Lance Dugas of Sarnia was at McDonald Park Sunday trying his luck at reeling in a cold water catch. Dugas was fishing on a cut off of the Snye River west of Wallaceburg.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald
Lance Dugas of Sarnia was at McDonald Park Sunday trying his luck at reeling in a cold water catch. Dugas was fishing on a cut off of the Snye River west of Wallaceburg.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald
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
BOSTON — Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author's legacy said Tuesday. “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families," it said. The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP. “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalogue of titles," it said. Books by Dr. Seuss — who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 —- have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991. He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson. As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations. The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children. School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumours last month that they were banning the books entirely. “Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement. In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized a gift of 10 Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.” In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype. “The Cat in the Hat," one of Seuss' most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio." Numerous other popular children’s series have been criticized in recent years for alleged racism. In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?,” the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilize” his fellow animals. One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. Critics also have faulted the “Curious George” books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa. And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s portrayals of Native Americans in her “Little House On the Prairie” novels have been faulted so often that the American Library Association removed her name in 2018 from a lifetime achievement award it gives out each year. ___ AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed from New York. Mark Pratt, The Associated Press
India is ready to offer incentives to ensure Tesla Inc's cost of production would be less than in China if the carmaker commits to making its electric vehicles in the south Asian country, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters. Gadkari's pitch comes weeks after billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla registered a company in India in a step towards entering the country, possibly as soon as mid-2021.
Living near the volcano is no easy task for locals, as they have to clear huge amounts of ash from the streets, and sometimes even run for cover.View on euronews
Islanders eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can now book appointments online through Skip the Waiting Room. The P.E.I.-based company said it has secured a contract with the province to help provide more efficient access during the pandemic. "We saw reports of people waiting in a car for 8 hours to get testing done," said CEO and co-founder Mark Richardson. "COVID seemed like a great fit for me, so I started rattling the chains that I could rattle and said: 'As an Islander and a business, we'd love to help out with this.'" The company was born five years ago after Richardson found himself sitting in the waiting room at a walk-in clinic — for four and a half hours. "I thought to myself: 'There's got to be a better way to do this.'" 'I had seen some of the frustration and seen some of the lineups at the testing centres,' says Mark Richardson, the CEO and co-founder of Skip the Waiting Room. From there, the online site and app were created, giving others the option of pre-booking appointments to reduce time spent lingering in clinics. So far, Richardson said around 60,000 people have used the service for walk-in care on the Island. "I think every Canadian understands the frustration and wasted time of sitting in a waiting room or trying to get through a phone line." Now, in addition to becoming available to other provinces, Richardson said the company has expanded on P.E.I. to areas like internal medicine, MRI appointments and mammography appointments. Meeting an urgent timeline For those looking to book online before heading into a walk-in clinic, there is a fee of $5. But because of the terms of his contract with the P.E.I government, Richardson says it's free to schedule provincial services such as COVID-19 vaccines. I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population. - Mark Richardson, Skip the Waiting Room A statement from Health P.E.I said it entered into a short-term agreement with Skip the Waiting Room after it was identified as the only option available to "meet the urgent timelines to launch an online scheduling system to support COVID vaccine delivery." According to the statement, all safeguards outlined under the P.E.I Health Information Act are being maintained. "We had to jump through a lot of privacy hoops and some threat-risk assessments and all those things," said Richardson. "It was an extensive process but I'm glad to be on the other side of it." 'Going to do our best' Richardson said he doesn't know the exact number of people who have used the company to book vaccines so far — but he said he does expect it to increase. "I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population," he said. "I know people will be very eager to get their vaccine, as I am." For now, Richardson said, the company is spending time making improvements so that when Islanders do reach out to book virtually, Skip the Waiting Room is ready. "We might be able to book, you know, thousands of people a day, 24/7," he said. "We're working our best to make sure that there will be no hiccups. "No promises, but we're certainly going to do our best." More from CBC P.E.I.
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
Ground will likely be broken later this month on a new $7.2-million greenhouse facility for the city's parks department. It will be built on the site of a current baseball diamond in Jackson Park at McDougall Street and and Memorial Drive, just south of Windsor Stadium. It will replace the aging greenhouses at Lanspeary Park, some of which are 100 years old. The new 22,000-square-foot greenhouse will be twice the size of the old facility. It will allow the city to grow plants for hanging baskets, which it currently has to buy from outside sources. It will also be one large greenhouse with more room for the tropical plants that have to be housed over the winter. "Many of the plants can't be replaced. These aren't the type of things you can go to your local garden centre in the spring and simply purchase. They're expensive. They're exotic, " said James Chacko, senior manager of parks. James Chacko, senior manager of parks for the City of Windsor. The new facility will be more energy efficient and could be used for school programs, horticultural workshops, a place to grow food for food banks and a winter garden open to the public. Chacko says neighbours need not fear light pollution such as the type being experienced from the greenhouses in Leamington and Kingsville. "The plants go to sleep over the night, just like you and I do, so that there won't be any light disturbance or light pollution," said Chacko, explaining there are no ongoing operations in the night time. The city will hear from the Lanspeary Park neighbourhood about how to utilize the three acres where the old greenhouses sit, but care will be taken to incorporate one greenhouse which originally came from Willistead. The 100 year-old building is on the city's heritage registry. The current greenhouse facility at Lanspeary Park is around 100 years old, inefficient and too small. Most will be torn down and the greenspace will be incorporated into Lanspeary Park. "That may involve it remaining in place as it is, may involve moving it slightly within the footprint of this property," said Chacko. "So certainly we're not in a rush to knock down anything that is heritage designated or we will go through all the proper channels and do our best to ensure that it can be incorporated into the new Lanspeary Park " The new greenhouse is expected to be finished by the end of the spring next year. The city will also try to rework some baseball diamonds at Mic Mac Park to accommodate fast ball as a replacement for the ball diamond that will be lost in Jackson Park.
Nova Scotia's film and TV industry is expecting the 2021 production season to be the busiest in years. While the pandemic has disrupted Hollywood's production pipeline, locales like Nova Scotia that have managed to control the infection rate and continue to produce film and television are appealing. Interest from American streaming companies and broadcasters increased by an estimated 100 per cent in 2020, according to Screen Nova Scotia. "I'd say probably between August and December of 2020, I was on the phone all day long with studios that were wondering what was happening in Nova Scotia," said executive director Laura Mackenzie. She wouldn't disclose which companies inquired about shooting in the province, but said she's heard from all the large U.S. streaming services. Predictable shooting schedule The Stephen King adaptation Chapelwaite, starring Adrian Brody and Emily Hampshire, shot last summer in Halifax, Dartmouth and Cole Harbour, while the new CBC series, Feudal, filmed on the South Shore. Local independent producer Marc Tetreault said it's the predictability of shooting in Nova Scotia during the pandemic that's put the province on the radar of American studios. "If you think about shooting in L.A. or Toronto or New York right now, you don't have any predictability or certainty," he said. "Film is like a really slow-moving train, and once it gets going, it's really hard to stop. And when it does stop, it costs a lot of money to get it going again." Local independent producer Marc Tetreault says quarantine costs are 'a drop in the bucket on a larger show.' He said even halting production for a day, let alone weeks, can be very costly. Tetreault said bigger shows can manage the costs associated with the pandemic, including the two-week quarantine in Nova Scotia, because those costs are quantifiable. "If you're in Nova Scotia, you should be reasonably confident that you should be able to complete your production without a major shutdown or hiccup, and I think that's really attractive to a lot of out-of-town producers," he said. The costs related to the province's quarantine rules are "a drop in the bucket on a larger show," Tetreault added. "What I think it comes down to is convincing the people who are quarantining that they're going to quarantine for two weeks — less so, you know, paying the 200 bucks a night for a hotel," he said. Is N.S. prepared to support productions? The challenge will be providing the infrastructure and support to visiting productions. In 2015, the Stephen McNeil government axed the provincial film tax credit, a 50 to 65 per cent fully refundable corporate income tax credit offered to productions hiring Nova Scotia film personnel. It was eventually replaced with the Production Incentive Fund, which offers a refund to foreign service production of 25 per cent and 26 per cent for local content. It also offers a refund of up to 32 per cent in an all-spend model on any money spent in the province for labour, accommodations and locations. Laura MacKenzie is the executive director of Screen Nova Scotia. That helped make Nova Scotia competitive with other provinces, but the film business still isn't as robust as it was in the tax credit era. "We've had amazing momentum in building our industry here over the past five years," said Mackenzie. "But we did lose quite a few crew members in 2015 when the tax credit was changed. "And so that, alongside with the loss of some production studio spaces, it's put us at a disadvantage because we can't possibly supply the demand." That's why she's putting a call out to any Nova Scotian working elsewhere. "Time to come home. We need you here," she said. Mackenzie also said finding studio space so that out-of-town productions can shoot interior scenes is as much of a challenge this year as finding skilled crew. She's looking for anyone who has comparable warehouse space. Diggstown creator struggling to cast show While it's a challenge to build up enough skilled crew for shows that may be coming to the province, it could also provide opportunity for film workers who are traditionally under-represented on film and TV sets and in front of the camera. Diggstown, a CBC legal drama shot in Dartmouth and Halifax, has also benefited from the American production slowdown — the first two seasons were recently bought by the Fox Network in the U.S. With the third season set to go to camera in April, producer and creator Floyd Kane said he's struggling to cast his show. Floyd Kane is the writer, executive producer and showrunner of Diggstown. Diggstown tells stories from Nova Scotia's Black communities, and Kane said it feels like he's seen and chosen almost every local actor of colour in the province. Now, he has to fly in racialized cast from Toronto or elsewhere, which, for a low-budget TV series, is very expensive. "I came up in the industry in Nova Scotia where I would be the only Black person or person of colour in the room," Kane told CBC Radio's Mainstreet recently. "I want to have more Black people, more people of colour working in our industry. I want to encourage that. The acting piece of this is a huge challenge. Frankly, we've done a very poor job of developing the talent pool [for people of colour] and retaining that pool by there being opportunities to work." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA, the actor's union. He said his organization is very aware of that need. "We are looking at ways to go into those communities and let people know what the opportunities are," said Hadley. "And that is a specific area of our membership that we really want to encourage to grow, absolutely." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA. Mackenzie from Screen Nova Scotia said it's also one of her organization's top priorities to increase diversity behind the camera. The organization has formed a diversity outreach committee to work on a strategy to come up with long-term fixes. While the industry has proven that the health and safety protocols are a draw for service production — shows that come from elsewhere to shoot here — they do still pose a challenge for lower-budgeted local shows, as Kane is finding with Diggstown. 'You will be hired on something' Tetreault said he fully supports the health protocols that are in place to keep Nova Scotians safe, "but they definitely are a hindrance to the local, usually lower budget, independent films." He said paying for supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and for the extra set space to allow for physical distancing, can also stretch a local production's limited budget. That said, Tetreault is still planning to make a feature film this year — and he's looking for a crew. "Now's the time," said Tetreault. "Call the unions, get the referral. Figure out what it is you're interested in and you will be hired on something." MORE TOP STORIES
A southern Alberta man has been going through an "immigration hell," as his lawyer calls it, that has left his common-law wife and two young children stuck in Cuba for almost a year due to delays in federal officials renewing her visa. Greg Skinner, who lives in Langdon just east of Calgary, says he's frustrated with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, after 11 months of delays trying to renew a visitor visa for his common-law wife, Daylen Garcia Lopez. Garcia Lopez, a Cuban citizen, had a visitor visa that didn't expire until May 2020 when she flew from Canada to Cuba in February 2020 with their two children, who are dual citizens. But when she tried to return a few weeks later, she was told she needed to renew her visa first — and has faced a nightmare trying to do so ever since, Skinner says. "The kids are wondering what's going on — how come we can't come home?" said Skinner. "You know, it's difficult." Daylen Garcia Lopez has been in Cuba waiting for her visitor visa application to be approved for nearly a year. She's been told the delays are related to COVID-19. Skinner says he wrote the federal Immigration minister and his MP in the hopes they could intervene, but he says when that didn't resolve the issue, he decided to hire an immigration lawyer. The lawyer, Peter Wong, says he's seen a lot of delays with the processing of visa applications this past year due to COVID-19, but he says this case is extreme. "This one is particularly egregious because it separates couples,'' said Wong. "And also 11 months is outrageous, in my view." CBC News reached out to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and was told that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the federal immigration system but that the department is "providing additional resources where they are needed most, streamlining [its] processes and ramping systems back up." An IRCC spokesman also said the department is trying to prioritize certain files, including ones involving spousal sponsorships. He said the case was under review and the department was still considering Garcia Lopez's request for a waiver on her biometrics, which included fingerprints and a photograph. But both Skinner and his lawyer say her biometrics were done last November. "It's been a year and they don't even know what's going on, it's ridiculous," said Skinner. How they got here Skinner met Garcia Lopez in 2013 while he was working in Cuba as a manager at an oil and gas facility run by a Canadian company. The couple has two children together, Stephen, five, and Kristen, three. Skinner also has a 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. In 2019, Skinner retired and wanted to move back to Canada with his common-law and their two kids. Garcia Lopez is a Cuban national and needs a visitor visa to enter Canada. Their kids have dual citizenship and do not. Skinner says the family had been to Canada several times prior to his retirement and therefore Garcia Lopez already had a visitor visa — but it was set to expire in August 2019. In preparation for the move, Skinner says Garcia Lopez tried to renew her visa in Havana, but he says the Canadian embassy office there was closed. They moved to Canada anyway in July 2019 and he says the IRCC granted her a visa extension that expired in May 2020. Skinner says the problems began in February 2020 after Garcia Lopez flew home to Cuba with her kids for a family situation. A few weeks later, Garcia Lopez wasn't allowed to return to Canada, Skinner says, because the visa extension didn't allow it. Rather, he says, she was told she needed to get a new visitor visa while in Cuba. Skinner says it should have been a routine application, but the Canadian embassy office in Havana was still closed and not processing applications so she had to apply through the Canadian embassy office in Mexico City. But, because the Havana office was closed, Lopez wasn't able to get her biometrics done — which include fingerprints and photograph — so she asked if they could be waived. Skinner says Garcia Lopez never heard back from IRCC on her request for a waiver. In November 2020, Skinner says the Canadian embassy in Havana stated it could start doing biometrics, so she got them done and they were sent to Mexico City. Daylen Garcia Lopez is seen here at the Calgary Zoo with her two younger children, who are with her in Cuba, and her husband's daughter from a previous relationship. It's now March 2021, and Skinner says the couple still hasn't received an update on her application. Garcia Lopez and their two children have been staying with her parents at their home in Matanzas, west of Varadero. "There's no light at the end of the tunnel as far as we can see, as far as something happening," said Skinner. Pandemic no longer acceptable excuse Wong says applications such as Garcia Lopez's would normally take one to two months to process, pre-COVID. Now, he says whenever he inquires about a client's delayed visa application, he's told the same thing: embassies are understaffed and overworked due to the pandemic. "It's no longer an acceptable response — they're a year into this, and they should have figured out how to deal with visa processing," said Wong. Wong says if the federal government plans to keep taking visa applications, then it needs to properly staff its offices to process them in a timely manner. Otherwise, Wong says, the federal government should suspend visa applications until it's ready to do so. "What Greg has is a special form of immigration hell, which people have been going through all year," he said. Calgary-based immigration lawyer Peter Wong says he's seen a lot of delays with the processing of visa applications this past year due to COVID-19, but he says this case is extreme. Wong says he recommends people don't apply for a visa until wait times improve. Meanwhile, Skinner says he and Garcia Lopez will continue to press for answers, in the hopes they'll be reunited soon. "I haven't seen my kids grow for that year, I haven't been able to share any of their experiences," he said. Skinner says Garcia Lopez also applied for permanent residency in early 2020. He says that application is on hold until she is able to return to Canada to complete biometrics and a medical.
WARSAW, Poland — A court in Poland on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for adding the LGBT rainbow to images of a revered Roman Catholic icon. The three women created posters in 2019 that used the rainbows in place of halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Their aim was to protest what they considered the hostility of Poland’s influential Catholic Church toward LGBT people. The court in the city of Plock did not find any signs of a crime and also found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports in the Polish media. The case of the three women was being watched in Poland as a test of freedom of speech under a deeply conservative government that has been seeking to push back against secularization and liberal views often seen as a foreign imposition. Abortion has been another flashpoint in the country after a top court ruling last year that resulted in a near total ban on abortion. One of the defendants, Elzbieta Podlesna, said when the trial opened in January that the 2019 action in Plock was spurred by an installation at the city’s St. Dominic’s Church that associated LGBT people with crime and sins. The image that they created involved altering Poland’s most-revered icon, the Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. The original has been housed at the Jasna Gora monastery in the city of Czestochowa — Poland's holiest site — since the 14th century. Podlesna told the Onet news portal that the existence of a provision in the penal code "leaves a door open to use it against people who think a bit differently. “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer,” Podlesna told Onet. If Podlesna and the other two activists — Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar — had been found guilty, they could have faced up to two years of prison. An LGBT rights group, Love Does Not Exclude, welcomed the ruling as a “breakthrough." “This is a triumph for the LGBT+ resistance movement in the most homophobic country of the European Union," it said. Podlesna was arrested in an early morning police raid on her apartment in 2019, held for several hours and questioned over the posters of the icon that were placed around Plock. A court later said the detention was unnecessary and ordered damages equaling some $2,000 awarded to her. Because of all the attention the altered icon has received, it is now also a very recognized image in Poland and is sometimes seen at street protests. The Associated Press
BIELEFELD, Germany — Relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld hired Frank Kramer as coach on Tuesday, a day after firing Uwe Neuhaus. Kramer has only limited experience in the Bundesliga after a two-game spell as interim coach at Hoffenheim in 2012 and relegation with Greuther Fürth a year later. In more recent years, he coached age-group German national teams up to the under-20 level and coached Austrian champion Salzburg's youth team. Bielefeld, which was promoted last year, is in third-to-last place in the 18-team league. Hertha Berlin is just ahead on goal difference, and improving Mainz is only one point behind in a direct relegation place. Bielefeld still has a game in hand, however. Its next game is against Union Berlin on Sunday. Bielefeld earned only one point from its last five games — a 3-3 draw at Bayern Munich — and the 3-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday was the fifth in a row in which the team conceded at least three goals. The 61-year-old Neuhaus was immensely popular with Bielefeld’s fans after leading the team to a surprise promotion following 11 years out of the Bundesliga. He had been in charge of the club since December 2018. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
LONDON — A British newspaper publisher said Tuesday it plans to appeal against a judge’s ruling that it invaded the privacy of the Duchess of Sussex by publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after her 2018 marriage to Prince Harry. The former American actress Meghan Markle, 39, sued publisher Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that reproduced large portions of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. High Court judge Mark Warby ruled last month that the publisher had misused the duchess’s private information and infringed her copyright. He said the duchess “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private” and concluded the paper’s publication of large chunks of it was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.” In written submissions released as part of a court hearing on Tuesday, Associated Newspapers’ lawyer Antony White sought permission to appeal, saying a bid to overturn Warby’s ruling “would have a real prospect of success.” Lawyers for Meghan, meanwhile, demanded the publisher hand over the letter and destroy any electronic copies or notes it held. They also asked the judge to order the Mail on Sunday to remove the five articles from its website and to run a front-page statement about the duchess’ legal victory. Ian Mill, an attorney for Meghan, said “the defendant defiantly continues to do the very acts which the court has held are unlawful.” “The defendant has failed to deliver up copies it has of the letter such that the threat to infringe and further to misuse her private information remains real and, inexplicably, the defendant has still not removed the infringing articles from MailOnline," he said in a written submission. Meghan, a former star of the American TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. In his ruling last month, the judge said a “limited trial” should be held to decide the “minor” issue of whether Meghan was “the sole author” and lone copyright holder of the letter. It is expected to take place in the fall. Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Critics of the gambling industry say they're concerned about a recent move toward online gambling, especially in light of the Halifax casino's uncertain future. Elizabeth Stephen, a counselling therapist who works with people with gambling addictions, said news that the Nova Scotia government has cleared the way for online casino-style gambling is "pretty significant." "What's behind that?" said Stephen. "Is it because the physical casino is in such decline and perhaps is even going to close down? Is it to replace that revenue? The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, the Crown corporation that oversees the gaming business, released documents to CBC News showing the Halifax casino has struggled with declining and unsustainable revenues for approximately 15 years — even before the arrival of COVID-19. The documents raise the possibility of moving the casino away from its waterfront location, but the corporation said those decisions are on hold during the pandemic. Stephen is an addictions counsellor in Halifax with a private practice. "My sense is that the government is looking for alternative revenue streams, hence the talk about the online casino," said Bruce Dienes, chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit that aims to reduce gambling harms. "The problem with that, of course, is if you want to go to a brick-and-mortar casino, you have to actually go to a brick-and-mortar casino. You have to really intentionally do that, you have to be there for a certain piece of time. "Online, if you've got a phone or if you've got any internet connection, 24/7 you're at risk of being impacted negatively by that casino." 'Two very different offerings' Bob MacKinnon, the gaming corporation's CEO, said there are similarities in the gambling that takes place in a physical casino and online. "I think it is possible that some of the casino business that we would have had at the Halifax casino has gone online. There's no way for us to know an exact number," he said. "But I'll also add that generally over the longer term, we would think of them as two very different offerings: that some people like to go online, and many people like to go for a broader entertainment experience where there's music, there's food, there's shows going on, in addition to the gaming offerings." Stephen said the people she treats in her practice often start gambling in a physical casino, but later move to other venues, such as bars with video lottery terminals. The majority of gambling addicts Stephen counsels became addicted to machines like VLTs. "I think [casinos] are the foundation in some places for the start of gambling, and the kind of glamour of gambling and the excitement of gambling," she said. Stephen said most people who come to her with gambling addictions have become addicted to VLTs, although a few have been addicted to table games such as poker or blackjack. "They get to the point where they're spending way too much time there and more money than they can afford to lose. And so often their first step is to exclude themselves from the casino. Often, though, they don't do that until they maybe have reached bankruptcy," she said. Falling revenues The Halifax casino hit peak revenue of about $75 million in 2006-07, which fell to about $54 million in 2014-15 — a drop of about 30 per cent that MacKinnon said was not sustainable. Visitation during the pandemic is down 90 per cent, and MacKinnon said it's believed the Halifax casino will make about $9 million this year. The Sydney casino failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the 2 years leading up to the pandemic, which closed its doors altogether for about eight months. The casino in Sydney, N.S., failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the two years leading up to the pandemic. In 2018-19, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation hoped the Cape Breton casino would have revenue of $22.1 million from at least 410,000 visitors. Instead, it brought in $19.5 million from 372,000 visitors. In 2019-20, its targets were $19.2 million in revenue and 410,000 visitors, but it ended up with $18.8 million from 344,806 visitors. Dienes said it shows a need for the province to move on from the gambling business, which was legalized in Nova Scotia in 1995. Dienes is the chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit organization with the goal of reducing harms related to gambling. "Here is a business model that's failing, that isn't meeting the needs of the customers. And rather than acknowledging that and moving on to a different kind of business — a different way to entertain, a different way to raise funds — they're trying to increase the risk and increase the access for something that people clearly don't want," he said. Dienes said gambling is "psychologically manipulative" and he disagrees with the government's stance that online gambling can be done safely. "This is something that's been created by government policy," he said. High-stakes bets Will Shead, an associate professor of psychology who primarily researches gambling, said he's doubtful that limitations can be placed on online gambling that would keep people safe. "We don't really know what effect this is going to have on people. You can make arguments and say this is how it's going to work, but it could potentially be disastrous for people to have access to such high betting limits online," said Shead, who teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Shead is also a board member of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, whose members are particularly concerned about high-stakes wagers online that could lead a gambler to lose thousands of dollars per hour. Shead is an associate professor of psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. His research specialty is gambling. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has said the online casino would include age and residency verification, privacy controls, self-exclusion options, deposit limits, time displays, analytics on player activity and information about responsible gambling. But Shead said he's concerned about young people finding ways to get around age checks, and about research that shows people are more likely to use drugs and alcohol while gambling online. In a physical casino, people are not supposed to be allowed to gamble while impaired, he said. According to its code of conduct, Casino Nova Scotia will refuse entry to someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. "I'm not sure if that happens all the time," said Shead, "but it's certainly not going to happen in the confines of your own home." MORE TOP STORIES
Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has accused Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and several top officials of committing crimes against humanity in a criminal complaint filed in Germany. The 500-page complaint, filed on Monday with the German Public Prosecutor General in the Karlsruhe federal court, includes allegations of arbitrary detention of more than 30 journalists and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Prince Mohammed has denied any involvement in Khashoggi's killing.
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
MADRID — Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was provisionally set free on Tuesday after appearing before a judge following a night in jail while being investigated for possible irregularities during his administration. Court officials said Bartomeu and his former adviser at the Spanish club, Jaume Masferrer, used their right not to make any comments in court. Bartomeu, Masferrer and two other club officials were arrested on Monday after Catalan police raided Barcelona’s headquarters in a search and seizure operation related to last year’s “Barçagate.” In that case, the club was accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of then-president Bartomeu and others. The club itself has not been charged but Bartomeu was not cleared. Court officials lifted the case's secrecy and those accused will have access to the evidence gathered by authorities before appearing in court again. The arrests came less than a week before the club holds presidential elections, and added to the turmoil surrounding the team recently. “Every club has its difficult moments,” said Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, who took over after the club's crisis erupted following the team’s 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. “It’s true that a lot has happened, but we remain motivated and will keep fighting to win titles. “It obvious that this is not good for the image of the club,” said Koeman, who was hired by Bartomeu. “We have to wait and see what happens. All we can do is to focus on our job.” Barcelona is coming off its first season without a trophy since 2007-08. The team lost to Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League last week, and on Wednesday will try to reverse a 2-0 first-leg loss to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semifinals. The Catalan club is five points off the lead in the Spanish league. Barcelona, which could also lose Lionel Messi after his contract ends this season, has been led by a caretaker board since the 58-year-old Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned in October while facing a no-confidence vote. He had been loudly criticized by Messi, whose request to leave the club last season was denied by the then-president. The Spanish club has a debt of more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), in large part because of the coronavirus pandemic. “What worries me the most is the club's institutional instability, not its financial difficulty,” Spanish league president Javier Tebas said. “When a new president is elected I'm certain that the club will overcome this situation.” Members of the police’s financial crimes department conducted the operation in five different locations on Monday, including Bartomeu’s house. Authorities said they were investigating “alleged crimes related to property and socio-economic order.” Barcelona had denied accusations that it hired — and overpaid — a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials. The company was accused of using fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures, a list said to include Messi, Gerard Piqué and former coach Pep Guardiola, when they expressed views that went against the club. The club released an independent audit report showing there was no wrongdoing. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
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.
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.
Photographer Mick Rock, known for some of the most recognisable pictures of rock legends such as David Bowie and album covers of the 1970s, is marking his 51 years working in the music industry with a new project collaborating with urban artist Fin DAC. "MIDARO" fuses photography with painting, with the Irish artist reworking Rock's photos of Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry to create a series of limited edition prints and canvas artworks. Released on Tuesday, to coincide with what would have been Reed's 79th birthday, they each show a woman wearing a T-shirt adorned with one of Rock's photos of the music stars.
Qui de mieux placé qu’un adolescent pour supporter, sensibiliser et référer les autres adolescents aux prises avec des problématiques leur causant des souffrances? C’est ce qui a motivé la mise en place du projet Pairs aidants dans les écoles secondaires de la Haute-Côte-Nord. Initié par le Carrefour jeunesse-emploi de la Haute-Côte-Nord (CJE HCN), le projet vise à outiller les jeunes pour venir en aide à leurs camarades, soit en leur transmettant plus de connaissances sur certaines problématiques et sur les ressources disponibles à l’intérieur des murs de l’école ou à l’externe. « J’ai commencé par proposer l’idée à la direction de la polyvalente des Berges. Une fois que j’ai reçu la confirmation que le projet était accepté, un groupe de jeunes a été ciblé par la technicienne en travail social, Christine Savard », raconte l’initiatrice du projet, Florence Lessard, agente de projets jeunesse au CJE HCN. « Pour choisir les participants, j’ai ciblé des élèves ayant déjà un comportement leader, ceux qui parlent à tous les groupes, qui sont déjà une figure de confiance pour les autres. Je leur ai proposé de faire partie du projet et ils étaient emballés », explique Mme Savard. Pour Matisse Gauthier-Bossé, Rosalie Gravel et Rose Dufour, il n’était pas question de refuser. « J’aime aider les autres, alors je n’ai pas hésité une seconde à participer au projet », déclarent-ils. Laurence Gagné, Lorie Barrette, Émilie Gauthier et Daphney Villeneuve complètent le groupe de Pairs aidants. Une première rencontre s’est tenue en décembre, mais la COVID complique l’organisation d’ateliers. Comme l’affirme Florence Lessard, « on doit s’adapter et faire des activités en mode virtuel ». Par exemple, Mme Lessard et sa collègue Sarah Boulianne, qui s’est jointe au projet en janvier, ont offert des conférences sur l’intimidation et la santé mentale de façon virtuelle. « En ce qui concerne l’atelier sur les techniques d’écoute, donné par notre partenaire 12-18, nous n’avons pu le compléter puisqu’on ne peut pas être en présentiel », ajoute Mme Boulianne, aussi agente de projets jeunesse. Objectifs Pairs aidants est un projet de bénévolat qui comporte deux objectifs précis : outiller et sensibiliser les jeunes. Quelques actions ont déjà été posées pour ce qui est de la sensibilisation. « On a ouvert la page Facebook Pairs aidants sur laquelle est publiée du contenu de sensibilisation sur des sujets pointés par nos participants comme la cyberintimidation et la santé mentale. Par la suite, on pourra créer des affiches pour exposer à l’école ou autre idée qui ressortira pendant nos rencontres », soutient Florence Lessard, déclarant qu’un budget est alloué par le CJE HCN. Plusieurs problématiques touchant les adolescents veulent également être abordées par le groupe. « On aimerait parler de la toxicomanie tant pour la consommation de drogues que d’alcool ainsi que du consentement sexuel », fait savoir Rosalie Gravel. « Une des participantes nous a dévoilé qu’elle aurait aimé être sensibilisée sur la toxicomanie en secondaire 1, qu’elle aurait fait de meilleurs choix », poursuit la technicienne en travail social. Si la COVID est venue compliquer les plans du projet, elle s’avère toutefois un bon moment pour implanter une telle initiative. « Avec la pandémie, certains jeunes peuvent trouver l’isolement plus difficile. On est donc dans un bon temps pour sensibiliser les jeunes à écouter et aider leurs amis », estiment les agentes de projets jeunesse. Déploiement De son côté, Sarah Boulianne s’affaire à instaurer le projet à la polyvalente des Rivières. Les premiers balbutiements ont été réalisés, mais il reste à mettre en place un groupe de jeunes. Les premières actions devraient donc voir le jour en février ou mars. Partie prenante de Pairs aidants, le CJE HCN réalise majoritairement ses projets sur une base annuelle. Mais, il est possible que celui-ci soit renouvelé en septembre si les écoles sont toujours ouvertes à y prendre part. « C’est sûr qu’on aimerait que le projet perdure et qu’il se poursuive d’année en année », soutient Mme Lessard.Pour Christine Savard, cette vision est tout à fait réalisable puisque le premier groupe de jeunes de la polyvalente des Berges est composé d’étudiants de troisième et quatrième secondaire qui pourront perpétuer le projet lors des années futures. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord