week, no varsity programs at MRU will be training until next year.
TORONTO — The man who drove a van down a sidewalk and killed 10 people in Toronto struggled to understand others throughout his entire life despite his high intelligence, court heard Monday.Alek Minassian, from Richmond Hill, Ont., was terrified of girls and women, had deep esoteric obsessions and had a "striking absence" of empathy, said Dr. Alexander Westphal, a psychiatrist who specializes in autism.Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. The defence argues he is not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to autism spectrum disorder.Westphal, a professor at Yale University in the U.S. who is testifying for the defence, is expected to be the only expert to say that Minassian should be found not criminally responsible because of his autism."He's got a very substantial impairment in interpersonal skills that translates into very limited social circles and no romantic relationships in his history," Westphal said.Westphal said Minassian scored in the 92nd percentile in the verbal portion of an IQ test, but that his overall "adaptive skills," on a different test, is similar to that of a young child."The disconnect between his intellectual ability and his ability to apply it to real life is stark," Westphal said.The psychiatrist testified based on interviews with the accused, his family and old medical records.He said Minassian has trouble interacting with the world."If you sit down with Mr. Minassian, you get a sense of someone who has a lot of words and is highly articulate, but in a sense it is quite easy to get distracted by that veneer and lose sight how disabled he is," Westphal said.Minassian was diagnosed at five years old with pervasive developmental disorder, which is now considered part of autism spectrum disorder.His parents noticed he never made eye contact and often played alone. He'd eventually learn to make eye contact after being taught, and he also did not smile much, Westphal said."He didn't smile socially, it was just not part of his facial repertoire."Minassian also became obsessed with Mr. Bean, a popular British sitcom, Westphal said, and imitated the character's way of speaking.He said it may have been Mr. Bean's "hyperemotivity," or exaggerated facial expressions, that attracted Minassian.Minassian never showed aggression to others, just himself, prior to perpetrating the attack, Westphal testified.He said Minassian's only known aggression in life was as a young child when he would thrash his head against the wall.Throughout high school and into early adulthood, Minassian, now 28, told Westphal he was scared of women and girls. One of Minassian's stated motivations for the attack is retribution against society for years of rejection by women. He has told psychiatrists as well as the police that he became entangled with the so-called "incel movement" online where men discuss their hatred of women.Incels believe they are on the lowest rung of society and large-scale attacks would destabilize society, which would then give incels the chance to come out on top. Westphal testified that when Minassian saw girls in school, he would jump back, saying, "Don't hurt me, don't hurt me." He was so uncomfortable around women that he could not give his order at a restaurant if the wait staff was female, Westphal said.Minassian has never had a relationship with a woman, Westphal testified."The closest he got to any romantic relationship was a girl who he got her phone number from and when he texted her, she didn't text him back," Westphal said.Another psychiatrist previously testified that Minassian did not show any anger toward women and, at one point, recanted his hatred towards women as his motivation.Minassian has also said he was motivated by the notoriety an attack would bring as well as "extreme anxiety" related to starting a new job. Minassian was teased and bullied throughout school, the psychiatrist said. "Being picked on because of his disability is something that occurred throughout his childhood," Westphal said. "It’s one of the things he's identified in as much he's identified a causal reason for his actions."Last week, Westphal refused to testify if court didn't seal his videotaped interviews with Minassian and play the clips to court in secret. The judge gave in to sealing the videos after the psychiatrist warned they could incite more violence, but will allow journalists to watch them. Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attacks. His state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial.Westphal's testimony will continue tomorrow.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
On Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week (AAAW), the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) will share knowledge and awareness about HIV/AIDS to address and respond to the fear, shame and stigma that contribute to the disease. CAAN is holding numerous virtual events throughout the week to address issues about HIV in Indigenous communities themed, “Shared Responsibility: Connecting relationships, culture, and health.” AAAW takes place between Dec. 1 to 7 of each year to establish ongoing prevention and education programs in Indigenous communities as well as address attitudes that affect the prevention, care and treatment. “It still amazes me that in this land we are still dealing with stigma, ignorance, discrimination and racism,” said Margaret Kisikaw Piyesis, CEO of CAAN on Monday. “We have been addressing the virus for many years, and so this is nothing new, but it is something we need to be mindful of in terms of how we are able to address it.” The CAAN will share knowledge about culture and health with Indigenous community members and relevant stakeholders to decrease HIV stigmas and work towards improving the lives of HIV patients. Issues that would be addressed during the event include youth leadership, Indigenous research in HIV, and harm reduction. Care treatment support is available to every citizen living in Canada. However, Piyesis noted that Indigenous people are still not receiving adequate care to help sustain their life. “As Indigenous people, we do not judge people for how they appear or look. We are concerned about the spirit that lives within them,” said Piyesis. “We are making sure to feed them mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. As we move forward and look at the needs in this land we have to look for solutions, and those solutions can only come from Indigenous people.” Notable guests have been inviting to speak about this such as Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada; Carrie Bourassa, Scientific Director at the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health and Clement Chartier, President, the Métis National Council. Other guests include Dr. Albert McLeod, Knowledge Keeper and Director of Two-Spirited People of Manitoba Inc. and Dr. Jack Janvier, Infectious Disease Specialist at the Alberta Health Authority. “I want Indigenous communities to support the event in their local areas and to have a look at what is happening in their communities and support people with HIV in terms of spreading their knowledge.” There will be many events held during the AAAW, such as presentations, games, workshops, and short videos from CAAN’s programs and research teams. People who are interested in learning more about the event can visit the CAAN’s social media or email their questions about the event at email@example.com. Through email, they will send information to interested participants about the virtual events and training offered throughout the week. Year-round, CAAN focuses on raising awareness about HIV prevention and providing education for all Indigenous peoples to make a difference and inspire those in their communities. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
MONTREAL — A provincial commission looking into the protection of vulnerable children in Quebec recommended on Monday the appointment of a youth-protection director to oversee the entire provincial system.The Laurent Commission released a preliminary report Monday after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its final report, initially due today, until April 2021.The proposed provincial director of youth protection would act as a "guardian angel" and would have a role similar to that of a deputy minister, providing some consistency in how cases are handled across the province.The commission found that the proportion of youth protection cases that are before the courts can vary from 30 per cent to 70 per cent from one region to another, suggesting the interpretation of the law needs to be clarified.Having a director in place would mean they'd be better able to act on the numerous recommendations expected in her report due next year, said Regine Laurent, a nurse and former union leader who is heading the commission.The commissioners recommend that the best interests of children should be at the heart of all interventions made by youth protection. Laurent says that means the child must be talked to about their present situation and their future, and their rights must be respected.The special commission was sparked by the 2019 death of a seven-year-old girl from Granby, Que., after she was found in critical condition in her family home, even though she had been the subject of reports to the youth protection department.However, Laurent's mandate was open-ended, casting a wide net on the system and how users navigate it.Among the recommendations outlined Monday was that youth protection do better in dealing with Black and Indigenous youth, with services better adapted to the realities of those communities. Laurent deplored the over-representation of these families in the youth protection system.She also had positive words for those in the network who are overworked and under tremendous pressure.“The workers are also in distress. They believe that the conditions of practice do not allow them to provide quality services, at the right time and in line with needs," Laurent said.Hearings began in October 2019, and the commission said it has heard from more than 300 witnesses.The commission also held 42 “regional forums” where it heard from more than 2,000 citizens and other stakeholders from across Quebec.In a statement, junior health minister Lionel Carmant said the Coalition Avenir Quebec government intends to act swiftly on the recommendation of a director."The safety and well-being of every child is a top priority for the government," Carmant said. "The creation of a position of national director of youth protection is very interesting and goes in the direction of my reflection."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press
Stock markets rose and safe havens such as U.S. Treasury bonds dipped Tuesday as strong factory data and signs that coronavirus vaccinations could be administered by the end of the year helped prolong a worldwide rally in risk assets even as the pandemic accelerated. Bets on more easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve to help the economy through the winter pushed the dollar index down 0.817% to 2-1/2-year lows as riskier currencies rose. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, meanwhile, fell 24/32 in price to yield 0.9194%, from 0.842% late on Monday, as Congress began a two-week sprint to secure funding and avoid a possible government shutdown.
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — When Renee Latheur decided to take an old guitar into a music store in Kamloops, B.C., she didn't expect the instrument that had sat in a closet for years to be worth thousands of dollars."It's in a ratty old guitar case. But I remember my aunt saying, 'I don't know what to do with this when I pass away.' "Sherrie Favell died in March, leaving Latheur wondering about the instrument and its connection to the woman she loved as an aunt even though they were not biologically related.It wasn't until Latheur recently walked into the music store and saw the owner's eyes sparkle at the sight of the case that she began to learn more about the guitar and its value to Favell's father, who bought it nearly 65 years ago.Mike Miltimore, who owns the store, said the worn tweed and leather case was a telltale sign that it may contain a unique instrument.When he opened the case, he saw a Gretsch from the 1950s, featuring a big brass buckle on the top and a leather studded "belt" around the outside."It's a played instrument, you know. It's been loved. If it could talk, it would tell probably about hundreds of concerts played throughout its life," Miltimore said.He said his research from the serial number revealed the electric Gretsch, or Roundup 6130, was made in 1955 and similar to the instrument later played by country legend Chet Atkins."It's a hollow-bodied guitar and a lot of companies were doing solid bodies at that time," Miltimore said, adding a hollow instrument was used for the country style of picking that Atkins popularized.The guitar that Latheur thought may be worth $200 is actually valued at between $12,000 and $26,000, Miltimore said, adding about 400 of the instruments were made in the 1950s."I was blown away," Latheur said.She recently learned her aunt treasured the mahogany guitar that kept her connected to her father, Roy Favell, who played his beloved instrument in a band called McKinna Gold."He caught his hand in a planer at a mill in Salmon Arm and he actually had to retrain to play the guitar," Latheur said.Favell lost his thumb at age 21 but still managed to perform with it.However, Favell inexplicably sold his guitar at a pawnshop. It was later rescued by Sherrie Favell and her mother, Latheur said. Sherrie bought it back again when it was hocked a second time, Latheur said, and she kept it after her father died about 20 years ago.Sherrie sometimes played the Credence Clearwater tune "Bad Moon Rising" on the guitar, but her prized possession spent much of its time hidden away, Latheur said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press