Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
A Saskatoon woman who arranged a performance art piece across the globe has decided to share her story through a unique art exhibit in the city.It's called To Whom It May Concern and features a collection of photographs and letters which address the rise of domestic violence during COVID-19.The project was started by Natalie Feheregyhazi in Toronto a few years ago.Feheregyhazi dressed up in a wedding dress with a white mask covering her entire face. She would sit in various places in the city and write letters to be left where she was sitting.She was given the nickname 'Toronto's Masked Bride' as her identity remained anonymous.Feheregyhazi said the idea to do an art project about a bride had been in her mind for several years prior to the performance art piece but some experiences in 2015 and 2016 inspired the final project.She said one of the experiences happened after a brief conversation with a local artist, Daniel O'Shea, in a shop in Saskatoon."[He] showed me a painting he had done for a friend of his who had recently been murdered in a domestic violence situation," Feheregyhazi said.The woman in question was Beverly Littlecrow, a 36-year-old woman who the Crown prosecutor argued had been a victim of manslaughter at the hands of her spouse Gabriel Faucher in 2016.In 2018, Faucher was found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of Littlecrow as the judges could not rule out the possibility of Littlecrow's injuries having been accidental. The appeal of Faucher's acquittal was dismissed earlier this year."We talked about this painting and he ended up gifting it to me because he said he didn't know what to do with it," Feheregyhazi said. "He felt it was meant to go to me."I really feel like Beverly's spirit has been with this project since that moment."Leaving a dangerous relationshipFeheregyhazi said getting the painting coincided with her leaving a dangerous relationship after she had found out "all sorts of kind of terrifying things" about her partner who she had been with for eight years."It was a whole host of things that had happened kind of simultaneously and when it came to that summer and that spring, I didn't know how to process all of this," Feheregyhazi said. "And that's when all of the pieces kind of came together."She said she knew the bride in the project had to be masked, and had to be voiceless, because she didn't know how to express it otherwise.Feheregyhazi said she didn't want people to know who she was since the project involved her leaving notes around Toronto with real life stories, and she did not want the stories to be brought back to the people they involved.She described the letters she left around the city as love letters, as the experiences she was trying to express in the art piece had to do with abusers being loved by the people they abuse."That conflict, that love is really what keeps us kind of caught in these cycles and I mean it's complicated," Feheregyhazi said. "There are a lot of elements to it and sometimes it's fear and sometimes it's unfortunate conditioning but it's also love."She said she hoped that through writing in this uncensored and spontaneous manner it would bring to light the positive feelings often felt in abusive relationships which make it harder for victims to leave."One day and one moment you're remembering the beautiful anniversary you had or that time when it was snowing, like it currently is in Saskatoon, and you decided to cuddle up and watch five movies in a row and just be loving," Feheregyhazi said."Versus being assaulted, being yelled at, being sexually violated, those are the things that don't get addressed nearly often enough when we talk about domestic or intimate forms of violence."The performance art project took Feheregyhazi to many places including Europe and Africa. She said she met many people, including men and people with mental illnesses, who shared their stories with her."What strikes me is how deep our collective longing for kindness and connection and love is," She said. "Sometimes I didn't catch everything but they would come and identify with the vulnerability of the figure that was just there to kind of listen, it wasn't speaking it created the space for them to share."She said many people came up to her to share intimate and painful parts of their lived experiences with her and she just listened."There was kind of a silent agreement of trust [and] these stories are confessed and shared because no one knew who I was."Taking the mask offFeheregyhazi said the reason she now decided to take the mask off and attach her name to the project has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic."We're living in a situation where since the quarantine went into effect domestic violence has been on the rise," she said. "And this is all happening in very confined, restricted basis."People who are already isolated are even more isolated and have less easy access to help."She said the exhibit in Saskatoon, which runs until Nov. 29, touches on some young women who died in the spring and summer of this year due to alleged domestic violence.One of those women is Tina Tingley-McAleer who was killed in her home in Hillsborough, N.B., in May. Police arrested her partner, Calvin Andrew Lewis, and charged him with first-degree murder.Feheregyhazi said the exhibit also includes on Darian Hailey Henderson-Bellman, a 25-year-old woman from Brampton, Ont., who was allegedly shot to death by her boyfriend Darnell Reid in August.The last woman who is honoured in the art exhibit is Brittney Ann Meszaros. The 24-year-old Calgary woman was found dead in her home in April, and her common-law boyfriend, Alexander Moskaluk, was charged with manslaughter."I really hope [the exhibit] will bring to surface a reminder of who these people were like these aren't just statistics they're mothers, they're sisters, they're friends and they got caught in a situation that for some reason socially we still tolerate to some degree," Feheregyhazi said."I don't know why we mind our own business when we hear something going on or how we've been conditioned to kind of just accept that there's a certain level of violence that women and girls may encounter." The To Whom It May Concern art exhibit is in Saskatoon at 20th Street West at Avenue E and is free to view."I hope people will be moved to ask and demand that these kinds of violences come to an end once and for all."If you need help and are in immediate danger, call 911. To find assistance in your area, visit sheltersafe.ca or endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help. In Saskatchewan, pathssk.org has listings of available services across the province.
In May, the City of Mississauga gnashed its teeth. At the time, it was knee-deep in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of long-term care homes in the city were in outbreak, with dozens of deaths recorded. Business owners were also hurting, their shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms collecting dust and debt. Inside City Hall, losses were mounting daily. Reluctantly, the City had been forced to let roughly 2,000 staff, mostly part-time, seasonal employees, go from its empty recreation facilities. Help eventually offered by the federal and provincial governments was still months away from materializing. Quietly, while the world was distracted, the Doug Ford PC government was forging ahead with its plans to seismically shift how developers pay for growth. Under the area of development subsidies known as a Community Benefits Charge (CBC), the Province was toying with new rules for planning. These fees are often paid by builders to create enhanced features such as green spaces or other amenities that are built using additional money charged to developers in exchange for project changes that generally create more profit, such as adding additional floors to a condo building. Changes were introduced as one of many initiatives in Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice) — legislation that was almost universally decried around municipal council tables when it received royal assent in 2019. The Province allowed consultation in May (when Mississauga was preoccupied with its pandemic response) which revolved around parks. Just how much greenspace developers needed to provide for even more new residents that would eventually be housed in expanded projects, was a question that created tension. According to staff reports in Brampton and Mississauga at the time, the proposed changes meant developers would pay less to cities, for the features they have for decades been expected to provide when building large residential projects. Municipalities, under the PC government’s plan, would be worse off, while developers would be further ahead. “At a time when we are grappling with the unprecedented financial impacts of COVID-19, the proposed Community Benefits Charge will leave Council [with] even more difficult decisions,” then City Manager, Janice Baker, told Mississauga Council. Under the current rules, developers have to offer a certain amount of parkland to cities and, if they want to reduce that amount, they have to pay a fee. The CBC proposals limited parkland related contributions to 10 percent of the land’s value for high-rise buildings, meaning the projects with the most residents would offer the least public space per capita. “The proposed CBC weakens the link between population growth and the increased need for services,” a Mississauga staff report earlier in the year stated. In Mississauga, under the current system, high and medium-density developments contribute 74 percent of parkland (either physically or in payments). The CBC proposals meant dense developments would cough up just 31 percent of the funding for the city’s new greenspace, with non-residential and low-density homes (which already have backyards) making up the difference. It seemed illogical. After a passionate response from Mississauga and other cities angered by the prospect of a revenue hit while they are reeling financially because of the pandemic, the PC government has rolled back its proposed changes. Under Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act) Queen’s Park rapidly back-peddled, returning parkland contributions by developers to the pre-pandemic levels. “The new community benefits charge authority provides local governments with the flexibility to collect funds for any growth-related services required due to higher density residential development, as long as those costs are not being recovered under other tools,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing explained to The Pointer. “A community benefits charge may enable municipalities to recover the capital costs of any service, as long as it is needed to support new growth … the types of services funded through community benefits charges could include parks, recreation centres, affordable housing, child care, cycling infrastructure and others.” “We were very pleased the Province listened to the feedback from municipalities and rolled back many of the proposed Bill 108 provisions around the Community Benefits Charge,” Jason Bevan, director, city planning strategies, told The Pointer. “We look forward to seeing the final CBC regulations on the percentage of land value cap.” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) which advocates for the lowest tier of government, said it was “pleased to see the addition of eligible services for development charge recovery being restored” alongside “maintaining existing parkland provisions and the flexibility of CBCs as a tool to recover additional costs”. After a year of consternation for cities, the Province has largely walked back its plans for the CBC. The legislation, initially blasted as a developer freebie, has gradually been softened. Originally, the new legislative changes impacted a range of community features that municipalities have to provide for residents under the development proposals submitted by builders after assembling land for growth. Municipalities were concerned they would have to stretch the funds from the charge to cover features such as libraries, community centres, parks and playgrounds. Responding to feedback, the Province changed tack and protected a range of community features that will continue to be covered by development charges. Specific infrastructure, including libraries and other “soft” services, are covered under the Development Charges Act. Developers will continue to pay for the costs associated with growth. But, realistically, these charges are generally covered by buyers who pay for them through increased unit costs that developers charge when setting their sale prices. It seems much more fair to have the people in a particular new development pay for the surrounding features and services they will enjoy, rather than having property tax payers in general cover the expenses when municipalities have to fund them. At the beginning of October, further regulations were released which made the CBC picture a little clearer still. While the charge is designed to capture certain soft community services not always covered by traditional development charges, there are several areas explicitly excluded. Long-term care, universities, clubhouses or retirement homes cannot be funded using the latest form of CBCs. The new CBC mechanism, brought in to codify an element of development which previously operated as more of a negotiation, comes with strict rules. Cities are tasked, over the next two years, with creating a CBC strategy and bylaw to estimate the amount and type of development where the charge may be used. The strategy should also estimate the increased need for facilities and services as a direct result of developments and the associated growth-related costs. It must acknowledge any grants or subsidies made to help with such projects. A potential sticking point for municipal councils is a cap on the CBC, meaning the charge cannot exceed 4 percent of the value of the lands being developed. If developers disagree with the land valuation, they can dispute it. The likely outcome will see buyers cover any increased costs, as developers across the province won’t have to worry about unfair pricing competition because all builders will have to raise prices. In the end, it will be mostly young buyers who will absorb the additional financial burden for creating enhanced community features they will benefit from. Moving forward, municipalities will also produce an annual report showing how much money is in their CBC and parkland reserves. The reports will detail where money is spent and how projects not using CBC charges were funded. The concept behind the strategy and bylaw is to make costs more predictable for developers and reduce negotiations between individual builders and local politicians. Exactly what community features Mississauga will prioritize under the new CBC system will become clearer over the next two years, as the City draws together its bylaw for the charge. These community standards will best serve the public if they are directly involved and make clear what they want in their neighbourhoods. In essence, as long as cities don’t double charge through other parkland contributions or development charges, they can hit developers with a bill for any growth costs, other than the small list of features that are exempt. The amount is capped under the 4 percent limit, based on the land value. But it still gives high-growth municipalities such as Mississauga and Brampton welcome breathing room as they no longer have to worry about paying for a range of new community features while struggling with the financial damage caused by the pandemic. Smart decision making around the bylaw, with some elements still emerging, should help ensure that as new developments keep springing up across the city, growth will pay for growth in Mississauga. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — New analysis suggests two out of three Alaska adults have at least one risk factor health officials link with a higher chance of severe COVID-19 infection.The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services findings indicate most adult Alaska residents are at an increased risk for hospitalization or worse after contracting COVID-19, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.The risk factors include past or current smoking, obesity, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and heart disease or previous heart attacks.Using information from a survey of 8,500 Alaska adults between 2016 and 2018, researchers compared the health factors of the respondents to the conditions identified by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that can increase the likelihood of severe COVID-19 cases.While the analysis found two out of three Alaska adults are likely to have at least one of the conditions increasing risk, other factors such as advanced age also make serious coronavirus infections more likely, said Ann Potempa, public health specialist with the state health department’s Chronic Disease Prevention section.The combination of advanced age and chronic disease raises the number of Alaska adults living with vulnerability to severe coronavirus experiences to 71%, Potempa said.Following a death or hospitalization resulting from the coronavirus, “the first thing everybody wants to know is about that underlying health condition,” Chronic Disease Prevention section Director Karol Fink said.People without the risk factors can believe the disease will not affect them in a serious way, while disregarding the threat to family members, friends or colleagues who might have underlying health conditions causing higher vulnerability, Fink said.“So we really wanted to put a number to that thought process to help people understand how many Alaskan adults are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19,” Fink said.For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
Le principe de « ninjater » a commencé en Alberta et au Manitoba, au printemps dernier, durant la première vague de la pandémie de COVID-19. Petit à petit, le mouvement a commencé à gagner plusieurs régions du Québec, dont le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Sans le savoir, deux groupes Facebook ont été créés au mois d’août, à quelques jours d’intervalle, pour regrouper les adeptes de ce mouvement. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, Ninjateuse Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean compte près de 3000 membres, tandis que le groupe Les ninjateuses du Sag-Lac en regroupe plus de 1500. Certaines personnes sont membres des deux groupes. Le Progrès s’est entretenu avec Sabrina Tremblay, administratrice du groupe Ninjateuse Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, pour mieux comprendre le fonctionnement de cette initiative. Mme Tremblay a rejoint la page à ses débuts et a rapidement proposé son aide pour la gestion et l’encadrement du groupe. « Le but du groupe est simple : c’est de répandre du bonheur. Aussi, nous voulons toujours que la roue continue. Si tu te fais “ninjater”, c’est-à-dire que tu reçois un cadeau, tu dois redonner au moins une fois », explique l’administratrice, dans un entretien téléphonique. Depuis la création du groupe, elle estime le nombre de cadeaux donnés entre 2500 et 3000. Quand une participante veut offrir du bonheur, elle doit écrire sur le groupe un message pour en aviser les membres et indiquer le secteur dans lequel elle se rendra. Toutes les membres de ce secteur sont invitées à y indiquer leur adresse. La personne qui donne un cadeau en choisit une autre, ou plusieurs. Elle se rend chez les élues en cachette et y laisse le cadeau de son choix. Au début, les personnes devaient se déguiser en ninjas pour aller porter les cadeaux, mais les règles sont maintenant plus simples. D’ailleurs, depuis que la région est en zone rouge, l’envoi de cadeaux par la poste est de plus en plus populaire, mais pas obligatoire. Les membres sont invitées à prendre une pause, à continuer normalement leur livraison de colis ou à utiliser la poste, selon ce qu’elles sont à l’aise de faire. Le groupe est réservé aux femmes. Chaque membre choisit ce qu’elle donne en cadeau. « Chacune y va avec son budget. Il n’y a pas de montant minimum. Le but est simplement d’offrir un sourire. Le contenu des cadeaux est extrêmement varié », continue Mme Tremblay. Un coup d’oeil sur les plus récentes publications du groupe permet de voir que la diversité des cadeaux est étonnante. On retrouve des chandelles, des bas de laine, des messages personnalisés, des produits pour le corps, des bons d’achat et bien plus. Des femmes de tous les âges et des quatre coins du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean participent activement au groupe. Pour Mme Tremblay, cette initiative apporte de nombreux bienfaits, ce qui explique pourquoi le nombre de membres a explosé en si peu de temps. « La pandémie y est pour quelque chose. Ça nous fait tellement du bien de recevoir de quelqu’un qu’on ne connaît pas, de savoir que cette personne a pris le temps de confectionner un petit quelque chose, de le préparer et de nous le livrer », se réjouit-elle. Il n’y a pas seulement du plaisir à recevoir ; il y en a à donner. « De l’autre côté, quand tu donnes, c’est l’fun aussi. Tu tasses tes problèmes de côté pour cette journée et tu fais plaisir à quelqu’un. On a besoin de se changer les idées et de se rappeler que le monde peut être beau », continue l’administratrice. Le groupe permet également aux femmes de tisser des liens entre elles et de connaître de nouvelles personnes qui ont des réalités similaires, dans un contexte où il est présentement très difficile de le faire. Par exemple, Mme Tremblay est devenue amie avec des membres particulièrement actives et est très proche de toute l’équipe d’administratrices. Elle note d’ailleurs l’importance du travail d’équipe entre les administratrices, qui maintiennent et font connaître les règles du groupe, sans quoi il ne serait pas possible de tenir l’activité. Pour recevoir un cadeau, la personne s’engage à redonner. Les administratrices ont donc comme rôle de faire les suivis pour s’assurer que la roue continue toujours de tourner. Également, une photo du cadeau reçu doit être envoyée sur le groupe pour prouver qu’il se soit bien rendu à destination.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
U.S. stocks closed higher in a choppy session on Monday as hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine lifted economically sensitive sectors such as energy and industrials, but a pullback in megacap shares curbed gains on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Energy shares got a boost from another gain in oil prices, which have risen on anticipation a vaccine will help demand recover. "As they move out of those growth names, it's still this continued move into larger cyclical, value names which is why you see the Dow performing so well and the Nasdaq under some pressure."
L’écrivain et conteur Nicolas F. Paquin, 42 ans, nouvellement proprio à Danville, met en lumière une page de l’histoire des plus sombres, soit la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. À sa façon ! Ses qualités artistiques rejoignent son humanité. Son spectacle englobe sept récits de vétérans qu’il livre en maniant la langue et l’émotion pour faire passer son public du rire aux larmes. D’où vient l’idée de remonter à la surface ces héros anonymes effacés par le temps ? « Déjà j’avais écrit une trilogie, Les Volontaires, pour rendre hommage aux volontaires de ce conflit, précise-t-il. À travers différents événements dans les salons du livre, les bibliothèques et dans les milieux scolaires, je racontais des histoires sur la 2e Grande Guerre. À force de me faire dire “Tu es un sacré conteur, fais-en un spectacle !”, les contes ont vu le jour. Par ailleurs, ma rencontre avec Gilbert Boulanger, qui était mitrailleur sur un bombardier, a été déterminante. J’avais lu son livre L’alouette affolée, un véritable cri du cœur. J’ai voulu qu’il sache que son cri n’était pas tombé dans l’oreille d’un sourd ! Le 12 novembre 2012, on a passé 12 heures ensemble ! Notre amitié a été brève, à peine un an. Et il est décédé. » Passeur de mémoire Ici au pays, ainsi qu’en France, Nicolas a rencontré des vétérans ou leurs descendants, qui lui ont fait des confidences et des révélations sur ce qu’ils ont vécu personnellement. « De cette recherche sont nées des amitiés extraordinaires avec des gens qu’a priori je n’aurais jamais rencontrés, s’émeut-il. Je suis le privilégié qui recueille les derniers souvenirs. Quels étaient les sentiments et les motivations des jeunes de cette époque ? Je dois les raconter ! On honore le soldat inconnu… Il n’y en pas. Seulement des gens qu’on a oubliés. Pourtant, on leur doit tout à ces jeunes qui se sont engagés pour notre liberté. » En 2019, fin prêt, il croyait parler de la dernière grande crise que l’humanité avait vécue. « J’avais fait un premier rodage au Nouveau-Brunswick, puis en France. Et les Français ont adoré !, se réjouit-il. Puis une première a eu lieu le 25 janvier à Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Et bang ! La pandémie a tout annulé. Les contes de guerre se vivent en salle, pas virtuellement à travers un écran. Vivement le retour sur scène ! » Ne pas se souvenir, c’est prendre le risque de répéter l’Histoire. « J’emprunte le chemin de la guerre pour donner le goût de la paix », conclut-il. facebook.com/lescontesdeguerre ctpaquin.wixsite.com/lescontesdeguerreMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
Canada's largest working cattle ranch hopes to convince B.C.'s Court of Appeal to overturn a 2018 ruling that said the public should be allowed to access two lakes near Merritt, B.C.It's the latest development in a lengthy court battle between the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DLCC) and a small recreation club in Merritt over who should be allowed access to public areas enclosed by private property.In December 2018 a justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled that Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake in the Nicola Valley should be publicly accessible.The lakes and a local road are surrounded by private ranch lands owned by the company, which is owned by U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke.For years, access to Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake had been blocked by fences and locked gates.The 2018 ruling ordered those gates to be removed so the public could access the lakes.The court said at the time it would be "nonsensical" for a government to retain rights to a lake if a single owner purchasing all land surrounding it could prohibit use.It also clarified that Stoney Lake Road, which the DLCC had previously closed to the public, was a public road because public money had been spent on it and it had previously been a historic trail from a traditional Indigenous village.The victory was a culmination of the advocacy from the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club, and most notably Merritt resident Rick McGowan, who for decades maintained that the DLCC had unlawfully prohibited access for anglers and other people seeking recreation there."We thought we would like to try to make a difference and try to see if we could possibly save the right for all future generations to access public property," he said."In the Nicola Valley there are locked gates everywhere and most of them are illegal."According to the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C., which has been allowed to intervene on behalf of the fish and game club for the appeal, the DLCC seeks an order declaring there is no public access to Stoney Lake and that access to Minnie Lake is only by way of Wasley Creek. "This case raises important questions about the extent of the public's right to cross private property to access public resources such as lakes, hiking trails and wilderness," said Morgan Blakley, a lawyer for the council, which represents 100,000 outdoor recreation users in the province."The decision could have implications for public access across the province and brings to bear hundreds of years of case law." The appeal is scheduled for two days, starting at 10 a.m. PT Monday.
We're good at giving presents, eh?
Toronto and Peel Region have officially moved into lockdown as Ontario tries to curb the province's steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The shutdown will last a minimum of 28 days.
PEERS Alliance in Charlottetown has received $2,100 from the Tegan and Sara Foundation for its work in the LGBTQ community. "That was a big moment for me, to get that notification that we've been awarded the funds," said Brittany Jakubiec, the executive director at PEERS Alliance. "I'm a little bit, like, excited that we get to put kinda their stamp on our project. That's just huge."PEERS Alliance is a charitable non-profit organization. It began as AIDS PEI and slowly evolved to offer programming and outreach for harm reduction for the LGBTQ community.This year, it is one of 13 organization across Canada to receive a Community Grant from the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Jakubiec said the plan is to use the money to keep the adult drop-in program running until June. "The adult drop-in is a low-barrier social group dedicated to fostering and growing 2SLGBTQ+ community in P.E.I.," said Jakubiec. (When using that term, Jakubiec means two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or questioning, with the plus representing other terms people may prefer to use for themselves.)"The drop-in program does help with the reduction of social isolation and an increase of feeling like you're connected to the community."'It's super important'Jakubiec said additional costs have come up this year due to the pandemic and the extra financial support is not only crucial to running the program but also ensuring it doesn't need to be cut early. "It's super important that the program is offered."For Islanders looking for supports, Jakubiec said PEERS Alliance can be reached by phone, email or on social media — contact information is posted on its website. And for those who do call, Jakubiec said extra precautions are taken — for example, asking if a message can be left on the caller's phone — to make sure people feel safe and supported. "We really try and just make sure that we're being inclusive and respectful of where people are in their journeys."More from CBC P.E.I.
The Atlantic bubble is no more.Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I are exiting the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break needs to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons, he said."The Atlantic Bubble has been a source of pride ... but the situation has changed," Furey said at a news conference.P.E.I. Premier Dennis King delivered a similar message during a nearly simultaneous news conference, saying his government would re-evaluate over the next two weeks.King said the changing epidemiology in the region was concerning, "and it forces us to use what I believe are the tools in our limited toolbox to do everything we can to avoid an outbreak here in P.E.I."He said that given the province's small size, it wouldn't take much for its health-care system to become overwhelmed.Atlantic bubble established July 3Newfoundland's heightened travel restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday, and P.E.I.'s come into effect Monday at midnight.Since July 3, residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I and Newfoundland and Labrador were able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining.COVID-19 case numbers in all the Atlantic provinces were low throughout the summer and fall, but that began to change last week in parts of the region.New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Monday, that province had a total of 89 active cases. Nova Scotia also started recording a spike in cases last week and public health confirmed there is community spread, with most transmission happening in the Halifax area. As of Monday's reporting, the province had a total of 51 known active cases.Newfoundland and Labrador is currently reporting 23 active cases — including two new cases announced Monday — and P.E.I has two, with the latest one reported at Monday's news conference.No plans to burst N.S.-N.B. bubbleIn a news conference Monday afternoon, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the change will not affect New Brunswick's rules.He said he and the other Atlantic premiers held a teleconference last night when they discussed the decision."We certainly understand the situation that Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. are in, and their concerns with our current situation in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," he said.Still, Higgs said he and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil have decided not to burst the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick bubble for now.He said most cases in Nova Scotia are in the Halifax region. He said there has been a focus on testing there, and people in the Halifax area are being encouraged to not travel outside of the region.WATCH | P.E.I. and N.L. to exit Atlantic bubble for at least 2 weeks:Higgs said enforcing an isolation requirement for Nova Scotia would not be a good use of resources."We want to keep our resources deployed along our northern borders between New Brunswick and Quebec, and to enhance our activity along the border between Maine and New Brunswick," he said."We're aligned in containing this in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick independently, and I think we're best served to ensure that we each follow our own protocols."He said any New Brunswickers travelling to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador, including for work, should contact the government in the two provinces to see how the changes will affect them.Higgs also said the change does not affect New Brunswickers coming home after working in P.E.I. or Newfoundland and Labrador.While the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border remains open, Higgs still urged New Brunswickers to avoid non-essential travel. That message was also in a news release from the Council of Atlantic Premiers on Monday morning, which advised caution while travelling within the Atlantic bubble.The office of Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Monday that travellers from all other Atlantic provinces can still enter Nova Scotia without quarantining. MORE TOP STORIES
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has sent out a warning to anyone who visited Original Joe's Restaurant and Bar in Prince Albert, Sask., earlier this month.The authority says people who visited the restaurant from Nov. 12-16 are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and arrange for testing.The alert, which was issued Sunday, made it clear that parents and children were both asked to isolate.The restaurant posted on its Facebook page that it had closed its doors on Saturday after one of its workers tested positive. The post said the restaurant would be re-opening after given the green light from the health authority.While alerts like this were once commonplace, the health authority announced last week it would no longer be publishing the long list of possible COVID-19 transmission locations, as the virus was now everywhere in the province.The authority said it would now only notify the public if all contacts could not be notified within a 48-hour period and if there was an increased risk to the public.The notice reminded everyone that people could develop symptoms from two to 14 days after being exposed to COVID-19.Anyone who was at the restaurant is asked to call HealthLine 811 or a doctor and nurse practitioner and apply for testing.
The vice president of an Island trucking company says it's doing everything it can to keep everyone safe while continuing to follow the changing rules for rotational workers. "As an industry, we're going to do what we kind of have to do to keep the community around us safe," Andy Keith with Seafood Express Transport told Island Morning's Laura Chapin. "It does pose some additional challenges for us, but if we have to do it, we have to do it."Currently, there are around 900 Islanders who are considered rotational workers — including truckers. For them, special guidelines and testing routines are expected to be followed. 'Unprecedented times for everybody'Recently, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Heath office put out a reminder of those rules after a rotational worker visited a number of stores before testing positive for COVID-19.It remains unclear if that rotational worker was a truck driver. But currently, commercial truck drivers who are residents of P.E.I. must be tested three times to be exempt from isolation. There is, however, an exception for those who are only in the province for a few days. The rules "come out quickly and they change quite often unfortunately so that's been a challenge," said Keith. For his drivers, Keith said questions about the guidelines have ranged from do they need to self-isolate from their families to can they go to a doctor's appointment when they're home."With the new rules changes now, its been a little more clear and there's a little more clarity in what they can and can't do," he said. "I think it's unprecedented times for everybody so we're all kind of rolling with the punches at this point."'They should be proud'According to Keith, some drivers have also taken this as an opportunity to increase their workload since the options to socialize during their days off are limited. "A lot of cases our drivers are here and their families are back in their home countries," he said. "They have that optimistic viewpoint to say, 'Well maybe I'll just keep working and work a little harder make a little extra money.'"And for others, Keith said he can understand how it might be tough being a rotational worker during a time where travel isn't recommended. "We're telling our drivers that they're providing an essential service," he said. "They're really the heroes of ... bringing food products to Islanders and to Atlantic Canadian and Canadians as a whole.""They should be proud of what they're doing."More from CBC P.E.I.
The Big Land is set to see some big snowfall amounts, with parts of Labrador under weather warnings as a snowy storm system moves into the region beginning Monday in some areas.Central Labrador is under a blizzard warning, with the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area expected to see the most snow, totalling between 50 to 70 centimetres, to possibly 80 centimetres, falling between Monday to Tuesday evening.Environment Canada also expects wind gusts up to 90 kilometres an hour in the central region.The blizzard warnings extend north through to Hopedale, with those winds persisting and between 25 to 40 centimetres of snow expected, beginning Monday evening. Snowfall warnings for lesser amounts reach up to Nain as well as through to Cartwright and Black Tickle.Much of Newfoundland is under a wind warning for Tuesday, from the Avalon Peninsula, all along the south and southwest coasts, western Newfoundland and areas along the northeast coast bracing for gusts of around 80 km/hr, with stronger gusts up to 110 km/hr expected.The Wreckhouse area can expect gusts up to 140 km/hr overnight into Tuesday.That weather system has prompted Marine Atlantic to delay its Monday day crossings until the evening, but the ferry also advises its evening crossings as well as those on Tuesday could be impacted.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Saint-Tite – La MRC de Mékinac réagit au cri du cœur lancé dans nos pages par les relais de motoneiges qui craignent de ne pas traverser l'hiver si on leur permet seulement d'accueillir des clients pour les réchauffer, sans pouvoir ouvrir leurs salles à manger. Tous ont décrié l'impact des coûts fixes élevés comme le chauffage, la main-d'oeuvre ou le nettoyage des lieux pour expliquer les difficultés financières qu'ils anticipent. La MRC de Mékinac se dit sensible de la situation vécue par les relais de son territoire. «C’est une situation vraiment préoccupante pour notre milieu. L’industrie de la motoneige est un moteur économique très important pour notre MRC, tant au niveau des relais que des autres commerces autour. Les motoneigistes sortent souvent dans les sentiers avec le but de se rendre dans un relais, de consommer et de faire d’autres arrêts dans différents commerces. La fermeture des relais peut entrainer un ralentissement économique sur un volet beaucoup plus large» s'inquiète Nadia Moreau, directrice du service de développement économique de la MRC de Mékinac. Elle craint que l'impact financier des décisions gouvernementales ne vienne hypothéquer sérieusement le secteur jusqu'au printemps. «Nous sommes évidemment grandement conscients des enjeux de la propagation de la COVID-19. Nous tentons par tous les moyens de soutenir notre milieu pour passer à travers cette crise. Par contre, nous aimerons grandement que ce que nous pouvons favoriser localement puisse se faire chez nous. La possibilité de voir les habitués de notre région se déplacer vers une région aux conditions plus souples demeure inquiétante tant au niveau sanitaire qu’économique» ajoute Nadia Moreau. La MRC soutient que selon les commerçants, les chiffres d'affaires sont en péril de 75 à 90%.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Newfoundland and Labrador is withdrawing from the Atlantic bubble for a two-week break.Effective Wednesday, says Premier Andrew Furey, anyone arriving in the province from within the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14 days."The Atlantic bubble has been a source of pride … but the situation has changed," Furey said during Monday's COVID-19 briefing."I have made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days."Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break will need to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons, he said. But people travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada will not have to file for a travel exemption, said the premier, and under extenuating circumstances may apply for earlier COVID-19 testing to shorten the self-isolation period.Restrictions on travel to Newfoundland and Labrador from outside Atlantic Canada remain unchanged. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the province will monitor outbreaks in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for two weeks before making a decision to rejoin the bubble. She said Nova Scotia has confirmed cases of community transmission. "We will be looking at the levels of non-epidemiology cases that they have. We'll be looking at the trajectory of their case numbers … and looking at sort of a seven-day average," she said. "Those are all things we would consider with regard to whether or not to lift those isolation measures at that time."The province reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, both in the Western Health region. The province has 23 active cases.The province's total number of cases since March is now 321 with 294 recoveries. Both people who had recently been hospitalized with COVID-19 have been released.Elementary school student tests positive in Deer LakeA student at Elwood Elementary in Deer Lake is one of two new cases of COVID-19 being reported.It's the province's first case of COVID-19 in a school and is a close contact of a previous case, said Fitzgerald."As with any case, contact tracing starts with identifying close contacts of the child. This will include the school cohort, or class of the child," said Fitzgerald. "The parents of this class cohort have been notified, and the children have been self-isolating and testing has been arranged."The teacher is also self-isolating with testing arranged. Classes at Elwood Elementary have been suspended for Monday and Tuesday, according to the Department of Health.Watch the full Nov. 23 update:Fitzgerald, Education Minister Tom Osborne, and the head of the province's school district addressed the media on Monday as concerns around schools swirl.The second case reported on Monday is a man, also in the Western Health region, between 20 and 39 years old. The case is travel-related. The man returned to the province from work in Manitoba, and the case is unrelated to the previous cluster in the region. In a media release the Department of Health said the man is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.In an earlier media release, the Department of Health said it's asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 8880 from Halifax to Deer Lake that arrived on Thursday to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing, connected to a case of COVID-19 in the Western Health region announced Sunday.In total, 59,270 people have been tested as of Monday's update, an increase of 290 since Sunday.As the province is now seeing three small clusters, Fitzgerald said contact tracing is completed for the Grand Bank cluster. But, she added, identified contacts can develop symptoms until the 14-day mark, so the province will continue to monitor that cluster. Fitzgerald said all contacts have been identified in a small St. John's cluster but noted things can change within two weeks. She said there the contacts identified are in isolation so there should be "little onward future spread." In Deer Lake, "it's still in early days, really," Fitzgerald said."Certainly we're comfortable with where we are, now that we've been able to trace everybody in this cluster back to that origin."Towns and businesses tighten upMonday's news conference comes on the heels of daily increases of cases of COVID-19 in the province, and the Town of Deer Lake asking residents to limit contacts and non-essential businesses to close for the next 14 days.There are 10 active infections in the Western Health region of Newfoundland and Labrador, six of which are connected and believed to be centred in Deer Lake, as the town has said it's dealing with rising cases in the community. Dean Ball, the town's mayor, said the situation is being assessed hourly by his council, and they'll be shutting down town buildings until at least Dec. 7."People have really bought into this. We have no objections. When we look at Dec. 7, yes it's two weeks away. That won't be long going and I think will look back at this in a couple of weeks — I certainly hope so — and say for the information we had this was the best decision," Ball told CBC News. "We need to be kind. This is no time to be pointing fingers."Fitzgerald said more restrictive measures — such as a lockdown — aren't being recommended for the Deer Lake area right now. "We don't have evidence of widespread community transmission in Deer Lake. All of the cases that we've seen to date have been able to have been traced back to either travel or related to this cluster that was initially related to travel," she said. On Sunday, the Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill on Freshwater Road in St. John's closed its doors, announcing that a customer earlier in the week later tested positive for COVID-19. Staff are being tested, and the restaurant is awaiting guidance from public health officials.On Monday the city of St. John's announced it will not be going ahead with its Christmas market on Water Street or its different version of a Christmas parade planned to be held inside Mile One Centre. Breen told reporters city council felt it was in the best interests of keeping residents safe that the city not proceed with those events, following the changes to the province's participation in the Atlantic bubble. "We were concerned of moving forward when there's certainly a big concern on where we'd be in the pandemic at that time," he said. Asked if he had a message for business owners who might feel an economic squeeze during a break from the Atlantic bubble, Furey said the change is to protect them. "We're enjoying this level of freedom, and we're the envy of a lot of other places around the country. We want to keep it that way," he said. "This is an effort to protect their businesses, to protect the economy. The last thing we want is a full lockdown." Rotational workers facing backlashMeanwhile, the mayor of Grand Bank said the town is grappling with a great deal of anxiety, but now that contact tracing is complete, they're hoping to have turned the corner."The uncertainty — one day is great, the next day is not so great," said Rex Matthews.Matthews is hopeful the virus will be contained to the six cases already confirmed by public health officials. Two of those cases are senior citizens residing in the community's nursing home.Grand Bank has been a hotbed for rumours and speculation about the source of the infections. It's led to a flurry of online comments condemning rotational workers who travel back and forth from places like Alberta.In a social media group for rotational workers, some people report having the RCMP called on them for doing mundane tasks around their own property, like putting up Christmas lights."They do sacrifice," Matthews said. "You know they travel to other provinces of this country for employment, they leave their families, they leave their home, they leave their community, and it helps our economy. So under normal circumstances there's no issues, but these are extraordinary times."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
NASHVILLE — For Grammy-winning international star Angelique Kidjo, her artistry and her activism inform each other because music has the power to connect beyond skin colour, language or countries.“Music has that absolutely powerful side to it that sometimes when I finish a concert, I’m like, ’Why can’t we just live like this?'” said the singer-songwriter from the West African country of Benin.That sentiment is something that Skip Marley, a third-generation musician and grandson of reggae icon Bob Marley, has grown up knowing as well.“We’re talking to the people, so it’s all colours, all religions,” said Marley. “Music is music. That’s the beauty of it. It cuts through all of those barriers or borders.”These musicians are part of an online fundraising concert on Dec. 1 called Peace Through Music: A Global Event For Social Justice, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.The Facebook Live event will also feature performances by Annie Lennox, Becky G, Brandi Carlile and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Ringo Starr, Run The Jewels, Sheila E, Yo-Yo Ma and more. The event will raise money for the Playing for Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.Kidjo, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and education for young women in Africa through her Batonga Foundation. Kidjo has travelled the world to encourage young people to be leaders in their own communities because she says that is the leverage needed to address systematic issues of poverty and climate change.“We’ve created a world with billions of people suffering and a minority of people are living on top of them. And if we want to live in a world of peace, we have to take care of Mother Nature and at the same time take care to get people out of poverty,” said Kidjo, from her home in Paris.For the online concert, Kidjo teamed up remotely with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Gabriel to sing Gabriel's anti-apartheid anthem “Biko,” about a South African activist who was killed in detention in the 1970s. Kidjo said the song’s message directly connected to this year’s Black Lives Matter protests over police killings of Black men and women.“Racism is so linked to capitalism and we have failed to address that issue for so many, many, many years and centuries, I think from slavery all the way to today, that it becomes a cancer that is eating our societies,” said Kidjo.“Get Up, Stand Up,” a simple message that has become part of Bob Marley’s legacy to the world, was the obvious song choice for his grandson to sing for this online concert.“Wherever there is a fight, wherever there is oppression, wherever there is wrongdoing, there will always be that anthem,” said Marley, who performed with song with his mother Cedella Marley.It’s a spiritual experience to sing his grandfather’s songs, Marley said.“Those are the songs I first hear and the songs I first sing,” said Marley. “So when I’m singing it, I’m feeling my grandfather.”Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press
JERUSALEM — Israeli media reported Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would mark the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials. The reported meeting was the latest move by the Trump Administration to promote normalized ties between Israel and the broader Arab world and reflected the shared concern of all three nations about Iran. The Israeli news site Walla, followed quickly by other Hebrew-language media, cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, flew to the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday, where they met with the crown prince. The prince was there for talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. People travelling with Pompeo declined comment. Netanyahu, in a meeting with his Likud Party, also declined to explicitly confirm the visit. “I have not addressed such things for years and I will not start with that now. For years I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace,” he said. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, denied on Twitter that the meeting took place. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” he wrote. He did not elaborate. The flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com showed a Gulfstream IV private jet took off from Tel Aviv on Sunday night and flew south along the edge of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula before turning toward Neom and landing. The flight took off from Neom over three hours later and followed the same route back to Tel Aviv. Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, travelled with a small group of American reporters on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince. While Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have reached deals under the Trump administration to normalize ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia so far has remained out of reach. The Trump administration, as well as Netanyahu, would love to add the Saudis to that list before it leaves office in January. In Sudan, a military official said an Israeli delegation was in the country on Monday to discuss the normalization efforts. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the visit with the media. King Salman long has supported the Palestinians in their effort to secure an independent state as a condition for recognizing Israel. However, analysts and insiders suggest his 35-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, likely is more open to the idea of normalizing relations without major progress in the moribund peace process. Israel and Saudi Arabia have a shared interest in countering archrival Iran, and they have welcomed the Trump administration's pressure campaign on the Iranians, which included withdrawing from the international nuclear deal with Iran and imposing tough economic sanctions on the Tehran government. The reported meeting puts even more pressure on Iran ahead of an incoming Biden administration that has signalled a potential willingness to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. “I think there's a message to Iran. Look, there's a front against you. There's two months to go to the new administration. Beware. We are on the same page,” said Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, a prestigious Israeli think-tank . In an apparent message to President-elect Joe Biden, Netanyahu said in a speech Sunday evening, shortly before the reported trip to Saudi Arabia: “We must not return to the previous nuclear deal." In the same speech, Netanyahu also praised “trailblazing Arab leaders who understand the benefits of peace" and predicted “we will see other states that widen the circle of peace.” In another possible reference to the Saudi meeting, a Netanyahu aide, Topaz Luk, accused Netanyahu's rival and coalition partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, of “playing politics at the same time that the prime minister is making peace.” Gantz on Sunday launched an investigation into Israel's purchase of German submarines — a scandal that has turned several close Netanyahu confidants into criminal suspects. Netanyahu himself is not a suspect. The reported visit Sunday night to Neom, still a largely undeveloped desert region alongside the north end of the Red Sea, also reflected Prince Mohammed's ambitions. It brought two world leaders to Neom, which he hopes will become a futuristic, skyline-studded Saudi version of Dubai that will offer the kingdom jobs and cement a future beyond its vast crude oil reserves. It also would reframe a rule so far colored by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the kingdom’s grinding war in Yemen. It was unclear where the three men met, though the Saudi royal family has massive mansions along the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, with a major golf course. Netanyahu has long signalled back-channel relations with the Saudis, though the nations have never officially confirmed a meeting between their leaders. But Saudi Arabia appears to have given its blessing to the decisions of its Gulf neighbours, the UAE and Bahrain, to establish ties with Israel. The kingdom approved the use of Saudi airspace for Israeli flights to the UAE. Bahrain normalizing ties also suggest at least a Saudi acquiescence to the idea, as the island kingdom relies on Riyadh. ___ Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed. Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press
MILAN — In a signal of rebirth, the Donizetti theatre in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of renovations.But the planned gala celebration had to be postponed, and new productions for an annual festival dedicated to the city's native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theatre.Festival musical director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was envisioned as a life-affirming moment for the city and province, where 6,000 people died in a single month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizett's Requiem, performed outside the city’s cemetery in tribute to the dead.“You have to know that in my festival orchestra and in the chorus there are people who lost two or three family members,’’ Frizza said. “We couldn’t do the festival without having done this tribute to those who aren’t with us anymore.”Plans for an audience had to be scrapped after the virus started to resurge in October, even if Bergamo itself is experiencing lighter contagion than the spring, when images of army trucks transporting the dead to other regions for cremation laid bare the pandemic's toll. The calendar was cut to three productions.All three weekend performances of Donizetti’s “Marino Faliero,” “Le Nozze in Villa” and “Belisario” are available online indefinitely for a subscription price of 59 euros ($70.) Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus.Italy shut all theatres in February, and there was a tentative reopening over the summer.While some other theatres are offering free online streaming of their archives, Frizza said few are offering new opera productions. The Donizetti theatre package includes extras like commentary, interviews and a virtual tour of the renovated theatre, its frescoed ceilings given a fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera filmed last year, “L'Ange De Nisida," will be released on Wednesday.By comparison, Milan’s famed La Scala theatre will broadcast a Dec. 7 concert on state television, substituting its traditional gala season-opener.To ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and chorus, strict protocols were put into place, including weekly testing and separate rehearsals. During the weekend performances, the chorus, most of the orchestra and Frizza wore masks.At La Scala, more than 40 members of the chorus have tested positive for the virus, plus another 18 in the orchestra.Frizza, who suffered a mild bout with the virus during the March peak when Italy was in total lockdown, said no one in the festival contracted the virus during the rehearsals. That's critical to allowing the live performances to go ahead despite the partial lockdown in Lombardy.“No one can imagine the March lockdown without music, without books, without televised performances,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught those who hadn’t understood before, the importance of culture, arts and beauty in the world.”Colleen Barry, The Associated Press