Dancing green bands undulate in the darkened Finnish sky over the Arctic region of Lapland.
QUISPAMSIS, N.B. — New Brunswick's Progressive Conservatives won a majority government on Monday, concluding a highly unusual election race — the first in Canada since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic."Come what may in the months and years ahead, we know we'll have stability and experience leading us through these challenging times," Premier Blaine Higgs told about 50 supporters who were wearing masks and standing two metres apart in a Quispamsis, N.B., bingo hall."I want to thank every New Brunswicker who showed the country how democratic elections can be held safely during this pandemic."With all votes counted, the Tories were elected in 27 ridings, the Liberals in 17, the Green party in three and the People's Alliance in two. At least 25 seats were needed for a majority in the 49-seat house.As Higgs walked to the stage with his wife and two daughters, all four were wearing full face shields. When the premier arrived at the podium, he took off the shield, looked at the sparse crowd and said with a smile: "There's nothing like coming to a packed hall. This is life in COVID."Soon after Higgs delivered his victory speech, Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers announced he would be stepping down."Obviously with the results of this evening, it's time for another leader to step up and take this party forward," he said. "I'm hoping the next leader will take the torch and bring it up higher."It's the first time a government in New Brunswick has won two consecutive terms since Bernard Lord led the Tories to re-election in 2003.Higgs called a snap election four weeks ago, saying his 21-month-old minority government lacked stability at a difficult time for the province.His opposition rivals accused him of political opportunism, but Higgs gambled that the electorate wouldn't see things that way, given that he had won widespread praise for his leadership in the face of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis.During the last week of the campaign, Higgs said he wanted a majority win to ensure the Tories could focus on health care and keeping people safe. He said any other option would put the province at risk.The 66-year-old former Irving Oil executive cast himself as a dull but dependable in a crisis."Maybe I'm boring, but I'm no surprise," he said last month. "I'm consistent. You can trust me."At dissolution, there were 20 Tories, 20 Liberals, three Greens, three People's Alliance members, one Independent and two vacancies.During the 28-day election race, few candidates campaigned door-to-door, and those who did were careful to wear a mask and stand well back when speaking to voters. There were no handshakes, no kissing of babies, no big rallies.Campaign literature was sent through the mail and the party leaders took part in outdoor events that were livestreamed, as masked candidates stood well in the background to comply with physical distancing rules. And at most campaign stops, Higgs wore a plastic face shield.On the campaign trail, Vickers accused Higgs of listening to political advisers rather than the people of New Brunswick, arguing that the election wasn't wanted or needed.Acclaimed Liberal leader in 2019, Vickers had served as sergeant-at-arms in the House of Commons, where in 2014 he was credited with fatally shooting a gunman who had fired a rifle inside Centre Block.When the election campaign started on Aug. 17, Green party Leader David Coon also accused Higgs of opportunism.As the Tories secured their majority win on Monday, Coon said the electoral system has to be changed."It speaks to the need for electoral reform, so we don't have these majority governments where premiers can have their way," he said.In recent election campaigns in New Brunswick, voters were confronted with polarizing issues, such as hydraulic fracturing, skyrocketing auto insurance rates or privatization of the province's Crown-owned utility, NB Power.But this election was all about the province's response to COVID-19.New Brunswick has one of the lowest levels of infection in Canada — bested only by P.E.I. and the territories. That fact became Higgs' key talking point during the election race. He also cited forecasts suggesting the province was leading the country in terms of an economic recovery.Higgs highlighted the fact that New Brunswick had experienced a smaller economic contraction than the rest of Canada due to COVID-19, mainly because the province contained the virus quickly.The Tories argued during the campaign that all that good news was a result of Higgs' leadership.By contrast, Vickers took a gloomier view, saying the Tories were pretending that everything had returned to normal, when "businesses are still feeling the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic."While the Tories managed to secure a majority, they largely failed to make gains within the province's French-speaking regions.As a result, the province remains divided along linguistic lines, with the Tories dominating in the English-speaking ridings of central and southern New Brunswick and the Liberals hanging on to the French-speaking ridings in the north — a problem that emerged after the 2018 election.The leaders of the smaller parties warned voters against electing a majority government, saying the minority arrangement had performed well with an all-party cabinet committee handling the COVID-19 crisis.People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin said he was disappointed with the Tories' majority win but insisted the People's Alliance would continue to press for change in the legislature."We have made some significant changes in the political landscape," he said. "We still have our foot in the door, make no mistake about it."Mackenzie Thomason, 23-year-old interim leader of the New Democratic Party, said during the campaign the smaller parties were there to "keep the big parties' feet to the fire." The NDP didn't win any seats in the 2018 election and it was shut out again Monday.— With files from Michael MacDonald in HalifaxThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
WARSAW, Poland — Warsaw's mayor has come under criticism after a video emerged of him demanding that DJs at a night club change their music, seeming to leverage his influence by stating "it's my city.”Rafal Trzaskowski, who was the opposition candidate in an unsuccessful presidential bid this summer, was attending a friend's birthday party in a trendy club on the weekend when the video was reportedly taken of him trying to persuade the DJs to play funk music to dance to.The DJs told Trzaskowski and his friends that it was against their policy to take requests and did not change the music.The incident has provoked serious criticism as well as mockery. Some said it was not acceptable behaviour for Trzaskowski, who is the deputy head of the centrist opposition Civic Platform party but plans to start his own political movement soon.“To be Warsaw mayor and former presidential candidate aspiring to be the leader of the opposition and founder of a new movement and to blow it all in one night out while tipsy just because the music did not suit him. That’s an achievement, even in Polish politics,” tweeted Andrzej Gajcy, a journalist for the Onet news site.Other commentators defended the mayor.Trzaskowski has not directly responded to the criticism.The Associated Press
Two Indian officials said Chinese troops were laying a network of fiber optic cables at a western Himalayan flashpoint with India, suggesting they were digging in for the long haul despite high-level talks aimed at resolving a standoff there. Such cables, which would provide forward troops with secure lines of communication to bases in the rear, have recently been spotted to the south of Pangong Tso lake in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, a senior government official said. Thousands of Indian and Chinese troops backed by tanks and aircraft are locked in an uneasy stalemate along a 70 km-long front to the south of the lake.
An Israeli court sentenced a Jewish settler to life imprisonment on Monday for killing a Palestinian couple and their baby in a 2015 arson attack in the occupied West Bank. Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21 at the time of the killings, was convicted in May of three counts of murder and two charges of attempted murder in what a court determined were racially-motivated crimes. Israel's Shin Bet internal security service, which had interrogated Ben-Uliel, hailed that verdict as "an important milestone in the struggle against Jewish terrorism".
TORONTO — Parts of Ontario could see another lockdown if the province cannot get a handle on increasing rates of COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford warned Monday as the government reported a daily increase of new cases not seen since early June.Ford said the recent spike in virus rates over the past two weeks has his government concerned, conceding in his daily media update that he is considering closing down hard-hit areas.The premier said the lockdowns would be regional, and not mirror the broad approach taken during the first wave of the virus in March."We will take every step necessary including further shutdowns," he said. "The second wave of COVID-19, it's a scenario that we've been preparing for all summer long."The province reported 313 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with nearly 80 per cent of them centred on three regions. Toronto reported 112 cases, Peel Region recorded 71 and 60 surfaced in Ottawa.Ford stressed that while a second wave is coming, Ontario residents can lessen its impact by continuing to follow public health guidance. This includes avoiding social gatherings, which he said have contributed to the recent spike in new cases."It's not the bars ... or the restaurants, it's social gatherings," he said. "So folks, I'm begging you. Please just cut out the social gatherings. It's just not worth it because this COVID is ramping up again."Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province will unveil a new strategy to address COVID-19 this fall which will take into account flu season and current capacity challenges in both long-term care facilities and hospitals."I think it's fair to say that the second wave is going to be more complicated and more difficult to deal with than the first wave," she said. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the province should have released the plan weeks ago."The reality is, we're staring down these over 300 (daily) cases now," she said. "Today, the government was saying we have a plan for a second wave, it's obviously a day short and more than a penny short. That's what we've seen thus far from this government."Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health urged people to remain vigilant when it comes to attending social gatherings.Dr. Barbara Yaffe said she thinks there has been confusion about rules surrounding the gatherings of up to 50 people in indoor settings, adding that physical distance should be maintained and masks should be worn when it's not possible to remain two metres away from other attendees."We do understand how hard it has been on everyone these last few months," she said. "We know there is a desire to interact with your friends and family and those outside your social circle. But we are now seeing the effects of people being too casual."The head of the province's hospital association also issued a warning on Monday that the increasing COVID-19 infection rates could plunge Ontario into a second lockdown.Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale said that infection rate increases in the three current hotspots could spread to the rest of the province if people don't respect public health guidelines.Some Ontario residents have been lulled into a false sense of security and they must practise physical distancing, wear masks when required, and neither host nor attend unsafe gatherings and parties, he said."If current trends continue to accelerate, economic restrictions may tighten once more, and the school year for our children will be in jeopardy," Dale said in a statement. Ontario reported two new cases of COVID-19 in schools, one in Mississauga and one in Pembroke, Ont., according to the government's website.Four school boards also reported new cases of the novel coronavirus not posted on the government page. Halton District School Board had two new cases, according to its COVID-19 advisory page.Meanwhile, politicians returned to Ontario's legislature for the fall session on Monday, with the Progressive Conservative house leader saying the government will focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, school reopenings and the health-care system.Paul Calandra said Ontario's 2020-2021 budget — which was delayed by the pandemic — will be delivered on, or before, Nov. 15.Calandra said the government is also leaving itself leeway in the legislative schedule in case it needs to introduce additional measures to address COVID-19 this fall."We're seeing the (COVID-19 case) numbers are creeping up so if we get into a second wave, we want to be able to react quickly," Calandra said. "Should time be needed on the legislative schedule to pass bills, we're building that in."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
A St. John's mother who spent four days on the phone booking a COVID-19 test says the reservation system she was forced to navigate desperately needs a revamp.Flora Salvo said the painfully slow process of getting tested — from her first call to when she received a negative result, last Saturday — stretched over a full week."Taking a week to get tested is very, very long. I think it's dangerous," Salvo told CBC News recently.Salvo decided she'd book a COVID-19 test over the Labour Day weekend, when she and her two children developed flu symptoms, including a runny nose and sneezing."I decided to follow the government's guidelines," she said, a decision taken as a precaution that she now regrets after missing a full week's work and an appointment at her gynecologist.Anyone looking to take a free COVID-19 test in Newfoundland and Labrador has to book an appointment through the 811 health line. Doing so requires making or receiving at least three phone calls — already a tedious process. But for Salvo, who tried making an appointment at a time when Eastern Health's phone lines were first closed and then reopened to a surge in calls, tedium quickly turned to frustration.79 calls in 1 daySalvo's unenviable saga began Sept. 6, the Sunday of the Labour Day long weekend, when she completed an online self-evaluation form and was directed to 811. An 811 operator took down her symptoms and contact details and told her she would soon get a call back.Later in the day, a nurse phoned, went through Salvo's symptoms again and gave her a number to call to reach a second nurse — this time at Eastern Health, the regional health authority that would eventually carry out her test.Here, the process hit a major snag. The phone line she was told to call was open only on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to the recorded message she heard when she called. When she tried the next day — Labour Day — she learned the phone lines were also closed for the statutory holiday."How could it be closed?" said Salvo. "It's something that's urgent."The next day, Sept. 8, Salvo began calling again. But because of a high volume of calls from people looking to book a test, she couldn't get through."I called 79 times [in one day]. I counted on my phone. My friend, she called 37 times. I was calling every five minutes," Salvo said. "Each time, the volume of calls was too many."In the end, Salvo waited until last Wednesday — her fourth day on the phone — to speak to an Eastern Health nurse. That health worker once again confirmed her health and contact information and explained she would soon receive a final call from a booking agent.After completing that last step in the process, Salvo was finally tested two days later — last Friday — and received her results Saturday.Eastern Health increasing hoursA number of factors seem to have led to the delays. First, as Salvo realized, Eastern Health had not staffed its COVID-19 phone lines on the weekend and on the Labour Day holiday. The health authority changed that policy last Wednesday after seeing an increase in calls, seemingly due to students returning to school and changes to quarantine rules for asymptomatic rotational workers, who can now get tested after five days in self-isolation."Hours of operation may be adjusted to meet demand, as required," Eastern Health spokesperson Allison Barter said in an email to Radio-Canada. "We have expanded hours of operation to seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m."Eastern Health CEO David Diamond was not available for an interview. But outside the House of Assembly on Monday, Health Minister John Haggie said officials with the health authority were meeting with his department to discuss adding capacity to the booking system."It became apparent over the weekend that despite the fact that they're adding resources, we're hearing complaints about wait times," he said. "The holdup seems to be in Eastern Health and it seems to be related to the public health mechanism there, rather than staff.… They're operational issues and we're making sure that Eastern Health is on top of that."System 'should be speedier,' says HaggieHaggie said changes were coming to the 811 line to triage callers based on a number of factors, such as if they are a rotational worker or a student."Something similar, if you remember, happened with 811 back in March when suddenly there was a really rapid spike. But within a few days 811 had responded and they were handling 2,500 calls a day," he said.Haggie said the system "should be speedier," but added, "I think it's fair to say that every child with a sniffle will not get a COVID test and I think some of this is going to have to be expectation management — the message is if your child has a sniffle you don't send them to school."Hope for simpler systemFlora Salvo argues that while the system needs to be well staffed, it also needs to be streamlined. Her trouble getting through occurred at a time when the province had barely any active COVID-19 cases, but authorities may soon face a second wave of cases, as public health authorities in a number of jurisdictions have warned in past months."Calling one number, to one place, that would be way less complicated," she said. "There's no reason to need to talk to four different people. It needs to be much quicker."Salvo said nurses operating the phone lines must also better communicate the rules for people waiting for a test, adding that she worries people will hesitate to get tested if the system doesn't become more efficient."The danger of taking so much time to answer [the phone] and talking to so many interlocutors is that people are going to lose patience," Salvo said.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — Fears that an invisible virus may be lurking among trick-or-treaters will keep Melanie Vicente's two children home this Halloween, but the Toronto mom says she's determined to make sure her beloved holiday is still spooktacular.She's watching COVID-19 case counts while weighing reasonable risk, and expects the whole family can still dress up, decorate the yard with their faux-cemetery set pieces and smoke machine, and of course, indulge in some candy.But there's a lot that will change — her soon-to-be-four-year-old won't get her usual Halloween-themed birthday bash on the 28th, and the extended family won't come over on the 31st for a group excursion through the neighbourhood.The scaled-back festivities are yet another blow to normal life wrought by the novel coronavirus, bemoans Vicente, who loves the holiday."I always hoped that I would have a child around October, just so I can have Halloween parties," chuckles Vicente, planning an Easter Egg-style candy hunt in the yard in lieu of setting her kids loose on the neighbourhood."Halloween is a big deal around my house."The danger COVID-19 will pose to candy-sharing homeowners and pint-sized explorers is far from clear, but Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory have already suggested devotees start curbing expectations.Tory said he "won't hesitate" to cancel trick-or-treating if public health officials decide it's too risky, while Ford suggested last week that parents make alternative plans given a rise in confirmed cases that has paused further reopening.Medical and child development experts agree the novel coronavirus poses very real threats but say it doesn't have to entirely cancel Halloween. Many experts point to valuable lifelong lessons its traditions can offer in fostering a child's creative expression, independence, and resilience."I think it would be incredibly sad to not go trick-or-treating," says health policy expert Colin Furness, who suggests a slight outdoor air current "more than makes up for the fact that the virus is more persistent" in cooler weather."If community transmission is very, very high and we have to really start locking things down, yeah, we're going to have to lose Halloween. But we shouldn't be doing that before we're closing bars and restaurants and other things."Parents should be realistic about what precautions their children can take if they venture outdoors, even while supervised, adds Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist who expects distancing will be virtually impossible."Your kids are seeing other kids, they're congregating with other kids. They're climbing the stairs, they're touching things," says Kakkar, a doctor at the Montreal hospital CHU Sainte-Justine.While she says there's "a theoretical risk" the virus could spread on such surfaces, Kakkar says the person-to-person interaction is the greater threat."We're in a very big unknown for these next few weeks with school, and fall, and everything happening," adds Kakkar."If it's not essential to the well-being of the child, I think it's a risk that's potentially not worth investing in this year."Furness expects to take his kids trick-or-treating if risk is low, but there's no hard-and-fast rule to determine that.Case counts are obviously a factor, as is the prevalence of community spread, not to mention the ability of public health to provide real-time data to accurately describe these things.Then there's the size of your own bubble and the cumulative exposure risks you take, such as whether you regularly dine out, says Furness.Those who venture outdoors must wear masks, bring hand sanitizer and take the usual distancing precautions, even if you're outdoors the entire time, advises Furness.Once you return home, Furness suggests stashing the candy haul for at least two-to-three days, which should be enough time to eliminate contamination risk.To kill all traces of the virus, he recommends waiting an entire week."If you just let it sit for seven days there's really nothing survivable on there. As a little kid I don't know if I want to watch my candy for seven days, so there's maybe some negotiation there."Homeowners may want to wipe down railings, doors, door knobs and mailboxes as an extra precaution. Furness says the virus can persist for days on such surfaces, and may be more persistent in October's cooler temperatures."Virus longevity is very dependent on temperature and somewhat so in humidity," says Furness, an assistant professor at the U of T's Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation."Get cold enough and the virus will live indefinitely. Make it hot enough and the virus dies right away."From a developmental perspective, early years educator Nikki Martyn cautions against overlooking Halloween's less obvious life lessons, such as encouraging a child to imagine other perspectives when they dress up as a character, and how to cope with fear in manageable amounts."It's play, right? And we use that to deal with stress, anxiety, fear, trauma, how to cope with something," says Martyn, program head of early childhood studies at the University of Guelph-Humber.She encourages parents looking for a trick-or-treat substitute to take direction from whatever your child loves most about Halloween — if it's dress-up, go ahead and buy that costume and let them wear it around the neighbourhood for a few days; if it's the spooky decorations, schedule a neighbourhood tour in the days before or right after Halloween; if they revel in the rare chance to be outside while it's dark, consider a backyard campout."For some kids the candy part is more important than others ... and for some kids they may not care about the candy — it's really just that fun (and) the adventure, the exploration," says Martyn, also suggesting a family movie night, or surprising kids with an assortment of candy if they like to trade and organize a pile of goodies.For those averse to visiting strangers, there might be safe ways to trick-or-treat, she adds, suggesting an outdoor visit to a family already in your bubble or the yard of a neighbouring classmate in your child's school cohort.Regardless, Halloween offers a great opportunity to forge deeper family bonds, and this year should be no different, she says."It helps to build that loving secure relationship that really, really lasts one's whole life," says Martyn."It's knowing that you can trust your parents and that you can work together to build things."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
The paramedics who treated Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny after he fell violently ill on a plane last month found no increase in his blood sugar in initial tests and saw no signs of a metabolic disorder, five medical sources, speaking out for the first time, told Reuters. Three sources with knowledge of Navalny's initial treatment by four paramedics before he was taken off the plane and at the airfield said glucometry, a glucose test, showed his blood sugar was 3-5 mmol (millimoles) per litre - within normal limits.
LOS ANGELES — Chadwick Boseman was buried near his South Carolina hometown six days after he died at his home in Los Angeles, according to a death certificate obtained Monday by The Associated Press.The “Black Panther” star was laid to rest Sept. 3 at Welfare Baptist Church Cemetery in Belton, South Carolina, about 11 miles from Boseman's hometown of Anderson, the Los Angeles County Certificate showed. Anderson held a public memorial for Boseman a day later.Boseman died at his home near Griffith Park in Los Angeles on Aug. 28, the record said.The immediate cause was listed as multiple organ failure, with the underlying cause of colon cancer, which his family said previously that he had been diagnosed with four years earlier.Boseman had surgery to remove the colon cancer in 2016 after his diagnosis, and in March of this year had laparoscopic surgery to remove cancer that had metastasized, the record showed.The document lists Boseman's profession as “artist,” and his industry as entertainment.Very few outside of his family knew that Boseman, who played “Black Panther” in four Marvel movies and also starred in the Jackie Robinson biopic “42,” had been battling colon cancer when he died at age 43.___Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
In an effort to find the person who had lost what police would only refer to as a "pretty big wad of cash," investigators had to sift through dozens of fraudulent calls before finding the rightful owner, say North Vancouver RCMP.Last Wednesday, police asked the owner of an undisclosed amount of cash turned in over the previous weekend to come forward, according to a Sept. 9 police statement.Instead, RCMP investigators found themselves wading through calls from more than 50 people, inspiring the moniker "cash-hungry contestants.""This weekend was like a marathon episode of The Price Is Right," said North Vancouver RCMP Sgt. Peter DeVries.'Despicable' claims"I thought we had made it clear we didn't want people to play the guessing game. Maybe they didn't read to the end of the news release," he said.The original news release from Sept. 9 had specifically asked that people refrain from guessing the bill denominations."Last time we did this with valuables that were turned in to us, quite a few people contacted us claiming the valuables might have been theirs when they actually weren't," said DeVries."[It's] despicable to see people trying to falsely claim ownership."The rightful owner did eventually get in touch to claim the $2,600, said Devries. He said the owner was able to describe the location where they thought they had lost it, which he said was consistent with where it had been found. RCMP caution that falsely claiming items as your own is not only unkind but could be considered fraud under Canada's Criminal Code.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday warned France that its efforts to resolve the crisis in Lebanon would be in vain without immediately tackling the issue of Iran-backed Hezbollah's weaponry. President Emmanuel Macron has spearheaded international efforts to set Lebanon on a new course after decades of corrupt rule led to its deepest crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. The United States last week expanded its sanctions related to Lebanon by blacklisting two former government ministers it accused of enabling Hezbollah.
Vancouver's air quality is among the worst in the world, Environment Canada said Monday, as wildfire smoke continued to waft across the border from the United States, even reaching parts of Alberta.An air quality advisory was issued for a seventh straight day in Vancouver and is expected to last into the weekend.Relief will not come quickly for B.C. residents, as the air is expected to improve only marginally by Tuesday, said Blaine Lowry, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada."They are looking for a brief reprieve mid-week. But in terms of a true improvement in the air quality condition, they are looking towards the weekend for that to potentially happen," said Lowry.The air quality index in Vancouver showed smoky conditions so poor on Monday that the city ranked as among the worst of the world's major cities, along with Portland, Ore., and Delhi.The index uses a scale of one to 10 to rank risk from stagnant or smoky air. It listed the risk at 10-plus for all but the northern quarter of B.C.On Monday, Canada Post announced it was suspending delivery for the day in the central and southern areas of B.C. because of the unsafe air conditions.And the province's health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, advised people to keep their windows shut to keep smoke from coming indoors and to wear a tight-fitting mask outdoors to help reduce smoke intake.The smoke is coming from hundreds of wildfires burning across in California, Oregon, and Washington, which have destroyed whole communities and killed at least 35 people. It has also blown towards four regions of southwestern Alberta along the Rockies, but the weather office said the smoke was likely to exit Alberta province Monday night.Environment Canada advises people with chronic medical conditions or acute infections such as COVID-19 to postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity until the advisory is lifted, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.However, as a dense, fog-like haze shrouds many cities, from Victoria and Vancouver east to Kelowna, Kamloops and the Kootenay area, some runners haven’t been afraid to spend time outdoors.Elizabeth Thai said the smoke hasn’t stopped her and other runners from hitting the streets of Vancouver.The running coach at Rackets and Runners completed a 15-kilometre run on Saturday with about 15 other people.“Our run club leaders and coaches were very good about not putting the pressure on anyone to have to come out,” Thai said.None of her fellow runners reported health concerns, Thai added. But moving forward, they will decide whether to run depending on how fellow runners are feeling.If people are going to spend time outdoors during the advisory, Lowry said it is recommended they not wear cloth masks that do little to filter out fine particles found in smoke. He recommends masks more suited for smoke prevention.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.— By Fakiha Baig in Edmonton___This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia has reported 317 additional cases of COVID-19 and six more people have died since Friday.At a news briefing Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 1,594 cases are active in the province, including 58 people who are hospitalized.Nearly half of the active cases are connected to long-term care and assisted-living facilities, including 471 residents and 320 staff.Henry said 5,446 people have recovered after testing positive for the illness, while more than 3,000 people are being actively monitored for symptoms.The latest case numbers come as students head back to classrooms and smoke from wildfires in the United States blankets much of southern B.C., prompting air quality advisories.It can be challenging to determine whether symptoms of respiratory illness are related to air quality or the novel coronavirus, said Henry, urging people to visit the website for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control for more information."Things like dry cough and runny eyes and irritation — those can be associated both with smoke and with COVID. But there are things that are not as likely to be caused by wildfire smoke, so anything like fever and chills and aches and the productive cough ... that we get with COVID."Wildfire smoke contains particulates that can irritate the nose, throat and lungs, said Henry, adding that exposure often affects the same people who are at highest risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, including older people and those with underlying health conditions.The potential for confusion is particularly concerning in schools, said Henry, adding anyone who's concerned about symptoms should stay home.She acknowledged that her advice to close windows in order to keep smoke out runs contrary to public health guidelines throughout the pandemic, which encourage spending time outside or in well-ventilated spaces.But Henry said schools are safer environments than many homes when it comes to wildfire smoke and there are other measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing and health screenings.A tight-fitting mask can also help reduce the particulates being inhaled, she noted.B.C. has reported 7,279 cases of COVID-19 so far.— By Brenna Owen in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated there were 1,595 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
REGINA — An experienced defence lawyer says a Saskatchewan judge's attendance at an Indigenous demonstration after he ruled on it could expose the court to potential allegations of bias.Michael Spratt says it's unusual for judges to have contact with one of the parties in a case that either could end up before them, or has already. Judges act as independent arbitrators and a perception of bias may undermine a court decision and the principle of impartiality, which forms trust in the system, he said.Court of Queen's Bench Justice Graeme Mitchell appeared Sunday at a closing ceremony for a 24-year-old Metis man, whom he ruled was allowed to stay on the provincial legislature's lawn to finish a hunger strike over high suicide rates.Mitchell dismissed the government's bid to remove Tristen Durocher's teepee and found the bylaws that prohibit overnight camping on the Regina grounds infringed on his charter rights as an Indigenous man.During his stop at the camp, the judge spoke to the Durocher and accepted a Metis sash from a supporter. Some people there praised Mitchell for his appearance and celebrated his decision.While issues of reconciliation are important and judges are trained to put their personal views aside before making decisions, Spratt said Mitchell's presence at the camp could serve as grounds for an appeal by the province."These actions, although potentially not inappropriate, may leave the court open to allegations of bias or an appearance of bias," the Ottawa-based lawyer said in an interview Monday."If this was not an Indigenous issue, but if this was a police violence issue and the judge went to a pro-police march after, or if it was a criminal case that dealt with an allegation of sexual assault and the judge went to a MeToo conference and spoke with the complainant after, would we be as comfortable in those cases?"The Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Bar Association declined comment, saying the issue is still before the courts.Mitchell released his decision last Friday, two days before Durocher's fast was to conclude. He told those in court that he planned to release a longer ruling later.In his decision, Mitchell wrote Durocher's fast "represents an admittedly small and personal attempt to encourage all of us to move a little further along in our national journey" towards reconciliation.He also gave the provincial commission operating the Regina grounds six month to craft new bylaws, because the current ones don't allow for "constitutionally protected political and spiritual expression."A spokeswoman for the Saskatchewan courts said it would not be appropriate for Chief Justice Robert Richards to comment on Mitchell's visit to the camp, as Richards presides over the Court of Appeal and there is the possibility of an appeal.Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice spokeswoman Marieka Andrew said in a statement that the office is reviewing the ruling and it has 30 days to decide whether to appeal."The issue of some concern here is the fact that these parties were just before the judge and he still has yet to release ... a full written ruling," Spratt said.But it could be tough, he said, if the government chooses to appeal solely on because of Mitchell's visit to the site. Lawyers could also look at the decision and find other grounds for appeal, depending on what else was said in court, he said.Spratt added that it would be a disservice to exclude judges from having a position or showing support for an issue."This is an issue of reconciliation of Indigenous protest and a very important conversation that needs to happen in Canadian society."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
The Spalte Glacier breaking off Greenland's largest remaining ice sheet signals more bad news for climate scientists. It comes after two consecutive summers of record temperatures in the region.
Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers is stepping aside after failing to win a seat in the legislature. Vickers lost to People's Alliance candidate Michelle Conroy by nearly 1,300 votes in the Miramichi riding. Conroy was re-elected with 45.1 per cent of the vote, compared with 28.6 per cent for Vickers."It's time for another leader to step up and take the party forward," Vickers said after his personal loss and the party's defeat in the provincial election at the hands of the Progressive Conservartives. WATCH | Kevin Vickers says he will step down as Liberal leaderHe said the people of New Brunswick have spoken and he respects "the decision of our citizens." Vickers said he stood by his decision not to agree to Premier Blaine Higgs's conditions for avoiding a snap election. He said Higgs didn't have the mandate to "act on those initiatives." "For the good of democracy, it was the right thing to do," said Vickers. When asked if there was a future for him in politics, Vickers said "never say never." He also said there may be other ways to contribute."I look forward to those challenges," said Vickers. Vickers, who turns 64 later this month, was a political newcomer when he announced his candidacy early last year.He had been riding a wave of popularity after being hailed as a national hero for helping to end the 2014 attack on Parliament Hill by a lone gunman. On Oct. 22, 2014, Vickers was serving as sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons when he fired the shots that killed a man armed with a .30-30 rifle. Michael Zihaf Bibeau had barged into Centre Block on Parliament Hill after killing honour guard reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.Vickers was appointed ambassador to Ireland by then-prime minister Stephen Harper in January 2015.Although born and raised in the Miramichi, Vickers spent most of his adult life living outside New Brunswick, something political pundits speculated may work against him. Liberals lost five seatsThe Liberals lost five ridings that they won in 2018 — Moncton East, Moncton South, Carleton-Victoria, Fredericton North and Saint John Harbour — and roughly three per cent of the popular vote. But they did manage to win back the north-eastern riding of Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou to complete the sweep of the north, as predicted.The popular vote for the Liberals dropped to 34.41 per cent from 37.8 per cent in 2018. That compares to 39.48 per cent for the PCs this time around — up from 31.9 in 2018. New Brunswick Votes 2020 Results: Watch returns come in live on our interactive results page.
TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival is hoping to turn up the virtual glamour with a star-studded awards fundraiser Tuesday night.Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet are among the acting honourees at the second annual TIFF Tribute Awards. The gala, which will be held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to celebrate standout creators in the film industry while raising money for TIFF's year-round programming.Winslet says she's impressed with how organizers have managed to move much of the festival online.The "Ammonite" actor hopes that some of these technological innovations will be integrated into future festivals to reduce the environmental footprint of flying people in from across the globe."In terms of the co-ordinating of my real life and still being able to honour my commitments to the festival, it's been wonderful."However, Winslet acknowledges that it's hard to digitally recreate the boost that smaller independent films can get from a platform as big as TIFF.It's something she's benefited from in her long history with the festival. In a sense, Winslet says winning the TIFF Tribute Award feels like coming "full circle."In 1994, Winslet's first film "Heavenly Creatures," directed by Peter Jackson, won a media award at TIFF, despite causing a stir at the time for its depiction of same-sex desire.Last Friday, TIFF hosted the world premiere of "Ammonite," which stars Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as two women who fall in love while searching for fossils on the craggy shores of southwest England in the 1840s."It's wonderful to be able to contribute to this very important evolving ongoing conversation and how the world views LGBTQ people in their relationships by telling their stories in a way that normalizes them, and expresses same sex love without fear," says Winslet."To be part of this film, 'Ammonite,' and expressing that level of affection for someone of the same sex has truly been one of the most joyful experiences of my career."TIFF typically marks an important early stop on the long road of an Academy Awards campaign, and "Ammonite" looks to be no exception.However, the Oscars conversation may be a little different this season between COVID-19 complications and anticipation of impending changes to the best picture category.Earlier this month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced that starting in 2024, best picture contenders must meet new eligibility criteria aimed at addressing the representation of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and disability both in front of and behind the camera.While Winslet welcomes the move, she wants to see more initiatives like it — the sooner, the better."It should have happened a long time ago," says Winslet. "Change only happens when you actually commit to the changes, and it's incredibly important."Another film generating early Oscars buzz is "The Father," which stars Hopkins as a man losing his memory as his daughter, played by Olivia Colman, struggles to take care of him.Hopkins says he lives in a state of "non-expectation" as far as awards are concerned. Even the TIFF recognition comes as a pleasant surprise, he says."I'm glad they're still doing (festivals) in this odd way," Hopkins says from his Los Angeles home. "It's so strange to not be there."Still, Hopkins says he's grateful to be able to participate in an event that is "near normal" as the COVID-19 crisis has forced the film community to find new ways to come together.Also set to be honoured at the TIFF Tribute Gala is director Chloe Zhao, whose American Midwest-set drama, "Nomadland," was met with widespread praise at TIFF after winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. She will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award, named after the late film critic Roger Ebert.Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard will be recognized with the TIFF Variety Artisan Award, while filmmaker Mira Nair will be honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media.Following the premiere of her debut feature, "Beans," at the festival, Mohawk director Tracey Deer, will receive the TIFF Emerging Talent Award. Selected by TIFF and MGM, the honour celebrates a woman who is making groundbreaking strides in the industry.Canadian hitmaker Shawn Mendes is set to lend his musical talents to Tuesday's festivities with a performance.CTV "etalk'' hosts Chloe Wilde and Tyrone Edwards will preside over the evening, joined by presenters including actors Colin Farrell, Regina King, Olivia Colman and Jodie Foster as well as director Ava DuVernay.Canadians can tune into the awards at 8 p.m. on CTV or the network's digital platforms. Variety magazine will stream the event internationally.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020.Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the federal government is still trying to cool its dispute with the United States over aluminum exports. But he also says it remains poised to retaliate if necessary.