House impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline plays video at Trump's impeachment trial of two staffers who recount what it was like to be hiding in the U.S. Capitol as rioters gained access and shots were fired on Jan. 6.
House impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline plays video at Trump's impeachment trial of two staffers who recount what it was like to be hiding in the U.S. Capitol as rioters gained access and shots were fired on Jan. 6.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Facebook says it is lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Political candidates, groups and others will be able to place ads on Facebook and Instagram beginning on Thursday. Restricting political advertisements following the November election was among the host of measures Facebook put in place last year in an attempt to ensure its platform is not used to sow chaos and spread misinformation. Facebook halted U.S. political ads when the polls closed on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. It said at the time that the ban would be temporary but did not give a clear end date. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.” Twitter has banned political ads permanently. Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — A First Nations chief in Nova Scotia has released a letter from Ottawa outlining a plan to have Indigenous fishers participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season. In the letter released today by Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says her department wants to give Indigenous fishers access to commercial fisheries through voluntary buyouts of existing licences. She says her department is prepared to negotiate agreements with Indigenous communities to establish "small-scale" moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season in the "near term." Jordan says the fisheries will operate while negotiations continue on how First Nations in Nova Scotia can affirm their treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood. She says any moderate livelihood fishing activity must be authorized by her office through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia say a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
MARIE JOSEPH – The long and fateful sojourn of MV Caruso, beached below the highway outside this tiny St. Mary’s community, is coming to an end one way or the other. In a statement to The Journal, the Canadian Coast Guard says, “On January 25, 2021, personnel from the Coast Guard’s Environmental Response branch mobilized to Marie Joseph, Nova Scotia, to conduct bulk pollution removal operations on the MV Caruso,” adding: “Coast Guard is developing a permanent solution to the threat of pollution posed by the vessel.” According to Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and Minister of Transportation and Active Transit (formerly Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal), the Coast Guard’s remediation is a “preliminary step to removing the vessel,” adding: “They came in with hazmat suits. It wasn’t like they were hiding.” Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that the Coast Guard notified his office in advance and that the move has been in the works for some time. “They told us they were coming to the area to remove fluids,” he says. “It is my understanding that they’ve had a file on Caruso for a while.” Residents of this coastal village know the boat by its former name, the Sir Charles Tupper, a decommissioned Canadian Coast Guard buoy tender and icebreaker that had been towed into the community’s harbour in 2011 and subsequently hauled onto the shoulder of Highway 7, where it has rusted in the salt air ever since. Since then, the hulk (and the derelict tugboat Craig Trans, which rests beside it) has been an abiding source of complaint and controversy in this community of fewer than 100. In 2017, St. Mary’s municipal council issued a statement declaring that it had “concerns regarding the potential risks that these vessels may pose to the surrounding environment and the economic well-being of the area” and that it had shared its concerns with relevant authorities even though it had “no jurisdiction over ocean salvage operations.” It’s never been entirely clear whether Caruso or Craig Trans are even technically abandoned. Formerly owned and operated by the Government of Canada, they appear to have floated in and out of private hands, like so much driftwood, for years. Meanwhile, neither branch of government has the authority to unilaterally alter or dispose of private property. Still, MacDonald points out, “The federal government doers have jurisdiction over the water that the boats are in. The owners of [Caruso], whoever they may be, are required to meet the standard and make sure that the environment and the waters there are protected.” Indeed, according to the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, 2019, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans “may take the measures that he or she considers necessary in respect of the dilapidated vessel or its contents, including repairing, securing, moving or removing the vessel or its contents or selling, dismantling, destroying or otherwise disposing of them.” Moreover, under a different Act, the Coast Guard can “mobilize” against a vessel that “causes any pollution damage and/or need for cleanup”, according its Emergency Response Levels of Service regulations: “Where the polluter is identified, [we] will advise the polluter of its responsibilities under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and once the polluter’s intentions/plans are known and an On-scene Commander (OSC) is appointed by the polluter, [we] will assume the role of Federal Monitoring Officer. In the event that the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to respond, the CCG will assume the role of OSC.” Regardless, the Caruso’s fate now seems sealed, according to Hines, who says he received first-hand accounts of the Coast Guard’s activities in Marie Joseph last month. “The federal folks had a lot of personnel, equipment, and vehicles in there for quite a long time,” he reported. “They had a tanker truck in there, and they pumped … [Caruso]… out. They took out the bilge water and, I guess, any other pollutants they came across. They were not sleuthing around.” Last August, Hines told the Journal: “This [removing Caruso] has been my passion for the last seven years. I see [it] every week when I drive by, and every week [it] drives me crazy.” In its statement, The Coast Guard says: “The safety of mariners and the protection of the marine environment are the top priorities for the Canadian Coast Guard.” In an accompanying email, Fisheries and Oceans Communications Advisor Stephen Bornais adds, “Check back with us in a week for an update.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
VANCOUVER — A driver has been killed and her passenger was badly hurt in a head-on crash in North Vancouver. RCMP say the collision occurred late Tuesday night on Low Level Road. Police say a vehicle with a lone male inside crossed the centre line, hitting the vehicle with the woman and her passenger. By the time emergency services arrived, the man's vehicle was on fire, although he had been removed before the fire sparked. All three were taken to hospital, where police say the female driver was declared dead, her passenger remains in critical condition and the male has serious injuries. Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
SHERBROOKE – It’s taken eight months and a million dollars, but Historic Sherbrooke Village has managed to paint the town red … and green … and brown … and, indeed, every restoration colour the living museum can conjure to bring tourists back in a post-pandemic world. Frankly, with visitation and revenue from visitation down by 80 per cent in 2020, compared with the previous year’s season, it’s not a moment too soon, notes Executive Director Stephen Flemming: “Visitor volume was very low in 2020, with all of our events, learning programs and public activities halted due to Covid-19. Still, he says, “It was a great year for site improvement and for this we owe a world of gratitude to all levels of government, our staff and our contractors, who assisted in this major undertaking. This 50th anniversary project is being completed on time and on budget and has fulfilled all objectives.” Last June, the Village received $1 million from the provincial government to renovate its world-renowned heritage properties by the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2021. Since then, the grant – part of a province-wide, $228 million community stimulus package designed to offset the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – has been used to repair and upgrade many of the living museum’s roughly 90 vintage structures, and complete work on a new community park. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see that they’ve succeeded during these very difficult times,” says Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and Minister of Transportation and Active Transit (formerly Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal), who represented the province at the announcement ceremony in June. “That wonderful facility was in urgent need of some major capital upgrades for sure, but I knew all along that they had great management.” Perhaps, but it was no walk in the historic park, either. Completed – or very near to completed – projects include: new roofs for Cool House, McMillan House, the nature centre, maintenance storage shed, courthouse, telephone office, boat shop, guide office and shed, the jailhouse, and Exhibit Centre, which also received major bathroom upgrades with accessibility components and outside work. The tearoom was fitted for a new roof, front and sides. St. James Church underwent a full renovation, receiving a new bell tower roof, front window replacements and glass, and an exterior paint job. The woodworking shop sported new windows and doors. Add to this: new LED street lights, 12 heat pumps throughout the Village, re-topped chimney flues, an expanded courthouse bathroom, and a new wheelchair-accessible park replete with gazebo. “Something like this does not come along every day,” says Rodney MacDougall, director of maintenance and restoration at the Village. “There were many challenges along the way … where you are put in charge of organizing a million-dollar budget, and making a village beautiful again. [But] I would absolutely do it again.” So would, it’s fair to say, Mark MacIsaac, who owns and operates MacIsaac Construction, the local construction firm contracted to manage much of the roofing. “It was great to see the historic architecture,” he says. “How well they did stuff back then … The quality of the work was amazing.” Says Lynn Hayne, the Village’s event manager: “Funding from the Canadian Heritage, COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Culture and Heritage and direction from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal allowed us to add an extra week of work for much of the Village staff and purchase cabinets and window coverings to preserve displays and protect the provincial heritage collection against sun damage and fading. In addition, it covered the purchase of electronics to catalogue and record collection items.” According to Flemming, all stimulus funds were spent in Nova Scotia, “with the vast majority spent close to home. This project created jobs and extended seasons for crews and created a major economic stimulus in our community at a time when it was dearly needed. Sherbrooke Village is ready and able to help with recovery from impacts of Covid-19 on tourism along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.” Prior to the outbreak, Historic Sherbrooke Village was one of the province’s must-see destinations, attracting an average of 25,000 visitors a year from across Canada and the world. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is balking at a proposal that would hike the annual fee it pays to the Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL) by 40 per cent, said the community’s Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald. The response follows the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s objection last week to a possible request from ECRL for more money to maintain operations there. In an interview, MacDonald said St. Mary’s pays ECRL, which operates nine branches in eastern Nova Scotia, about $17,000 a year for the Sherbrooke location. Now, he said, it wants “around $24,000” starting in the next fiscal year, which begins April 1. What’s more, he said, it’s not clear whether ECRL will restore the hours of operation at the branch to 25 per week, from the reduced COVID-19 level of 15, once the crisis is over. “We have concerns around the costs for the library services and the hours of operation,” he said. “We already contribute to the Eastern Counties Regional Library just under $17,000 dollars a year. We own the building; we provide the heat and electricity, and the maintenance for the library. They are talking about jumping us up to $24,000 a year.” He added: “Prior to COVID, we were getting 25 hours of service. That’s been reduced, and that’s understandable. Now, we’re concerned that those hours will be cut even more… in the next budget … in the next fiscal year.” In an email, ECRL CEO Laura Emery said, “We’re working on a media release regarding our funding in the 2021-2022 budget and will release that as soon as it is ready.” But, according to documents she supplied, the annual “cost of geographic service” in St. Mary’s is higher than the district’s annual contribution – the former amounting to just less than $25,000 a year. “The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s annual contribution is put toward the annual fixed staffing costs for the Sherbrooke Branch Library,” she added in the email. “There is one Library Assistant based at the Sherbrooke Branch Library.” The ECRL said the problem is not restricted to St. Mary’s. Its documents state that in 2020-21, the cost of service to the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, County of Richmond and Town of Port Hawkesbury also outstripped local government contributions. But MacDonald said St. Mary’s is also perplexed about the way ECRL – whose major funding (73 per cent) comes from the provincial government – allocates the money it receives. “What they are getting from the province, they are using for head office expenses and the cost of supplying the books,” he said. “So, none of that money from the provincial government is going towards the actual operation … the people on the ground running the library service.” A detailed budget breakdown from Emery shows that – for the fiscal year ending March 31 – ECRL’s bottom line was expected to be neutral: revenues and expenses were each pegged at $1,283,522 (up from $1,136,736 the previous year). Revenues included provincial contributions of: $811,800 (operating grant); $46,800 (equity grant); $93,500 (French grant); and $80,000 (on-demand, or Innovation Fund, grant). Municipal contributions amounted to $231,900, while other sources were $19,522. General expenses of $1,200,088 included: $749,530 for payroll; $118,555 for library materials; $115,074 for building and janitorial costs; $82,000 for “innovation projects”; $27,000 for board and staff travel, training and occupational health and safety; and $22,573 for professional services and memberships The documents also include a number of “efficiency statistics” related to ECRL’s operations. In 2018-19, for example, ECRL’s 27-member staff (all nine branches) registered among the lowest in expenses per hour ($61.99) among the province’s nine public library systems. It also posted the fourth-greatest number of hours open. MacDonald said that St. Mary’s staff and council members – one of whom, Everett Baker (District 7), sits on ECRL’s board – became aware of the library’s budget arguments, rationale and priorities in January. “We saw their agendas, and have been having a lot of behind-the-scenes discussions with them since then,” he said. “We’ve been getting correspondence at our staff level from their staff level … We know they think we’re not paying our fair share. Our position is that we are.” The Sherbrooke branch occupies the former Royal Bank building in the community’s downtown area. According to the ECRL’s website, “The building was donated to the District of St. Mary’s in 1994 and was renovated by the municipality through the N.S. Department of Education and Culture’s Library Capital Funding program.” MacDonald said neither St. Mary’s staff nor council has received an official letter from the ECRL on the matter. As a result, he said, “Council has not decided to send a letter [to ECRL] yet. It is up to council if they want to send a letter of concern or if they just want to pay the money. Council has to make a decision on that. That is yet to be determined.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Nova Scotia will receive its first 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine next week, the province announced Wednesday. The vaccine is the third approved for use in Canada. The other two are the Pfizer-BioNtech and the Moderna vaccines. In a news release, the province said the launch of the new doses will be handled by Doctors Nova Scotia and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. "We are pleased that conversations with Doctors Nova Scotia and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia have resulted in a commitment from them to develop a plan by next week to distribute this vaccine to Nova Scotians," said Premier Iain Rankin in the release. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is given on a two-dose schedule. Since the shipment must be used by April 2, the province said all 13,000 doses will be administered as first doses to Nova Scotians age 50 to 64 starting the week of March 15 on a first come, first served basis. That will happen at 26 locations across the province, but those locations have yet to be announced. When asked for further details, the province said more information will be available in the coming days. Does not require ultra-cold storage Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which require cold to ultra-cold storage, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can be stored between 2 and 8 C, similar to a flu vaccine. While the other two vaccines are more than 90 per cent effective against COVID-19, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is 62 per cent effective, based on clinical trials. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the higher efficacy vaccines be offered first to those who are most at-risk for COVID-19. It recommends offering the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people between the ages 18 to 64. On Tuesday, the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, said his team was still trying to figure out how Nova Scotia might use the vaccine, given its limitations. All provinces have to notify the federal government by Thursday whether they want to accept a shipment of AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Strang said at the time he had not yet decided how to advise the premier to respond. That prompted Opposition leader Tim Houston to issue a statement that day criticizing the government's hesitation, saying "the need is too great for a province with the slowest rate of vaccinations in the country." Following Wednesday's announcement, the Progressive Conservative leader issued another statement saying he was "glad to see that the new Premier has listened to concerned Nova Scotians and chosen to accept these 13,000 doses of vaccine." "I hope that by the time future vaccines are approved by Health Canada, Premier Rankin will have a plan in place to be flexible and vaccinate more Nova Scotians," Houston said in the statement. MORE TOP STORIES
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island say there is no evidence of widespread community transmission and the health orders that closed schools and most non-essential businesses for three days will end at midnight Wednesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters that health officials haven't identified the source of an outbreak on the Island. But, she said, officials believe "there is a link" between the cluster of cases in Summerside and Charlottetown that led them to impose a three-day lockdown. "All new cases detected over the weekend are linked to other cases and close contacts or to travel outside of the province," Morrison said. "We are not seeing unlinked cases and there is no evidence of widespread community transmission." Premier Dennis King said the 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence restrictions can be eased. "These are decisions we are comfortable in making because of the information we have gained through the testing," King said Wednesday. "We encourage Islanders to remain extremely vigilant and to continue to practise public health protocols, not just for your own safety but for the safety of all Islanders," he added. Morrison reported one new case of COVID-19 Wednesday, involving a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of a previously reported case. The woman has mild symptoms and is self-isolating. Morrison said results from about 800 tests are still pending, so there may be more positive cases. There are 22 active reported cases in the province — the highest number since the start of the pandemic. She said the three-day modified red alert gave officials time to determine the extent of the outbreak and to interrupt the chain of transmission. Starting Thursday, the province returns to the circuit-breaker measures announced last Saturday, which will remain in place until 8 a.m. on March 14. Each household can identify up to six consistent individuals to gather with. Organized gatherings are limited to 50 people and include concerts, worship services, movie theatre viewings, weddings and funerals. Fitness facilities, museums, libraries and retail stores can operate at up to 50 per cent of standard operating capacity. Morrison said the province expects to get the first shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the next week. King said he spoke to the prime minister Tuesday and told him P.E.I. will gladly accept the newly approved vaccine. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The social media persona "Roaring Kitty," whose online posts helped spark January's trading frenzy in GameStop Corp shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual. He was a key figure in the so-called "Reddit rally," which saw shares of GameStop surge 400% in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels.
SOUTH DUNDAS – Two employees of the Municipality of South Dundas have left their positions in the last month, and a third person is retiring. Recreation program coordinator Jamie Scott resigned from his position, with his last day being on February 16th. Scott was with the municipality for nearly two years and hired in May 2019. Meagan Bingley, who was business retention and expansion coordinator for South Dundas’ economic development department, departed to return to the insurance industry. Bingley was hired in October 2020. Director of Corporate Services andClerk Brenda Brunt informed council last week of her upcoming retirement. Her nearly 31 year career with South Dundas and pre-amalgamation Williamsburg Township has seen Brunt serve as clerk, marriage commissioner and at one point acting-CAO. More information on Brunt’s retirement will be presented in a report to council, which is expected on March 22nd. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that China concocted national security charges to pin on Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig following the arrest of Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver — smacking down a claim by China's ambassador that the cases are not linked. "It is obvious that the two Michaels were arrested on trumped-up national security charges days after we fulfilled our extradition treaty responsibilities toward our ally, the United States," Trudeau told reporters during a news conference today. Kovrig, a former diplomat who was working for an international non-profit group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur who promotes tourism and investment in North Korea, are Canadian citizens who were detained separately by China more than two years ago. They were arrested in December 2018 shortly after Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian officials in Vancouver. Meng was arrested on a U.S. extradition request over allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The two men stand accused of spying on China. Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor, right, were arrested by China in the wake of charges against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and remain detained. (The Canadian Press, The Associated Press) Trudeau's comments came after China's ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, tried to put some distance between the two cases during an interview this weekend with CBC News. Cong was pressed to say why — if the cases are not linked — he brought up Meng's confinement to her mansion in Vancouver when asked about the two Canadian prisoners. Cong said there is clear evidence affirming their guilt but "there's nothing connecting" their case with Meng's. "Chinese officials at the time were very clear that they were absolutely connected as a frame," said Trudeau. "Nothing the ambassador can say now will dissuade me from understanding that it is indeed the case." WATCH | Trudeau says China is holding Kovrig and Spavor on 'trumped-up national security charges'
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has ordered a review of mental health crisis care following the suicide of a teenager who waited eight hours at a hospital emergency room without being helped. Health Minister Dorothy Shepard says she has asked Norm Bosse, the province's child, youth and seniors' advocate, to conduct a review, although the terms have not been set. Lexi Daken, 16, took her own life on Feb. 24, less than a week after seeking help at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. Shephard says the regional health authority has also been asked to identify possible improvements and report back by the end of the month. Green Leader David Coon was seeking a public inquiry into the care Lexi received and says urgent action is needed. Chris Daken, Lexi's father, says he hopes her death is not in vain and that it prompts government to make changes that will help others in the future. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Veteran Canadian strawweight Randa (Quiet Storm) Markos will face Luana Pinheiro at UFC 260 on March 27. It will mark the 17th UFC fight for the 35-year-old from Windsor, Ont., who made her debut in the promotion in December 2014. Markos (10-10-1) has lost three straight and four of her last five, dropping her record in the UFC to 6-9-1. Markos lost a decision to Japan's Kanako Murata last time out in November. Pinheiro (8-1-0) is making her UFC debut after posting a first-round KO win in November over Stephanie Frausto in Dana White's Contender Series. The 27-year-old Brazilian has won her last six outings. The main event at the UFC's Apex production facility in Las Vegas sees Stipe Miocic (20-3-0) put his heavyweight title on the line against No. 1 contender Francis (The Predator) Ngannou (15-3-0). Miocic won by unanimous decision when they met at UFC 220 in January 2018, There are two other Canadians on the UFC 260 card. Flyweight Gillian (The Savage) Robertson, a native of Niagara Falls, Ont., who makes her home in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., faces Miranda (Fear The) Maverick and Quebec middleweight Marc-Andre (Power Bar) Barriault takes on Morocco's Abu (Gladiator) Azaitar. Robertson and Miranda were supposed to meet Feb. 13 at UFC 258 but the Canadian had to withdraw due to a non-COVID-related illness. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Town of Paradise has been named a winner in the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) annual Marketing Canada Awards 2020 in the single publication category for its “Just Imagine Retail Opportunities Brochure.” The brochure, which bears the name of Economic Development Officer Jennifer Penney, who was also awarded the EDAC’s President’s Award in October 2020, paints a picture of a vibrant, young, well-to-do, family-oriented community in hopes of enticing businesses to town. “She leads our efforts for economic development in the town and she does a fantastic job,” said Mayor Dan Bobbett. Bobbett applauded the work Penney has done in the six or so years she has been on staff. “I’d like to throw out a big bouquet to Jennifer Penney,” said Bobbett. “In my first term as mayor, we did an economic development strategy and that identified the need for an economic development officer, and since then we’ve been doing quite well.” He attributes the influx of chain companies and industrial park growth to the town’s commitment to strong economic development. “All those retail opportunities are a result of doing the leg work, and doing the research, and getting the numbers, and having it readily available for businesses when they call to ask questions about our town,” said Bobbett. The brochure, which contains current demographic information, ranging from traffic counts to population to the median household income, is made available to businesses considering setting up shop in Paradise. “These demographics that we have already on file to be readily available, that’s what these companies are looking for when they come to shop,” said Bobbett. “They want to know those things; they want to know what their market is. Jennifer has it already on hand, and she can send out the documentation to these companies…. People ask what are we doing to entice businesses to come. We can’t just go out and say, ‘Businesses, come here.’ We have to have the information, and the economic development officer works with those businesses.” Bobbett said strong economic development is just one piece of growing the community, but it’s an important one. “It’s about building a town that people will want to come live, work, and play in,” he said. “We still are maintaining one of the fastest growing municipalities in Atlantic Canada. Even during COVID last year, we had 77 housing starts — significant to everyone else on the Avalon. It’s a young population, and a growing population.” Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Writer and director Eddie Huang hopes his first feature film, "Boogie," will help shift expectations about the type of Asian-American stories shown on the big screen. "This is the next level, where we get to come in and tell our authentic, specific stories," said Huang, whose 2013 autobiography was adapted into the ABC television sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat." The coming-of-age story centers around a high school basketball star who dreams of playing in the National Basketball Association while navigating family pressure, love, and rivals.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says extra vaccine shipments could make it possible to vaccinate all willing Canadian adults before September. The United States has an earlier target at the end of May, but Trudeau cautions against using the U.S., with its worse record of infections and deaths, as a guide for what Canada does.
OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada's ability to produce vaccines are among over 100 research projects receiving new federal money. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $518 million Wednesday he says will support the work of nearly 1,000 researchers. The projects receiving the cash also include ocean sensors to track climate change and setting up a digital archive to house records related to residential schools. The vaccine-related funding will be directed to the researchers from the Universite Laval-affiliated hospitals in Quebec City. Their aim is to create a public vaccine production program that will help develop and test vaccines and launch related startup companies. Frustration that Canada is reliant on foreign manufacturers to access the COVID-19 vaccine has led to calls to boost Canada's domestic capabilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said Wednesday the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey says the decision is a game changer for the province's vaccination prospects. British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry raised eyebrows Monday when she announced her province will delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to four months. Henry said Monday she expected the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to issue a statement in the coming days aligning with B.C.'s decision. Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today and say all are linked to previously reported infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press