UK court rules against Johnny Depp in libel action; Report: Britain's Prince William had coronavirus in April; Tributes continue to Bond star Sean Connery, who has died aged 90. (Nov. 2)
UK court rules against Johnny Depp in libel action; Report: Britain's Prince William had coronavirus in April; Tributes continue to Bond star Sean Connery, who has died aged 90. (Nov. 2)
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
Canadian pension funds and insurers are facing a shrinking universe of higher-quality private debt investments to lift returns in a low-yield world, as the coronavirus pandemic has crushed many businesses, while banks maintain lending to better ones. The tightening supply of this high-yielding credit comes as many Canadian institutional investors have been accelerating their exposure to the private debt. Private credit is issued primarily by closely held companies, offering a premium over corporate bonds due to fewer disclosures and less liquidity.
ROME — Rescuers on Sunday retrieved the body of an elderly woman, the third fatality in the Sardinian town of Bitti, which was partially buried a day earlier by mudslides after torrential rainfall.The Italian news agency LaPresse said that the corpse of the 89-year-old victim had washed downhill from near her home to the town basketball court.On Saturday, the bodies of the two other victims were found. One was a rancher who was caught up in the raging muddy waters on his way home; the other was a 90-year-old man in his home.The mud in the streets reached the second floor of many buildings. Rescue crews and residents on Sunday, walking on top of the heavily packed mud, found themselves flanking upper-story balconies in the town of 2,700 people in east-central Sardinia in the province of Nuoro. The floodwaters and mounds of mud overturned and smashed cars, leaving vehicles half-buried in dirt and debris.Geologists noted that the storm-triggered calamity was the latest of several similar ones, including one in November 2013 that claimed 19 lives, to afflict the Mediterranean island. They stressed that many inhabited areas were developed on geologically unstable terrain.Sardinia Gov. Christian Solinas on Sunday lamented what he said was “excessive bureaucracy” in the failure to implement projects, funded in the wake of the 2013 flooding, to make areas of the island geologically safe.The Associated Press
Stark photos released this week by a conservation group pushing hard for the province to protect what remains of B.C.'s largest and oldest trees is just one point of pressure the province's new forestry minister is facing as she comes into the job.On Thursday, MLA for Kootenay-West Katrine Conroy was appointed minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, taking over from Doug Donaldson, who did not seek reelection.Two days earlier, the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) released dramatic before and after photographs of massive cedar trees on Vancouver Island, where they were logged as part of a government-approved tree harvesting licence.It's a technique the AFA has often used to illustrate the impact of logging in areas where trees can be up to 1,000 years old. The term old growth in B.C. refers to trees that are generally 250 years or older on the coast and 140 years or older in the Interior. The trees have significance to First Nations, they are good for the environment, help to clean air and water, store carbon and house other plants and animals.But they are also prized by loggers for their monetary value.Andrea Inness, a campaigner with the AFA, says the latest round of photos taken by TJ Watt have been shared hundreds of times on social media, with comments from people asking the province to end the practise of cutting down the large, iconic trees."[People] are sick and tired of seeing photographs like that," said Inness.In taking on the forestry portfolio, Conroy — who has represented the West Kootenays for 15 years, and was minister of children and family development from 2017 — has clear direction in her mandate letter to give conservationists like Inness what they want, but maybe not in time to save the trees that remain.The letter calls for her to implement 14 recommendations announced in September by a special panel, which travelled the province for months speaking with conservationists, unions, First Nations and the public to ask about the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests and how they fit into a new forestry strategy for B.C.The panel's most time-sensitive recommendation was to defer the cutting of old-growth forests most at risk of "irreversible biodiversity loss."In presenting the report from the panel, the province did announce the temporary protection of 353,000 hectares of forest in nine old-growth areas.Conservationists like Inness and Jens Wieting, a forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club B.C., were initially pleased with the move, but maintain such a small number of these special trees remain in the province that if more dramatic action is not taken immediately, an insignificant amount could remain by the time the province comes up with a new forestry strategy."We have to look at their willingness to quickly defer more old growth from logging," he said.An independent ecological consulting firm used provincial data in the spring to determine that while old-growth forests make up about 23 per cent of forested areas in the province — or about 13.2 million hectares — less than three per cent, or around 400,000 hectares, support biologically significant old-growth trees.Sierra Club B.C. estimates that more than 140,000 hectares of old-growth forests — those with trees at least 120 years old — are logged each year along the B.C. coast and in the Interior. "We all know the data now, we all know that old-growth logging needs to come to an end," said Inness. "The government just needs to listen and start acting."Money requiredBoth Wieting and Inness estimate the province would need to spend about $1 billion to meet the 14 recommendations, which include involving Indigenous leaders in future decisions and declaring the conservation of "ecosystem health and biodiversity" an overarching priority for the province.That would need to include money to help First Nations assess the resources on their lands and transition away from logging old-growth trees, something the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs wants."For years, the government has enabled a debilitating and dangerous system that expunges the irreplaceable cultural value of old-growth forests, viewing not the immense roots these ancient and giant trees have set in our First Nation communities to sustain our cultures and livelihoods, but rather the pecuniary value of these trees that must be exploited in the short-term," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said in a release in October.Financial support will also be needed for communities currently dependent on old-growth logging as they transition away from it, which could be tough for the province considering it's facing a more than $12-billion deficit due to the pandemic.Back in her days as an opposition MLA, Conroy frequently spoke up for the embattled logging communities she represents, saying the B.C. Liberals should have done more to achieve fair stumpage rates, reform forestry management, and encourage reforestation to help keep the industry viable.The new minister did not respond to a request for comment before publication of this story.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Sunday that his “top priority” is a plan for COVID-19 vaccines, adding “there is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible.”
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
New stop signs written in traditional Indigenous languages were installed in Fort Chipewyan this week. The signs were installed on Thursday, and are written in Cree, Denesuline and English. This makes Fort Chipewyan the first community in Wood Buffalo to have multilingual signs. Alice Rigney, a Fort Chipewyan elder, helped the municipality with the Dene translation for the stop signs. She added that the community is on the verge of losing this language. "In my First Nation in Fort Chip, there's under 25 of us that can speak fluently the Dene language," Rigney said. "It's a very serious situation." Having stop signs written in Dene can help get more people interested in learning the language, Rigney said, adding this is a step towards reconciliation. "It's about time we started taking back our culture and keeping it alive by doing something as putting up stop signs." Rigney said she lost her language during her time in residential schools, and she worked hard to regain that skill. "That was the window to me getting my identity back," said Rigney. "I'm proud to speak my language. I know who I am." The municipality is planning to install 60 multilingual stop signs in Anzac, Janvier, Fort McKay and Conklin in 2021, pending the budget approval. The municipality is also planning to install the signs in Fort McMurray, but there is still more planning needed for that part of the project. Mayor Don Scott said the idea came from Fort Smith, N.W.T. who installed stop signs with Indigenous languages in 2018. "We think it's an important effort rooted in truth and reconciliation," said Scott. "I'm very proud of it." He added the municipality is open to any suggestions on other efforts to include Indigenous languages on Wood Buffalo signage. "We should reflect our history and reflect those that live here," Scott said. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation chief Allan Adam said it's important to have the languages displayed around the town, and he'd like to see more. For example, Adam said he doesn't know the Dene translation for hockey arena or youth centre. But "if you get the elders to write those out, then you get to understand that." Adam said despite losing most of his language in residential school, he's managed to retain some Dene. "Information is power. Language is power," said Adam. "I'm all for reconciliation." Jessica Croucher is the founder of the Pawâmiw Creative, a company she started to celebrate Indigenous arts and culture. Croucher, a member of the Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, said having Indigenous languages on signage is empowering, and that she'd like to see the signs installed in Fort McMurray. "It's a great step in acknowledging the first people and first languages of our region." Croucher said she'd like to see other names in and around the region to return to their traditional Indigenous names. For example, she said Fort McMurray was originally called Nistawâyâw. "The rivers have different names, the landmarks have different names… and I would really love to see that returned."
NEW YORK — An intoxicated driver slammed into Washington Square Park's landmark marble arch on Sunday, injuring a police officer who was parked there to protect it, police said. A Nissan Altima driven by 25-year-old Jeremy Molina, of Queens, crashed into the arch at the northern entrance to the Greenwich Village park shortly before 1:30 a.m., a police spokesperson said. The Nissan then hit a police car that was parked near the arch, police said. The officer in the car was taken to a hospital with neck and back pain. The arch was not damaged. Molina was arrested on charges including reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test. It's not clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on the charges. The arch, designed by architect Stanford White and installed in 1892, commemorates the centennial of George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as president. It has been guarded by police officers since June, when its two statues of Washington were vandalized with red paint during weeks of protests against racial injustice. It is a familiar sight to audiences of movies including “When Harry Met Sally" and is a popular tourist attraction. The Associated Press
A man is dead after he crashed his vehicle into the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place early Sunday, Toronto police say. Police said they were called to the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue at 4:19 a.m.. The man was driving at high speed and slammed into the gates. He was pronounced dead at the scene.Police have not released his age. Officers are currently investigating the crash.
TORONTO — Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. According to the previously unpublished information from Correctional Service Canada, only two per cent of reviews by independent external decision-makers resulted in inmates moved out of isolation, and then not always right away. "There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate, for example, if the inmate refuses to leave or a transfer is pending for a suitable placement," the service said. "Our goal is to ensure they can be safely returned to a different environment, which in most cases is to a mainstream population." The data, viewed with skepticism by critics, indicate that external reviewers weighed in 1,475 times as of Nov. 1. Of those, 905 were triggered by inmates isolated for longer than the legally allowed stretches. One year ago, after the courts had repeatedly struck down administrative segregation used to isolate prisoners who posed a threat to themselves or others, the government implemented a new system called structured intervention units. Key changes included allowing inmates out of their cells for at least four hours a day, giving them a daily minimum of two hours of meaningful interaction with others, and putting an external oversight mechanism in place that can result in binding directives. Since then, reviewers have looked at the confinement conditions of about 740 individual inmates. The aim was to see whether authorities were abiding by the new rules, such as giving prisoners a chance to be out of their cells and interact with others. Overall, the reviews concluded authorities took all reasonable steps to meet their obligations in 79 per cent of the cases, the service said. Critics, however, have called the new system rebranded solitary confinement. For example, criminologist Anthony Doob, who led a government advisory committee on the issue, and colleague Jane Sprott, concluded the government was failing to live up to the legislated requirements. Among other things, their analysis found a sizable percentage of inmates had spent more than two months in confinement and few had received the mandated four hours daily out of their cells and two hours of human contact. Dr. Adelina Iftene, an assistant law professor at Dalhousie University, said the new data raise questions about the review process or IEDMs. "Either there is a lack of clarity on what exactly are the role and powers of the IEDMs, or the IEDMs are tigers without teeth, or the IEDMs are not fulfilling their role," Iftene said. "The implication remains that there may still be no effective oversight of placements in the SIUs." The tiny number of reviews resulting in directives to move an inmate from confinement also raises questions about the quality of the information fed to reviewers, Iftene said. "Did they know that so many people were effectively experiencing solitary confinement?" she said. "If so, how is it possible that they recommended removal from the SIUs only in two per cent of cases?" Whether individuals’ rights are being upheld is a yes or no question, Iftene added. There are no “reasonable steps.” Correctional Service Canada defended its approach, saying the new system is part of a "historic transformation" that can't happen overnight. "It takes time to instill cultural and transformational change," the service said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
A pair of churches in the Fraser Valley are continuing to offer in-person services despite orders from health officials to suspend the gatherings.The Free Grace Baptist Church and Free Reformed Church in Chilliwack both held services last Sunday and are expected to as well this week. Their leaders are arguing that restricting the gatherings violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."Our constitution guarantees us the freedom of conscience and religion which includes peacefully gathering together to worship our God," wrote John Koopman, pastor of the Chilliwack Free Reformed Church in a statement shared with media this week."Our constitution is the highest law in our land. Our convictions compel us to worship our God in the public gathering of his people and we must act in accordance with our conscience."Both Koopman and James P. Butler, pastor at the Free Grace Baptist Church, declined interviews with CBC News, but both supplied statements offering arguments for continuing on with in-person worship at their churches.Essential serviceBoth said they consider in-person worship an essential service and that, as commanded by God, they are required to attend public worship.Butler rejected virtual-only versions of worship, arguing that people continue to go to grocery stores even though it is possible to shop online."Persons still attend grocery stores because online shopping does not provide everything that an 'in-person' shopping experience can provide," he wrote."In a much greater way, the same is true for the church, especially in a time of pandemic when depression, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, and other mental health challenges are soaring."'Disparate and discriminatory fashion'Marty Moore, a barrister and solicitor for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, said in an email to CBC News that freedom of conscience and religion is the first fundamental freedom guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "Yet, recent order in B.C. treats religious gatherings in a disparate and discriminatory fashion in disregard of Canadians' constitutional freedoms."On Nov. 19 Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suspended all in-person faith-related gatherings in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.Worshippers were told not to attend services at their gurdwara, synagogue, church, mosque or temple.The move drew criticism from faith leaders at the time, including from Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller, who said the move was "puzzling" considering parishes like those under his leadership have not been vectors of transmission.On Friday, Henry doubled-down on the reasoning, saying that places of worship were not doing anything wrong, but despite their best efforts, transmission was occurring and adding to B.C.'s growing number of cases."These are not decisions we make lightly," she said at her briefing.It is unclear if the two churches will be able to continue with impunity.Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail said that the orders from public health authorities "are not optional," but that education rather than enforcement was the focus for officers."However should circumstances dictate, police have the authority to carry out enforcement of the provincial public health orders, to help ensure compliance and therefore public safety," he said in an email to CBC News.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona's personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologistDr. Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighbourhood.Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona's relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor's office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday.It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona's medical records.Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.The Associated Press
Ontario reported another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday. The new cases include 503 in Peel Region, 463 in Toronto and 185 in York Region. There are 1,443 more cases marked as resolved. The Ontario health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting that 3.7 per cent of the tests processed are positive.Public health officials said this week that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Ottawa: 79. * Durham Region: 73. * Waterloo: 63. * Hamilton: 60. * Windsor-Essex: 37. * Halton: 31. * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30. * Simcoe Muskoka: 30. * Niagara Region: 28. * Middlesex-London: 20. * Thunder Bay: 19. * Southwestern: 17. * Eastern Ontario: 10. * Brant County: 10.(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)The seven-day average for the number of new cases reported per day has reached a new high of 1,548, the highest it has been since the pandemic began. There are also 586 people in hospital, nine fewer than on Saturday. However, Saturday's hospitalization data saw an increase of 54 over a single day. Those hospitalizations are also nearly double what they were a month ago. There are 155 people in intensive care units as of Sunday and 99 of those individuals are on a ventilator, the same number as Saturday.The number of deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began has reached 3,648. A total of 503 of those deaths occurred this month.Of Sunday's deaths, one person was in his or her 50s, four people were in their 60s, three people were in their 70s and there were 10 people in their 80s and six in their 90s, respectively. 11 infections linked to Vaughan sports centreYork Region Public Health says that 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor soccer games at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.The public health region issued a notice on Sunday to alert the public about a cluster of confirmed cases that emerged after a group of 20 to 25 people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. "While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.Everyone who played soccer over both days are considered high-risk and have been told to isolate for 14 days. York Region was moved to the province's red control zone on Nov. 16, which prohibits the playing or practising of team sports except for training. York Region continues enforcement blitzOfficials also continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province's "red" zones. The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued tickets at 16, a news release said.An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges.Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 "compliance education activities," the release said.New regions moving into more restrictive zones MondayOn Friday, Ontario announced that five more regions would be moved into more restrictive zones on Monday at 12:01 a.m.They include: * Red-Control * Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. * Orange-Restrict * Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. * Yellow-Protect * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. * Lambton Public Health. * Northwestern Health Unit.
TOKYO — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.Japan’s Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to Games organizers.The sources were granted anonymity because Games organizers have not publicly divulged the losses incurred as a result of thje postponement.The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organizers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about $650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.Tokyo is becoming very expensive.The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.Tokyo said the Games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.The $2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.The IOC and organizers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a skeptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.The Olympics are to open July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and ten of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.IOC president Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many spectators from abroad will be allowed to attend.Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.—-More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Wade, The Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin finished a recount of its presidential results on Sunday, confirming Democrat Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in the key battleground state. Trump vowed to challenge the outcome in court even before the recount concluded.Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County, the state's other big and overwhelmingly liberal county targeted in a recount that Trump paid $3 million for, reported its results Friday, a 132-vote gain for Biden.Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden's winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes.“As we have said, the recount only served to reaffirm Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin," Danielle Melfi, who led Biden's campaign in Wisconsin, said in a statement to The Associated Press.Trump campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said in a statement that the Wisconsin recounts have “revealed serious issues” about whether the ballots were legal, but she offered no specific details to validate her claim.“As we have said from the very beginning, we want every legal vote, and only legal votes to be counted, and we will continue to uphold our promise to the American people to fight for a free and fair election,” Ellis said.With no precedent for overturning a result as large as Biden's, Trump was widely expected to head to court once the recount was finished. His campaign challenged thousands of absentee ballots during the recount, and even before it was complete, Trump tweeted that he would sue.“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!”The deadline to certify the vote is Tuesday. Certification is done by the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, which is bipartisan.The Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative group, has already filed a lawsuit against state election officials seeking to block certification of the results. It makes many of the claims Trump is expected to make. Gov. Tony Evers’ attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss the suit. Evers, a Democrat, said the complaint is a “mishmash of legal distortions” that uses factual misrepresentations in an attempt to take voting rights away from millions of Wisconsin residents.Another suit filed over the weekend by Wisconsin resident Dean Mueller argues that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted.Trump’s attorneys have complained about absentee ballots where voters identified themselves as “indefinitely confined,” allowing them to cast an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID; ballots that have a certification envelope with two different ink colours, indicating a poll worker may have helped complete it; and absentee ballots that don’t have a separate written record for its request, such as in-person absentee ballots.Election officials in the two counties counted those ballots during the recount, but marked them as exhibits at the request of the Trump campaign.Trump’s campaign has already failed elsewhere in court without proof of widespread fraud, which experts widely agree doesn’t exist. Trump legal challenges have failed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.The Associated Press
When Kelly Lopes learned back in the spring that the Ontario government was ordering her teenaged children to stay home from school for their own safety but expected them and their parents to continue going to work, fear and anger set in almost immediately. In the seven months since then, however, the grocery store cashier said those emotions have given way to a numbness she said is sustaining her as she battles through the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario's hardest-hit region. She said that as the second wave has swelled to shocking heights in Brampton, Ont., her job has gotten harder and customers have gotten more combative. "A lot of us are burnt out," Lopes said Friday. "I get that we're not paramedics or first responders, but we're still a huge essential to a country that needs to eat. Without us being here, how do you get your food?" Peel Region, just west of Toronto, has led the province in COVID-19 cases per capita for weeks now, with upwards of 180 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents — nearly triple the rate of the province as a whole. Brampton makes up less than half of Peel's population, but accounts for more than 60 per cent of its COVID-19 cases. Lopes said the fear she feels working on the front lines is compounded by customers who push back when she reminds them to keep a distance or wear a mask. "We're tired. We're numb. We're overworked. We're frustrated, because it's not our rules," she said. "We're just trying to keep everybody else safe." And data from Peel suggests that workplaces like Lopes' have some role to play in the virus's spread. Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, a public health expert involved in preparing the province's COVID-19 projections, said Thursday that the virus is hardest to control in regions such as Brampton where households are larger and there's a higher proportion of essential service workers. "These are long-standing structural factors here," he said. "These are not transient things related to the pandemic that drive these much higher rates of infection." A quarter of all households in Brampton consist of five or more people, compared to less than 10 per cent of households provincewide, according to the latest census. And just 12 per cent of Bramptonians live alone, the census data shows, compared to nearly a third of Torontonians. Meanwhile, Peel Public Health said there have been 137 workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 in the region since the pandemic began. A full third of those were in manufacturing or warehouse settings, while 14 per cent were in retail and 11 per cent were in food processing. Brampton has a disproportionately large number of people who work in the manufacturing industry, said Gagandeep Kaur, an organizer with the Warehouse Workers Centre. The city is home to numerous Amazon "fulfilment centres" and other large-scale warehouses. Kaur said she's heard from workers that it's hard to maintain physical distance while moving around some of those warehouses. But she said seeking safer employment isn't a simple matter, noting many workers are new immigrants to Canada trying to get on their feet. "If you are a new hire in that facility, and you are a new immigrant in this country, your priority at that time is not the working conditions or what the employer is offering, because you have a family to feed or you have bills to pay," she said. Dr. Farah Mawani, a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, said that's the sort of systemic racism that has put racialized people — and particularly new immigrants — at greater risk during this pandemic. "We know that there's a very high portion of racialized immigrants who are highly trained and skilled, but very underemployed. So they're forced to work in manufacturing because they can't get other jobs," she said." She said the issue is even worse for temporary foreign workers, whose migration status is tied to their employment at a certain company. If they complain about poor working conditions, Mawani said, they risk losing not only their income but their place in Canada. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he feels his city has been unfairly maligned by those who grouse about high rates of COVID-19 without examining the root causes. "There needs to be a bit of appreciation for the sacrifice that a lot of our essential workers are taking on," he said. "When you think about it, if you go to a grocery store, wherever you are in Canada, the likelihood is that someone from Brampton has helped process that food." He said essential workers in the city need greater support from the provincial and federal governments, while the city itself requires its own COVID-19 isolation centre. Ottawa announced Thursday that it would open such a facility in Mississauga, Ont., another part of Peel Region. But Brown said that's a 40 minute bus ride away for some of Brampton's more vulnerable residents, many of whom don't have cars. "An isolation center is useful when people can't afford to rent a hotel room for 14 days, or they don't have a place where they can safely isolate," he said. "So I want to make sure that we have that support." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
COVID-19 continues to force school divisions to make changes in how they deliver education.On Saturday and Sunday, multiple schools in different divisions announced changes ranging from classroom shutdowns to outright school closures. In Regina, one case of COVID-19 was reported in a person at Grant Road School, which will now be closed until Dec. 7. Regina Public Schools said close contacts were informed and given information about isolation.COVID-19 cases were found at École Elsie Mironuck School, Dr. L.M. Hanna School, Ruth M. Buck School and Thom Collegiate. Affected students at École Elsie Mironuck School and Ruth M. Buck School will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 10. Affected students at Dr. L.M. Hanna School will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 8. Affected students at Thom Collegiate will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 4.Two cases in Regina Catholic SchoolsRegina Catholic Schools announced a case of COVID-19 at Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School and a case at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School.The affected classrooms at Miller Comprehensive were closed and students in those classrooms will begin learning remotely. All other classrooms remain open.At O'Neill, the person who tested positive for COVID-19 attended class two days before the school switched to the hybrid model. Students in the affected classrooms were told to isolate until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 2. Classmates of the individual in the hybrid model are to isolate until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 10.All other classrooms at O'Neill remain open.To the north, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced two positive cases at Bishop James Mahoney High School, two cases at Bethlehem Catholic High School, one cases at École Sister O'Brien School and two cases at Holy Cross High School.Saturday evening, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced one more positive case at the Holy Cross High School and one at St. Joseph High School. The affected cohorts are to switch to online instruction as of Monday.
Get some fresh air, they said. Be active in the great outdoors, they told us. But what seemed like a simple solution in this pandemic winter of our discontent has become trickier with new and ongoing health restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Consider, for example, skating at the community rink. "The restrictions apply to rinks just like anywhere else in the city," said Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. "We can't have more than 10 people gather on the ice at one time on these rinks. We can't have any sports of any kind happening on the ice. There won't be any bathrooms or rink shacks open, at this point until Dec. 15," she told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Friday. On Tuesday, the Alberta government announced a swath of mandatory measures in response to the record-high levels of active and new cases of COVID-19 in the province. Indoor social activities are banned and outdoor activities can't exceed 10 people. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, has even said that a backyard gathering means no access to the home for warming up or using the washroom. The measures have also halted all team sport activities, which includes pick-up games of shinny. On the bright side, face masks are standard garb for downhill ski enthusiasts, which is good news for Edmonton's Snow Valley where they're mandatory at all times — even on the slopes. "You know, a run at Snow Valley is very quick," Tim Dae, spokesperson for the ski hill, told Edmonton AM on Friday. "To be flipping it on and off, I would find that somewhat annoying. So just keep it on." As a small hill — Dae estimates it has about 10 "ski-able" acres — Snow Valley is limiting the number of skiers on the hill at any one time. There are no such daily limits at Marmot Basin in Jasper, and vice-president Brian Rode said that business is booming for this time of year. "A very busy day would be about 3,500 people," Rode told Edmonton AM. "In November, a typically early-season Saturday, we might see 1,200 to 1,500. … Last Saturday, we saw 2,400." At both ski hills, masks, distancing and indoor capacity limits are being carefully enforced in lineups, rental areas, concessions and inside the chalet. "The only time you don't need to wear a mask is when you're actually skiing or snowboarding down the hill," Rode said about Marmot's protocols. "People have been very good about it. They're physically spacing themselves in the lineup. They're wearing masks." To encourage people to stay outdoors, Snow Valley has set up an outdoor tent that sells hot chocolate, snacks and the like, while Marmot — which has reduced its chalet capacity by 50 per cent — has tent-covered seating areas on its patios and extra outdoor food concessions and barbecues. "People do have choices," Rodes said. "What we don't accommodate indoors because of the reduced seating, we're making up for as best as we can in the outdoor spaces." Back at the rinks, Cunningham-Shpeley said some community leagues are simply holding off opening their ice surfaces. But those that have opened are using some creative strategies to allow winter fun to happen in a safe fashion. People should reach out to their league to find out what protocols are in place, she said. "Whether it be through a sign-up app that people have to sign up online for a slot an hour, that they can come skate, or just allowing people to come in and … bring your regular stick and just do some skills. Because shinny just can't happen right now," she said. "Until after Dec. 15, until we know more, the leagues are really trying to keep Edmontonians safe." Of the city's skating surfaces, only Victorial Oval is currently open. Skaters are urged to bring a mask and hand sanitizer, maintain physical distance and leave personal belongings at home.