A Vietnamese man deported from the United States under a push by the Trump administration to expel immigrants convicted of crimes in the United States has been arrested on suspicion of murder in Vietnam. Bui Thanh Hung, a Vietnamese-American who was deported from the United States in December 2017, was arrested by police after attacking his girlfriend with a knife in the southern province of Tien Giang, state media reported on May 7. Hung, an Amerasian born in 1973 to a Vietnamese mother and an American soldier who died during the Vietnam War, was convicted of domestic violence in the United States in 2010, he told Reuters in a 2018 interview.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The debate over Newfoundland and Labrador's troubled, pandemic-delayed election moved to the courtroom today in the form of several challenges of results.Three former candidates have applied to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador to have the results in their ridings overturned, and one of them — NDP Leader Alison Coffin — is also seeking a judicial recount of her narrow loss.Coffin was defeated in the St. John's East-Quidi Vidi riding by just 53 votes and has asked that the ballots be recounted, alleging issues with the original count.She has also filed a separate application to have the results in her district overturned and a byelection called, as have former Progressive Conservative candidates Jim Lester and Sheila Fitzgerald.Lester lost his seat in the Mount Pearl North district by 109 votes and Fitzgerald lost the race in St. Barbe-L'Anse aux Meadows by 216 votes.The three applications to nullify results will be back in court at a later date, while Justice Donald Burrage said he will rule by Wednesday on the NDP arguments for a recount in Coffin's district.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
A Siberian doctor who treated poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny last year reappeared on Monday after being reported missing while on a hunting trip, Russian news agencies cited the regional government as saying. A search was launched in the forests of the Omsk region, about 2,200 km (1,370 miles) east of Moscow, after physician Alexander Murakhovsky left a forest hunting base in an all-terrain vehicle on Friday. Murakhovsky exited the forest himself and made contact with residents of the village of Basly, RIA news agency quoted the Omsk regional government as saying.
Regina police have charged a man and two boys with attempted murder after two people were found with apparent stab wounds. On Sunday at about 1:15 a.m. CST police were called to an alley in the 1500 block of Retallack Street. for a report of an injured man, according to a police news release. A member of the canine unit found a 41 year-old man who was bleeding profusely from several apparent stab wounds. Officers provided first aid to the man until EMS could transport him to hospital. Police then found a second man, 49, who appeared to have also sustained stab wounds and was taken to hospital. Additional officers were called in and set up a perimeter around the area. They found two suspects who were arrested without incident. Further investigation led police to a third suspect believed to be in a home in the 3400 block of Dewdney Avenue. Police said they entered the house with a warrant and arrested the suspect without incident. A 37-year-old man and two boys have each been charged with two counts of attempted murder — along with break, enter and commit robbery — as a result. They all made their first court appearance on Monday morning.
Police have laid multiple charges against an Ottawa woman accused of abducting an eight-day-old infant on Mother's Day. The baby was unharmed after neighbours chased down the suspect.
Premier Scott Moe has announced that Saskatchewan has now reached the COVID-19 vaccination threshold, and Phase One of the province's reopening plan is expected to begin later this month. On Sunday, Premier Moe announced 71 per cent of people over the age of 40 have now been vaccinated, meeting the criteria the provincial government has set out to begin reopening the province. The reopening date is now tentatively set for May 30, three weeks after the vaccination target is reached. Phase One of the plan will mean household bubbles can expand to ten people and public indoor gatherings will be allowed to be up to 30 people. As well, restaurants and bars will be able to reopen, with a maximum of six people at a table, with two metres between tables. Places of worship will be allowed to open at 30 per cent of capacity, or 150 people, whichever is less, with physical distancing between households. On Sunday, Moe said the province had the highest number of vaccinations in one day, at 13,651 people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The province noted 59 per cent of adults 30 and older have been vaccinated so far. For Phase Two of the province's reopening plan, 70 per cent of people over 30 will have to be vaccinated. Business plan Business leaders in downtown Saskatoon are ready to welcome back patrons as the province sets a timeline for its reopening plan, but they know they'll have to take it slow and experts say a calm, and cautious approach is needed. "Unless we want to have a resurgence and a fourth wave we're going to have to do so very, very cautiously and very carefully, so I think all businesses need to get that message," said Dr. Cory Neudorf, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Community Health and Epidemiology and public-health physician. Neudorf says business leaders need to take care to maintain best practices, similar to what they adapted last spring after Saskatchewan's initial COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, but said with the presence of variants, even more care must be taken. He also noted a more complete reopening won't be able to happen safely until more people get their second dose of the vaccine. "I think we have a bit of work ahead of us yet," said Neudorf. The relaxed restrictions will allow an increase in the number of people who are allowed to sit at a table in a restaurant, climbing from four to six, will see households be able to mingle again and also see gathering numbers climb as well. Brent Penner is the executive director of the DTNYXE Business Improvement District in Saskatoon. He says businesses have been following best practices closely for months and he's confident that work will continue, even as businesses get busier. "We're certainly looking forward to the ability to have more people in restaurants, hopefully more people willing to travel, those sorts of things, but I think the mere fact we've been doing this now for well over a year, people know what to expect." Penner says in his own experiences shopping downtown, he constantly sees people keeping their distance from one another and businesses taking steps to protect themselves like counting customers and offering hand-sanitizing stations. He also stressed its important for people to continue being respectful and patient as businesses see a pick up in patrons. "It's basic," he said. "Treat those employees as you'd like to be treated in that situation." Premier Scott Moe said in a news release on Sunday while the Government of Saskatchewan has reached its first threshold for re-opening, its ambitions around vaccinations are "not slowing down." "In fact, they are speeding up," said Moe in the release. As of Sunday, more than 50 per cent of all Saskatchewan adults have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health wants to see less than 1,000 daily reported COVID-19 cases to ease provincial restrictions.
BERLIN — Germany's powerful Catholic progressives are openly defying a recent Holy See pronouncement that priests cannot bless same-sex unions by offering such blessings at services in about 100 different churches all over the country this week. The blessings at open worship services are the latest pushback from German Catholics against a document released in March by the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said Catholic clergy cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.” The document pleased conservatives and disheartened advocates for LGBTQ Catholics around the globe. But the response has been particularly acute in Germany, where the German church has been at the forefront of opening discussion on hot-button issues such as the church’s teaching on homosexuality as part of a formal process of debate and reform. The dozens of church services celebrating blessings of gay unions are the latest escalation in tensions between conservatives and progressives that have already sparked alarm, primarily from the right, that part of the German church might be heading into schism. Germany is no stranger to schism: 500 years ago, Martin Luther launched the Reformation here. Pope Francis, who has championed a more decentralized church structure, has already reminded the German hierarchy that it must remain in communion with Rome during its reform process, known as a “synodal path." In Berlin, the Rev. Jan Korditschke, a Jesuit who works for the diocese preparing adults for baptism and helps out at the St. Canisius congregation, will lead blessings for queer couples at a worship service May 16. “I am convinced that homosexual orientation is not bad, nor is homosexual love a sin,” Korditschke told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. “I want to celebrate the love of homosexuals with these blessings because the love of homosexuals is something good.” The 44-year-old said it is important that homosexuals can show themselves within the Catholic Church and gain more visibility long-term. He said he was not afraid of possible repercussions by high-ranking church officials or the Vatican. “I stand behind what I am doing, though it is painful for me that I cannot do it in tune with the church leadership,” Korditschke said, adding that “the homophobia of my church makes me angry and I am ashamed of it.” The head of the German Bishops Conference last month criticized the grassroots initiative for gay blessings which is called “Liebe Gewinnt” or “Love Wins.” Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing said the blessings “are not suitable as an instrument of church political manifestations or political actions.” However, Germany's powerful lay organization, the Central Committee of German Catholics, or ZdK, which has been advocating for gay blessings since 2015, positioned itself once more in favour of them. It called the contentious document from Rome “not very helpful" and explicitly expressed its support for ”Love Wins." “These are celebrations of worship in which people express to God what moves them," Birgit Mock, the ZdK's spokeswoman for family affairs, told the AP. “The fact that they ask for God's blessing and thank him for all the good in their lives — also for relationships lived with mutual respect and full of love — that is deeply based on the Gospel,” Mock said, adding that she herself was planning to attend a church service with gay blessings in the western city of Hamm on Monday in which she would pray for ”the success of the synodal path in which we, as a church, recognize sexuality as a positive strength." The ZdK has been taking part in the “synodal path” meetings for more than a year with the German Bishops Conference. They are due to conclude in the fall. The meetings include talks about allowing priests to get married, the ordination of women and a different understanding of sexuality, among other reforms. The process was launched as part of the response to revelations of clergy sexual abuse. “We're struggling in Germany with a lot of seriousness and intensive theological discourses for the right path,” Mock added. “Things cannot continue the way they did — this is what the crimes and coverups of sexual abuse showed us." "We need systemic changes, also regarding a reassessment of the ecclesiastical morality of sexuality,” Mock said. Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press
For more than a year now, the state of America's live music industry has been a grim one. The COVID-19 pandemic threw hundreds of thousands of musicians, roadies and other touring industry professionals out of work, according to the Country Music Association. In Tennessee alone, the industry's unemployed number around 50,000. Compounding the problem, the jobs in restaurants and other hospitality businesses that have long sustained out-of-work entertainers were drastically slashed, too. Now, in response to the crisis, the music association is expanding its efforts to help the industry's needy. It's announcing Monday that it will provide 4 million meals in cities with large populations of musicians and music industry professionals in a new partnership with Feeding America. The trade organization’s foundation will also launch a donation challenge to fund an additional 1 million meals throughout all of Feeding America's food banks. And its Music Industry COVID Support (MICS) Initiative will help those in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. All of that will come on top of $3 million that the CMA has invested in numerous nonprofits that serve music professionals. “Nobody wants to think about their friends or colleagues going without food,” said Sarah Trahern, the association’s CEO. “But I’ve been out at a couple of the food banks that we’ve done work with over the last year, and it’s us. As people, you think, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’” “I feel like by next year we’re going to be in good stead,” she said. “But a lot of those people will have gone 18 months to 24 months without salaries in their chosen fields. And then you can’t put a roof over your head or put braces on your kids or put food on the table.” The need to help those musicians and music industry professionals make it through the next few months is why the CMA opted to expand its MICS initiative. And it’s why country superstar Blake Shelton said he is proud to have been part of the initiative in helping drum up financial support for the food banks. “There are a lot of people struggling in our country, and COVID has only made that worse,” Shelton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “People are going to bed hungry at night now more than ever, and I just can’t live with that. I’ve been passionate for a long time about helping folks get the food they need.” Since beginning his recording career in 2001, Shelton has never been off the road for as long as he has now, though his work on “The Voice” has kept him busy when he hasn’t been on his Oklahoma ranch with his fiancée, Gwen Stefani, and their families. He said he feels fortunate to have been able to keep paying his band and crew over the past year, allowing his band members to be “busy working on different musical projects, keeping their skills sharp!” “This pandemic has affected people all across the country, working in all different kinds of industries, from restaurants to schools to travel,” Shelton said. “What more can be done? The world is starting to open up again, and tours and shows are being announced daily. So go support your favourite artists, bands, orchestras, theatres. Of course, do it safely, but let’s have some fun again!” That’s what Amberly Rosen yearns to do. Rosen, one-half of the folk-dance duo The Rosen Sisters, has toured with numerous artists. She has played arenas and major festivals with country star Terri Clark and “Late Night with David Letterman” with Maddie and Tae. And she wants very much to get back to entertaining people. "There was a ton of disappointment last year,” said Rosen, a violinist who was trained at the Berklee College of Music and now lives in Nashville. “I can’t wait to have joyful moments with people again, when we can be with each other just a little bit.” Rosen remembers the day early in the pandemic when she received one call after another cancelling concerts, tours and other gigs for months into the future. When even her backup job as a violin teacher slowed to a crawl, she grew worried. “It was totally terrifying,” said Rosen, 34. “I’ve always worked in music. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. All of a sudden, I couldn’t do my job.” As she looked for ways to cut costs, Rosen heard about a program from Musically Fed, one of the initiatives the CMA began supporting in 2020, that would give unemployed musicians $100 vouchers to spend at a local farmers market. “It was so helpful, and I was so grateful to have that,” Rosen said. “But it was a personal struggle because I worried, ‘Am I needy enough for this?’ I’ve always been capable of taking care of myself, but this time there were really no jobs in my field.” That’s a common feeling, especially during the pandemic, when so many found themselves so quickly in need, said Nancy Keil, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, one of the nonprofits that will benefit from the expanded MICS initiative. About 40% of people who visited food banks in the past year, she said, had never come before. Part of her group’s challenge is to educate people to accept help when they need it. “When people just don’t have jobs, you have a need,” Keil said. “You can’t just find food somewhere. You need someone to help. It’s so basic.” Second Harvest, it turns out, needs some help of its own. In 2020, the food bank experienced a 50% increase in demand for its services — which, Keil said, meant that about 450,000 more people in Middle Tennessee became food insecure. Financial donations rose last year. But they didn’t completely cover the costs of increasing staff and buying more supplies because food donations from now-closed restaurants tumbled. “This funding support from the CMA is going to be huge,” Keil said. “When we looked at the numbers from the last recession, it took 10 years to get back to pre-recession numbers. We’re hoping that this time it will take much shorter.” ___ The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy. Glenn Gamboa, The Associated Press
Two men from Cape Breton have been fined for getting too close while in the process of allegedly stealing a TV. Cape Breton Regional Police responded to a reported theft from the Superstore in Glace Bay on Friday. Officers charged a 41-year-old man from River Ryan and a 56-year-old man from New Waterford with theft. They also issued each man a ticket under the Health Protection Act for failing to self-isolate from one another, which now carries a fine of $2,000. Under current Public Health restrictions, residents can only come in close contact with their household, or allow one or two others in their bubble if they are a small household. Man fined for leaving own municipality On Sunday, officers also responded to a George Street address in Sydney where a woman was complaining of an unwanted male, whom she knew, "causing mischief" at her home. Officers found a 48-year-old man from Victoria County nearby. He was charged with public intoxication and fined $697.50 for failing to comply with the Emergency Management Act, which bans any non-essential travel outside one's own municipality. Two people ticketed in Halifax In the Halifax area, police also issued three tickets last week in two separate incidents. Officers were called to a Bedford apartment building Friday morning after a report that a man was not following provincial regulations while in the public areas of the complex. A 40-year-old Bedford man was ticketed for not wearing a mask, which carries a fine of $2,000. Halifax Regional Police also fined the same teenager twice. On Friday, police ticketed a 17-year-old for not self-isolating as required. The same youth was ticketed again Sunday for the same reason. Both tickets carry fines of $2,000. MORE TOP STORIES
Alberta reported 1,597 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and seven new deaths, as the province's COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened up to everyone in the province age 12 or older. The province has now seen 1,916,957 doses of vaccine administered, an increase of 27,918 from the previous day. So far, 318,841 Albertans have been fully immunized with two doses of vaccine. As of end of day Sunday, about 35.7 per cent of Alberta's population had received at least one dose. In a social media post, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said more than 112,000 Albertans age 12 and older had booked vaccine appointments as of 2:30 p.m. Monday, the first day of the newly expanded eligibility. Labs completed 13,921 tests for COVID-19 Sunday, with a positivity rate around 11.4 per cent. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to rise. Across the province, 690 people were being treated in hospital for the disease, an increase of 22 from the previous day. Included in the total were 158 patients in intensive care. Alberta had 25,438 active cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday. Here's how those cases break down regionally: Calgary zone: 11,539 Edmonton zone: 5,944 North zone: 3,762 Central zone: 2,807 South zone: 1,335 Unknown: 51 The latest R-value information, the number of people infected by each infected person, shows that spread of COVID-19 had slowed across the province last week, except for the Calgary zone. Here are the latest R-value numbers from May 3 to May 9: Alberta, province-wide: 1.00 Edmonton zone: 0.96 Calgary zone: 1.06 Rest of Alberta: 0.94 On Monday, the World Health Organization classified the B1617 variant, first found in India, as a global variant of concern. So far, six cases of that variant have been detected in Alberta. There are currently 10,673 active variant cases in Alberta, though the province recently reduced its variant testing and is no longer screening all positive cases for variants of concern.
OTTAWA — New Democrats have joined forces with the Liberals to cut short initial debate on a bill aimed at ensuring a federal election could be held safely, if need be, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move ensures that Bill C-19 will be put to a second reading vote Tuesday, allowing it to be referred to a House of Commons committee for greater scrutiny and potential amendments. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says the move short-circuits democracy on a bill meant to protect democracy. Conservatives are complaining bitterly that they've had only four hours to debate the bill since it was introduced almost five months ago. But they also ate up the three hours that were supposed to be devoted to C-19 today, using a procedural tactic that forced the Commons to debate instead a committee report on the Line 5 pipeline dispute with Michigan. NDP MP Daniel Blaikie says his party supported time allocation on C-19 after the Conservatives made it clear they're only interested in blocking the bill. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
Dwayne De Rosario's soccer credentials are well-established. Named one of Major League Soccer's 25 greatest players, MLS MVP (2011) and two-time MLS Cup MVP (2001 and 2007), the Canadian attacker scored 104 league goals in an MLS career that stretched from 2001 to 2014. Internationally, he earned 81 caps for Canada and tops the list of Canadian men's goal-scorers with 22. De Rosario's attempts to play in Europe and his salary-related frustration in his first go-round at Toronto FC have also been well-documented. But there's plenty more to De Rosario's story and the 42-year-old from Scarborough, Ont., (he turns 43 on May 15) delivers in his autobiography "DeRo: My Life," written with Brendan Dunlop. "It's a lot of things that I haven't really opened up to (before)," De Rosario acknowledged in an interview. It's an enjoyable, easy read. And you will know and understand De Rosario much better for it. From being shot in the eye during a somewhat wild youth (it wasn't a real bullet but it caused a torn retina that still affects him) to his difficulties adjusting to life after soccer, De Rosario does plenty of dishing. Toronto FC and Canada Soccer will not like some passages of the book. De Rosario does not spare either, although he makes it clear that both have come a long way in recent years and are worlds ahead of where they were. "There's something special happening right now," he writes of the current Canadian men's team. "There's a hope and a belief among the national team that wasn't always there. (Coach) John Herdman deserves a lot of credit for that." It's a far cry from having to return Canadian jerseys at a national camp "because we're giving them to the youth team." Or the Sony gift card De Rosario got from Canada Soccer for his second Canadian Player of the Year award in 2006. He sees Canada co-hosting the 2026 World Cup as a "unique opportunity." "I hope that we get it right,'" he said. "There are still things that need to be heavily focused on." As for TFC, De Rosario says the club — in his first stint there — didn't deliver on a promise to make him a designated player and screwed him out of a chance to play for Scotland's Celtic on loan. "Bottom line: treat your stars like they're stars. The people in charge at the time didn't do that, and I had to say goodbye to Toronto," he writes. Looking back, he says "it was a learning curve for both parties, myself and for TFC as well, at that time." De Rosario was eventually traded to first the New York Red Bulls and then D.C. United during the 2011 season, a nomadic campaign that amazingly did not stop him from winning MVP honours. Off the field, he details in the book the toll that that string of moves took on his family. "I think that (2011 season) just encompasses my life in a nutshell," he said in the interview. "Just how I was able to use those obstacles, to use those adversities, to fuel my passion and my hunger on the field. "Because at any time I could have said 'Forget this.' Or I could have given up or went to the team with a bag of emotions. But I knew that wasn't going to serve me (well) so I wanted to go there and prove (to) everyone 'You know what? This is what you're losing.'" De Rosario finished out his career in Toronto, painting a vastly different picture of the franchise in 2014 under then-MLSE boss Tim Leiweke. "The only things that were the same when I went back to TFC were the crest on the shirt and the fans in the stands," De Rosario writes. 'It wasn't the same organization that traded me away. They were different from top to bottom. It was like moving back into your old house after somebody else fully renovated it. "All the little things mattered, and all the big things were done big." TFC is now "up there with the best clubs in the world," he added in the interview. De Rosario retired as Toronto's career leader in goals, assists, shots, shots on goal, game-winning goals and multi-goal games. He remains a club ambassador. In the book, he also details the many steps he took on the soccer ladder before finding a home in MLS — he had tryouts at England's Portsmouth, Hungary's MTK Budapest, Italy's AC Milan and Spain's Barcelona, to name a few. The deals or teams weren't right and he ended up with fellow Canadian Jason Bent — now an assistant coach at Toronto FC — at Germany's FSV Zwickau in a nightmarish European experience that saw both players racially abused. He believes the adversity he faced throughout his career helped shape the man and player he became. "I have no regrets," he said in the interview. "Maybe if certain things, if they had gone different, it would have been interesting to see. I realized in life there are no guarantees and you have to continue to find ways to make it happen, regardless of things you sometimes can't control." Today, he focuses on his DeRo Foundation, which among other things, helps inner city kids with after-school programs. He also runs his own soccer school, the DeRo United Futbol Academy. He believes he has more to give to his sport. And he is a proud father of four. One son, 19-year-old Osaze, is a forward who has spent time with both the Toronto FC academy and the New York City FC system and is currently trying out for a team in Spain. Another, 16-year-old Adisa, is a goalkeeper in the TFC academy. He also has a 22-year-old daughter, Asha, and nine-year-old son, Tinashe. De Rosario says the process of writing the book, which started in 2016, was an "emotional roller-coaster." "I realized I was holding onto a lot of stuff," he said. "It was therapeutic too. It was also refreshing to tell my story. Brendan made it easy." "DeRo: My Life," by Dwayne De Rosario with Brendan Dunlop, ECW Press, 208 pages, $34.95 --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario has become the latest province to signal it will likely mix COVID-19 vaccine brands as the country prepares for a flood of Pfizer and Moderna shots while some doctors questioned further use of Oxford-AstraZeneca. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday it's likely that Ontarians who have received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may get a different shot for their second dose. "We don't have a supply date for more AstraZeneca, so it's very likely that we will need to mix the different products together," she said. Elliott said the province is waiting for the results from a U.K. study on mixing different vaccines and on advice from a federal immunization panel. "I expect that should come very soon, because there are some people who are coming up in terms of times for their second shot." Quebec has also said that it plans to mix vaccines due to supply shortages, substituting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for the Moderna vaccines in order to quickly give booster shots to long-term care residents. Dr. Theresa Tam, the country's top doctor, has also said that Canada is closely following the results of the U.K. study on mixing doses. Molecular biologist and science communicator Samantha Yammine said some Canadians who have already received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may be comforted to know they have the option of a different dose, given recent attention directed at shot. "It's nice to know that people will have the option depending on what risks they're comfortable to take on," she said in a recent interview. Yammine, who goes by "Science Sam" on social media, said the pandemic has given rise to an "infodemic," with a flood of advice about areas like the low risk of blood clots from viral-vector shots compared with mRNA vaccines. Conflicting advice coming from experts and officials, even if well-intentioned, can overwhelm the public, Yammine said. And Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine has been in spotlight in Canada in recent weeks. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI, attracted criticism when it recommended that Canadians who aren't at high risk from COVID-19 may want to wait until a dose of Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna is available, calling them the "preferred" vaccines. Since then, the chair of the committee has said people who took the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot did the right thing, and some prominent physicians have suggested on social media that Canada could focus on distributing mRNA shots with millions of doses expected to arrive over the next few weeks. Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious diseases specialist and a a member Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table, argued on Twitter this weekend that while AstraZeneca "was a good vaccine that served its purpose," Canada has enough Pfizer and Moderna shots to avoid using AstraZeneca, removing the risk of rare but serious blood clots. Yammine said the biggest damage from NACI's initial remarks was feelings of remorse among people who took the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot. She stressed that people should not regret taking the vaccine and said it's still advisable for people in virus hot spots to take the first vaccine they can get, but highlighted the importance of local guidance for those in lower-risk areas who are trying to make sense of the advice. "What we really need now, in my opinion, is for the provinces to now do the risk calculation for the people in their province, because it's all a gradient, it's not black or white," she said. Yammine has also shared infographics on social media comparing normal side-effects and possible signs of the rare blood-clotting disorder in some COVID-19 recipients, so people who have received the shots can seek treatment if necessary. "We don't want people to be scared and freaking out, but we want you to know what to look out for, so that you're prepared and you can get the treatment that you deserve," she said. Jessica Mudry, an associate professor in health communication at Ryerson University, said communication about the difference between vaccines has been poorly handled by officials and it may end up hurting Canada's vaccination campaign. She said new government plans to mix doses without preparing the public for that possibility ahead of time may backfire among people who took already one shot and are now caught off guard. "I think that this kind of this concept of the cocktail, you do one, then you do a different one, is actually going to be quite difficult for people, because people don't like surprises," Mudry said. Even with more mRNA vaccines on the way, Yammine noted that Canada should be careful before outright dismissing shots like Oxford-AstraZeneca's because they are important to ending the global pandemic and Canada has a strong health-care reputation on the world stage. "We act locally but we have to think globally," she said. "By us just saying, no, these vaccines are not for Canadians, what message does that send to people in crisis around the world who don't have the luxury of choosing a vaccine." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
The federal government, province of P.E.I. and Abegweit First Nation are partnering to reconnect the Scotchfort community to the Hillsborough River. The river was an essential transportation route and food source for previous generations of the Abegweit First Nation, but the Scotchfort community is now separated from the river by Route 2, a major highway that runs through the centre of the province. "I think today's step one," said Abegweit First Nation Chief Roderick Gould Jr. "It's important to appreciate where we were historically and where we've come today." In a joint announcement on Monday morning, the province said it would transfer six hectares of land, between the highway and the river, to the band for a nominal fee of $1. The federal government announced $4.4 million for active transportation and social infrastructure on the land, which will link the corridor to the Confederation Trail as well as to the Hillsborough River. "It's very significant," said Gould Jr. "More so than just a monetary value or just an opportunity for future development and economic, it's historically accurate. It's a respect for where we came from, who we are as a community." 'A really big day' According to a government news release, this plan includes building several structures to ensure safe access to the waterfront and multi-use trail. One of those is a tunnel under the highway. "You just kind of have to run across the highway and it's pretty dangerous," said community member C.J. Cleal. "There will be a tunnel going under the ... highway, It'll just link us to our old heritage land and it'll be safe and it's very good." Community member C.J. Cleal says the announcement is welcome news and he hopes it will make the area safer. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC) Some of the funding announced Monday will go toward the development of the Epekwitk Mena'taqug Centre, a business and retail centre. Initial funding for that project was announced in August 2019. Premier Dennis King said it's "an important day, a big day for P.E.I. and a really big day for the Abegweit First Nation." King said construction on the project is slated to begin this summer and will hopefully wrap up by the fall. "When everyone works together toward the same end we can do really incredible things here in this province," he said. More from CBC P.E.I.
LIMASSOL, Cyprus — The Islamic State group is using stealth to regenerate its forces by developing its military capabilities underground, and France is deploying its warships and aircraft in the region to help troops on the ground root out the threat, a senior French naval officer said Monday. Rear Adm. Marc Aussedat, who leads a task force centred around France’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, said that 18 advanced Rafale fighter aircraft are carrying out reconnaissance flights in Syrian and Iraqi airspace to gauge the actions of IS, and to bring their weapons to bear if necessary. “Why are we doing this mission? ... First of all, is to give to these forces, coalition and Iraqi security forces, the means to fight the regeneration of Daesh on the ground. Daesh is hiding, Daesh is developing its capacity underground,” Aussedat told reporters, referring to the Islamic State group's Arabic-language acronym. France’s regional military muscle-flexing has manifested itself in Task Force 473, a naval force of several warships including anti-submarine frigates and an air defence destroyer that’s centred around the De Gaulle. The country already has a frigate deployed in the east Mediterranean on a permanent basis. The primary mission of the task force’s five-month deployment in the east Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean is to assist Operation Inherent Resolve, a U.S.-led mission of forces from several countries tasked with eradicating IS remnants following its three-year occupation of large swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory. Aussedat said the French task force has also helped in the fight against piracy and international trafficking in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean where it temporarily took command of Task Force 50, a U.S. naval force led by the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, to help build trust and co-operation between the two navies. According to Aussedat, the deployment also aimed to project French power and to “show the French flag” in regions where the country has “strategic interests” including the eastern Mediterranean. French energy company Total, along with Italian partner Eni, is licensed to drill for oil and gas off Cyprus. “The presence in these areas is made to prevent and to fight for stability, for the freedom of navigation, for our freedom of action and of course the interests of France but also of the partners which are linked with us,” Aussedat said. “It’s also a way to ensure our ability to appreciate, to assess the situation on a national basis, but also a European basis or on a NATO basis to prevent crises, but also to intervene if necessary.” Those partners include a Belgian and Greek frigate, as well as a U.S. destroyer that had earlier joined the task force. The French task force will end its deployment with a joint exercise in the western Mediterranean with U.K. aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The Charles de Gaulle made a similar port of call to Limassol a little over a year ago when reporters were allowed aboard the ship, but this year COVID-19 restrictions prevented that. Cyprus’ Defence Ministry said it would carry joint manoeuvrs with the French task force as part of a bilateral defenceco-operation agreement. Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Part of northwest New Brunswick that has been under the orange pandemic-alert level will return to the yellow level at midnight tonight. The announcement made today will put the entire province at the yellow level for the first time since mid-March. Health officials are reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 today: five were identified in the province and six involve New Brunswickers who are isolating outside the province. New Brunswick has 149 active reported cases of COVID-19. Seven COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit, while another four patients are hospitalized out of province. New Brunswickers 40 and older are now eligible to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccines through one of the regional health authorities or participating pharmacies. The government has released guidelines for school graduation ceremonies, which will depend on the pandemic-alert level in place at the time of events and on the operational plans of the facilities where ceremonies are to be held. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer says COVID-19 measures will eventually be loosened across the province at the same time despite lower transmission rates in some regions, but case numbers and hospitalizations are still too high to consider changes. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that two previous attempts last year to lift restrictions regionally did not work because people travelling from one area to another brought the illness along or took it back home with them. She said Nova Scotia is an example of how a low number of cases can quickly climb, so everyone in B.C. will need to follow the same rules as rising vaccination levels and fewer hospitalizations allow indoor dining to resume, for example. "We know how important that is for restaurants, but it's also an important safe place when rates are low in our community and when people are protected through immunization," Henry said. People who have received two doses of a vaccine can't yet return to post-pandemic activities with each other, she said, because vaccines do not provide 100 per cent protection and those who have been immunized can get infected again because too much of the virus is still being transmitted. "Right now we're not at a place where any of us can let our guard down, but we will get there and we will be there in a matter of weeks now, not months anymore." Henry urged everyone who is eligible to book an appointment to get vaccinated and said that compared with teachers, fewer child-care workers have chosen to get immunized. The province reported 1,759 cases of COVID-19 over three days on Monday, along with 20 deaths, most of them among people over the age of 70. People who are aged 40 and up could register for the province's age-based vaccination plan as of Monday, along with those who are 18 and over and living in high-risk areas. Henry said a vaccination plan for children between the ages of 12 and 17 will be released in the coming days and anyone who received their first dose before the provincial registration system was set up should book their second dose online. An interactive app providing information on case numbers and vaccination rates in particular neighbourhoods and by age and sex will also be available soon, she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
After being detained off and on in Dubai since December 2015, Quebec geologist André Gauthier has finally returned to Canada. Originally from the Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean region, Gauthier was a whistleblower who alerted authorities in the United Arab Emirates to irregular dealings in a gold-trading company, Gold AE. But instead of being thanked for his efforts, he was arrested, charged and convicted with committing 73 counts in the very fraud he uncovered. After his arrest, Gauthier spent nearly 16 months in detention in Dubai from December 2015 to April 2017. He later attempted to escape and return to Canada but was stopped in Oman before he could board his flight and was detained there before being extradited back to the UAE. After years away from home, Gauthier, now 68, was finally released and allowed to return to Canada this month. He arrived in Toronto on Wednesday May 5 and is completing the mandatory quarantine for travellers. Cleared of all charges Radha Stirling, Gauthier's laywer, said her client has now been cleared of all charges in connection with the fraud case. Stirling told CBC that the real culprits responsible for the multimillion-dollar fraud fled Dubai before they could be caught and used her client as a scapegoat. She said that Gauthier didn't even have access to the bank accounts that would have allowed him to commit the crimes he was accused of. Stirling is the founder and CEO of the U.K.-based legal and human rights organization Detained in Dubai. "We're so happy that André is finally home," said Stirling in an interview with CBC's Breakaway. "He's been through a lot. He's been stuck in the UAE for years, potentially facing prison for the rest of his life and he had no idea, was this ever going to end?" Stirling said it was thanks to the intervention of Global Affairs Canada that Gauthier's release was secured. "I'm so impressed with what the Canadian government did, essentially. They really went way out of what other governments have done for their citizens: negotiating with the UAE, presenting all of the evidence of André's innocence. And together, both governments worked to ultimately exonerate him and get him home," she said. Years of detention In 2019 two Dubai court-appointed experts who analyzed the facts in the case exonerated Gauthier of any wrongdoing. However, due to a a technicality, Gauthier was only cleared of 11 counts of the total 73. That same year, Gauthier's son Alexis, told The Canadian Press that the family had spent almost $2 million in court fees since his father had been arrested. The family had also lobbied the Canadian government on Gauthier's behalf. Alexis wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019, appealing for help in his father's case. "I cannot emphasize enough how painful this situation has been for him and all of us who love and miss him," he wrote. "We are scared, exhausted, and heartbroken after years of struggling to free my father from the torment he has endured in the UAE." In June of 2020, after years of detention and legal battles, Gauthier was finally ordered released. However, he had to remain in the country to face civil charges related to the same affair. This explains why his return to Canada was delayed another 10 months.
Ontario's chief medical officer of health says the province is cautiously optimistic as the COVID-19 case numbers are coming back down. "We do have our work ahead of us but we are doing well," Dr. David Williams said at a news conference on Monday afternoon. Williams said the aim is to get down to under 3,000 cases every day, and "down ideally closer to 2,000 as we progress and continue to drive to getting off the third wave." On Monday, Ontario reported another 2,716 cases of COVID-19 and 19 more deaths linked to the illness, while the province expanded eligibility for vaccines and said some health-care workers will not wait four months for a second dose. The cases are the fewest on a single day since April and come as total hospitalizations, admissions to intensive care and the number of patients on ventilators all dropped for a fifth straight day, according to data from the health ministry. 'We are coming down off the third wave' "We are bending the curve. We are coming down off the third wave, but we want to get down the third wave totally," Williams said. "We didn't get down the second wave totally before the third wave hit [and] that has added immense stress to our health-care system. We don't want to repeat that again. "We are going to have to be very careful as we go down to make sure we are well off and we are in a state where we can ease off the pressure on our health-care system and get elective surgeries back booked," Williams added. Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, says the province is cautiously optimistic as COVID-19 case numbers are coming back down. (CBC) Williams also shared his ideal target for the COVID-19 numbers before the stay-at-home order is lifted. "I think our target in my mind has to be lower than 1,000," he said. But he said discussions are being held with the province's public-health measures table to determine the number, given the COVID-19 variants and how quickly they spread. "As you've seen in some areas, the numbers seem very low [but] within a week those have escalated and caused major outbreaks," Williams said. Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, says the province continues to 'see some improvement' as hospitalizations and ICU admissions 'do continue to slowly decline.'(CBC) Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, said the province wants people to be fully immunized before opening the gates to people getting together. "We are getting there but I don't think we're there yet. We have very high full vaccination rates in long-term care and retirement homes where we have on average up to 100 per cent of residents vaccinated, fully immunized," she said. "But in general, we are waiting for people to be more fully immunized." Province seeing 'some improvement' As of yesterday, there were 1,632 people with COVID-19-related illnesses in hospitals. Of those, 828 were being treated in ICUs and 547, or about two thirds, required ventilation, the ministry said. Yaffe said the province continues to "see some improvement" as hospitalizations and ICU admissions "do continue to slowly decline." But she said: "The numbers are still too high." Meanwhile, Ontario's fiscal watchdog, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO), estimated in a report today that it will take the province about three-and-a-half years to clear the surgical backlog from the pandemic. The FAO said it expects that by the end of September 2021, some 419,200 procedures will have been cancelled due to COVID-19 and that $1.3 billion will be needed to clear the backlog. The provincial government allocated $610 million specifically to this effort in its latest budget. Speaking to reporters at Queen's Park, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that anyone whose "life is in danger" will be prioritized for procedures and "will get their surgery." She noted that, despite the pandemic, the majority of Ontario hospitals hit their surgical targets last year, with more than 420,000 procedures completed since hospitals were first ordered to halt non-emergency operations in the spring of last year. Meanwhile, labs completed just 27,175 tests and Public Health Ontario logged a provincewide positivity rate of 9.1 per cent. Testing levels have fallen off on weekends throughout the pandemic, but today's number is the fewest on a single day since mid-February. The seven-day average of daily cases fell to 3,017. It has been trending downward since April 17. Another 3,110 infections were marked resolved in today's provincial update. There are about 31,991 confirmed, active cases in Ontario. The 16 additional deaths reported today bring the official toll to 8,327. The seven-day average of deaths climbed to 29.9, topping the previous third-wave peak. Updates to vaccine rollout Public health units collectively administered 94,903 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, the health ministry said, the most-ever on a Sunday. As with testing, the province has struggled to hit its vaccination targets on weekends. Roughly 5.84 million people, or about 49 per cent of all adults in Ontario, had had at least one dose of a vaccine as of Sunday evening. The province has administered 6,238,778, or just over 88 per cent, of the 7,056,415 doses it has received to date. The government announced this morning it is expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday to more residents classified as "cannot work from home," including grocery store and restaurant workers. More people with certain health conditions, such as heart disease, dementia, asthma and diabetes, will also be able to try to book an appointment starting tomorrow. Similarly, health-care workers treating patients who have COVID-19 or are at-risk of contracting the illness won't have to wait four months for a second dose of vaccine, the province said. That includes those who work in intensive care, emergency departments and first responders. All Ontarians aged 40 and older will be eligible to book an appointment for a first shot as of Thursday. Ontario likely to mix vaccines, health minister says The province expects millions of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to arrive throughout May and June. There is still no clear date on when more shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine might be expected. Elliott said it is "very likely" that Ontario will need to mix vaccines in order to get second doses to those Ontarians who have already gotten a first shot of AstraZeneca. Ontario's scientific advisors are closely watching results from the United Kingdom, where health authorities have been mixing vaccines for months, she added. The province is also awaiting revised guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which is expected to take a position on mixing doses in the coming weeks. "I expect that should come very soon because there are some people who are coming up in terms of times for their second shots," Elliott said. She also suggested that Ontario's current stay-at-home order, which is set to expire on May 20, will likely be extended. "We're going to have to see our numbers go down," she told media. "The medical experts have been very clear that we need to stay the course for right now." Over the weekend, hundreds of pharmacies in designated hot spots began offering shots to anyone aged 18 and up. The province quietly made the change without an official announcement. The move led to a scramble in many neighbourhoods of Toronto, where people relying on tips found on social media lined up outside pharmacy locations.