CBC has cancelled its television series, Trickster, following questions about director Michelle Latimer's claims of Indigenous identity.
CBC has cancelled its television series, Trickster, following questions about director Michelle Latimer's claims of Indigenous identity.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Nova Scotia RCMP are worried about possible increased friction between rival motorcycle gangs with the opening of a new Outlaws Motorcycle Club prospective chapter in the Halifax region — an area the Hells Angels consider their territory. "The Hells Angels may see this expansion of the Outlaws as a competitive move and also disrespectful," said Det. Const. Jeff Temblett, an intelligence officer with the RCMP's criminal intelligence service. "It could lead to violence," he said. "Where they're in their backyard now there may be more opportunity for confrontation." The two motorcycle gangs have been enemies for years. Up until now the two groups have mostly been able to avoid each other, with the Outlaws set up in Cape Breton. That changed in February when the Outlaws opened a prospective chapter in Lake Echo, in the Halifax Regional Municipality. "With a new club starting up in Halifax, police believe the rivalry could escalate between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws. The Outlaws in Cape Breton remained generally out of sight to the Hells Angels," said Tremblett. The Outlaws Motorcycle Club has a one full patch chapter in Cape Breton and has opened an additional prospective chapter in the Lake Echo area of the Halifax Regional Municipality. The Hells Angels haven't had an official chapter in Nova Scotia since 2001, when their Halifax chapter was shut down by police. But their power base in the province has remained largely intact through their 10 support clubs. Support clubs are small groups that have aligned themselves with a larger, more powerful biker gang. These clubs copy the structure of the gang they've partnered with and follow the dominant club's orders. Support club members can be used to assist in criminal activities and protect the dominant club from prosecution, said Tremblett. The clubs also act as a recruiting ground for potential new members and help funnel money to the dominant club through the sale of merchandise like shirts and hats emblazoned with the gang's logos. In Nova Scotia, the Red Devils and several other groups are support clubs for the Hells Angels, while the Black Pistons support the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The Red Devils are the top support club for the Hells Angels. It's not clear why the Outlaws have chosen to expand into Halifax where the Red Devils are situated. "Right now it's unclear if the expansion is to gain more control over the illicit drug trade in Nova Scotia," said Tremblett. Generally, each gang wants better control of Nova Scotia's ports to more easily move illegal drugs like cocaine, meth and illegal marijuana. They also want to establish networks to move drugs from province to province. The Hells Angels and the Outlaws have been rivals across North America for years, and have even faced off in Nova Scotia before, but so far haven't come to blows. A member of the Hells Angels waves towards photographers as he enters the Hells Angels Nomads compound during the group's Canada Run event in Carlsbad Springs, Ont., near Ottawa, on Saturday, July 23, 2016. In 2019, things became tense between the two groups at a motorcycle show at Halifax's Exhibition Park. Hells Angels supporters and members of the Black Pistons had heated words when they came across each other. It was much the same in 2018, at the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, N.S., when the groups got into a fiery verbal exchange on the community's main street. There are 14 active outlaw motorcycle gangs in Nova Scotia right now, according to Tremblett: • Outlaws MC - Cape Breton • Outlaws MC - Halifax • Black Pistons MC - Cape Breton (Outlaws Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Cape Breton (Hells Angels Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Antigonish County (Hells Angels Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Pictou County (Hells Angels Support Club) • Katt Sass MC - New Glasgow (Hells Angels Support Club) • Red Devils MC - Halifax (Hells Angels Support Club) • Darksiders MC - Dartmouth (Hells Angels Support Club) • Sedition MC - Fall River (Hells Angels Support Club) • Sedition MC - Yarmouth (Hells Angels Support Club) • Bacchus MC - Sambro • Niners MC - McGraths Cove (Hells Angels Support Club) • 103 Riders - South Shore (Hells Angels Support Club) Tremblett said it's very difficult to shut these clubs down. "Police need to prove there are laws being broken within the clubhouse. There's lease agreements, rights of the persons inside, so for the police it's not an easy task to simply go in there and shut it down." The Cape Breton Regional Police seized $120,000 worth of drugs, $12,000 worth of cash and several Black Pistons vests after searching two homes and a clubhouse in Glace Bay in 2020. Oftentimes, police will need to partner with municipal agencies to determine if clubs are abiding by a community's bylaws, and if they're not, then the clubs can be closed down, said Tremblett. He said people need to remember that most motorcycle riding clubs are made up of law-abiding citizens, and only about one per cent of clubs are actually outlaw motorcycle gangs. Clubhouses run by gangs are usually easy to spot because they have lots of video surveillance, they often have painted windows, and usually sport the gang's logo. A Hells Angels clubhouse in Rosser, Man., a rural community that's part of the Winnipeg Metro Region. Anyone with concerns about outlaw motorcycle gangs in their area can contact their local police, municipal or city councilors, and the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods group for advice, said Tremblett. "Don't believe the narrative that often goes around that ... your outlaw motorcycle gangs are just good old boys that like to hang out and party and do good for the community. That's not the case," said Tremblett. "They want the public to see them as community-spirited men, and they want people involved in organized crime to fear them." MORE TOP STORIES
WARSAW, Poland — The European Union's top court ruled Tuesday that Poland’s new regulations for appointing judges to the Supreme Court could violate EU law. The ruling obliges Poland’s right-wing government to discontinue these regulations and observe the principles of judicial independence and the right to judicial protection. In a decision that could have a powerful effect on future court verdicts regarding judicial appointments, the ruling also allows Poland's courts to refrain from applying the regulations introduced by the government in 2018 and 2019. The legislation in Poland strengthened political influence over a top judicial body, the National Council of the Judiciary, and the body's procedure of appointments to the Supreme Court. It also curbed the right to appeal the council's decisions. The regulations “which have the effect of removing effective judicial review of that council’s decisions ... (proposing) candidates for the office of judge at the Supreme Court — are liable to infringe EU law," the European Court of Justice said in its ruling. The ruling was in response to a query by Poland's top administrative court to the European court regarding a complaint by some judges. The judges said the new regulations stripped them of the right to appeal a decision rejecting them as candidates for the Supreme Court. Based on Tuesday's ruling, Poland's Supreme Administrative Court can now review the appeals by the five judges. Some lawmakers praised the court's decision. The ruling on Polish government’s “political interference in the judiciary is concrete evidence that the government is blatantly flouting the rule of law, despite multiple warnings. It is also destroying Europe’s trust in the legal system there," said Jeroen Lenaers, a European Parliament member. ___ This story has been corrected to say Poland's top administrative court turned to the ECJ, not the judges themselves. The Associated Press
An Amherstburg nurse denied immediate reentry into Canada, despite believing she would have no problem crossing the border as an essential worker, says the federal government and Canadian border officials need to "get on the same page" as concerns continue over how rules at the Canada-U.S. land border are enforced. She's far from alone. Windsor West MP Brian Masse says his office has been flooded with calls from individuals who used to cross the border without issue — but, as of last week, were being denied immediate reentry back home into Canada. "Nurses, engineers, teachers, business owners and workers in social services, for example, are now penalized," Masse said Friday in the House of Commons. "How can people be expected to comply [with the land border rules] when they don't have a definite directive from the minister? This situation needs to be altered." On Friday, CBC News reported that an Ontario man who serves as president of a construction company was fined $3,755 by Canadian border officials after attempting to cross back into Canada through the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel. He was deemed a non-essential traveller last Tuesday after previously crossing the border in the past about once every two weeks with no issue. Following the publication of that story, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reached back out to CBC News to clarify its enforcement of rules at the land border. According to the agency, its rule regarding frequency of travel (affecting whether or not an individual would be permitted reentry back into Canada without having to meet pre-testing or quarantine requirements) applies only to cross-border workers — and not essential workers. "CBSA officers use all of the information available to them when a traveller is seeking entry into Canada, to determine which set of instructions (exempt or required to quarantine) apply to the traveller," the CBSA said. This means cross-border workers can only enter Canada without having to meet pre-testing and quarantine requirements if they a "normal place of employment" to work and "establish a regular pattern of travel," generally defined as daily or weekly. In practice, this should also mean essential service providers — including health-care workers, truck drivers and law enforcement — are exempt from pre-testing and quarantine requirements when crossing the land border into Canada for work-related reasons. The Canada Border Services Agency says essential service providers, including health care workers, are exempt from pre-testing and quarantine requirements when crossing the border for work-related reasons. However, CBSA says it does not comment on individual cases. But that's not what happened to Kaitlyn Desjardins. Ten days ago, she crossed into the U.S. to attend an orientation session for her new job as a registered nurse at William Beaumont Hospital. On her way back, she said, the CBSA informed her that she was crossing into Canada as a non-essential traveller. Before crossing the border, Desjardins had been told by her new employer that she'd be exempt from pre-testing requirements due to the nature of her work, she added. "I let them know I was a nurse. I gave them my letter of employment. I had all my documents on me. I even had my work visa. It didn't matter. They said that what I was crossing for wasn't essential," she said. Desjardins was pulled into secondary and given two options: drive straight to Toronto without stopping anywhere and quarantine in a Toronto hotel for 14 days or go back into the U.S. and come back to the border crossing with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. She chose the latter option. "I had to make some arrangements for somewhere to stay and ended up getting a swab in Detroit," said Desjardins, adding she paid $150 US for the test and was unable to return to Canada until the next day. "I think the most important is that everyone gets on the same page. Right now, even still, they're not. I'm hearing so many different things from nurses, CBSA, public health. Everyone is on a different page." As a health-care worker, Desjardins said she understands the importance of keeping people safe. But these current border rules are affecting people's livelihoods. "It's not really a good feeling when you're told you can either drive four hours away without going to pick anything up or you have to go back and not be able to enter Canada." Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, says his office has fielded calls from nurses, teachers and business owners who have been given trouble at the border while trying to cross back into Canada. In a follow-up statement to CBC News, the CBSA said it does not comment on individual cases.
Newfoundland and Labrador's four health authorities have signed a deal with a U.S.-based health-care company that promises financial incentives — totalling tens of millions of dollars — if it cuts costs at hospitals and long-term care homes across the province. The contract puts the Change Healthcare Canada — its Canadian headquarters are in British Columbia — in charge of building software that involves health-care scheduling and collaborating with the health authorities on "improved operational efficiency and anticipated cost savings." Those savings could come from reducing staffing costs, overtime, sick time, payroll errors and time-keeping labour, the contract states. The contract comes with a lucrative possibility: the more savings Change Healthcare helps find, the more money it makes, up to $35 million over the course of the deal. The provincial government, however, said the goal of the project is not to cut spending but to avoid staff burnout. The contract came into effect in June with no public announcement before or after the deal was done — a signing that gave $3 million up front to Change Healthcare to begin months of preparation prior to the five-year operational side of the deal kicking in. The contract's signatures include those of a Change Healthcare executive vice-president, the chief executive officers of Eastern, Central, Western and Labrador-Grenfell Health, and the CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, an entity that oversees the province's health-care information system and electronic records. The deal also states the health authorities will cover sales tax and fees for any work Change Healthcare does beyond the contract's original scope. The authorities will also have to pay up to $5 million in penalties if they don't achieve 95 per cent adoption of the program within the organizations. Eastern Health, where the program will roll out first, did not respond to CBC's request for an interview or comment by deadline. Fears of job cuts: union The deal came as a surprise to at least one union, representing 3,000 health-care workers in the province, which learned about it months later. Sherry Hillier, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, attended a virtual meeting in the fall to discuss details of the deal with stakeholders. "I was kinda like, 'Holy God, what is this all about?'" said Hillier. The contract doesn't get into the fine details of where savings will be achieved, and how much, but in a slide presentation from October, Change Healthcare stated its software will anticipate peak demand in the system, and will "align staffing to demand" as well as "optimize staff effectiveness." Sherry Hillier, president of the provincial branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says members of her union who are employed in health care are overworked and racking up overtime because there aren't enough people to do the work before them.(Heather Gillis/CBC) Hillier said she doesn't see how that can happen, as her members are stretched thin as it is. To her, the contract means job cuts, and she questions whether an algorithm can match up to the reality of people's day-to-day duties. "My biggest fear is for our members out there. Our members are overworked right now, they're understaffed, and this system is only going to make the health-care system that much worse," Hillier said. When the meeting ended, Hillier said, she "didn't leave with a good feeling about this company," and contacted CUPE counterparts across the country. In Manitoba, CUPE's experience with Change Healthcare was one of widespread job cuts, she said, leaving those still employed struggling to manage their workloads. "It's actually made for a devastating workforce in a couple of the hospitals in Winnipeg that CUPE represents there. It's been bad times in Winnipeg just with this company, because of the cuts," she said. A spokesperson for a government health agency in Manitoba, however, disagreed, saying the company's software has "improved patient flow" and reduced reliance on overtime staffing. "We strongly dispute the assertion that there were any 'job cuts' related to the implementation of this software," the spokesperson said in an email, "and have continued to actively recruit for CUPE support staff during this time." According to its website, Change Healthcare is "focused on accelerating the transformation of the healthcare system through insight and innovation," and says it is one of the largest health-care networks in the United States. Hillier questions the motives of Change Healthcare to make changes — "This corporation is actually in it for the money," she said — and asks why the health authorities could potentially give millions of dollars to an American company when the province is in dire financial straits. After the story was published, and after Hillier originally spoke to CBC News, CUPE issued a media release late Tuesday afternoon stating it wanted the four health authorities to "cancel their deal" with Change Healthcare. The union draws a connection from the contract to Ronan Seagrave, chief operating officer of Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, who was on hand when the company's plan for N.L. was presented to stakeholders last fall. Seagrave, according to the union's release, was a KPMG consultant working on a report for the Manitoba health care system. "His health system transformation team made 'title changes' to hundreds of full-time jobs, converting the hours of work to part-time. At least 500 nurses received 'job deletion notices' that fall, along with more than 700 hospital support staff," reads CUPE NL's media release. Unions were at the table from the 'get go': Haggie Health Minister John Haggie said he is surprised to hear CUPE take issue with the contract. "The unions were there from the get-go.… I don't understand where they are coming from," he told CBC News on Tuesday. "You have a company that is incentivized to produce the best results because they share in our success. And I think over the term of the contract they get somewhere around 10 or 15 per cent of the value of the savings. The health authorities, the health-care system, the province keep the rest, if there are savings." After Haggie's interview, CUPE said it was not informed that the contract had already been signed when members were invited to a presentation about it last fall. Health Minister John Haggie, seen here in a Skype interview with CBC, said the contract with Change Healthcare Canada also aims to reduce worker burnout, too. (CBC/Skype) Haggie said the project originated in 2016 and came out of discussions at the time with the Registered Nurses' Union. He said former president Debbie Forward was "enthusiastic" about the approach. Haggie said the approach and contract may be new to the province, but Vancouver Coastal Health has used the approach and "their reports were very favourable." "It's not new, it's simply just not paper-based, it's electronic. Where it stemmed from was from our desire to help avoid burnout among staff. So they're not being mandated back or they're not doing extra shifts and overtime, since you can match the needs for staff and the right mix and right numbers, with the number of patients, and the level of illness you see on the floor." "All scheduling on health care and front lines is done on paper and this was a way of getting that all sorted out, so that it was electronic,and you could match the staffing in a two-week period to the expected demand on the unit." CBC News asked the Registered Nurses' Union if, in fact, Forward did support the contract. A spokesperson said the union "did not see or have any input on a contract. What we have been doing is pushing for government to move to acuity-based staffing." A statement from the union went on to say: "The current staffing model for nursing is not meeting the needs of patients and results in chronic understaffing, excessive overtime and burnout among registered nurses." It also said the union supports "staffing based on the real time needs of patients, not the number of beds or allocated budget," and added its executive will be "monitoring the rollout of the new system and remain hopeful that it will improve workloads, better align staffing to meet patient needs, and improve scheduling and patient flow." Haggie, meanwhile, challenged those who see this as a roundabout way of making cuts. "They are mistaken," he said. "The motivation behind this was to match better the needs of patients and meet them, also with the needs of our workforce. We have heard how hard people have worked during the pandemic, this tool will help make their life easier." PCs, NDP slam the contract Opposition House leader David Brazil says the financial incentives in the deal are a non-starter for him. "I have a real problem with that. I would think the people in Newfoundland and Labrador would have a problem with that. And I would think the health-care professionals would first be asking, 'Why not engage with us?'" he told CBC News on Tuesday. "Taking a company that looks at a software package to decide how we better access health care, and the particular needs, to me is not the best solution." While the contract was part of a competitive public tender process, NDP Leader Alison Coffin asked why there has been no information about it, until now. "If this was good news for our hospitals, clinics, and long-term care homes, you can bet the Liberals wouldn't have kept this a secret," said Coffin in a statement. Dire need for savings It's no secret Newfoundland and Labrador has a money problem. With a net debt of $16 billion, the province is close to insolvency, and the prospect of cuts to many sectors looms as a distinct possibility. Health-care spending, comprising more than 37 per cent of the last provincial budget, is a target. The economic task force was scheduled to deliver an interim report on Sunday with potential recommendations for change, before announcing on Saturday it would miss that deadline by up to six weeks. Under those harsh realities — complicated further by the pandemic and the provincial election — Hillier said hiring Change Healthcare still isn't the right move. While overtime and sick leave may be a spending issue, she said a larger problem is not having enough staff in the first place, particularly in long-term care, causing people to rack up overtime to get the job done. She said the province needs to instead train and hire more workers to drive overtime costs down. "To increase the workload on our members is just crazy. It can't be done," she said. The contract states the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's will be the pilot site for the new system before it expands to the rest of the province.(CBC) She also said any cuts will have a clear impact on patients, causing service reductions and longer wait times. The deal hasn't been brought to union members' attention yet, she said, in part because it took six weeks after CUPE-NL found out about it to even get a copy of the contract to peruse. With the contract signed months ago, the project is now well into the first of three phases. The goal is to begin implementing the plan by September, starting at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's. The program will then roll out through the rest of the health authorities' acute-care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care homes throughout the province, with the contract set to conclude in September 2026, with an option to renew the contract after that point. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
China said on Tuesday that it was discussing a visit to its Xinjiang region by United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, but that she should not set out with the aim of condemning its policies. Bachelet said on Friday that reports about arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labour in Xinjiang necessitated a thorough and independent assessment of the situation.
P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced four new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as her office continues efforts to control two outbreaks that started in the last week of February. Following the lead of British Columbia, P.E.I. is delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those who have already gotten one shot, in order to give more people their first vaccine shot earlier. Dr. Heather Morrison announced a new schedule for vaccinations on the Island. A Green MLA wants to know if government is considering legislation for guaranteed paid sick leave as part of its COVID-19 response. A hardware store in Summerside has reopened for business, after a deep cleaning over the weekend. Bus ridership on P.E.I. dropped significantly after the 72-hour circuit breaker began at midnight Sunday, but T3 Transit says passengers can be assured the buses are being thoroughly cleaned and will be safe when they decide to hop back on. Cleaning companies are booked up with businesses who want their buildings disinfected following a surge in COVID-19 cases on P.E.I. Islanders who have lost their incomes or had their hours reduced by 12 hours a week between Feb. 28 and March 14 because of new COVID-19 restrictions are eligible for $500 in help from the provincial government, a P.E.I. cabinet minister said Monday. If you are eligible for a vaccine appointment on P.E.I. you can book it online. Here is a list of sites of potential exposure to COVID-19. The Chief Public Health Office is asking people who have been in these places at these times to self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible. Some testing clinics have delayed openings due to the weather Tuesday. A 22-year-old P.E.I. woman has gone public with her COVID-19 diagnosis to warn others that even if you follow all the rules, you can still catch the virus. Officials at both the English and French school boards on P.E.I. say they are prepared to move to online learning if needed but are hopeful students can return to the classroom after the three-day shutdown. P.E.I. has 22 active cases, its most ever, out of 136 diagnosed since the pandemic began nearly a year ago. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
CANBERRA, Australia — Police on Tuesday ruled out investigating an unnamed Australian Cabinet minister over an allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl more than 30 years ago. The decision by New South Wales state police adds pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to establish an independent investigation to examine the accusation. The accusation has created a cloud over the 16 men in Morrison’s 22-minister Cabinet and is feeding complaints of a culture within Parliament that is toxic for women. The rape allegation was contained in an anonymous letter sent to the prime minister’s office and to three female lawmakers last week. The 31-page letter contained a statement from a complainant, taken by her lawyer, that detailed her allegation of a rape she said occurred in Sydney in 1988. The minister had not been elected to Parliament at the time. The letter, which included excerpts from her diary and a photograph of her with her alleged rapist from 1988, was forwarded by the lawmakers and Morrison to police. The woman, who has not been named, took her own life in her hometown of Adelaide in June at the age of 49. Morrison on Monday rejected calls to stand the minister down and to establish an inquiry, saying police should investigate. Police, however, said Tuesday that “there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed.” Morrison said the minister “vigorously and completely denied the allegations.” But the woman’s lawyer, Michael Bradley, and several critics of the government have called for the minister to step down while an independent inquiry investigates the evidence. Nicholas Cowdery, formerly the chief prosecutor in New South Wales, said the allegation needs to be investigated to give voters confidence in the integrity of those governing them. The accused minister should step down, he said. “When something like this emerges, we need to know what is involved in it, does it disqualify that person from occupying that position and what action should be taken,” Cowdrey told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The only way to do that is to run an investigation — not a criminal investigation, but an investigation with a political context run maybe by someone like a retired judge.” Barnaby Joyce was deputy prime minister when he ran into political strife in 2018 over revelations that he had impregnated a female staffer, who is now his partner, in an extramarital affair. The final straw in Joyce’s leadership of the Nationals party, the junior coalition partner, came when a woman from outside government accused him of sexual harassment. He quit as leader. Joyce, who remains a government lawmaker, said the 1988 rape allegation should be investigated in private, perhaps by a judge. But he added that the accused minister should not step down because such allegations are “a dangerous arrow that can be fired in all sorts of directions for political purposes.” “I was basically jammed out of a job, to be quite frank,” Joyce said of the sexual harassment complaint against him that was lodged with his party but not with police. “It was used as a mechanism to get me out,” he added, referring to his enemies within his party. The accused minister is also under mounting pressure to make his own identity public. Media have reported that he is expected to go public on Wednesday, but will not step aside. The police decision to drop the investigation comes two weeks after Morrison apologized in Parliament to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a more senior colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. Brittany Higgins quit her job in January and reactivated her complaint to police after initially not pursuing the case because she felt it would have affected her employment. The colleague, who has not been named publicly, was fired for breaching security by taking Higgins into a minister’s Parliament House office following a night of heavy drinking. The Associated Press does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Higgins has chosen to identify herself in the media. The public disclosure has triggered a flurry of complaints about the behaviour of lawmakers and a toxic work culture within Parliament House. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the man whom Higgins accused of rape would be contacted by police “at the appropriate time.” Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
The past year has fractured our world in countless ways. Now, as people look to pick up the pieces, those managing debt need to account for their position in our uneven economic recovery. In this so-called K-shaped recovery, one part of the population is rebounding quickly while another has a longer, slower path. For example, in January the unemployment rate for whites was 5.7%, compared to 8.6% for Hispanics and 9.2% for Black workers and 6.6% for Asians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who remain unemployed or underemployed might continue to rely on debt to get by. Meanwhile, those whose finances have held steady or improved may be primed to wipe out debt. MANAGING DEBT IN THE BOTTOM HALF Some consumers have had no choice but to rack up debt — including unpaid rent or mortgage, credit card debt and overdue utility bills. If this is your situation, focus on basic needs and paying minimums to avoid collections. — PROTECT THE ESSENTIALS: If you’re among the millions of Americans unable to cover your housing costs right now, take advantage of the eviction moratorium and mortgage relief programs now extended through June 30. Keep an eye out for additional benefits in the COVID-19 relief package being discussed in Washington and call 211 to get connected to local assistance for basic needs like food and shelter. Add transportation, internet and cellphone to your priorities list, too, so you can stay connected to friends and family for help and to hunt for work. “All creditors will make it sounds like they’re the most important ones to get paid,” says Amanda Christensen, a financial coach based in Morgan, Utah. “Housing and transportation have to come to the top of that list and take priority.” — IF NEEDED, LOOK FOR CHEAP CREDIT: If you need to add debt to cover your regular expenses, like groceries and utilities, financial coach Vineet Prasad of Fulton, California, suggests finding the cheapest options. “A revolving credit line on your home equity has a much lower APR than a credit card. Another option is a personal loan at a credit union.” To qualify for a HELOC, you’ll generally need equity of at least 15% of your home’s value. And weigh the risks: HELOCs tend to have adjustable interest rates, which can make them more expensive over time, and your house is at risk of foreclosure if you can’t repay the debt. — FOCUS ON LONG-TERM RECOVERY: Once your situation stabilizes, focus on paying down debt and make savings a priority, too. Consider using a debt payoff calculator that can track your debts and monthly payments. And while you may be tempted to throw all your spare income toward debt payoff, having some cash tucked away can help you weather the next financial crisis. Saving even a small percentage of your income helps, Christensen says: “If you’re not saving anything right now, see if you can get in that 1% to 5% range.” MANAGING DEBT IN THE TOP HALF If your finances held steady or improved over 2020, think about how you can take advantage of your situation, whether through charitable giving or using some of your cash to improve your finances. And if you’re focused on reducing debt, the classic payoff playbook works well: First, take stock of what you owe. Consider using a spreadsheet or online debt tracker to organize your balances. Then choose a payoff strategy, like the debt snowball method where you focus on your smallest debt by paying as much on it as you can while paying minimums on the others. Once it’s paid off, roll the amount you were paying on it into the payment for your next largest debt and so on until you’re completely debt-free. Paying off debt can be a long-haul game. To stay focused, Prasad advises finding someone who can serve as a confidant and provide encouragement. “Getting an accountability partner who is good at managing their money generally can be a huge differentiator with actually following through with your plan and the grind of paying it off over time,” he says. ANYONE CAN HAVE OVERWHELMING DEBT Regardless of your income or employment status, you may have too much debt to realistically pay off with a strategy like debt snowball. If all your monthly debt payments, including housing, total more than 50% of your monthly gross income, you may need to look into debt relief, like a debt management plan at a non-profit credit counselling agency or bankruptcy. The goal is to resolve your debt quickly and in a way that sets you up to meet future financial goals. Otherwise, you may spend years funneling money toward insurmountable debt, sacrificing retirement, an emergency fund and other goals. Bankruptcy in particular may be a good option, as it can help you resolve what you owe in a matter of months instead of years. While bankruptcy filings were down 30% in 2020, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, that may change in 2021 as consumers’ financial pictures begin to stabilize. To make the most of the fresh start bankruptcy offers, don’t wait so long that you can’t even afford the filing fees. Act when you are in a position to improve your financial situation, says bankruptcy attorney Cathy Moran of Redwood City, California. “When you’ve hit the bottom and things are about to get better, that’s when you want to file,” Moran says. _____________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Sean Pyles is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @SeanPyles. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Pay off debt: tools and tips http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-debt-tools-and-tips Sean Pyles Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
A woman puts a red sign with words Closed Due To COVID-19 onto a glass door. It's been a difficult year for small businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the sudden move back to the lockdown provisions of Alert Level 5 hasn't made things any easier. For businesses that started during or just before the COVID-19 pandemic, rolling with the punches has been routine. However, the punches have been coming again, and some businesses say they'll need more than light at the end of the tunnel. Even businesses off the Avalon are still feeling the prolonged pinch, despite the move there back to Alert Level 4. Robyn Pearce, owner of Intervals Music Studio in St. John's, said the greatest difficulty has been reverting to an entirely online model in an industry so reliant on face-to-face instruction. "The hardest part is the fact that we really pour our heart and soul into everything that we're doing, and then just to know that purely because the vehicle doesn't work for everybody, the way that we're offering it — it's hard to see that it's just not enough for some people," she said. There have been other setbacks, too. Just before the lockdown began, her wallet was stolen from her office. Later, her studio was later broken into. Pearce said that while it's been encouraging to see some benefits to online learning, with some students opening up more in the comfort of their own homes, she said overall it's an exhausting process. "There's a completely different energy that you have to have when you're in front of a screen versus being in person with the classes," she said. As a small business owner and operator, Pearce hopes that after the election the government will try to focus on addressing businesses and their individual needs, rather than implementing broad programs. One area to address, Pearce said, is the high cost of rent. "I actually discovered a couple of years ago when I made the move to a commercial space that my rent was higher than somebody in California, which was a big shocker," she said. "The rent incentive program that [government] had was no good for someone like me," said Pearce, who noted that in order to qualify she would have had to have lost 75 per cent of her business outright. "So I'd love to have more support in that area, where someone can look at my business model and look at what I have and go from there, because a lot of the support I just didn't qualify for." Changing gears to get by Mark Murphy, co-owner of the Postmaster's House B&B in downtown St. John's, said while government programs have been designed to help businesses stay afloat, those that began during the pandemic are falling through the cracks. His business incorporated just before the first local cases began to appear in March 2020. "We bought the property in February, and coming into the pandemic there was support for mortgage deferral, but having a new mortgage, we weren't eligible for it," he said. As well, his business wasn't eligible for many of the programs rolled out to provide some pandemic relief. "All these one-size-fits-all support programs, we weren't eligible for a lot of those either," he said. "So businesses like ours, and like Intervals, are just feeling like we're falling through the cracks." With the notable downturn of the tourism industry, Murphy pivoted his business from a B&B to include baking, and while he said the community response has been great, it's only barely keeping them afloat. Murphy wants to see the government take initiative in supporting the province's newest businesses and their specific needs over the kind of support they're currently providing. "That is not working for the businesses that started right before and during the pandemic," Murphy said. "While I realize it might take more resources in the government, taking a look at each individual business model would help." Rest of the island down to level 4, bars and restaurants still closed While businesses continue to struggle across the province, the shift back into level 4 is a welcome change for those beyond the Avalon, according to Sheldon Handcock of the Gander Area Chamber of Commerce. Last week, the Gander-based organization, which represents 300 businesses in the area, posted a letter to Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, publicly asking for regions outside the Northeast Avalon to be moved into Alert Level 3. Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Sheldon Handcock, seen here during a Zoom interview with CBC, says he hopes Dr. Janice Fitzgerald takes a regional approach to reopening businesses. While the drop down to level 4 will see the continued closure of bars and restaurants, Handcock said that many seem to be acclimating to the process. "It has to be public health first, and the economy obviously is second," said Handcock. "Restaurants can still do their takeout orders, and I think that they've gotten quite a bit better from the last lockdown at being able to do curbside orders and that type of thing." While they're committed to following all directives from public health, for many local businesses, Handcock said, economic disaster is growing closer as funds begin to dwindle. "We've heard from quite a few businesses that it is pretty close," said Handcock. "We did have quite a few businesses that had said to us that if this continues on long, we can't keep our doors open." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
British Columbia will delay giving people their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months in order to vaccinate more people sooner. While some say the decision is ‘risky,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry says data shows people have strong protection for several months after the initial dose.
Self-driving sensor startup Aeva Inc, founded by two Apple Inc alumni, has hired another former Apple executive to oversee manufacturing and supply chain operations ahead of an expected deal to become a public company later this month. Aeva, founded by former Apple engineers Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, makes a lidar sensor that helps cars gain a three-dimensional view of the road and detect how quickly distant objects are moving. The company said Tuesday it hired Tim Willis as vice president of global supply chain, manufacturing and strategy.
Marie-France Boudret, who works in a French home for the elderly, watched a patient suffocate to death in front of her because COVID-19 had infected his lungs. Around half of health workers in French care homes do not want to be vaccinated, according to the group of experts guiding the state's vaccine rollout - compared to only 20% of the residents who have not been inoculated. If significant numbers of care home workers do not get the jab, they could transmit the disease to residents who are not vaccinated and at high risk of serious illness, say advocates for the elderly.
Prior to the pandemic, the Gurudwara temple in Saskatoon was used as a venue to vaccinate hundreds of people against the flu. Religious leaders at the Sikh temple found it was a good way to build trust within their community while advocating for equal access to health care. "They come to the golden hour for their religious prayer anyway," said Jaswant Singh, a faith leader within the Sikh Society of Saskatchewan. It made getting vaccinated easier than going to a pharmacy. Those who didn't have a vehicle were driven in from as far as 150 kilometres to get the shot. Helping with vaccinations isn't new for religious leaders, but their efforts have become even more important due to a lack of racial data on the people getting immunizations in Saskatchewan. The lack of data means the province doesn't know if members of any particular groups have been hesitant to be inoculated. This means it doesn't know if education efforts should be targeted at specific groups. Religious leaders are often strong voices in their communities, meaning they can help combat vaccine reluctance. At the Sikh temple, vaccination clinics fulfil their religious beliefs of building community, protecting humanity and eliminating discrimination between different castes. In-person congregations at the temple have now been reduced to 30 people, so all advocacy efforts have moved online. However, with Saskatchewan now distributing COVID-19 vaccines throughout the province, religious leaders say they can help eliminate ethnic disparities during the rollout, just like they do with the flu shot. "We need to be involving diverse groups of people, and that includes religious groups so that nobody is left behind," Singh said. "Particularly, we need to pay close attention to disadvantaged people who are marginalized, who may not have usual media reach." Lack of racial data in Saskatchewan In the U.K., the government has worked closely with mosques, temples and churches to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Suresh Tikoo, director of vaccinology and immunotherapeutics program at the University of Saskatchewan, says the same should be done in this province as it helps eliminate inequalities associated with language or technological barriers. "Vaccine access has to be equal to everyone," Tikoo said. "If [the government] can involve ethnic groups and their leaders and places of worship, it would really help to get the vaccination done properly, particularly in those groups." Volunteers welcome those with appointments to a vaccination centre at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury in North London, where they are aiming to give 1,300 vaccinations a day. Faith leaders in Saskatchewan would like to see similar centres set up here. The Ministry of Health says Panorama, the vaccine tracking system used by the majority of the provinces including Saskatchewan, does not gather information about race or ethnicity, so it's unknown if any groups are being left behind. Tikoo said racial and ethnic data is important to have, and will become useful for developing future vaccines for future pandemics. "The data will help to see whether there is any disparity between different ethnic groups," Tikoo said. "Secondly, it will help to determine if any particular age group or ethnicity or sex — if any of those groups have or have not responded to a particular vaccine. "If that data is available it can very quickly be analyzed and another vaccine can be given. If that data is not available, it will take a lot of time to figure out what is the reason that the vaccine is not working in one individual or individuals." The federal government does not have its own vaccine tracking system. With gaps in the data, religious leaders are taking it upon themselves to ensure access to the vaccine and information is equally distributed. WATCH | How the U.K. is handling vaccine hesitancy in racialized communities Faith leaders take on vaccine hesitancy Since the pandemic began, faith leaders have played a central role in addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and debunking misinformation. "In many cases, people trust more of their religious leaders than politicians," said Rabbi Claudio Jodorkovsky. Pastors in the Mennonite Church have been responsible for delivering information to communal living settings and those who live remotely, said Ryan Siemens, executive minister at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. COVID-19 news is often the topic in weekly sermons and a vaccine endorsement by a faith leader can lead to acceptance by the congregation. "There's a tremendous opportunity to disseminate information that is related to public health, related to vaccination and other things that are needed for the pandemic response," said Mateen Razi of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan. As new vaccines continue to be approved by Health Canada, faith leaders have taken on the role of debunking misinformation, and educating their congregation on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine. Others lean on their religious leaders to understand public health orders, or to feel comfortable asking questions. "People believe you when you speak their language, and many times people have questions they're unable to express. It'd be OK to speak in English, but you're not able to express at the same level," Singh said. Religious leaders also help congregations understand what's in the vaccine. For example, members of the Muslim and Orthodox Jewish communities might have concerns about it having any sort of connection to pigs or pork. "Health and the preservation of life goes first," said Jodorkovsky. "The opposition of vaccines can not be supported by religion." Setting up clinics in places of worship Some faith leaders feel they are being underutilized during the province's vaccine rollout. "I think there's a lot of missed opportunities," Jodorkovsky said. "We are totally left out of the most important things to educate." In December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a video conference with faith leaders that was geared specifically toward the vaccine rollout. But faith leaders say they haven't heard much else from the provincial or federal governments since. Saskatchewan will offer three types of clinics to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine: mass vaccination clinics, drive-thru clinics and mobile clinics. The province does have regular conversations with an interfaith group, but vaccine rollout has not been a main part of the conversation, Siemens said. "It has been very, very messy and not organized. We can be real partners with the government," Jodorkovsky said. In addition to the province opening up clinics across the province, faith leaders say places of worship could also be used to reach ethnic minorities and ensuring the vaccine is equally available to all. The Saskatchewan government says there will be additional clinics set up in community based-settings. "When the time comes, that would be good," Siemens said. "But I think all of us are sort of in the wait and see when delivery actually gets here."
YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar repeatedly used tear gas and rubber bullets Tuesday against crowds protesting last month's coup, but the demonstrators regrouped after each volley and tried to defend themselves with barricades as standoffs between protesters and security forces intensified. Myanmar authorities have escalated their crackdown on the protests in recent days, making mass arrests and firing into the crowds. The United Nations said it believed at least 18 people were killed on Sunday by security forces. Foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries were meeting Tuesday to discuss the increasingly volatile crisis. Despite the crackdown, demonstrators have continued to flood the streets — and are beginning to more rigorously resist attempts to disperse them. Hundreds, many wearing construction helmets and carrying makeshift shields, gathered in Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, where a day earlier police had fired repeated rounds of tear gas. They dragged bamboo poles and debris to form barricades, chanted slogans and sang songs at the police lines. They even threw banana skins onto the road in front of them in a bid to slow any police rush. The mainly young demonstrators fled in panic each time tear gas canisters were fired but soon returned to their barricades. Videos posted on social media showed similar chaotic scenes in the Insein neighbourhood of northern Yangon. Protesters also took up their flags and banners to march through the streets of Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen almost daily large demonstrations against the coup. One group of demonstrators was targeted by the security forces as it entered a narrow street on its way to pay respects at the house of a man killed in Sunday’s crackdown. Another was attacked on the main street in the city’s centre. Yangon and Dawei were among the cities where security forces reportedly fired live ammunition into crowds Sunday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. There were reports that they also fired live rounds Tuesday, but they could not immediately be confirmed. Some fear the junta’s escalating use of force is meant to provoke a violent backlash by the demonstrators — who have largely remained nonviolent — in order to discredit them and justify an even harsher crackdown. Videos from recent days show a greater number of protesters trying to stand their ground and throw objects at the police. “I beg the people in Myanmar not to fall in this trap, so to stay peaceful,” U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said in interview with CNN, acknowledging that it was easier for her, safely away from the violence, to urge peaceful protesting. She also accused the authorities of spreading rumours about the conditions of people in detention to stir up even more anger on the streets. The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. The military government has charged Suu Kyi, 75, with several offences that critics say are trumped up merely to keep her jailed and potentially prevent her from participating in the election promised in a year’s time by the military. Her party says it does not know where Suu Kyi — who has a long history of campaigning for democracy in Myanmar — is being held. The weekend crackdown drew international condemnation. In addition to the use of force, authorities also detained more than 1,000 people over the weekend, according to the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Those detained included at least eight journalists, among them Thein Zaw of The Associated Press. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the use of force and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” according to his spokesperson. The U.S., British and other governments issued similar statements of concern. But the military has showed no sign of backing down. The protesters and their supporters have appealed for help from abroad, but there are few prospects for major intervention. The results of Tuesday's special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, held by video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic, were expected to be announced in the evening. But the 10-nation regional group's policy of seeking a consensus among its members makes it unlikely to take strong action. The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, has proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar and “tough, targeted and co-ordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses. But any kind of co-ordinated action at the United Nations would be difficult since two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it. Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions. ___ Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report. The Associated Press
About 1,200 NB Power customers are without electricity and some roads are impassable as strong wind gusts continue Tuesday night. The largest outages are in central York and Sunbury counties, with 541 customers in the dark around 9:50 p.m. AT Tuesday, according to NB Power's online outages list. The Crown utility didn't have an estimated restoration time for about half of those outages, with roughly 200 estimated to have their power back on by 12:30 a.m. Wednesday at the latest. Meanwhile, roughly 303 outages were reported in the Acadian Peninsula, 221 in the Carleton County area, and 100 in the Charlotte County southwest area. Restoration times for those outages ranged from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday. There were around 40 customers without power in other areas of the province. More than 4,000 customers were without power earlier Tuesday evening. Snow-covered roads The Department of Transportation is reporting several roads are either impassable or only open to emergency and service vehicles, primarily in the northern part of the province. Highway 11 between Six Roads and Tabusintac on the Acadian Peninsula is closed to general traffic, along with Highway 113 from Baie de Shippagan to the Miscou Channel, and the Trans-Canada Highway from Grand Falls to Saint-Leonard. The province says there is drifting snow, poor visibility and icy patches throughout those areas. Highway 11 from Janeville to Bertrand is closed. Most of the Trans-Canada Highway is marked as partly covered in snow and ice, with travel not recommended. Other roads north of Fredericton and Moncton are either fully or partly covered in snow and ice with travel not recommended, while roads south of Fredericton are bare. The outages and road closures come as Environment Canada issued wind warnings for the Acadian Peninsula, Bathurst and Chaleur region, Campbellton and Restigouche County, warning that wind gusts could reach 90 km/h in those regions. Wind gusts are expected to last throughout the day and end by Wednesday morning. "These very strong winds will cause extensive blowing snow, especially over exposed areas, and a blowing snow advisory is now in effect for these regions as well," Environment Canada said in a statement. "High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break."
Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday, pulled down by Apple and Tesla, while materials stocks climbed as investors waited for the U.S. Congress to approve another stimulus package. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.3 billion shares, compared with the 14.9 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Unlike many teenagers, Abdoulaye Diakhaby was petrified to turn 18. He had spent the previous four years in the child-welfare system living first in a foster home, then a group home. But at 18, he was forced to be on his own. Diakhaby, who is now 21, says he didn't feel ready; he was still perfecting his English, he didn't know how to cook and needed help with homework. "I was thinking, 'How am I going to be able to do my groceries? How to cook? How to go to school? How to pay my rent? How to get a job?'" he told CBC Toronto. Days after moving into his own place, Diakhaby returned to the group home for a couple of nights to sleep. He was lonely and isolated. Diakhaby says if he could, he'd still be living there, instead of having to make the transition away. "Everything was tough for me," he said. Diakhaby says prior to leaving care at 18, he worried about how he'd buy groceries, cook, get to school, pay rent and find a job.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province placed a moratorium on youth aging out of care and has extended it to Sept. 30, 2022. Just under 12,000 children and youth in care CBC News has learned the Ontario government will use the time to redesign how young people leave the system by doing away with the current age cut-off. Instead, provincial officials say they plan to ensure youths feel confident and prepared. According to the province, just under 12,000 children and youth are in the child-welfare system. About half of youths who experience homelessness in Ontario were involved in that system, more than half drop out of high school and 57 per cent rely on social assistance, according to a 2017 report by the now-closed Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women's issues, says the government wants children to meet key milestones before they leave care. "We're building a model that's going to work for them," Dunlop said in an interview. "Young people take different paths, but we want to ensure that the supports are there." Under the current system, some young people who leave care are eligible for financial assistance until age 21 and other supports until 24. Still, advocates who have been calling for a readiness-based model say those supports haven't been close to enough. "The system itself was traumatizing and it retraumatized them," said Irwin Elman, Ontario's former — and only — child and youth advocate. "When they left the system, they felt dumped out and as one young person said, 'shoved off the edge of a cliff, alone, with nothing and expected to do well.'" The Ford government cut Elman's position and closed the office in 2018 and moved his responsibilities to the Ombudsman's office. What the new system will look like and how it will work is still being determined. The ministry says it's working with former children in care, advocates and others to design the program. More than 2,500 young people expected to age out by 2022 will be protected by the moratorium, according to Dunlop. New system must give youth a voice, advocates say When Cheyanne Ratnam aged out of care at 18, she took a blanket with her that symbolized a piece of family she knew she was losing. She survived childhood sexual abuse and other trauma before entering the child-welfare system, and says although it was the "lowest low," she was relieved to finally have a safe place to sleep. "I was just so happy to be away from abuse and not really having stability," she said. Ratnam is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children's Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the ministry to help develop the new model. She calls it an "ethical system reset" and says the decision on when a youth leaves should include input from designated support people. Ultimately, she says, the people in care should decide when it's time to be on their own. Cheyanne Ratnam was in the child-welfare system and is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the government to help develop the new model. (Children's Aid Foundation of Canada ) "It should be in a way where young people are supported to make those decisions and not have decisions made for them so they can take ownership of their lives," she said. She also says the new model shouldn't include any sort of age cut-off and young people should be able to return to care if they choose to after leaving. "When you're alone in the community, a lot of trauma gets relived," she said. Ratnam says the child-welfare system funnels young people into homelessness, mental health issues and the justice system, and that the new model should help avoid that and set young people up for success. Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care, co-authored a letter to the province calling for a new system to be designed.(Honour Stahl) Ratnam and Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care Canada, co-authored a letter in June to the ministry calling for a new system to be designed. Lowes is also working with the province on the new model and says it's imperative it listen to those who experienced the current system. "It sets the precedent for that to be the standard, that the people [the system] is being designed for should be helping to create it," he said. "Because how else can we know what a system should look like if you're not asking the people that you're making the system for?" Support networks vital Shomari Mabayeke was placed in five different foster homes in five years. "It's kind of hard to trust people," he told CBC Toronto. "I'd move again and then it was kind of numbing after that because then I didn't make any new friends." Mabayeke first entered the system at 13 and says some homes were better than others. He aged out five years ago. "My process of coming out of care was more like, 'I just want to be gone. I don't care. Like, this is the worst thing ever,'" he said. Mabayeke says while he felt ready to be on his own at the time, he realizes now he wasn't taught certain skills, such as cooking or financial planning. Shomari Mabayeke looks through a basket of groceries delivered to him by StepsStones for Youth, a charity that helps young people transition out of the child-welfare system.(Angelina King/CBC) "They didn't do anything to prepare us for reality," he said. "You don't really get all the skills that growing up with an actual family and interacting with a loving family would give you." Mabayeke says he received some government assistance while transitioning out of care, but still relies on StepStones for Youth, a charitable organization in Toronto. "I feel like there would have been a really disastrous, chaotic moment if I didn't … use resources," he said. StepsStones helps youths who leave care secure housing, complete education and build support networks based on their interests. Heather O’Keefe, who runs StepStones for Youth, says the biggest challenge young people face when they leave the child-welfare system is not having a support network.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) "They deserve what other young people deserve," executive director Heather O'Keefe said. "They need to have people that care about them and guide them through life choices. And not only people who are paid to care for them, but people who actually genuinely care for them." Diakhaby also receives support from StepStones. He's unemployed right now and says it's been hard finding a job during the pandemic, but would like to be a plumber one day. He recently turned 21 and will soon lose his government financial assistance, but says he'll continue to rely on help and guidance from StepsStones. "They care about me," he said.
TOKYO — Two Americans suspected of helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn skip bail and escape to Lebanon in December 2019 have been extradited to Japan. Michael Taylor and his son Peter had been held in a suburban Boston jail since May. They were handed over to Japanese custody on Monday and arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday. Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for more than two decades, was arrested in 2018, and charged with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for personal gain. He says he is innocent. WHAT ARE THE FATHER AND SON ACCUSED OF DOING? Michael Taylor, with the help of another man, George-Antoine Zayek, hid Ghosn in a large black box supposedly containing audio equipment, according to the authorities. The box passed through airport security in Osaka, central Japan, and was loaded onto a private jet that flew Ghosn to Turkey. Peter Taylor is accused of meeting with Ghosn and helping his father carry out the escape. Authorities say the Taylors were paid at least $1.3 million. WHERE WILL THEY BE TAKEN AND WHAT HAPPENS THERE? The Taylors, like other suspects, can be held up to 23 days without any formal charges at the Tokyo Detention Center on the outskirts of the capital and questioned for hours almost daily by prosecutors, without a lawyer present. Their lawyer can visit and they can receive snacks and books. The detention can be extended with “rearrests,” if more charges are tagged on. Ghosn spent more than 100 days at the centre before gaining his release on bail. The solitary cells are simple, with Japanese-style futon mattresses. The centre, which is different from prisons for people who have been convicted, also has an exercise area and clinic. IS THIS THE ROUTINE TREATMENT OF SUSPECTS IN JAPAN? The Japanese treatment of suspects has been widely criticized as “hostage justice,” designed to coerce suspects to confess and often resulting in false confessions. The Taylors’ lawyers in the U.S. say they worry they may be treated unfairly in Japan and subjected to “mental and physical torture.” They also argue that jumping bail is not a crime under Japanese law. That is technically accurate, but most people who escape are easily caught in Japan. Japanese prosecutors say they have enough evidence to convict the Taylors. WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED IF THEY GO ON TRIAL? Even after formal charges are filed, closed-door pre-trial sessions by the prosecutors and defendants before a judge generally go on for months. The media have no access to such sessions. Jury trials exist in Japan, but only for murders and other heinous crimes. A panel of three judges will hear the Taylors' case in a trial that could last months or even years. English translation will be provided during the trial. Media coverage is allowed, but no filming or recording. If convicted, the Taylors face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,900). They could get a suspended sentence and not serve time. In principle, just as in the U.S., people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But 99% of criminal trials end in convictions. WHERE IS CARLOS GHOSN AND CAN HE BE TRIED? Japan has put Ghosn on Interpol's wanted list, but Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. Extradition from the U.S. isn’t common, so the extradition of the Taylors for an alleged nonviolent crime reflects the determination of Japanese prosecutors to pursue the case against Ghosn. Ghosn is almost certain to be extradited if he sets foot in the U.S. Former Nissan senior executive Greg Kelly is on trial in Tokyo on charges he helped under-report Ghosn’s compensation. Kelly, an American, says he is innocent. ___ Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
The City of Fredericton is going ahead with projects that were originally cut to balance this year's budget. Some of those items include $1.4 million toward the Officers' Square redevelopment, $500,000 toward a retrofit for City Hall, new park infrastructure and a transit study. The municipality recently had a $3.1 million shortfall — $2 million of that was related to the pandemic and $1.1 million toward rising operating costs. Investing in 'preventative maintenance' Through Canada's safe restart agreement, which helps cover massive losses for municipalities, the city received $3.18 million. "Our capital project inside our budget moves forward as it's designed to, maximizing our ability and the city's ability to invest in preventative maintenance and support of the infrastructure of the city in a fiscally responsible way," said Coun. Greg Ericson. Council approved the recommendation to reinstate the budget items at Monday night's council-in-committee meeting. Funding the city projects still need final approval from council. 'Park the money and hold it' Some councillors questioned if funding all seven projects was the best use of the money. "I'm just feeling in these times of uncertainty that we should just park the money and hold it," said Coun. Eric Price. Alicia Keating, assistant director of corporate services and acting city treasurer, said that option had already been discussed. "Where there is additional funding anticipated throughout the year, the discussions were, 'let's get what we can done." Some of those city projects will also be delayed. "Typically some of the projects would be ongoing or we would already have tenders that we could purchase equipment, per say," she said. "Or some of them wouldn't have started until a little bit later in the year anyway." In the future, Keating said the city anticipates more federal funding of about $1.5 million through The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.