Senators condemned Donald Trump's actions but acquitted him of inciting the horrific attack at the US Capitol on January 6th, concluding a historic impeachment trial that exposed the fragility of America's democratic traditions. (February 13)
Senators condemned Donald Trump's actions but acquitted him of inciting the horrific attack at the US Capitol on January 6th, concluding a historic impeachment trial that exposed the fragility of America's democratic traditions. (February 13)
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Demand for electricity in Ontario last year fell to levels rarely seen in decades amid shifts in usage patterns caused by pandemic measures, new data show. The decline came despite a hot summer that had people rushing to crank up the air conditioning at home, the province's power management agency said. "We do have this very interesting shift in who's using the energy," said Chuck Farmer, senior director of power system planning with the Independent Electricity System Operator. "Residential users are using more electricity than we thought they would and the commercial consumers are using less." The onset of the pandemic last March prompted stay-home orders, businesses to close, and a shuttering of live sports, entertainment and dining out. Social distancing and ongoing restrictions, even as the first wave ebbed and some measures eased, nevertheless persisted and kept many people home as summer took hold and morphed into winter. System operator data show peak electricity demand rose during a hot summer spell to 24,446 megawatts — the highest since 2013. Overall, however, Ontario electricity demand last year was the second lowest since 1988, the operator said. In all, Ontario used 32.2 terawatts of power in 2020, a decline of 2.9 per cent from 2019. With more people at home during the lockdown, winter residential peak demand has climbed 13 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, while summer peak usage was up 19 per cent. "The peaks are getting higher than we would normally expect them to be and this was caused by residential customers — they're home when you wouldn't expect them to be home," Farmer said. Matching supply and demand — a key task of the system operator — is critical to meeting peak usage and ensuring a stable grid because electricity cannot be stored easily. It is also difficult to quickly raise or lower the output from nuclear-powered generators, which account for the bulk of electricity in the province, as demand fluctuates. Life patterns have long impacted overall usage. For example, demand used to typically climb around 10 p.m. each night as people tuned into national television newscasts. Livestreaming has flattened that bump, while more energy-efficient lighting led to a drop in provincial demand over the holiday season. The pandemic has now prompted further intra-day shifts in usage. Fewer people are getting up in the morning and powering up at home before powering down and rushing off to work or school. The summer saw more use of air conditioners earlier than normal after-work patterns. Weather has always been a key driver of demand for power, accounting for example for the record 27,005 megawatts of usage set on a brutally hot Aug. 1, 2006. Similarly, a mild winter and summer led to an overall power usage drop in 2017. Still, the profound social changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic — and whether some will be permanent — have complicated demand forecasting. "Work patterns used to be much more predictable," the agency said. "The pandemic has now added another element of variability for electricity demand forecasting." Some employees sent home to work have returned to their offices and other workplaces, and many others are likely do so once the pandemic recedes. However, some larger companies have indicated that working from home will be long term. "Companies like Facebook and Shopify have already stated their intention to make work from home a more permanent arrangement," the operator said. "This is something our near-term forecasters would take into account when preparing for daily operation of the grid." Aggregated data from better smart meters, which show power usage throughout the day, is one method of improving forecasting accuracy, the operator said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
(Brittany Spencer/CBC - image credit) Tough new COVID-19 measures kicked in at midnight, meaning Prince Edward Islanders are waking up to a world where some things are no longer possible — at least for the next 72 hours. The P.E.I. government's so-called modified red restricted measures are meant to curb outbreaks of COVID-19 in Summerside and Charlottetown. As of late Sunday, 17 new cases had been confirmed in the past five days, with more than 190 close contacts identified so far. Dr. Heather Morrison, the province's chief public health officer, provided a long list of possible exposure sites and dates during a briefing Sunday afternoon. They appear below, along with a list of where COVID-19 testing is available. Exposure sites and times Islanders are strongly urged to seek a COVID-19 test if they were at any of the following locations at the times given, even if they do not have symptoms. Note that the province said on its Facebook page Monday: "When we list an exposure location and time, it's only for those specific times. If you were there before or after that time, you would not be considered a risk for exposure." Testing locations and hours After a busy weekend that saw about 6,632 tests for COVID-19 collected — 2,250 at Three Oaks High School in Summerside alone — provincial public health officials are looking for more swabs. Here are the times and places of today's testing clinics for people who may have had exposure at the above sites as well as for anyone experiencing symptoms: Charlottetown Park Street clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Montague Legion Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m Summerside Slemon Park Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. O'Leary Health Centre Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Health PEI announced changes for testing sites this evening because of potentially bad weather on Tuesday. Stratford testing site at Stratford Town Hall will be open for people aged 19-29 who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and do not have symptoms until close at 8 p.m. tonight. It was previously open only to 19- to 24-year-olds working in that industry today. Three Oaks High School testing site is available for 25- to 29-year-olds who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and who do not have symptoms until 6 p.m. This clinic was also previously open today only to 19- to 24-year-olds. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
A battle between lawsuits related to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is to be heard in a Regina courtroom this week. Eleven lawsuits were filed after the crash on April 6, 2018. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured when the driver of a semi-truck blew a stop sign and drove into the path of the junior hockey team's bus near Tisdale, Sask. Lawyers for a proposed class action waiting for certification plan to ask a judge Friday to delay another lawsuit filed by five of the victims families until that's done. The possible delay has some of the families frustrated. "We want to put certain pieces of this behind us. When they get dragged out longer and longer, it just makes it harder and harder. It causes more pain," said Chris Joseph, a former NHL player from St. Albert, Alta. His 20-year-old son, Jaxon, died in the crash. The proposed class action so far includes the families of 24-year-old Dayna Brons, the team's athletic therapist from Lake, Lenore, Sask., who died in hospital after the crash, and injured goalie Jacob Wassermann, 21, from Humboldt, Sask. The suit names the Saskatchewan government, the inexperienced truck driver who caused the crash and the Calgary-based company that employed him. Vancouver lawyer John Rice said the request for a stay, or delay, is about fairness. "In situations where numerous claimants are harmed from the same event — and where the legal findings in one proceeding could impact all the others — the court needs to strike a balance between the competing interests of individual litigants to ensure that the most efficient and just process is adopted," Rice said. "In these awful circumstances, in this application, the court is being asked to exercise the 'least-worst' option, which is to press pause on the progress of one action until the application for certification is heard." Kevin Mellor of Regina, lawyer for the other lawsuit, said a delay would put his clients' claim at risk. He represents the Joseph family as well as the families of Adam Herold, 16, of Monmartre, Sask.; Logan Hunter, 18, of St. Albert, Alta.; Jacob Leicht, 19, of Humboldt, Sask.; and assistant coach Mark Cross, 27, from Strasbourg, Sask. They all died from the crash. That lawsuit, in addition to naming the Saskatchewan government, the driver and his employer, also lists the bus company as a defendant. Mellor said Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison for causing the crash, but could be deported to India before their lawsuit gets to trial. "If the class action is going to delay ... they're going to miss out on material evidence because this guy will be deported," Mellor said. "We need to giddy-up and go." Co-counsel, Sharon Fox, said their clients shouldn't be punished because they were first to file a lawsuit. "We filed our claim in July 2018, three months after the crash happened," Fox said. "We have been at this for almost two years ... They're trying to hold us back, put us on the sidelines, so they can catch up. We're saying that's not fair and that's going to impact our client's ability to prove our case." Their clients also don't want to put their healing on hold any longer, she said. An affidavit from Herold's father, Russ Herold, was filed in advance of Friday's hearing. "I feel I will suffer psychological harm if my lawsuit is delayed," he says in the document. "I want to advance my lawsuit to hold responsible those that should be held responsible for my son's death." Lawyers for the Saskatchewan government recently argued in court that, because of the province's no-fault insurance, it should be struck as a defendant from the class action. A judge has not yet ruled on that application. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou's U.S. extradition hearing resumed in a Canadian court on Monday with defence countering prosecutors' claims that Meng misled HSBC about the Chinese telecom company's relationship with its affiliate while doing business in Iran. As five days of hearings in the British Columbia Supreme Court started, the defence drilled into the alleged sanction violations that led to Meng's arrest. The daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is accused by the United States of misleading HSBC about her company's business arrangements in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.
NEW DELHI — India is expanding its coronavirus vaccination drive beyond health care and front-line workers, offering the shots to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk. Among the first to receive a vaccine on Monday was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Those now eligible include anyone older than 60, as well as those over 45 who have ailments such as heart disease or diabetes that make them vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness. The shots will be given for free at government hospitals and will also be sold at over 10,000 private hospitals at a fixed price of 250 rupees, or $3.40, per shot. But the rollout of one of the world's largest vaccination drives has been sluggish. Amid signs of hesitancy among the first groups offered the vaccine, Modi, who is 70, got a shot at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science. He received the vaccine produced by Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech — which has been met with particular skepticism. He appealed for all to get vaccinated, tweeting afterward, “together, let us make India COVID-19 free!” The drive, which began in January in the country of 1.4 billion people, has recently taken on even more urgency, since new infections have begun to increase again after months of consistent decline, and scientists have detected worrisome variants of the virus that they fear could hasten infections or render vaccines or treatments less useful. Scores of elderly people started lining up outside private hospitals on Monday morning. Sunita Kapoor was among them, waiting for a vaccine with her husband. She said that they had been staying at home and not meeting people for months to stay safe from the virus — and were looking forward to being able to socialize a bit more. “We are excited,” said Kapoor, 63. Many said that they had struggled with the online system for registering and then waited in line for hours before receiving the vaccine — problems that other countries have also experienced. Dr. Giridhar R. Babu, who studies epidemics at the Public Health Foundation of India, said that long waits for the elderly were a concern since they could pick up infections, including COVID-19, at hospitals. “The unintended effect might be that they get COVID when they go to get the vaccine,” he said. Even though India is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers and has one of the biggest immunization programs, things haven't gone according to plan. Of the 10 million health care workers that the government had initially wanted to immunize, only 6.6 million have gotten the first shot of the two-dose vaccines and 2.4 million have gotten both. Of its estimated 20 million front-line workers, such as police or sanitation workers, only 5.1 million have been vaccinated so far. Dr. Gagangdeep Kang, an infectious diseases expert at Christian Medical College Vellore in southern India, said the hesitancy by health workers highlights the paucity of information available about the vaccines. If health workers are reticent, “you seriously think that the common public is going to walk up for the vaccine?” she said. Vaccinating more people quickly is a major priority for India, especially now that infections are rising again. The country has recorded more than 11 million cases, second in the world behind the United States, and over 157,000 deaths. The government had set a target of immunizing 300 million people, nearly the total U.S. population, by August. The spike in infections in India is most pronounced in the western state of Maharashtra, where the number of active cases has nearly doubled to over 68,000 in the past two weeks. Lockdowns and other restrictions have been reimposed in some areas, and the state's chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, has warned that another wave of cases is “knocking on our door.” Similar surges have been reported from states in all corners of the massive country: Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Gujarat in the west, West Bengal in the east, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in central India, and Telangana in the south. Top federal officials have asked authorities in those states to increase the speed of vaccinations in districts where cases are surging, and to track clusters of infections and monitor variants. “There is a sense of urgency because of the mutants and because cases are going up,” said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. He said that the consistent dip in cases over months resulted in a “reduced threat perception,” leading to vaccine hesitancy. “The (vaccination) drive began when perception was that the worst was over, so people were more hesitant,” Reddy said. Others have also pointed out that the reticence to get vaccinated was amplified, at least in part, by the government's opaque decision making while greenlighting vaccines. But experts say that allowing private hospitals to administer the shots — which began with this new phase of the campaign — should improve access. India's health care system is patchy, and in many small cities people depend on private hospitals for their medical needs. Still, problems remain. India had rolled out online software to keep track of the shots and recipients, but the system was prone to glitches and delays. The federal government will decide which hospitals get which vaccine and people will not have a choice between the AstraZeneca vaccine or the Bharat Biotech one, confirmed Dr. Amar Fettle, the nodal COVID-19 officer for southern Indian state Kerala. The latter got the go-ahead by Indian regulators in January before trials testing the shot's effectiveness at preventing illness were completed. But opening up the campaign to private hospitals may allow the rich to “shop” around for places that are providing the AstraZeneca vaccine — an option that poorer people wouldn't have, said Dr. Anant Bhan, who studies medical ethics. India now hopes to quickly ramp up vaccinations. But the country will likely continue to see troughs and peaks of infections, and the key lesson is that the pandemic won't end until enough people have been vaccinated for the spread of the virus to slow, said Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University who advises West Bengal state on the virus response. “Don’t use a trough to declare success and say it's over,” he said. ___ Associated Press journalists Krutika Pathi and Rishabh Jain contributed to this report. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Aniruddha Ghosal, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Ontario's website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments will begin a "soft launch" in six public health units this week, two weeks before it becomes available across the province, The Canadian Press has learned. But the website will not be available to the general population in those regions, said a senior government source not authorized to speak publicly about the plan. Instead, public health officials will reach out to a small number of individuals who are 80 or older, as well as some eligible health-care workers, starting Monday. The source said the plan will help the province test components of the system before the full launch, determine whether any changes need to be made to the system and organize the vaccination of larger populations. The site is a "public-facing extension" of the COVaxON system the province has been using since the start of the vaccine rollout, the source said, and will also serve to keep track of inoculation data. The regions participating in the soft launch are Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington; Peterborough County-City; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties; Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark; Grey Bruce; and Lambton. The source noted the site will not be available to other regions before March 15, even those that have already begun vaccinating members of the 80-and-over age group such as York and Peel. Those regions must use "existing relationships with residents" to book the vaccinations until the online platform launches on March 15, when they're expected to switch to the provincial system. The source said the website will focus at first on appointments at mass vaccination sites, but the province will work with public health units in the coming weeks to make sure it's compatible with other facilities such as hospital sites and mobile clinics. The government has faced criticism for what some describe as the slow rollout of its vaccine booking portal, which is expected to launch the same day the head of the vaccine task force said people aged 80 and over would start getting the shots. Retired general Rick Hillier said his team was "furiously working" to test and refine the site so it would be up-and-running on time. Health Minister Christine Elliott defended the timeline, saying the government was still testing the site and wanted to ensure it won't crash when it goes live. "We don't want to rush to failure,'' she said last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Britain on Monday appealed for a mystery individual infected with a highly transmissible Brazilian variant of the novel coronavirus to come forward, more than two weeks after they tested positive but failed to give proper contact details. Britain said six cases had been detected of the "P.1" variant identified in the Brazilian city of Manaus, against which current vaccines appear to be less effective. Two were in South Gloucestershire in England and three in Scotland.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption on Monday and sentenced to three years in prison, a stunning fall from grace for a man who for five years bestrode the national and global stage. A Paris court found that Sarkozy, 66, had tried to bribe a judge after leaving office, and to peddle influence in exchange for confidential information about an investigation into his 2007 campaign finances. "He took advantage of his status and the relationships he had formed," presiding judge Christine Mee said.
ISLAMABAD — The United States wasted billions of dollars in war-torn Afghanistan on buildings and vehicles that were either abandoned or destroyed, according to a report released Monday by a U.S. government watchdog. The agency said it reviewed $7.8 billion spent since 2008 on buildings and vehicles. Only $343.2 million worth of buildings and vehicles “were maintained in good condition,” said the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, which oversees American taxpayer money spent on the protracted conflict. The report said that just $1.2 billion of the $7.8 billion went to pay for buildings and vehicles that were used as intended. “The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects," John F. Sopko, the special inspector general, said in his report. The U.S. public is weary of the nearly 20-year-old war and President Joe Biden is reviewing a peace deal his predecessor, Donald Trump, signed with the Taliban a year ago. He must decide whether to withdraw all troops by May 1, as promised in the deal, or stay and possibly prolong the war. Officials say no decision has been made but on Monday, Washington's peace envoy and the American who brokered the U.S.-Taliban deal, Zalmay Khalilzad, was back in the Afghan capital for a tour of the region. Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government have been holding on-again-off-again talks in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar but a deal that could bring peace to Afghanistan after 40 years of relentless war seems far off. After Kabul, Khalilzad will travel to Qatar's capital of Doha and neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, to push anew for progress in the Doha talks and a cease-fire to end the relentless violence. Analyst Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal said the findings by SIGAR are not surprising. The reasons for the financial losses include Taliban attacks, corruption and “throwing money at the problem without considering the implications,” he said. “It is one thing to build a clinic and school, it is another to operate, maintain, and in many cases defend this infrastructure from Taliban attacks,” said Roggio. "Additionally, the West has wildly underestimated the impact of Afghan corruption and in many cases incompetence. It was always a recipe for failure.” U.S. agencies responsible for construction didn't even ask the Afghans if they wanted or needed the buildings they ordered built, or if they had the technical ability to keep them running, Sopko said in his report. The waste occurred in violation of “multiple laws stating that U.S. agencies should not construct or procure capital assets until they can show that the benefiting country has the financial and technical resources and capability to use and maintain those assets effectively,” he said. Torek Farhadi, a former adviser to the Afghan government, said a "donor-knows-best” mentality often prevailed and it routinely meant little to no consultation with the Afghan government on projects. He said a lack of co-ordination among the many international donors aided the wastefulness. For example, he said schools were on occasion built alongside other newly constructed schools financed by other donors. The construction went ahead because once the decision was made — contract awarded and money allocated — the school was built regardless of the need, said Farhadi. The injection of billions of dollars, largely unmonitored, fueled runaway corruption among both Afghans and international contractors. But experts say that despite the waste, the need for assistance is real, given the Afghan governments heavy dependence on international money. The worsening security situation in Afghanistan also greatly impeded the monitoring of projects, with shoddy construction going undetected, said Farhadi, the former Afghan government adviser. “Consult with the locals about their needs and sustainability of the project once the project is complete,” he urged U.S. funding agencies looking to future projects. “Supervise, supervise, supervise project progress and implementation and audit every single layer of expenditure.” Going forward, Roggio said smaller, more manageable projects should be the order of the day. To build big unmanageable projects that Afghanistan has neither the capacity nor technical expertise for after 40 years of relentless war “feeds into the Taliban narrative that the government is corrupt, incompetent, and incapable of providing for the Afghan people,” he said. Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press
Former Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi says he believes he was surveilled by Canadian intelligence while he lived in Montreal.
The S&P 500 surged on Monday in its strongest one-day gain since June as bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff, while another COVID-19 vaccine getting U.S. approval and fiscal stimulus bolstered expectations of a swift economic recovery. Johnson & Johnson ended up 0.5%, but off earlier highs, after it began shipping its single-dose vaccine after it became the third authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the United States over the weekend. U.S. bond yields eased after a swift rise last month on expectations of accelerated inflation due to bets on an economic rebound.
OTTAWA — The federal government hopes to start receiving doses of AstraZeneca’s recently approved COVID-19 vaccine this week as the flood of shots that flowed into Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week partially subsides. Health Canada announced on Friday that it had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third COVID-19 shot to have received regulatory approval since the start of the pandemic. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with the majority to be delivered from the United States between April and September. But two million jabs have been ordered from the Serum Institute of India, and Verity Pharmaceuticals, which is facilitating the institute’s application in Canada, has said the first 500,000 would reach Canadian shores this week. A senior government official told The Canadian Press on background Sunday that the first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday, though the shipment has not been confirmed. Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, also told the CBC on Sunday that the regulator had received additional information over the weekend from Johnson and Johnson, which is seeking approval for its own vaccine. Regulators in the U.S. gave it the green light over the weekend. Sharma said Health Canada is hoping to approve Johnson & Johnson's vaccine in "the next couple of weeks," but added any decision is contingent on the information presented by the company. As it stands now, the Public Health Agency of Canada is currently only expecting delivery of about 445,000 vaccine doses this week, which is about 200,000 less than last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. The confirmed doses are all coming from Pfizer-BioNTech, as the two companies settle into a rhythm following a month-long delivery lull in January and much of February due to production upgrades in Europe. The pharmaceutical giants have pledged to deliver 4 million doses by the end of March. Canada received 168,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine last week, but the company only delivers every three weeks. Clinical trials showed the AstraZeneca vaccine to be less effective at preventing infection than the other two, but it is still keeping people from getting very sick or dying, Sharma said Friday. Pfizer and Moderna both reported their products were 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in immunized patients compared to those who received a placebo. Efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine is believed to be around 62 per cent. It’s not entirely clear yet how provinces and territories will incorporate the AstraZeneca vaccine into their inoculation efforts, but the product offers a more flexible option since shots can be shipped and stored in refrigerators rather than freezers. AstraZeneca vaccines are to be given in two doses between four and 12 weeks apart. Sharma said there is some indication that waiting longer for a follow-up jab leads to a better response, but that data is not yet complete. There have been some concerns raised about the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent weeks, including its effectiveness against virus variants of concern and whether there is enough data to show it works on older recipients. Several European countries, including Germany and France, limited AstraZeneca's vaccine to residents under the age of 65. Sharma said there were a limited number of people over 65 involved in the clinical trials, but that data, coupled with the real-world experience in the United Kingdom, shows strong evidence seniors are protected. Canada’s vaccine program is ramping up after the lengthy slowdown in deliveries. More than 300,000 people were vaccinated in the last week, almost one-fifth of the total doses injected since the first immunizations began Dec. 14. About 700,000 people had received one dose as of Friday afternoon, and more than 500,000 are now fully vaccinated with two doses. Quebec is set to expand its vaccination effort to the general public on Monday by allowing seniors 85 or older to begin booking appointments. The age threshold has been lowered to 80 for seniors in the Montreal area. The AstraZeneca vaccine works differently than the other two already in use in Canada. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use messenger RNA technology, using RNA encoded with the piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as the spike protein. The mRNA trains the body to fight off a COVID-19 infection. AstraZeneca is a viral vector vaccine, which takes a cold virus, modifies it so it can’t reproduce itself, and adds the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. When injected, it too provokes the body to develop infection-fighting antibodies and cells to combat the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Mar. 1, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 46,624 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,882,952 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,968.306 per 100,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,441,670 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.12 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,987 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 32,019 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.81 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 13,856 new vaccinations administered for a total of 432,255 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 50.517 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 19,167 new vaccinations administered for a total of 687,271 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,894 new vaccinations administered for a total of 75,448 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 54.791 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 2,725 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,226 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 66.341 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 8,982 new vaccinations administered for a total of 227,678 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.721 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 252,373 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.18 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 323,340 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,174 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 363.615 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 80.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,276 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 187.884 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Mar. 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Russia has identified a policeman as a suspect in a criminal investigation into a flight data leak that could have been used to out jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's alleged poisoners, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday. Investigators suspect a police major in St Petersburg of accessing an official database and selling air passenger data of a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow last August that Navalny was on board the day he was poisoned. Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic, collapsed on the flight in a near-fatal poisoning in Siberia with what many Western nations said was a nerve agent.
Dozens of Thai protesters and police were injured in violent clashes at an anti-government rally on Sunday, an emergency medical centre said, as police acknowledged firing rubber bullets for the first time since protests started last year. Police also used tear gas and water cannon against protesters who marched on a military base in Bangkok, calling for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to give up direct command of the army unit housed there. Protesters threw bottles at police near barricades.
A bulk of the trading in the $6.6 trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets is expected to be on cloud technology over the next five years, according to a survey conducted by fintech firm Integral. Two-thirds of 94 heads and senior managers in currency trading at banks and buy-side institutions, surveyed between September 2020 and January 2021, expect to adopt the secure and cost effective cloud based solutions to "a significant degree" from just 26% now. Cloud technology, as against the widely used on-premise technology in foreign exchange trading, is hardly a new concept with companies increasingly using it to make data management more cost-effective, centralised and efficient.
(Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC - image credit) For Onowakohton Rusty Nolan, the people's fire in Kahnawake, Que., has become a second home. It's where he feels a sense of comfort, comradery and unity and is able to show solidarity to First Nations across the country facing injustices. "It's a symbol of our resistance," said Nolan. "It's a symbol of who we are, our strength, and lately it's been a place to give us a little bit of hope." The fire, which is located in a green space at the foot of the Honoré Mercier Bridge, was lit on Feb. 8, 2020 when community members blockaded Canadian Pacific Railway lines in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' ongoing opposition to the Coastal GasLink project in northern B.C. Even though the barricades have since come down, the fire still burns a year later. The people's fire, housed behind this wooden structure, was moved to a green space at the foot of the Honoré Mercier Bridge when the railway barricade was dismantled on March 5, 2020. Nolan, who is one of the firekeepers, said being there evokes a sense of pride. "It's like we're on standby for Wet'suwet'en. We didn't want to give up. We didn't want to go home," he said. "I feel like I'm letting people know that I'm there and they can sleep tight at night. It's a nice big warm fire that is spreading positive vibes far." The fire is moved to its new location March 5, 2020 after the dismantling of barriers that halted rail traffic south of Montreal for more than three weeks. Ongoing fight Roxann Whitebean, a filmmaker in Kahnawake, was asked to read a letter last year to a crowd of reporters on behalf of the people of the fire, explaining the decision to take down the blockade. She said the fact that the camp is still up and the fire is still going sends a powerful message. "It's still a solidarity fire burning for the Wet'suwet'en, and I'm happy that people are still going and that there's a level of visibility there," said Whitebean. "Their fight is ongoing so we have to remind people that they are still dealing with this." A delegation of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs walks toward the Longhouse to meet with members of the Kahnawake branch of the Mohawk Nation in February 2020. The hereditary chiefs still oppose the pipeline, and the support has not gone unnoticed. "It's a continued fight and I really appreciate the fire is still on with the alliance we're building with Kahnawake," Wet'suwet'en hereditary Chief Woos said. "We stood up to create awareness, and that awareness has been a highlight of what is actually out there which is racism. The message that I get to Indigenous people is to continue to stand up against this racism." A place for solidarity In addition to showing solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs throughout 2020, the people's fire also helped raise awareness locally of the Black Lives Matter movement, 1492 Land Back Lane, and the plight of Mi'kmaw lobster fishers. The show of solidarity is something Whitebean said the people's fire has been doing for well over a decade and will continue to do. "Even when the physical structure comes down, the people still carry that same love within their hearts to want to make social change and to try to better our nation and and amplify the voices of people who are dealing with injustice within their communities," she said. As for Nolan, he said he just wants people who pass by the camp to know that it's a place of solidarity, unity and peace rather than harmful stereotypes often portrayed in media when Indigenous people use blockades to raise awareness of injustices. "We're Mohawks. We're still here. We're not going anywhere, and we're here for peace," said Nolan. "The fire is still there because our issues are neverending. Every time our fire is lit, it lasts longer and longer. It just seems like our resistance is becoming brighter and brighter."
As COVID-19 vaccinations ramp-up in Canada, one of the country's largest stadiums is taking in a long line of elderly, while provinces enlist dentists, midwives and chiropractors to help meet the expected rush for jabs. A slow rollout of vaccines has recently dented Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's popularity, with the lack of domestic production being blamed for Canada trailing many other developed nations in its vaccination drive. Montreal's cavernous Olympic Stadium, which once hosted young athletes during the 1976 summer games, on Monday saw thousands of octogenarians donning folding chairs and canes as they waited in a snaking line for jabs.
(Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit) The chief of Eskasoni First Nation says a local man has been wounded in a shooting that locked down the community Monday morning. Eskasoni RCMP responded to a call of a shooting around 10:25 p.m. Sunday at a home on Mountainview Drive in the Cape Breton Mi'kmaw community, according to a release. A 53-year-old man was wounded and taken to hospital after someone shot him through a window, police said. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny lives just eight houses away from the shooting scene, and said he was one of the first people to arrive. He drove the injured man to a nearby ambulance station. Denny said the victim is Leonard Denny, a family member and the CEO of the local Crane Cove Seafoods. The Crane Cove Seafoods building in Eskasoni on March 1, 2021. Chief Leroy Denny says the shooting victim is Leonard Denny, the CEO of Crane Cove. About two hours later, the RCMP responded to a second report of shots fired in the community. They were initially concerned that the two incidents were connected, and residents were asked to stay in their homes with doors locked. But police found no evidence of this second incident. Just before 8 a.m., RCMP tweeted that they believe this was an isolated shooting. Spokesperson Cpl. Mark Skinner said there was "no longer a risk to the public," and people could now leave their homes. Chief Denny posted on social media early Monday morning that the shooting happened on Mountainview Drive, and people should stay away from that area. This information also went out via the community's Everbridge alert system. Denny also said that, "for precautionary reasons," all businesses under the umbrella of the band would be closed on Monday. This includes all schools, the band office, health centre, Crane Cove Seafoods, and fitness centre. There was a heavy police presence in the area throughout the day on Monday, including police dog services and forensic identification. RCMP at the scene of a shooting on Mountainview Drive on March 1, 2021. Police are continuing to search for the suspect, and do not believe that this was a random incident. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to immediately contact police at (902) 379-2822. Anonymous tips can also be made to Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), crimestoppers.ns.ca, or the P3 Tips App. MORE TOP STORIES