Hanna hits land and Douglas goes through the Hawaiin Islands
A winter travel escape may not be top-of-mind during a world-wide pandemic, but the island state of Hawaii says Canadians will be welcomed without quarantine measures starting Sept. 1, 2020.Hawaii imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travellers at the onset of the pandemic, but the state's Department of Transportation says it will soon be open to "all trans-Pacific travelers." "Travelers arriving in Hawaii from out-of-state will have the option to get a valid COVID-19 test prior to their arrival, and show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine," read a statement from the Department of Transportation.The test must be taken within 72 hours of boarding a flight to Hawaii."That's going to make a lot of Canadians happy," said Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer in Blaine, Washington.Without evidence of a negative test result, passengers will be subject to the quarantine, according to Hawaii's Department of Transportation. Air travel not restrictedLand borders between the U.S. and Canada have been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, but air travel has not been restricted for Canadians going into the U.S. "A lot of Canadians don't know they are allowed to travel by air to the United States," said Montreal-based travel expert Ricky Zhang."That loophole has remained," said Saunders. "I don't think you're going to see that change."Airlines resume flightsMeanwhile, Canadian airlines have been preparing to reopen routes to Hawaii. Westjet is set to resume its non-stop flights from Vancouver to Hawaiian destinations on Sept. 5, and Air Canada will follow suit on Sept. 8.According to the state's Department of Health, Hawaii, with a total population of 1.4 million people, has so far recorded 2111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 up to July 31, with 26 deaths. It's the only state in the U.S. that implemented a mandatory quarantine at the beginning of the pandemic. Saunders says quarantines were voluntary in all other states.The lifting of Hawaii's 14-day quarantine requirement was planned for August, but Gov. David Ige delayed due to a rise in confirmed cases on the mainland.The process of finalizing the requirements of entry will be determined "in the coming weeks," according to the Department of Transportation."The September 1 date is still tentative and subject to evaluation," said Zhang."It is a risk that they are taking and that Canadians are taking should they choose to travel to Hawaii," he added.Travel insurance returnsAt least one Canadian insurer, however, has reinstated medical coverage for COVID-19."We understand that our clients have concerns about medical insurance coverage for COVID-19," states Medipac's Travel Insurance website, which sells travel medical insurance to the Canadian Snowbird Association and the Royal Canadian Legion.The company website says that "Early Bird Travel Insurance is now available and includes coverage for COVID-19," while adding that pre-existing condition clauses and other policy terms and conditions will continue to apply.Zhang said Canadians can also consider purchasing travel insurance from U.S. providers.Pre-testing in Canada"This whole pre-testing thing is something the Canadian government may want to consider," said Saunders. "Because if it works well in Hawaii — with its huge tourist base — why can't it work for Canada?" The BC Centre for Disease Control suggests people with cold, influenza or even mild COVID-19-like symptoms should be tested, but its website also says "anyone can get tested."Canadians returning from Hawaii will still be subject to mandatory self-isolation upon their return.
Women's rights activist Loujain Alhathloul, currently jailed in Saudi Arabia, hasn't been heard from in six weeks — the longest time she's been silent since she was arrested over two years ago, according to her brother.Alhathloul, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has been detained since May 2018, when she was arrested along with nine other women's rights activists. She turned 31 in prison on Friday."We don't know anything about her well-being and we don't know anything about where she is exactly," said her brother Walid Alhathloul, speaking on the phone from Toronto.He said she was previously detained in Ha'er Prison, a maximum-security prison and the country's largest, but the family now isn't sure whether she's been moved to a different location.Before the COVID-19 pandemic, her family was able to visit her weekly. But those visits were replaced by weekly phone calls when Saudi Arabia tightened restrictions on prison visits to prevent the spread of the virus.Alhathloul says the family now hasn't heard from her since June 9."I would say it's a way to torture us, the family. Loujain knows that we are doing fine, but we don't know if she's doing fine," he said. "We're safe — she's not safe. It's psychological torture."Detained since 2018Alhathloul was first accused of attempting to destabilize the kingdom. Since then, those charges have been changed to communicating with foreign journalists and attempting to apply for a job at the United Nations.Her trial was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic."We're expecting that we're not going to get any updates from the court, or from the judge," said her brother, who said that even two years on, the family maintains hope that she will be released."We're holding up. We're used to that and we know that the target is us. This was difficult at the beginning, but right now it's becoming part of our DNA."Alhathloul was a vocal activist known for her vivacity and spirit even prior to her high-profile arrest.In 2014, following her graduation from UBC, Alhathloul was arrested for live-streaming herself breaking Saudi Arabia's female driving ban by driving across the border from the United Arab Emirates.The stunt, which captured the world's attention, earned her 70 days of detention. She followed that up by running in Saudi Arabia's first election open to women.After 14 months of detention, she was offered to sign a deal that would have let her walk free if she posted a video statement denying that she'd been tortured. She tore up the document.She had previously told her family that she'd been held in solitary confinement and suffered electrocution, flogging, and sexual assault.Alhathloul's birthday triggered an outpouring of support on social media and protests outside of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C.Walid Alhathloul said he believes his sister, who in February was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by United States Congress members, has become a symbol for women's rights across the world."People saw that when she got involved, she didn't have to, because she had all her own privilege," he said."And despite that, she sacrificed her own privilege for the sake of greater women's rights in Saudi Arabia. She did that unconditionally."
The Israeli army on Monday said it targeted a group of four people who had planted explosives along the border fence with Syria on the Golan Heights. An army spokesman said it was too soon to say if the squad belonged to any organization, but that Israel held "the Syrian regime accountable". There was no immediate comment from Syria.
Rafters on the Elbow River were witnesses to a strange sight Sunday afternoon — a car being slowly winched up the steep riverbank."Initially it seems like a simple call, just a suspicious car down by the river," said Const. Chris Martin. "It ended up being an extensive response from both Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, AHS, EMS and then some private contractors," Martin said, adding that the total response was expected to take about nine hours.Police received a call at 8:15 a.m. about the vehicle at the bottom of a cliff, on the east side of Sandy Beach Park near the southwest Calgary community of Altadore.Martin said nobody was found inside the car, but the car was reported stolen and what's believed to be drugs (likely either cocaine or powdered fentanyl) were spilled inside. "Whether it was driven over, pushed over, or left running in gear and drove itself over, those details we have yet to determine," he said.It's believed the car went over the side of the cliff overnight, possibly around 3:30 a.m., Martin said. Martin said police worked with the fire department's high-angle rescue team, as well as a team out on the water, to make sure no fluids leaked into the river and that members of the public were safe as the car was removed.He chronicled the extraction on Twitter, sharing photos and videos of progress throughout the day. He said in his more than eight years with CPS, he'd never seen anything like it. Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
Regina police have ordered the Walking With Our Angels protest camp set up in Wascana Park to take down the teepee and leave.Tristen Durocher and Chris Merasty walked 635 kilometers from Air Ronge to Regina in response to the Saskatchewan government denying a suicide prevention bill earlier this month. Durocher is now on a hunger strike until meaningful legislation is passed.Durocher said he was woken up at 5 a.m. CT this morning at the camp with demands from police to leave the park."They came to politely say we're here to enforce the bylaws but we will give you the opportunity to take the teepee down," Durocher said. "What I saw them here for today was not to enforce the bylaws, was not to take that teepee down, but to intimidate us into leaving of our own free will."He said the police asked him if he would take down the teepee himself, he said he would not and when asked if they could take it down, he said no."They knock on the teepee pole maybe [after] ten minutes 'Hello, we would politely like you guys to leave so that we may take this down'," Durocher said. "'Sorry we're a little bit naked right now. We need [to] dress' and they got tired of waiting, they waited less than an hour and they all left."He said he and the camp are in violation of certain city bylaws in the park. Starting a campfire, staying overnight on the property, erecting a permanent structure and not signing a permit to demonstrate there are all against the bylaws, Durocher said.Durocher said this isn't the first time cops have come to tell him to leave since he arrived in Regina on Friday."They came yesterday to hand me a court summons for a court date set for November and it took them six people in uniform to hand me one piece of paper," Durocher said. "A boy who's sitting cross-legged peacefully sipping a cup of tea."Raising awarenessThe camp has a teepee set up surrounded by dozens of pictures of suicide victims. Durocher said he has permission from the families of those lost to put up their pictures."My Facebook page Walking with our Angels did a call for submissions for families to send us photos of their lost loved ones so we could do a portrait gallery and honour them," Durocher said. "And make this country look at them, make those politicians look at them so that they could see these are not just statistics, these are human beings and these are children."These are innocent people who for some reason felt so hopeless that they couldn't even believe in tomorrow."Durocher said his main reason for setting up the camp and going on a hunger strike is to spread public awareness of the suicide epidemic affecting Indigenous communities across the province."This province is rich, this country is rich, these politicians and their coffers funded by our public have access to the best experts in Saskatchewan, in Canada and the world," Durocher said. "They could pay for those consultations, the only question is will they and the only question is why haven't they and another question is when will they?"This affects more than just Indigenous people."According to the Saskatchewan Coroners Service, 2,338 people have died by suicide from 2005 to 2019 in the province. Twenty-eight per cent of those people were Indigenous. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 Indigenous people made up 16.3 per cent of the population in Saskatchewan.Similarities to Justice campIn February of 2018, a camp was set up in the same place Durocher's camp currently sits. The Justice For Our Stolen Children camp was set up in response to the non-guilty verdicts of Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier, two non-Indigenous men accused of killing two Indigenous youth. Stanley, accused of killing 22-year old Colton Boushie and Cormier, accused of killing 15-year old Tina Fontaine.The camp stood for nearly 200 days before being taken down after many police interventions and a court order.Durocher said he expected similar treatment from Regina Police when he decided to set up the protest camp."I'm anticipating intimidation, I'm anticipating kind of manipulative [and] scare tactics [like] six men to hand me one piece of paper but I'm not really expecting a forced removal," Durocher said. "That would blow this up bigger than it needs to be."Durocher said Black Lives Matter protests are in the public eye right now as is the COVID-19 pandemic. He said his protest creates more tension in an already tense society."This could be a spark that ignites a blaze that we don't need," Durocher said. "We need to be together, we need to be co-operative."
The Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre was reporting 23 deaths as of Saturday, according to their website. With the latest number of deaths, GSS now has the deadliest outbreak in Alberta, surpassing the 21 deaths reported at Calgary's Extendicare Hillcrest last month.The centre, located at 4225 107th St. NW, currently has 184 residents. There were 37 active cases among residents and 23 among staff. Eighteen residents and nine employees have recovered.Alberta Health Services have not confirmed those numbers, although GSS website states that their numbers can be slightly different from AHS because they are notified immediately while Alberta Health relies on the provincial reporting database.In an email, Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health, said GSS is posting accurate totals."We will update the online numbers after the long weekend," he wrote.Two weeks ago, Alberta Health Services considered taking over day-to-day operations of the care centre, but decided the move was not necessary, McMillan said in a statement on Monday, July 27.AHS will work with the centre to provide oversight and leadership and ensure that all processes and procedures are up to standard, including securing necessary staff, he said.
A couple sailing east off the coast of Saint Andrews, N.B., spotted a great white shark Saturday. Kelly Pendleton and her husband were steering back to shore when they saw the shark. Her husband saw something floating in the water and Pendleton joked it looked like a shark fin. "We got closer and realized it actually was," said Pendleton, who had never seen a shark prior to the encounter."I was a little bit scared actually. I didn't think it would hit the boat or anything, but when it's that close they're so big. It's a little intimidating." The shark circled around the boat three or four times, she said. Great white sharks are classified as endangered in Canada, although sightings of the species happen now and then near Saint Andrews.Nicole Leavitt-Kennedy, senior marine biologist for St. Andrew's Sport Fishing Co. and Island Quest Whale Watching, examined video footage captured by Pendleton and confirmed it's a great white based on its tall, pointed dorsal fin.Leavitt-Kennedy said it was likely female based on its large tail stock. The great white shark is likely feeding off fish, seals or porpoise in the Bay of Fundy. It's estimated to be about five metres long.Leavitt-Kennedy would not give out the exact location of the shark because she fears it could be hunted.The shark didn't ping on Ocearch, the data organization that tracks sharks, as it isn't tagged.Leavitt-Kennedy said most sharks in the Bay of Fundy are not tagged simply because there are hundreds of them. She said awareness of shark sightings is becoming increasingly common, as people are more and more frequently using their camera to take photos and videos of the fishes. "Seeing a white shark in nature kind of doing its thing is an amazing experience, but … there is nothing that makes it stand out specifically." There were several sightings of great white sharks taking seals during whale watches last year, Leavitt-Kennedy said. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies great whites as a vulnerable species, meaning they're at high risk of extinction. Vulnerable is the classification before endangered. White sharks may poke a boat, but they do not see humans as prey and attacks are rare.
An infant boy who survived a shooting last year that left his parents and 21 others dead now likes to thumb through picture books and dance to a Batman jingle with his grandmother, according to an uncle who helps care for the 1-year-old.It will be years before Paul Anchondo learns what happened to his parents in an event that many El Paso residents still struggle to comprehend, Tito Anchondo said. Anchondo's brother Andre and sister-in-law Jordan died in the shooting at a Walmart store.“We’ve been putting collections together of my brother’s photos, his accomplishments, basically trying to get as much information that we can and save it for” the boy, Tito Anchondo said. “When he does get to that age, we can tell him, ‘You know what, like, this is what happened to your dad. ... Something horrible happened to your mom and dad. But, you know, we’re still here.'"Authorities say Jordan Anchondo shielded the baby from gunfire, while her husband shielded them both. Paul suffered broken fingers and became the focus of public adulation as a seemingly miraculous survivor of the horror.President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Paul in the hospital. His first birthday, during the coronavirus pandemic, was attended by a drive-by caravan of cars and motorcycles.Tito Anchondo said “baby Paul” won’t attend a series of events associated with the anniversary of the Aug. 3, 2019, shooting because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Paul's paternal grandmother has health conditions that could make her extra vulnerable to the virus.A relative of the boy’s deceased mother declined to offer thoughts on the anniversary of the shooting. Tito acknowledged that Paul has been the focus of court-supervised custody negotiations between his paternal and maternal families.Tito Anchondo’s parents grew up in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, adjacent to El Paso. He works with his father at their auto-body repair shop in El Paso and describes himself as a patriot who regards the United States as a land of opportunity. He supports the president without reservations.Tito said the mass shooting opened his eyes to divisive political, racial and ethnic tensions beyond El Paso. Authorities say the gunman was targeting Latinos.“The shooting was the biggest racist attack on Mexican Americans, and to me that was something that was, you know, nonexistent,” he said. “Call it privilege (from) living in El Paso, one of the safest cities in the United States.”___Lee reported from Santa Fe, New Mexico.Morgan Lee, The Associated Press
Recent developments: * The Heron Road care clinic, one of the city's COVID-19 testing sites, is closed Monday.What's the latest?Ottawa has four new confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to numbers published by Ottawa Public Health on Monday.The last time Ottawa Public Health reported numbers in the single digits was on July 17, when there were seven new cases. The care clinic on Moodie Drive and the centre at the Brewer Arena are open Monday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for people seeking a COVID-19 test. The clinic on Heron Road is closed.How many cases are there?There have been 2,559 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began. The number of deaths is at 264, with the first in more than a month announced Tuesday. The person who died was in their 40s.The majority of cases in the city — 2,083 — are classified as resolved.In all, public health officials have reported more than 3,950 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, and more than 3,300 cases are resolved.COVID-19 has killed 102 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.What's open and closed?Ottawa is now in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, which means many more businesses are allowed to reopen, including dine-in restaurants and movie theatres.Quebec has similar rules, with its distanced gathering cap going up to 250 people in public venues next week. More national museums are opening to the public. The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum opened Saturday.Elementary students in Ontario will be heading back to school full time come September, while most high school students will split their time between the classroom and online learning. Quebec's back-to-school plans will bring students to classrooms again this fall.WATCH | Ontario school plan missing key recommendations from experts, teacher saysDistancing and isolatingThe coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.That means physical distancing measures such as working from home, meeting others outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle, including when you have a mask on.Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed in Ontario. People should still keep their distance from people not in their circle.Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, where transit officials and taxi drivers are now required to bar access to users over age 12 who refuse to wear a mask.Masks are recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.Ottawa's medical officer of health said in mid-July people should be ready for COVID-19 social restrictions well into 2021 or 2022.WATCH | Which Canadians would get the COVID-19 vaccine first?Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.Specifically in Ottawa, anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate at least until they know the result.The same goes for anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for people with weakened immune systems and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested at one of three sites.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.There is a drive-thru centre in Casselman that can handle 200 tests a day and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.Others in Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is now hosting the city's test site. Find it at Gate 2.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre and in Picton by texting or calling.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.It has a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.Renfrew County is providing pop-up testing in five communities this week and home testing under some circumstances.Residents should call their family doctor and those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents now can get a walk-in test in Gatineau five days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond and at recurring clinics in communities such as Maniwaki, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.The clinic is closed Monday.They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions or to make an appointment.First Nations:Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Ten of them are active as of Monday, most linked back to a gathering on an island with a non-resident who wasn't showing symptoms at the time.It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. It's 100 miles or 160 kilometres away on the American side.Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Face coverings are now mandatory in its public buildings.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time. It plans on starting to open schools and daycares next month.For more information
Conservation groups say they are concerned about an Ontario government decision to allow a hunt of double-crested cormorants across the province this fall.The Ontario ministry of natural resources and forestry announced the hunt on Friday, calling it a "fall harvest," and said it will allow a hunter with an outdoors card and small game licence to kill up to 15 birds a day from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31. Hunters will be allowed to shoot the birds from stationary motorboats.According to the ministry, the rationale for the killing of the birds is that they reduce fish stocks and their droppings damage natural habitat. It says they hurt the livelihoods of commercial fishermen and property owners, hunters and anglers have all complained."The harvest will help address concerns about impacts to local ecosystems by cormorants, a bird that preys on fish, eating a pound a day, and that can damage trees in which they nest and roost," the ministry said in a news release on Friday.Liz White, a director of the non-profit Animal Alliance of Canada and leader of the federally registered Animal Protection Party of Canada, said the alliance and party are opposed to the hunt.White said the hunt is unethical because the birds are not eaten, cruel because many birds will be wounded and will suffer, and scientifically unsound because the birds do not deplete commercial fish stocks."The problem is that the issues that they talk about as justification for the hunt are simply not held up in science," White said.White said cormorants are found where fish are plentiful."What we find out is that where there are a lot of birds, like a lot of cormorants, and other colonial nesting birds, the reason that they are there in great quantities is there is also a very healthy fish population," she said.While cormorants do destroy foliage, with their acidic droppings, known as guano, killing the leaves of trees and changing the composition of vegetation, she said: "The question is, what difference does that make?" White said the hunt, while "pared down" from a 2018 government plan, could devastate a recovered native wildlife species that has been driven to near extinction twice in the past 200 years."We know that is a perilous activity and we believe it is put forward because people don't like the birds," White said.According to the ministry, hunters will have to have "adequate means" to retrieve any bird that is shot, including those injured, and White says it will be impossible for hunters to retrieve birds with damaged beaks and wings because of where they live. They nest on the ground or in trees on islands and peninsulas.White said if every hunter who has a licence is allowed to take 15 birds a day and if only 20,000 do so, the population of cormorants could be wiped out. There are 197,000 holders of small game licences in Ontario.As well, she said the ministry will not be able to enforce its own rules to control the hunt."It begs the question, who hold the controls?" she said.The ministry said it and its partner agencies surveyed cormorant colonies across the Great Lakes and certain inland lakes in Ontario last year. Based on nest counts, it estimates there are a minimum of 143,000 breeding cormorants in 344 colonies."Combined with historical data, trends suggest that cormorant populations are increasing in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior and are stable on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Huron," it said in the news release.Steven Price, president of Birds Canada, a non-profit charitable organization that calls itself "Canada's voice for birds," agreed with White that the hunt raises questions and concerns.Price said the hunt is more of a cull. What the province initially planned two years ago was more widespread, of longer duration and during breeding season, he said."While I don't like it in particular, it's better than it was," Price said. "It's at least outside of the breeding season, which makes it consistent with all other hunts, you don't normally hunt during breeding season of an animal, and it will be outside of main cottage country time and boating."But Price said he is concerned because the province has not specified its "conservation objective," the size of what would be considered a reasonable cormorant population. "The question is, if it were a cull, then what is the population size that you're trying to reduce it to and how will you hire experts in order for that to happen? And that's not the case here."The cormorant came close to being endangered over 100 years ago, when birds of all kinds were shot without any control, he said."Cormorants are a success story in the 100 years since then with the elimination of that kind of illegal hunting and the decline in pesticide use. The birds have come back. They have come back in large numbers. Not everyone is happy seeing these large black birds over Lake Ontario, over Lake Erie and cottage country. I happen to enjoy them. Others don't," he said.Price agreed that some people just don't like the bird.Ministry 'taking steps' to help hunters, anglers, fishersThe ministry, for its part, has not yet responded to an email for comment, but John Yakabuski, natural resources and forestry minister, said in the release: "We've heard concerns from property owners, hunters and anglers, and commercial fishers about the kind of damage cormorants have caused in their communities, so we're taking steps to help them deal with any local issues."Yakabuski added: "In large amounts, cormorant droppings can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting habitats for some other colonial water birds, so it's critical that we take action to strike a healthy balance in local ecosystems."Lauren Tonelli, resource management specialist of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said the group was pleased to hear the news of the hunt. The federation has 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters."We've been asking the government to do something about overabundant cormorants for almost two decades now," Tonelli said on Sunday. "We're very pleased to see that they acknowledged that overabundant cormorants is an issue and they are finally taking some initial steps in dealing with them."But she said the scale of the hunt is not extensive, despite what animal protection groups say."It's a pretty minor hunt, to be honest. The season lines up with pretty much every other waterfowl species in Ontario," she said. "We really don't think that this hunt will have a huge impact on the population. We really see this as a starting point and a way to recognize that something needs to be done and it gives individuals a means to begin to reduce their own local concerns."Toronto's Tommy Thompson Park is said to have one of the largest populations of cormorants in North America.
In the morning, David Keeler starts off with a dose of methadone dispensed by a pharmacist. A few hours later, he swallows 28 prescription pills of hydromorphone, a synthetic opioid prescribed by a doctor. By late afternoon, the 44-year-old Victoria man is turning to his own stash of drugs he bought from a dealer. "It just doesn't reach my addiction," Keeler said of the hydromorphone pills he takes every day, which were prescribed through the province's safe supply program.Back in March, new provincial guidelines were issued that gave physicians the go-ahead to more widely prescribe opiates and other substances to those struggling with addiction.In order to qualify for the medication, which is covered by B.C's Pharmacare plan, people have to be at risk of developing a COVID-19 infection and at high risk of overdosing or going through withdrawal. The change was made because of concerns that the pandemic could disrupt the drug supply, along with a desire to have those at risk self-isolate. However four months on, there has been a spike in the number of deadly overdoses and repeated calls for the government to do more to confront the opioid crisis, which was first declared a health emergency in B.C. in 2016.Some, including B.C.'s premier, John Horgan, and the head of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have been calling for drug decriminalization while others want to see people legally prescribed the same substances they are addicted to. Prescription opioidsKeeler is one of nearly 2,000 people now on hydromorphone in the province, most of whom have been given prescriptions since the safe supply program was rolled out. He started using heroin when he was 14, and at first, he said, the hydromorphone seemed to be reducing his cravings for more drugs, but now, he doesn't think it's having much effect.Some days, he doesn't even take the pills, which is why a stockpile is building up in the supportive housing unit he lives in."Maybe more than half of the people that I know that are on these are looking to sell them," he said. Keeler, who works with the Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID), equates giving hydromorphone to a serious addict with giving Tylenol to someone who has just had major surgery: It is nowhere near strong enough.He would like to be prescribed heroin."Give people what they need, because if they don't get what they need they are going to go after it."Increased toxicityExperts say the drugs available on the streets have become even more deadly in recent months. In June, 175 people died of overdoses in B.C., which was the highest number in a single month since the province started tracking overdoses. Before that, May set a similarly dismal record with 171 deaths. According to B.C.'s Coroners Service, fentanyl is detected in more than 80 per cent of deadly overdoses, and toxicology tests between April and June found there was an increase in the number of deaths where "extreme fentanyl concentrations" were found in the bloodstream. The drug supply, which experts speculate comes by way of the U.S. and China, has been disrupted by the pandemic border closures to non-essential traffic and has become more toxic with not only higher levels of fentanyl but additional substances being added in. Drug testingAllen Custance, a technician and harm reduction worker with the organization Get Your Drugs Tested, said he normally sees samples of what are called "down" drugs that are powerful depressants and can be a combination of fentanyl, heroin as well as other chemicals. Normally, he sees fentanyl concentrations between five to 10 per cent, but in recent months, he has been seeing some samples of "down" drugs with fentanyl at 20 to 30 per cent. "To most people, that is enough to overdose — even a seasoned user with a higher tolerance," said Custance.He analyzes samples using a piece of equipment called an FTIR spectrometer, which employs an infrared laser to detect the chemical make-up of drugs. Most of the samples come from users and dealers who drop them off at the group's location in east Vancouver, but about a quarter are mailed in from other locations in Canada. In addition to fentanyl, he has been seeing more drugs that have benzodiazepines, tranquilizers that depress the central nervous system. WATCH | Allen Custance explains what he found when he tested the quality of street drugs:On Vancouver Island, a team from the University of Victoria is also testing drugs and seeing similar trends. Bruce Wallace, an associate professor and scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, said they test about 100 samples a month. The service isn't just about showing which drugs are more potent; it's also about quality control, he says. "Just as when we go to the grocery store, we want the label to show the product that we are buying."Having the overdose crisis worsen during the global pandemic has caused the province to move urgently on a number of fronts, such as introducing safe supply and moving people living in tent encampments into hotels. However, Wallace wishes Canada would move toward decriminalization. "[COVID-19] has really shone a light on a lot of the inequities that we have in society and a lot of what hasn't been working in public health" Wallace said. The drive to decriminalizeDecriminalization would have to be done at a federal level, and Ottawa has not said what it thinks of the push to decriminalize illicit drugs, just that it is committed to harm reduction and treating substance use as a health issue.While the safe supply guidelines are seen as a significant step in B.C., some say there are still widespread challenges. Many of the narcotics being prescribed have to be picked up every day at a pharmacy and while some offer delivery, Dr. Ashley Heaslip believes there are still barriers to access.She says people living in smaller communities may have more difficulty finding a doctor willing to write that kind of prescription, and if somebody is staying in shelters or on the street, it can be difficult to connect with the pharmacy every day. The province was unable to provide data for how many people who signed up for the program are still on it, and Heaslip said those who typically quit taking the prescriptions are without access to housing and additional support. Heaslip, who works with the PHS Community Services Society, says several ideas are being discussed about how to make it easier for people to get and stay on their prescriptions, but she says it is essential that those who use drugs are involved in any decisions.As for Keeler, he is still taking street drugs but said he always tests them first. After speaking with CBC, he was on his way to a memorial for three people who had died of overdoses in Victoria. "175 people in one month. It's ridiculous," he said. "It's your kids, it's your family, it's your friends."WATCH | Keeler would prefer to have safe access to heroin than the government-approved alternatives:
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2:09 p.m. on August 3, 2020:There are 117,014 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 59,722 confirmed (including 5,683 deaths, 50,886 resolved)_ Ontario: 39,449 confirmed (including 2,778 deaths, 35,539 resolved)_ Alberta: 10,843 confirmed (including 196 deaths, 9,261 resolved)_ British Columbia: 3,641 confirmed (including 195 deaths, 3,168 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 1,342 confirmed (including 18 deaths, 1,070 resolved)_ Nova Scotia: 1,071 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,005 resolved)_ Manitoba: 428 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 337 resolved), 14 presumptive_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 266 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 259 resolved)_ New Brunswick: 170 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 166 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved)_ Yukon: 14 confirmed (including 11 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases_ Total: 117,014 (14 presumptive, 117,000 confirmed including 8,947 deaths, 101,756 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
Police in Calgary are searching for the suspects in a jewellery store robbery at a shopping mall where they say the thieves were armed and used tear gas. Investigators say two masked men entered Sunridge Mall early Saturday afternoon and proceeded to Paris Jewellers. Once inside, police say the men deployed tear gas and pepper spray, before stealing several items of jewellery from the store.
Most Canadians and Americans aren't rushing to travel anywhere, even within their own countries, before a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, according to a new online survey.Less than a third of Canadians are willing to take a flight anywhere right now whether it's to another continent, to another province, or within their own province, according to the poll by Research Co., a Vancouver-based polling firm. Only 17 per cent of Canadian respondents were willing to take a plane to the United States.Thirty-five per cent of Americans say they are willing to take a flight within the U.S., but only 28 per cent would fly to Canada."The appetite for travel before a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available is low in Canada and the United States," said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., in a written release."North American residents aged 55 and over, who are usually ready to explore and spend, are particularly reticent about all journeys unless inoculation is a reality."The online poll, conducted July 1 to 5, surveyed representative samples of 1,000 Canadians and 1,200 Americans.It asked them their willingness to travel by five different modes of transportation: by train, by plane, by bus, by cruise ship and by ferry.A comparable margin of error for a probability-based sample of this size would be +/- 3.1 percentage points for Canada and +/- 2.8 percentage points for the United States.Travelling by ferry was the most popular mode of transportation, with 35 per cent of Canadians saying they'd be willing to travel by ferry. In Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, nearly half of respondents felt comfortable taking a ferry trip.Willingness to travel dropped significantly when respondents were asked about going on a cruise ship. Only 13 per cent of Canadians said yes to a cruise, while one in five Americans were willing to go on a cruise without a vaccine.There was also a "sizeable gender gap" between Americans who took the survey, with men saying they were more likely to travel without a vaccine than women.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an "all hands on deck moment," David Reese, Amgen's research and development chief told Reuters. "We wanted a trial to be able to quickly sift through multiple agents and prioritize." The study is a collaboration among pharmaceutical industry members of the recently-formed COVID Research & Development Alliance, Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, a partnership of medical researchers and investors, and the Food and Drug Administration.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown, their capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico to close out an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk's SpaceX company.It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit. The return clears the way for another SpaceX crew launch as early as next month and possible tourist flights next year.Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken arrived back on Earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endeavour, less than a day after departing the International Space Station and two months after blasting off from Florida. The capsule parachuted into the calm gulf waters about 40 miles off the coast of Pensacola, hundreds of miles from Tropical Storm Isaias pounding Florida’s Atlantic coast.“Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” said Mission Control from SpaceX headquarters.“It’s a little bit overwhelming to see everybody here considering the things that have gone on the last few months since we’ve been off planet," Hurley said after arriving back home in Houston Sunday evening where they were greeted by a small masked-gathering of family and officials, including Musk.Musk had rushed to Houston from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to welcome them. He was clearly moved — and relieved — while addressing the group.“I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one,” he said.The astronauts' ride back to Earth was fast, bumpy and hot, at least on the outside.The spacecraft went from a screaming orbital speed of 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) to 350 mph (560 kph) during atmospheric reentry, and finally to 15 mph (24 kph) at splashdown. Peak heating during descent was 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,900 degrees Celsius). The anticipated top G forces felt by the crew: four to five times the force of Earth’s gravity.Within a half-hour of splashdown, the scorched and blistered 16-foot capsule was hoisted aboard a SpaceX recovery ship with a staff of more than 40, including doctors and nurses. To keep the returning astronauts safe in the pandemic, the recovery crew quarantined for two weeks and were tested for the coronavirus.The opening of the hatch was held up briefly by extra checks for toxic rocket fumes outside the capsule. After medical checkups, the astronauts were flown by helicopter to Pensacola and then to Houston.There was one unexpected problem that could have endangered the operation: Once the capsule was in the water, private boats "just made a beeline for it,” and got too close, said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, promising to do better next time at keeping sightseers on pleasure boats safely away. NASA video showed one vessel flying a large campaign flag for President Donald Trump.The Coast Guard in Pensacola said it had deployed two vessels to keep the public at least 10 miles away from the capsule.Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, who both attended the launch, congratulated the SpaceX and NASA teams.“Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after very successful two month mission. Thank you to all!” Trump tweeted.The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific, the scene of most splashdowns, to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz. The Mercury and Gemini crews in the early to mid-1960s parachuted into the Atlantic, while most of the later Apollo capsules hit the Pacific. The lone Russian “splashdown” was in 1976 on a partially frozen lake amid a blizzard following an aborted mission; the harrowing recovery took hours.Gemini and Apollo astronaut Thomas Stafford — the commander of the last crew to splash down — watched the reentry on TV from his Florida home. While pleased with the crew’s safe return, he wasn’t overly impressed. “It’s what we did over 50 years ago," he said.Its throwback splashdown aside, SpaceX made history with the mission, which launched May 30 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. It was the first time a private company launched people into orbit and also the first launch of NASA astronauts from home turf in nearly a decade. Hurley was the pilot of NASA’s last space shuttle flight in 2011 and the commander of this SpaceX flight.NASA turned to SpaceX and also Boeing to build capsules and ferry astronauts to and from the space station, following the retirement of the shuttles. Until Hurley and Behnken rocketed into orbit, NASA astronauts relied on Russian rockets. SpaceX already had experience hauling cargo to the space station, bringing those capsules back to a Pacific splashdown.“We are entering a new era of human spaceflight where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware. We’re going to be a customer, one customer of many," Bridenstine said from Johnson Space Center in Houston. "I would love to see a fleet of crew Dragons servicing not just the International Space Station but also commercial space stations.”SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell called the mission a springboard to “doing even harder things,” like collaborating on astronaut flights to the moon and then Mars.“There's no question, it was an enormous relief after months of anxiety making sure we could bring Bob and Doug back home safely,” Shotwell said.SpaceX needs six weeks to inspect the capsule before launching the next crew around the end of September. This next mission of four astronauts will spend a full six months aboard the space station. Hurley and Behnken’s capsule will be refurbished for another flight next spring. A Houston company run by a former NASA official, meanwhile, has partnered with SpaceX to send three customers to the space station in fall 2021.“It took years to get here, we brought the capablity back to America, and we came home safely to our families, and it took a lot of people a lot of time to make that happen," Behnken said back in Houston.Boeing doesn’t expect to launch its first crew until next year. The company encountered significant software problems in the debut of its Starliner capsule, with no one aboard, last year. Its capsules will touch down in the U.S. Southwest desert.By beating Boeing, SpaceX laid claim to a small U.S. flag left at the space station by Hurley and the rest of the last shuttle crew. Minutes after splashdown, Musk tweeted a flag emoji followed by “returned."Also on board: a toy dinosaur named Tremor, sent into space by the astronauts’ young sons. The two boys recorded a wake-up call for their fathers Sunday morning.“Don’t worry, you can sleep in tomorrow,” said Behnken’s 6-year-old son Theo, who was promised a puppy after the flight. “Hurry home so we can go get my dog.”___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to change their travel plans, boat and RV sales are spiking as Canadians look for ways to vacation closer to home.
For the first time in 53 years, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, previously known as Caribana, couldn't be its usual vibrant, multi-day festival self. But the community found ways to keep the celebrations going.