The Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns appear to be the teams that will offer the most resistance to the Los Angeles Lakers advancing to the NBA Finals.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns appear to be the teams that will offer the most resistance to the Los Angeles Lakers advancing to the NBA Finals.
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 The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.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
NEW YORK — With dark clouds looming behind him, controversial music producer and hitmaker Dr. Luke rose to the top of the Billboard charts last year with Doja Cat’s ubiquitous funk-pop jam “Say So,” along with Saweetie's anthemic bop “Tap In” and Juice WRLD's Top 5 pop smash “Wishing Well." It marked a creative resurgence for the pop prince, who remains embroiled in a lawsuit with Kesha. His chart domination was followed by his first Grammy nomination in seven years — cementing his comeback. That has the music world is split — some believe the art and the person should be separated, while others have blasted the Recording Academy for rewarding the hitmaker with a nomination for one of its top prizes. But not all of the academy members may have been aware they were voting for Dr. Luke when they completed their ballots this year. That's because he used a moniker — Tyson Trax — for Doja Cat's “Say So,” which he produced and co-wrote. The hit tune is competing for record of the year, where Dr. Luke is in contention as the song’s producer. “It’s difficult to say whether or not Grammy voters are aware that ‘Tyson Trax’ is used as a pseudonym,” Harvey Mason Jr., the academy’s interim president and CEO, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “While it’s true that the ‘Tyson Trax’ producer credit would be visible on the ballot entry, I would imagine that a lot of voters were making their selection with Doja Cat in mind, thinking primarily about the artistic merits of her performance.” Doja Cat, who released her debut EP on Dr. Luke's Kemosabe label in 2014 before Kesha's lawsuit, is also nominated for best new artist and best pop solo performance at the March 14 Grammys. Dr. Luke produced multiple songs on her sophomore album “Hot Pink.” Those include the double-platinum success “Juicy” and the Gucci Mane-assisted hit “Like That,” which reached No. 3 on the R&B charts last year. For those songs, he's credited as Tyson Trax. “I didn’t know that Tyson Trax was Dr. Luke. I could have looked it up, but I didn’t, and I didn’t care. It’s a name and I’m voting on the artistic merit of the record, so it didn’t matter,” said Susan Rogers, a professor at Berklee College of Music and Prince’s former staff engineer who is a Grammy voter. “Your judgment should be based upon who did the best, most creative, most artistic work during the year; what work is going to advance the state of the industry. That’s the only thing that we’re voting on," she said. “Anytime we bring anything else into that mix — how we feel about someone personally, whether we like them or dislike them, know them or don’t know them — we’re being unfair to all the others.” Dr. Luke, 47, has also used the Tyson Trax pseudonym for his contribution to Toronto rapper-singer Benny Mayne’s “Hokey Pokey.” He’s been referred to as MADE IN CHINA for his work with pop singer Kim Petras. His producer credit on Lil Wayne's “Shimmy” from his 2020 album “Funeral”? Loctor Duke. Evan Minsker, news editor for the music publication Pitchfork, admitted that some of his colleagues didn’t recognize Dr. Luke was Tyson Trax: “It’s their job to be plugged in (and) they didn’t know Dr. Luke was Tyson Trax.” “I think there probably are a lot of cases of (Dr. Luke) sneaking under the radar, people not connecting what his other pseudonyms are with who he is,” Minsker said. “Regardless of who he is and what his various names are, clearly there is some kind of proven result in what Dr. Luke and Doja Cat did together,” he continued. “I think while maybe some people didn’t know, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people did and just don’t really have a hard time falling asleep at night after putting his name through.” Dr. Luke was last in Grammy contention in 2014 when he competed for non-classical producer and record of the year for his work on Katy Perry’s “Roar.” He emerged as the protege of pop music maestro Max Martin, who produced 23 No. 1 hits throughout his career, working with everyone from pop idols such as Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and N’Sync to contemporary stars like Adele, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd. Together, Martin and Dr. Luke crafted hits for Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Pink and Kesha, who he signed in 2005. Eventually Dr. Luke stepped into the forefront, helming successes for Miley Cyrus, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida, logging 17 No. 1 hits. Dr. Luke has gotten a taste of his former life on top of the charts, with every major label — including Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group — launching a hit with him last year. In addition to his work with Doja Cat, Juice WRLD, Saweetie and Lil Wayne, he also produced “Blind” for rapper DaBaby and co-wrote “Broken Glass” for hit DJ-producer Kygo. This year he produced another hit for Saweetie with “Best Friend," which is currently No. 10 on the rap charts. “I think (the Grammys) set themselves up a little bit to fail because instead of having this big celebratory moment, there were a lot of questions all of a sudden. ‘How come you got Dr. Luke in (one of) the big four (categories)?' That’s pretty surprising,” Pitchfork’s Minsker said. “I can see why this is the moment for (‘Say So’) and I also was surprised to see that it would be nominated in such a way that (Dr. Luke) would get an award at this stage in his life.” Kesha, 34, has accused Dr. Luke of sexual assault during their yearslong partnership, allegations he vigorously denies. The court case continues, despite a New York judge dismissing Kesha’s sexual abuse-related claims in 2016 on procedural grounds; no ruling was made on whether the allegations were true. Kesha lost another round when a judge said she made a defamatory statement about Dr. Luke in a 2016 text message telling Lady Gaga the producer had also raped Perry. Kesha’s lawyers are appealing the ruling, which didn’t resolve other aspects of his defamation and breach-of-contract suit, including the crucial question of whether Kesha’s rape allegation is true. The judge said that’s for a jury to decide at trial. Fiona Apple, who is nominated for three Grammys, slammed the academy for Dr. Luke’s inclusion this year. She questioned the organization because three years ago, they invited Kesha to perform “Praying” — the deeply emotional and touching piano tune arguably about her experience with Dr. Luke — at the show. Kesha was joined onstage by Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and the Resistance Revival Chorus for the widely praised performance. The song appeared on the album “Rainbow,” which was released on Dr. Luke's label but was the first time she created music commercially without him. The music even earned Kesha her first pair of Grammy nominations. Berklee’s Rogers explained that “as a member of the female sex ... we have to be sensitive and tolerant of women who make accusations of sexual impropriety or coercion or any number of things that they might be victim of. We have to listen to them. We have to be credulous. We have to believe them. “We also have to recognize it’s a two-sided conversation,” she continued. “Both sides have the right to express themselves. I don’t dismiss Kesha’s (claims) ... I don’t dismiss the fact that she had a rough time with Dr. Luke — what I’m saying is that I recognize that it has absolutely nothing to do with my vote as a member of the Recording Academy.” Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
A benefit program meant to help vulnerable households with rent will leave most recipients still living in unaffordable, crumbling, or overcrowded housing because of a mismatch between what the benefit provides and the depth of need, Ontario’s financial watchdog says. In a report released on Thursday morning, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario projected that 45,200 households will use the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit — a portable rent supplement announced in late 2019 — by 2027-28. But the report estimates that just 12,000 of those recipients will be able to access housing that has enough bedrooms for their household, that isn’t in need of major repairs and costs less than 30 per cent of their income. “Certainly, if you look at a top level, it would appear that more funding might make a difference,” Financial Accountability Officer Peter Weltman told reporters, while cautioning that his office didn’t analyze specific solutions for those left in housing need. To access the benefit, which pays the difference between 30 per cent of the household’s income and the average market rent in the area, households must be either living in community housing, on a social housing waitlist or be eligible for a spot on those lists. The payments continue if a household moves addresses, and are based on income, household size and local market rent — with a focus on vulnerable groups like domestic violence survivors, seniors and those with disabilities. The report considers the benefits’ focus on especially high-needs households, and an estimate that vulnerable households in Ontario will require an average of $7,600 a year — or $630 per month — in order to afford acceptable housing by 2027-28. By that year, the FAO projects the average annual level of support provided to households through the joint housing benefit will fall short — to $6,600, or $550 per month. To Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, who chairs an East York chapter of the low-and-moderate income community group ACORN, the report speaks to a lack of adequate, affordable housing supply, even with a supplement to bring monthly costs down. “It’s not enough,” she said Thursday. While the FAO projects the benefit won’t lift most recipients out of housing need, it does expect the benefit to reduce the number of Ontarians at heightened risk of homelessness. By 2025, the FAO estimates the benefit will bring down the number of households spending more than half their income on shelter costs by 19,600, leaving an estimated 159,800 still at risk. Asked about the FAO’s findings, Ontario Housing Minister Steve Clark’s office said it was “excited about the difference” the benefit made, and called on Ottawa to accelerate rollout. The federal government did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
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 — Premier Iain Rankin says Nova Scotia should have enough COVID-19 vaccine to give all residents at least one shot by the end of June. Rankin told reporters today following his first cabinet meeting as premier that his estimate is based on new federal government guidelines about increasing the interval between first and second doses of vaccine. He says he will likely have more details about the province's plan at Friday's COVID-19 briefing. The province is to get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next week, which will complement Nova Scotia's vaccine supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health officials are also announcing that restrictions on restaurant operating hours and sporting events will be lifted in Halifax and its surrounding regions on Friday morning. Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today, all in the Halifax area. Two involve contacts of previously reported cases and the third is under investigation. The province has 29 active reported cases of the disease. Residents of long-term care homes in the Halifax area are still limited to receiving visits from two designated caregivers. Officials say the restrictions for long-term care residents will remain in place in the region until March 27. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Vancouver's parks board is taking action to control the increasing numbers of messy and aggressive Canada geese. A statement from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation says it is developing a management plan to reduce the number of geese in city parks, beaches and on the seawall. The board is particularly concerned about humans feeding the birds, saying it brings flocks of geese to high-traffic areas such as Stanley Park and the beaches of English Bay and Sunset Beach. A key part of the management plan asks residents to identify Canada goose nests on private property so they can be removed or the eggs can be addled, and left in the nest so adults continue to brood, rather than lay again. The board estimates Vancouver's population of more than 3,500 Canada geese grows every year because the habitat is ideal and the birds have no natural predators. Several Okanagan cities are asking permission to cull growing flocks of Canada geese that foul area beaches and parks, but Vancouver's board says egg addling, a measure supported by the SPCA, is its only control measure. In addition to calling for public help in identifying nests, which can be on roofs, balconies or in tall, topped trees, the park board is urging people not to feed Canada geese. “Supplemental feeding by humans can also contribute to geese being able to lay more than one clutch of eight eggs per season; meaning that if one clutch does not hatch, they can replace it," the statement says. "In nature, without food from humans, this wouldn’t happen." Canada geese have inefficient digestive systems and the parks board says the birds produce more excrement for their size than most other species. The park board says it hopes to step up egg addling, saying wildlife specialists believe the practice must be tripled in order to cut Vancouver's goose populations. A web page has been created on the City of Vancouver website to report the location of nests so they can be removed or the eggs can be addled. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
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
SALT LAKE CITY — With Democrats controlling the presidency and Congress, Republican state lawmakers concerned about the possibility of new federal gun control laws aren't waiting to react. Legislation in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. Some bills would make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws. That can create confusion for officers who often work with federal law enforcement, said Daniel Isom, a former chief of the St. Louis Police Department who is now a senior advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety. Federal law plays a big role in some areas, such as keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders. Putting local officers in a position to decide which laws to enforce is the last thing police need at a time when cities such as St. Louis are experiencing a rise in violent crime, Isom said. “This has been an extremely challenging year for both communities and law enforcement, and to ask any more mental strain on officers at this point in time seems to be quite displaced," he said. Gun sales also have set monthly records nationwide since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Isom is concerned about a Missouri measure passed by the state House that would allow police departments with officers who enforce federal gun laws to be sued and face a $50,000 fine. It's not the first time Missouri has considered such a bill, but supporters pointed to President Joe Biden taking office as a reason to pass it now. In Utah, Republican Rep. Cory Maloy also referenced the incoming administration after the state House passed his bill with a similar provision forbidding the enforcement of federal gun laws. Many Republican state lawmakers see attempts to pass federal firearms restrictions as a threat to the Second Amendment. “We really feel the need to protect those rights,” he said. Several states passed similar laws under then-president Barack Obama, although judges have ruled against them in court. Most of the latest crop of federal nullification proposals focus on police officers inside their states who primarily enforce state rather than federal laws. While Biden has called for a ban on assault weapons, any new gun legislation will likely face an uphill climb given the political polarization that has tripped up past administrations. Democratic lawmakers from conservative-leaning states also could join Republicans in opposing new gun restrictions. Any measures likely to pass would have broad support, like background checks on all gun sales, said Everytown President John Feinblatt. Those dynamics haven't stopped state lawmakers who want to make the first move to protect gun rights in their states. Federal nullification bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa. In Texas, the governor has called for the state to become a Second Amendment sanctuary. In Arizona, a Senate proposal that passed the chamber on Wednesday would allow officers to be sued for enforcing federal gun restrictions that the state considers violations of the Second Amendment. They potentially could face criminal charges. A bill in the House doesn't include those punishments, but its sponsor, Republican Rep. Leo Biasiucci, said it would be a clear rejection of federal restrictions on assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines or other firearms. "They can do that at a federal level, but in Arizona it’s not going to fly,” he said. His proposal passed the state House last week over the objections of Democrats such as Rep. Daniel Hernandez of Tucson, who was present at the 2011 shooting that severely injured former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. If signed into law, the measure would be unconstitutional and lead to an expensive court fight, he said. Biasiucci compares his plan to Arizona voters' move to legalize recreational marijuana even though it remains against federal law. Gun-control groups see it differently. “Guns kill people and are used to create a public safety issue, whereas marijuana is really not,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “What is likely to happen if gun laws are not followed is people get killed as a result.” Similar measures passed by the Republican Legislature in Montana were vetoed in previous years by the former Democratic governor. Now working with a Republican governor, the state House passed a bill last week to bar state officials from enforcing federal bans on certain firearms, ammunition or magazines. Under Obama's presidency, the Legislature passed a law in 2009 that made guns and ammunition manufactured in Montana exempt from federal law. It eventually was struck down in court, but several states still followed with their own nullification measures. In 2013, two Kansas men tried to use that state's nullification law to overturn their federal convictions for possessing unregistered firearms, but the challenge was rejected. “The main issue there is the Supremacy Clause," the part of the Constitution that says federal law supersedes state law, said Jacob Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke Law School. Even so, the bills focused on what local police can and can't do could pass legal muster. “States have no obligation to enforce federal law," he said. ___ Associated Press writer Bob Christie in Phoenix contributed to this report. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Some of Hinton’s residents are now eligible and have been receiving the vaccine for COVID-19. A concern was raised over the fact that vaccinations are being given at the same site as where tests for potential COVID-19 cases are being conducted, but Alberta Health Services (AHS) says that this does not pose a health risk. “In the North Zone, there are some facilities in which both COVID-19 testing and vaccine immunization appointments are provided. We do not offer COVID-19 testing and vaccine immunization appointments simultaneously. Extensive infection prevention and control measures are continuously followed on-site and there is rigorous cleaning conducted after each clinic,” stated Diana Rinne, AHS North Zone senior communications advisor. COVID-19 testing was moved indoors once the weather became too cold, according to Rinne. There are currently 67 active AHS immunization clinics across the province, located in a mix of facilities, where people can book appointments, she noted on March 1. This number fluctuates and more clinics are being planned. These clinics do not provide drop-in services in any way and patients require an appointment. When someone is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, they must book an appointment using the online tool on the AHS website or by phoning Health Link at 811. Once an appointment is booked with AHS, patients will be provided with a confirmation with the location, date, and time for their first and second dose appointment. All clients wait in their cars until five minutes before their appointment and are asked not to arrive more than 10 minutes early. “Please respect each other’s designated appointment time and help ensure everyone continues to follow Alberta’s public health guidance. We also ask that only those receiving their vaccination enter the immunization clinic unless you require assistance,” Rinne said. Each appointment is booked approximately 10 minutes apart and the appointment takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes, including the monitoring time after the vaccine is given. A waiting room is available for individuals to sit after their vaccination. Clinics are also wheelchair accessible and staff is on-hand to assist individuals that require help. AHS will make an effort to allow eligible individuals that require assistance to bring one support person during the appointment. “A support person can be a spouse, family member, friend or caregiver. Support people must adhere to public health measures while at the clinic, including hand hygiene, continuous masking and physical distance from others,” Rinne said. Clients must bring one piece of identification with them to the appointment, such as an Alberta Health Care card, a driver’s licence, Social Insurance Number, birth certificate, or passport. As of Feb. 28, 235,508 COVID-19 immunizations were administered, and 88,145 Albertans were fully immunized. Fully immunized individuals received two doses of the vaccine. There were also 114 adverse events reported following immunization. Phase 1B of Alberta’s immunization plan includes seniors 75 years of age and over (born 1946 or earlier), and First Nations, Métis and persons 65 years of age and over living in a First Nations community or Metis Settlement. Book online, call 811, or contact a participating pharmacy in Calgary, Edmonton or Red Deer. Alberta took a positive step towards lifting COVID-19 restrictions on March 1, when health officials announced the province would cautiously move to Step 2 of the four-step framework to ease restrictions. This is good news for indoor fitness and libraries as they are now allowed to open with some restrictions. Libraries must limit capacity to 15 per cent of their fire code occupancy, while indoor fitness is restricted to low intensity individual and group exercise by appointment only. Low-intensity exercise includes weightlifting, low-intensity dance classes, yoga, barre, indoor climbing, as well as the low-intensity use of treadmills, ellipticals and related equipment. Step two required Alberta’s hospitalizations to sit below 450 while declining, which it has been doing since Jan. 30. In recent days, there has been a plateau of overall active cases and a slight increase in testing positivity rate, admitted Premier Jason Kenney on March 1. As a cautionary measure, changes to current restrictions for retail, children’s sports, hotels, banquets, community halls, and conference centres were delayed. “It’s not that they were delayed until Step 3, it’s still going to be up to the cabinet COVID committee so it could come before Step 3. Those will be decisions that we make as we continue to evaluate the evidence with Dr. Hinshaw and her office,” said Tyler Shandro, Alberta Health Minister on March 1. Strong measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 will be maintained provincewide, including wearing masks and distancing. A decision on Step 3 will be made after at least three weeks, on March 22. As of March 2, there were 261 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 54 in intensive care. Province-wide there are 4,631 active cases, with 257 new cases on March 2. Additional details on the current restrictions are outlined on alberta.ca. Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice
As the University of King's College announced the appointment of two Toronto lawyers to lead an independent, third-party review into an allegation of sexual assault involving a former professor, the school also acknowledged that a key document has gone missing. Wayne Hankey was charged with sexual assault on Feb. 1 for an alleged incident that occurred in student housing at the Halifax university in 1988. The complainant came forward to police in September. In a separate incident, Hankey was disciplined by both King's and the Anglican Church in 1991 after a former student alleged Hankey had sexually abused him for two years in the late 1970s. The report from the committee that investigated that complaint is "no longer available," said a letter from King's president Bill Lahey released on Thursday. "While there is institutional memory about the work of this committee and ancillary documents pertaining to the committee's work, a comprehensive search led us to conclude that the university's copy of the report has not existed for a number of years." The disappearance of that document will form part of the review. The school said Halifax police contacted King's last month asking for Hankey's employment records, and that police will obtain the legal orders it needs to be provided with that confidential information, which King's has already gathered. Terms of review Janice Rubin, who will work on the review with her colleague Elizabeth Bingham at Toronto law firm Rubin Thomlinson, has been asked to determine the facts of the 1988 allegation, as well as an appropriate response from the university The review will take place in a way that does not compromise the court case, the school said. Rubin, who frequently conducts investigations of workplace harassment, previously investigated the CBC's handling of the behaviour of former radio and television host, Jian Ghomeshi. The review will determine the facts and the impact of the 1988 incident, figure out whether authorities at the university knew about the incident and what actions they took, and make recommendations to King's about how to respond to that incident. Rubin and Bingham will also consider the 1991 case and whether there are any other incidents involving Hankey that are relevant to how King's should respond to the 1988 incident. The reviewers will also determine whether King's acted to ensure the safety of students, how the university should be accountable for any harm, how the school should deal with third-party complaints of sexualized violence that happened before its policy was implemented, how it can ensure a safe environment and anything else Rubin and Bingham deem relevant. 'Our silence is born of respect' Lahey's letter said the university will not say "anything that could interfere with the credibility and effectiveness of the review. From this day forward, Janice Rubin and her team will determine how they do their work, not the university." "Be assured that our silence is born of respect for the process and not any avoidance of it," Lahey wrote. The final report, with redactions to protect individuals' privacy, will be released to the King's community. Meanwhile, Dalhousie University, which employed Hankey for decades up to and including the week he was charged with sexual assault, announced it will co-operate with the King's review and give the investigators access to information "where matters raised may tie to Dalhousie's jurisdiction." Dalhousie has not announced its own review. MORE TOP STORIES
Since Aurora began enforcing a three-bag limit on garbage collection, the community has seen a significant reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill. But, in some cases, a three-bag limit isn’t cutting it for residents and some flexibility is in order. This was the view that Mayor Tom Mrakas and Councillor Harold Kim presented to Council last week in a joint motion which could lead to a bag tag program for the Town of Aurora. Approved by Council on February 23, the motion has tasked municipal staff with drafting a report on various options for a garbage bag tag policy to be implemented “as soon as possible.” Among the reasons citied by lawmakers for adding some flexibility for waste collection were households with large families and homes that have tenanted secondary suites such as basement apartments. “It just seems like a more pragmatic solution to have a tag system,” said Councillor Kim. “There are a lot of options out there and this motion is asking staff to look at those options and see which is the best solution for Aurora.” Mayor Mrakas, however, already had one particular option in mind: allocating households a specific number of tags each year and letting them use them as they see fit. “There is one thing that is in common with almost every single municipality that provides a limit and that is there is a tag policy in place,” he said. “The difference with some of them [is] you get a full amount for the year and I believe that is probably the best approach. I think if we provide everyone with a full amount for the year… we have 26 weeks of garbage [collection]…you provide 78 tags to everyone. It becomes a very simple process for GFL and our waste diversion: if you don’t have a sticker, it does not get picked up. You can still get extra tags on top of that, but this also, I believe, allows us to follow our strategic goals [from an environmental perspective].” Although Council has not yet pinned down a specific bag tag method, the motion calling for options was warmly received. Councillor Wendy Gaertner, for instance, said she has received feedback on the three-bag limit from a resident with “quite a large family” and options would be welcome. “There will be families who have more than one generation and they need that,” she said. “For homes that have registered secondary dwelling units… I don’t think we should be charging them for extra bags of garbage because they are providing affordable housing.” Al Downey, Aurora’s Director of Operations, said legal secondary units are a “challenge” with the three-bag limit and there are a variety of ways to address that. “One of the options that we provided to Council was to provide tags to those residents so they could tag the additional bags,” he said. “If you had three dwelling units, you would be able to put out nine bags. Six of those bags would be tagged. There is also a system where you can put an icon on the building itself identifying the number of dwelling units on that icon and when the garbage collector comes to that site, they are aware there [is more than one] dwelling unit.” Whatever options ultimately come forward, however, Councillor Michael Thompson sought re-assurances they would fit into the Town’s stated commitments on waste reduction. “As a whole, we have made a strategic commitment to reduce waste and continue to look at ways to do that,” he said. “We all know there are some costs to it… not just from a financial perspective, but a social perspective as well. I would be interested seeing in that report any evidence or anecdotal information that supports a bag tag policy as being able to reduce our waste or not. I would be interested in knowing how this can help us further align with our strategic goals when it comes to the reduction of waste in the environment.” Since Aurora began looking at ways to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill, the figures have dropped by 31 per cent, said Mr. Downey, a five-year low. “We have never put so little garbage in landfill, so it has had a very positive impact,” said Mr. Downey. “There are some challenges and I think that we need to address those challenges and [the report will tackle] some of those challenges. Secondary dwelling units are an issue and people want to know how we can deal with secondary units more effectively. I believe the bag tag system will help with that. We will be providing some options. As you know, Aurora has the highest bag limit within York Region, so no one [municipality] has more than three bags. We are already at the upper level, however there are situations where people may want to put out more bags and this report will help address those things. “I am very happy to say we have had a very dramatic impact in just the first month.” Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
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".
Universal Pictures has delayed the global debut of the "Fast & Furious" movie "F9" by one month until June 25, the company said on Thursday, the latest shift by Hollywood studios trying to gauge when moviegoers will return to theaters in large numbers. The move signaled that Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp, is confident of a summer rebound as coronavirus vaccines become more widely available in the United States and Canada, which combined make up the world's largest film market. Theater operators including AMC Entertainment, Cineworld Plc and Cinemark Holdings Inc are hoping they will have blockbusters movies to show this summer, typically their most lucrative season.
BOSTON — Distance running, traditionally one of the world's most genteel sports, has been roiled by an ugly mid-pandemic squabble over who should get a shot at a coveted Boston Marathon medal. Rival camps in the running world began snapping at each other's heels this week. It began after the Boston Athletic Association, which still hopes to hold a truncated in-person edition of the planet's most prestigious footrace in October, said it will award medals to up to 70,000 athletes if they go the distance wherever they are. Practically within minutes of the BAA's announcement greatly expanding its virtual version of the race, a boisterous social media maelstrom ensued. On one side: Runners who've spent years training to qualify to run the real thing, including some who complain that mailing medals to people who run the 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometres) in Dallas or Denver will cheapen the iconic Boston experience. “A dagger through the heart to someone who has worked hard to finally earn the qualifying standard,” one runner, Mark Howard of Salisbury, North Carolina, groused on Twitter. On the other: Pretty much everyone else, including the plodding masses and runners who raise millions for charities, who counter that anything that helps the 125-year-old marathon survive the COVID-19 crisis is worthwhile. “A virtual Boston race that invites everyone is a reason to celebrate,” said Maria Arana, a marathoner and coach in Phoenix. “It in no way takes away from my personal Boston Marathon experience or anyone else’s.” The bickering seems to have caught many off-guard, if only because road racing has long had a reputation as a kind and egalitarian sport. It's one of the few disciplines where ordinary amateurs compete in real time on the same course as elite professionals, and where trash-talking is rare. As four-time Boston champion Bill Rodgers famously said: “Running is a sport where everyone gets along.” A notable exception to that gentility was the 1967 race, when race director Jock Semple ran after Kathrine Switzer — the first woman to run with an official bib number — and tried unsuccessfully to pull her off the course. It also comes as the Boston Marathon and other big-city races are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic and looking for creative ways to keep runners engaged online. The BAA put on a virtual version of the marathon last year, after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to first postpone its usual April running to September, and then cancel in-person racing altogether. But that was limited to athletes who had already qualified to race or had registered as charity runners. This time, the first 70,000 people aged 18 or older who sign up and pay a fee will be able to earn a finisher's medal simply by covering the classic distance wherever they happen to be. They don't even need to run — they can walk. “For the first time in our history, most everyone will have the opportunity to earn a Unicorn finisher’s medal,” BAA president and CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement. Grilk said the in-person race, if it comes off as scheduled on Oct. 11, will have a reduced field to help keep athletes and spectators safe. Typically the Boston field is capped at around 30,000; the BAA hasn't said how much smaller it will be this autumn. Josh Sitzer, a San Francisco runner who's qualified for the Boston Marathon three times, initially was among those who trashed the idea of giving out 70,000 medals as “a blatant money grab.” “Respect yourself and the game. Don’t do Boston unless you earn it,” he tweeted. Then he had a change of heart, tweeting: “I was wrong. It's not the same as the actual Boston Marathon, and it doesn't devalue” the experience of those who meet strict qualifying standards for a chance to line up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. It's been a bad look, acknowledges Erin Strout, who covers the sport for WomensRunning.com. “If there ever was a time to put our elitism and cynicism aside, it’s now,” she wrote in an opinion piece. “Let’s welcome each other in, cheer each other on, and seize the opportunity to bring back running bigger, better, and more inclusive than it was before.” ___ This story has been corrected to delete a reference to a $70 entry fee for the virtual marathon; organizers say they haven't yet decided on entry fees. ___ Follow AP New England editor Bill Kole on Twitter at http://twitter.com/billkole. William J. Kole, The Associated Press
Premier Blaine Higgs raised the possibility of a faster rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations and a quicker reopening of provincial borders on Thursday. The premier said with a new federal recommendation that second doses can be delayed by up to four months, New Brunswick could get everyone their first shot by the end of June. He also raised the possibility during a news conference with fellow premiers of re-establishing the Atlantic bubble and even getting borders to the rest of Canada "opened up" and "getting ourselves back to normal this spring." But speaking to New Brunswick journalists later, Higgs qualified that statement, saying it would depend on vaccination levels and other factors. He said talks with other Atlantic premiers on reopening borders within the bubble will probably happen in April. Factors that will determine reopening Higgs said it could be a reality "for this summer, but I'd like to get beyond that, and that'll depend on how many vaccines we have access to" as well as whether vulnerable groups and people who cross the borders regularly are vaccinated. "The move to the rest of Canada will be very dependent on the condition in the rest of Canada, in the big major centres, and what the vulnerability is for our province and the Atlantic region. That won't change unless we see a substantial change in those regions." The National Advisory Committee on Immunization told provinces this week that second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines can all be delayed by four months. Several provinces have said they'll take that advice. Higgs says the all-party COVID-19 committee will discuss soon whether to delay second vaccination doses by four months.(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press) Higgs said New Brunswick's all-party COVID-19 committee will make a decision on it next Tuesday, "but I would suggest we will be moving in that direction as well." That would allow the province to stretch its expected vaccine deliveries enough to provide more people their first dose sooner, possibly reaching everyone by the end of June, Higgs said. "That's what I'm focused on," he said. Given one dose reduces the risk of transmission significantly, Higgs said, that could see New Brunswick get "back to normal" by the end of June rather than the end of September, the target Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set for immunization of all willing Canadians. "The potential of moving that forward is real," Higgs said. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island both said Thursday they believe everyone who wants to be vaccinated can get a first dose by the end of June. There are currently 36 active cases in New Brunswick.(CBC News) 5 new cases in three zones Public Health reported five new cases in three zones on Thursday and said a presumptive case of a variant has been confirmed as the B117 variant strain. That previously reported case, which had been sent to Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory for sequencing, was in the Miramichi region, Zone 7. The new cases break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1, one case: an individual 20 to 29 years old. The case is travel-related. Edmundston region, Zone 4, three cases: two people 20 to 29 an individual 70 to 79 Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case: an individual 20 to 29. The case is under investigation. All of these people are self-isolating. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,443, and there are now 36 active cases. Since Wednesday, six people have recovered for a total of 1,378 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths. Three patients are in hospital, and two are in intensive care. A total of 231,307 tests have been conducted, including 767 since Wednesday's report. Two days of mass testing are underway at Miramichi's Dr. Losier Middle School. The clinics, for asymptomatic residents, continue Friday.(Horizon Health Network/Twitter) Mass testing underway in Zone 7 Mass testing clinics have been set up to help determine if there has been any further spread in the Miramichi region following several new cases and the confirmation of the variant's presence this week. The tests are available on a walk-in basis — no appointment necessary — for people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Testing is being held Thursday until 7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St. No time to let up precautions, epidemiologist says More people are being vaccinated each day and the number of COVID-19 cases has been dwindling for the most part, but there is still a chance Canada could face a third wave of the disease, an epidemiologist says. "We have learned from the past just as quickly as they go in the right direction they can go in the wrong direction," Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist in Winnipeg, told Information Morning Fredericton on Thursday. A third wave of COVID-19 in Canada is still hard to predict, she said. Germany and the Czech Republic are already experiencing third waves of the respiratory virus. Carr said a third wave of COVID-19 in Canada would mean something has changed, including the virus itself. It would also mean an increase in cases, although with vaccine rollouts underway, the virus could be milder. A combination of personal vigilance and Public Health measures is still needed. "The virus cannot spread and thrive if we don't give it a chance to pass from one person to another." Public exposure notifications Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flight: Air Canada flight 8906 on Feb. 20, from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:10 p.m. Anyone who took this flight should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the flight. people who develop COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or call 811 to get tested. On Wednesday, Public Health issued a list of potential public exposures to the virus at the following locations in Zone 7. Individuals who tested positive were in these establishments. The department does not have the exact times these people were in the businesses on the list, "but it is believed it was for a short duration on these dates." Sobeys, 273 Pleasant St., Feb. 15, Feb. 19, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 Atlantic Superstore, 408 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 Shoppers Drug Mart, 397 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 17 and Feb. 26 Dollarama, 100 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 20 Winners, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 Giant Tiger, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 24 Walmart, 200 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 24 Bulk Barn, 100-99 Douglastown Blvd. on Feb. 27 NB Liquor, 221 Pleasant St., Feb. 27. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
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
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
Alphabet Inc's YouTube will lift its suspension on former U.S. President Donald Trump's channel when it determines the risk of real-world violence has decreased, the company's CEO, Susan Wojcicki, said on Thursday. YouTube suspended Trump's channel for violating policies against inciting violence after the assault on the U.S. Capitol by the former president's supporters in January. "The channel remains suspended due to the risk of incitement to violence," said Wojcicki, speaking in an interview with the head of the Atlantic Council think tank.
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