Watching the waves crashing against pier in Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Watching the waves crashing against pier in Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s woeful home form is developing into a full-blown crisis after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory on Thursday inflicted a fifth straight league loss at Anfield on the Premier League champions — the worst run in the club’s 128-year history. With Liverpool's title defence already over, this was billed as a battle for a Champions League place and Mason Mount’s 42nd-minute goal lifted Chelsea back into the top four. Chelsea’s previous win at Anfield, in 2014, effectively ended the title hopes of Brendan Rodgers’ side. This one was a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s side is four points adrift of Chelsea and with Everton and West Ham also ahead. Liverpool has now gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield. The hosts failed to register an effort on target until the 85th minute and Georginio Wijnaldum’s weak header was never going to beat Edouard Mendy. They have taken one point from the last 21 on offer at home since Christmas and scored just two goals, one of which was a penalty. None of Liverpool's established front three — Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino — impressed but the sight of Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, being substituted just past the hour mark was baffling. The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea, by contrast, looked full of threat with Timo Werner — a player Liverpool was interested in but decided it could not afford last summer — a constant problem. Despite one goal in his previous 17 league outings, he caused problems with his movement, drifting out to the left then popping into the middle to give Fabinho a real headache on his return to the side. The Brazil midfielder, replacing Nat Phillips after he became the latest centre back to pick up an injury, was partnering Ozan Kabak in Liverpool’s 15th different central-defensive starting partnership in 27 league matches. Faced with a statistic like that, it is perhaps understandable why there was a lack of cohesion at the back and Werner should really have profited. He fired one early shot over and then failed to lift his effort over Alisson Becker, back in goal after the death of his father in Brazil last week. Even when Werner did beat Alisson, VAR ruled the Germany international’s arm had been offside 20 yards earlier in the build-up. Liverpool’s one chance fell to Mane but Salah’s first-time ball over the top got caught under his feet and Mane missed his shot with only Mendy to beat. Chelsea was still controlling the game and caught Liverpool on the counterattack when N’Golo Kante quickly sent a loose ball out to the left wing, from where Mount cut inside to beat Alisson having been given far too much time to pick his spot. All five of Mount’s league goals have come away from home. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spent the first five minutes of the second half screaming at his players to press harder and play higher up the pitch but Liverpool’s players were equally vocal when Firmino’s cross hit the raised arm of Kante from close range. No penalty was awarded. Andy Robertson cleared off the line from Hakim Ziyech after Alisson parried Ben Chilwell’s shot as Chelsea continued to look more dangerous. Klopp’s attempt to change the direction of the game saw him send on Diogo Jota for his first appearance in three months, along with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jota’s first touch was a half-chance from a deep cross but he was not sharp enough to take it. Werner, meanwhile, was doing everything but score as Alisson’s leg saved another shot as he bore down on goal. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Hinton’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is encouraging Hintonites to get outside in the spring air and visit a neighbour as part of the new Saturday Driveway initiative. For those who want to participate, all they have to do is set up some lawn chairs and maybe a propane campfire in their front yard and wait for a neighbour to come by for a visit. People can freely decide if they’d like to go walking around their neighbourhood on a Saturday afternoon or evening with a curiosity if they’ll encounter a host. “The number one goal is always going to be social connection. We recognize that we’re having less in-person conversations than we probably did prior to the pandemic. We just appreciate how important it is to talk to other people,” said Lisa Brett, FCSS community connections coordinator. Secondly, the initiative is about building neighbourhoods, Brett added. FCSS hopes this neighbourhood project will help strengthen trusting relationships between neighbours. “A lot of us don’t know our neighbours. So this is an opportunity to introduce ourselves and if we do know our neighbours then this is an opportunity to build on that,” Brett said. The Saturday Driveway initiative kicks off this Saturday, March 6, and FCSS hopes to promote it for the next three months. Brett hopes the initiative will help individuals get used to the idea of hanging out in their front yard on Saturday afternoons and evenings, being neighbourly, and respecting COVID-19 restrictions. Hinton’s FCSS reached out to St. Albert who had a similar project early in the pandemic, and they shared their positive experience and resources. Brett noted the initiative can play an important role in combating isolation that has become more prevalent the past year. “I recognize you can be isolated and not feel lonely. In other scenarios people feel lonely where they’re feeling more empty and separated and that emotion can be quite powerful,” Brett said. Positive interactions among neighbours can also help individuals feel safer in their neighbourhood and realize they can rely on a neighbour in an emergency, she added. She hopes the idea will help the community stave off loneliness, foster connection, and boost happiness in a time where everybody is pulling back due to government mandated COVID-19 restrictions. People can now gather with a group up to 10 while social distancing and wearing masks. “It’s just really about sparking an idea in people rather than telling them what to do. This might only attract certain people or certain personalities but the outcomes are unknown. It’s a hopeful project, it’s about kindness and being welcoming to all people,” Brett said. The Town offers posters to promote the initiative and also one that individuals could hang on their door or mailbox to let others know when they will be hosting a Saturday Driveway event. Hintonites can participate on their own and self-manage their driveway event. “There’s a lot of freedom and liberty involved as long as they recognize that we’re still under COVID-19 [restrictions],” Brett said. RCMP and Fire Department are aware of the project and COVID-19 restrictions were also considered when putting the concept together. A portable fire pit is permissible but if someone chooses to have a real fire, they must read the fire bylaw link on hinton.ca/fcss and adhere to its fire safety precautions. Posters to participate are available at the FCSS office to pick up or for print from the Town of Hinton website. The principle way to know if someone is hosting a Saturday Driveway is that a participant is visibly set up in their driveway or front yard welcoming neighbours to stroll by and have a chat. Being masked and remaining six feet apart must be part of the interactions. Currently, outdoor gatherings allow up to 10 people. Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice
The temporary pandemic shelter Tipinawâw at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Jasper Avenue will remain open until the end of April, city council agreed unanimously at a meeting Thursday. The extended operations will cost $2.2 million, an amount available in a COVID-19-specific fund set aside in the city's stabilization reserve. This is in addition to the $8 million the city invested in the shelter last fall. The 24/7 shelter accommodates 300 people a night, with meals, laundry, shower facilities, as well as counselling and housing services. Three agencies have been contracted to run the shelter since October: Boyle Street Community Services, the Bissell Centre and the Mustard Seed Society. The Bent Arrow Society helps with cultural programming and counselling. Mayor Don Iveson said there's a clear need to continue the operations through the end of the spring. "I don't regret at all establishing this facility," Iveson said. Indigenous elders gave the facility the name Tipinawâw, a Cree wording meaning shelter from outside elements. From October 2020 to mid-February, nearly 4,200 different people accessed daytime services at the facility, and about 2,300 people used the overnight shelter, says a city report. At the beginning of the meeting, Coun. Scott McKeen asked about security at the shelter — saying he's received emails from residents concerned about what's happening in the area. Rob Smyth, deputy manager of citizen services, said there were some "significant challenges" early on and the city has been working with police and private security to increase presence around the facility. Temporary encampments have cropped up around the shelter, Smyth noted. "It's not perfect, but we certainly have tried to increase our activity to make it as safe and secure as we possibly can," Smyth said. A second temporary 24/7 shelter at Commonwealth Stadium is being run by Hope Mission, while a third near 99th Street in the Ritchie neighbourhood is operated by the Mustard Seed. @natashariebe
One of Canada's top public health officials sought to reassure Canadians today that a recommendation from a federal vaccine advisory committee to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses is a sound one. Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months due to limited supplies. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said the advice is based on real-world data that shows doing so would lead to more people being protected from COVID-19 in a shorter time period. "This recommendation is based on clinical trial reports and emerging real-world evidence from around the world. Data shows that several weeks after being administered, first doses of vaccines provide highly effective protection against symptomatic disease, hospitalization and death," Njoo told a technical briefing today. Confusion over conflicting advice Njoo's comments appeared to be addressing the confusion created by the fact that NACI's recommendation conflicts with those issued by Health Canada when it granted regulatory approvals for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Regulatory documents provided by Health Canada upon approval of each vaccine state that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech should be taken three weeks after the first, the second Moderna shot should come four weeks after the first, and the second AstraZeneca dose should be delivered between four and 12 weeks after the first. All of those recommendations are in line with the product monograph provided by the manufacturers. Adding to the confusion, NACI recommended on Monday against giving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people 65 and older, although Health Canada has authorized it for use in adults of all ages. But Njoo said the discrepancies can be explained by the fact that Health Canada is a regulator and NACI is an advisory body made up of medical experts. "You have likely noticed that NACI's recommendations are sometimes different, possibly broader or narrower than the conditions of vaccine use that Health Canada has authorized. As the regulator, Health Canada authorizes each vaccine for use in Canada according to factors based on clinical trial evidence, whereas NACI bases its guidance on the available and evolving evidence in a real-world context, including the availability of other vaccines," Njoo said. "What we expect is that NACI recommendations will complement — not mirror — those of Health Canada." WATCH: Njoo comments on NACI recommendation to delay second COVID-19 vaccine doses The issue burst into the open on Monday when B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Some medical experts questioned that decision. Canada's chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, said doing so without proper clinical trials amounts to a "population level experiment." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., told the Washington Post that the science doesn't support delaying a second dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. He said there isn't enough evidence to determine how much protection is provided by one dose of those vaccines, and how long it lasts. Despite those warnings, several provinces followed Henry's lead and even more have indicated they intend to stretch the dosage interval. While it appeared to some at the time that Henry was moving faster than the science, Njoo said that NACI's experts briefed provincial medical officers of health over the weekend on the results of their analysis before releasing their recommendations publicly. NACI concluded that stretching the dosing interval to four months would allow up to 80 per cent of Canadians over the age of 16 to receive a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, without compromising vaccine effectiveness. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. As for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Njoo said it is safe and that evidence shows it provides protection against very serious disease and death in people of all ages. He said Health Canada has a rigorous scientific review process and only approves vaccines that meet high standards for safety, efficacy and quality. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said expert advice will continue to change as more data becomes available from ongoing mass vaccination campaigns, and she urged provinces and territories to consider recommendations and evidence from both bodies when making decisions about their vaccine strategies. "The messaging would be simpler if we had one set of data and we had one message and it never changed, but that's not what science does," said Sharma. Decision on Johnson and Johnson imminent At today's briefing, health officials also indicated that a regulatory decision on whether to approve Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is expected soon. "The review of the Johnson & Johnson submission is going very well, it's progressing, and we're expecting to have that completed and a decision in the next few days. I would say in the next seven days or so," said Sharma. The company has said its vaccine is 66 per cent effective at preventing moderate to severe illness in a global clinical trial, and much more effective — 85 per cent — against the most serious symptoms. Canada has agreed to purchase up to 38 million doses if it is approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in that country last Saturday. The approval of a fourth vaccine would give a significant boost to Canada's vaccine rollout. Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is widely seen as one of the easiest to administer because it requires only one dose and can be stored for long periods of time at regular refrigerator temperatures. Njoo said additional vaccines, coupled with the NACI recommendation on dosage intervals, could allow Canada to meet the goal of inoculating all adults who want a vaccine "several weeks" before the current target date of the end of September. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading Canada's COVID-19 vaccine logistics, said that while more vaccines would be good news, the current target remains the end of September.
HALIFAX — Glen Assoun has reached a compensation deal with the Nova Scotia and federal governments for his wrongful conviction and almost 17 years in prison. Nova Scotia Justice Minister Randy Delorey said Thursday the recently signed deal is confidential, and Assoun's lawyers Sean MacDonald and Phil Campbell said the amount of the settlement and its details are not being released. In an interview with The Canadian Press last October, Assoun said he feared he might die before reaching a final settlement with Ottawa and the province. Reached by telephone on Thursday at his home, Assoun said he felt relief that his financial future is now secure. "They (the governments) did the right thing, and I'm grateful for that," Assoun said. "It feels good that I can leave my family something and I'm not worrying any longer about how I'll make ends meet." Assoun's lawyers praised the two levels of government for the money to be provided and the signal it sends in acknowledging their client's mistreatment by the justice system. "It's gratifying to see and I hope it serves as an example for similar cases in the future," Campbell said in an interview Thursday. Assoun lived under strict parole conditions for nearly five years after he was released from prison, before a Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruling in March 2019 reversed his 1999 conviction for the murder of Brenda Way in Halifax. The 1995 killing has never been solved. The 64-year-old Halifax man suffered mental illness in prison, and he said he was diagnosed with a heart condition that required the insertion of stents — small mesh tubes that are placed in a narrowed coronary artery. He has also said he suffered severe beatings while in prison. Assoun has been living off funds provided by the province and Ottawa in a preliminary agreement, which was also confidential. He said he is still seeking justice in his case, particularly in regard to police actions. In 2019, it was revealed that a joint RCMP-Halifax Regional Police unit had destroyed evidence regarding alternative suspects to Assoun, prior to his unsuccessful appeal in 2006. Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team, a police oversight agency, has said it is investigating whether there was criminal wrongdoing, and it has brought in outside investigators to assist. "There's a potential criminal investigation underway that has to be completed before any broader issues can be addressed in this case," Campbell said. Assoun's compensation deal is one of several that have emerged in recent decades as a result of cases pursued by lawyers with Innocence Canada, formerly known as the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted. David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted for the rape and murder of nursing assistant Gail Miller in Saskatoon and spent 23 years in prison, received $10 million in compensation. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in 2007 that Steven Truscott's conviction for the rape and killing of a 12-year-old girl was a "miscarriage of justice." Less than a year later, a retired judge recommended Truscott receive $6.5 million in compensation, plus legal costs, from the Ontario government. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
HARDCOVER FICTION 1. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press) 2. “A Court of Silver Flames” by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury) 3. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig (Viking) 4. “The Sanatorium” by Sarah Pearse (Viking/Dorman) 5. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (Riverhead) 6. “The Kaiser's Web” by Steve Berry (Minotaur) 7. “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” by V.E. Schwab (Tor) 8. “The Russian” by Patterson/Born (Little, Brown) 9. “Faithless in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin’s Press) 10. “Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder” by Joanne Fluke (Kensington) 11. “Kingdom of Shadow and Light” by Karen Marie Moning (Delacorte) 12. “The Return” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing) 13. “Missing and Endangered” by J.A. Jance (William Morrow) 14. “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham (Doubleday) 15. “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman (Atria) HARDCOVER NONFICTION 1. “Believe It” by Jamie Kern Lima (Gallery) 2. “The Pegan Diet” by Mark Hyman (Little, Brown Spark) 3. “Walk in My Combat Boots” by Patterson/Eversmann (Little, Brown) 4. “Think Again” by Adam Grant (Viking) 5. “Just As I Am: A Memoir” by Cicely Tyson (HarperCollins) 6. “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown) 7. “Keep Sharp” by Sanjay Gupta (Simon & Schuster) 8. “The Sum of Us” by Heather McGhee (One World) 9. “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (Crown) 10. “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House) 11. “Intuitive Fasting” by Will Cole (Rodale) 12. “Winning the War in Your Mind” by Craig Groeschel (Zondervan) 13. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (Dial) 14. “Four Hundred Souls” by Kendi/Blain (One World) 15. “Magnolia Table, Vol. 2” by Joanna Gaines (William Morrow) MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS 1. “The Numbers Game” by Danielle Steel (Dell) 2. “Camino Winds” by John Grisham (Dell) 3. “By the Neck” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle) 4. “A Quiet, Little Town” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle) 5. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” (TV tie-in) by Julia Quinn (Avon) 6. “Reckless Road” by Christine Feehan (Berkley) 7. “Journey of the Pharaohs” by Cussler/Brown (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 8. “A Timeless Christmas” by Alexis Stanton (Hallmark) 9. “Western Stars” by Nora Roberts (St. Martin’s Press) 10. “Hush” by Patterson/Fox (Grand Central Publishing) 11. “A Secret Amish Crush” by Marta Perry (Love Inspired) 12. “Perfect Partners” by Debbie Macomber (Mira) 13. “The Lost and Found Bookshop” by Susan Wiggs (Avon) 14. “From the Shadows” by B.J. Daniels (HQN) 15. “Revenge” by Patterson/Holmes (Grand Central Publishing) TRADE PAPERBACKS 1. “The 20th Victim” by Patterson/Paetro (Grand Central Publishing) 2. “Burn After Writing” (pink) by Sharon Jones (TarcherPerigee) 3. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” (TV tie-in) by Julia Quinn (Avon) 4. “Fair Warning” by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing) 5. “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel) 6. “28 Summers” by Elin Hilderbrand (Back Bay) 7. “The Girl from the Channel Islands” by Jenny Lecoat (Graydon House) 8. “Camino Winds” by John Grisham (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 9. “The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook” by Jeffrey Eisner (Voracious) 10. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay) 11. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury) 12. “Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift Omnibus” by Yang/Gurihiru/Heisler (Dark Horse) 13. “The Order” by Daniel Silva (Harper) 14. “Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Vol. 7” by Aidairo (Yen) 15. “The Body” by Bill Bryson (Anchor) The Associated Press
Ontario says pharmacies in three public heath units, including Toronto, will begin giving out COVID-19 vaccines next week. Health Minister Christine Elliott says many of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses expected to arrive in the province will go to the pharmacies for the pilot program. Canada received 500,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca this week and Ontario has said those doses will be given to people between the ages of 60 and 64. Elliott says the province is currently updating its vaccine rollout, based on the expected Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well as a national panel's recommendation that the interval between vaccine shots can be stretched to four months. She says the updated immunization plan will be shared "imminently." The Ontario Pharmacists Association says the vaccination pilot will begin with approximately 380 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex health units. CEO Justin Bates says pharmacies will use their own booking systems to make appointments, likely starting with people between the ages of 60 and 64, and the program will eventually scale up. The report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's chief electoral officer is defending a decision to hand-deliver some special ballot kits to people in his St. John's neighbourhood. Bruce Chaulk says he doesn't see any problem delivering ballots to about six people, including Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Liberal Finance Minister Siobhan Coady. He says he noticed the addresses were on his way home and didn't go out of his way. Elections NL moved to special mail-in ballots after cancelling in-person voting on Feb. 12, following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital region. Memorial University of Newfoundland political science professor Amanda Bittner says the optics are bad. She says some rural residents fear they may not be able to deliver their ballots on time while Chaulk is hand-delivering ballots to people who live in his upper-middle-class neighbourhood. Ballots must be postmarked by March 12, and Chaulk says some people are hand-delivering theirs to Elections NL to make sure they are received on time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Efforts to ban applying Kentucky's death penalty to some people with severe mental illnesses ran into resistance Thursday, but the bill mustered just enough votes to be sent to the full state Senate. The measure was advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 vote, leaving it potentially one step away from being sent to the governor. But that final hurdle could be a formidable one in the Senate after the bill won 75-16 House passage this week. Republicans control both chambers. Afterward, the committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield, said the bill’s prospects in the Senate appeared to be “dimmer.” Westerfield, who supports the bill, put its chances of passing the Senate at “50-50,” adding: “I’m not as confident as I once was.” The measure would block use of the death penalty for people who, at the time of the offence, have a documented history of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder or delusional disorder. “This is not, despite all the rhetoric we’ve been hearing, going to do away with the death penalty," said Republican Rep. Chad McCoy, the bill's lead sponsor. "It is a very, very narrow bill.” The bill reflects a long-running goal of mental health advocates in Kentucky. The measure drew opposition from prosecutors Thursday. Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron objected to the bill's reference to a person's documented history of disorders. He said it's too “loose a term” that would cause more legal disputes in cases that already can drag on for years. The bill's critics worry that a decades-old diagnosis could prevent that person from being held accountable for a heinous crime later in life. Disorders listed in the bill are seen frequently in criminal cases, and defence attorneys could try to have the proposal applied to existing death row cases if the measure became law, Cohron said. “The odds of this not being challenged and litigated retroactively is zero,” he said. McCoy insisted the bill applies only apply to future cases where the death penalty might be considered. “I don’t think we could be more clear on the retroactivity,” McCoy told the committee. Offenders with a history of such disorders would still face severe punishment if the bill became law, he said. “This is not a decision of whether somebody’s not going to be tried or not going to be punished,” McCoy said. “They’re still going to get life in prison without parole.” ___ The legislation is House Bill 148. Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press
Le professeur Thierry Karsenti, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada sur les technologies de l'information et de la communication en éducation, a été arrêté et devra faire face à des accusations de contacts sexuels sur une victime âgée de moins de 16 ans. D’après les informations obtenues auprès du Service de police de l’agglomération de Longueuil (SPAL), Thierry Karsenti, 52 ans, résidant de Brossard, a été arrêté le 23 février dernier. Un mandat d’arrêt visé avait été lancé contre lui. M. Karsenti a été libéré sous conditions en attendant sa comparution. Il lui est notamment interdit de communiquer avec la victime ou sa famille ou de se présenter à sa résidence. Il doit également informer les autorités de tout changement d'adresse. Sa comparution est prévue vendredi au palais de justice de Longueuil. Dans un message publié mercredi sur son fil Twitter, le SPAL demande l’aide de la population, car on soupçonne que le prévenu aurait pu faire d’autres victimes. «On demande aux gens qui auraient pu être victimes de Thierry Karsenti, 52 ans, résidant de Brossard, de nous appeler. Sinon, on invite aussi les gens à nous fournir des informations, s’ils en ont», a indiqué la porte-parole du SPAL Mélanie Mercille. La victime aurait porté plainte en octobre 2019. Les circonstances entourant les gestes reprochés n’auraient aucun lien avec les activités professionnelles du prévenu. Cependant, l’Université de Montréal a «suspendu pour une période indéterminée» le professeur de sa faculté d’éducation. L’université aurait appris l’arrestation de M. Karsenti, mercredi, au moment de la sortie publique du SPAL. Toute personne ayant des informations à transmettre aux enquêteurs concernant cette affaire peut communiquer avec le 911 ou le 450-463-7211. Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
LONDON — Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind a campaign to turn a former prison in the English town of Reading into an arts venue, a town spokesman said on Thursday, after the street artist confirmed that artwork that appeared on a red brick wall of the prison was of his making. The elusive artist confirmed the picture was his when he posted a video of him creating it on his Instagram account. The monochrome picture shows a man escaping using a rope made of paper from a typewriter. It appeared Monday outside Reading Prison, famous as the location where writer Oscar Wilde served two years for “gross indecency” in the 1890s. The prison closed in 2013, and campaigners want it turned into an arts venue. Britain’s Ministry of Justice, which owns the building, is due to decide mid-March on its future. In his Instagram video, Banksy is shown stealthily stenciling and spraying paint to create the artwork, titled “Create Escape.” The footage is juxtaposed with an episode of a traditional art instruction video called “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.” The campaign to turn the former prison into an arts venue has won the backing of actors including Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Kenneth Branagh. A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said it was “thrilled that Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind the council’s desire to transform the vacant Reading Gaol into a beacon of arts, heritage and culture with this piece of artwork he has aptly called ‘Create Escape’.” “The Council is pushing the Ministry of Justice, who own the site, to make suitable arrangements to protect the image,” the authority said. The Associated Press
Health experts are concerned the general public may be focusing on the wrong figures when analyzing the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. And they worry that will lead to unnecessary hesitancy at a time when Canada's inoculation rollout needs to ramp up. The recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and the shot by Johnson & Johnson that could be next in line for authorization, showed 62 and 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infections in their respective clinical trials. Compared to the 95 per cent effectiveness of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, it seems like a glaring difference. But experts stress that when it comes to preventing COVID hospitalization or death, data from trials showed all four vaccines were perfect. "Those are the outcomes that Canadians ought to be focused on, because that's really what we care about preventing," said Charles Weijer, a bioethicist at Western University. Weijer says he understands why the public is gravitating towards those figures, since we're used to efficacy in terms of treatments for disease. A cancer treatment that's 95 per cent effective would be preferable to one that's 60 or 70 per cent, he said, but vaccines and other public health interventions need to be analyzed differently. Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist in Mississauga, Ont., says efficacy in a trial is calculated by comparing the number of people who got COVID after receiving a vaccine to the number of those who got it after being given a placebo. Many of those who did become infected after getting a vaccine in the trials experienced mild illness, according to the data, which Chakrabarti says isn't a big concern. Getting hung up on the wrong figures can be problematic, he adds, if it leads to a perception that the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are inferior. "When you look at deaths and hospitalization, it doesn't matter if it was Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna, it was freaking amazing" Chakrabarti said. "Thousands of participants in the treatment arm of the trials, and not a single person died, not a single person was hospitalized." Chakrabarti says the timing of the trials may have impacted efficacy, with Pfizer and Moderna testing its product when the COVID burden was relatively lower in parts of the world. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, meanwhile, had their trials later when circulation was increasing, and more transmissible variants were spreading at a rapid pace. While that could mean the efficacy of mRNA vaccines in preventing infection is lower than 95 per cent, Chakrabarti says it doesn't change the zero hospitalizations and deaths shown in their trials. Those will be the key numbers going forward, he says. While case numbers may continue to increase through Canada's vaccine rollout, restrictions could lift as deaths and hospitalizations drop. "Right now we have three tools that prevent death and hospitalization that can help us get out of this situation," Chakrabarti said. "So my message is just get whichever vaccine you can get first." Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said this week that it didn't recommend the AstraZeneca jab for those over the age of 65, arguing the trials didn't offer enough efficacy evidence in that age group. Health Canada said days earlier that real-world data suggests the shot is effective in older populations. France and Germany, which didn't initially recommend AstraZeneca for seniors, have since reversed that decision. Weijer says while the messaging with AstraZeneca may have taken a step back this week, there's opportunity moving forward to present other vaccines in terms of the metrics that matter most. Weijer says the ease of a single-dose vaccine like Johnson & Johnson's could be "hugely important" for Canada's vaccine rollout. But people need to be willing to take it. "If individuals are thinking, 'Well, I'm gonna hold out for a vaccine that I perceive to be better,' that's a mistake," Weijer said. "The key is getting all of us vaccinated as quickly as possible." Chakrabarti anticipates some will dismiss the AstraZeneca jab, adding that those responsible for administering the vaccine need to set up Plan Bs to make sure doses aren't wasted. While he's concerned the "well has been poisoned" around AstraZeneca, Chakrabarti says it's up to public health messaging experts to reverse that going forward. "If we put these vaccines on a level playing field and look at the same important metrics, they are all performing the same," he said. "That's what the messaging should be." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Quebec mogul king Mikaël Kingsbury is calling for the return of sport in schools. In an open letter on Wednesday to Quebec Premier François Legault, the reigning Olympic and world moguls champion says urgent action is needed amid the COVID-19 restrictions. "I am worried about the situation of young athletes," wrote the 28-year-old freestyle skiing star. "The health of thousands of young people is at risk." Inspired in part by his own experiences growing up, Kingsbury is lending his voice to the efforts of a 16-year-old high school student, Isaac Pépin, who has been urging the provincial government to show flexibility in its approach to sport in schools. WATCH | Kingsbury writes open letter to Quebec Premier François Legault: Kingsbury told CBC Sports in an exclusive interview on Thursday that the plea is something he understands all too well. "Having grown up skiing and playing baseball with my friends, sport is a motivator. A source of meaning," he said, adding that sport was a big part of what helped keep him coming back to class. For the 28-year-old native of Deux-Montagnes, Que., it's also a question of mental as well as physical health. "I am worried that young people are lost. That they are abandoning sport in favour of screens," Kingsbury wrote in his letter to Legault. This is why Kingsbury supports Pépin's calls for the resumption of supervised sport. 'I got dizzy' "I stopped this week and wondered what I would do if I was this young man deprived of sport for a year in a period of a pandemic," Kingsbury wrote. "I got dizzy! I wouldn't have had the capacity to survive a full year without my passion. I tell you very simply: I would be adrift. I am convinced that sports clubs, sports organizations and federations have the capacities, the means, but above all the determination necessary to protect young people and their families. Before, during and after sports practice." And Kingsbury feels the time to act is now. "It's been a year where people across Canada, but especially in Quebec, have not been able to play collective sports," he told CBC Sports. "It's like a year the kids are losing and will never get back again." WATCH | Kingsbury reflects on consecutive World Cup victories: Legault said he understands the frustration, but also the importance of sport on mental health during a COVID-19 update on Wednesday. "People who know me know that I do a lot of sports," Legault said. "Sports is important. There's nothing better to decrease stress levels, and it's important for mental heath. But we all agree that certain sports, at the very least, we might get too close and bring about contagion." While discussions with sports federations are still ongoing, Legault will offer more of an update next week and acknowledged that "as of March 15th, everywhere in Quebec will be able to start outside school activities." Meanwhile, Kingsbury — who only recently returned to action in February after fracturing his T4 and T5 vertebrate in November prior to the opening of the freestyle ski season — is in Kazakhstan gearing up for freestyle skiing world championships in Almaty. He says the passion that Pépin and fellow organizers have exhibited for sport has given him extra motivation to win. "[They] are only asking for one thing: to breathe new life into young people by allowing them to reconnect with their passion." Kingsbury won't be able to stand with protestors at a planned rally in front of the provincial parliament on Sunday, but remains hopeful activities will open up when he returns to his home province. "On behalf of all athletes in Quebec, amateurs and professionals, I hope that when I return home in mid-March, sport will find its rightful place."
The United Conservative Party (UCP) government released their provincial budget on February 25th, and it’s looking different than what was projected this time last year. COVID-19 created the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression, and it seems that temporarily increased funding to municipalities could be part of a provincial strategy to reinvigorate the market in 2021. The province’s budget looks like it will effectively lean on municipalities to create jobs now, and yet significantly decrease funding to local governments over the following years. Most municipalities function with a combination of funding from property tax, applicable federal and provincial grants, and levies when necessary. One grant that municipalities have been relying on since 2007 is called the Municipal Sustainability Initiativeli (MSI), which is received from the province to help support local infrastructure funding. This includes both capital funding, which goes towards the actual building of projects, and operational funds, which support day-to-day functions. Each year, with the announcement of the provincial budget, municipalities across Alberta find out just how much they are allotted in MSI funding for the year, and what is projected for future years. A community does not have to use all of their funds that year, but the amount is set aside for them to apply for as projects come up, and they can earmark funding for future projects or projects on the go. In 2019 it was announced that the MSI would be phased out and replaced by the Local Government Fiscal Framework Act (LGGF) in the 2021 budget. According to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA), “municipalities are seeking long-term stable and predictable funding” which they hoped would be delivered by the LGFF. Some municipalities were disappointed to see the MSI extended and the LGFF decisions put off until the 2024-25 budget. According to AUMA’s preliminary findings regarding the budget, “While MSI will increase by $233 million this year, declines in the next two years mean that municipalities will lose out on approximately $414 million in funding over the next three years.” In a recent news conference, NDP Municipal Affairs critic Joe Ceci warned that last Thursday’s budget would mean “less money, less stability, less predictable long-term funding by this UCP government.” He shared “the front-loading of the MSI is certainly something to help municipalities with jobs in their communities, but it won’t provide them the predictable money over the long term”. It is likely that communities will have to cut services or raise taxes to address the reduction. The province has found other ways to support local government during these difficult times, including a recovery plan of $500 million in municipal stimulus funding, and maintaining a freeze on the education property tax. Education property tax is a provincial tax that municipal governments are mandated to collect on behalf of the provincial government, which had been expected to increase this year. The town of Cardston, along with every other municipality, is now tasked with creating their budget and five year capital plan based on the funding numbers coming down from the province. It will be interesting to see if communities attempt to spread the funding over the next few years, or if 2021 will see municipal budgets stimulating the economy through large capital projects like the proposed recreation facility. Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
YELLOWKNIFE — Residents of the Northwest Territories who are from Norman Wells and Fort Simpson can now self-isolate at home if they leave the territory. A previous public-health order required anyone who left N.W.T. to isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River or Inuvik. The territory's chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, says the order was changed because Norman Wells and Fort Simpson both have a wastewater surveillance program to test for COVID-19. The two communities also have adequate medical resources to support new infections. Kandola says only residents of Normal Wells and Fort Simpson will be allowed to self-isolate there. They must also submit a self-isolation plan to the territory's public-health office. There are currently two active cases of COVID-19 in the territory. The Canadian Press
Ontario’s police watchdog has found that a Peel Regional police officer acted lawfully in the November 2019 shooting of a teen police say was in the process of robbing a Mississauga bank. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) ruled that there is no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence when he shot the armed 16-year-old in the lower back. According to the SIU, the teen had demanded cash from staff at an HSBC location on Dundas Street East, and the officer confronted him while he was masked, armed with a firearm and carrying a backpack full of cash. “I am unable to reasonably conclude that the (subject officer’s) resort to lethal force fell outside the limits of legal justification,” SIU director Joseph Martino wrote. The suspect suffered significant internal injuries in the incident. According to the SIU account, the officer and three other officers were in the area shortly before 4 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2016, when a motorist alerted them to the robbery nearby inside the Chinese Centre. The SIU states the teenager, donning a hooded-jacket over his head and his face covered with a black t-shirt had walked into the bank brandishing a semi-automatic pistol. A bank employee offered up some cash and coins to the teen, who took the money and demanded more, states the SIU’s report. The officers entered the bank with their firearms drawn, prompting the teen to run toward the west wall of the bank. The subject officer fired a single shot striking the teen in the lower mid-back. Still standing after being shot, the teen dropped his firearm, then was taken to the floor and handcuffed. Police later discovered that the weapon was not loaded, “which is of no consequence,” Martino wrote. “It was an actual firearm which the subject officer would have had every reason to believe was loaded and ready to be fired in the hands of the (teenager).” Martino made special note of the fact that although the gunshot wound to the teen’s back could suggest he was facing away from the officers, he had ignored police commands to remain still and posed an immediate risk to people in the bank. The subject officer declined to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes, as is his legal right. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
This year the War Amps Key Tag Service will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. Launched in 1946, the Key Tag Service was developed to provide returning war amputee veterans work for competitive wages and generating funds for the associations’ programs like the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP), by providing service to Canadians. To date, the Key Tag Service has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners and continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities. The Key Tag Service is free, but donations enable the association to operate its many programs for amputees, children and veterans. “I was born a left arm amputee and was enrolled in The War Amps Child Amputee Program at a very young age,” explained War Amps Regional Representative Christine McMaster. “The CHAMP Program helped me connect with other amputees like myself. Together we helped each other. Together we learned that we could do anything and our amputation was not going to stop us.” Each key tag has a confidentially coded number that allows the finder of lost keys to call the toll-free number on the tag or place them in any Canadian mailbox, and the War Amps will return the keys to their owner, free of charge. The War Amps Key Tag Service is not supported by government grants and its many programs benefitting amputees, veterans and children are made possible through the public’s support and donations. The War Amps Child Amputee Program, or CHAMP, offers comprehensive services such as financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support to child amputees and their families. “We’d like to thank the public for helping to make the Key Tag Service a success,” said spokesperson Rob Larman, Graduate of the Association’s Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. “Your support funds essential programs for children, veterans and all amputees across Canada.” The War Amps 2021 Key Tags will be mailed to Eastern Ontario residents distributed to residents in the K postal code zone beginning March 8th. Residents interested in donating to the War Amps can do so by visiting waramps.ca or by calling 1 800 250-3030. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer