U.S. exports at risk as bird flu hits heart of poultry country

By Tom Polansek and P.J. Huffstutter
Chickens feed from a row of feed bins at C&A Farms in Fairmont, North Carolina June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Randall Hill

By Tom Polansek and P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Mexico, the biggest buyer of U.S. chicken, and other major countries imposed new import restrictions on Thursday after a virulent form of bird flu was found at the heart of America’s poultry region.

The virus' discovery in Arkansas is expected to prompt similar moves by up to 40 more countries, and the restrictions are likely to depress prices and hurt U.S. poultry producers, economists said.

Top U.S. poultry producers like JBS SA unit Pilgrim's Pride Corp and Sanderson Farms Inc downplayed the risk to operations, but the Arkansas case sent their shares tumbling on Wednesday ahead of an official confirmation.

"We will see some markets shutting their imports, mainly

from that state, but not from the whole country," said Wesley

Batista, chief executive officer of meats company JBS SA

.

Fearing the virus' spread, Mexico, Canada and the European Union, along with other importers, on Thursday banned poultry imports from Arkansas. Missouri, Minnesota, California, Washington state and Oregon already face bans or restrictions.

China and South Korea have total bans on U.S. poultry exports from prior avian flu cases.

After recent cases in a handful of other states, the U.S. government on Wednesday confirmed the infection of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu in turkeys in Arkansas, home to Tyson Foods Inc, the world's biggest chicken company. The virus is unlikely to kill enough U.S. birds to offset the drop in overseas demand due to trade bans.

While the H5N2 strain poses no threat to humans, according to the USDA, it is deadly to poultry. Avian flu can spread rapidly through a flock, killing birds in as little as 24 hours.

The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, an industry group, said it expected 30 to 40 additional countries to impose new trade restrictions on U.S. poultry and eggs in the $5.7 billion export market.

There will be "more product on the domestic market and that will depress prices," said Jessica Sampson, agricultural economist at Livestock Marketing Information Center.

The United States exports about 20 percent of the chicken it produces and about 14 percent of the turkey produced, according to the center.

Last year, China and South Korea accounted for about $428.5 million in export sales of poultry meat and products, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

With the export market already hit by the strong dollar, "we don't need anything else that would make those exports any softer," said Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer for Sanderson Farms.

Shares in Sanderson, Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride were flat to lower on Thursday.

So far, viral strains of bird flu have been identified mostly in wild birds and commercial turkey farms, predominantly west of the Rocky Mountains. But the industry has been on alert since Minnesota and Missouri confirmed cases in the past week.

Minnesota is the nation's leading turkey producer, while Arkansas ranks third and Missouri is fifth, according to the USDA. The poultry sector fears the virus could spread through the much bigger domestic chicken industry. Arkansas is the third-largest chicken producer.

PRICING QUESTIONS

Poultry companies have been enjoying large profits recently thanks to high meat prices and declining feed costs. In January, Tyson reported operating income of $351 million for its chicken business in the quarter ended Dec. 27, up almost 40 percent on the year.

Trade restrictions could drive down prices by 5 percent to 10 percent in the United States for dark meat, which makes up the majority of chicken exports, said H.L. Goodwin, a poultry economist at the University of Arkansas.

How poultry companies will handle such pricing woes is not yet known. At North Carolina-based Butterball LLC, a "limited number" of turkeys from farms in Missouri and Arkansas that supply birds to the company have been diagnosed with H5N2 bird flu, according to a statement.

The company, which accounts for 20 percent of all U.S. turkey production, declined to comment on its pricing.

Tyson also declined to discuss the impact bird flu may have on the company but said no flocks grown for Tyson have been diagnosed with the virus.

Tyson "has the ability to ship products from multiple states, so we believe we can meet demand for both domestic and global markets," company spokesman Worth Sparkman said.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago, Additional reporting by Gustavo Bonato in Sao Paolo; Editing by Jo Winterbottom and Cynthia Osterman)

  • B.C. man who opted out of MSP now swamped by medical bills after cancer diagnosis
    Health
    CBC

    B.C. man who opted out of MSP now swamped by medical bills after cancer diagnosis

    A man from Enderby, B.C., recently diagnosed with colon cancer is facing mounting hospital bills after previously opting out of the province's Medical Services Plan (MSP). Benjamin Fuller, 43, opted out of B.C.'s health insurance five years ago in an effort to lower his bills, according to his wife, Kristina Fuller. Benjamin, who is originally from Saskatchewan, was trying to save the cost of monthly MSP premiums, which were ultimately eliminated by the B.C. NDP government at the beginning of 2020. "He opted out when he realized there was a process for it, and he thought, oh, this is great, why would I pay an additional medical premium for services that I probably won't need. I'll just rely on the, I guess, regular Canadian health care," Kristina said. "He thought the $35 was just additional services and not going to impact his regular services."Enrolling in the MSP program is mandatory in B.C. under the Medicare Protection Act, but there is an option to opt out for 12 months at a time — with a caveat. "Residents who opt out are responsible for the payment of all medical, hospital and other health-care services received during the 12-month opt-out period," according to the B.C. government website. "You will not be able to opt back in, in the event of an unforeseen medical problem."In line with his opt-out date, the soonest Benjamin can opt back in to the provincial plan is July 1 of this year. DiagnosisIn December 2019, Benjamin became ill. "He was sort of having tummy trouble I want to say, and he thought, oh, maybe it's a food sensitivity or maybe it's at worst an allergy," said Kristina. He to see a doctor and was sent for several tests.  "On Feb. 26, the GP let us know that it wasn't an ulcer, it wasn't gallstones. He said, I have actually really terrible news, it's Stage 4 cancer in your colon," said Kristina.Benjamin was diagnosed with aggressive colon cancer metastatic throughout the abdomen and liver.  According to his oncologist, his condition is incurable, so palliative chemotherapy was prescribed to extend his life. The burden of treatmentThree months after the diagnosis, the Fullers have accumulated more than $22,000 in medical bills for hospital visits, tests and prescriptions.Kristina says the costs have become such a burden that her husband is avoiding treatment to cut costs."I've overheard my husband ask questions on the phone to our doctor: oh, do I really need that scan?" she said."He's trying to tough it out so that we don't have an additional burden to bear, and that is very hard on my heart.""Even when we started, Ben had said to the oncologist, you know, there's this situation with my MSP, maybe I should wait until July 1 before we do any treatments [...] and the oncologist said, no, if you wait until July you will not be alive," Kristina added. "He said, that's not how it works in Canada. We will start treating you and somehow that other stuff will work out." Hard line from ministryBoth out of work due to Benjamin's illness and the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple reached out in desperation to the Ministry of Health and offered to pay back the missed premiums over the past year in return for enrolment in MSP. The Fullers feel that everyone should have been re-enrolled in MSP when premiums were eliminated on Jan. 1. "I was hopeful, and I thought, well, it went to zero, everybody should just be rolled back in," said Kristina.   Their hospital social worker and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo both wrote letters to the ministry asking for Benjamin's reinstatement in MSP.They received one response stating Benjamin would not be eligible to re-enrol until July 1. It noted that while the response was disappointing, the legislation must be administered equitably to all residents of B.C. According to the Ministry of Health, 206 people opted out of MSP in 2019.The ministry insists there is no ability for an individual to opt back into the program before the end of the 12-month period. Positive mindsetMeanwhile, Kristina says Benjamin is in the middle of his second round of chemotherapy, and he is still experiencing stomach pain. She says while Benjamin's prognosis is grim, she is hopeful he will recover. "Doctors have talked to us a lot about his mindset: if you think you're going to live for 10 years then that's going to help you along," Kristina said."There have been different things written in the doctor's reports, saying two or three years, but we are not focused on that. We're focused on the positive and, hopefully, longer life. I'm hoping for 25 more years."

  • Kirk 2.0: Capt. Pike of new ‘Star Trek’ a welcome new icon
    Entertainment
    The Canadian Press

    Kirk 2.0: Capt. Pike of new ‘Star Trek’ a welcome new icon

    In the beginning, in the "Star Trek” universe, there was only Captain Kirk. At least to the general public.When the Starship Enterprise first whooshed across American television screens on Sept. 8, 1966, William Shatner’s James T. Kirk was the smart leader sitting in the captain’s chair. He was stouthearted, eloquent, curious, fair. Kennedylike, even. He was a principled explorer committed to spreading New Frontier values to the 23rd-century stars.And yet: Kirk could also be something of an interstellar Don Draper — brooding, arrogant, a top-down manager who earned his privilege but also often presumed it. Despite being progressive for his era, he could be condescending to anyone but his top righthand men — and sometimes creepily appreciative of the women he encountered.But Kirk had actually been preceded as captain of the Enterprise by Christopher Pike — a stoic, vague figure played by Jeffrey Hunter in a rejected 1964 “Trek” pilot who made only a fleeting appearance in the original series, mainly so the pilot footage could be recycled. The character reappeared in two recent movie reboots, portrayed ably by Bruce Greenwood, but was never a foundational fixture of “Star Trek” lore.Until now.“Trek” aficionados were thrilled this month to learn that Pike (now played by Anson Mount), his first officer “Number One”(Rebecca Romijn) and the still-evolving, pre-Kirk version of Spock(Ethan Peck) would be following up their season-long stints on “Star Trek: Discovery” with a brand-new show. Called “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” it is set in the decade before Kirk takes command.And as played today by Mount, Captain Pike — now framed through a creative lens that has captured 54 years of captaining by Kirks, Picards, Siskos, Janeways and Archers — may be the finest, most intuitive leader that the “Star Trek” universe has ever produced.“Both within the show’s world and our own, Captain Pike is a breath of fresh air," Jessie Earl, whose Trek-focused “Jessie Gender” YouTube videos explore social and political issues, said in an episode about Pike last year.“Pike’s lack of ego makes him a perfect model of leadership worth aspiring to," Earl said. “Pike represents what `Star Trek' has always been about: showing us what we could be if we strove to actively pursue and cultivate the best parts of ourselves.”It's not accidental that Pike is the son of a father who taught science AND comparative religion — an embodiment of the empiricism-faith equation that “Star Trek” and its captains have always espoused. In many ways, in fact — even more so than Chris Pine in the movie reboots — Pike functions as James T. Kirk 2.0.Both are utterly principled and committed to their missions. But where Kirk could be arrogant, Pike is steadfast. Where Kirk was expansive and welcomed attention, Pike is wary of it — but seamlessly claims centre stage when needed. Most of all, where Kirk was deeply committed to his responsibility to ship and crew — crippled by it, even — Mount's Pike adds the view of himself as a humble servant-leader who derives his sense of command not only from the success of his mission but directly from the successes of his crew.This is very much in line with how the captains who came after Kirk evolved the notion of command in “Star Trek” through changing times.Jean-Luc Picard — in the 1987-94 “Next Generation” series and movies, and in this year's “Star Trek: Picard” — reframed the captaincy as both more cerebral and less dogmatic. Benjamin Sisko from “Deep Space Nine” was effectively sharing authority with an alien race in whose backyard his space station sat.The strong and intuitive Kathryn Janeway from “Voyager” was the first woman to lead both a starship and the series it populated. And Jonathan Archer, the captain of an earlier version of the Enterprise, was both authoritative and — as the most far-flung Starfleet explorer of his era — deeply self-doubting at times.Even on “Discovery,” putting aside the troubled Capt. Gabriel Lorca of the show's first season, the real leader of the show is Michael Burnham(Sonequa Martin-Green) — an amalgam of conflicts and setbacks and self-recriminations who emerges as the ship's biggest influencer because of her difficult road, not in spite of it.And let's not forget Kirk himself — the aging iteration from the 1980s movies that Shatner shepherded into someone who was more introspective, sometimes regretful and more willing to listen.All of these are ingredients that, in 55 years, led the character of Pike from its 1964 iteration ("I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge") to the current version ("Starfleet … is a promise. I give my life for you. You give your life for me. And nobody gets left behind.").Of the many “Star Trek” sequels and movies that have emerged over the decades, this will be the first live-action one to take place aboard the starship that started it all — that original Enterprise.And while television storytelling has come many light years since the original series’ era, to hear the producers and actors tell it, “Strange New Worlds’ will strive for the sensibility of the original — a spirit of exploration and optimism, and even nonserialized, single-episode arcs.“We’re going to get to work on a classic ‘Star Trek’ show that deals with optimism and the future,” Mount said from quarantine this month in a YouTube video revealing the show.They'll also be exploring the rich history of the original Enterprise itself, a ship so storied that a mail-in campaign by fans in the mid-1970s led NASA to rename the first space shuttle after it. Lovingly reconceived to appear in the second season of “Discovery,” it is sleek and moody and rich with the colours and layout that made it so compelling in the 1960s — updated for today's HD audiences but holding onto the soul of its low-budget predecessor.And smack in the middle, in a chair familiar to generations of fans, will sit Christopher Pike, charged with embodying everything in a half-century of “Trek” that made captains effective and memorable.James T. Kirk was a master class in leadership for the 1960s, just as Jean-Luc Picard was a thoughtful, more introspective model for the carpeted, richly paneled bridge of the late-1980s Enterprise-D.But yanking a thinly developed character from the beginning of “Star Trek” lore and offering him up as a model of leadership for the 2020s — well, that's not an easy task. “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," expected in 2021, will be doing that every week.In first developing the character that would evolve into Captain Pike, “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry described him this way: “He is a complex personality with a sensitivity and warmth which the responsibilities of command often forces him to hide.”That was 1964. Today, for this latest captain of the Enterprise, sensitivity and warmth are no longer hidden. They're right there front and centre, along with all the complexity. And “Star Trek”— which even in its darkest hours is about building a brighter future — is better off for it.___Ted Anthony, director of digital innovation for The Associated Press, has been writing about American culture since 1990 and watching “Star Trek” since his older sister plopped him down in front of her favourite show when he was 2. His younger son’s middle name is, not coincidentally, Kirk. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/anthonytedTed Anthony, The Associated Press

  • Married for 68 years, this B.C. couple died 5 hours apart after testing positive for COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    Married for 68 years, this B.C. couple died 5 hours apart after testing positive for COVID-19

    Juanita and Howard Robinson's romance started with double dates and calls to "the dirt department" and ended over 65 years later as they held hands on their final day together.The Robinsons died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Amica Edgemont Village, a long-term care home in North Vancouver that has been the scene of an outbreak.Juanita, 91, died at 8 p.m. on April 6. Five hours later, Howard died. He was 94. The facility reported the deaths in April but now their family is telling their story."It just hasn't quite hit that they're not there," the couple's eldest daughter, Sharon Robinson, said last week. "We just had such a special, long time with them."Many of the British Columbians who have died of COVID-19 were residents of long-term and assisted-living facilities."It's so easy to say, 'Oh, those people were old, they would have died anyway,'" the couple's second daughter, Diana Coleman, said. "But they still added value to everyone's life around them, not to mention their own family."They still had a lot to give and that was taken away from them."The dirt departmentHoward Robinson was born in Vancouver on January 25, 1926 and grew up in the city.In 1942 he began a 44-year career with CanCar Pacific, a heavy machinery company. He started as a machinist but eventually became general manager of the company.At 17, he enlisted in the Canadian Army. He dealt with supplies and was deployed to the Netherlands and France late in the Second World War."It took its toll on him," Robinson said. "He suffered as did many, many other very young men."He met Juanita Jackson shortly after the war through a co-worker and his wife. The four of them went on double dates.Juanita was born in Vancouver on August 12, 1928 and also grew up in the city.She briefly worked as a secretary at the ministry of agriculture. Robinson and Coleman aren't sure if it was the federal or provincial ministry.In those days, Robinson said, several government departments could be reached with a single phone number.When Howard wanted to talk to Juanita, he would dial it and ask for "the dirt department.""That just drove her nuts," Robinson said. "She didn't want anyone to be thinking there was any disrespect for the department of agriculture."Howard and Juanita married in 1951 and moved to North Vancouver.Juanita became a homemaker and raised three children. She survived breast cancer in the 1960s. All her life she loved baking, gardening and making needlepoint art."She was a very clever, talented lady," Robinson said.In the summer of 2019, Howard and Juanita moved into Amica Edgemont Village.'Just like Leave It to Beaver'Both Coleman and Robinson described their parents as a team — they respected and complemented each other."It was just like Leave It to Beaver," Coleman said.Howard was diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago, Robinson said. He also survived a heart attack and prostate cancer.They saw their family regularly but in the last few weeks those visits were through the window or on the phone as the couple self-isolated and visits were restricted."That was the best we could do," Robinson said. "I just feel for everybody and anybody who's got people in these care homes."Coleman said seniors killed by the coronavirus, like her parents, aren't mere statistics."They were mom and dad and Howard and Juanita and grandma and grandpa and great-grandma and great-grandpa," Coleman said."We feel a void without their kindness, without their wisdom."If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.

  • Coronavirus cases in Canada: Over 85,000 infections and 6,400 deaths
    Health
    Yahoo News Canada

    Coronavirus cases in Canada: Over 85,000 infections and 6,400 deaths

    Here’s a list of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

  • Return to sender: passengers sent back after arriving at Yellowknife Airport
    Lifestyle
    CBC

    Return to sender: passengers sent back after arriving at Yellowknife Airport

    Despite strict protocols around who is allowed into the Northwest Territories, there have been two recent instances of people arriving at the Yellowknife Airport who weren't supposed to.An official with the territory's Municipal and Community Affairs Department said in the past two weeks, there were a couple of separate cases of people getting off an airplane in Yellowknife only to have to turn around the following day."We take care of them and we put them up and we make sure we make all the arrangements to send them back to where they need to go," said Ian Legaree, the operations section chief for North Slave with the territory's Municipal and Community Affairs Department."I'm sure they're disappointed they can't come to Yellowknife and visit but that's just the rules we're living under."The N.W.T. has virtually banned all non-essential travel into the territory. Residents are allowed to return and essential workers are allowed to enter, but visitors from out of territory are restricted. "Occasionally someone simply wasn't aware. They assume they can travel. Like in normal times, you can travel anywhere in Canada you like. But occasionally some people just don't get the word and we have to deal with it here," Legaree said.It's unclear where the people were coming from or the reasons why they were rejected. He said the territory pays for their stay in the hotel in order to monitor where they are.It has been more than one month since the N.W.T. has had an active case of COVID-19. The territory's chief public health officer has said the highest risk right now is on the border and that restrictions would remain in place until a vaccine is available.Arrivals into Yellowknife down 'significantly'From March 27 to May 19, there were 1,087 arrivals at the Yellowknife Airport. It's down "significantly" said Legaree.When passengers enter the arrivals area, they snake their way through a cordoned off line keeping two metres apart. They're then asked a series of questions by staff about who they are and why they're here.Anne-Elizabeth Fauvel and her son, Ewen Fauvel-Burns, returned to the city Friday after spending the last few months visiting family in France.It took them three days before they arrived back home, flying from Paris to Montreal then onto Toronto and Calgary before arriving in Yellowknife."The whole planning on the trip was extremely difficult because I had different answers from different places," Fauvel said.She said the trip itself went well. There were no lineups and the planes were almost empty.She and her son will spend the next 14 days self-isolating at home. "I don't mind at all, we're pretty jet lagged right now," she said.She said the arrival process was pretty simple and a good way to screen people. "I think it's a good idea to take precautions in Yellowknife because it is a small place and some people commute to northern communities and they don't want to bring the virus there."

  • New Zealand's Ardern stays cool as earthquake strikes during live interview
    News
    Reuters

    New Zealand's Ardern stays cool as earthquake strikes during live interview

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was unflustered by an earthquake that struck the capital Wellington on Monday while she was doing a live TV interview, and calmly continued with the programme. Ardern, who became prime minister in 2017, is hugely popular in New Zealand for her handling of several crises - a mass shooting in Christchurch last year, a volcanic eruption in December and the recent coronavirus pandemic. Wellington and nearby areas were shaken by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake with the epicentre 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Levin, a city close to the capital, and at a depth of 37 km, according to Geonet.

  • Premature victory lap? Meng Wanzhou poses ahead of momentous court decision
    News
    CBC

    Premature victory lap? Meng Wanzhou poses ahead of momentous court decision

    With a momentous court ruling that could deliver her freedom days away, Meng Wanzhou appeared to take a premature victory lap on the weekend, posing for pictures and flashing a thumbs-up on the steps of B.C. Supreme Court.The Huawei executive took part in a staged downtown Vancouver photo shoot as security guards stood watch Saturday evening. She jumped out of a black SUV to take centre stage once a group of family and friends had arranged themselves in front of a photographer.It was an unusual move for the 48-year-old chief financial officer of the telecommunications giant. And even more so for a defendant who will learn this week whether the court's associate chief justice believes Meng is accused of an offence worthy of extradition to the United States."I can't say that I've seen that [before]," said Gary Botting, an expert on the Canadian extradition process."You can hardly blame her. This has gone on for nearly two years."Accused of fraudMeng was arrested on Dec. 1, 2018, at Vancouver's airport after arriving from Hong Kong for what was supposed to be a stopover en route to Mexico City and Argentina.The U.S. wants Meng extradited to New York to face fraud charges for allegedly lying to an HSBC executive at a meeting in Hong Kong about Huawei's relationship with a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.U.S. prosecutors claim banks in turn placed themselves at risk of running afoul of U.S. regulations by relying on Meng's alleged lies to continue handling Huawei's finances, risking prosecution and massive penalties in the process.B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes announced her plans last week to deliver a decision Wednesday on an issue that could end the extradition process: double criminality.If Holmes rules that the offence Meng is accused of committing in the U.S. would not have been considered a crime had it occurred in Canada at the time the arrest warrant was issued, then there was no double criminality, and Meng could be free to return to China — barring further detention on appeal.Security guards kept watchSaturday's appearance on the courthouse steps marked a very different look from the one Meng first presented to the world in December 2018. At that point, she had spent a week in a women's prison in Maple Ridge, B.C., emerging from the courthouse in a tracksuit to the glare of cameras, after being released on $10 million bail. Meng is the daughter of Huawei's billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei. She currently lives under house arrest in one of two multi-million dollar homes she owns on Vancouver's west side. The terms of her release allow her movement around the city under the constant watch of a security detail.Her plainclothes guards paced the sidewalk outside the courthouse for an hour before Meng arrived Saturday evening, their black SUV parked nearby.A CBC reporter and photographer watched unobserved, from a distance.At around 7 p.m., a photographer hauled a step ladder onto the sidewalk and another large black vehicle pulled up. A number of women and men dressed in suits began assembling on the stairs.Black gown and ankle braceletMeng has appeared in court in designer dresses and shoes worth thousands, her wardrobe becoming part of her publicity strategy. Once the group of 11 people who would join her in the photographs found their places, Meng emerged from the SUV in a sleeveless black dress that reached to her ankles.She pulled the hem of the dress up at one point to reveal the GPS ankle monitoring bracelet she must wear under the terms of her release.Huawei board member and head of global media Vincent Peng, a longtime friend, stood next to Meng as the group smiled, made peace signs and gave thumbs-up to the camera.After no more than about four minutes, Meng was back in the vehicle.'Is this criminal in Canada?'Meng has denied the charges agaisnt her, and both she and her father have expressed confidence in the Canadian judicial system. Still, it's rare to see an accused appear to celebrate before a decision.Botting believes Meng has reason to be hopeful.During four days of hearings in January, Meng's lawyers argued the U.S. was trying to use Canada to enforce sanctions Canadians rejected by choosing to remain in a global treaty aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear ambitions that U.S. President Donald Trump decided to leave.The Crown, on the other hand, claims Meng's alleged offence is one of fraud: depriving a bank through a lie. And that's a crime in the U.S. and Canada."I think there's a good chance of success in the sense that when it boils down to the nitty-gritty, is this criminal in Canada? What she's alleged to have done, if instead of the United States, it was Canada who was bringing the prosecution, would we continue with the prosecution? Would we regard this as being criminal enough to carry it forward and bring it to trial?" Botting asked."I think the answer is fairly clearly, we wouldn't."'She'll go back to China'Botting says the strength of the case is undermined by the fact the alleged offence occurred in Hong Kong and the alleged victim is a U.K. bank. He calls Meng's detention arbitrary.If Holmes sides with the Crown, Meng's lawyers will have another chance to fight the extradition with arguments over what they claim was an abuse of her rights at the time of her arrest.But if Meng is successful, the Crown could appeal. Botting says she would not need to be in detention while the appeal is ongoing, but says U.S. prosecutors may well want to keep her in Canada."If she's smart, she'll go back to China," he says.The two MichaelsIn the meantime, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain in custody in China, where they were detained just days after Meng's arrest. Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, have been accused of spying in what many observers believe is retaliation for Canada's decision to act on behalf of the U.S. in regards to Meng.The Canadian government has denounced China's treatment of the two men, who are being held behind bars and have been denied access to lawyers.Many have pointed out the disparity between Meng's gold-plated, self-funded home-arrest and Kovrig and Spavor's harsh treatment.And unlike Meng, neither man is appearing in any pictures.

  • The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

    The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 5:41 p.m. on May 24, 2020:There are 84,699 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada._ Quebec: 47,411 confirmed (including 3,984 deaths, 14,331 resolved)_ Ontario: 25,500 confirmed (including 2,073 deaths, 19,477 resolved)_ Alberta: 6,860 confirmed (including 135 deaths, 5,924 resolved)_ British Columbia: 2,517 confirmed (including 157 deaths, 2,057 resolved)_ Nova Scotia: 1,050 confirmed (including 58 deaths, 973 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 632 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 538 resolved)_ Manitoba: 281 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 268 resolved), 11 presumptive_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 260 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 254 resolved)_ New Brunswick: 121 confirmed (including 120 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases_ Total: 84,699 (11 presumptive, 84,688 confirmed including 6,424 deaths, 43,998 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Deal struck to dismantle blockades at Manitoba Hydro site, Indigenous group says
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Deal struck to dismantle blockades at Manitoba Hydro site, Indigenous group says

    SPLIT LAKE, Man. — A Manitoba Indigenous group says there's a deal with the province's Crown-owned hydro utility to remove blockades set up over fears that workers could introduce COVID-19 to an area around a multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project.Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak says in a news release that leaders of First Nations that had been blockading the Keeyask power project met with Manitoba Hydro President Jay Grewal on Saturday, and that they reached an agreement for the barricades to come down.The announcement says the deal includes lifting a court injunction issued last week against Tataskweyak Cree Nation, one of the communities that was part of the protest.Four northern First Nations stopped entry at three points around the site about 725 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg after Manitoba Hydro said it would rotate out hundreds of employees and contractors who had been there for eight weeks.Manitoba Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen says the utility is pleased to reach an understanding with its First Nations partners that he says "will see construction on Keeyask resume safely," adding that more information will be released Monday.The MKO news release doesn't say whether the shift change will proceed, but an MKO spokeswoman says in an email that the First Nations will continue to work with Manitoba Hydro on a plan to gradually resume construction at Keeyask."First Nations, like other Manitobans, have made many sacrifices to restrict the transmission of COVID-19," Tataskweyak Cree Nation Chief Doreen Spence said in the MKO news release."While we absolutely want our economies to open up and succeed, we are ultimately most concerned about the well-being and health of our citizens during this uncertain period."The Keeyask Project is a collaborative effort between the Crown and four First Nations — Tataskweyak Cree Nation and War Lake First Nation, York Factory First Nation and Fox Lake Cree Nation.The northern area so far has no cases of COVID-19, and Manitoba Hydro had said the Crown corporation planned to safely resume regular work rotations while protecting workers and neighbouring communities.Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench issued an injunction last Monday ordering the removal of the blockades, an order the First Nations had said they would ignore. Spence said in the news release that her community has "asked Manitoba Hydro to work with us in a better way to move forward with the project." York Factory First Nation Chief Leroy Constant, meanwhile, called the situation "extremely frustrating and unnecessary.""If Manitoba Hydro had fully engaged with its Cree partners from the beginning, this situation would not have happened," he said in the release.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • Mourning family of Cargill COVID-19 death feel left behind by company
    News
    CBC

    Mourning family of Cargill COVID-19 death feel left behind by company

    Two weeks ago, the union that represents the workers at the Cargill slaughterhouse near High River, Alta., announced that a third death had been linked to the facility: a 51-year-old union shop steward named Benito Quesada.At the time, that outbreak represented the site of the largest coronavirus outbreak tied to a single location in Canada.Quesada was described by the union as a quiet, gentle, and humble man. His family sought their privacy in the wake of his death.But as the days went on, the family decided together that they wanted to tell Quesada's story — especially with the facility and the larger economy reopening."We've had many people, even just neighbours, asking us what happened," 16-year-old Ariana Quesada said in an interview Saturday. "We don't want to give those answers, because we feel that those answers are really personal."But we realize this issue is bigger for us and our dad's suffering shouldn't be in vain."Hard workerQuesada started working for Cargill in 2007, travelling to Alberta from Mexico City. His family stayed behind in Mexico while Quesada sent money home until they too were able to join him in Canada in 2012."He was really proud to work at Cargill. If anyone asked him where he worked, he always said Cargill with such pride," Ariana said. "It was the job that brought his family here."Even if he needed to work more hours — which he did, even working two additional part-time jobs at one time — Quesada did so with dedication, loving to spoil his family with gifts when he could.Even though he often came home from work exhausted, he would still make time for his family."My little sister, she's five. That's who he had the closest bond with. He would come home and they would hug and my mom would ask how his day was," Ariana said. "He was a really, really caring person and he loved us very much."The outbreakBut as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, Quesada would tell his wife, Mary, about what he was seeing at work."He would tell my mom that compared to schools and to stores and other places where they were taking the proper measures, Cargill was not doing the same thing," Ariana said. "He did not have the proper gear to make this less risky and he was disappointed that such a great company was not able to provide the necessary gear."He often came back from work saying there was no distance between the workers themselves at all."His family began to quarantine, with the kids not leaving the home to go to school and only one family member attending a grocery store at a time.They tuned in constantly to the advice of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, and began wearing masks and frequently cleaning.Amidst the pandemic, Cargill began to offer its workers a bonus. Ariana said Quesada kept going into work to get that bonus."They were going to give them a $500 bonus if they didn't miss a day of work," she said. "Unfortunately, we're a family of six, and a $500 bonus is going to make a difference in bills and in our lives. That was his main motivation to go to work. He wouldn't have gone without that $500."Up until today, they haven't paid it to him."Becoming illMore than 900 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in workers at the plant, most of whom have now recovered. As of May 21, five active cases of COVID-19 remain connected to workers.One of the workers who became ill was Quesada. He grew sicker and sicker and was eventually admitted to the ICU.At the start, his family was told they were not allowed to visit him unless signs emerged that indicated he may soon pass away. One morning that call came."We got to say goodbye. But he didn't get that chance," Ariana said.WATCH | Ariana and Mary Quesada describe why they're sharing their father's story now:Ariana and Mary were permitted to enter the room where Quesada lay in the hospital bed.There were tubes coming out of his mouth and machines everywhere. It was immediately clear that Quesada had lost a lot of weight."You could see it in his face. His jawline was really, really prominent," Ariana said. "His cheekbones were really raised and he looked really bad."Ariana said she always told her father that he was very pale compared to her siblings and her mother. That wasn't the case that morning."He was orange. He wasn't even pale, he was orange," she said. "His fingers were really stiff. It was a really horrible sight to see."The image, even in its retelling, is devastating for Ariana to recall. She said she wanted to share that image — one that conflicts with the father who could do anything, the father who overcame any obstacle — because she worries about pervasive attitudes surrounding the virus as the economy reopens."To those people who think it's not that serious or it's just a regular cold, I would say this … look at us. We're left without a dad. My mom is left without a husband," Ariana said.A family left behindAs the main provider for the family, Quesada's death has left Mary and her four children with an ongoing struggle. Ariana, still 16, expects to have to begin working multiple part-time jobs to help support the family."When I said goodbye to my dad I told him not to worry. I told him if for some reason he felt the need to go, he knew we were going to be able to handle things," Ariana said. "But the financial pressure, it's really devastating."After Quesada's death a Cargill spokesperson said in a statement that the company had been in recent contact with the family and would honour Quesada at the plant, flying a flag at half-mast in memory of the two employees who had died.The family said they were never contacted by the company."Cargill themselves have not contacted us — coworkers and workers with my dad have, but Cargill themselves have not," Ariana said. "I read somewhere that they had emailed their condolences, but we didn't even get that."In a statement provided to CBC News on Sunday afternoon, a spokesperson for Cargill said they extended their "sincere, heartfelt condolences" to Quesada's family.The company said a health services manager was in contact with the family during Quesada's hospitalization, and senior members of the High River facility undertook "multiple efforts" to contact the family. "It is completely understandable why they would not be taking calls at that time. In the past weeks, the company has been successful in making direct contact with the family and has had several conversations regarding any support the company may be able to offer," the statement reads.Ariana said representatives with Cargill's human resources department have contacted the family to help with documentation, but others from the company have not yet been in touch to offer condolences.Ariana said Quesada was always proud to work at Cargill and even "gave his life" for the plant.For now, the family continues to grieve alone, feeling unheard about what they say was a lack of safety measures implemented at the facility. "They only saw the outcome. But they didn't live it with us. They didn't see how we were crying everyday, they didn't see the trauma," Ariana said. "They didn't see me and my mom saying our goodbyes to him. They didn't see him in that bed, lying lifeless. They didn't see any of this."So they probably don't feel the same remorse. But they need to."

  • Senior missing for 9 days found dead in Delta
    News
    CBC

    Senior missing for 9 days found dead in Delta

    Police in Delta say the search for a missing senior has ended in tragedy.On May 15, 88-year-old Jarnail Sanghera of North Delta was reported missing. He was last seen leaving his family residence near Nordell Way and 116th Avenue in North Delta.Police said Sanghera had dementia and diabetes, which was treated through medication.Investigators were able to find video footage of Sanghera walking and received several tips from people about him.On May 19th, police and members of Sanghera's family held a news conference to review the extensive efforts made to find the missing man and to ask for more help in finding him.On Sunday Delta Police said in a tweet that officers were called to a wooded area off Swenson and Nordell Way where they found the body of Sanghera.Officers remain at the scene and say that Saghera's family has been notified of his death.Police did not say what the circumstances of Sanghera's death were but that more information would be available on Monday.

  • Saskatoon mom concerned Sask. Health Authority using hand sanitizer that's unsafe for pregnant, nursing people
    Health
    CBC

    Saskatoon mom concerned Sask. Health Authority using hand sanitizer that's unsafe for pregnant, nursing people

    A Saskatoon mother is concerned the Saskatchewan Health Authority is using a hand sanitizing gel that may be harmful to individuals who are nursing or breastfeeding. A May 21 memo obtained by CBC sent to staff across the authority indicated a type of Health Care Plus Sanitizing Hand Gel "is unsafe for pregnant and nursing women" as it uses "technical grade ethanol alcohol" as opposed to medical grade isopropyl alcohol.The product has been used in some authority facilities in recent weeks, as global demand for medical grade isopropyl alcohol has been growing exponentially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact the product is even in the hospital is a red flag for Saskatoon mom Amanda Harder."There's that element of trust," she said."We have the right to know what we're putting on our bodies and I think when there's governing bodies, like the Sask. Health Authority, we expect safety standards and we expect the products we are using are safe." Harder, who founded the group Mothers Empowering Mothers, is well-connected in the Saskatoon parental community. Speaking as an individual, she said the fact this product is even in hospitals is concerning. "I do think this pandemic needs to be taken with the utmost caution, but that being said, I don't think that excuses them from providing full disclosure or bypassing any safety standards," she said. The product has been approved by Health Canada for use in hand sanitizers, but it comes with many conditions including directions that it only be used by adults, that it contains a warning for pregnant and nursing individuals and that it clearly lists its medical ingredients. "Health Canada has put these specific conditions in place to minimize potential risks, while continuing to ensure sufficient supply of hand sanitizer during this public health crisis," Health Canada states on its website. "Once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, or should the increased demand during the pandemic no longer necessitate production of technical-grade ethanol, all time-limited conditional approvals granted by Health Canada will cease to be valid." Harder said the SHA should be providing better alternatives for both its staff and the public, pointing to things like portable hand-washing stations that could be installed at the facilities.She said while she understands use of the product may be low-risk for her and her family, she has concerns for people pregnant and nursing individuals who regularly frequent the hospital for treatment or work. "That's a big risk for them," she said. Based on conversations she's had with other moms in Saskatoon, she says there's a lot of feelings of being let down, disappointment and feelings their trust was taken advantage of. CBC Saskatchewan reached out to the Saskatchewan Health Authority numerous times over the weekend to get insight into why the product is being used, how long it was used for and where it was used, but a response was not received.The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, which represents registered nurses across the province, also issued a warning to their staff about the product and has raised concerns with the authority directly, as there were no warnings posted in or around the product. Tracy Zambory, president of the union, said while the health authority is now putting up posters informing people about risks associated with the hand sanitizer, they were slow to go up when the product appeared on site. She says while there was no malice behind the delay, she said it's a symptom of how busy the system is, as the health authority resumed some of its services on May 19, while at the same time, has been making service changes at rural hospitals."What's going on is an overload of trying to close, trying to open, it's all of these things that are happening that unfortunately a very important situation fell a little bit between the cracks," she said. "I think part of it is having so many balls in the air," she said. "It seems like communication is far down on the list." Zambory said this has been a pattern when it comes to the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the provincial government, as the union has said on previous occasions that transparency has been lacking in a big way."They're not transparent and there isn't a lot of conversations or communication that happens in a timely fashion, this is one of the potential outcomes," she said. Zambory said she's pleased warning signs about the hand sanitizing gel are now being posted and say the health authority has confirmed to the nurses' union it is working to source a new supply of hand sanitizer.

  • Most Canadians Want The U.S. Border To Stay Closed Longer During Coronavirus Pandemic: Survey
    Politics
    HuffPost Canada

    Most Canadians Want The U.S. Border To Stay Closed Longer During Coronavirus Pandemic: Survey

    Even when the border reopens, many Canadians said they won’t travel to the U.S.

  • Launching into space during COVID-19: Two Americans prepare for liftoff from Cape Canaveral
    Science
    CBC

    Launching into space during COVID-19: Two Americans prepare for liftoff from Cape Canaveral

    Cape Canaveral is readying to launch the first Americans aboard a space vehicle from the United States in nine years —and the first time astronauts will fly on a commercial rocket made by SpaceX.NASA has continued launches and work at labs and space centres around the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But in a sign of the times, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstone discouraged people from coming to Florida to watch the historic launch in person on Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. ET."We're asking people ... to watch online or watch on your television at home," to minimize crowds and enable social distancing, he said.NASA has designed a "virtual launch experience" to bring people closer to the event from home. Two American astronauts will be on board: Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.All eyes are on Wednesday's launch, said NASA's Kirk Shireman, program manager for the International Space Station."July 8, 2011, was the last time humans left the planet here [from the] Kennedy Space Center and went to the International Space Station," he said. "[We are] very much looking forward to next week having Bob and Doug on orbit continuing the human presence on the International Space Station, learning and exploring."Astronauts well prepared for quarantineThe astronauts said COVID-19 has allowed the general public to get an idea of what they experience. "We've seen the rest of the world have to take on the same sort of precautions that we do leading up to launch," said Behnken.The pair will be in a Crew Dragon capsule atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to go to the International Space Station.The astronauts been tested at least twice so far for COVID-19, and they may be tested once more before liftoff.Both astronauts are fathersQuarantine is a standard procedure for astronauts heading into space, but it's usually two weeks."We've been in for all intents and purposes a quarantine since about March 15th is my recollection," Hurley said. "We have been in quarantine probably longer than any other space crew has ever been in the history of the space program."There has been an up side to that for the astronauts, who are both fathers."It has allowed us to spend some time with our young children, who would have been below the age of access, if you will, for a quarantine if they weren't home from school," Behnken said.As they do their final launch preparations, NASA, SpaceX and other support staff wear masks, and social distance wherever possible.The visitor complex at the Kennedy Space Center, which is usually a prime spot for watching launches, has been closed since March 16. It is set to reopen later this month after the Crew Dragon's scheduled liftoff. It will require mandatory temperature screenings, face coverings and increasing disinfection.NASA and SpaceX ask members of the public to stay homeTony Taliancich, the director and general manager of United Launch Alliance Launch operations, was in charge of an Atlas V liftoff earlier this month. He said COVID-19 restrictions have meant a reduction of about 30 per cent of staff on site, with training being done remotely.Most visitors are banned, with 100 to 150 fewer people present than would normally witness a launch.Press numbers and procedures have changed too, said Joe Marino, a photographer for United Press international who has been covering space launches since 1984."They're reducing the number of people allowed into the space centre," he said. "They would like for us to wear masks while we're out there and remain separate from each other. So they've asked us for 10- to 15-foot clearance between individuals who are out there setting up their cameras."At least one NASA employee at the Langley Research Center, which was made famous as the setting for the award-winning film Hidden Figures, died in April after testing positive for COVID-19."We have taken the coronavirus pandemic very seriously. We've had a number of people infected by it," Bridenstine said.But the space program is considered essential and missions are going forward. After the liftoff of the manned launch, called Demo-2, two SpaceX Falcon 9 missions are scheduled next week. They will carry satellites into low orbit, joining more than 400 already in space as part of SpaceX's Starlink program.Starlink will offer high-speed internet to places where it was previously unavailable, unreliable or too expensive. The company plans to begin service in Canada and the northern U.S. later this year. In July, NASA is scheduled to launch a Mars rover on a ULA rocket.NASA and SpaceX officials have urged people to stay at home for the launch, earlier this month the sheriff of Brevard County, where Cape Canaveral is located, encouraged people to come out to watch.Space shuttle launches usually attract tens of thousands of people, bringing tourist dollars to what is known as Florida's Space Coast.U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence are scheduled be there.Florida has been gradually reopening, allowing stores, restaurants and beaches to operate, with social distancing rules in place, but they are unevenly enforced.Universal Studios plans to open its Florida theme parks on June 5. Its website carries the warning: "Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit."Walt Disney World is expected to submit its plan for reopening next week.

  • Germany tries to trace people who attended church service at which COVID-19 spread
    News
    Reuters

    Germany tries to trace people who attended church service at which COVID-19 spread

    German authorities are trying to trace everyone who attended a church service in Frankfurt this month after more than 107 people tested positive for the coronavirus. Churches in the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, have been able to hold services since May 1 following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, provided they adhere to official social distancing and hygiene rules. It was not immediately clear whether all the 107 with the coronavirus attended the service, or whether the tally includes people who were infected by those who did.

  • Muslims keep Ramadan spirit after facing a 'different' year
    Lifestyle
    CBC

    Muslims keep Ramadan spirit after facing a 'different' year

    New clothes, delicious food and cheerful decorations are still a part of Kamrul Islam and his family's Eid al-Fitr celebrations this year but the most important part is missing — friends and family.On what is usually one of the most social days of the year for Muslims, the family would usually have about 100 people over to their house to celebrate as a month of fasting ends, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made for a more isolated Eid this year."We are trying to do our best at home," said Naushaba Sheikh, Islam's wife, who spent Saturday cooking to be able to make deliveries to family and friends."If you are eating together when you break your fast, you feel good so we are missing that this year.… At least we are healthy and can fast and have food in our house," she said.> "If anything, it has given us more time to reflect on things that are necessary during Ramadan while we are at home." \- Kamrul IslamThis year's Ramadan, Islam's holiest month, is being considered one of the most challenging, as nightly communal tarawih prayers held at mosques were not allowed and large iftar dinners with family and friends could not happen.Muslims across the world had to rely on the internet to pray and socialize with their family and friends, and for Islam, Sheikh and their children, it was no different.Online prayersDuring Ramadan in years past, Islam said there often would be about 200 people who visited the mosque nightly, but this year they're participating in live streamed prayers."We have learned to adapt," said Islam. "We need to do this, not for the sake for our community, but the sake of the society as a whole."Islam said the City of St. John's also granted them permission to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer from the mosque, like other municipalities across Canada. "It felt jubilant in a way that, yes we are allowed to do this, and our diversity is valued in this city," said Islam. Fasting through a pandemicFor Islam's 10-year-old daughter, it will be a Ramadan she won't forget, not just because she fasted through a global pandemic but it also happened to be her first time."It [was] a little boring because I can't go to school and talk to my friends and keep my mind off food, but it's better because I am not in school where everyone is eating lunch," said Amreen Islam.She told CBC News at the beginning of Ramadan that she was nervous about making it all the way through the month, but is proud that she did."It went really good," she said, also mentioning she's looking forward to next year when things might not be so different.Her thoughts were echoed by her 17-year-old brother, Ayman Islam who also was missing a daily routine to take his mind off his stomach. "If I am at school or out with my friends, I am not really thinking about what is in my fridge at home," he chuckled.Ramadan spirit stands up to COVID-19Islam's family will be celebrating with their double bubble Sunday and are preparing for greetings to be called out from friends standing a distance away on the sidewalk.There also will be lots of food, gift exchanges and plenty of memories made."It was different but it was good," said Sheikh, reflecting on the past month.Although it was a "different" year, Islam said COVID-19 did not change the essence of Ramadan as a time for self-reflection and self-discipline, along with giving and thinking about others."Spiritually it hasn't changed," he said."If anything, it has given us more time to reflect on things that are necessary during Ramadan while we are at home."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Police respond to crowds, shooting near Fla. beach
    News
    Canadian Press Videos

    Police respond to crowds, shooting near Fla. beach

    A shooting that erupted at a Florida beachside road where more than 200 people gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite pandemic restrictions on Saturday night left several people injured. (May 24)

  • As province opens COVID-19 testing to all, health unit warns people not to have false sense of security
    Health
    CBC

    As province opens COVID-19 testing to all, health unit warns people not to have false sense of security

    Health officials in Windsor-Essex are looking to increase testing for COVID-19 after Premier Doug Ford's announcement that even asymptomatic people can get a test if they want one."The fact that he's basically saying that anyone that shows up to the assessment centre would be tested makes it a lot easier for the clinical staff," said David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital. Previous statements from the Premier only allowed for people displaying one or more symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested. On Sunday, he said mass testing was the province's best defence against the virus. As of Saturday, the province was still nearly 5,000 tests short of its daily goal of 16,000 tests a day.WATCH | David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, talks about the relaxation of rules surrounding COVID-19 testing.Musyj said until now, a little more than 90 per cent of people who would come in would get swabbed. "Right now, they're basically saying, you come in, you're going to get swabbed, so it will be 100 per cent." Musyj said anyone coming in to the hospital's assessment centre, which is in a white tent directly beside the Ouellette emergency department, would be swabbed and tested for COVID-19."It's a very quick in and out," he said, adding that anyone who wants to see a primary care physician for another medical issue would be able to do so there as well.> Having a test only means that today, on the day of testing, you are not infected. \- Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health"Instead of going to your primary care physician and or a clinic or possibly the emergency department you can get that looked at."The assessment centre is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Musyj said they're seeing about 80 to 100 people daily, but hours could be expanded."We could go 24/7 if we need to," he said.Negative test result doesn't mean you're not at risk, warns WECHUDr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), said there has been about 400 tests being conducted in the region daily between the assessment centres in Leamington and Windsor.Allowing asymptomatic people to get tested will serve as a way of better understanding the community spread of the virus, Ahmed added. But he fears it may lure people into a false sense of security.WATCH | Ahmed warns that increased testing is not a reason to relax when it comes to physical distancing:"We want to make sure that if it's available, then yeah, people should go and get it," Ahmed said. "But they shouldn't go with a false expectation or a false understanding of what this test means."He said the test doesn't differentiate whether you are at risk of contracting COVID-19 or not, adding it's a diagnostic test — not a screening tool. "We don't want to give that message that if you come back negative, you are not at risk ... Having a test only means that today, on the day of testing, you are not infected."At Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, the hospital will discuss the possibility of offering testing for its staff, physicians and patients onsite, according to president and CEO Janice Kaffer.Up until now, those who were tested at the hospital had to have symptoms and any staff who wanted to or needed testing had to go to an assessment centre.

  • What's Coming And Going From Netflix Canada In June 2020
    Entertainment
    HuffPost Canada

    What's Coming And Going From Netflix Canada In June 2020

    We all really need a new season of "Queer Eye" at a time like this.

  • Toronto officials say crowds eased at park flooded by thousands on Saturday
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Toronto officials say crowds eased at park flooded by thousands on Saturday

    TORONTO — A downtown Toronto park flooded by a crowd of thousands on Saturday had largely emptied on Sunday as police and bylaw officers turned up in full force.Officials condemned the gathering at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday and reminded residents that people who aren't from the same household must keep two metres apart under city bylaws during the COVID-19 pandemic — a rule parkgoers respected on Sunday, according to police.Police Chief Mark Saunders said public drinking was a large part of the problem at the Queen Street West park, and unruly people were defecating and urinating near people's homes."(Homeowners) certainly didn't buy to have people defecating in their laneways, in their backyards," Saunders said. "If you're going to be bringing beer here and then utilize someone else's house as a toilet, then there's a bit of self entitlement there."Saunders pointed out that people in other parks around the city were acting responsibly, and even people in other ends of Trinity Bellwoods Park were keeping their distance.But police said that by Sunday, the crowds had eased significantly.City officials said they only issued four tickets at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday. They say their focus remains on educating the community.Police did not immediately say how many tickets their officers issued.City spokesman Brad Ross implored residents to take advantage of the city's many other parks rather than crowding and drinking together at some of the most popular destinations."It became a bit of a party atmosphere frankly, and alcohol was a contributing factor to that," said Ross."There are 1,500 parks in this city, use them please, but please do so responsibly."He added that there are no plans to close popular parks like Trinity Bellwoods, and said a recent closure of High Park in the city's west end was only done because the space's cherry blossoms attract massive crowds in the spring.Mayor John Tory went to the park on Saturday in what he said was an effort to educate people while trying to understand their behaviour.But he faced criticism for adding to the crowd, and for failing to properly wear a mask — something he apologized for on Sunday evening."I want to apologize for my personal behaviour yesterday. I visited Trinity Bellwoods Park to try to determine why things were the way they were," he said in a written statement. "I fully intended to properly physically distance but it was very difficult to do. I wore a mask into the park but I failed to use it properly, another thing I'm disappointed about."He said that going forward, he'll set a better example.City officials are continuing to warn people that they can face a fine of up to $1,000 for not following social distancing orders.They say 370 people were spoken to or cautioned at parks around the city Saturday.Toronto remains one of the hardest hit cities by COVID-19 and the total number of confirmed cases in the city topped 10,000 on Sunday.A total of 759 deaths are related to the virus in the city.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2020.Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press

  • Premier says anyone who wants a COVID-19 test will be able to get one
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Premier says anyone who wants a COVID-19 test will be able to get one

    TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Sunday that anyone in the province can get tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, as cases continued to mount and officials criticized thousands of people who gathered in a Toronto park a day earier.The premier said mass testing is the province's best defence against the virus, adding that the only way for the province to reach its testing capacity of nearly 25,000 is for people to show up to provincial assessment centres. Currenly, daily testing rates hover around 11,000."If you are worried you have COVID-19, or that you've been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, even if you're not showing symptoms, please go get a test," Ford said during a televised speech on Sunday."You will not be turned away, you don't need an appointment, just show up."A spokeswoman for the Minister of Health later said in an email that the province doesn't anticipate demand for tests outpacing supply, even with this directive.The messaging is a marked change from earlier guidelines for the general public, which said that only people displaying one or more symptoms of the novel coronavirus should be tested.Ford also said a new detailed testing strategy targeting specific sectors will be unveiled next week.The announcement comes as cases continue to mount in Ontario, with 460 confirmed cases reported on Sunday along with 25 deaths related to the virus.The new cases account for a 1.8 per cent increase over the previous day.The province now has 25,500 confirmed cases, which includes 19,477 that are marked as resolved and 2,073 where patients have died.The Ministry of Health said it completed 11,383 tests over the previous 24 hours.Meanwhile, the premier criticized Torontonians who flocked to a popular downtown park on Saturday after city officials said thousands of people at Trinity Bellwoods Park were flouting physical distancing rules."I thought it was a rock concert in the beginning when I went out there, I was in shock," Ford said."I get it, it's a beautiful day out, everyone wants to get out and have a great time ... but the images I saw, we just can't have that right now, it's just too many people too close."On Sunday, far fewer people were at the park, Toronto police said, noting that there were more cops and bylaw officers present to issue $1,000 tickets to those violating the rules.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2020.Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press

  • A tale of 2 leatherback sea turtles tagged off Nova Scotia
    Science
    CBC

    A tale of 2 leatherback sea turtles tagged off Nova Scotia

    Good luck, persistence and international co-operation has delivered a rare trove of data from two endangered leatherback turtles tagged off Nova Scotia last summer.The turtles, Ruby and Isabel, were carrying a tracking transmitter and a device that stored a huge cache of precise GPS locations accumulated during their 12,000-kilometre migration from Canada to Trinidad, off South America.This month, when the nesting leatherbacks crawled ashore on separate beaches, researchers and volunteers on the island managed to intercept them, retrieve their tags and 10 months of stored data."We're really excited," says Mike James, lead scientist with the sea turtle unit at Fisheries and Oceans Canada."In the case of Isabel's data, it downloaded yesterday and we had over 12,000 GPS positions that have been collected for that turtle since she was tagged last July."The data allows scientists to reconstruct the movements of the sea turtles throughout their migration, including where it's needed most — in and around Trinidad, the nesting destination for most of the declining northwest Atlantic population that are in Canadian waters."We know that there are a lot of threats to the turtles in those areas and there are a lot of interactions with local artisanal fisheries, and there are a lot of places where there happens to be a lot of human impact on the turtles. But we just don't have the data to understand that very well," James said.Recovering an archival tag, as it is known, is rare.Sometimes the tags fall off during mating or are otherwise lost on the journey.In the 20 years leatherbacks have been tagged in Atlantic Canada, archival tags have been recovered only four times: in Panama, French Guiana and twice in Colombia. The most recent case was seven years ago.Within a single week in May, two were recovered in Trinidad."I have never recovered this much data from leatherbacks at one time," James said.It took 10 hours to process the data Isabel was carrying.Ruby and Isabel were tagged two days apart in waters south of Halifax in July 2019.Ruby is one of the biggest leatherbacks ever captured in Atlantic Canada. She is the size of a pool table and weighs a tonne. A flipper tag told scientists she had previously nested in Trinidad.Isabel had no markings.In the summer and fall, leatherbacks feed on jellyfish in Atlantic Canada before migrating south to breed.Data shows Isabel travelled 12,252 km and Ruby 12,891 km after being tagged.The recovery operation was run out of Mike James's Halifax home, where he's been working since the pandemic.When it became clear where the turtles were headed, James got in touch with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Fisheries, and conservation groups on the island.Finding the tagged turtles was not a sure thing.Female leatherbacks nest on 10-day cycles, spending 90 minutes laying eggs on shore at night before heading back to sea and returning again several more times to nest."Generally they return to the same stretch of coastline and if you're lucky to the same beach on that stretch of coastline. And in both cases, both these animals did that," James said. "We found out when and where they laid their initial nest. They were successfully intercepted … and their instruments were removed and new instruments were deployed on the turtles which is the next chapter."James gives credit to teams in Trinidad that spent nights waiting for the turtles.One of the researchers was Kyle Mitchell, of Nature Seekers, a conservation group that pays for itself by conducting ecotourism.He was in Nova Scotia on an exchange last summer and on board to help tag Ruby.Ten months later, he was on hand when Isabel first came ashore at Matura Beach.Unfortunately, there was not enough time to remove the tag, so he watched her crawl back into the ocean in the hopes of getting a second chance."We were a bit skeptical that we might find her back again because usually, to get that much luck twice in a row, is not something that happens that often," Mitchell said. "I was very fortunate to be a part of both sides. It was definitely overwhelming. Overwhelming and tiring, but definitely worth it."The Las Cuevas Turtle Group and Nature Seekers recovered Ruby on the north coast.With new satellite transmitters attached, scientists will be able to track the complete year-long migration loop when Isabel and Ruby return to Nova Scotia sometime in August.But that too was a close call.Normally, Canadian scientists with tracking tags would be in Trinidad for the nesting period.But this year, COVID-19 kept them, and their equipment, in Nova Scotia. When Ruby and Isabel showed up, tags were rushed by courier from Nova Scotia and from colleagues in Florida.They arrived in the nick of time."Both packages were received the week that they were needed. The one tag [from Florida] arrived the day that it was needed for the deployment on Isabel. So it was that tight," James said. "Our box arrived a day or two later, but we had about 48 hours of comfort zone in the end before that second instrument was needed for Ruby."But it was an Amazing Race-situation, tracking information on the various courier providers websites."With Fisheries and Oceans Canada shut down by the pandemic, it's not clear whether leatherback tagging will happen in Nova Scotia this summer.The program starts in July and no decision has been made.Ruby was named after the mother of noted Acadia University scientist, Sherman Bleakney, an academic who first proposed that leatherbacks were regular visitors to Atlantic Canada back in the 1960s. Bleakney died last October.Isabel was named by children attending an annual sea turtle summer camp in Halifax.MORE TOP STORIES

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