OPening the door in the morning to discover a deep snowdrift on the front stoop.
OPening the door in the morning to discover a deep snowdrift on the front stoop.
Another type of COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on Friday. The new vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University. Canada also approved the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Afterwards, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced that Canada has secured two million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India. AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive by mid-May. “The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing a highly diverse and extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive them,” Anand said in a release. “We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September. I am grateful for the collaboration of our partners in India to finalize this agreement, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the weeks ahead.” The two million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses. The application for authorization from AstraZeneca was received on Oct. 1, 2020 and from from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements. These are the first viral vector-based vaccines authorized in Canada. These are also two-dose regiments and can be kept refrigerated for at least six months. Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.. These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order on the importation of drugs for COVID-19 The process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canadian standards. Health Canada has placed terms and conditions on the authorizations requiring the manufacturers to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to be demonstrated through market use. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Depuis 2018, 178 villes du Québec ont converti leur éclairage de rue pour des lumières DEL, générant des économies totales de 9 135 000 $. Au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Dolbeau-Mistassini et Saint-Prime ont embarqué dans l’aventure. Avec une garantie assurée par le promoteur, Énergère, pour les économies d’énergies, les investissements des villes sont assurés. C’est en 2018 qu’Énergère, une entreprise de services écoénergétique basée à Montréal, a remporté un appel d’offres de la Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) pour lancer le programme Lumières sur le Québec. Le but du programme : offrir un service d’achat groupé à toutes les municipalités du Québec pour convertir l’éclairage de rue vers des systèmes plus écoénergétiques. Non seulement les projets permettent-ils d’envisager des économies à terme, mais ces économies sont même garanties par Énergère, qui en a même fait une marque de commerce. « Des économies garanties, c’est un des éléments forts de notre groupe », lance Jean Théroux, conseiller principal innovation et stratégie, chez Énergère. Œuvrant dans le secteur du bâtiment depuis 25 ans, Énergère a voulu diversifier son offre et mettre son expertise à profit en efficacité énergétique, explique ce dernier. Et c’est en misant sur l’éclairage de rue, avec les lumières DEL (à diodes électroluminescentes), que l’entreprise a lancé son offre. Ce type d’éclairage permet de faire des économies énergétiques allant jusqu’à 70 % et leur durée de vie est de 25 ans, ce qui permet de réduire les dépenses énergétiques et l’entretien. Par exemple, Saint-Prime a remplacé 198 luminaires, pour un coût de 84 224 dollars, ce qui permettra des économies énergétiques de 15 000 dollars par an, en plus de réduire les coûts d’entretien d’environ 5000 dollars par an. L’investissement sera remboursé en 3 ans et 4 mois. « Ça nous permet de faire des économies pour les citoyens », remarque le premier magistrat, Lucien Boivin. À Dolbeau-Mistassini, la conversion de 1803 luminaires, un projet de 1,27 million de dollars, génère des économies annuelles de 90 000 dollars. « Le tarif d’achat groupé a rendu le projet très alléchant avec un retour sur l’investissement en seulement 7 ans », a souligné le maire Pascal Cloutier. Il faut préciser que Dolbeau-Mistassini a pris l’option du système de gestion intelligente de l’éclairage. Ce système permet de gérer l’éclairage à distance en temps réel, de moduler l’intensité de l’éclairage selon les besoins et d’être informé à distance d’un bris ou d’une défectuosité, explique Jean Théroux, qui ajoute qu’une meilleure gestion de la durée et de l’intensité de l’éclairage permet de faire davantage d’économies. « Nos équipes se familiarisent avec le système de gestion intelligente et pour le moment, tout le monde s’en trouve satisfait », remarque Pascal Cloutier. La plus longue durée de vie des lumières DEL permet aussi de réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre en calculant l’impact sur le cycle de vie complet du produit. Ainsi, l’émission de 3787 tonnes d’équivalents CO2 a été évitée avec le programme Lumières sur le Québec. Une carte interactive sur le site d’Énergère permet de consulter tous les projets réalisés au Québec. Des villes plus intelligentes Au cours des prochaines années, Énergère souhaite continuer à faire croître son offre de services pour la division de villes intelligentes. « On veut continuer à développer nos relations avec les villes, les écouter pour comprendre leurs besoins spécifiques et les accompagner dans la gestion municipale », note Jean Théroux. Pour soutenir les villes, Énergère a donc développé un portefeuille de solutions élargies, notamment pour faire la gestion des gaz à effet de serre, la gestion des eaux (avec les capteurs et les compteurs d’eau) ainsi que la division de bâtiment intelligent. De plus, en travaillant avec K2 Geospatial, Énergère a développé une plateforme des actifs municipaux. « Ça permet de répertorier et de gérer tous les actifs en intégrant notamment une fonction de géolocalisation », ajoute ce dernier. Cette plateforme permet d’intégrer toutes les données liées à la gestion municipale à un endroit, permettant de suivre le cycle de vie des infrastructures. « Plus on a de données et mieux on peut gérer les actifs », conclut Jean Théroux. Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
La cinquième édition du salon "stages et emplois" 2021, qui s'est tenue virtuellement, a rassemblé un nombre record d'employeurs. Plusieurs chercheuses et chercheurs de stages et d’emplois de niveaux collégial et universitaire ont profité de cent kiosques virtuels d’entreprises et d’organismes lors du Salon stages et emplois. 1 046 clavardages en une seule journée Les employeurs et les organismes avaient l’occasion d’afficher un nombre illimité de postes permanents, d’offres de stages, d’offres d’emploi à temps partiel et d’été. Ils avaient également la chance de positionner leur marque employeur, de même que des photos, vidéos et coordonnées. « 100 employeurs ont participé au Salon virtuel. Ils ont affiché 500 offres de stages ou d'emplois, pour un total de 870 postes disponibles. Le Salon virtuel a attiré 380 visiteurs uniques, dont 205 provenant du Cégep et 175 de l'UQAT » fait savoir la directrice des Affaires étudiantes et des communications chez Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, madame Kathleen Slobodian. « Au total, 13 040 pages ont été visités (kiosques virtuels et offres d'emplois) sur les 10 jours. Il y a eu 833 clics pour postuler sur une offre d'emploi ou de stage et 1 046 clavardages en une seule journée » poursuit-elle. Une pénurie de main-d’œuvre Le directeur général du collège, monsieur Sylvain Blais, a exprimé sa joie quant à la possibilité pour la relève profiter d’une activité d’une telle envergure malgré la crise sanitaire actuelle. « La région connaît toujours une pénurie de main-d’œuvre importante dans plusieurs domaines où nous offrons une formation de grande qualité, reconnue ici comme ailleurs » a-t-il déclaré. Le Salon virtuel était accessible sur les navigateurs Google Chrome, Firefox et Edge et les chercheuses et chercheurs d’emploi avaient la possibilité d’y accéder via leur ordinateur, tablette ou téléphone intelligent. Pour des questions de sécurité des données, le Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, précise que les données virtuelles sont hébergées au Canada, et, bien sûr, à l’intérieur de serveurs sécuritaires. Une satisfaction atteinte Les organisateurs étaient très satisfaits du déroulement de cette nouvelle édition du salon "stages et emplois" 2021. « Nous avions 100 places disponibles et elles ont toutes été comblées. L'activité s'autofinance à 100 %. Nous pouvons observer que les étudiants ont navigué sur la plateforme virtuelle, ils ont posé leur candidature sur les offres disponibles. Les résultats du sondage de satisfaction aux employeurs et aux étudiants n'étant pas encore compilés, il est difficile de se prononcer sur l'atteinte des objectifs et sur les améliorations à apporter » souligne la directrice des Affaires étudiantes et des communications chez Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Est-ce que l'événement a répondu aux attentes des employeurs et aux besoins des étudiants? C'est ce que nous saurons prochainement, car c'est la satisfaction des participants qui fait le succès de cette édition virtuelle. Nous espérons pouvoir revenir à un Salon en présentiel en 2022 ou de moins, à une formule hybride » a-t-elle conclu. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
Filming a polar bear just inches from its nose, close enough to see its breath fog up the lens, was a career highlight for Jeff Thrasher. The CBC producer is part of the team behind "Arctic Vets," a new show that follows the day-to-day operations at Assiniboine Park Conservancy in Winnipeg."It was breathing warm air onto the lens. I was thinking, 'Wow, there's nothing between me and this polar bear,"' Thrasher said, who filmed the shot using a GoPro camera up in Churchill, Man. The show is also the first time cameras have been allowed in the Winnipeg facility, which houses Arctic animals like seals, polar bears and muskox."I've filmed many, many things in my career and that's right up there," Thrasher said. There are 10 half-hour episodes in the new series that features expeditions to Manitoba's subarctic, emergency animal rescues and daily life at the conservancy. The first episode follows veterinarian Chris Enright to Churchill just as polar bears are starting to migrate up the coast of Hudson Bay. When a bear wanders too close to town, Enright works with the local Polar Bear Alert Team to catch it and lift it by helicopter to a safe distance away. In the same episode, back in Winnipeg, the team trims the hooves of resident 800-pound muskox, Chloe.Although being around Arctic animals is part of Enright's daily life, he hopes the show will help bring southern Canadians a little closer to the North."This is our norm. But it's not the norm for a lot of people, so the show is a good opportunity to tell these stories," he said. "We have herds of caribou that rival migrating animals on the Serengeti, but people in the South don't necessarily know about that. And that's really unfortunate, because there's some incredible wildlife in the North."Enright also hopes the show will urge Canadians to think about protecting the country's Arctic ecosystems, which face the critical threat of climate change."There's a lot of concern with the effects of climate change and over the next 50, 100 years what's going to happen. As southerners, there are things we can do to protect and conserve those ecosystems," he said. The COVID-19 pandemic also hit in the middle of filming, which Enright said prevented the team from travelling into Nunavut.Jackie Enberg, an animal care supervisor and Heather Penner, an animal care professional, are also featured in the show for their work with polar bears."It's not just animal care or vet care, or conservation and research. It's all of it. We all have a great passion to educate and share and help inspire other people to make a difference, whether it's to make changes in your lives or just talk about," Penner said.Enberg said the bears featured in the show were rescued when they were a few years old. "They're here because they could not survive in the wild," Enberg said. "We just ultimately hope people will fall in love with polar bears as much as we have," Penner said. "Arctic Vets" premiers Friday, Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem. By Emma Tranter in Iqaluit, NunavutThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.---This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously reported that "Arctic Vets" premiers Friday at 8 p.m. In fact, it airs Friday at 8:30 p.m.
Chatham-Kent restaurants, gaming establishments, cinemas, performing art venues and gyms are able to receive an intake of 50 clients after the provincial government moved the municipality to the Orange Zone. On Friday the Ontario government, in consultation with its chief medical officer of health, announced it was moving nine public health regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. The change came into effect Monday morning. During the past two weeks, with the Fairfield Park long-term care home outbreak under control, new cases have significantly decreased, prompting the zone change. The move into Orange means Chatham-Kent saw a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 new cases per 100,000 residents. On Friday, four recoveries and four new cases of COVID-19 were reported, keeping the active total at 17 cases. Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained, has increased to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Religious ceremonies and weddings can continue to see an indoor occupancy of 30 per cent of a room’s capacity. Fitness or exercise classes can only have a maximum of 10 people and must take place in a separate room. New vaccine on the block Health Canada also announced on Friday that it gave the green light to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which has an efficacy rate of 62 per cent from 15 days after the second dose was given to the study’s participants. It was authorized for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. "Today's approval of AZO by Health Canada represents a major addition to the armamentarium in the fight against COVID-19. I am very pleased," said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health. The vaccine will be produced in Ontario and India. The Ontario-produced AstraZeneca vaccine will have 500,000 doses quicker. “There’s been no update in terms of when Chatham-Kent will receive this particular vaccine, but Health Canada produced a statement saying that it will begin being distributed in April,” Colby said. Colby added that the provincial projections for its vaccination schedule are based on only Moderna and Pfizer availability, with more being added, projections will need to be updated. His original timeline for Chatham-Kent was to have the population inoculated by September and to date things have been going on schedule. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) Ontario reported another 1,023 cases of COVID-19 on Monday as nine public health units moved to different tiers of the province's colour-coded restrictions system, including two that are headed back into lockdown. Among the new cases are 280 in Toronto, 182 in Peel Region and 72 in Ottawa. Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka, meanwhile, logged 55 and 39 additional cases, respectively. Both health units have seen a rise in new infections in recent weeks, driven in part by the spread of more contagious variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Last week, the province announced it would activate what it describes as an "emergency brake" for the two regions, shifting them to the grey "lockdown" tier. The move imposed a variety of more stringent public health measures in those regions, including capping most indoor gatherings at 10 people, closing restaurants to in-person service and forcing non-essential retailers to operate at 25 per cent capacity. "We know this is upsetting to the local individuals and people," Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said at a news conference on Monday. "We want to be cautious and careful and we are assessing these situations." Seven other public health units, meanwhile, saw restrictions eased somewhat today as they moved down a level in the provincial framework. The Niagara Region is now classified as red, the Chatham-Kent, Middlesex-London and Southwestern units all moved to the orange tier, Haldimand-Norfolk and Huron Perth transitioned to the yellow level, and Grey Bruce to green, the least restrictive. As regions move into zones with looser restrictions, Williams advised people to stay vigilant about the variants of concern no matter which colour zone they're in, saying those variants are much more easily transmissible. As for further cases in today's report, the following public health units also reported double-digit increases: Hamilton: 53 York Region: 47 Halton Region: 39 Waterloo Region: 39 Durham Region: 34 Niagara Region: 30 Windsor-Essex: 22 Middlesex-London: 18 Brant County: 16 Lambton: 14 Northwestern: 12 Peterborough: 12 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 12 Sudbury: 11 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health'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 on a given day, because local units report figures at different times.) The seven-day average of new cases fell slightly to 1,099. Ontario's lab network completed 35,015 tests for the virus and reported a test positivity rate of 3.1 per cent. The seven-day average of positivity rates has been relatively flat for several days. Seven more cases screened positive for the virus variant first identified in the United Kingdom, bringing the total number so far to 535. No new cases linked to variants first found in South Africa and Brazil were added to today's update. As of Sunday, the cumulative number of cases of variants of concern in the province sits at 565. The Ministry of Education reported 116 school related infections: 99 students, 15 staff members and two people who were not identified. Twenty schools, or about 0.4 per cent of all publicly-funded schools in Ontario, are currently closed due to the illness. Health units also recorded the deaths of six more people with COVID-19, bringing the province's official toll to 6,986. Soft launch for vaccine booking portal Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said Ontario's website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments will begin a soft launch in six health units this week. The online portal is currently scheduled to be operational provincewide on March 15. Regions participating in the soft launch are: Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Peterborough Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Grey Bruce Lambton But the spokesperson noted the site will not be available to the general public in those regions. Officials will reach out to a small number of people aged 80 or older and eligible health-care workers to invite them to participate. "This will help inform the province's plan to organize the vaccination of larger populations, providing the opportunity to try components of the system before the full launch," the spokesperson said in an email. Some public health units have begun offering appointments and first doses to residents 80 years old and above before Ontario's centralized booking system becomes available to the public. Guelph, Ottawa, Waterloo and Simcoe Muskoka are among them. In the GTA, York Region began booking appointments this morning. In an emailed statement to CBC Toronto, a spokesperson for the region's public health unit said within the first two hours of operation, approximately 20,000 appointments were booked across the region's five locations on the online portal. Within hours, the region posted to its official Twitter account that all available appointments had been taken, and more will only become available once there is local capacity and vaccine supply. The Ministry of Health said it anticipates that public health units using their own programs for online appointments right now will migrate to the province's portal once it has launched. "Be careful, be consistent, wait for your vaccine — it's coming," Williams said. The province said it administered 17,424 doses of COVID-19 vaccine yesterday. A total of 263,214 people have now received both shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health. Last week, Health Canada approved Astrazeneca's vaccine for use, though there has been no word on when doses may actually arrive in provinces.
NEW YORK — Before a late night rehearsal in December, Terrence Floyd couldn’t remember the last time he squatted on a drum throne, sticks in hand and ready to perform. Surely, he said, it had not happened since his brother, George Floyd, died at the hands of police in Minneapolis last May, sparking a global reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality. Now, Terrence is lending a talent he honed as a youngster in a church band to help produce and promote a forthcoming album of protest anthems inspired by the Black Lives Matter demonstrations prompted in part by his brother's death. “I want to pay my respects to my brother any way I can, whether it’s a march, whether it’s just talking to somebody about him, or whether it’s doing what I do and playing the drums,” Terrence told The Associated Press. “His heartbeat is not beating no more,” he said, “but I can beat for him.” The untitled project, set for release one year after George Floyd’s death, follows a long history of racial justice messages and protest slogans crossing over into American popular music and culture. In particular, music has been a vehicle for building awareness of grassroots movements, often carrying desperate pleas or enraged battle cries across the airwaves. Terrence was recruited for the project by the Rev. Kevin McCall, a New York City activist who said he believes an album of street-inspired protest anthems does not yet exist. “These protest chants that were created have been monumental,” said McCall. “It created a movement and not a moment.” Some songs make bold declarations, like the protest anthem album’s lead single, “No Justice No Peace.” The well-known protest refrain, popularized in the U.S. in the 1980s, is something that millennials grew up hearing before they joined the front lines of their generation’s civil rights movement, McCall said. McCall is featured on the track, along with his fiancée, singer Malikka Miller, and choir members from Brooklyn’s Grace Tabernacle Christian Center. The song is currently available for purchase and streaming on iTunes, Amazon Music and YouTube. Godfather Records, a label run and owned by David Wright, pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, plans to put out the seven-song album. His late father, Timothy Wright, is considered the “Godfather of gospel music.” “We’re mixing gospel music with social justice, to reach the masses,” Wright said. “We have always been strengthened through songs, like ‘We Shall Overcome’ and ‘Wade in the Water.’ I want to put a new twist on it.” There is a history of interplay between music and Black protest. The 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police Department officers — as well as the contemporary “war on drugs” — amplified NWA’s 1988 anthem, “F(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) tha Police,” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” released in 1989. More recently, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Beyoncé’s “Freedom” featuring Lamar, and YG’s “FDT” provided a soundtrack for many BLM protests. Legendary musician and activist Stevie Wonder released his hit 1980 song, “Happy Birthday,” as part of a campaign to recognize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a federal holiday. King’s Day, which faced years of opposition at the national level, was officially recognized in 1986, three years after it won the backing of federal lawmakers. Some historians cite Billie Holiday’s musical rendition of the Abel Meeropol poem, “Strange Fruit,” in 1939 as one of the sparks of the civil rights movement. The song paints in devastating detail the period of lynching carried out against Black Americans for decades after the abolition of slavery, often as a way to terrorize and oppress those who sought racial equality. The new film “United States vs. Billie Holiday” depicts the jazz luminary’s real-life struggle to perform the song in spite of opposition from government officials. Singer and actress Andra Day, who portrays Holiday in the film, recently told the AP the song's significance influenced her decision to take on the role. “It was her singing this song in defiance of the government that reinvigorated the movement,” Day said. “And so that was really incentivizing for me.” Todd Boyd, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California, said many of the most well-known protest chants came out of the civil rights and Black power movements, and then inspired songs. “That’s how culture works,” Boyd said. “Something that starts out in one space can very easily grow into something bigger and broader, if the movement itself is influential.” Terrence Floyd said the protest anthem project feels like a fitting way to honour his brother’s memory. Many years before his death, George Floyd dabbled in music — he was occasionally invited to rap on mixtapes produced by DJ Screw, a fixture of the local hip-hop scene in Houston. “If his music couldn’t make it out of Houston, I’m using my Floyd musical ability to reach people in his name,” Terrence said. ___ AP entertainment reporter Jamia Pugh in Philadelphia contributed. ___ Morrison is a member of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison. Aaron Morrison, The Associated Press
Les observateurs les plus cyniques vont régulièrement répéter le laïus voulant que les politiciens de carrière soient tous faits à partir d’un même moule. Pourtant, l’éventail des citoyens qui se lancent en politique municipale est on ne peut plus varié. À ce chapitre, le parcours ayant mené Mathieu Daviault au conseil de Saint-Amable fait partie de ceux qui peuvent étonner. Élu pour la première fois en 2017, l’Amablien de 33 ans a notamment dû décider, à la croisée des chemins, s’il devait poursuivre sa carrière sportive dans les arts martiaux mixtes (AMM) ou se lancer en affaires pour gagner sa vie. « J’ai toujours été sportif, nous explique celui qui, en compagnie de son père, a fondé l’entreprise Conteneur Daviault en 2010. J’ai joué au football, au hockey durant toute ma jeunesse. Puis, à 21 ans, à la suite d’une blessure au genou, j’ai décidé de changer de discipline. Comme les sports de combat m’ont toujours intéressé, je me suis lancé dans les arts martiaux mixtes. J’ai notamment appris le jiu-jitsu, une des disciplines fortes dans la pratique des AMM. » Avec une fiche de sept victoires en neuf combats, on peut même dire que le jeune homme montrait un certain talent chez les combattants amateurs. Après avoir pris la décision de quitter l’hexagone pour de bon, le futur conseiller du district 2 de Saint-Amable a cependant poursuivi sa passion pour le jiu-jitsu, ce qui lui a permis de voyager pour participer à des compétitions un peu partout en Amérique avant de devenir lui-même entraîneur. « Sans me vanter, je pense que je suis un bon élève, croit Mathieu Daviault. J’ai roulé ma bosse. Le jiu-jitsu m’a permis de vivre des expériences incroyables. C’est un beau sport. Et c’était quand même moins demandant côté temps. En AMM, tu dois t’entraîner trois heures, et ce, tous les soirs avant un combat. Alors j’ai fait un choix de vie. Le jiu-jitsu, c’est demandant, mais la charge est quand même moins grande.» À l’instar de bien des résidents de Saint-Amable, où la moyenne d’âge se maintient sous la barre des 35 ans, Mathieu Daviault a fondé son propre petit clan ces dernières années. Père de deux fillettes âgées de 5 ans et 2 ans et demi, celui-ci a profité de la pandémie pour passer un peu plus de temps avec sa marmaille et intégrer la pratique de la discipline à la routine familiale. « On pratique la base, les techniques, les mouvements, mais c’est toujours sous forme de jeu, précise celui qui, en 2019, a été le candidat conservateur lors des élections fédérales dans Pierre-Boucher–Les Patriotes–Verchères. Ma grande, elle fait ça depuis déjà deux ans avec papa. C’est quelque chose que j’adore. Durant la pandémie, il n’y avait pas de cours pour les enfants, alors j’ai acheté des tapis pour que nous puissions pratiquer toutes les semaines dans le garage. C’est important pour moi. C’est un sport qui permet d’acquérir des vertus comme la discipline. Il faut dire que c'est aussi une technique d’autodéfense, alors c’est comme un cadeau qu’on leur fait. » Quant à l’inévitable parallèle entre les arts martiaux mixtes et la politique, celui dont la grand-mère paternelle a également été conseillère municipale admet qu’il y a des similitudes, même si la civilité est souvent plus présente entre des combattants qu’entre adversaires politiques. « Pour avoir fait les deux, je peux vous dire par expérience personnelle qu’il y a beaucoup plus de respect en sport de combat que dans la politique. Ça, c'est définitif! » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
“Later,” by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime) Stephen King gets a lot of credit for creating the monsters under kids’ beds (here’s looking at you, Pennywise), but not enough for this simple fact: The guy gets kids. Their fears, certainly, but also their voices, the way they see the world differently than adults. To a long list that includes Danny Torrance from “The Shining” and Gordie Lachance from “The Body,” we can now add Jamie Conklin, the star of King’s most recent novel, “Later.” Published under the Hard Case Crime imprint, which also distributed “The Colorado Kid” (2005) and “Joyland” (2013) — “Later” is narrated by 22-year-old Jamie, looking back on his formative years. He begins his story at age 6, when he first figured out he could see and talk to the dead. It’s that gift which propels the plot of this slim novel. Encouraged by his mother’s NYPD girlfriend, Liz, Jamie gets tied up in the pursuit of a serial bomber in New York. It’s not giving too much away to say he helps crack the case, but to say what happens after that would spoil all the fun. There’s classic King here for fans. Imagine the carnage on any given day in the Big Apple and then imagine being a young man seeing the mangled dead walking around in the afterlife, with holes in their heads “as big as a dessert plate and surrounded by irregular fangs of bone.” But even amid the gore and escalating tension, King finds moments to make Jamie relatable. As Liz and his mom argue at the scene of a crime, we pop inside Jamie’s head before he screams at them. “One of the worst things about being a kid, maybe the very worst, is how grownups ignore you when they get going" on their own issues, writes King. In the end, the story Jamie narrates to readers climaxes in a thrilling whodunit, while uncovering truths about Jamie’s life that might have been better left buried. For as the novel’s cover declares: “Only the dead have no secrets.” Rob Merrill, The Associated Press
Sundridge may be on the verge of eliminating an algae problem with its lagoons by using ultrasound. Council received a presentation about the cutting-edge technology from Paul Dyrda, the senior operations manager at the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA). Dyrda says the ultrasound technology, called LG Sonic, works, and he wants council to approve the purchase of the $31,000 equipment. That may happen this month when council debates the presentation. Dyrda says the density and heaviness of the algal blooms at Sundridge's lagoons has “overwhelmed” the wastewater treatment system in the past. “The facilities were not designed to treat water with that amount of algae,” he explains. As a result, Dyrda says, the village's facility failed to meet environmental compliance objectives during warm weather since that's when algae is most active. At one point, Dyrda says, OCWA considered using a floating ball system where enough balls are placed in the water system that they block the sun's ultraviolet rays which, in turn, stops the algae growth. The problem is the cost worked out to be $500,000. OCWA applied for government funding for the floating balls, but the request was rejected. However, around the same time, Dyrda says, OCWA staff learned about the ultrasonic technology, which breaks the algae down at a cellular level and then it dies. OCWA received permission from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to try the technology on one of the lagoons last summer. “So for two months we had the algae-control device in the middle of one lagoon and compared it to the other lagoon without the device,” Dyrda says. “The difference was dramatic. The difference between the two lagoons was unbelievable and it was very successful.” Dyrda says the ultrasonic technology is so cutting-edge he doesn't believe any other municipality has government approval to use it. Dyrda says the one “caveat” with the technology is it only works on breaking down blue-green algae and green algae, which now plague the village's lagoons. “So there's the potential that you get rid of one algae, but then another type takes its place,” he told council. But, he added, there is no other option, like spending half a million dollars on the floating balls “which may or may not have worked. “This (ultrasonic technology) is the better option of the two,” Dyrda said. He wants council to approve the purchase so the equipment can be installed once the snow is gone. In addition to the $31,000 cost, installation wouldn't exceed $5,000. Dyrda says last summer's pilot project made the village's lagoons compliant with government regulations and said once the LG Sonic system is in place “all the effluent water that's going to leave the lagoons is going to be compliant.” With Dyrda during the presentation was OCWA's business development manager, Ted Smider. “Sundridge is a pioneer in this and I know other parts of OCWA are looking at this particular technology to be used, so you're the first,” Smider said. In response Mayor Lyle Hall said he was sure the village would hear more about the technology in the future and added “hopefully, we'll be the model for other organizations and municipalities.” Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
(Submitted by FCA - image credit) The Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant has reopened after being shut down for much of February because of a global shortage of semiconductors. The minivan factory was closed Feb. 8, resulting in temporary layoffs for workers. About 4,700 people are employed at the plant. A spokesperson for Stellantis confirmed that the plant is reopening as scheduled on Monday. Several automakers had to halt or slow down production because of the lack of supply of semiconductors, which are used in vehicle electronics.
LOS ANGELES — Chloé Zhao became the second woman to win best director at the Golden Globes and the first female winner of Asian descent on a night in which her film “Nomadland” was crowned the top drama film. Zhao, who was among three women nominated in the directing category, was honoured for her work on “Nomadland,” about people who take to the road and move from place to place seeking work for usually low wages. It stars two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand and includes nonprofessional actors. “I especially want to thank the nomads who shared their stories with us,” Zhao said, accepting the directing honour virtually on Sunday night. She singled out real-life nomad Bob Wells, who appears in the movie, for help with her remarks. “This is what he said about compassion,” Zhao said. “Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us. A heart to heart pounding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.” The 38-year-old director who lives in Los Angeles is a leading Oscar contender for “Nomadland,” which is in select theatres and streaming on Hulu. “Now this is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories because it gives us a chance to laugh and cry together and it gives us a chance to learn from each other and to have more compassion for each other,” Zhao said in her acceptance remarks. “So thank you everyone who made it possible to do what I love.” She joins Barbra Streisand, who won in 1984 for “Yentl,” as the only women to win directing honours at the Globes. Until this year, just five women had been nominated in the category. “Sometimes a first feels like a long time coming. You feel like, it’s about time,” Zhao said in virtual backstage comments. “I’m sure there’s many others before me that deserve the same recognition. If this means more people like me get to live their dreams and do what I do, I’m happy.” Regina King ("One Night in Miami...") and Emerald Fennell ("Promising Young Woman") were the other female director nominees. Zhao also was nominated for best motion picture screenplay and lost to Aaron Sorkin. McDormand received a nod for actress in a motion picture drama, but lost. Born in China, Zhao made her feature directing debut in 2015 with “Songs My Brother Taught Me.” She broke out in 2017 with “The Rider.” Next up for her is the big-budget Marvel film “Eternals,” set for release this fall. Beth Harris, The Associated Press
Shares of Twilio were up nearly 2% at $399 in premarket trade. Twilio also said that private-equity firm Carlyle Group Inc, which is currently the major owner of Syniverse, will maintain its majority interest in the telecom services company. The companies will pursue additional potential financing transactions in the form of public market transactions or additional equity investment, Twilio said.
Trystan Lackner first got interested in urban food security way back in his senior year of high school after a supportive vice-principal helped him build a community garden in barren soil where portable classrooms had been removed. It ended up producing around eight or 10 grocery bags full of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and other produce that they donated to local volunteer group Feed The Need Durham. But it only lasted the year that Lackner and classmates he had brought along were there to sustain it. “It was a seed,” says Lackner, explaining he didn't have the experience or knowledge at the time to carry it forward. “The community garden was there, and then it wasn't, and there wasn't any communication of those ideas.” Fast-forward a few years and a degree in international development later, and Lackner is looking to make a more lasting impact. After six months of preparation, Lackner and colleagues hosted an online summit called "Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?" last month as part of Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program. “Our whole idea was to develop an educational summit for young people to become more aware, get involved, and connect with the experts within the field,” he says, about the Youth Roots Durham project. The hope is that more informed communities will build more resilience into the process by which they get fed, one that faced a sharp shock due to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, as well as ongoing threats to the same system from climate change. The summit included a weekend panel discussion of experts followed by networking, and workshops on the links between food and climate change, the benefits of moving from mass production of commodity crops, and how to get involved in pushing for more sustainable practices. One speaker at the summit was a local permaculture farmer, who grows multiple crops in proximity to each other for mutual benefit. The practice can reduce the need for pesticides and cut carbon emissions by limiting the need to transport food, Lackner explains. The information gathered in the course of the project is being prepared to be archived on a page of the Durham Food Policy Council’s website, ensuring that unlike his high school garden, Lackner’s legacy may live on. The region — which is suburban in its southern sections near Lake Ontario and more rural in its north towards the Lake Simcoe border — exports most of its produce in the form of commodity crops, such as soy and corn, Lackner says. He says that with demand for food to expand by roughly 70 per cent in coming decades as our global population approaches 10 billion people, innovative solutions applied locally will be key. “There is a very high possibility that you will see in the next decade or two, if we can innovate more with the greenhouses and produce more in warehouse settings, you can essentially urbanize and create factories of food within these large urban centres,” he says. In addition to these modern factory farms, Lackner wants to see more rooftop gardens and government policy that sets aside land to protect it from being developed other than as farmland. And for young people wondering what they can do, he says just dive in. “Get out there, get your hands dirty. Make that change that you want to see,” he says. “If you see something that no one else is doing or that's missing, don't wait for someone else to get that going, start it yourself and get involved. There is a way to do all that and connect with the experts and community partners.” Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Toronto Mayor John Tory on Monday outlined the city's vaccination plan, which will see vaccines spread out across 49 hospital sites, 46 community health centres and 249 pharmacies. He called it the "largest vaccination effort" in the city's history, but added people need to continue to abide by public health measures to keep each other safe.
JUNEAU, Alaska — Scientists in Alaska have discovered 10 cases of a new coronavirus strain that researchers have said is more contagious and potentially more effective at evading vaccines. The B.1.429 variant, first discovered in California, was identified in Alaska in early January and has since been detected nine more times, according to a report released on Wednesday by scientists assembled by the state to investigate new strains. At least six groups of B.1.429 cases have been detected statewide this year, the report said. Scientists and public health officials have expressed concerns about multiple new strains of the coronavirus, which they say could prolong the pandemic even as governments scale up their vaccination efforts, KTOO-FM reported. State public health officials also said they have identified two cases of the more contagious B.1.1.7 strain, first discovered in the United Kingdom, along with one case of the P.1 strain, which was first seen in Brazil. The P.1 strain is also more contagious, and vaccines may be less viable against it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates the P.1 and B.1.1.7 strains as “variants of concern.” The CDC has not yet designated the B.1.429 variant first found in California as a variant of concern. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace three years with the arrival of a surge in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its gauge of manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 60.8% last month, 2.1 percentage-points above the January level of 58.7%. It was the strongest performance since February 2018. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector. The survey found optimism increasing with five positive comments for every cautious comment, up from a 3-to-1 ratio in the January survey. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
The European Commission will propose this month an EU-wide digital certificate providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination that could allow Europeans to travel more freely over the summer. The EU executive aims to present its plans for a "digital green pass" on March 17 and to cooperate with international organisations to ensure that its system also works beyond the European Union. "The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism," Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet on Monday.
YEREVAN, Armenia — Political tensions in Armenia heightened Monday, with supporters of the embattled prime minister and the opposition each staging massive rallies in the capital. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to resign since he signed a peace deal in November that ended six weeks of intense fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Russia-brokered agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Opposition protests seeking Pashinyan's ouster abated during the winter but intensified last week amid a rift between him and the country's military leaders. The spat was sparked by Pashinyan firing a deputy chief of the military's General Staff who had laughed off the prime minister's claim that only 10% of Russia-supplied Iskander missiles that Armenia used in the conflict exploded on impact. The General Staff then demanded Pashinyan’s resignation, and he responded by dismissing the General Staff chief, Col. Gen. Onik Gasparyan. The dismissal has yet to be approved by Armenia's largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, who sent it back to Pashinyan, saying the move was unconstitutional. Pashinyan quickly resubmitted the demand for the general's ouster, and the prime minister's allies warned that the president could be impeached if he fails to endorse the move. Sarkissian's office responded with a strongly worded statement condemning “inadmissible speculation” about his move and emphasizing that his decision was “unbiased and driven exclusively by national interests.” Amid the escalating tensions, a group of protesters broke into a government building in central Yerevan on Monday to press their demand for Pashinyan's resignation, but they left shortly afterward without violence. Later, Pashinyan's supporters and the opposition rallied in the capital at separate sites. Pashinyan, a 45-year-old former journalist who came to power after leading large street protests in 2018 that ousted his predecessor, still enjoys broad support despite the country's humiliating defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh and the opposition calls for his resignation. He defended the peace deal as a painful but necessary move to prevent Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. The fighting with Azerbaijan that erupted in late September and lasted 44 days has left more than 6,000 people dead. Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the Nov. 10 peace deal. Armenia has relied on Moscow’s financial and military support and hosts a Russian military base — ties that will keep the two nations closely allied regardless of the outcome of the political infighting. Last week, the Russian Defence Ministry rebuked the Armenian leader for criticism of the Iskander missile, a state-of-the-art weapon touted by the military for its accuracy. The Russian military said it was “bewildered” to hear Pashinyan’s claim because Armenia hadn’t used an Iskander missile in the conflict. In a bid to repair the damage to Armenia's ties with Moscow, Pashinyan rescinded his claim Monday, acknowledging that he made the statement after being misled. —- Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed. Avet Demourian, The Associated Press