Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances. Senators voted 78-22 to approve Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, as the nation’s 71st secretary of state, succeeding Mike Pompeo. The position is the most senior Cabinet position, with the secretary fourth in the line of presidential succession. Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He has pledged to be a leading force in the administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances. He is expected to start work on Wednesday after being sworn in, according to State Department officials. “American leadership still matters,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing. “The reality is, the world simply does not organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we’re not leading, then one of two things is likely to happen. Either some other country tries to take our place, but not in a way that’s likely to advance our interests and values, or maybe just as bad, no one does and then you have chaos.” Blinken vowed that the Biden administration would approach the world with both humility and confidence, saying “we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad.” Despite promising renewed American leadership and an emphasis on shoring up strained ties with allies in Europe and Asia, Blinken told lawmakers that he agreed with many of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives. He backed the so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, and a tough stance on China over human rights and its assertiveness in the South China Sea. He did, however, signal that the Biden administration is interested in bringing Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Trump's secretaries of state nominees met with significant opposition from Democrats. Trump’s first nominee for the job, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, was approved by a 56 to 43 vote and served only 13 months before Trump fired him in tweet. His successor, Pompeo, was confirmed in a 57-42 vote. Opposition to Blinken centred on Iran policy and concerns among conservatives that he will abandon Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Blinken inherits a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Neither Tillerson nor Pompeo offered strong resistance to the Trump administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention. Although the department escaped proposed cuts of more than 30% of its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, Many diplomats opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancement under an administration that they believed didn't value their expertise. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement. Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice-President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry, who is now serving as special envoy for climate change. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
An Australian gold mining company was arraigned on a slew of environmental charges in provincial court in Dartmouth, N.S., Tuesday morning. Atlantic Mining NS Inc. faces 32 charges under the province's Environment Act related to its gold mining operation in eastern Nova Scotia. Atlantic Mining NS Inc. is a subsidiary of St Barbara Limited, but is better known for its corporate name, Atlantic Gold Corp. The company is accused of "failing to comply with the conditions of an approval" and "releasing substances into the environment in amount, concentration or level in excess of approval level or regulations." The offences allegedly took place between February 2018 and May 2020. Most of the charges are related to the area of Mooseland and Moose River Gold Mines, where the company has an open pit gold mine. The other alleged offence locations named in the charging information are 15 Mile Stream, Jed Lake and Seloam Brook. The company was granted a request to adjourn the case until March 15, when it will enter a plea. Atlantic Gold plans to develop three more open pit gold mines on the Eastern Shore and truck the ore to a central processing facility at Mooseland where it operates the Touquoy mine. The company recently told investors it will proceed next with 15 Mile Stream and Beaver Dam locations. The startup date for its controversial Cochrane Hill site on the St. Marys River has been delayed by several years. There is uncertainty over whether the province will allow the company access to the water supply it wants to use at Cochrane Hill. There is some local opposition because of its proximity to the St. Marys River, home to a remaining Atlantic salmon population. MORE TOP STORIES
Plusieurs pays ont pris l’engagement de réduire leurs émissions de gaz à effet de serre à zéro d’ici le milieu du siècle. Mais de nouvelles recherches montrent que ce n’est pas suffisant.
Organizers of a food bank for Black Edmontonians say there will be many families left behind if the service ends in March. Each week, dozens of families of African and Caribbean descent ranging from two to 10 members collect hampers packed with culturally relevant food. Despite demand, organizers had to cap the program at 90 families so staff and volunteers could keep up with collection, packing and distribution. The service was launched in May thanks to the collaboration of multiple Black-led Alberta organizations under the banner of African Diaspora COVID-19 Relief. But the funding and food from donors such as the Edmonton Community Foundation, Islamic Relief Canada, The Ghana Friendship Society and Loblaws, as well as personal donations, will soon run out. "It is a need that needs to be filled," said Emmanuel Onah, youth program manager at the Africa Centre, where the program is coordinated, clients pick up hampers and donations are being accepted. "It's a gaping hole in all of the resources that are currently available." The Liberia Friendship Society of Canada, the Jamaica Association of Northern Alberta and the Black Students Association University of Alberta are also among more than a dozen groups involved that will meet Sunday to determine next steps. Nii Koney, executive director of the Nile Valley Foundation, who rallied the coalition to action, said the program emerged from weekly meetings among Black organizations looking for ways to best respond to the pandemic. Initially they were surprised by all the middle-class community members who needed help. "People are bringing nice cars, they will come and park in the front, they will come with their wife and husband, they will sometimes come, the whole family," Koney said. "So now I know that if we didn't provide these services, it would be a great disservice to the community." Onah said a large part of the appeal comes from offering culturally relevant food tailor-made for each family whether it's injera, an Ethiopian fermented flatbread, or turtle beans, popular in the Caribbean. "The peace of mind you get when you're eating something that you're familiar with or you grew up with and is inline with your culture and your background — that all contributes to overall wellness. That all contributes to mental wellness, especially in the time where we're in a pandemic," said Onah. The initiative also supports local businesses largely by sourcing food from community stores on 118th Avenue and Stony Plain Road.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says even one case of COVID-19 coming in from abroad is a case too many. He says new restrictions on travel are coming and he is urging Canadians to cancel all travel plans they may have. He says that includes travel abroad and travel to other provinces. He says while the number of new cases linked to travel remains low, the government won't hesitate to impose stricter measures at the border. He says the bad choices of a few won't be allowed to put others in danger. The Liberal government has been hinting that tougher border controls are coming and Trudeau says they are working on what can be done without interrupting trade flows. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Nonfiction 1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 2. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 3. How to Train Your Mind by Chris Bailey, narrated by the author (Audible Originals) 4. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 5. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White, narrated by the author (Thomas Nelson) 6. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, narrated by the author and Adam Skolnick (Lioncrest Publishing) 7. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, narrated by Robin Miles (Random House Audio) 8. Becoming by Michelle Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 9. Fast This Way by Dave Asprey, narrated by the author (HarperAudio) 10. Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta, MD, narrated by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio) Fiction 1. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 2. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, narrated by Rosalyn Landor (Recorded Books) 3. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal, narrated by Sarah Naughton and Katherine Littrell (Brilliance Audio) 4. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn, narrated by Rosalyn Landor (Recorded Books) 5. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, narrated by Amy Landon (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 6. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio) 7. Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner, narrated by Hillary Huber (Brilliance Audio) 8. Dragon Blood – Omnibus by Lindsay Buroker, narrated by Caitlin Davies (Podium Audio) 9. Dispossession by Tayari Jones, performed by Gabrielle Union (Audible Originals) 10. Extinction Shadow by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony J. Melchiorri, narrated by R.C. Bray (Blue Heron Audio) The Associated Press
Calgary's real estate board is predicting home sales, prices and new listings will be on the rise in 2021, but their growth will be restricted by the continued impacts of COVID-19 and reduced demand for oil. The Calgary Real Estate Board says in its annual outlook report that overall sales in the Albertan city and its surrounding neighbourhoods will reach 16,928, a five per cent increase from 16,151 in 2020. CREB is forecasting that prices will edge up by 1.3 per cent to hit $423,307. While new listings fell by nearly nine per cent last year and resulted in the slowest year for new listings since 2002, CREB is expecting they will rise in 2021 as owners who delayed sales during the early stages of the pandemic put their homes on the market. CREB says the market will be helped along by low lending rates and pent-up demand for homes, but persistently high unemployment could spell trouble for the region. CREB believes the region's housing supply would see big gains if layoffs continue and people need to adjust their housing to match their new employment situation. The board warns that consolidation in the energy sector is expected to continue, which would hamper employment and housing activity in the higher price ranges. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
The death toll in Britain from the coronavirus pandemic passed 100,000 people on Tuesday as the government battled to speed up vaccination delivery and keep variants of the virus at bay. Britain has the world's fifth highest toll from COVID-19 and reported a further 1,631 deaths and 20,089 cases on Tuesday. The 100,162 deaths are more than Britain's civilian toll in World War Two and twice the number killed in the 1940-41 Blitz bombing campaign.
Be careful what you wish for, they say. Community volunteer Robbie Jones is celebrating his 57th birthday today as a Town of Mattawa council member. Jones, who was the first runner-up in the 2018 municipal election, fills the seat left open after deputy mayor Corey Lacelle resigned at the end of November 2020. See: 10-year veteran resigning from Mattawa council Mayor Dean Backer said appointing the next in line candidate is the "fairest and most logical" way to fill the seat and council is getting a “great guy” who has volunteered for many years with minor hockey and a number of other initiatives. “It’s prudent we get Robbie on board as soon as possible,” Backer said, noting there is a lot of work ahead for council this year. Jones garnered 285 votes in the last election, 31 more than the next person on the ballot, Bernie MacDonald, and 58 votes behind Councillor Laura Ross, who earned the last of six seats with 343 votes. “I’m happy to get the opportunity to work with my fellow councillors and looking forward to see what we can accomplish,” Jones said Tuesday morning. Other than five years in the 1990s working out west, Jones has been a resident of Mattawa for his entire life. He worked in the rail road business for 30 years before changing careers to drive a logging truck to be closer to his family. He and his wife Lise have one son, Casey, 14, who runs his own landscaping business. The inaugural meeting for Jones will be Feb. 8 or earlier if a special meeting is called before then. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Canada will soon make foreign travel harder in a bid to clamp down on the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday without giving details, prompting major provinces to demand action. A second wave of coronavirus is sweeping Canada and health officials say some hospitals run the risk of being overwhelmed. Trudeau is urging Canadians not to travel abroad and said Ottawa intended to introduce more restrictions.
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps have added a young attacker to their roster, signing Colombian winger Deiber Caicedo.The club announced Tuesday the 20-year-old has agreed to a three-year contract through 2023, with a team option for a fourth season. Vancouver bought the emerging talent's discovery rights from Nashville SC for US$75,000 in general allocation money. Caicedo comes to Major League Soccer following three seasons in Colombia's Categoria Primera A, where he amassed seven goals and 13 assists over 78 appearances, including 53 starts. He also has experience on the international stage, having been called to Colombia's U-15, U-17 and U-20 teams.Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said in a statement that the club scouted Caicedo in September and saw a "very fast and aggressive left-side winger."MLS announced Monday that it is targeting April 3 as the start date for the 2021 season, but no plans have been announced for where Canadian teams will play as the border remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Movies US charts: 1. Tenet 2. News of the World 3. Promising Young Woman 4. American Skin 5. The War with Grandpa 6. National Treasure 7. Honest Thief 8. The Croods: A New Age 9. National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets 10. Let Him Go Movies US charts - Independent: 1. Promising Young Woman 2. Our Friend 3. MLKFBI 4. The Dissident 5. No Man’s Land 6. Some Kind of Heaven 7. Love Sarah 8. Assassins 9. Kajillionaire 10. PG: Psycho Goreman The Associated Press
This story is part of a new initiative to provide content to our Chinese readers. You can find the English version here. 展望2021年，人們希望新冠肺炎大流行能盡快過去，生活可以早日如常。但我們身邊正在經歷入睡困難、焦慮、憤怒或情緒低沉的人比比皆是。疫情的持續所帶給所有人的壓力不言而喻，恢復身心健康之路任重道遠。 在封城和禁止社交的大環境下，如何幫助他人和自己提高的心理的靈活性，增強應對疫情的復原力？ 保泰社區抗疫行動(Project PROTECH)作為加拿大政府的新前沿研究基金(NFRF) 資助的研究項目，現正在招募加拿大講英語、國語或粵語的華人，參加一個名為「應對全球流行病 - 接受，承諾，與賦權」的免費培訓項目(PACER: Pandemic Acceptance and Commitment to Empowerment Response Training)，希望幫助受新冠病毒影響的人提高復原能力。 滿足條件的人，還能獲得相應的報酬。 這個項目自2020年下半年展開以來，以英語培訓了近一百位參加者, 現在保泰團隊持續加強培訓內容, 發展出了中、英、粵三種語言的培訓模式, 推出第二階段的培訓，讓更多社區內的新移民、留學 生、非居民等不同群體都能參與其中。 萬錦市民張女士在參加完培訓後，認為這個項目增強了自己價值觀的建設。「比如我喜歡旅遊，但因為疫情不能去了，我學會了可以用其他事替代，同時依然保持該價值觀在心裏。」 她開始重新思考，自己為什麼喜歡旅遊？是希望尋找快樂，以及和遠方的家人、朋友團聚。「疫情之下，我可以通過看一些書籍、紀錄片，和親友視頻聊天，達到相同的效果。同時我做了未來的旅遊計劃，往這個方向去努力。其實我還是在追求這個價值和東西，這是疫情期間的一種別樣的疏導自己的方式。」 要參加PACER培訓，你須年滿18歲，來自加拿大華人社區，並且至少能流利使用英語、國語或粵語中的一種。你可以是上班族，居家學習的大學生，社區領袖，或是感染了新冠病毒的人士，照顧患病家人的受影響者等。 參加本研究完全是自願的。所有在小組分享的私人信息將被嚴格保密。因此，參與者均須簽署一份保密協議。該培訓項目為期 6 周，以在線自學的模塊進行，每周與其他參與者一同參加由培訓者帶領的在線小組討論。 通過這個培訓，參與者將會學習到正念、接受與承諾療法(ACT)，以及集體賦權心理教育等專業的心理應對技能。Project PROTECH還將邀請你完成培訓前、後以及後續的跟進問卷調查。你還可以誌願選擇參加線上的焦點小組，以幫助評估該項目的有效性。 為表示對該研究項目參與者的謝意，每完成一份問卷，你將獲得$20加幣。參加培訓結束三個月後的後續線上焦點小組，你還將再獲得$30加幣。這項研究已由瑞爾森(Ryerson)大學研究倫理委員會(REB 2020-12)和大學健康網絡(UHN)研究倫理委員會批準，旨在與華裔社區一起共同應對新冠肺炎的持續影響。 下期培訓的每周在線小組討論將於1月27開始，連續 6 周，以中、英、粵三種語言，在每周三晚8點到9點半舉行。培訓人數有限，請在培訓開始前盡早註冊，保泰稍後將推出更多培訓時間表。 想獲得有關保泰社區抗疫行動培訓的相關信息，或有意參與培訓，請訪問網頁 www.projectPROTECH.ca。 Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun
That "smile" is totally contagious. How cute is this dog?!
PARIS — French lawmakers on Tuesday debated an animal welfare bill that would ban using wild animals in travelling circuses and keeping dolphins and whales in captivity in marine parks, amid other restrictions. Circus workers held a protest against the bill outside the National Assembly, saying the measure would cause circuses and jobs to vanish, if it becomes law. “That’s death for circuses,” Royal Circus director William Kerwich told The Associated Press. The bill, which also bans the use of wild animals in television shows, nightclubs and private parties, calls for a transition period of five to seven years depending on the location. The wild animal ban would not apply to permanent shows or to zoos. Anther provision of the legislation is aimed at shutting down mink farms within the next five years. The bill would also require new pet owners to obtain certificates guaranteeing they have the specific knowledge needed to care for their animals. It would stiffen for penalty for committing abuse that leads to the death of pet animals to up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 45,000 euros ($54,750.) Protesting circus workers said French law is already strict enough to ensure the welfare of the animals appearing in their shows. Kerwich, the Royal Circus director, said he is worried about what would happen to the 800 or so animals owned by French circuses. “They are alive, we won't be able to reintroduce them in nature and we won't be able to keep them. Who will pay?” he asked. “We don't want to abandon them.” Kerwich said that about 14 million spectators attend traditional circuses featuring animals in France while 1 million go to circuses with only human acts. Frederic Edelstein, a lion trainer for the Pinder Circus, advocated for “an art that is part of our country's culture.” “A trainer doesn't hurt an animal, he seeks complicity, respect between humans and animals," Edelstein said. “I have 12 magnificent white lions. They love me....It is out of question for me to let my animals go away.” Animal rights activists also organized a gathering near the National Assembly on Tuesday, saying they think the proposed law does not go far enough. “There's nothing about hunting. There’s nothing about intensive farming....So we are here to demand that these gaps be filled,” Muriel Fusi, a representative of the Animalist Party in Paris, said. One Voice, an animal defence organization, called the bill “a big step in the right direction” but said it wants the wild animal ban to be extended to non-travelling circuses and shows. “Maybe we won’t see elephants, lions and hippopotamuses on the roads any more, but a new category of sedentary circuses will be allowed to multiply,” it said in a statement. A vote on the bill is set to take place by Friday. Lawmakers in French President Emmanuel Macron’s party, which has the majority at the National Assembly, support the measure. After the lower chamber votes, the bill will go to the Senate. Most European countries have partially or totally banned the use of wild animals in circuses. In recent years, some major circuses in France announced they were voluntarily ending such acts. An amusement park north of Paris announced Monday it was shutting down its dolphin show. The Asterix park said its eight dolphins would be transferred within two months to other aquariums in Europe because they could not be reintroduced into their natural environment. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
Rapid COVID-19 testing kits have mostly been gathering dust since the federal government delivered them to the province last fall, but some of them are finally being put to use in two Montreal high schools. Asymptomatic students and staff are being tested at random as part of a pilot project, in an effort to determine how effective the tests can be in detecting and slowing down classroom outbreaks. The two high schools taking part in the project are Calixa-Lavallée in Montréal-Nord and the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie in Outremont. A slow rollout of the rapid tests began Monday with staff at the Pensionnat, in an effort to put apprehensive students at ease. "Yesterday was sort of a practice run," said Antonella Picillo, the school's director of student services. "We wanted to really make the students comfortable, so some staff members even got tested in front of students just to show them that it's a quick and easy test." A quarter of the students and staff from both schools who gave their consent will be tested every week, and those who test positive will be isolated. Dr. Caroline Quach, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and medical microbiologist at Sainte-Justine Hospital, is heading the project, and will provide regular updates to the Quebec government. The project will also look at the impact of bringing students and teachers back to school after seven days versus 14 days. The rapid tests — which can be produce results in as little as 15 minutes — will be used to monitor those brought back from isolation early. The province received more than a million rapid testing kits last fall, but most of them have yet to be deployed due to concerns over reliability.
More than two weeks after Canada implemented a rule that incoming airline passengers must show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a plane, the country still appears to be seeing some travel-related cases and the federal government is exploring ways to make it harder to go on trips. As more transmissible variants of the COVID virus emerge across the globe, experts say tightening the leaks around travel becomes even more important, and that the new testing requirements are not likely to catch all cases. COVID projections from Caroline Colijn, a mathematician and epidemiologist with Simon Fraser University, show a potentially grim picture for the next few months, with a skyrocketing spring wave fuelled by community spread of a more contagious variant. Colijn says clamping down on travel is her "top recommendation right now." "There's still a good chance that we can prevent — or at least really delay — large numbers of this high-transmission variant coming into Canada," she said. "And if we can push that peak out to September, we may be able to avert it if most of us are vaccinated by then." Colijn says essential travel needs to be more clearly defined by leaders, and quarantine rules more strongly enforced once people arrive. More stringent restrictions on land border crossings and further limitations on travel within the country will also help, she adds. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canadians should cancel all upcoming non-essential trips they may have planned, other options the government is looking at include implementing a mandatory quarantine in hotels for returning travellers. On Jan. 7, the government implemented a requirement that airline passengers entering Canada must show proof of a negative PCR test that was taken within 72 hours before their flight. Colijn and other experts are hopeful this rule is catching a large number of positive COVID cases, but the 72-hour window — necessary to ensure people have enough time to get results back — also allows the virus more chances to wiggle through. In some cases, very small amounts of the virus, which could grow to infectious levels days later, aren't picked up in testing. Others cases could contract the virus between taking the test and boarding the plane. Dr. Christopher Mody, the head of the microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases department at the University of Calgary, says PCR tests offer "a snapshot in time," meaning the result is only valid on the day the test is taken. "A positive test means you're infected, but a negative test doesn't absolutely exclude infection," Mody said. A Government of Canada online database that keeps track of possible exposure on domestic and international flights shows that since Jan. 7, hundreds of planes have had at least one passenger on board who tested positive for the virus days after landing, and may have been contagious on their flight. Dr. Zain Chagla, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University, says while the negative test requirement is likely helping on a large scale, "it's gonna miss a few people for sure." "Clearly it isn't a perfect system, but there are also a number of people who have been rejected for flights based on their tests," he said. "This just isn't enough to say everyone coming into Canada is completely not infectious at the border." Some experts have suggested the use of rapid antigen tests at airports, either right before boarding or right after landing, as a potential way to ensure positive cases aren't travelling between countries or regions. Dr. Don Sin, a respirologist and UBC professor who's co-leading a rapid test pilot project with WestJet at Vancouver International Airport, says rapid testing could offer a measure of insurance — a second step to be used in addition to the PCR negative test requirement. Rapid antigen tests, which turn results around in 15 minutes, aren't as sensitive as the PCR nasal swab, Sin says, but they work very well in catching positive cases. "If you test positive on the antigen test, you'll test positive with a PCR," he said. "So I think the public can have confidence in the ability of these tests to accurately pick up those who are infectious." Experts say testing can only be part of the strategy to contain the spread of new cases though. The mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which Canada is still implementing, needs to be followed properly. Mody says people also need to understand that a negative test taken days before flying isn't a free pass to skip that isolation period. "We are in a very tenuous time with these variants," Mody said. "If there is community transmission of the variants, we will be in a very serious situation." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously reported that travellers flying from city to city within Canada must show a negative COVID-19 test. In fact, the requirement is for air travellers coming from international destinations.
NEW YORK — Canadian author Souvankham Thammavongsa's “How to Pronounce Knife" is among this year's fiction finalists for the U.S.-based National Book Critics Circle prizes. The critics circle announced five nominees in each of six competitive categories Sunday, and seven finalists for an award for best first book. This year's nominees are the first under new leadership at the NBCC after many of its board members departed in 2020 amid a dispute over how to respond to the summer's Black Lives Matters protests. Among those stepping down was NBCC president Laurie Hertzel, senior books editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She was replaced by David Varno, Publishers Weekly's fiction reviews editor. In the NBCC's fiction award category, Martin Amis was nominated for his autobiographical novel “Inside Story” and Randall Kenan, who died in 2020, for the story collection “If I Had Two Wings.” The other finalists were Maggie O’Farrell's “Hamnet,” Thammavongsa's “How to Pronounce Knife,” which won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Bryan Washington's “Memorial.” The Feminist Press, whose founder Florence Howe died last year, will receive a lifetime achievement award and has a nominee for criticism: Cristina Rivera Garza's, “Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country.” New Republic critic Jo Livingston received a citation for Excellence in Reviewing. Winners will be announced March 25. Isabel Wilkerson's “Caste,” her widely read exploration of American racism; was a nonfiction finalist. The others were Walter Johnson's “The Broken Heart of America: St, Louis and the Violent History of the United States,” James Shapiro's “Shakespeare in a Divided America,” Sarah Smarsh's “She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs” and Tom Zoellner's “Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire.” Biography nominees included “The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X," co-written by Tamara Payne and her father, the late journalist Les Payne, and winner last fall of the National Book Award. The other finalists were Amy Stanley's “Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World,” Zachary D. Carter's “The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes," Heather Clark's “Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath” and Maggie Doherty's “The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s.” In poetry, the nominees were Victoria Chang's “Obit,” Francine J. Harris' “Here Is The Sweet Hand,” Amaud Jamaul Johnson's “Imperial Liquor,” Chris Nealon's “The Shore” and Danez Smith's “Homie.” The autobiography finalists were Cathy Park Hong's “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning,” Shayla Lawson's “This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope,” Riva Lehrer's “Golem Girl,” Wayétu Moore's “The Dragons, The Giant, The Women” and Alia Volz's “Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco.” Beside's Garza's “Grieving,” criticism nominees were Vivian Gornick's “Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader,” Nicole Fleetwood's “Marking Time." Namwali Serpell's “Stranger Faces” and Wendy A. Woloson's “Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America.” Three of last year's most talked about first novels, Raven Leilani's “Lustre,” Megha Majumdar's “A Burning” and Douglas Stuart's “Shuggie Bain," are nominees for the John Leonard Prize for best first book, fiction or nonfiction. The other finalists are Kerri Arsenault's “Mill Town,” Karla Cornejo Villavicencio's “The Undocumented Americans,” Brandon Taylor's “Real Life” and “C Pam Zhang's ”How Much of These Hills Is Gold." The Leonard award is named for the late literary critic, who helped found the NBCC in 1974. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
If supplies of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines to Manitoba don’t resume, appointments at the Brandon vaccination supersite may need to be postponed. That’s according to Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province’s vaccination task force, who joined Dr. Brent Roussin for the daily COVID-19 update on Monday. "As you already know, last week, we were informed about a third reduction in our Pfizer vaccine shipments. Manitoba has been responsible in managing our vaccine supply, but we continue to see the effects of the supply reductions," said Reimer. The planned Feb. 1 supply dropped from 5,850 to 2,340 doses. "We had to stop making appointments for the supersites, both in Winnipeg and in Brandon. So far, we’ve been able to weather the supply disruptions better than most other jurisdictions based on the strategic approach that Manitoba has taken. However, we’re now in a position where we’re still concerned about ongoing supply and may have to postpone some of our appointments if the supplies don’t resume. Reimer said the province will receive an update from the federal government — which is responsible for vaccine deployment to provinces and territories — on Friday. The postponement decision will depend on what the province receives from the federal government on Feb. 8. "We will update Manitobans as soon as possible, most likely on Friday, to let them know if we are expecting that shipment to come in and what the implications are for people who have appointments coming up beginning next week," said Reimer. "We are going to be contacting everybody who has an appointment coming up to let them know about this unknown, as well. So, for now, we’re asking people to plan to keep their appointments for next week and the week after, but to keep your eye on the bulletins and on the website." As for the Northern health region, which has seen half of Manitoba’s new case counts, vaccines are headed up. Reimer said the phone line opened Monday morning to book appointments for the supersite in Thompson. Immunizers will begin putting needles in arms beginning Feb. 1. "This is a slight adjustment from our original plan because instead of using Pfizer, we’re using Moderna temporarily in Thompson," said Reimer. "Also building on feedback from the Northern health region, we will be scheduling appointments for eligible workers in The Pas and Flin Flon for the week of Feb. 8." Vaccination teams are on track to complete first doses at personal care homes by the end of this week — a week ahead of schedule — with enough doses to deliver a second round beginning the following week. The province also plans to release a priority list of all Manitobans Wednesday, with a tentative schedule for the entire vaccine rollout, which will depend on vaccine supply. "The dates that will be attached to that list will have to remain quite fluid because we still don’t know exactly when to expect the Pfizer numbers to change. But we will come up with at least the sequence for Manitobans," said Reimer. Reimer said, so far, there is a 70 to 80 per cent uptake in eligible health-care workers. She said there are various reasons some are taking the vaccine, including having health conditions, such as autoimmune conditions. That made them ineligible until the enhanced process was put in place. "Some people may have other health conditions or allergies that made them concerned and want to seek some opinion from their health-care provider before booking an appointment. Those folks may be in the process right now of discussing with their health-care provider whether or not the vaccine is the right decision," said Reimer. "We’ve also heard of health-care providers who wanted to let other people go first. They felt that their exposure or their own health status was such that they didn’t want to take up an appointment, when there’s other people who might be at higher risk because of their own health, their age." Reimer added 70 to 80 per cent is a high uptake rate for an immunization campaign. In personal care homes so far, the uptake is more than 90 per cent. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
P.E.I. has no new cases of COVID-19 to report, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in her regular weekly briefing on Tuesday. The Island has had 110 confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began in March. Six cases were still considered active as of Tuesday morning. Morrison said that despite the low number of active cases in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, it is too early to consider a bubble involving just those two provinces in which residents could travel back and forth without self-isolating — a partial Atlantic bubble, as it were. She said non-essential travel off P.E.I. is still strongly discouraged. While Nova Scotia has just 15 active cases, New Brunswick has not been as fortunate. It currently has 348 active cases. We learned that this virus is not easily contained and that half measures are not effective. — Dr. Heather Morrison "While we all yearn for a time when we can travel more freely within Atlantic Canada and elsewhere, now is not the time to leave P.E.I. unless it is absolutely necessary," she said. "We learned that this virus is not easily contained and that half measures are not effective." Hockey team must self-isolate Morrison said anyone who leaves the province — including the Charlottetown Islanders hockey team — must self-isolate for 14 days upon return unless they receive an exemption. Morrison said the team can apply to work-isolate, which means they can go directly back and forth to the rink for games and practices, but must self-isolate at all other times. That would rule out players, coaches or team staff going to school or off-ice jobs. So far, Morrison said, 85 people have been charged for violating public health measures during the pandemic, including eight new charges in the past week. She warned that people will continue to be charged if they fail to self-isolate when required. If a restaurant looks too crowded it likely is. We all have a responsibility to make good choices. Do not enter an establishment if it looks too crowded. - Dr. Heather Morrison Morrison also said there will be additional evening inspections at restaurants to ensure COVID-19 health protocols are being followed. She has heard concerns about crowded restaurants where social distancing is not taking place. "If a restaurant looks too crowded, it likely is," she said. "We all have a responsibility to make good choices. Do not enter an establishment if it looks too crowded." More vaccines next week Morrison said new shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines are due next week, and the province remains on track to have all front-line health-care workers, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities, vaccinated by Feb. 16. As of Saturday, a total of 7,117 doses had been administered. The province is now posting vaccine data online showing the breakdown between first and second doses; the dashboard shows that 1,892 Island adults had received both doses as of Jan. 23. Morrison told the briefing that a phone number will be set up next week for people over 80 to call to set up vaccine appointments starting in mid-February. Marion Dowling, P.E.I.'s chief of nursing, also took part in the briefing. She urged people visiting patients in Island hospitals to not bring food or drinks to their loved ones, and keep their masks on at all times. She also asked that visitors not congregate in waiting rooms after visiting patients. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.