A council has apologised after gravediggers began digging up a Somerset nature spot as they practised burials.
Credit: Bharati Pardhy via Facebook
A council has apologised after gravediggers began digging up a Somerset nature spot as they practised burials.
Credit: Bharati Pardhy via Facebook
That change in the air isn't just the coming of spring: there's a shift happening in the political dynamic surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations. After weeks of the federal Liberal government taking heat for the slow arrival of vaccines in Canada, it's provincial premiers who must now answer to jittery, impatient voters hoping to be immunized as soon as possible. New Brunswick's Liberal opposition is now pushing Premier Blaine Higgs and his Progressive Conservative government for more details about the provincial vaccination plan — details they say other provinces have been providing to their citizens. "We're not trying to play politics with this, but there's certainly not a lot of information being given out to New Brunswickers, and New Brunswickers are asking questions to their MLAs," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson. Opposition Liberal leader Roger Melanson (CBC News) In January, Higgs said many more New Brunswickers could be vaccinated each week, if only there were enough vaccine. Now those supplies are ramping up fast. New Brunswick received 11,760 doses last week and a similar number is expected this week. Melanson says those doses should be administered as quickly as they arrive. "We're seeing deliveries, much bigger deliveries than what we had been getting since January, so now the onus has shifted onto the provincial governments," says political scientist Stéphanie Chouinard of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. Deputy minister of Health Gérald Richard told the legislature's public accounts committee Feb. 24 that New Brunswick would be ready for what he called "a flood" of vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. "We are very confident that we have a good plan in New Brunswick," Richard said. "It was approved by the COVID cabinet and ratified by cabinet a few months ago." Department of Health deputy minister Gérald Richard, left(Jacques Poitras/CBC) But the only detail the province provided during Monday's vaccine update was that 2,400 more long-term care residents would be done this week, accounting for about a quarter of the doses expected to arrive. And officials have given varying estimates of how many people can be vaccinated per week. In January, when deliveries to the province were still a trickle, Premier Blaine Higgs said 45,000 could be done, if only the province had enough vaccine. On Thursday he told reporters the province could do 40,000, then added it might be possible to double that to 80,000. Last Saturday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told CBC's The House that New Brunswick could vaccinate "up to 4,000 people a day," which works out to a maximum of 28,000 per week — below Higgs's estimate. Meanwhile, other provinces are moving faster, or at least providing more detail, on their rollouts. This week, Nova Scotia announced its plan for 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third to be approved in Canada. A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press) The doses arrive next week and Nova Scotia doctors and pharmacists will administer the doses to people aged 50-64 in 26 locations around the province starting March 15. New Brunswick has provided no such detail on what it will do with the approximately 10,000 doses it will receive. Higgs says that will be discussed by the all-party COVID cabinet committee next Tuesday and spokesperson Shawn Berry said the province will probably use it for some of the groups identified for early vaccination. Berry said 3,200 people were scheduled to be vaccinated this week but some clinics were delayed because of winter weather. He said doses listed as "available" by the province — more than 13,000 as of Thursday — are earmarked for clinics. "To prevent the risk of disruption of clinics, we don't plan to use them the same week they are scheduled to arrive in case there is a delay," he said. As an example, he said the province received more than 11,000 doses last week and a similar amount will be used at First Nations clinics that started this week. Berry also said Higgs's figure of 80,000 vaccinations per week being possible is correct. Higgs said last Friday one reason for the lack of detail is the uncertainty of supply that plagued the provinces for the first two months of the year. "When we schedule appointments, we will have a vaccine to put with it," he said during last week's CBC political panel on Information Morning Fredericton. "I would like to see a map out over the next two or three or four months of a fixed quantity so that we can plan well." Not when, but how Melanson said he's satisfied with the "who" and "when" so far but wants to know about the "how" — how people will contact, or hear from, the province to arrange their shots. At the Feb. 24 public accounts committee meeting, Liberal MLA Jean-Claude d'Amours also pointed to a Brunswick News report that the province was "urgently" calling for help in long-term care homes from anyone qualified to administer vaccines — another sign of lack of preparedness, he said. Whether New Brunswick's plan is really behind other provinces remains to be seen. The fluctuations in vaccine deliveries to Canada caused short-term alarm and a lot of political finger-pointing but in the end did not endanger the overall vaccine delivery target for the first three months of 2021. Still, Chouinard points out that even those temporary delays probably led to more illness and deaths. D'Amours noted at the public accounts committee that the percentage of COVID-19 doses the province was administering was slipping. Liberal health critic Jean-Claude d'Amours(CBC) The week before the hearing, 21 per cent of all doses received in New Brunswick hadn't been used. It rose to 25 per cent last week and 28 per cent this week. "Supply is not the issue right now," Melanson says. "The issue is capacity to roll it out." The province has been holding back a lot of vaccine for second doses. But with the recent announcement that second doses will be delayed to maximize first doses, those hold-back numbers should now diminish. On Thursday the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island governments said the delay to second doses will allow everyone in those provinces who wants to be vaccinated to get their first dose by June. Higgs told reporters that's his target as well. He said more details on how delayed second doses and new vaccine approvals will change the province's rollout plan should be coming next week. Berry said 7,503 of 11,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and first-dose clinics for all long-term care facilities will be finished over the next two weeks.
The Friends of Hudson’s Hope Society is already planning for the Christmas season, and have applied to the BC Hydro GO Fund asking for $7,500 toward its food bank and hamper programs. Both programs combined cost $24,000 to run each year, and half the funding has already been secured, says Society Administrator Patti Campbell. The Society's thrift store was closed for three months at the start of the pandemic, the main source of revenue for the non-profit. “Anything grants or assistance from the outside helps. Donations were a challenge for a while, but we’re ready for another year,” said Campbell. “We’re taking things day by day; our thrift store is a lot slower than it was, pre-pandemic.” The society remains a lifeline for many in Hudson's Hope, providing numerous social services including a mobile palliative care bed, financial support for medical travel, addiction and disability support, and disaster relief. “We’re close knit, and no one allows anyone else to go without. If it wasn’t for our community, we would have struggled last year,” said Campbell. “But the community really steps up, it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s our organization or others, we can always count on them.” The annual food drive wasn’t the same last year due to COVID. Campbell noted residents missed the face-to-face time with the local fire department, which was replaced with socially-distanced drop off points. “That’s part of the whole fundraiser, is people get to see the fire department, they get to talk with them, they get to interact with them,” Campbell. Anyone looking to donate or volunteer with the society can phone 250-783-9211, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop by in person. email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (18,125.72, down 194.95 points.) Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up five cents, or 8.33 per cent, to 65 cents on 20.7 million shares. Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Up 64 cents, or 2.44 per cent, to $26.89 on 17.3 million shares. Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE). Energy. Up 47 cents, or 4.95 per cent, to $9.96 on 13.8 million shares. Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Up 13 cents, or 0.29 per cent, to $44.59 on 11.8 million shares. The Supreme Cannabis Co. Inc. (TSX:FIRE). Health care. Down two cents, or 7.14 per cent, to 26 cents on 11.6 million shares. Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Energy. Up seven cents, or 5.47 per cent, to $1.35 on 10.9 million shares. Companies in the news: Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ). Up 71 cents or 1.9 per cent to $38.36. The move by U.S. President Joe Biden to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline in January continues to plague Canadian oil companies, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. forced to digest a related $143-million charge on its fourth-quarter results on Thursday. If not for the blemish on its earnings in the last three months of 2020, analysts said the company would have registered a solid beat on expectations driven by strong oilsands mining production and operating cost cuts. The company's production of synthetic crude from its oilsands mining and upgrading operations reached a record of 490,800 barrels per day in December due to high utilization rates and ongoing incremental production growth projects. Last year's operating costs fell by $2.10 to $20.46 per barrel of synthetic crude. Bombardier Inc. — While the business jet market will take "several years" to return to pre-pandemic levels, Bombardier Inc. plans to capitalize on growth of after-sales service to achieve its goal of US$7.5 billion in sales in 2025. In its outlook released Thursday, the Quebec aircraft manufacturer said it expects to turn free-cash-flow positive next year and generate more than US$500 million by 2025. Its operating profit is expected to reach US$1.5 billion while the adjusted operating margin target has been set at 20 per cent. Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (TSX:CFW). Up six cents or 1.5 per cent to $4.04. Calfrac Well Services Ltd. reported a fourth-quarter profit of $125.9 million, boosted by a gain on the settlement of debt. The oilfield services company says the profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31 amounted to $2.19 per diluted share. The result included a $226.3-million gain on the settlement of debt and a $54.2-million deferred income tax expense. Calfrac posted a net loss of $49.4 million or $17.07 per share diluted in the fourth quarter of 2019 when it had fewer shares outstanding. Revenue was $180.7 million, down from $317.1 million a year earlier. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir "Guantánamo Diary," has been adapted into a movie, The Mauritanian, which also awarded Jodie Foster her most recent Golden Globe.
WASHINGTON — The federal government won't let Michigan shut down the Line 5 pipeline, Canada's natural resources minister said Thursday as he dismissed opposition comparisons to the thwarted Keystone XL project. Seamus O'Regan sounded almost combative as he vowed to defend the 1,000-kilometre line, which bridges an environmentally sensitive part of the Great Lakes to link Wisconsin with refineries in Sarnia, Ont. "We are fighting for Line 5 on every front and we are confident in that fight," O'Regan told a special House of Commons committee on the relationship between Canada and the United States. The Enbridge Inc. pipeline carries an estimated 540,000 daily barrels worth of oil and natural gas liquids, and is vital to the energy and employment needs of Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, as well as northern U.S. states, he added. "We are fighting on a diplomatic front, and we are preparing to invoke whatever measures we need to in order to make sure that Line 5 remains operational. The operation of Line 5 is non-negotiable." In November, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered Line 5 to be shut down by May, accusing Calgary-based Enbridge of violating the terms of the deal that allows the line to traverse the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The straits, which link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, boast powerful, rapidly changing currents that experts have said make the area the worst possible place for an oil spill in the Great Lakes. Pipeline opponents in the U.S. — many of the same voices who helped make TC Energy's proposed Keystone XL expansion an environmental rallying point over the last decade — have vowed to see it shut down. Enbridge, which has plans to fortify the underwater segment of the line by routing it through a tunnel under the lake bed, is fighting Whitmer's order in court. O'Regan was unequivocal Thursday when asked if he believes the governor's concerns have any merit. "No I do not," he replied. "This is a safe pipeline, it has always been a safe pipeline, (and) the owner is taking further measures to make sure it has continued safe operation." O'Regan also took pains to insist he remains "confident" that Enbridge and Michigan will reach an agreement to allow the line to continue to operate before Whitmer's drop-dead date in May. Conservative MP Mark Strahl noted that the federal government had failed to prevent U.S. President Joe Biden from cancelling Keystone XL, and pressed O'Regan on how the plan for Line 5 was different. "It sounds an awful lot like the plan to advocate for Line 5 is a carbon copy of the plan to advocate for Keystone XL," Strahl said. "Why are you expecting a different result?" "These are very different," O'Regan said as he defended the federal Liberal efforts on Keystone XL, which Biden cancelled on his first day in the White House. He also said he expressed Canada's defence of both pipelines to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm when the two spoke for the first time on Wednesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Canada's premiers are demanding that Ottawa immediately give them an extra $28 billion for health care this year, with a promise of at least a five-per-cent hike in the annual transfer payment each year thereafter.
NDP Leader Gary Burrill says he's "very hopeful" the provincial government might finally be willing to consider a sick pay policy to cover all workers in Nova Scotia. Burrill told reporters on Thursday that he recently discussed the matter during a meeting with Premier Iain Rankin. The NDP has long advocated for a policy that would bring sick pay to everyone, including workers who are not part of a union. Last year, the party tabled legislation that would have allowed everyone to earn a half day of paid sick leave for every month of work, to a maximum of six days a year. That bill was not supported and died on the order paper. But with renewed calls from Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, for people to say home when they're sick to help keep a handle on the spread of COVID-19, Burrill believes the time is right for everyone to have access to paid sick days. Rankin says he wants to see how other jurisdictions handle the issue of paid sick leave for workers.(CBC) Viral transmissions often happen in the workplace, said Burrill, which is why so many other places, including 13 states in the U.S., are moving to institute paid sick leave. "It's a striking thing that in Nova Scotia today, in the midst of the pandemic, we have got over 1,000 nurses who don't have paid sick leave because they're working on a casual basis," he said. "So this is not an intelligent program from the perspective of public health." Rankin said at this point he's encouraging employers to understand that when people are sick, they need to be able to stay home. Still, the premier told reporters that he's interested in "all public policy that helps the lives of Nova Scotians." Rankin said he's looking at how other provinces treat the issue, and trying to determine if it makes the most sense for the government to take the lead or leave it to employers to settle with their employees. Understanding the ramifications Tory Leader Tim Houston said there might be a place for the government to take the lead through legislation, similar to the way the minimum wage is handled, but he added it would be important to understand any ramifications for businesses that might come from such a policy. It could be better to leave it to employers and their employees to address the issue, said Houston. "I do believe that, for the most part, they're on the same page." Houston said he's sympathetic to people struggling financially who might have to make the decision between going to work sick or staying home and missing a pay cheque. "I want to work with them, I want to support them," he told reporters. "We just need to make sure that we understand how it would work." MORE TOP STORIES
VICTORIA — The B.C. government has eased the eligibility requirements for small and medium-sized businesses applying for funds under its $345-million pandemic recovery grant program. The province has also extended the deadline for businesses to apply from the end of this month to Aug. 31, or until all the money has been spent. Businesses with up to 149 employees must now show a 30 per cent drop in revenue in any one month between March 2020 and the time of application compared with the same time period during the year before. The grant program previously required businesses to show a 70 per cent drop at some point during March or April last year, plus additional revenue losses of 30 to 50 per cent from May 2020 until their application. Ravi Rahlon, the minister of jobs and economic recovery, says the province has been "nimble" with the program and the changes directly follow feedback from the business community. He says about $55 million has been distributed through the program so far and influx of applications hasn't slowed down, though he couldn't say how many more businesses may now apply given the latest changes. "Certainly we have some businesses that have applied that weren't able to get the funding because they didn't meet (requirements), and now we'll be able to call them and tell them that in fact they do have funding available." This is the second time the government has eased the program's eligibility requirements. Businesses may apply for grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, with additional funds available to tourism-related businesses, which Kahlon says represent just over half of applicants to the program so far. The province says businesses don't need to resubmit existing applications and those received previously will be reviewed under the new criteria. In a statement, Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone urged the NDP government to eliminate the requirement that businesses must be at least 18 months old. Kahlon says the rule stands and businesses that apply by the new deadline must have been operating since last March, "so essentially anyone that had a business when the pandemic started can apply for this grant." B.C. is also offering up to $2,000 to be paid directly to professional service providers for businesses that need help creating a required recovery plan. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
À travers l’Histoire, ce sont surtout les hommes qui possédaient le pouvoir politique. Cela n’a pas empêché plusieurs femmes d’influencer leurs décisions, voire de tirer les ficelles en coulisses, souvent anonymement. Quelques femmes sont toutefois parvenues à s’affirmer comme personnage politique incontournable à part entière. Voici le bref portrait de trois d’entre elles. L’ère victorienne dure 63 ans, de 1837 à 1901, dépassée seulement par celle d’Elizabeth II (qui en est à sa 69e année). Le règne de Victoria marque une époque charnière pour l’empire britannique, qui s’industrialise et se modernise. En 1815, l’empire compte 61 millions de sujets. À la mort de Victoria, il en compte presque 389 millions, soit 24 % de la population mondiale. Elle obtiendra même le titre d’impératrice des Indes, en 1876. On la surnomme la grand-mère de l’Europe, puisque les mariages qu’elle arrange et les alliances qu’elle tisse permettent à ses petits-enfants d’accéder aux plus importants trônes du continent. Cette toile de liens familiaux devait assurer la stabilité politique de l’Europe, après les guerres napoléoniennes. Mais cela n’empêchera pas son petit-fils, Guillaume II, empereur d’Allemagne, de déclarer la guerre à ses cousins Nicolas II, tsar de Russie, et George V, roi de l’empire britannique, et de plonger le monde entier dans la Première Guerre mondiale, en 1914. Parmi tous les pirates de l’histoire, Ching Shih est la plus fascinante. Alors qu’elle travaille dans un bordel à Canton, en Chine, elle marie l’influent pirate Cheng I en 1801. Ensemble, ils parviennent à fédérer plusieurs petits groupes de pirates pour former une coalition redoutable. Lorsque son mari meurt en 1807, Ching Shih manœuvre pour demeurer au pouvoir. Elle marie son fils adoptif et gagne le support et la loyauté de membres influents de la coalition. En 1809, cheffe incontestée, elle contrôle une flotte de 1 800 jonques (voiliers chinois) et commande entre 60 000 et 80 000 pirates. Sa flotte est si grande et si disciplinée qu’elle rivalise avec celles de la Chine impériale et de l’empire portugais, terrorisant la mer de Chine méridionale. À toutes fins pratiques, elle gouverne l’équivalent d’un État, prélevant même des taxes dans plusieurs villages côtiers. Après une série de défaites, elle doit toutefois se rendre en 1810, mais réussit à négocier une amnistie auprès de la Chine, pour elle et ses pirates. Ils devront déposer leurs armes… mais pourront conserver leur butin. Il peut être difficile de séparer la réalité du mythe lorsqu’on parle de la dernière reine d’Égypte. Chose certaine, elle était une politicienne habile et rusée. Nommée co-régnante avec son jeune frère, à la mort de son père en 51 av. J.-C., elle parvient peu à peu à concentrer le pouvoir entre ses mains. Elle s’allie d’abord avec Jules César, alors qu’il devient maître incontesté de l’Empire romain. Ils auront un enfant ensemble : Césarion. Après l’assassinat de César, elle s’allie à Marc Antoine. Difficile de dire si leur alliance était le résultat d’un amour passionné comme le raconte Shakespeare, ou plutôt d’un calcul politique de Cléopâtre. Quoiqu’il en soit, lorsque la rivalité entre Marc Antoine et Octave mène à la guerre civile, Marc Antoine est défait. Cléopâtre préfère se suicider avec du poison plutôt qu’être capturée par Octave, qui deviendra Auguste, premier empereur romain. Malgré les meilleurs efforts de Cléopâtre pour préserver sa dynastie et l’autonomie de son royaume, l’Égypte deviendra une province romaine après sa mort. Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Newfoundland and Labrador's minister responsible for the status of women says there's been a recent increase in calls to the province's domestic violence help line but there are services available to help women living with violence. Lisa Dempster says the increase in calls is concerning, but she's encouraged that women are reaching out for help, despite the public health restrictions in place. "While we are in lockdown, you do not have to feel you are locked down at home with an abuser, so we do know that there's been some increase in calls," she said. Dempster didn't give specific details about how many more calls the line is receiving. The domestic violence help line was launched in June. When someone calls or texts, the system will automatically detect the region they're in and connect them with a trained professional at the nearest transition house. If necessary, they can then be connected to services, like women's centres or police, for further help. Non-profit groups said they saw a significant increase in domestic violence calls during the early stages of the pandemic. We know that some of the calls coming in are more focused on physical violence. - Lisa Dempster Dempster said the pandemic has had a greater effect on women, and restrictions can create added pressure for women living with violence. As a result, the types of calls the line is receiving has also changed, she said. "Prior to the pandemic, we would get various calls to the line, could be around financial abuse, different types," she said. "But right now — and we know the pandemic has been really difficult for many people and it's not impacted all of us equally — we know that some of the calls coming in are more focused on physical violence." During an election, the government is in caretaker mode, but Dempster is still the minister, and she says has been checking in with staff in the department at least once a week. She said the increase in calls began within the past week. "Yesterday, maybe, when I learned there had been an increase, I felt compelled to get out, to do my part to hopefully reach some women that are in unsafe situations," she said. Help available for women experiencing violence The minister urged women not to stay in an unsafe situation at home because of the public health restrictions in alert levels 4 and 5. "To women who are struggling with violence in their lives today, I want you to know that help is available," she said. "There are services right across this province, and when you feel you are ready and you feel that it's safe for you to reach out, there are organizations waiting to help you." Dempster said transition houses across the province are open and have room to accept women in need. She said, on average, the transition houses are now at about 55 per cent capacity. "While we've made good strides and we're moving in the right direction, certainly there is progress that can be made," she said. "We're grateful that we have fared better than many other provinces. Still, we have our own issues — all is not well and we need to get out and we need to talk about those. We need to hear from folks out in the community and we need to put whatever services in place that we can to support them." The province's domestic violence help line is 1-888-709-7090, and can be reached by call or text, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s attorney general has promised a thorough investigation of allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least two women. But if the investigation finds evidence of wrongdoing, what then? Who gets to decide what discipline, if any, the Democrat might face? New York has an impeachment court, last used in 1913, but there are other options, like a public censure, or just letting the matter play out in the court of public opinion. Here’s a look at what could come next in the investigation: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S REVIEW Attorney General Letitia James said her office will hire a private law firm to investigate Cuomo's conduct and issue a public report. Details, like the scope and length of the investigation are unclear. The inquiry could just focus on the two members of Cuomo’s administration who said they felt harassed. Or investigators could seek out other women who were made to feel uncomfortable, even those outside the administration. Former Cuomo adviser Lindsay Boylan says the governor commented about her appearance, summoned her to an uncomfortable private meeting in his office after a holiday party and gave her an unwanted kiss at a meeting in 2018. Boylan also says the administration leaked her personnel files to reporters after she accused him of harassment. Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, said Cuomo asked about her sex life and if she had ever had sex with older men, and talked about wanting a girlfriend, which she viewed as the governor asking for a relationship. A third woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times the governor put his hands on her cheeks and asked to kiss her at a 2019 wedding. The three-term governor has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but acknowledged he does kiss people’s faces as a greeting and has teased people about their personal lives in a way some women interpreted as flirting. “I didn’t mean it that way,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “But if that’s how they felt, that’s all that matters.” One possible blueprint for the investigation is one Cuomo himself oversaw as the state’s attorney general in 2010 into his predecessor, former Gov. David Paterson. Cuomo enlisted the state’s former chief judge, Judith Kaye, to examine allegations Paterson pressured a woman to drop domestic violence allegations against a longtime aide. Paterson was also accused of violating state ethics laws by accepting free Yankees World Series tickets and ethics commissioners ended up fining him $62,125 for falsely testifying he intended to pay for them. Kaye took about four months to issue a report on the domestic violence probe, finding Paterson committed errors of judgment but should not face criminal charges. WHAT IF INVESTIGATORS FIND WRONGDOING? Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Wednesday that if the investigation shows something inappropriate did happen, Cuomo should resign. If Cuomo refused to go, one option could be impeachment. That process would start in the Assembly. If a majority of members vote for impeachment, a trial would then be held with a jury of senators and Court of Appeals judges. At least two-thirds of the jurors are needed to convict. New York used this process to oust Gov. William Sulzer from office in 1913. A legislative committee found Sulzer failed to report thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and commingled campaign funds with personal funds. Sulzer blamed his downfall on the Democratic Party machine of Tammany Hall, and he blasted the court’s secret deliberations: “A horse thief in frontier days would have received a squarer deal,” he complained. IS THERE A PUNISHMENT SHORT OF IMPEACHMENT? Either state legislative chamber could decide to censure the governor by majority vote, according to New York University School of Law professor Stephen Gillers. That would amount to a stern public rebuke, a largely symbolic penalty. No lawmakers have expressed public support for censuring Cuomo amid the investigation, and there’s no indication it’s being floated as an option down the road. “A public slap on the wrist seems inadequate for the moment,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris. In 1892, the state Senate censured three senators for refusing to vote on a bill. And in 2007, an assemblyman was censured and lost his position as ranking member on the chamber's alcoholism and drug abuse committee for sleeping at the home of a 21-year-old female intern after drinking at a sports bar together. Predicting the appetite for a punishment now might be premature, with the investigation still incomplete. “If there are more stories that come out, depending on who you’re talking to, people may have different sensibilities,” said Assembly member Jo Anne Simon, who chairs the legislative ethics commission. CIVIL COMPLAINT? The governor, like any one else, could face civil penalties if someone sues him for sexual harassment or files a complaint with a state or federal agency. That could lead to civil penalties, a cease-and-desist order or an order to change his practices. “Could somebody then bring a lawsuit for civil penalties based on the finding of the (attorney general)?” attorney Richard Rifkin, who was special counsel to the governor in 2007 and 2008 and serves as legal director at the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. “They could.” HOW ABOUT CRIMINAL CHARGES? It's also possible that a prosecutor could bring criminal penalties based on the attorney general's report, according to Rifkin. Harassment could constitute a crime if it involves forcible physical touching of a sexual nature, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts. Cuomo has insisted he didn't touch anyone inappropriately and said if he kissed or touched anyone, it was in the way that politicians have been greeting allies and constituents for ages. ___ Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report from New York. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Results of a study led by Metro Vancouver's transit operator reveal copper on high-touch surfaces is lethal to bacteria. A statement from TransLink says the findings of the industry-leading trial show copper products kill up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of surface contact. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TransLink was the first transit agency in North America to test copper on high-touch surfaces. The pilot study was launched after unrelated studies showed copper is both durable and effective at killing germs. Phase 1 of the pilot, which was fully funded by mining firm Teck Resources, began last November and continued for five weeks on surfaces of two buses and two SkyTrain cars. A second phase will begin in the coming months using a larger sample to verify the results, testing copper over a longer period on more transit vehicles, and focusing tests on the most effective products identified from Phase 1. TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo says they are excited to find out more about the impact of copper on viruses such as the ones that cause COVID-19. "This research could help us, other transit agencies, and anyone with surfaces in shared public spaces keep high-touch areas as clean as possible,” she says in the statement. The project stems from a partnership between TransLink, Teck, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. Teck funded the initial phase as part of its Copper & Health program and the company will also support Phase 2. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the case involves a man in his 60s who is a close contact of a previously reported infection. She says the man initially tested negative but was retested after developing symptoms. Morrison is reminding all Islanders to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and to isolate until the results come back. Prince Edward Island has 23 active reported cases of COVID-19. The province has reported a total of 138 infections and no deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - Même si la baisse des nouveaux cas de COVID-19 observée depuis la mi-janvier se poursuit, la Direction régionale de la santé publique (DRSP) de Montréal espère retarder le plus possible la progression de la nouvelle souche du virus qui pourrait causer une troisième vague au printemps. Les variants gagnent du terrain Lors d’une conférence de presse tenue mercredi, la directrice de la Santé publique de Montréal, docteure Mylène Drouin, a souligné que les cas de variant représentaient 15 ou 16 % des cas positifs dans les premiers jours de mars, alors qu’ils ne comptaient que pour environ 12 % la semaine dernière. Le mois dernier, on estimait qu’ils représentaient de 8 à 10 % des cas. Il est désormais acquis que les variants font l’objet d’une transmission communautaire, même si les cas demeurent pour l’instant concentrés dans des secteurs géographiques précis et qu’ils sont principalement associés à des éclosions sous surveillance, surtout en milieu scolaire. La question n’est donc plus de savoir si, mais plutôt quand le variant B117, plus contagieux et plus virulent que la souche originale du coronavirus, deviendra prédominant dans la métropole. La santé publique évoque une fenêtre de trois et six semaines durant laquelle il faudra redoubler d’ardeur pour « supprimer le virus » tout en vaccinant un maximum de personnes vulnérables. Montréal toujours au rouge La docteure Drouin rappelle par ailleurs que Montréal se maintient sur un plateau avec des taux d’incidence qui demeurent élevés, malgré la diminution du nombre de nouveaux cas, diminution qui se poursuit après le pic observé en janvier. Avec 152 nouveaux cas enregistrés dans la dernière semaine, dans Ahuntsic-Cartierville, l’arrondissement demeure parmi ceux qui compte le plus de nouveaux cas, et ce même s’il s’agit de l’arrondissement qui a enregistré la plus forte baisse des nouveaux cas dans les deux dernières semaines. Comme les nouveaux cas, les hospitalisations étaient en baisse dans les trois centres hospitaliers du Nord de l’Île pour un total de 50 personnes alitées en date du 3 mars. Et pour la première fois depuis la fin janvier, le nombre de personnes aux soins intensifs est repassé sous la barre de 15. Chose certaine, Ahuntsic-Cartierville s’apprête à franchir le cap des 8500 cas depuis le début de la pandémie, et on y a rapporté deux nouveaux décès dans la semaine du 23 février au 1er mars, et quatre de plus sont venus s’ajouter au bilan depuis. Vaccination à vitesse grand V En date de mercredi, 20 000 personnes avaient déjà été vaccinées dans le cadre de la campagne de vaccination de masse à Montréal. Pour la seule journée du 2 mars, ce sont près de 1500 personnes qui avaient rendez-vous dans les centres de vaccination du CIUSSS du Nord. Mercredi après-midi, toutes les plages horaires disponibles à la clinique de vaccination de Cartierville étaient déjà réservées jusqu’à la fin mars, « ce qui démontre l’engouement des gens pour recevoir leur vaccin », souligne la porte-parole du CIUSSS. Elle assure que des améliorations continues seront apportées pour répondre aux problèmes qui n’ont pas manqué de survenir dans les premières heures de l’opération, dont les files d’attente. Elle réitère l’importance de ne pas se présenter plus de dix minutes à l’avance pour un rendez-vous afin d’éviter les rassemblements devant les centres de vaccination. Certaines « corrections » ont déjà été apportées, ajoute-t-elle, notamment concernant la possibilité qui a été offerte initialement aux personnes âgées de 60 ans et plus d’être vaccinées à titre d’accompagnatrices. Les directives ministérielles prévoient que seuls les aidants naturels de 70 ans ou plus peuvent ainsi se faire vacciner en accompagnant leurs proches à leur rendez-vous de vaccination. Les politiques ont été ajustées en conséquence, indique Lynne McVey. Pour l’instant, la vaccination n’est accessible qu’aux personnes qui sont en mesure de se rendre dans les centres de vaccination, mais des options alternatives pourraient s’offrir bientôt, dont la vaccination en pharmacie qui doit débuter le 15 mars. Le « cocktail variants et semaine de relâche » à surveiller Dans tous les cas, la Santé publique se dit confiante de pouvoir vacciner toutes les personnes de 70 ans et plus d’ici la fin mars. Entre temps, il faudra surveiller la situation au retour de la relâche scolaire, et il faudra plusieurs semaines pour évaluer l’impact qu’aura le « cocktail variants et semaine de relâche ». D’autant plus que c’est en grande partie dans les milieux scolaires que semblent se propager les variants. Plus largement, elle souligne que c’est chez les 5-17 ans, soit les enfants d’âge scolaire, et chez les 35-54 ans, soit le groupe d’âge des parents d’enfants en âge de fréquenter l’école, qu’on observe les plus fortes progressions de nouveaux cas. La directrice de la Santé publique rejette toutefois l’idée de revenir à l’enseignement en ligne et maintient l’objectif de garder les écoles ouvertes. Elle évoque d’ailleurs la possibilité, selon le niveau d’immunité collective fourni aux personnes plus vulnérables par la campagne de la vaccination de masse, d’adopter éventuellement « une gestion du risque différente » qui consisterait à accepter «certains types de transmission pour certains groupes, où les formes sévères de la maladie sont moins prédominantes ». Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
The Saskatchewan government says it will follow new federal guidelines to speed up its vaccination schedule. The province is expanding the period between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to up to 120 days. That means everyone over 18 years old in Saskatchewan will be able to receive a vaccination by the end of June, the province says. Most other provinces have said they will also follow the recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI). The new four-month gap is a departure from the previous practice of three weeks and in some cases up to six weeks between doses. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the decision is evidence-based and will speed up the vaccination rollout. "The benefits are tremendous. We can emerge out of the pandemic three months earlier than we had anticipated. The two-dose program ... it would have taken us to September," said Shahab at a news conference Thursday in Regina. "Having said that, everything will be monitored closely. All provinces will be closely monitoring." Shahab said the maximum 16-week interval doesn't mean people won't get their second dose quicker than that. Second doses will go as originally scheduled for residents and staff in long-term and personal care homes, according to the province. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab the benefits of spreading out the first and second vaccine doses are tremendous.(Trent Peppler/CBC) Shahab also said people shouldn't worry about which of the three approved vaccines they receive. "We all need to be patient. We need to be ready in our minds that when our turn comes, we should be ready to get vaccinated. It is my recommendation that we accept any vaccine," said Shahab. The newly approved AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is expected to arrive in Sask. this month. Residents aged 60 to 64 and Phase 1 priority health-care workers will be offered the first 15,500 doses, according to the province. The 60 to 64 age group have access to the new vaccine because the National Advisory Committee's recommends that AstraZeneca-Oxford supply be targeted to people younger than 65. The province said administration of the AstraZeneca-Oxford doses will begin on March 22 and the doses will be distributed to six major hubs throughout the province. All of the allocated doses are expected to be administered within one week on a by-appointment basis. Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the addition both AstraZeneca-Oxford and moving to vaccinate all adults with a first dose means that phase one of the province's immunization plan should be complete by April. Livingstone also said he is confident the second doses will be available when the time comes. "We're optimistic for sure, with phase one and starting phase two early. And with the supplies that we're seeing on the horizon. But those second doses I don't think are going to be a challenge at all," Livingstone said. The province said health-care workers will receive a notification of their eligibility for vaccination directly from the Saskatchewan Health Authority Members of the public who are eligible for vaccination will be able to book by phone. The province said its phone-in booking system is undergoing final testing and is expected to launch next week. The province said there may be some growing pains during the transition to the new booking system. Livingstone asked for patience from the public as the system launches.
LAKELAND, Fla. — A lack of control from Toronto's pitchers was a factor in the Detroit Tigers' 8-2 win over the Blue Jays in spring training action Thursday. The Tigers (3-2) scored eight unanswered runs in the win, with two of them coming off wild pitches. Toronto (2-2-1) scored a run in the top of the first two innings to take an early lead. Alejandro Kirk's RBI single drove in Marcus Semien in the first, and Cavan Biggio's triple brought home Forrest Wall in the second. Detroit got one back with a Miguel Cabrera RBI double in the third, then took control with a three-run fourth. Derek Hill started the scoring in the inning win an RBI single, followed by a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Isaac Paredes. Toronto right-hander Joey Murray followed that with a wild pitch that scored Akil Baddoo. Detroit scored two more in each of the fifth and sixth innings, capped by Toronto's second wild pitch of the day when Yosver Zulueta's wayward toss allowed Daniel Pinero to score. Toronto starter T.J. Zeuch allowed two hits and a walk over two scoreless innings. Murray took the loss after giving up three runs on two hits and three walks in the fourth. The Blue Jays got to Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull with four hits and two runs over his two innings, but the Tigers' relievers combined to allow no runs and just one hit over the next five innings. Derek Holland picked up the win. Toronto next plays Friday afternoon against Baltimore in Dunedin, Fla. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
The province is sending some pandemic relief money to Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover to help the cultural institution get back on its feet. Lighthouse will receive $71,858 through the government’s Arts Recovery Support Fund. Lisa MacLeod, the minister overseeing the province’s tourism and cultural industries, announced the funding this week as part of a $25-million package for artists and arts organizations in Ontario. “Ontario’s arts sector was among the first and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a ‘high-touch’ sector that depends on gatherings of people, and will take the longest to recover,” MacLeod said in a statement. Reopening venues like Lighthouse “will play an important role in the mental health and well-being of Ontarians and an equally important role in the province’s economic and social recovery,” MacLeod said. The funding was available for organizations and individuals who already receive grants through the Ontario Arts Council. Venues with operating budgets of over $1 million automatically qualified. “We’re so grateful for it, and we’re thrilled,” said Lighthouse executive director Nicole Campbell. “The government recognizes the arts and culture industry as being devastated during this time, with not being able to open for the last year.” Lighthouse closed its doors in mid-March of last year, which meant scrapping the entire summer season, the popular community show starring local amateur actors, and a crowded slate of off-season events. It added up to “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in lost revenue, Campbell said. While the provincial money will help — as will almost $215,000 brought in by a summertime fundraising campaign — Campbell cautioned that there are more financial and logistical hurdles to overcome before the theatre can welcome patrons back. “We don’t want anyone to think that just by receiving this money, we can reopen,” she said. “With the regulations, up until a few weeks ago we couldn’t have anyone in the building. So we keep having to adapt.” One challenge for Lighthouse is even the loosest of the province’s COVID-19 restrictions means “severe revenue limitations,” Campbell explained, because a theatre that usually fits 350 patrons is limited to 50 per show. When Lighthouse can reopen is of keen interest to restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts throughout the region that rely on the theatre to bring in customers, as mentioned by Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett in the funding announcement. “This is quite welcome news for our Lighthouse Festival Theatre and all who enjoy its offerings,” Barrett said. “Lighthouse Theatre is an anchor for our area’s visitor-based economy.” Campbell expects to make an announcement about the summer season in the next few months. “We’re waiting as long as we can to announce anything,” she said, explaining that she and artistic director Derek Ritschel are mulling over scenarios that will ensure the safety of artists, patrons and staff. “We can pretty confidently say that we’re going to have theatre this summer,” Campbell said. “We just have a few different options of what it’ll look like.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
It's the little touches that help to make a place feel more like home, and while the Out of the Cold Warming Centre isn't a permanent home for any of its visitors, it is proof that little things can still make a big difference. The warming centre has recently come into possession of a pair of guitars for those who visit to make use of. The idea itself came from Out of the Cold's Dave Ashworth, who is also a prominent local musician, and he put out the call on social media to help make the idea a reality. "I started here last November," Ashworth explained. "What really happened was one of the staff said 'hey, one of the guests that comes in plays guitar.' He was going to bring down his guitar that he has at home, and I was going to bring mine whatever night this guest came in, and I thought it would be nice to have something here a little more permanently, so that's when I thought I'd use the power of social media and put it out there, and it works. People have a genuine desire, I think, to help out or donate whatever they might have." Once the call went out, there were a few false starts and missed connections, but eventually Ashworth managed to secure one acoustic and one electric guitar for those visiting the warming centre to play, which he said are comforts to people who might not otherwise have an instrument to play on. "It's a universal language," he said. "Music is good in good times and in bad times." The call for instruments must have struck a chord with people in the community, as Ashworth noted there were plenty of people offering to make donations in one form or another, either of instruments or of monetary donations that could be put towards musical accessories like wall hangers for the guitars. "Businesses helped out too and gave us some discounts on strings," Ashworth said. "A number of people donated. I had one guy, and this was kind of unique, but he was on the Borderland Musicians and Enthusiasts Facebook page, and he offered to send an acoustic guitar. I started talking to him and asked if he was from here, and he said 'No, I'm from Saskatchewan, I'm living out north of Red Deer right now.' He was willing to send it, but we started considering shipping costs and the length of time we're going to be open [this season] so I thought for this year we're good." So far Ashworth said there have been a handful of occasions where guests have played songs together, with others lending their voices or picking up a tambourine to play along. But the instruments are also there for solo use, allowing anyone at the warming centre to pick up a guitar and keep themselves company. "Even in the last week we had a new guest come in and he grabbed it the first night and wanted to play it," he said. "He got it in the morning too. It's nice to see. If it wasn't here then you might not even know some of these people have a musical background. It's been very laid back." The Out of the Cold Warming Centre might be full up on instruments right now, but Ashworth says as the program continues there's always a chance it could grow in some way. He also added that the centre could still do with a donation of another guitar strap and a small practice amp for their electric guitar, should anyone still be looking to help support the initiative. Still, Ashworth said he's grateful to all of those who did reach out to him with offers of instruments or other donations to help provide a little bit of music and a creative outlet to those in need. "I think you want to provide any opportunity you can to dive into things they might not normally have access to," he explained. "Maybe for various reasons they don't have a guitar at home, or don't have any instruments, and this is an option for them to come in and use. We encourage all the guests to just relax and treat it like your home, be respectful and we'll be respectful in return. They seem to enjoy it. Like I said earlier, music is a feel good thing. The feedback has been really good so far." Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
MIAMI — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and state health officials came under deeper scrutiny amid revelations that seniors in a wealthy enclave in Key Largo received hundreds of life-saving vaccinations as early as mid -January, giving ammunition to critics who say the Republican governor is favouring wealthy constituents over ordinary Floridians. The revelations were the latest example of wealthy Floridians getting earlier access to coronavirus vaccines, even as the state has lagged in efforts to get poorer residents vaccinated. DeSantis pushed back Thursday, saying a local hospital — not the state — was behind the vaccinations of more than 1,200 residents of the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, and that the state “wasn't involved in it in any shape or form.” Despite the governor's denials of quid pro quos, the charges of favouritism were amplified by the wads of money pouring into the governor's campaign coffers from wealthy benefactors with ties to communities awarded vaccination sites — like the one in Key Largo. One resident of Ocean Reef, Republican former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, last week gave the Florida governor's campaign committee $250,000. Revelations about Ocean Reef residents getting vaccinated were first reported by the Miami Herald. The inequitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines is becoming a public relations challenge for the governor. Of the 3.2 million people who have received one or two doses of the vaccines, less than 6% have been Black — about a third of their share of the state's population. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried joined Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in calling for federal officials to probe the DeSantis administration’s vaccine distribution programs. “If this isn’t public corruption, I don’t know what is,” Fried said Thursday at a press conference in the Florida Capitol, calling on the FBI's public corruption to launch an investigation. “Give campaign contributions big dollars, get special access to vaccines -- ahead of seniors, ahead of our teachers, ahead of our farmworkers and so many of our residents here in our state of Florida who are scared and who are wanting these vaccines.” Citing reporting from the Herald, Fried noted that DeSantis in February had his biggest fundraising haul since 2018, when he was running for governor. Last week, Crist, a former Florida governor, asked the U.S. Department of Justice to look into possible favouritism in the state's distribution of the vaccines, asserting that DeSantis were benefiting "political allies and donors, over the needs of higher-risk communities and existing county waitlists.” Both Crist and Fried are considering campaigns to oppose DeSantis in next year's gubernatorial election. Other Florida Democrats, including the top Democrat in the state Senate, Gary Farmer, joined in the call for a federal investigation. "The exchange of hard-to-get vaccines for political contributions is nothing short of criminal," Farmer said in a letter dashed off to acting U.S. Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. During a Thursday news conference, DeSantis expressed no misgivings about the early vaccinations at the exclusive Key Largo community. “If you are 65 and up, I am not worried about your income bracket," he said. “I am worried about your age bracket because it’s the age, not the income, that shows the risk.” The Republican Party of Florida came to the governor’s defence, calling the controversy “another bogus conspiracy theory.” “It doesn’t matter what party you belong to, whether you are rich or poor, if you qualify for the vaccine, you can get a vaccine. All you need is an arm,” said Helen Aguirre Ferre, the state party’s executive director. The Ocean Reef Club, a senior community in Key Largo, had more than 1,200 homeowners vaccinated through their second dose by late January, according to a message to community members by the management obtained by the Miami Herald. Those vaccinations came at a time when “the majority of the state has not received an allocation of first doses,” the management noted. Officials from Monroe County, home to Key Largo, said the affluent club’s medical centre received the vaccines through the Baptist Health hospital as part of the governor’s program to vaccinate communities with a populations of people 65 and older. County spokeswoman Kristen Livengood said the allocations were co-ordinated through Baptist and the state of Florida. In recent weeks, other reports have surfaced of wealthy retirement communities getting exclusive access to vaccine doses through pop-up vaccine sites. Democrats have criticized him for choosing those places, but the governor’s office has noted that more than half of them have been in Democratic stronghold counties of Broward and Palm Beach. Supporters of DeSantis say he has also co-ordinated clinics with faith-based groups in underserved areas. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat and the state's director of the Division of Emergency Management, said the administration is working “diligently” to increase vaccine access in underserved communities. “Any other narrative is intentionally misleading and wrong,” he said in a statement Thursday. After Publix was made the sole distributor of vaccines in Palm Beach County in late January, the mayors of predominately Black farming communities in the area urged the governor to reconsider, and the state set up a vaccine station shortly after. While critics point to disparities in vaccine distributions as a call for more outreach into underserved areas of the state, including in communities of colour and impoverished neighbourhoods, DeSantis noted that "demand was relatively tepid in FEMA sites in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. The governor said the four sites had the capacity to administer 12,000 doses but only vaccinated 6,500 people. —- A previous version of the story erroneously reported the donation amount given by former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to the Florida governor's campaign committee. —— Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. ____ Calvan reported from Tallahassee, Florida. Associated Press writer Anila Yoganathan contributed from Atlanta. Bobby Caina Calvan And Adriana Gomez Licon, The Associated Press