A hockey fan from Alliston, ON has converted his tractor into a beefy zamboni.
A hockey fan from Alliston, ON has converted his tractor into a beefy zamboni.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. On Monday, several regions in Ontario moved ahead with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The U.S. Senate will start debating President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday after Democrats backed down from an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 as part of it. The backpedaling did not end hopes of addressing the minimum wage issue in Congress. Democrats and some Republicans have voiced support for the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour, for the first time since 2009, although they disagree on how much.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Spending on U.S. construction projects rose 1.7% in January as new home building continues to lift the sector. Last month's increase followed small revised gains in December and November. Spending on residential construction rose 2.5% in January, with single family home projects up 3%, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Despite an economy that’s been battered for nearly a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, historically low interest rates and city dwellers seeking more space in the suburbs and beyond has boosted home sales. Last week, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes jumped 4.3% in January, and are 19.3% higher than they were last year at this time. In a separate report, the government reported that applications for building permits, which typically signal activity ahead, spiked 10.4% in January. Spending on government projects, which has been constrained by tight state and local budgets in the wake of the pandemic, rose 1.7%. Non-residential construction was up 0.4% after months of declines, but is still down 10% from January of last year. The category that accounts for hotels also ticked up 0.7% but is still down a whopping 22.7% from the same time last year as the travel and leisure sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Total spending on construction in January was $1.52 billion, 5.8% higher than January 2020. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Before a late night rehearsal in December, Terrence Floyd couldn’t remember the last time he squatted on a drum throne, sticks in hand and ready to perform. Surely, he said, it had not happened since his brother, George Floyd, died at the hands of police in Minneapolis last May, sparking a global reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality. Now, Terrence is lending a talent he honed as a youngster in a church band to help produce and promote a forthcoming album of protest anthems inspired by the Black Lives Matter demonstrations prompted in part by his brother's death. “I want to pay my respects to my brother any way I can, whether it’s a march, whether it’s just talking to somebody about him, or whether it’s doing what I do and playing the drums,” Terrence told The Associated Press. “His heartbeat is not beating no more,” he said, “but I can beat for him.” The untitled project, set for release one year after George Floyd’s death, follows a long history of racial justice messages and protest slogans crossing over into American popular music and culture. In particular, music has been a vehicle for building awareness of grassroots movements, often carrying desperate pleas or enraged battle cries across the airwaves. Terrence was recruited for the project by the Rev. Kevin McCall, a New York City activist who said he believes an album of street-inspired protest anthems does not yet exist. “These protest chants that were created have been monumental,” said McCall. “It created a movement and not a moment.” Some songs make bold declarations, like the protest anthem album’s lead single, “No Justice No Peace.” The well-known protest refrain, popularized in the U.S. in the 1980s, is something that millennials grew up hearing before they joined the front lines of their generation’s civil rights movement, McCall said. McCall is featured on the track, along with his fiancée, singer Malikka Miller, and choir members from Brooklyn’s Grace Tabernacle Christian Center. The song is currently available for purchase and streaming on iTunes, Amazon Music and YouTube. Godfather Records, a label run and owned by David Wright, pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, plans to put out the seven-song album. His late father, Timothy Wright, is considered the “Godfather of gospel music.” “We’re mixing gospel music with social justice, to reach the masses,” Wright said. “We have always been strengthened through songs, like ‘We Shall Overcome’ and ‘Wade in the Water.’ I want to put a new twist on it.” There is a history of interplay between music and Black protest. The 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police Department officers — as well as the contemporary “war on drugs” — amplified NWA’s 1988 anthem, “F(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) tha Police,” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” released in 1989. More recently, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Beyoncé’s “Freedom” featuring Lamar, and YG’s “FDT” provided a soundtrack for many BLM protests. Legendary musician and activist Stevie Wonder released his hit 1980 song, “Happy Birthday,” as part of a campaign to recognize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a federal holiday. King’s Day, which faced years of opposition at the national level, was officially recognized in 1986, three years after it won the backing of federal lawmakers. Some historians cite Billie Holiday’s musical rendition of the Abel Meeropol poem, “Strange Fruit,” in 1939 as one of the sparks of the civil rights movement. The song paints in devastating detail the period of lynching carried out against Black Americans for decades after the abolition of slavery, often as a way to terrorize and oppress those who sought racial equality. The new film “United States vs. Billie Holiday” depicts the jazz luminary’s real-life struggle to perform the song in spite of opposition from government officials. Singer and actress Andra Day, who portrays Holiday in the film, recently told the AP the song's significance influenced her decision to take on the role. “It was her singing this song in defiance of the government that reinvigorated the movement,” Day said. “And so that was really incentivizing for me.” Todd Boyd, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California, said many of the most well-known protest chants came out of the civil rights and Black power movements, and then inspired songs. “That’s how culture works,” Boyd said. “Something that starts out in one space can very easily grow into something bigger and broader, if the movement itself is influential.” Terrence Floyd said the protest anthem project feels like a fitting way to honour his brother’s memory. Many years before his death, George Floyd dabbled in music — he was occasionally invited to rap on mixtapes produced by DJ Screw, a fixture of the local hip-hop scene in Houston. “If his music couldn’t make it out of Houston, I’m using my Floyd musical ability to reach people in his name,” Terrence said. ___ AP entertainment reporter Jamia Pugh in Philadelphia contributed. ___ Morrison is a member of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison. Aaron Morrison, The Associated Press
Infectious diseases expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch checks in with The Morning Show to answers the latest coronavirus questions.
(Giacomo Panico/CBC - image credit) Rocksane Forget, who works with the Association des Neurotraumatisés de l'Outaouais, was asked to find a way to improve folk hero Jos Montferrand's look, ultimately deciding to mobilize a group of knitters. One towering lumberjack of legend is getting a makeover this winter. The frame of Jos Montferrand on Gatineau, Que.'s rue Montcalm was created for Mosaïcultures, a horticultural exhibition held in Jacques-Cartier Park in 2017. The sculpture had been set on fire in a controlled setting by an artist tasked with stripping it and restoring its beauty. As a result, the tribute to the folk hero who steered logs down the Ottawa River in the early 1800s and inspired myths of his strength and fearlessness had seen better days. The sculpture of local lumber legend Jos Montferrand sported a face covering Jan. 13, 2021 before getting the scarf. "We needed to put some colour on this guy," said Rocksane Forget, who works with the Association des Neurotraumatisés de l'Outaouais, a support group for people with head injuries and strokes. Forget was tasked by the City of Gatineau with finding ways to freshen up Montferrand's look, ultimately deciding on mobilizing a group of knitters. The scarf was garter stitched and crocheted piece-by-piece by knitters who are all members of the Association des Neurotraumatisés de l'Outaouais. The group worked separately from home with wool and a plan, creating a 5.5-metre yarn scarf. Kaitlin Brown, who helped create the rainbow-coloured neck attire, said each patch took about six to seven hours to make. Each knitter spent 120 hours on their respective sections, she said, resulting in about 500 hours of labour in total. Jos Montferrand, sometimes called Grand Jos, felled trees and rolled logs down the Ottawa River in the early 1800s. While the knitters were unsure of the project at the outset, Brown said she's pleased with the final product, which they hope will raise awareness for their organization. "Having that colourful scarf on Jos is going to put a nice smile on everyone's face," Forget said.
Initiée par le Service des loisirs, de la culture et de la vie communautaire de la Ville Matane, la publication de la série Traces de vies met en valeur dix personnes remarquables de la Matanie. Par le biais de ces portraits, la créatrice de contenu Mélanie Gagné et le photographe Louis-Philippe Cusson voulaient contrer l’isolement causé par la pandémie de la COVID-19, d’abord pour ces aînés. « Nous avons apprécié les entretiens avec ces êtres d’exception dans le respect des normes sanitaires de circonstance, d’indiquer en substance Mme Gagné et M. Cusson. Nous les remercions de leur générosité et de leur chaleur humaine. Ces belles rencontres auraient pu se prolonger des heures et des heures, car leur vie est inspirante et palpitante! » Jusqu’au 18 avril sur les présentoirs du parc Jean-Charles Forbes Ces portraits inspirants sont exposés jusqu’au 18 avril sur les présentoirs du parc Jean-Charles Forbes, en face de la bibliothèque municipale Fonds de solidarité FTQ sur l’avenue Saint-Jérôme. Ils ont aussi paru pendant autant de semaines en version plus longue dans l’hebdomadaire L’Avantage gaspésien. Les personnes retenues : Fernand Desjardins, un patenteux reconnu; Gaétane Fillion, une bénévole à la bibliothèque mobile à la Résidence des Bâtisseurs; Monique Fournier, une passionnée d’horticulture, de musique et d’histoire; et Denise Gentil, une fonceuse, mobilisatrice, persévérante et vaillante Plus Guillermo Jaramillo, un homme sensible et plein de talents; Yvette Lapointe, une passionnée d'histoire et d’horticulture; Roger Marquis, un grand-père moderne; Berthier Pearson, un voyageur et auteur prolifique; Gaston Roussel, gestionnaire du cimetière et enfin, Georgine Ruest, une femme aux loisirs multiples. Ouvrir/fermer la section Yoast SEO Romain Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Monmatane.com
Les observateurs les plus cyniques vont régulièrement répéter le laïus voulant que les politiciens de carrière soient tous faits à partir d’un même moule. Pourtant, l’éventail des citoyens qui se lancent en politique municipale est on ne peut plus varié. À ce chapitre, le parcours ayant mené Mathieu Daviault au conseil de Saint-Amable fait partie de ceux qui peuvent étonner. Élu pour la première fois en 2017, l’Amablien de 33 ans a notamment dû décider, à la croisée des chemins, s’il devait poursuivre sa carrière sportive dans les arts martiaux mixtes (AMM) ou se lancer en affaires pour gagner sa vie. « J’ai toujours été sportif, nous explique celui qui, en compagnie de son père, a fondé l’entreprise Conteneur Daviault en 2010. J’ai joué au football, au hockey durant toute ma jeunesse. Puis, à 21 ans, à la suite d’une blessure au genou, j’ai décidé de changer de discipline. Comme les sports de combat m’ont toujours intéressé, je me suis lancé dans les arts martiaux mixtes. J’ai notamment appris le jiu-jitsu, une des disciplines fortes dans la pratique des AMM. » Avec une fiche de sept victoires en neuf combats, on peut même dire que le jeune homme montrait un certain talent chez les combattants amateurs. Après avoir pris la décision de quitter l’hexagone pour de bon, le futur conseiller du district 2 de Saint-Amable a cependant poursuivi sa passion pour le jiu-jitsu, ce qui lui a permis de voyager pour participer à des compétitions un peu partout en Amérique avant de devenir lui-même entraîneur. « Sans me vanter, je pense que je suis un bon élève, croit Mathieu Daviault. J’ai roulé ma bosse. Le jiu-jitsu m’a permis de vivre des expériences incroyables. C’est un beau sport. Et c’était quand même moins demandant côté temps. En AMM, tu dois t’entraîner trois heures, et ce, tous les soirs avant un combat. Alors j’ai fait un choix de vie. Le jiu-jitsu, c’est demandant, mais la charge est quand même moins grande.» À l’instar de bien des résidents de Saint-Amable, où la moyenne d’âge se maintient sous la barre des 35 ans, Mathieu Daviault a fondé son propre petit clan ces dernières années. Père de deux fillettes âgées de 5 ans et 2 ans et demi, celui-ci a profité de la pandémie pour passer un peu plus de temps avec sa marmaille et intégrer la pratique de la discipline à la routine familiale. « On pratique la base, les techniques, les mouvements, mais c’est toujours sous forme de jeu, précise celui qui, en 2019, a été le candidat conservateur lors des élections fédérales dans Pierre-Boucher–Les Patriotes–Verchères. Ma grande, elle fait ça depuis déjà deux ans avec papa. C’est quelque chose que j’adore. Durant la pandémie, il n’y avait pas de cours pour les enfants, alors j’ai acheté des tapis pour que nous puissions pratiquer toutes les semaines dans le garage. C’est important pour moi. C’est un sport qui permet d’acquérir des vertus comme la discipline. Il faut dire que c'est aussi une technique d’autodéfense, alors c’est comme un cadeau qu’on leur fait. » Quant à l’inévitable parallèle entre les arts martiaux mixtes et la politique, celui dont la grand-mère paternelle a également été conseillère municipale admet qu’il y a des similitudes, même si la civilité est souvent plus présente entre des combattants qu’entre adversaires politiques. « Pour avoir fait les deux, je peux vous dire par expérience personnelle qu’il y a beaucoup plus de respect en sport de combat que dans la politique. Ça, c'est définitif! » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
Some 329 nominations have been received for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, likely reflecting the profusion of pressing human rights issues around the world, the secretary of the committee which awards the prize said on Monday. "It is the third highest ever total number," Norwegian Nobel Committee Secretary Olav Njoelstad told Reuters. "It reflects a lot of international interest in the Nobel Peace Prize," he said.
LOS ANGELES — Prince Harry says the process of separating from royal life has been very difficult for him and his wife, Meghan. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry invoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who had to find her way alone after she and Prince Charles divorced. “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago,” Harry said, adding, “because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us.” “But at least we have each other,” Harry said, in a clip from the interview special, which is scheduled to air March 7 on CBS and the following day in Britain. Diana was shown in a photo holding toddler Harry as he made the comments. His mother died in 1997 of injuries suffered in a car crash. Harry and Meghan sat opposite Winfrey and side-by-side, holding hands during the interview that was conducted in a lush garden setting. The couple lives in Montecito, California, where they are neighbours of Winfrey. Meghan, who recently announced she is pregnant with the couple’s second child, wore an empire-style black dress with embroidery. Harry wore a light gray suit and white dress shirt, minus a tie. As Meghan Markle, the actor starred in the TV legal drama “Suits.” She married Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and their son, Archie, was born a year later. The brief promotional clip was one of two of that aired Sunday during CBS’ news magazine “60 Minutes.” Winfrey’s questions and comment were predominant in the other clip, including her statement that, “You said some pretty shocking things here,” without an indication of what she was referring to. Meghan was not heard from in the clips. Harry and Meghan stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, unhappy at media scrutiny and the strictures of their roles. They cited what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is African American. It was agreed the situation would be reviewed after a year. On Friday, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will not be returning to royal duties and Harry will give up his honorary military titles — a decision that makes formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family. The pair, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, verified “they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family. “ A spokesperson for the couple hit back at suggestions that Meghan and Harry were not devoted to duty. “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role,” the spokesperson said in a statement. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
MOSCOW — Two top United Nations human rights experts urged an international probe into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and called Monday for his immediate release from prison. Agnès Callamard, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Irene Khan, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said Navalny’s poisoning was intended to “send a clear, sinister warning that this would be the fate of anyone who would criticize and oppose the government.” “Given the inadequate response of the domestic authorities, the use of prohibited chemical weapons, and the apparent pattern of attempted targeted killings, we believe that an international investigation should be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to establish the facts and clarify all the circumstances concerning Mr. Navalny’s poisoning," they said in a statement. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. In December, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he described as an alleged member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as a fake. Callamard and Khan on Monday published their official letter sent to the Russian authorities in December and noted that “the availability of Novichok and the expertise required in handling it and in developing a novel form such as that found in Mr. Navalny’s samples could only be found within and amongst state actors.” The experts emphasized in the letter that Navalny “was under intensive government surveillance at the time of the attempted killing, making it unlikely that any third party could have administered such a banned chemical without the knowledge of the Russian authorities.” Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the nerve agent poisoning. The arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his prison sentence to a prison outside Moscow despite the ECHR's demand for his release, which cited concerns for his safety. Russian officials have dismissed demands from the United States and the European Union to free Navalny and stop the crackdown on his supporters. Mikhail Galperin, Russia's deputy justice minister, charged Monday that Moscow has contested the ECHR's ruling demanding Navalny's release in a letter sent to the Strasbourg-based court. Meanwhile, the UN rights experts noted that an international probe into Navalny's poisoning is “especially critical” now when he is in prison. They called for his immediate release and reminded Russia that it's “responsible for the care and protection of Mr. Navalny in prison and that it shall be held responsible for any harm that may befall him.” Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Chatham-Kent restaurants, gaming establishments, cinemas, performing art venues and gyms are able to receive an intake of 50 clients after the provincial government moved the municipality to the Orange Zone. On Friday the Ontario government, in consultation with its chief medical officer of health, announced it was moving nine public health regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. The change came into effect Monday morning. During the past two weeks, with the Fairfield Park long-term care home outbreak under control, new cases have significantly decreased, prompting the zone change. The move into Orange means Chatham-Kent saw a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 new cases per 100,000 residents. On Friday, four recoveries and four new cases of COVID-19 were reported, keeping the active total at 17 cases. Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained, has increased to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Religious ceremonies and weddings can continue to see an indoor occupancy of 30 per cent of a room’s capacity. Fitness or exercise classes can only have a maximum of 10 people and must take place in a separate room. New vaccine on the block Health Canada also announced on Friday that it gave the green light to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which has an efficacy rate of 62 per cent from 15 days after the second dose was given to the study’s participants. It was authorized for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. "Today's approval of AZO by Health Canada represents a major addition to the armamentarium in the fight against COVID-19. I am very pleased," said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health. The vaccine will be produced in Ontario and India. The Ontario-produced AstraZeneca vaccine will have 500,000 doses quicker. “There’s been no update in terms of when Chatham-Kent will receive this particular vaccine, but Health Canada produced a statement saying that it will begin being distributed in April,” Colby said. Colby added that the provincial projections for its vaccination schedule are based on only Moderna and Pfizer availability, with more being added, projections will need to be updated. His original timeline for Chatham-Kent was to have the population inoculated by September and to date things have been going on schedule. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
TORONTO — Professional rugby league in Canada lasted less than four seasons with the Toronto Wolfpack. The Ottawa Aces have yet to take the field. But there are plans to kick-start the sport at the grassroots level in Canada, in the form of the Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League (CCCRL). Organizers hope to eventually establish a 12 -team league with both men's and women's teams with fans literally able to buy into the concept. Sandy Domingos-Shipley, a Toronto native now based in Leeds, England, is looking to help get the project off the ground. "I've got children born and raised here," the mother of three said in an interview. "And I've seen the impact of rugby league from a kid's point of view — how much they really do get involved in community and the good that comes out of the sport from the grassroots level. "And I really want the people in Canada to have a bit of that. I want them to have more of it … We can make rugby league grow in Canada the right way." The Canadian co-op league idea is the brainchild of 37-year-old Chris Coates, an English native who is the founding firector of CCCRL. He has been mulling over the concept for some years now. Coates is coach of the Sheffield Forgers, who play in the Yorkshire Men's League. He also has a hand in the international game as coach of the Lithuania men's team, describing himself as a "diehard expansionist at heart." "I believe that the game really should be for everybody," he said. "And I find it perplexing that so many people love the game but don't want to see it grow outside its (northern England) heartlands." His day job is in the tech world. "I build super-computers for a living." Looking to develop the sport, the league will feature rugby league nines which is akin to rugby union's sevens — a faster, condensed nine-a-side version of the rugby league game. They believe nines is an easier introduction to the game. The idea is to start with a six-team league in 2023, with plans of increasing up to 12 teams — six men's and six women's — with representation from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. Divisional competition will be followed by championship play. Domingos-Shipley says the league will also serve as a home for members of the Canadian national teams: the Wolverines (men) and Ravens (women). Players will be paid on a pro-am model. The Canadian Rugby League Association is on board, although not contributing financially. " What's exciting from our point of view is that the initiative is based on the development of grassroots rugby league," said CRLA president Bob Jowett. "We certainly wish them al the best with it and are supportive of the initiative." Domingos-Shipley says the plan calls for the governing body to benefit from some of the profits from the proposed league. Coates says the league will be funded 40 per cent in the form of private equity and 60 per cent by fans. Investors would get an annual return. They have not yet disclosed the minimum investment but say the average fan will be able to afford to get involved. "The thing with a co-operative is it effectively buys brand loyalty," said Coates. "People who invest in something are inclined to want to make that work." "Fans want to be part of growing something and this is the way they can do that," added Domingos-Shipley, who moved to England in 2001. Her passion for rugby league started four years ago when she started following the Wolfpack in England, becoming essentially a super-fan. Coates applauded the expansion to Toronto although he says he saw "risks" with the Wolfpack agreeing to pay visiting teams' travel and accommodation costs. Unable to play at home due to the pandemic, the Wolfpack stood down in July saying it could not afford to play out the remainder of the 2020 Super League season. The club's subsequent bid for reinstatement under new ownership in 2021 was voted down in November. "As a business owner, I couldn't get my head around how we got to the place where we were," said Domingos-Shipley, who runs a consulting company. Coates, meanwhile, was prompted to look for alternate ways to grow the game. In his words, "If you could do it completely differently, how would you do it?" He started talking to other people about the Wolfpack, including Domingos-Shipley, sharing his idea for a co-op league. "I was like 'Right I'm helping you do this. I want this to work,'" said Domingos-Shipley, who is billed as the CCCRL co-founder and director of governance and compliance. Coates also watched tape of the East-West game played at Lamport Stadium in January 2020. "It was good quality stuff," he said. He believes the talent and interest for a domestic league are both there. "The Wolfpack have done fantastic job of growing that market, from nothing. To grow to 10,000 fans in four years from zero fans is a great achievement. But the problem is that it was done in an unsustainable way." Organizers say they are working with "appropriate organizations" to ensure that all financial participation is in line with regulations and expectations. Coates says his group already has some commercial partners "in the pipeline." --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
YEREVAN, Armenia — Political tensions in Armenia heightened Monday, with supporters of the embattled prime minister and the opposition each staging massive rallies in the capital. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to resign since he signed a peace deal in November that ended six weeks of intense fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Russia-brokered agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Opposition protests seeking Pashinyan's ouster abated during the winter but intensified last week amid a rift between him and the country's military leaders. The spat was sparked by Pashinyan firing a deputy chief of the military's General Staff who had laughed off the prime minister's claim that only 10% of Russia-supplied Iskander missiles that Armenia used in the conflict exploded on impact. The General Staff then demanded Pashinyan’s resignation, and he responded by dismissing the General Staff chief, Col. Gen. Onik Gasparyan. The dismissal has yet to be approved by Armenia's largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, who sent it back to Pashinyan, saying the move was unconstitutional. Pashinyan quickly resubmitted the demand for the general's ouster, and the prime minister's allies warned that the president could be impeached if he fails to endorse the move. Sarkissian's office responded with a strongly worded statement condemning “inadmissible speculation” about his move and emphasizing that his decision was “unbiased and driven exclusively by national interests.” Amid the escalating tensions, a group of protesters broke into a government building in central Yerevan on Monday to press their demand for Pashinyan's resignation, but they left shortly afterward without violence. Later, Pashinyan's supporters and the opposition rallied in the capital at separate sites. Pashinyan, a 45-year-old former journalist who came to power after leading large street protests in 2018 that ousted his predecessor, still enjoys broad support despite the country's humiliating defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh and the opposition calls for his resignation. He defended the peace deal as a painful but necessary move to prevent Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. The fighting with Azerbaijan that erupted in late September and lasted 44 days has left more than 6,000 people dead. Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the Nov. 10 peace deal. Armenia has relied on Moscow’s financial and military support and hosts a Russian military base — ties that will keep the two nations closely allied regardless of the outcome of the political infighting. Last week, the Russian Defence Ministry rebuked the Armenian leader for criticism of the Iskander missile, a state-of-the-art weapon touted by the military for its accuracy. The Russian military said it was “bewildered” to hear Pashinyan’s claim because Armenia hadn’t used an Iskander missile in the conflict. In a bid to repair the damage to Armenia's ties with Moscow, Pashinyan rescinded his claim Monday, acknowledging that he made the statement after being misled. —- Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed. Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
(Submitted by FCA - image credit) The Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant has reopened after being shut down for much of February because of a global shortage of semiconductors. The minivan factory was closed Feb. 8, resulting in temporary layoffs for workers. About 4,700 people are employed at the plant. A spokesperson for Stellantis confirmed that the plant is reopening as scheduled on Monday. Several automakers had to halt or slow down production because of the lack of supply of semiconductors, which are used in vehicle electronics.
La maison de répit Le Camélia est l’un des 12 récipiendaires canadiens d’une bourse de 10 000 $ offerte par la compagnie d’assurances Canada Vie. La Maison Le Camélia offre depuis huit ans un service de garde en milieu familial à une douzaine de personnes en perte d’autonomie ou vivant avec une déficience intellectuelle. Le don offert par Canada Vie dans le cadre de son programme Coup de pouce aux entreprises tombe à point nommé pour le Camélia de Trois-Rivières qui souffre d’un sous-financement chronique. Lucie Duval, propriétaire et directrice du Camélia, pousse un soupir de soulagement. Elle qui ne reçoit pas un centime du gouvernement, rien de Québec, ni du CIUSSS-MCQ, même en ces temps de pandémie. Et ça, elle ne l’encaisse pas. « J’ai parti une résidence pour ma fille et d’autres parents qui ne veulent pas placer leurs enfants dans le système de santé actuel. L’Agence de Santé me refuse d’être accréditée comme famille d’accueil. On a levé le nez sur moi à plusieurs reprises. Je l’ai partie sans aucune subvention de personne. C’est vraiment grave. J’ai des parents médecins qui m’ont confié leurs enfants, les intervenants sur le plancher du CIUSSS me réfèrent, mais la direction générale ne veut pas m’aider. Je leur ai dit que si je n’avais pas d’aide que j’allais fermer. Heureusement que Mme Grégoire (de Canada Vie) a cru en mon projet et a été sensible à ma cause. Ce n’est pas juste le coup de pouce, mais de savoir qu’il y a des gens qui croient en toi, à ton projet. Ça aussi on en a besoin », confie Lucie Duval. Le Camélia tourne tant bien que mal à pleine capacité et la maison refuse souvent des clients. Des parents de partout au Québec l’appellent à la recherche d’un endroit où placer leurs enfants. « Ce sont des gens épanouis, heureux. J’ai des employés en or. Sans eux je n’arriverais pas à tenir.» Lucie Duval n’a le temps de s’apitoyer sur son sort. Elle doit faire face aux urgences. Elle compte investir les 10 000 $ reçus dans la réfection de la toiture du Camélia et dans la création d’un site Web. Elle cherche à mieux faire connaître ses services, mais aussi, à mieux accompagner les parents qui ne savent plus où donner de la tête. «Je reçois régulièrement des demandes de coaching, de référencement. Souvent les parents sont laissés à eux-mêmes. J’ai des gens qui me contactent qui veulent ouvrir d’autres maisons comme la mienne. » La maison de répit Le Camélia a été nommée en l’honneur de la fille de Mme Duval, Camélia, qui vit avec une déficience intellectuelle associée à une épilepsie sévère. Camélia est née en France dans une maison bordée d’une haie de camélias. Elle est aujourd’hui âgée 25 ans. Quand on lui parle de campagne de collecte de fonds, Mme Duval affirme ne pas avoir le temps ni l’énergie de l’organiser, malgré les besoins. Le programme Coup de pouce aux entreprises de Canada Vie a été lancé en octobre dernier pour venir en aide aux petites entreprises qui n’ont jamais affronté autant d’adversité en cette période de pandémie. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Trystan Lackner first got interested in urban food security way back in his senior year of high school after a supportive vice-principal helped him build a community garden in barren soil where portable classrooms had been removed. It ended up producing around eight or 10 grocery bags full of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and other produce that they donated to local volunteer group Feed The Need Durham. But it only lasted the year that Lackner and classmates he had brought along were there to sustain it. “It was a seed,” says Lackner, explaining he didn't have the experience or knowledge at the time to carry it forward. “The community garden was there, and then it wasn't, and there wasn't any communication of those ideas.” Fast-forward a few years and a degree in international development later, and Lackner is looking to make a more lasting impact. After six months of preparation, Lackner and colleagues hosted an online summit called "Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?" last month as part of Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program. “Our whole idea was to develop an educational summit for young people to become more aware, get involved, and connect with the experts within the field,” he says, about the Youth Roots Durham project. The hope is that more informed communities will build more resilience into the process by which they get fed, one that faced a sharp shock due to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, as well as ongoing threats to the same system from climate change. The summit included a weekend panel discussion of experts followed by networking, and workshops on the links between food and climate change, the benefits of moving from mass production of commodity crops, and how to get involved in pushing for more sustainable practices. One speaker at the summit was a local permaculture farmer, who grows multiple crops in proximity to each other for mutual benefit. The practice can reduce the need for pesticides and cut carbon emissions by limiting the need to transport food, Lackner explains. The information gathered in the course of the project is being prepared to be archived on a page of the Durham Food Policy Council’s website, ensuring that unlike his high school garden, Lackner’s legacy may live on. The region — which is suburban in its southern sections near Lake Ontario and more rural in its north towards the Lake Simcoe border — exports most of its produce in the form of commodity crops, such as soy and corn, Lackner says. He says that with demand for food to expand by roughly 70 per cent in coming decades as our global population approaches 10 billion people, innovative solutions applied locally will be key. “There is a very high possibility that you will see in the next decade or two, if we can innovate more with the greenhouses and produce more in warehouse settings, you can essentially urbanize and create factories of food within these large urban centres,” he says. In addition to these modern factory farms, Lackner wants to see more rooftop gardens and government policy that sets aside land to protect it from being developed other than as farmland. And for young people wondering what they can do, he says just dive in. “Get out there, get your hands dirty. Make that change that you want to see,” he says. “If you see something that no one else is doing or that's missing, don't wait for someone else to get that going, start it yourself and get involved. There is a way to do all that and connect with the experts and community partners.” Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
ESPN has re-signed Rece Davis to a multiyear contract that will keep him in place as host of the network’s popular Saturday college football pregame show. The network announced the deal Monday. Davis, 55, is entering his seventh year as host of ESPN’s “College GameDay.” He told The Associated Press this new deal will take him through his 10th season leading the show that includes Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Lee Corso. "I believe I have the best job in sports television, but when you’ve been doing anything for a while there comes a period of evaluation, I guess, to see whether there are things you would like to pursue,” Davis said. “And for me I still very much wanted to host ‘College GameDay’ and to still have the opportunity to host some significant events along with that from time to time. Fortunately for me our place was able to provide all of those things.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the network. Davis will also continue to host ”College GameDay” for basketball, along with the network’s coverage of the NFL draft on ABC and the men’s Final Four. Davis is also set to host ESPN's coverage of the UEFA European Football Championship this summer. He will still to do some play-by-play for college football and basketball games. “The professionalism, energy and knowledge he brings to every show and every assignment is first-class as one of the best in the business," ESPN senior vice-president of production Lee Fitting said in a statement. Davis declined to say if he was pursued by other networks, but he said negotiations with ESPN moved expeditiously. “ESPN, and my long relationship with them, sort of had what I feel like my strong suits are but also opportunities to do some things to continue to grow as well," Davis said. The basketball version of “GameDay” began in 2005 with Davis as the host. He took over as host of the college football road show in 2015, replacing Chris Fowler. Fowler left “GameDay” to concentrate on calling games and become ESPN's lead college football play-by-play announcer. Davis said he enjoys calling games and might consider making a similar transition later in his career. “I feel like I've really built my career on hosting,” Davis said. “I hate the phrase tee-up the analyst. Anybody can do that. A good host is prepared for the conversation and knows where the lines are. He added: “My first priority is ‘GameDay.’ I still get a rush every time. I like being at the command centre of big events." “College GameDay” had a very different vibe last year as the coronavirus pandemic forced the show to be held on location but without fans. The threat of COVID-19 led to Corso, 85, doing the show from his home in Florida. “College GameDay” faced competition for the first time the last two seasons from Fox's “Big Noon Kickoff," but ESPN's show has remained on top in terms of viewership. “The best way to do it is to take care of your business and not be fixated on what someone else does and to be be confident and thorough in the direction you've tried to go into to,” Davis said. “If you start trying to react to someone else, that's more detrimental than helpful in my opinion. ”We still want to be regarded as the ultimate destination and if you turn away from our show, you're going to miss something." ___ Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/ ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a "disappointing" $1.7 billion had been pledged by countries on Monday for humanitarian aid in Yemen - less than half the $3.85 billion the world body was seeking for 2021 to avert a large-scale famine. Childhood in Yemen is a special kind of hell. Some 16 million Yemenis - more than half the population of the Arabian Peninsula country - are going hungry, the United Nations says.
(Shane Magee/CBC - image credit) Police are warning of poor driving conditions in parts of New Brunswick as a storm rolls through the province Monday. The RCMP said on Twitter that SNC Lavalin is recommending motorists stay off a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between Saint-Jacques, near Edmundston, and Lower Woodstock. "Driving conditions are extremely poor," RCMP said. Meanwhile, NB-511, the government of New Brunswick's online road conditions map, is indicating roads are either fully or partly covered in snow in most regions north of Fredericton and Moncton. A 33-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Moncton, from River Glade to Dubee Settlement, is also reported to be covered in snow and icy patches. Other roads south of the Trans-Canada Highway are being reported as bare. The advisories come after Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the northern half of New Brunswick Monday. The national weather agency said some parts of the province could see between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow Monday into Tuesday. The heavy snow was expected to spread east across central and northern New Brunswick Monday morning with temperatures rising above 0 C in some places by the afternoon, causing some of the snow to melt. Half of New Brunswick is under a snowfall warning today. Snow is expected to taper to flurries by Tuesday morning, with strong westerly winds bringing in a cold air mass. Areas affected include: The Acadian Peninsula The Bathurst and Chaleur region Campbellton and Restigouche County Edmundston and Madawaska County Grand Falls and Victoria County Kouchibouguac National Park The Miramichi area Mount Carleton Stanley, Doaktown and Blackville areas Woodstock and Carleton County Strong wind gusts expected Tuesday Meanwhile, the Acadian Peninsula, Campbellton and Restigouche County, the Bathurst and Chaleur regions can expect to see northwesterly wind gusts travelling up to 90 km/h Tuesday morning into the evening. "Winds are expected to drop below warning criteria by Wednesday morning," Environment Canada said in a statement. "These strong winds may cause blowing snow over exposed areas giving reduced visibilities."