The 75-foot Norway spruce that will anchor New York City’s holiday festivities as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has been cut down in upstate New York and will soon be headed to Manhattan. (Nov. 13)
The 75-foot Norway spruce that will anchor New York City’s holiday festivities as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has been cut down in upstate New York and will soon be headed to Manhattan. (Nov. 13)
Israel handed over a backlog of billions of shekels in tax money to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, both sides said, in another sign of warming ties between the sides after the U.S. presidential election victory of Joe Biden. The taxes, managed by Israel under interim peace accords from the 1990s and usually handed over monthly, make up more than half of the budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The 3.77 billion shekels ($1.14 billion) transfer is the first since June, when the Palestinians snubbed the handover due to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans, currently suspended, to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences moved the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony to April 25, 2021, so that theaters would be open again in the spring, which will allow more films to compete in the awards, the report said. "The Oscars in-person telecast will happen," Variety https://variety.com/2020/film/news/oscars-in-person-show-will-happen-2021-1234843255 reported on Tuesday, citing a representative from the Academy. The Academy Awards are traditionally held at the 3,400-seater Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
Several P.E.I. appliance stores are dealing with a shortage of products to sell because COVID-19 is affecting the manufacturers of fridges, stoves, washers and dryers.P.E.I. is adding 55 new front-line positions to schools across the province to support students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.A program where Islanders share their Christmas traditions with newcomers has moved online.The collapse of the Atlantic bubble has left some Nova Scotia university students in a tough spot ahead of their end-of-semester exams and holiday break.Wednesday night's Santa Claus tour in Charlottetown was postponed to Sunday. Holiday shoppers are receiving their own gift from the City of Charlottetown this December: free parking downtown. The lack of activity at Charlottetown Airport is "surreal," the CEO says.P.E.I. has seen a total of 72 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Seventeen new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, bringing its number of active cases to 127.In New Brunswick, six new cases were reported, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 119.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
Alberta school boards say enrolment has taken a hit across the province this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they're asking the province not to allow this year's enrolment numbers dictate future funding. Bryan Szumlas, chief superintendent with the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD), said prior to the pandemic the district projected a student population of 59,000 this school year."Then we came in much lower at 56,500 students," he said.Szumlas said the drop in student enrolment could have a significant financial impact if used under the new funding model — which was introduced in September, and is based on a three-year rolling average of student attendance. Lorrie Jess with the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA) said that model has school boards concerned. "Currently, many school divisions are reporting a reduction in the number of students attending in-school learning and an increase in schools structured at home, so online learning and parent-directed home education programs, and some families have chosen not to send their children to kindergarten," she said. Szumlas said that's something the CCSD can attest to. "A drop of approximately 2,000 students. When we dug a little deeper to try to figure out, you know, those 2,000 students and where they've gone — a big chunk of those students, roughly a thousand, have to do with kindergarten and pre-K."Jess said it's a trend being seen across the province. "[Education Minister Adriana] LaGrange has told us that she knows for a fact because they're counting the student numbers that they know that kindergarten student enrolment is way down across the province," she said."I think it's just parents being unsure with the pandemic and keeping their kids home for for another year, or holding them back, or teaching them at home."At a recent ASBA meeting, Jess said a motion was passed to lobby the province for a "hold harmless year" — which asks that Alberta Education not use the weighted moving average, but rather enrolment numbers from last year when considering funding. In an emailed statement to CBC News, Alberta Education said it is currently reviewing this request. "[We are] sensitive to the unique situation caused by the pandemic this year," wrote acting press secretary Nicole Sparrow. "That is why we gave school authorities more time to provide their enrolment data to the province, and we remain committed to ensuring schools are not penalized for enrolment that may have been affected by a pandemic that is completely out of their control."Sparrow said there will be a final decision made in next year's budget. "But in the meantime it should be noted that the benefit of the new funding model is it smoothes out sudden changes in student enrolment numbers," she said. "Both for increases and decreases in enrolment because it is based on three school years of data — not just one year as under the old model."Alberta Education did not provide a breakdown of enrolment numbers."Once we have this data early next month and it has gone through the usual verification process we will have a proper understanding of provincial enrolment data and the impact of the pandemic on student registrations," said Sparrow.
The City of Toronto's continued operation of homeless shelters with shared sleeping areas defies widespread acknowledgement that COVID-19 can effectively spread via airborne transmission, say health experts and advocates for people experiencing homelessness.There are concerns that shelter users sleeping in those environments face a heightened risk of transmitting or contracting the novel coronavirus."We should be deeply concerned that shelters are still being operated like this," said Zoe Dodd, who works with Toronto's homeless population through the Overdose Prevention Society.Aerosol transmission of COVID-19, in which the virus spreads through microscopic airborne particles, has been acknowledged as a threat by Toronto Public Health.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control notes in its guidelines that aerosols containing the virus can stay afloat for hours, in some cases leading to COVID-19 transmission even when people are more than two metres apart.Jeffrey Seigel, an engineering professor at the University of Toronto, called the prospect of aerosol COVID-19 transmission in homeless shelters "a critical issue" that the city should immediately address.He said similar congregate settings, such as the living quarters of farm workers and some long-term care facilities, indicate that aerosol transmission can be a dangerous driver of COVID-19 outbreaks."A substantial amount of transmission is happening in some spaces because of long range aerosol," Siegel told CBC Toronto.He identified three factors that can increase the risk of transmission when people gather indoors: crowding, the amount of time spent in a location, and ventilation.The environment in congregate homeless shelters, he said, "hits two, maybe three of the high-risk triggers for COVID-19 transmission."City says shelter precautions working well so farToronto has revamped its shelter system since the onset of the pandemic and now offers thousands of private rooms in hotels and motels. However, congregate spaces still make up a significant portion of the more than 6,000 beds offered by the city.As many as 2,874 spaces reserved for individual users are in congregate dorms, the city said, though it did not provide a specific figure.The city has introduced heightened physical distancing measures in those shelters, including a standard of two metres of lateral space between beds, among other precautionary measures.Mary-Anne Bedard, general manager of Toronto's Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, said those changes have contributed to the city's "relative success" at slowing the spread of the virus within its shelter system."While there is a certain amount of aerosol transmission … it is relatively limited," said Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa during a Monday news conference, before adding that close contact between people remains the primary source of transmission.But Siegel said people underestimate the risk of aerosol transmission in a shared, indoor environment. He said particles containing the virus have been demonstrated to travel more than 10 metres in some cases, and that dry winter air can help those particles travel more easily."I have to honestly say that, no, two metres is not enough. I often say that physical distancing indoors is fiction," he said.There have been 659 cases of COVID-19 among shelter users over the course of the pandemic, though it is unclear how many of those infections took place within shelters.Calls for more private rooms, or other mitigating solutionsSiegel said solutions such as increased ventilation, the use of portable air purifiers or germicidal ultraviolet lights could be introduced within shelters to mitigate the risk of transmission.He said those measures could be beneficial even after the COVID-19 pandemic, since infectious respiratory diseases are a long-standing issue within homeless shelters.Dodd and other homeless outreach workers are calling for a more substantial change, and say the city must open at least 2,000 new hotel rooms and stop operating shelters with shared sleeping areas and washrooms.Ginger Dean, an outreach worker with the Encampment Support Network, said a lack of private shelter spaces means people will choose to stay outdoors this winter rather than risk sleeping in a potentially unsafe shelter."Most people aren't interested," she said of the congregate dorms."It sounds harsh, but I feel like it just leaves residents feeling like the city doesn't really care about them."
Imagine watching your brain activity on a computer screen in real time.For Gord Luke, a Wawa, Ont., resident with Parkinson's disease, that's now a reality. Sitting in a room at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto's west end, the 66-year-old can see his brain signals being tracked digitally, thanks to surgically implanted electrodes in his brain and a newly approved device in his chest.Building on decades-old technology known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), which can help control the shakes and muscle tightness tied to brain disorders such as Parkinson's, the device puts a new high-tech tool in physicians' tool kits: the ability to capture brain activity of DBS patients such as Luke around the clock."We can actually stream live from his brain," said Krembil neurologist Dr. Alfonso Fasano.As Fasano fiddles with the laptop, his patient's sturdy frame is still, with the electrode stimulation keeping his symptoms at bay.WATCH | What it's like to live stream you brain:Controlling symptoms in real timeWith a couple of clicks, Fasano tweaks the level of stimulation from the electrode in the right hemisphere of Luke's brain, and he quickly starts shaking — his left foot is tapping up and down involuntarily. With another tweak, his foot is back firmly on the ground.The short-term hope, according to Fasano and his colleague, neurosurgeon Dr. Suneil Kalia, is that patients will be able keep a digital diary of their symptoms, which physicians can match up to the ongoing log of their brain activity. "Physicians can later look at that brain diary to see when symptoms were severe or better and fine-tune their therapy," Kalia said.In Luke's case, Fasano hopes he'll eventually be able to adjust the settings on the device from the comfort of his own home, in consultation with his medical team by phone, from thousands of kilometres away."We can record for days, months, the different signals in the brain," Fasano said. "This will be, like never before, a window into their activities."The personalized treatments that follow could help alleviate symptoms for years on end, according to Fasano and Kalia.Approved by Health Canada in October, the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system was developed by Medtronic, a Dublin-based medical technology company.Working alongside surgically implanted brain electrodes, the small, pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin of a patient's chest, which sends electrical signals through thin wires to a targeted area of the brain and offers real-time recording.Patients with brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson's tend to see symptom improvements once their DBS electrode implants are turned on. With the chest and brain implants working in tandem, physicians can now see exactly what's happening inside their patients' brains when that switch is flipped.WATCH | Using an MRI to monitor a patient's brain activity and responses:Automatic adjustments may one day be possiblePreviously, medical teams could only track those signals during brain surgery, according to Kalia."What this new device allows is whether it's the first day after surgery or even five years after the surgery, we can interrogate the device," he said.Through ongoing research, Fasano says, the technology may lead to "adaptive stimulation" in the longer term, where the device adjusts the level of stimulation automatically.It's a bit like a smart home thermostat. At first, those high-tech temperature controls require a homeowner to adjust the settings manually. Too cold in the morning? Crank up the heat. Too hot by the afternoon? Turn it back down.Over time, as the technology learns someone's patterns and preferences, the thermostat can start making those adjustments on its own — regulating the temperature and keeping people inside the house comfortable automatically.Kalia said that's a lot like how the implants could one day regulate — or even predict and ward off — symptoms, including seizures and tremors. The first three Canadians underwent surgery to install their new smart technology this fall, and there are more to come.WATCH | What the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system allows doctors to do:'Like being with them all the time'Though wary at first of having the procedure, Luke said he jumped at the chance to try the new device in November. His Parkinson's symptoms have worsened over the last six years."Your muscles tighten up, everything shakes, you shuffle more than walk, you're prone to falls," he said. "It really changes your life, big time."Speaking to CBC News outside his downtown Toronto hotel, he said the day before his medical team at Krembil turned on the electrode, he was barely able to walk. Now, much of his shaking and unsteadiness has subsided. Driving a car, spending more time outdoors, and carving wooden animal figurines are all pastimes Luke plans to pursue back home in Wawa. It's not a cure, to be clear. But it offers Luke, who's a 10-hour drive from the Krembil specialists, a way to manage his disease's progression with fewer trips to Toronto and log a treasure trove of data for his medical team at the same time.Fasano says that's a welcome change from the small glimpses of someone's life physicians typically get when patients like Luke visit, which can't possibly capture their day-to-day symptoms and flare-ups. "It will be like being with them all the time," he said.
Christmas tree grower Milt Agate has worked in the Christmas tree business since 1990, but said this year will be his last.His 34-acre farm in Ilderton, about 30 minutes northwest of London, Ont., has been a staple for Christmas tree shoppers. For decades, families have been visiting to pick out their tree and enjoy a warm cup of hot cider and cookies.For the past several years, he has seen a decline in sales. To his surprise, demand was high this year — which caused the sales to skyrocket."It's been such a weird year, people are just itching to decorate," Agate said. "Families want to get together and this is what is bringing them together."Now, people are also expecting a lot more from "just a traditional Christmas tree farm", he said."They want the wagon rides, they want the petting zoo, the Christmas knickknacks."Agate said he simply cannot afford that, considering the amount of land, manpower and money he would need to operate. It's pushing him to leave the market."When you start adding the experience part of it, you've got to start looking at manpower," he said. "Which I don't have."Trees at the farm are marked down and selling for $35 apiece, as he is looking to close for good and needs everything to go. With the growing demand, Agate said he should have considered marking them up instead.The past weekend was a busy one, and most of the supply is gone."A lot of people are wanting to come out and get their trees before December," he said.Agate says he has even been receiving calls from people in Toronto wanting to make the drive down to pick up a tree but has to turn them away as he halted wagon rides and other activities due to COVID-19. This year, no wagon rides, hot cider or cookies are offered because of that reason.As a farmer, Agate said one of the biggest issues for him is mother nature.In the early 2000s the farm experienced two years of drought, which made Agate lose 25 per cent of his crop, he said.Another issue is the time it takes to grow the trees.Agate said it can take up to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree in "ideal conditions", making it impossible for farmers to increase their supply with this sudden surge that is largely being driven by the pandemic.Less travel, more customers"People are wanting to get out, wanting to get trees. They're staying home for Christmas as opposed to traveling — and so we are seeing the numbers on an increase," said Shirley Brennan, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario.Farms across the province have experienced tree shortages for the past couple of years, she said, but demand this year has increased substantially.Brennan told CBC London that COVID-19 increased the demand for trees in particular this season because of the isolation many have felt this year and a desire to get into the holiday spirit.She said the association has seen a 25 per cent increase in sales across the board.The tree with the highest demand is the fraser fir which Brennan says "everyone goes for" and is in short supply.> It's not even about the size or the species this year, [people] just want the experience. \- Shirley Brennan, Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario executive directorShe said younger generation couples in particular who have recently bought their homes are embracing this tradition as a way of bringing together their families during a trying time."This is just one more thing that adds to the family dynamics. Having that real Christmas tree and having that experience, people are really, really embracing that this year," Brennan said.However, Brennan said the Christmas tree industry is steadily increasing each year."Our industry across Canada went from a $53 million industry to a $100 million industry since 2015, so it has been steadily increasing over the years," Brennan said. "And because it takes 10 years to grow a tree, we just can't put more trees in the ground for next year and so it was just a forecast that we couldn't even speculate was going to happen."She said it's "alarming" that a number of farms have already sold out of the trees they had available for this year."I have spoken to farm owners who have said it has been a record-breaking year," she said. "But it's not even about the size or the species this year, [people] just want the experience."
The Holiday Host volunteer program put on by the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC) will change to a more virtual format this year.For the past 15 years, the program would match up about 20 host families on P.E.I. with newcomer families. The two families would join together for a meal, seasonal activity or party.It was a way the families could build connections and share during the festive season.PEIANC decided it could be a challenge this year to have two families meet up so they decided to move the seasonal sharing online."I wouldn't say a little different — I would say it is a lot different," said Valerie Fitzpatrick, community connections program co-ordinator with PEIANC.Fitzpatrick said they are looking for people to send in their holiday traditions new and old."It's just a way for people to show a little bit about, you know, what's your Christmas tradition and you get to share it, not just with one family but with the whole world virtually," Fitzpatrick said.She said they will be reaching out to people through the association for other holidays they celebrate and traditions they may have."What new Christmas traditions have they adopted since they have been in Canada or what Christmas traditions or other holiday traditions did they do in their home country that maybe they brought with them."The submitted videos should be between 90 seconds and two minutes. Fitzpatrick said people looking to take part can share the videos with them online or reach out to the co-ordinators.They will also be posting holiday messages from staff on their social media platforms. Fitzpatrick said they wanted to do this to encourage people to still try to connect during the pandemic."We have volunteers that have taken part with a new family every year in the program so we hope that they look at this as an opportunity instead of another one of those things that we can't do because of COVID," Fitzpatrick said."It's something we wouldn't have done otherwise but I think that it is a really neat way to reach out to more people."More from CBC P.E.I.
Speaking to Euronews, German Marshall Fund Vice President Ian Lesser, said NATO's original mission hasn't changed. "That's about countering Russia's very significant force posture and that's very meaningful for the alliance - that hasn't gone away.
Nine-year-old Bedahbun 'Bee' Moonias can't bring herself to drink the running water in her Thunder Bay, Ont., hotel room. "Since we can't drink the tap water back in Neskantaga, I'm scared to use the tap water here to drink it," Moonias said. "So I use water bottles."Moonias has spent her whole life worrying about the water flowing from her faucets back home in Neskantaga First Nation, a remote fly-in Ontario community about 450 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.Neskantaga has the longest-duration boil water advisory of any reserve in the country — 25 years and counting."Sometimes, I feel like we don't exist," Moonias said. "Like, nobody knows that we don't have no clean water. Like, we're just ghosts and we're just put in a drawer, in a box."Moonias and nearly 300 other Neskantaga members have been staying at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Thunder Bay since an oily sheen was detected in their reservoir on Oct. 19 and running water was shut off.Before the film was deemed non-toxic, its discovery left residents with a choice: go without water or evacuate during a pandemic. They decided the safest option was to pack their bags.Now, more than 40 days later, the evacuation is taking a toll, but community members say they are determined to maintain some kind of normal life away from home until clean drinking water starts flowing in Neskantaga for the first time this century.At chief and council's request, all the rooms at the Victoria Inn are being rented by the federal government for Neskantaga members to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic.Inside the hotel's front doors, visitors are screened through temperature checks and questions about symptoms.Elder Laura Sakanee spends her days sitting in her wheelchair, watching people come and go."We miss our home so badly," Sakanee said. "We just left everything in there, even our moose meat. And I filled up my freezer before we left."'Really disruptive' for studentsOne of the hotel's ballrooms has been turned into a classroom for Moonias and another nine-year-old named Jayla Troutlake. One recent afternoon saw them learning to sew Christmas stockings as a cellphone played "O Little Town of Bethlehem."When asked if she is having fun in her new temporary home, Troutlake answered without hesitation: "No."Troutlake said she misses her home and her dog Gizmo, one of roughly 80 dogs left behind in Neskantaga.The dogs are being fed by the Canadian Rangers, who are also gathering wood for the few band members who have agreed to stay behind to keep the houses warm.Troutlake's teacher Miko Oyakawa is tired of hotel living as well. At first, she said, she tried to get her students to pretend they were on a field trip. She would bring in different types of fruits and vegetables they can't get back home."I remember kids looking at peppers and thinking they're plastic," Oyakawa said. "Pomegranate was by far the favourite."But more than a month into this extended field trip, she said, it's becoming harder to stay isolated, both physically and emotionally. So she tries to maintain a sense of normality with daily lessons and activities."For everyone, it's been really disruptive," Oyakawa said."Kids are staying up really late. Families are going out … Some people are just not sending their kids to school, so it's hard that way, but we're trying the best we can"Oyakawa is also making preparations in case they have to spend the holidays at the hotel. She said the Matawa Tribal Council and people in Thunder Bay have reached out already to donate Christmas trees and fill wish lists for the children."All this generosity is so great and touching," she said. "That gives us hope and keeps us going."'You can't leave your homeland'When can Neskantaga's residents go home? Band councillor Gary Quisess said he can't offer an answer. The tentative return date has changed several times. The latest estimate is Dec. 15 at the earliest. Quisess said he is skeptical. Two weeks of water tests must take place before anyone can return. Deficiencies discovered at the water treatment plant have delayed the start of those tests. A report from the Ontario Clean Water Agency last month found numerous problems at the plant, including leaks, mislabelled piping and tags missing from almost all items of equipment.The community is now drafting the terms of reference for a third-party investigation with the federal government of Neskantaga's 25-year-long water crisis, and of the business practices of the contractors, engineers and project management firms that have worked on Neskantaga's water system and those of other First Nations.Chief and council were asked to sign off on a draft version of the terms of reference last month by the Ontario regional director general for Indigenous Services Canada. Those terms of reference were not developed with the community's consent and the regional director general was taken off the community's repatriation file."This investigation is going to open a can of worms," Quisess said."We want Canadians to know the full story. We want Canadians to know how the tax dollars are used."Neskantaga's plant was built in 1993 and has never adequately treated and disinfected water.A long-term drinking water advisory was put in place on Feb. 1, 1995, less than two years after the plant was commissioned. It's been in effect ever since. As part of its fiscal update, released this week, the federal government is proposing to spend $1.5 billion this year and $114.1 million per year afterwards to speed up work on lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations, and fund water and wastewater infrastructure.But money isn't the issue in Neskantaga. The Liberal government already earmarked $8.8 million to upgrade Neskantaga's water treatment plant in 2016. The work was supposed to be completed by 2018, but the project has run into a cascade of delays and the budget has doubled to more than $16 million.Despite all the problems, Quisess said he doesn't want to live anywhere else. "You can't leave your homeland," Quisess said. "We were born and raised there. Our ancestors lived there."'Trying to celebrate Christmas here'Charla Moonias, walking a support worker's Pomeranian down the hotel hallways, tried to maintain a sense of optimism."It's been really hard to get motivated to come down here because this isn't our normal," she said."I don't feel optimistic about it. I feel like we're going to be here until the new year. I already picture us trying to celebrate Christmas here."Moonias said she spends her days binge-watching TV shows, ordering food and — when she finds the strength — going downstairs to the common rooms to meet with people.Moonias said she used to deal with substance abuse issues herself and it's been a struggle to live at the hotel."It's taking a toll on my depression, my mental health, my addictions," she said. "I'm really struggling to stay away from all the bad influences and bad people."Moonias was born in Winnipeg and started living in Neskantaga after she was adopted by Chief Chris Moonias.In 2016, Moonias met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a youth delegation from Northern Ontario First Nations pressing for clean drinking water in Neskantaga. She said her skin used to break out into blisters after showering with Neskantaga's water.Now, she wonders whether taking the community's case to Trudeau accomplished anything."I went there feeling hopeful … I'm now 23," she said. "Where's the change?"'See how it feels'Bee Moonias is now being raised by her grandparents, who also live without clean tap water."I don't want to go through what my grandpa has been through 25 years ago," Moonias said. "Go live in Neskantaga and see how it feels getting no clean water. You're welcome to sit in my house. Stay in my house."The federal government has said repeatedly it is committed to ensuring Neskantaga has a source of clean running water.But even at the tender age of 9, Moonias doesn't have much faith in Ottawa's promises."I would be shook if they fixed the water really properly," she said.
A local pharmacist says his pharmacies are struggling to keep up with an 'astronomical' increase in demand for the yearly flu vaccine.Tim Brady owns Brady's Drug Store in Belle River and Essex, and he says the latter store has a wait list for the vaccine of several hundred people.CBC News spoke to Brady early last month, and he says if anything demand has only increased since then."Like I said a while ago, I've never seen so much interest in it. And overall, it just hasn't been abated," he said. "I probably did as many shots at the beginning of November than I did all last year."At the time, his Belle River pharmacy had administered about 250 shots, and his Essex pharmacy was at 500.Rexall pharmacies temporarily suspended flu shots last month because of shortages.Brady, who is also the vice-chair of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, says he's depending on daily vial deliveries from the province. A vial contains about 10 doses of the vaccine, and he's only getting about two vials per day."And so we basically go on the [wait] list, call the top 10 people and go from there," he said.While the province is trying to secure more doses of the vaccine, Brady says he may actually be getting the nasal spray substitute soon."At this point, we'll take whatever we can get," he said.While people looking for the vaccine are still welcome to call his pharmacies, Brady recommends that they contact the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit for direction or see if they can get it from their primary care provider.But while the increased demand has put a strain on the supply, Brady says it's still a welcome change from previous years — he says many are getting the flu shot for the first time."It's a good thing. I'm glad people are interested in it," he said. "I'm hoping this will carry on if we have any other outgoing vaccines that are coming up for any other possible health issues that are presently in society."
The Rainbow District School Board reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the preschool room at the daycare at Algonquin Road Public School on Tuesday. All staff and the parents/guardians of children who are required to self-isolate have been notified, and Public Health Sudbury & Districts will follow up directly with close contacts. “Public Health has advised the service provider that there is no evidence of transmission at this time,” said the Rainbow District School Board in a letter to parents. “The daycare remains open and the before and after school programs continue to operate. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting will take place throughout the school, including the daycare, before classes begin this morning.” Although the school does not operate the daycare, the school board wanted to inform parents/guardians of the situation. At this time, there has been no Public Health direction related to the school as a result of the confirmed case at the daycare. Parents/guardians are reminded to screen their children daily for symptoms of COVID-19 using the screening tool on the school board's website at www.rainbowschools.ca. Anyone who is sick must stay home. It is also important to continue to follow COVID-19 prevention measures. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, practice physical distancing, and wear a face covering, especially when physical distancing cannot be maintained. For more information about COVID-19 or the measures taken to address COVID-19, visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 or contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200 ext. 524. “As always, we will monitor our school population closely for any signs of COVID-19, remain vigilant, and follow any guidance that we may receive from Public Health,” said the school board. “Thank you for working together to keep everyone safe.” Also Tuesday, Public Health Sudbury & Districts reported two new cases of COVID-19 in its service area on Tuesday. Both cases are located in Greater Sudbury, and the individuals are currently self-isolating. One of the individuals was a close contact of a confirmed case, and the other one’s exposure category was not specified because the information is either pending or missing. No other information about the confirmed cases was provided. Two more cases have now been resolved in Public Health’s service area, bringing the total number of active cases to 9. There are two active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes in Sudbury. An outbreak was declared at Extendicare Falconbridge on Nov. 23 and Extendicare York on Nov. 24. Visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 for more information or call the health unit at 705-522-9200. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Halifax police issued 12 tickets under the Health Protection Act Tuesday night following a complaint in the city's south end of a group violating the COVID-19 gathering limit.According to a news release from Halifax Regional Police, officers found the group around 10:30 p.m. on a dock on the Northwest Arm.The address given by police, 6404 Oakland Rd., is a small municipal park with stairs that lead down to the dock.There were between 12 and 15 people "in very close proximity to one another," violating the 5-person gathering limit issued by the province last week, police said.Twelve people from the group now face a $1,000 fine, each, according to Staff Sgt. Mo Chediac.Prior to last week's tightening of COVID-19 restrictions, only one $1,000 ticket could be issued to large groups, which is what happened when police broke up a party of about 60 people on Nov. 20.Just a few days after that incident, Premier Stephen McNeil said he wanted stronger enforcement against illegal gatherings, "including a $1,000 fine for every person who walks through the door."Chediac said police are following that directive and taking seriously any public complaints of Health Protection Act violations. He encouraged people to report violations to police."It's something where [the premier and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang] were working on an education piece, but want more enforcement now," Chediac told CBC News."Because of course there's been quite a bit of messaging completed through the province as well as the police, so now we're taking more of an enforcement approach with it."MORE TOP STORIES
Ethiopia and the United Nations agreed on Wednesday to channel desperately-needed humanitarian aid to the northern region of Tigray, where a month of war is believed to have killed thousands of combatants and civilians. Federal troops have been battling the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and have captured the regional capital Mekelle, and the pact announced by U.N. officials will allow relief into government-controlled areas of Tigray. The Ethiopian conflict has forced more than 45,000 refugees to flee into Sudan, displaced many more within Tigray and worsened suffering in a region where 600,000 people already depended on food aid even before hostilities broke out on Nov.4.
VAGANESH, Kosovo — Blagica Dicic, 92 and in failing health, is the only resident of a remote ethnic Serb minority village in the mountains of eastern Kosovo that's been abandoned by all its other inhabitants — including her own children. Djordje, the eldest son, has moved to Serbia's capital, Belgrade, and has no room for her. She can't remember when they last met. The younger son, Slobodan, lives in council-provided housing in nearby Kamenica town with his paralyzed wife. He rarely visits Dicic. But now, she feels she's got a new son. It's all the more remarkable because Fadil Rama, 54, comes from the other side of Kosovo's bitter ethnic divide, being a member of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and a Muslim. “I have three sons, not two,” she says, lying in bed with two blankets to cover her in her tiny home in Vaganesh village, 45 kilometres (30 miles) east of the capital Pristina. “Fadil is the other one, bringing me food and taking care of me,” she says, leaning on one elbow as she caresses Rama, who lives less than a mile away in the ethnic Albanian village of Strezovce. Until early November, Dicic enjoyed good health but has now grown weaker and has difficulty standing. Still, she refuses to move out of her dilapidated two-storey home, surviving on a 60-euro ($71) monthly pension and no other official support. It's one of about 50 stone-and-wood-built houses that are slowly collapsing from neglect. Before the 1998-1999 war, more than 200 people lived there. Now they've gone, the last being Dicic' son Slobodan, when his wife fell ill three years ago. The war in the former Serbian province killed more than 10,000 — mostly ethnic Albanians — and ended after a NATO bombing campaign forced Serbia to withdraw its forces that were fighting an ethnic Albanian insurrection. The United Nations ran the territory for nine years before Kosovo in 2008 declared independence, which Serbia doesn’t recognize. Relations between Belgrade and Pristina remain tense. Rama, who owns a small grocery shop, has known Dicic since he was a boy and she always had a gift of sweets for Strezovce's children, even during the fighting. “She has been such a good woman before, during and after the war and has treated us like her children," he said. "When I learnt she remained alone I felt very sorry and thought of paying back her good deeds.” “Belgrade’s or even Pristina’s politics are of no interest to us because we have always supported each other,” Rama said. Since the coronavirus outbreak in March, Rama has visited her twice a week, bringing food. He cleans her room as best he can, lights the stove and settles down to cook for her. Rama said he saw nothing strange in helping an elderly, Orthodox Christian Serb. His fellow villagers agree. “Why? For assisting an old lady? A Serb? So what?” two men in Strezovce responded together. “Good for him.” Since the war, Vaganesh has had no drinking water. Dicic used to walk to Strezovce for water and essential supplies, but now she's too frail. Rama says local shepherds who heard he's helping her have followed his lead, visiting Dicic regularly "to see how she is and bring water or anything else.” He's given his word to Dicic' son, Slobodan, that he will “take care of her to the last minute of (her) life with all I have.” “I will never leave her on her own,” Rama said. ___ “One Good Thing” is a series that highlights individuals whose actions provide glimmers of joy in hard times — stories of people who find a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Read the collection of stories at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing Llazar Semini, The Associated Press
It's not going to be a very merry Christmas this year for a handicraft workshop in Islamist-run Gaza that has been an unlikely source of gifts for the holiday. Coronavirus lockdowns have made it difficult for the Zeina Cooperative Association to export its hand-crafted Christmas gifts from Gaza to Europe and to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. About 24 Palestinian Muslim women, many of them veiled, work at the facility, making miniature Christmas trees, red-and-white puppets and Santa Claus marionettes.
It only took two days after its launch for the chess drama The Queen's Gambit to make it into Netflix's top 10 most-viewed series — and it hasn't budged since.It has since become the streaming giant's biggest scripted limited series to date, but the show's popularity isn't confined to the screen. Chess enthusiasts believe it's bringing more people to the game and making it more accessible to a group that, historically, has been largely shut out of it — women."After the series came out on Netflix, you could feel the buzz around the club," said Steve Sklenka, president of the Calgary Chess Club. Though COVID-19 restrictions have forced the club's physical location to temporarily close, that hasn't stopped the inquiries. "We have [people] buying memberships online even though we're closed."According to Sklenka, the interest is the most he's seen since 1972, when American chess champion Bobby Fischer played Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky in a match that became a worldwide sensation. Now, Sklenka is fielding daily calls and emails from people asking when the club will reopen. Sklenka isn't the only one to notice a resurgence in interest. According to marketing firm NPD Group, U.S. sales of chess sets rose by 87 per cent in the weeks following the show's debut in late October, while chess book sales jumped more than 600 per cent. An executive at a major U.S. games company told NPR their sales jumped 1,000 per cent as fans around the world connected with the series."It is an international show with an international cast that is dealing with one of the more universal, quote unquote, sports or pastimes or hobbies," said Daniel Feinberg, a TV critic for Hollywood Reporter.WATCH | 'I've made older boys cry' — chess stars on the world of The Queen's Gambit:While chess is played around the world, Feinberg argued other potential pastimes — like football, baseball or hockey — wouldn't connect with international audiences quite as successfully. "Chess really doesn't know any boundaries, so everybody gets to feel some level of connection and they get to understand it on whatever level they do." Sklenka said the show has had another benefit as well."It's a good thing for chess andit's a good thing for female players," Sklenka said, "because it adds a lot of exposure that just wasn't there before." Show's male players depicted as 'too nice'The Queen's Gambit follows the life of orphan and chess prodigy Beth Harmon (portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy) as she rises to become the greatest player in the world. In reality, there has never been a female chess world champion, although many have played at an extremely high level.That includes Judit Polgár, a Hungarian player and the sole woman to be ranked among the top 10 players in the world. In 2005, Polgár became the first woman to play for the world championship title. After watching Harmon's journey in The Queen's Gambit, Polgár had one reaction to the depiction of the male players."They were too nice to her," she told the New York Times.Polgár's experience echoes that of Canadian chess champion Qiyu Zhou. The 20-year-old University of Toronto economics and statistics major has been playing chess since she was four and currently holds the title of Woman Grandmaster. Zhou says she has faced male players who don't take her seriously. "I've made older boys cry because I beat them ... and they're like, 'How did I lose to, like, a six-year-old or a five-year-old?'"Growing up in Finland, Zhou played in "open" sections in tournaments, for all genders, as there simply weren't other girls to compete against. Though she was successful — becoming the youngest-ever winner at the Finnish National Chess Championship, at age five — Zhou said the isolation can push younger players away."If I was a really young girl playing chess but there is nobody around me to be friends with me, would I really want to keep playing the game? Not necessarily," she said. "We're all social people, I believe, especially when we're younger — making friends is a really key part."Earlier this year, Zhou signed with the U.S.-based esports organization Counter Logic Gaming after her popularity as a chess streamer grew on the video game streaming platform Twitch.Zhou said she continues to face sexism in the chess world. She frequently gets online comments about how she dresses or acts — comments she said would not be levelled at male counterparts. WATCH | The Queen's Gambit trailer:"I guess people just have an opinion of what a female chess player should be like, and they really want to push that on girls," Zhou said.'Most of the top streamers are male'Andrea Botez, another Canadian chess streamer, said that even now, gender is often an "obstacle" for women. "Most of the top streamers are male, and if there are females ... there's always people saying you only get attention because you're attractive, not because you're good at the game," Botez said.Like Polgár, Botez believes The Queen's Gambit "toned down" the sexism in the chess world, but said it has also strengthened the sport. Its popularity on Netflix and social media isn't just bringing more people to chess, she said — it's bringing younger people. "The most important audience is the teen audience," Botez said. "They're watching Netflix. On social media, it's very popular on TikTok and stuff. And I think that's very important for the growth [of] chess."For Zhou, the question of why The Queen's Gambit has drawn so much attention has an easy answer. "There's always been an intrigue about chess… but it always takes a little bit of pop culture and mainstream media to push it to that point where everybody is like, 'We can actually play this game, and have a lot of fun playing it,'" she said."I'm not fully surprised, but I've always thought that chess is, you know, an art, a science and a sport, all in one."
In the last province not to have a school food program, Fredericton-based philanthropists Earl and Sandy Kitchen-Brewer are determined to make sure that no student goes hungry in the classroom. In just a few years, they've invested $723,000 in breakfast, lunch and snack programs that benefit more than 100 schools from the Acadian Peninsula to Saint John. "It's like a startup, and any type of startup needs funding," said Earl Brewer, co-founder of Plaza Retail REIT, a publicly traded company that lists more than a billion dollars in property assets. One of the things the Brewers like to see in a proposal is students helping other students. "They're practising empathy then," said Sandy Kitchen-Brewer. "They'll be the ones to carry on, in the future." Earlier this year, the Brewer Foundation green-lighted a pitch from the former culinary tech teacher at Southern Victoria High School in Perth-Andover.Older students helping the younger ones David Gallagher envisioned high school students making meals for the younger students at Andover Elementary and Perth-Andover Middle School, who would otherwise go without.The Brewer Foundation kicked in more than $30,000 to help pay for kitchen upgrades and glass-front display fridges so kids could see the milk and snacks inside and grab what they needed.WATCH | Student volunteers practise empathy by making sure other New Brunswick students don't go hungry during the pandemic."The information they wanted to know was so heartwarming," said Carol Godbout, the school community co-ordinator at Andover Elementary."It wasn't just here, fill out some forms. It was … 'Tell us about you. Tell us about your community. Tell us about your kids.' It was amazing."The very latest project to get funding approval is the new hub kitchen in Saint John where meals are made for five elementary schools in high-priority neighbourhoods.Erica Lane, the community engagement co-ordinator for the Anglophone South School District, said they just got word that they'll be getting $24,000 that will, among other things, help them find more space. 3,000 lunches prepared a dayThe Brewers say they're determined to keep developing partnerships with local food champions who have a lot of wisdom to offer because they're in the community. "We're probably making somewhere around 3,000 lunches a day and backpacks on the weekend," said Earl Brewer, totalling up the projects thus far. "So we're not quite halfway there. We estimate there's probably five to seven thousand kids in the province with no lunch and no access to food."The 'silent pandemic'Sandy Kitchen-Brewer said it was her daughter who first opened her eyes to what she calls the "silent pandemic" of kids not having enough to eat in New Brunswick. That was back in 2016 and within a year, the Brewer Foundation had donated a fully equipped kitchen that sits on the property of Leo Hayes High School, where volunteers still gather every weekday to prep more than 300 lunches for more than a dozen schools in the Fredericton area. Currently, COVID-19 has made it nearly impossible to meet with the kids who benefit from the programs. "That's our favourite part," said Sandy. "I think it makes us more aware."Tanya McBride, who runs the Feed the Lions program, said the kitchen continues to be a huge asset. "Having this building here on the Leo Hayes campus is amazing for us," she said. "It provides so many opportunities."McBride said she can't think of any other private citizens who have invested as much time, interest and money. "Not at this level. It's amazing what Earl and Sandy have done for the whole student hunger program in the province."
Recent developments:What's the latest?Ottawa has 46 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths, according to Ottawa Public Health's (OPH).Some key indicators suggest the city is moving further away from a potential change to yellow on the pandemic scale next week.Quebec is tightening health guidelines in stores and malls for the holiday shopping season, adding enforcement to rules many businesses already have in place.We've made a timeline of key local moments of the pandemic, which we'll keep updating.WATCH LIVE | Ontario's daily update at 1:30 p.m. ET:How many cases are there?As of Wednesday, 8,567 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 362 known active cases, 7,827 cases now considered resolved and 378 people who have died of COVID-19.Public health officials have reported more than 14,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 12,600 resolved cases.Ninety people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 81 in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch.What can I do?Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Ontario says this will apply through December's holidays, with people who live away from home such as post-secondary students asked to reduce close contacts for 10 to 14 days before going back.Quebec has shared what it will take to have at most two small holiday gatherings this month, though that may change by the end of next week.Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout the Outaouais.Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.WATCH | Where researchers get wastewater for COVID-19 tests:Three other eastern Ontario health units are under yellow zone restrictions: * The Eastern Ontario Health Unit. * Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health. * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.That means restaurant hours, table limits and rules around capacity fall somewhere between those in place in Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is currently green, the lowest level.In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.There is no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — more in seated venues.Its rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.What about schools?There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.WATCH | More research on COVID-19 'long-haulers':Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other site is in Napanee.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic in November. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its first confirmed case last month.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information
Eeyou Istchee Tourism and Tourisme Baie-James have teamed up with a top chef at the Château Frontenac hotel in Quebec City to publish a book of recipes created with the help of Cree elders.The recipes are part of Northern Flavours - ᒌᐧᐁᑎᓅᑖᐦᒡ ᓂᓯᐧᑖᐤ, a cookbook released this Fall as part of efforts to promote the region."This project is part of our desire to develop this aspect of the regional tourism industry and to offer unique, quality culinary experiences to visitors," said Robin McGinley, executive director of Eeyou Istchee Tourism and the Cree Outfitting and Tourism Association, in a press release.Chef Stéphane Modat is the restaurants chef at Quebec City's Fairmont le Château Frontenac. He travelled to the Cree community of Chisasibi in the summer of 2019 to learn from Cree elders about Eeyou meechum, or Cree traditional cooking.> I learned that wasting things is not an option. \- Stéphane Modat, Chateau Frontenac hotel"I learned so much. I learned about cooking with the elders in a natural way and sharing plates and sharing with the people," said Modat, who is originally from France."It's important to know where we come from to know where we are going. I learned that wasting things is not an option."One of Modat's guides on his visit to Chisasibi was Edward Bearskin, who is the tourism coordinator for Chisasibi. He said he was also able to learn from Modat. "I was very surprised by the natural herbs and plants that Stéphane used," said Bearskin, in Cree. "I am going to try and cook and season ... my fish that way too." During his visit to Chisasibi, Modat spent time fishing, gathering edible plants and cooking with the elders. For Robin McGinley, the book is an invitation to discover the history and culture of the region through its cooking. "The region has infinite culinary treasures and opportunities," said McGinley from Eeyou Istchee Tourism, in a press release.One of the recipes Modat learned while in Chisasibi is how to make bannock with fish eggs cooked on sticks over an open fire. > The region has infinite culinary treasures and opportunities. \- Robin McGinley, executive director of EeyouIstchee Tourism and COTA"It's not fake cuisine. It's real cuisine with people and techniques," said Modat, adding he also learned Cree techniques to clean the fish and make a broth. He also tried what's called pemmican, which is often made from dried meat or fish that is pounded into a fine powder and mixed with grease from the goose or bear, as an example. "It's a taste we're not used to ... but it is so traditional and cultural. It's real life," said Modat. Modat said he is using some of the techniques he learned in Cree territory at the Chateau Frontenac, such as smoking the fish and making walleye chips and bannock.He hopes that people will use the Northern Flavours cookbook as a way to connect with the territory."I need for people to open themselves up to what is happening in the regions," said Modat. He said he hopes to be able to experience Cree cuisine in all the seasons. The cookbook is available on the Eeyou Istchee Baie-James Tourism website.