Tougher COVID-19 restrictions and a major Grammy snub: In The News for Nov. 25

·5 min read

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 25 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The Ontario government is expected to spell out its guidelines today for celebrating the upcoming winter holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Toronto and Peel Region are currently under the grey or lockdown level in the province's tiered COVID-19 alert system, with those restrictions to stay in place at least until the week of Christmas.

Public health measures under the lockdown level include a ban on indoor gatherings except with those in the same household, as well as closing down restaurants for all but takeout and delivery.

The province's top doctor said earlier this week it seemed unlikely the situation would improve in those regions enough over 28 days to warrant moving them to the red alert level, which is one level lower.

In Alberta, tougher COVID-19 restrictions were announced Tuesday that included limits on social gatherings and less face-to-face class time for students.

Premier Jason Kenney said there are to be no indoor gatherings, but people who live alone can have up to two personal contacts.

He says students in grades 7 through 12 will transition next week to at-home learning and the school holiday break will be extended from Dec. 18 to Jan. 11.

Banquet halls, conference centres and concert venues must also close.

Kenney added that anyone who can work from home should do so and masks will be mandatory in workplaces in Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding areas. The measures will be in effect for three weeks and re-evaluated after that.

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Also this ...

A review of the Catholic archdiocese of Montreal's handling of complaints against a pedophile priest is to be released today.

The archdiocese enlisted former Quebec Superior Court justice Pepita Capriolo to examine the church's response to complaints against former priest Brian Boucher.

Archbishop Christian Lepine is expected to speak about the report, tabled in September, at a news conference today.

Lepine requested the review himself, saying he wanted to establish who knew what in relation to Boucher's crimes.

Boucher was sentenced in March 2019 to eight years in prison for abusing two boys after being found guilty in one case and pleading guilty in the other.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

U.S. President Donald Trump says he is not giving up his fight to overturn the election results, even as agencies across the federal government begin to support president-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.

Career federal officials are opening the doors of agencies to hundreds of transition aides ready to prepare for Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.

And on Tuesday, Trump signed off on allowing Biden to receive the presidential daily brief, the highly classified briefing prepared by the nation’s intelligence community for the government’s most senior leaders.

An administration official said logistics on when and where Biden will first receive the briefing were still being worked out.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

The European Union has committed to be "creative” in the final stages of the Brexit trade negotiations but warned that whatever deal emerges, the United Kingdom will be reduced to “just a valued partner,” far removed from its former membership status.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said "genuine progress” has been made on several issues.

And she said that on the divisive issues of fisheries, governance of any deal and the standards the U.K. must meet to export into the EU, the bloc is “ready to be creative, but we are not ready to put into question the integrity of the single market.”

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On this day in 2010 ...

Steven Chand, 29, convicted of trying to raise funds for the so-called Toronto 18 terror plotters, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He had been in jail since June 2006 but because of credit for time served, he only had to serve another seven months and 10 days.

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In entertainment ...

The Weeknd angrily slammed the Grammy Awards, calling them “corrupt” after the Canadian pop star walked away with zero nominations despite having multiple hits this year.

The three-time Grammy winner criticized the Recording Academy on Tuesday after he was severely snubbed, despite having one of the year’s biggest albums with “After Hours” and being tapped as the Super Bowl halftime headline performer. He also topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless.”

“The Grammys remain corrupt,” the singer said on Twitter. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

The harsh words come less than a year after the Recording Academy's ousted CEO accused the group that determines nominations in the top categories of having conflicts of interest and not engaging in a transparent selection process.

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ICYMI ...

A researcher from the University of Alberta is being recognized for her innovation that uses the sharp edges on salt crystals to destroy COVID-19 droplets on reusable masks.

Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate, says a solution of mostly salt and water is used to coat the first or middle layer of the mask.

As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, she says the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, which damage the bacteria or virus within five minutes.

Rubino collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago.

She is being recognized today with an innovation award from Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that honours researchers from academic institutions.

The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval.

Rubino says it could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020

The Canadian Press