White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
A man is dead after he crashed his vehicle into the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place early Sunday, Toronto police say. Police said they were called to the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue at 4:19 a.m.. The man was driving at high speed and slammed into the gates. He was pronounced dead at the scene.Police have not released his age. Officers are currently investigating the crash.
When Kelly Lopes learned back in the spring that the Ontario government was ordering her teenaged children to stay home from school for their own safety but expected them and their parents to continue going to work, fear and anger set in almost immediately. In the seven months since then, however, the grocery store cashier said those emotions have given way to a numbness she said is sustaining her as she battles through the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario's hardest-hit region.She said that as the second wave has swelled to shocking heights in Brampton, Ont., her job has gotten harder and customers have gotten more combative. "A lot of us are burnt out," Lopes said Friday. "I get that we're not paramedics or first responders, but we're still a huge essential to a country that needs to eat. Without us being here, how do you get your food?"Peel Region, just west of Toronto, has led the province in COVID-19 cases per capita for weeks now, with upwards of 180 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents — nearly triple the rate of the province as a whole. Brampton makes up less than half of Peel's population, but accounts for more than 60 per cent of its COVID-19 cases. Lopes said the fear she feels working on the front lines is compounded by customers who push back when she reminds them to keep a distance or wear a mask. "We're tired. We're numb. We're overworked. We're frustrated, because it's not our rules," she said. "We're just trying to keep everybody else safe."And data from Peel suggests that workplaces like Lopes' have some role to play in the virus's spread. Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, a public health expert involved in preparing the province's COVID-19 projections, said Thursday that the virus is hardest to control in regions such as Brampton where households are larger and there's a higher proportion of essential service workers. "These are long-standing structural factors here," he said. "These are not transient things related to the pandemic that drive these much higher rates of infection."A quarter of all households in Brampton consist of five or more people, compared to less than 10 per cent of households provincewide, according to the latest census. And just 12 per cent of Bramptonians live alone, the census data shows, compared to nearly a third of Torontonians. Meanwhile, Peel Public Health said there have been 137 workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 in the region since the pandemic began. A full third of those were in manufacturing or warehouse settings, while 14 per cent were in retail and 11 per cent were in food processing. Brampton has a disproportionately large number of people who work in the manufacturing industry, said Gagandeep Kaur, an organizer with the Warehouse Workers Centre. The city is home to numerous Amazon "fulfilment centres" and other large-scale warehouses. Kaur said she's heard from workers that it's hard to maintain physical distance while moving around some of those warehouses. But she said seeking safer employment isn't a simple matter, noting many workers are new immigrants to Canada trying to get on their feet. "If you are a new hire in that facility, and you are a new immigrant in this country, your priority at that time is not the working conditions or what the employer is offering, because you have a family to feed or you have bills to pay," she said. Dr. Farah Mawani, a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, said that's the sort of systemic racism that has put racialized people — and particularly new immigrants — at greater risk during this pandemic. "We know that there's a very high portion of racialized immigrants who are highly trained and skilled, but very underemployed. So they're forced to work in manufacturing because they can't get other jobs," she said."She said the issue is even worse for temporary foreign workers, whose migration status is tied to their employment at a certain company. If they complain about poor working conditions, Mawani said, they risk losing not only their income but their place in Canada. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he feels his city has been unfairly maligned by those who grouse about high rates of COVID-19 without examining the root causes. "There needs to be a bit of appreciation for the sacrifice that a lot of our essential workers are taking on," he said. "When you think about it, if you go to a grocery store, wherever you are in Canada, the likelihood is that someone from Brampton has helped process that food."He said essential workers in the city need greater support from the provincial and federal governments, while the city itself requires its own COVID-19 isolation centre. Ottawa announced Thursday that it would open such a facility in Mississauga, Ont., another part of Peel Region.But Brown said that's a 40 minute bus ride away for some of Brampton's more vulnerable residents, many of whom don't have cars. "An isolation center is useful when people can't afford to rent a hotel room for 14 days, or they don't have a place where they can safely isolate," he said. "So I want to make sure that we have that support."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Ontario reported another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday. The new cases include 503 in Peel Region, 463 in Toronto and 185 in York Region. There are 1,443 more cases marked as resolved. The Ontario health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting that 3.7 per cent of the tests processed are positive.Public health officials said this week that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Ottawa: 79. * Durham Region: 73. * Waterloo: 63. * Hamilton: 60. * Windsor-Essex: 37. * Halton: 31. * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30. * Simcoe Muskoka: 30. * Niagara Region: 28. * Middlesex-London: 20. * Thunder Bay: 19. * Southwestern: 17. * Eastern Ontario: 10. * Brant County: 10.(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)The seven-day average for the number of new cases reported per day has reached a new high of 1,548, the highest it has been since the pandemic began. There are also 586 people in hospital, nine fewer than on Saturday. However, Saturday's hospitalization data saw an increase of 54 over a single day. Those hospitalizations are also nearly double what they were a month ago. There are 155 people in intensive care units as of Sunday and 99 of those individuals are on a ventilator, the same number as Saturday.The number of deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began has reached 3,648. A total of 503 of those deaths occurred this month.Of Sunday's deaths, one person was in his or her 50s, four people were in their 60s, three people were in their 70s and there were 10 people in their 80s and six in their 90s, respectively. 11 infections linked to Vaughan sports centreYork Region Public Health says that 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor soccer games at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.The public health region issued a notice on Sunday to alert the public about a cluster of confirmed cases that emerged after a group of 20 to 25 people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. "While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.Everyone who played soccer over both days are considered high-risk and have been told to isolate for 14 days. York Region was moved to the province's red control zone on Nov. 16, which prohibits the playing or practising of team sports except for training. York Region continues enforcement blitzOfficials also continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province's "red" zones. The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued tickets at 16, a news release said.An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges.Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 "compliance education activities," the release said.New regions moving into more restrictive zones MondayOn Friday, Ontario announced that five more regions would be moved into more restrictive zones on Monday at 12:01 a.m.They include: * Red-Control * Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. * Orange-Restrict * Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. * Yellow-Protect * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. * Lambton Public Health. * Northwestern Health Unit.
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
TORONTO — Three promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates may be driving stock markets higher and fuelling hopes for an economic rebound, but experts say Canada's major banks will continue playing it safe as they report earnings and wrap up their fiscal years this week."You're seeing stock prices react to potential improvements in the economy that you know are quite a ways out from now, but the banks live in the moment," said James Shanahan, a senior equity research analyst for North American financials at Edward Jones."The fact that the vaccine could come in six months or be available widely in nine months doesn't do a lot to help banks with some troubled loans or help stressed borrowers.”Though Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have touted vaccines with efficacy rates above 90 per cent in trials so far, Shanahan believes banks won't be quick to bake those bright spots into their outlooks. Instead, the focus will remain on long-term resiliency when they unveil their fourth-quarter results. The quarter marks the end of a topsy-turvy year that no one predicted 12 months ago. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, financial institutions had to tear up their plans and start preparing for an economy where customers were losing their jobs and needing leniency with loans, with some even declaring personal bankruptcy.Banks have put aside record-breaking amounts of money — at least $16.5 billion across the Big Six — to cover loan defaults.Shanahan says that trend will start to ease."Because of the big reserve building that's already taken place, the big banks aren't going to need to provide for significant credit losses unless there is some big economic change in the material environment," he said.CIBC analysts Paul Holden and Kevin Lai made similar predictions in a note to investors.They believe provisions for credit losses — money banks set aside to cover bad loans — will decrease by 20 per cent quarter over quarter.TD Bank Group, Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia will likely see the largest drop in provisions because of the amounts they put aside in the previous quarter, they said. TD set aside $2.19 billion, Scotiabank $2.18 billion and BMO $1.05 billion in the third quarter.The CIBC analysts forecast adjusted earnings per share will be down 2 per cent on average, compared to the previous quarter, though they noted Scotiabank and TD will see an increase due to the change in loan loss provisions.Highlighting the difficulty of rating financial institutions' performance as a whole, Barclays analysts John Aiken, Joseph Ng and Aria Samarzadeh estimated earnings across all the Canadian banks would fall by 21 per cent year-over-year and anticipated a mixture of approaches to expenses.“In what is typically an expense-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Q4 to close out the fiscal year … we anticipate expenses could be lumpy and varied,” they said in a note to investors.They are expecting a strong bounce back in 2021 but are keeping predictions for earnings growth in 2022 “fairly muted” because of the challenging conditions.Travel, food, hospitality, retail and entertainment businesses have likely changed forever and even if government restrictions were to be lifted entirely, some people may still be hesitant to return to life as it were before the pandemic, the analysts said.“With the biggest economic decline since the Great Depression, we maintain that the road to recovery remains uncertain and will take some time.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:RY, TSX:CM, TSX:TD, TSX:BNS, TSX:BMO, TSX:NA)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
A Sherwood Park teacher is being recognized for an unusual classroom project he created at Salisbury Composite High School. Kristian Basaraba teaches what he calls a "sk8trepreneur" course and one of his recent projects, Exploring Colonialism, Creativity and Reconciliation with Skateboards, combines skateboard design with Indigenous history. The project has just won him the Governor General's History Award for Excellence. "I'm super honoured, it's not really about the award, although, you know it's nice to be recognized," Basaraba said. "I'm more excited about the fact that this project has the potential to bring some of these issues to light on a national stage." Basaraba asked his students to create their own skateboard brands including a logo and purpose for their brand, all with an Indigenous theme. "Then they had to create brand assets, so they had to handmake a skateboard," he said. Basaraba recruited Edmonton-based Cree artist Jon Cardinal and Cree professional skateboarder Joe Buffalo from Maskwacis for their expertise and experience. "My goal was for my students to work with the artist and create skateboard graphics that looked at Canadians' colonial past," Basaraba said. Cardinal has experience as a skateboard designer and Buffalo had attended a residential school so the pair were able to pass on their perspectives to the students, some of whom are indigenous. "We had students whose grandparents attended residential schools and dealt with the effects of that and so they shared some of that story with us," Basaraba said. One design that really stuck out for him was by student Georgia Lantz. "Her image was of a group of Indigenous youth in a classroom being watched over by a clergy person and all of their eyes are blanked out," Basaraba said. "It's a really powerful image." Lantz said she and her fellow students were given creative freedom, even if their design was controversial. "I could really do what I thought was best and most meaningful," the Grade 12 student said. "I wanted to show the loss of identities that kids faced in residential schools and the religious trauma that was forced upon them." Lantz is happy to hear her teacher is being recognized for the unorthodox project. "It's pretty cool," she said. "I know he put a lot of hard work into the class and it really showed." As an added bonus, Basaraba arranged to have the students' designs displayed at Edmonton skateboard shop Local 124. "We had an actual kind of art exhibit and we had it there for five weeks," Basaraba said. "So that was kind of neat, the fact that they actually had their art out in the community." Basaraba believes it's important for everyone to be aware of Canada's past, including the wrongs that were committed, and he's happy to play a role in that. "I think we see with regard to Indigenous culture, a lot of systemic racism that exists and it continues to exist," he said. "By studying the past, we tend not to make those mistakes in the future and so that's in the hands of the youth. "I want people to not sugarcoat it and not push all of those issues under the rug. I wanted to bring them to the forefront and have my students kind of engage in them, and I wanted them to have a voice with regard to where that path to reconciliation will go." The award-winning teacher hopes to keep it rolling into the future. "I think this project is something that can be done annually with a new group of students and just continue that conversation."
Police are investigating an assault with a weapon after a woman was stabbed at a residence in Dartmouth early Sunday.In a release, Halifax Regional Police said officers responded to a residence on Canso Lane around 7:10 a.m.There, they found a 29-year-old woman who had been stabbed. She was taken to hospital with what are believed to be serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.Police remained at the scene Sunday morning. The release said the matter is in the early stages in the investigation and there are limited details available at this time.It said there is no ongoing threat or concern to the public.Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.MORE TOP STORIES
A Saville Row tailor is using 21st-century technology at its 117-year-old business to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and reach customers abroadView on euronews
Les producteurs laitiers se disent satisfaits de l’annonce de la ministre de l’Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau sur la deuxième année de l’indemnisation promise pour les concessions faites dans le cadre des accords commerciaux ainsi que l’échéancier pour le solde des paiements. La ministre Bibeau a annoncé le paiement des indemnisations promises et réclamées depuis plusieurs mois par les producteurs et l’opposition à la Chambre des Communes. Ils recevront le reste des versements sur une période de trois ans dès 2020, soit environ 38 000 dollars par an pour un producteur ayant 80 vaches. Les producteurs laitiers du Canada (PLC) avaient besoin de plus d’assurance pour « investir et accroître leur efficacité » selon un communiqué. Ils aimeraient être mieux préparés pour faire face à l’intensification de la concurrence des produits laitiers importés et fabriqués à partir de lait produit ailleurs à la suite des concessions accordées par les accords commerciaux auxquels Ottawa a souscrit sur la scène internationale. « Ces investissements importants à la ferme ne peuvent être effectués qu’avec un certain degré de certitude par rapport aux compensations promises par le gouvernement. La réduction des délais pour les paiements est une reconnaissance par le gouvernement de l’importance de la concurrence étrangère à laquelle nous sommes confrontés. C’est pourquoi l’annonce d’aujourd’hui est si importante », a déclaré Pierre Lampron, président des producteurs laitiers du Canada. Passer à la dernière étape du plan Les PLC envisageaient de réaliser en 2020 trois étapes de leur plan de travail avec le gouvernement. Il s’agit de l’obtention du paiement de la deuxième année du programme de rémunération de huit ans, l’élaboration d’un échéancier des paiements pour les années restantes ; et l’élaboration d’un plan pour l’indemnisation complète et équitable pour l’ACEUM. « Nous tournons maintenant notre attention vers le dernier point de notre plan de travail, soit l’indemnisation pour l’ACEUM, et nous avons hâte d’entamer les discussions avec la vice-première ministre Freeland et la ministre Bibeau », a ajouté M. Lampron, reconnaissant à l’endroit du premier ministre Justin Trudeau qui a donné suite à son engagement. Les producteurs canadiens ont concédé d’importantes parts de marché dans l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG), l’Accord de Partenariat transpacifique global et progressiste (PTPGP) et plus tard L’Accord Canada–États-Unis–Mexique (ACEUM). « La capacité de réussite du secteur a été mise en péril par la signature de ces trois accords commerciaux », a repris le PLC, signalant que d’ici 2024, 18 % de notre production laitière nationale aura été transférée à des producteurs étrangers qui fourniront du lait pour les produits laitiers importés qui se retrouveront sur les tablettes des épiceries canadiennes. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
Canadian pension funds and insurers are facing a shrinking universe of higher-quality private debt investments to lift returns in a low-yield world, as the coronavirus pandemic has crushed many businesses, while banks maintain lending to better ones. The tightening supply of this high-yielding credit comes as many Canadian institutional investors have been accelerating their exposure to the private debt. Private credit is issued primarily by closely held companies, offering a premium over corporate bonds due to fewer disclosures and less liquidity.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona's personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologistDr. Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighbourhood.Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona's relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor's office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday.It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona's medical records.Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.The Associated Press
ROME — Rescuers on Sunday retrieved the body of an elderly woman, the third fatality in the Sardinian town of Bitti, which was partially buried a day earlier by mudslides after torrential rainfall.The Italian news agency LaPresse said that the corpse of the 89-year-old victim had washed downhill from near her home to the town basketball court.On Saturday, the bodies of the two other victims were found. One was a rancher who was caught up in the raging muddy waters on his way home; the other was a 90-year-old man in his home.The mud in the streets reached the second floor of many buildings. Rescue crews and residents on Sunday, walking on top of the heavily packed mud, found themselves flanking upper-story balconies in the town of 2,700 people in east-central Sardinia in the province of Nuoro. The floodwaters and mounds of mud overturned and smashed cars, leaving vehicles half-buried in dirt and debris.Geologists noted that the storm-triggered calamity was the latest of several similar ones, including one in November 2013 that claimed 19 lives, to afflict the Mediterranean island. They stressed that many inhabited areas were developed on geologically unstable terrain.Sardinia Gov. Christian Solinas on Sunday lamented what he said was “excessive bureaucracy” in the failure to implement projects, funded in the wake of the 2013 flooding, to make areas of the island geologically safe.The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's COVID-19 active outbreak list continues to grow, with the province adding multiple sports teams and identifying two medical units to the list over the last few days.In non-household settings, the provincial government confirms an outbreak when two or more people test positive for COVID-19.On Thursday the Raymore Rockets Hockey Team was identified as having an active outbreak, as were Regina's Doogz Diggers Hockey Team, the Bro-Ci-Tops Hockey Team and the Southey Marlins Hockey Team. Gailenes Child Care and cast members of the Turvey Centre's Louis Riel play in Regina, and Standard Motors in Swift Current were also identified as sites of active COVID-19 outbreaks on Thursday. On Friday, more sports teams were identified as having active outbreaks, including Prince Albert's U15 Bantam Thunder Hockey and U18 Lehner Electric Foxes Hockey teams.The Lloydminster Men's Shelter, Regina's PTI Transformers Inc. and Prince Albert's River Breeze Personal Care Home and St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral were also identified as sites of active outbreaks on Friday.An outbreak was declared at the Shellbrook Curling Club, which was also the subject of a recent exposure alert released by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.On Saturday the Regina General Hospital's hemodialysis unit reported a COVID-19 outbreak, as did the dialysis unit at Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital and Fairview School in Swift Current.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — who sometimes has embraced the label “Trump of the Tropics” — said Sunday he’ll wait a little longer before recognizing the U.S. election victory of Joe Biden. Speaking to reporters while casting a ballot in municipal races, he also echoed President Donald Trump's allegations of irregularities in the U.S. vote. “I have my sources of information that there really was a lot of fraud there,” he said. “Nobody talks about that. If it was enough to define (victory) for one or the other, I don't know.” Asked if he would recognize Biden's victory, he said, “I am holding back a little more.” He also expressed doubts about Brazil's current electronic voting system, which he has suggested is vulnerable to fraud. He has urged the country to go back to a paper ballot system for the 2022 presidential election. The conservative Brazilian leader has appealed to the same sort of right-wing populist base in Brazil that Trump has courted in the United States, and has welcomed comparisons to the U.S. president. Like Trump, he has embraced unproven treatements for the new coronavirus and has campaigned to ease restrictions meant to combat it, arguing the economic loss is more damaging than the illness itself. The Associated Press
Mummers might already wear masks, but they still have to abide by other COVID-19 restrictions. Having thousands of people disguised in doilies stroll down the streets of St. John's just doesn't jive with a recommendation from provincial health officials to only go mummering with close contacts this year. The annual Mummers Parade is moving online, along with most of the regular festival events leading up to it."Everything that we do, typically, is back. It's just in a digital platform," said Mummers Festival Executive Director Lynn McShane.No parade in pandemicA typical parade day starts with a "rig up," where people pick through tables of clothes to find a costume. This year, starting at 1:30 p.m. NT on Dec 12, organizers will be on Facebook Live offering up tips and ideas for what to wear.The parade itself will be replaced by a video of people in their mummering best. The festival is asking anyone who wants to be in it to dress up, record themselves, and send in a snippet by Dec 1.The parade day stream will end with a virtual concert.McShane said hosting most of the festival on the internet opens up possibilities for who can take part. "People who are not residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are just loving the opportunity to be able to join in from afar," she said. There are presentations, panel discussions and crafting lessons planned in the two weeks ahead of the parade.All the events and most of the required supplies are free, but donations are encouraged.Bring your own boot"The thing with mummering is eventually you take off your mask, so in terms of this year and COVID, I don't know if it offers much protection," Ryan Davis said in an interview ahead of his online ugly stick workshop Saturday. In past years, he's taught people how to put the instrument together in person.Festival volunteers predrilled the sticks and punched holes in bottle caps to ease at-home assembly. Participants could register and pick up a kit in St. John's containing all the ugly stick essentials at no charge — they just needed to have an old boot or sneaker for the bottom.For people who didn't have a kit from the festival, Davis offered up alternatives.He said they're not an essential mummering accessory, but they do amplify the experience."It's actually great if you want to go mummering because you don't want to take your nice guitar or your fancy instrument," Davis said."This is something you can beat up and beat around, so in that way, it's great for mummering."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
New HIV infections are at their lowest rate since the disease first hit British Columbia, according to top researcher Dr. Julio Montaner.Last year, on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Montaner declared the epidemic of HIV/AIDS over in B.C. because infection rates had fallen so low. This year, despite concerns that COVID-19 restrictions would get in the way, the spread of HIV has declined even further. Montaner is the executive director and chief physician at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the head of the HIV/AIDS Program at St. Paul's Hospital.He was instrumental in turning HIV infections from a death sentence to a manageable condition. Now, he is concerned the success he has helped create in B.C. is not happening elsewhere. "The rest of the country and the rest of the world are falling behind," said Montaner. In April, after pandemic restrictions came into place, Montaner and others were concerned. HIV testing rates fell and people struggled to access health care. After four decades of hard work on the AIDS pandemic, to Montaner, it was "unthinkable."Now, he worries, we squandered the opportunity to prepare for the second wave of COVID this past summer, when new COVID infections were low. "We wasted the summer celebrating our success without taking responsibility collectively that we need to be cautious," he said. "I am very concerned that the way things are going with shutdowns and lockdowns and competition for health-care resources."Montaner worries B.C. is not up to speed on contact tracing, hasn't managed to expand testing and implement rapid testing, approaches he calls "game-changers" in controlling HIV."We don't seem to learn from the past," he said. "It's very frustrating."Fight against HIV/AIDS 'in peril'Montaner is hopeful incoming U.S. President Joe Biden will show leadership internationally on HIV/AIDS.He blames the lack of leadership under President Donald Trump, the financial crisis, and now COVID, for stalling the global effort. "We have the threat of COVID today that, unfortunately, has taken all of the oxygen out of the room and made it so HIV services are in jeopardy." said Montaner. He says the next step is to "recapture the imagination" of world leaders who have let HIV/AIDS fall off the agenda. "We know what to do. All we have to do is implement it." To hear the complete interview with Dr. Julio Montaner on CBC's The Early Edition, tap the audio link below:
NEW YORK — Testing a novel release strategy, Universal Pictures' animated sequel “The Croods: A New Age” had one of the best opening weekends of the pandemic, grossing $14.2 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.Whereas new releases have traditionally lasted around 90 days in theatres, Universal has mapped out a shorted theatrical window in deals with major chains AMC and Cinemark that gives the studio the option to move new releases to premium video-on-demand after just 17 days. “The Croods: A New Age” is expected to shift to the home before Christmas for a $20 rental. For an industry reeling from the pandemic, it's part of wider changes seeping through the industry.“The Croods: A New Age” grossed $9.7 million Friday-Sunday, which rivals even the weekend start for “Tenet” in October. Warner Bros. didn't break down the three-day weekend figures for “Tenet,” which began preview screenings in the U.S. on a Monday, but said it grossed $20.2 million in its first week in U.S. theatres plus its first two weeks in Canadian theatres.While the opening for “The Croods: A New Age” was something Hollywood hadn’t seen in months — a movie that outperformed expectations — it was still only a sliver of what the industry usually sees in the typically busy holiday movie season. Last year, “Frozen II” led all films over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend with $123.7 million, while “Knives Out” scored $41.7 millionSince “Tenet” opened, most larger releases have been postponed or detoured to digital, sometimes while still playing in theatres overseas. The Walt Disney Co. steered “Mulan” to a premium purchase on Disney+, but opened in China and elsewhere. Next month, Warner Bros. will release “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously on HBO Max and in theatres. Disney has uprooted the Pixar animation “Soul” to its streaming platform.That's left smaller films to lead what's left of the box office — about 40% of the normal number of theatres. Most have tapped out around $4 million on opening weekend. The Kevin Costner and Diane Lane film “Let Him Go” debuted with $4.1 million in ticket sales from 2,454 locations earlier this month. The body-swap horror movie “Freaky,” with Vince Vaughn, has been No. 1 the last two weekends after debuting with $3.7 million.One of the biggest differences is that Universal spent more heavily to market the $65 million “Croods” sequel from DreamWorks Animation. It played in 2,211 locations, or about half the usual amount for such a release.Overseas, the film grossed $20.8 with almost all of that — $19.2 million — coming from China.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPJake Coyle, The Associated Press