B.C.’s provincial health officer says she was surprised by shortages of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bonnie Henry says she's relieved workers and residents in long-term care facilities have had the chance to receive a dose of vaccine.
B.C.’s provincial health officer says she was surprised by shortages of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bonnie Henry says she's relieved workers and residents in long-term care facilities have had the chance to receive a dose of vaccine.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine safety: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations to the tune of 84 per cent," Sharma said. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902 ) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. An analysis of results from 2,000 adults older than 60 years suggested the vaccine was similarly effective and well tolerated in this age group. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
Digital assets under management across exchange-traded products doubled this month to a record $43.9 billion, researcher CryptoCompare said on Friday, underscoring soaring interest in securities that track digital currencies. Bitcoin has leapt over 60% this year, hitting an all-time high of $58,354 this month as mainstream companies such as Tesla Inc and Mastercard Inc embraced cryptocurrencies. Still, daily trading volumes across all varieties of exchange-traded products involving cryptocurrencies slumped 38% in February from a month earlier to $936 million, CryptoCompare said in a research report.
LONDON — A woman who ran away from London as a teenager to join the Islamic State group lost her bid Friday to return to the U.K. to fight for the restoration of her citizenship, which was revoked on national security grounds. Shamima Begum was one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria in 2015. She resurfaced at a refugee camp in Syria and told reporters she wanted to come home, but was denied the chance after former Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship. Begum's lawyers appealed,, saying her right to a fair hearing was harmed by the obstacles of pursuing her case from the camp. The U.K. Supreme Court disagreed, ruling Friday that the right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as public safety. “The appropriate response to the problem in the present case is for the deprivation hearing to be stayed - or postponed - until Ms. Begum is in a position to play an effective part in it without the safety of the public being compromised,'' said Justice Robert Reed, the president of the Supreme Court. “That is not a perfect solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible. But there is no perfect solution to a dilemma of the present kind.” Javid argued that Begum was Bangladeshi by descent and could go there. She challenged the decision, arguing she is not a citizen of another country and that Javid’s decision left her stateless. The human rights group Liberty said the court’s ruling sets “an extremely dangerous precedent”. “The right to a fair trial is not something democratic governments should take away on a whim, and nor is someone’s British citizenship,'' said Rosie Brighouse, a lawyer with Liberty. “If a government is allowed to wield extreme powers like banishment without the basic safeguards of a fair tria,l it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.'' Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
L’art de la Renaissance, sans échapper à la domination théorique et visuelle des Européens sur les peuples africains, était peut-être plus divers que l’on pourrait initialement le penser.
NYON, Switzerland — Draw Friday for the last 16 in the Europa League: First Leg March 11 Ajax (Netherlands) vs. Young Boys (Switzerland) Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) vs. Villarreal (Spain) Roma (Italy) vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) Olympiakos (Greece) vs. Arsenal (England) Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) vs. Tottenham (England) Manchester United (England) vs. AC Milan (Italy) Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) vs. Rangers (Scotland) Granada (Spain) vs. Molde (Norway) ___ Second Leg March 18 Young Boys (Switzerland) vs. Ajax (Netherlands) Villarreal (Spain) vs. Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) vs. Roma (Italy) Arsenal (England) vs. Olympiakos (Greece) Tottenham (England) vs. Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) AC Milan (Italy) vs. Manchester United (England) Rangers (Scotland) vs. Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) Molde (Norway) vs. Granada (Spain) ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Protesters gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia over the arrest earlier in the week of opposition leader Nika Melia.View on euronews
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced a $7-million satellite program to locate and track people who are fishing illegally near Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. “Illegal fishing threatens the health of our fish stocks and takes resources away from hard-working, law-abiding fishers,” said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan in a press release. “We're investing in one of the leading, most innovative systems on the planet to ensure our fish stocks are protected, our fisheries remain lucrative, and the law is upheld at sea.” The Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to detect “dark vessels,” ones that have turned off their location transmitting devices in order to avoid being caught, according to DFO. It’s estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, representing up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually at a cost to the global economy of $10 billion to $23 billion a year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. DFO awarded Ontario-based space technology company MDA — the maker of the Canadarm — with a three-year contract to supply the technology for the program. It will provide data and analysis to officials in Ecuador and the Forum Fisheries Agency, which represents 15 small island nations in the Pacific region, so they can spend their resources on enforcement to protect their fish stocks, DFO says. MDA says the program will combine data from multiple satellite missions, including the Canadian Space Agency Earth observation satellite, RADARSAT-2. The Dark Vessel Detection program is part of the $11.6 million Canada committed to ocean health at the 2018 G7 meeting. DFO kicked off a smaller-scale program in June to track vessels in the Bahamas and Costa Rica, which saw “significant” fines to five foreign vessels, according to the department. Canada has been under fire for having illegal seafood in its supply chains. Oceana Canada says the country has “inadequate traceability standards” to monitor its seafood supply chain. As a result, the Canadian economy is losing up to $93.8 million in tax revenue each year due to illegal and unreported fishing, according to an Oceana Canada report released in November. Meanwhile, Canadian fishers are missing out on up to $379 million in lost revenue, per the report. The ocean conservation organization has been calling on the feds to develop a boat-to-plate traceability system that would track information about seafood products and disseminate it throughout supply chains. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Jordan and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to tackle it in their 2019 mandate letters, but no timeline for this plan has been released. This task, however, wasn’t included in Jordan’s or Hajdu’s subsequent 2021 letters. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
(Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit) Being able to get enough to eat has become a big problem during Newfoundland and Labrador's latest lockdown, but it's a challenge some community groups are rising to, finding ways to feed people under Alert Level 5. Since the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up in mid-February, a series of public health restrictions have created barriers to accessing food: residents have had to reduce their contacts down to single households, they've been asked to make fewer trips to the grocery store, and thousands of people have found themselves in self-isolation and unable to leave their properties at all. It echoes last winter's Snowmaggedon, when Cortney Barber took to Facebook and started the volunteer group Neighbours in Need Newfoundland, to help those who were stuck without food or supplies. That group has kept going throughout the pandemic, Barber said, and has been particularly busy during this round of lockdown. "Every day there's something to do, and the volunteers continue to step up every day," Barber told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show. "We've seen probably a doubling of the need for support for groceries and stuff like that." Barber said many people reaching out for help either can't leave their homes due to self-isolation, have small children or fall into a high-risk group. For those who rely on busses to get to and from stores, the biggest problem is cuts to public transportation — MetroBus has reduced both its hours of operation and the number of people who can ride at any one time. "The cost is a little bit higher when you can't use that public transportation," Barber said. "So people are just really stuck for groceries." Neighbours in Need Newfoundland began during Snowmaggedon, when volunteers helped people stuck in their homes due to the blizzard, but the group has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. Courier cooperation With the Neighbours in Need volunteers kept hopping, one St. John's-based courier service has stepped in to share the workload. Millennium Express partners with large companies like FedEx and Purolator, and its co-owner Becky Reddy said delivery services have been in high demand throughout the pandemic. "Business actually increased with the influx of online shopping and things like that," said Reddy. "So it's been a bit hectic." Despite a packed schedule, when the lockdown began Reddy took to social media and extended a call to seniors and other vulnerable members of the community to let them know they weren't alone. "There are people out there that are willing to help, and we really didn't want to see anybody go without during this lockdown," she said. To that end, when Barber went online looking for someone to help deliver a hamper of groceries, she found Millennium Express. "We were able to work together and deliver some hampers to people from grocery orders," Barber said, "I just reached out to Becky and we had it done in no time." Oftentimes, said Barber, the Neighbours in Need Newfoundland Facebook group has plenty of deliveries to make, but not enough volunteers to do the driving, particularly in the midst of the lockdown. "It's really a lot easier to be able to pass them over to somebody like a courier who can drop them all off in one run, rather than putting one grocery order in their car and then come back for another one," Barber said. For Reddy and Millennium Express, the opportunity to partner with the group and to give back to the community is an integral part of the business. "We're always trying to be involved in the community as much as we can, and I've seen it myself: some people are just down on their luck and they just need some help," said Reddy. "Whatever we can do to help is what we're going to do." During lockdown, the School Lunch Association has donated more than 20,000 lunch-sized cartons of milk to food banks and non-profit groups throughout the province. Others stepping up Reddy and Barber aren't the only community-minded individuals on delivery duty these days. Following the lockdown announcement earlier this month, the School Lunch Association, a charity which usually provides hot lunches for school children, took its perishables and distributed the food to those in need. With help from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the School Milk Foundation, as well as the Community Food Sharing Association, the organizations helped to distribute over 20,000 lunch-sized cartons of milk. The cartons found their way to a slew of organizations, from food banks, to non-profits, and to frontline health workers at the Mount Pearl COVID-19 testing site. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundand and Labrador
(Mitch Cormier/CBC - image credit) The minimum price of a litre of regular, self-serve gasoline rose 3.5 cents overnight, a continuation of a steady increase that goes back to the end of last year. The price was set at $1.21, the highest since July of 2019. Gas prices crashed during the early months of the pandemic, but recovered to sit around $1 a litre at the pump for most of the last half of the year. The current upward trend started in December. On Jan. 1 the price was $1.05. Diesel and furnace oil prices have also been increasing. The minimum pump price of diesel was up 2.3 cents to $1.27. Furnace oil was up 2.1 cents to a maximum of $0.96. For the year, diesel prices are up 11.9 per cent and furnace oil 15.4 per cent. More from CBC P.E.I.
Two reviews on making Britain more attractive for fintechs and company flotations should provide evidence for reform of the listings rules, Britain's financial services minister said on Friday. A review published on Friday set out how to make Britain more attractive for financial technology companies after Brexit, and a second review on reforming listing rules to attract more tech company floatations is due in coming days. The two reviews "should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform", John Glen said.
From the United States to Germany and Australia, government borrowing costs on Friday were set to end February with their biggest monthly rises in years as expectations for a post-pandemic ignition of inflation gained a life of their own. Australia's 10-year bond yield and Britain's 30-year yields were set for their biggest monthly jump since the 2009 global financial crisis. Even after a Friday respite from this week's brutal drubbing, Australia's 10-year yield is up 70 basis points in February and New Zealand's 10-year yield is up almost 77 bps.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson faces a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing an operation on the groin injury he sustained in last weekend’s Merseyside derby loss against Everton. Liverpool has not put a timescale on the midfielder's recovery but said he will be out until at least April in another blow to its fading Premier League title defence. “Henderson has successfully had a corrective procedure carried out on the adductor injury," Liverpool said in a statement on Friday. “He will begin a rehabilitation program immediately.” Liverpool is in sixth place, 19 points behind leader Manchester City but the six-time European champions remain in the Champions League. Henderson, who has been playing as an emergency centre back, joins a lengthy injury list. The three senior central defenders, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, have all had their seasons ended prematurely while backup Fabinho is still out, having played just one of the last seven matches because of a muscle injury. James Milner is still sidelined by a hamstring problem and fellow midfielder Naby Keita only returned to the squad last weekend for the first time since mid-December. Forward Diogo Jota began full training this week after three months out with a knee problem. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, the third to be given the green light for national use. Details of the approval and when Canadians might see doses begin arriving are due at a technical briefing later this morning in Ottawa. Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was co-developed by researchers at the University of Oxford. It will also receive up to 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX by the end of June. Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna had already been approved by Health Canada. Approximately 1.7 million doses of those formulas have been administered in Canada. Health Canada is also reviewing two other vaccines. Approval of Johnson and Johnson's vaccine will likely not come until early March and Novavax is not expected until April. The European Union has also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca formulas. AstraZeneca's vaccine, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's formulations, requires refrigeration and takes two doses for maximum efficacy. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Dave Croft/CBC - image credit) Murray Lundberg spends an awful lot of time peering into the past, but this week he's pretty excited about the future — he's going to turn his passion project into a book. The Whitehorse-based amateur historian has just signed a contract with a publisher to translate his popular Yukon History & Abandoned Places Facebook group into print. "I am so pumped by this whole thing. Yeah, it's awesome," he said. Lundberg says he was called out of the blue earlier this week by small, Nova Scotia-based publisher MacIntyre Purcell. The company published 10 to 12 books per year, and many of them focus on photography and local histories — Old Winnipeg: A History in Pictures and Abandoned Alberta are among the titles in its catalogue. "They came to me. Yeah, this is — I didn't know that ever happened. I mean, like most writers, I have a substantial stack of rejection letters," Lundberg laughed. "So to have a publisher come to me was pretty amazing." Vernon Oickle, managing editor of MacIntyre Purcell, says he came across the Facebook group not long ago while surfing the internet, looking for new book ideas. He says he followed various online rabbit holes until he landed on Lundberg's group. "It's a fantastic page, lots of wonderful photos, and historic perspective of Whitehorse and the region," Oickle said. "The more I looked at the Facebook page, I thought, jeez, there's potential for a book there." Lundberg says he signed the contract on Wednesday, and the book will likely be out by the end of next year. A wealth of material Now the real hard part begins — sifting through hundreds and hundreds of photos and other posts to figure out what to include in the book, and how to organize it all. The Facebook group is a veritable trove of historic photos and stories about the Yukon of yesteryear. Some postings are things that Lundberg himself has found or had given to him, but many more have been shared by other group members. A typical post on the Yukon History & Abandoned Places Facebook group. It's become an online go-to for many people curious about something they've found or dug out of storage. Posts can generate plenty of discussion, and sometimes mysteries are solved when other group members recognize an unidentified person, place, or time. Lundberg started the page just seven years ago, "because there was really no place to talk about Yukon history in general," he said. "At that point, there was a Dawson history group and maybe that was it, actually. So I started a Yukon-wide one." He says it "staggered along" for a few years with a few hundred members. He recalls thinking how great it would be to one day reach 1,500 members. "And now we have 15,400 members. And yeah, it's just an amazing place for gathering photographs and stories. It's just a really vibrant community now." Lundberg will be sifting through hundreds and hundreds of fascinating photos and other posts to figure out what to include in the book, and how to organize it all. Lundberg says the enthusiasm of group members is part of what attracted publisher MacIntyre Purcell to the project. Many of the online group members are Yukoners, of course, but Lundberg says there are followers from all over the place. "A lot of that comes down to the fact that people say that you can leave the Yukon, but the Yukon never leaves you," he said. "And we get so many comments by people who have left the territory and are looking to grab at little memories from the Yukon. And those photographs trigger exactly that." Lundberg says many of the page's fans are Yukoners, while others have some nostalgic connection to the territory. 'You can leave the Yukon, but the Yukon never leaves you,' Lundberg says. One thing the book won't be, Lundberg says, is another celebration of the Klondike Gold Rush or the building of the Alaska Highway during the Second World War. Those events have been the twin pillars of so much Yukon popular history over the years, and Lundberg wants to shine a light on some lesser-known times, places and events in the territory's past. The Gold Rush "won't be getting a whole lot of attention," nor will the building of the highway. "I have 117 books about the Alaska Highway in my own collection. So, you know, I think that's been well-covered," he said.
(Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press - image credit) Indoor rinks, pools and cinemas in the province's red zones are allowed to reopen as of Friday, as the province eases some restrictions in time for March break. Some cinema owners will keep their businesses closed, believing it makes no financial sense to reopen given the operating limits imposed by the Quebec government. Cinemas are not allowed to sell food and drinks — a decision that sparked major pushback from the industry, and prompted the premier to offer continued access to the province's emergency aid programs as compensation for their losses. The offer was far from satisfying for Vincenzo Guzzo, the CEO of Cinemas Guzzo, which operates 10 theatres in the Montreal area. "The government support program is insulting," Guzzo said. "You haven't even re-gifted a gift, you took the same gift you gave me last week, you took it back, you repackaged it, and now gave it to me for St. Valentine's Day.'' Business will also be limited by reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing as well as the province's curfews — 8 p.m. for most of Quebec, and 9:30 p.m. in the orange zones — but according to Guzzo, even if the province upped its offer, he would reject it based on principle. "There's no way I will be accused of taking public money to open my theatres," he said. "I don't want the money, I don't want popcorn money ... I want to sell popcorn.'' Mario Fortin, however, is relishing the opportunity to bring in customers, even if screening times will be limited by an overnight curfew that starts at 8 p.m. in red zones. "We've been ready for months," said Fortin, who owns Cinéma du Parc as well as Cinéma Beaubien in Montreal. "For months, we've been saying that cinemas are places that are relatively safe, so we want to prove it." Fortin says he's already sold 1,000 tickets for next week, which also includes reducing capacity to ensure physical distancing, reopening is well worth it. "We can manage," he said. "The break-even point is relatively easy to attain." Movie theatres will also need to reduce capacity to ensure physical distancing, and make sure their screening times don't overlap with the province's curfews. Respect the rules, health minister warns Concerns about the spread of the coronavirus variants and another surge of cases didn't stop the province from easing restrictions and allowing certain businesses to reopen. The government has said it wants to give families options to entertain their children while they're away from school. Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people, as opposed to four, are also now allowed in red zones. In addition to the province's curfews, the ban on private gatherings is still in place. With people in the province's general population already getting COVID-19 vaccines, the health minister is asking Quebecers to not get carried away during March break. "Let's make sure that we follow the rules because we are one month away from having a very high number of vaccines," Health Minister Christian Dubé said during Thursday's news conference. The government is expecting at least 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines over the next four weeks. There will not be any roadblocks preventing Quebecers from travelling to different regions, but the premier said he's asked police to keep an eye on hotels and cottages to make sure people aren't gathering illegally.
“We’ve been subject to these gravel guerrillas now for at least 50 years, trying to build more highways, more urban sprawl.” Those were the words this week of Mississauga Ward 11 Councillor, George Carlson, who brought them down like a blunt hammer on the heads of builders determined to continue profiteering from the land. “I can almost hear the old scotch and soda tinkling as the decision was made to add another highway and let the developers build more stuff north of Toronto. They haven’t even finished doing infill in Toronto.” As the planet continues to reel from the catastrophic impacts of climate change, some Peel politicians have finally picked their heads from the sand, while others remain largely oblivious. On Wednesday, after more than a year of silence, the City of Mississauga finally threw its considerable weight behind calls to cancel the proposed GTA West Corridor, also known as Highway 413. Carlson’s comments underscored the frustration felt around the virtual council chamber. It was better late than never in the eyes of environmentalists. Meanwhile, many municipal leaders in Brampton and Caledon continue to claim support for environmentally friendly policies, as they walk the fence on a project that will devastate local watersheds, ecosystems and wildlife, while adding hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions into the air above Peel. Since the Progressive Conservatives, led by Premier Doug Ford, restarted the GTA West Highway’s Environmental Assessment (EA) in the first half of 2019, Mississauga has been largely silent. Presentations by the Province to Region of Peel councillors outlining the highway’s debatable benefits have been received unanimously. The City’s lobbying power at Queen’s Park has been used on other priorities but not to fight the planned 400-series transportation corridor. A recent swell of opposition to the highway forced the issue back to the top of the agenda. After a request by Environmental Defence and Ecojustice to have the federal government complete a study of the environmental impacts of the proposed route, and even wrestle control of the project from Queen’s Park, opposition groups have received a new round of support. Unlike their previous requests, which have fallen on deaf ears in Peel Region and only seen success in Halton and Orangeville, this recent campaign has bigger supporters with more clout at the provincial and federal level. At a special council meeting on Wednesday, called to pass Mississauga’s 2021 budget, the City adopted a new and aggressive stance. Councillors voted unanimously to approve a lengthy motion, brought forward by Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish and seconded by Ward 8’s Matt Mahoney, explicitly opposing any construction activity relating to the GTA West Corridor. “I find it interesting that the buzzword in today’s day and age is climate change action, environment and all of these things and then we kind of fly in the face of it,” Mahoney said, welcoming the strong position detailed in the lengthy motion. “With projects like this, [we] almost talk out of both sides. I am very pleased to second this motion.” The GTA West Highway was scrapped by the Liberal government in 2018. The decision came after an expert panel came to the conclusion it would do almost nothing to solve the GTA’s congestion problems. The report was completely ignored by the PC government, which quickly restarted the environmental assessment process and began touting benefits of the corridor, including unsupported claims it will reduce traffic congestion. Mississauga’s new stance — directly opposing the highway — is the clearest in the Region of Peel. To the north, Brampton and Caledon have both recently voiced concerns, but stopped well short of opposition. In Brampton, Mayor Patrick Brown and Wards 2 and 6 Councillor Michael Palleschi have been pushing for a boulevard in place of the highway through Brampton. The concept, brought to life by a consultant, has come with few technical details, with no one able to explain how a highway would morph into a walkable, urban corridor and back again. Brampton’s mayor has refused to condemn the highway, and, despite his claims to recognize a climate emergency, he’s bragged about being the one who put the GTA West Highway back on the table when he added it to the PC campaign platform ahead of the 2018 election, before his dramatic fall from provincial politics. In its requests to the Provincial government, Brampton has asked for its boulevard design to be considered for a portion of the route without stating opposition to the highway. On Wednesday, Brampton also backed calls for the federal government to take over the route’s EA. Bowing to growing pressure, the Town of Caledon has also backed the same calls. The move is a 180-degree turn from previous calls by Caledon council members who pushed for an expedited environmental assessment – currently being conducted by the provincial government – to get the project started even faster. A federal EA would have the power to override the provincial government and cancel the project should the environmental impact be deemed too great. On Thursday, Mississauga brought its motion to the Region of Peel. Parrish and Brampton Wards 3 and 4 Councillor Martin Medeiros put the proposal on the floor, offering Brampton and Caledon councillors a chance to make a clear statement against the highway and in support of their own climate emergency declarations. But they shied away. Spearheaded by Caledon Wards 3 and 4 Councillor Jennifer Innis and Mayor Allan Thompson, the issue was deferred to a later date. Stating concerns about rushing to a decision and the need to hear from more residents, a referral was proposed to revisit the idea of opposing the highway in a fortnight, once a staff report has been completed detailing the implications cancelling the highway would have on the Region’s long-term planning strategy. “I do believe that a referral to start to bring back a fulsome report, simply with the history and the impacts, what impact would a decision to oppose have on the planning process [would be prudent],” Peel CAO Janice Baker said. “There has been extensive work done, some of which may very well have to be looked at or re-examined as a consequence of this.” The vote resulted in a tie, with Chair Nando Iannicca voting in favour of the referral to break the deadlock. Iannicca said it may have been the first tie-breaking vote he has cast since being elected chair. The delay means official positions in Peel are divergent. Mississauga stands alone opposing the highway, while all three municipalities have recently passed motions expressing support for a federal EA. The Region itself does not have a current position, but the clerk noted Thursday that a 2012 motion “indicates a level of support for the GTA West Transportation Corridor.” Mississauga’s vote on Wednesday was far less complex and more emphatic. Where several regional councillors, including Brown, Thompson and Innis, raised concerns about rushing the process on Thursday, Wednesday simply saw Mississauga representatives congratulating one another on their newly adopted stance, in support of the environment. The wholehearted support for Mississauga’s new stance raises questions about timing. In October 2019, Mississauga’s 12 regional representatives unanimously accepted a presentation from the Province outlining the GTA West Corridor and its unfounded benefits, while there was no concerted outcry over the Province’s decision this summer to approve a route and speed up the environmental assessment. As recently as January, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told The Pointer she did not think she could convince the Province to change its course. “I think they’re committed to the GTA West Corridor,” she said. Asked this week what precipitated the change of heart and the unambiguous stance, Crombie admitted she and her councillors had been asleep at the wheel. “I think there’s been a groundswell of momentum opposing the building of the highway,” she said at a Wednesday press conference. “I have to say I think we as a council have been a bit complacent, I think we thought it was a done deal; a fait accompli. But now there are so many questions arising from the building of this highway... I think that we saw that there were other voices who opposed it and we agreed we would join them, at least to undertake the full federal environmental assessment.” Parrish shook her colleagues out of their slumber. Mississauga’s new stance sits in harmony with its internal policies and publicly declared goals. Just over a year-and-a-half after declaring a climate emergency, the move is tangible evidence of council’s resolve to make good on a popular promise to help stop the degradation of the planet. Parrish, who has made a career of taking on the establishment, led the way with her detailed motion. “You can just see the vultures waiting to build completely along that belt rather than compact developments, which is what we should be looking for — complete communities.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
En l’absence d’activités organisées par les organismes et municipalités, que pourront faire les familles de la Haute-Côte-Nord pendant la semaine de relâche du 1erau 5 mars? Gino Jean, enseignant en éducation physique à l’école St-Luc ainsi qu’au Cégep de Forestville et impliqué dans le sport jeunesse, a quelques suggestions. 1. Soyez créatifs! La pandémie apporte son lot de conséquences, mais Gino Jean rappelle qu’on peut y trouver du positif. « La crise que l’on vit présentement nous permet de passer plus de temps en famille. Il faut profiter de la relâche pour créer des jeux avec nos enfants et laisser aller notre imagination. Construire un fort, aménager une glissade dans la cour ou partir à la recherche des plus belles buttes…» 2. Du plein air, 1 heure par jour, sans cellulaire. L’enseignant est un fervent du plein air hivernal. Il conseille à ses élèves et à leurs parents de prendre l’air au moins une heure par jour. « Même si tu ne fais pas d’activité précise, tu peux t’asseoir et lire un livre, si tu veux, mais au moins tu respireras l’air frais. Et surtout, laissez le cellulaire dans la maison, sinon on est tenté de le regarder », soutient-il. 3. Apprendre les rudiments de la survie en forêt. « Une belle activité à laquelle toute la famille trouvera son compte est sans aucun doute la marche en forêt pour apprendre quelques notions de survie. Faire une cabane en sapin, amasser du bois pour faire un feu, tant les adolescents que les plus jeunes seront amusés. La famille passera du bon temps à l’extérieur », suggère M. Jean qui a déjà fait cette activité avec son fil Clovis. 4. Randonnée en ski de fond. Le ski de fond est très accessible en Haute-Côte-Nord. « Plus particulièrement à Forestville, il est possible d’effectuer une randonnée de 1,2 kilomètre du stationnement du club de ski de fond au relais. On peut apporter une petite collation, se faire un feu pour se réchauffer et ce sera un bel avant-midi ou après-midi en famille », affirme l’amateur de ce sport d’hiver, précisant qu’il peut prêter des paires de skis aux enfants de l’école St-Luc. 5. Essayer le fatbike. Le vélo à pneus surdimensionnés (fatbike) est de plus en plus populaire partout au Québec. Gino Jean conseille les familles de l’essayer, surtout qu’une nouvelle piste est ouverte au golf Le Méandre à Forestville. « La Municipalité de Portneuf-sur-Mer en a deux à prêter pour les intéressés », dévoile-t-il. 6. Profiter des sentiers de raquettes. « Partout en Haute-Côte-Nord la forêt est à proximité, rappelle l’enseignant. Pourquoi ne pas en profiter pour sortir nos raquettes et partir en randonnée familiale? À Forestville, un magnifique sentier se rend au lac Forest et offre une merveilleuse vue. Le club de ski de fond offre également des pistes pour faire de la raquette. » 7. Marcher dans les rues. « Une simple marche dans les rues de notre municipalité peut être une belle activité parents-enfants. Certains trottoirs sont même déblayés pour les marcheurs. En plus, la température sera de notre côté pendant cette semaine de repos, selon les prévisions météos », de mentionner le papa de trois enfants. 8. L’important, c’est de lâcher les écrans et de se relâcher. Finalement, comme l’indique M. Jean, l’important est de reposer son cerveau et de relâcher de tout. « Et surtout de lâcher les écrans, que ce soit les cellulaires, les tablettes, les jeux vidéos, la télévision. Oui, un film un soir ça peut être bien, mais ne pas passer nos journées collé là-dessus », conclut-il. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
(Dave Irish/CBC - image credit) The military psychiatrist to first treat Lionel Desmond after he was released from the military said the veteran's post-traumatic stress disorder included dissociative events that would send him back to Afghanistan for minutes at a time. Dr. Anthony Njoku, who testified Friday at the fatality inquiry in Nova Scotia, described Desmond's PTSD as severe when they met in 2015 and said he felt from the beginning Desmond would benefit from in-patient treatment. Before getting to a place where Desmond could relive and confront his trauma in therapy, he needed to be stabilized — getting his drinking under control, sleeping better and learning techniques to calm himself. "He tells me that seeing people in military attire, hearing the sound of gunfire from [the] shooting range, or an overflying aircraft all make him more agitated, aggressive and angry," Njoku wrote in his assessment. The psychiatrist testified he expected Desmond would have had more insight into his triggers and developed coping mechanisms, given his more than three years of psychiatric treatment in the military. The fact that he couldn't self-soothe concerned Njoku, he said. Njoku testified he wasn't sure that Desmond would be able to focus on his treatment at the Occupational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic in Fredericton, saying he clearly had stresses within the community, which is located about 26 minutes northwest of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. The assessment took place in 2015, about a year and a half before Desmond killed his wife, Shanna; his 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah; and his mother, Brenda, before turning the gun on himself at a home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S. CBC reporter Laura Fraser was live blogging the hearing: Poor continuity in care Dr. Mathieu Murgatroyd, Desmond's psychologist at the OSI Clinic, testified Thursday the veteran went weeks or months without seeing his psychologist or psychiatrist, even though they wanted to see him more regularly. This was largely due to the fact Desmond was only living part time in Fredericton and spent the rest of his time with his family in Nova Scotia's Guysborough County. Adam Rodgers, the lawyer for Desmond's estate, said the testimony underscored the importance of supporting veterans who may have been deployed in one area but have a home somewhere else. Desmond's transience wasn't unique among recently retired soldiers, Rodgers noted. "For somebody who is going through PTSD symptoms, the bureaucracy and the complexity of dealing with multiple jurisdictions can be very difficult," he said. Adam Rodgers, counsel for Desmond's estate, said he'd like to see more research into post-concussion syndrome. "So for someone having to deal with appointments, medical care, prescriptions — all of these things from multiple sources in a team approach, like Cpl. Desmond was — you absolutely need somebody that's there looking out for you, helping to co-ordinate the care for you." Njoku's notes indicated that he'd recommended Desmond get a clinical case manager through Veterans Affairs Canada. It's unclear why that never happened, but Njoku testified that it's likely because Desmond was moving between different places. A loving family In January 2016, Desmond's wife and daughter accompanied him to an appointment with Njoku, who described them Friday as a loving family. Njoku said after seeing the care Desmond's wife exhibited, he believed some of the relationship complaints the veteran had shared were likely the result of paranoia and hypervigilance. The psychiatrist said he felt reassured about the marriage. "This was a family. This was a wife who was just as caring, who was just as interested in his well-being and who was wanting to know about his treatment," said Njoku. "His daughter was there, interactions seemed entirely appropriate, entirely loving. "So it's probably the worst moment of this entire thing." Njoku broke off his testimony at that moment, overcome at his description of a loving family before the fatal shootings on Jan. 3, 2017. The inquiry in Port Hawkesbury is scheduled to continue hearing from witnesses Tuesday. It's expected the inquiry will hear from the clinicians at Ste. Anne's Hospital near Montreal, where Desmond went for in-patient therapy in May 2016. Desmond is shown here in this family photo with his mother, Brenda, left, and daughter, Aaliyah, right.
U.S. regulators on Friday said they would work quickly to authorize Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use after a panel of outside advisers backed the one-shot immunization. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide on emergency use by Saturday for what would be the third vaccine available in the United States, and the only one that requires a single shot. The agency told J&J that "it will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization," the regulator said in a statement after the vote by advisers.
BEIJING — The thrills and chills of the big screen are back big-time in the world’s largest film market. With the coronavirus well under control in China and cinemas running at half capacity, moviegoers are smashing China's box office records, with domestic productions far outpacing their Hollywood competitors. February marked China’s all-time biggest month for movie ticket sales, which have so far totalled 11.2 billion yuan ($1.7 billion). China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest market for movie ticket sales last year as the American box office took a massive hit from the closure of cinemas because of the pandemic. Chinese theatres were able to reopen by midyear and have seen steady audience growth since then. Local movies have also benefited from periodic unofficial “blackout" periods, when only domestic productions are allowed to be screened. A dearth of major Hollywood blockbusters over recent months appears to have also boosted the market for Chinese films. “People were encouraged to stay in Beijing for the Lunar New Year, and so watching movies in the cinema became the top choice of entertainment,” said Chu Donglei, marketing manager at Poly Cinema’s Tiananmen branch in central Beijing. Mask wearing is mandatory and moviegoers must register with a cellphone app so they can be traced in the event of an outbreak. Only every other seat is allowed to be occupied, making it even harder to obtain tickets for the most popular films. According to the China Movie Data Information Network, 95% of ticket sales came from the seven top-grossing films timed for release around the Lunar New Year festival, which began this year on Feb. 12. “Hi, Mom,” a time-travelling comedy written and directed by and starring Jia Ling, was the top earner with 4.36 billion yuan, followed by action comedy “Detective Chinatown 3,” with 4.13 billion yuan. Wang Xiaoyu, 32, who works in the film industry, was only able to procure a ticket for “Hi, Mom” on Thursday and called the viewing experience “deeply moving." “I know there are some movies that are released and streamed online. But I think the experience of watching movies online is not as good as that of watching in a cinema,” Wang said. A lack of entertainment options helped pump up ticket sales during the pandemic, foretelling a bright future for the Chinese film industry, Wang said. Recent box office figures show the “great resiliency and powerful foundation of China’s film industry," said Fu Yalong, deputy general manager of the Solution Center at ENDATA, an analysis firm focusing on the entertainment industry. “During the Lunar New Year, there were films with a variety of genres and topics and the audiences were satisfied," Fu said. “Even with the impact of the pandemic and the increase in ticket prices, we were still able to score such achievements.” College student Zhang Jiazhi, 21, said the movie theatre experience was a welcome break from staying at home watching videos. Successful online film promotion also helped attract many viewers to brick-and-mortar cinemas, Zhang said. “I’m bored, and you can’t stay at home watching (streaming service) Douyin all the time, so I came to the cinema to watch a movie. There’s nothing to do,” said Zhang, who is on winter break and came to the cinema to see “A Writer’s Odyssey," a Chinese fantasy film which he said he didn’t quite understand. Last year, China sold an estimated $2.7 billion in tickets compared to $2.3 billion in the U.S., which saw an 80% drop in ticket sales. “The Eight Hundred," an action drama glorifying China's resistance to Japanese invaders in 1930s Shanghai, was the world's biggest hit, making $461.3 million at the box office, most of it within China. China's theatres also closed for a time during the height of COVID-19 in the country last spring, but gradually reopened over the summer. As of Friday, China has gone 11 days without reporting a single new case of local transmission of the virus. Since the outbreak was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, China has reported a total of 89,877 cases, including 4,636 deaths. ___ Associated Press news assistant Caroline Chen contributed to this report. Andy Wong, The Associated Press