For the second day this week, Toronto has been hit with another snow storm. As Erica Vella reports, the weather has led to some slippery road conditions.
For the second day this week, Toronto has been hit with another snow storm. As Erica Vella reports, the weather has led to some slippery road conditions.
WASHINGTON — With President Joe Biden on the verge of his first big legislative victory, a key moderate Democrat said Sunday he's open to changing Senate rules that could allow for more party-line votes to push through other parts of the White House’s agenda such as voting rights. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stressed that he wants to keep the procedural hurdle known as the filibuster, saying major legislation should always have significant input from the minority party. But he noted there are other ways to change the rules that now effectively require 60 votes for most legislation. One example: the “talking filibuster,” which that requires senators to slow a bill by holding the floor, but then grants an “up or down” simple majority vote if they give up. “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said. “Maybe it has to be more painful.” “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin added. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.” Democrats are beginning to look to their next legislative priorities after an early signature win for Biden on Saturday, with the Senate approving a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan on a party-line 50-49 vote. Final passage is expected Tuesday in the House if leaders can hold the support of progressives frustrated that the Senate narrowed unemployment benefits and stripped out an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Over the weekend, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, representing around 100 House liberals, called the Senate’s weakening of some provisions “bad policy and bad politics." But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., also characterized the changes as “relatively minor concessions” and emphasized the bill retained its “core bold, progressive elements.” Biden says he would sign the measure immediately if the House passed it. The legislation would allow many Americans to receive $1,400 in direct checks from the government this month. “Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” a jubilant Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told The Associated Press in an interview after Saturday's vote. Still, the Democrats’ approach required a last-minute call from Biden to Manchin to secure his vote after he raised late resistance to the breadth of unemployment benefits. That immediately raised questions about the path ahead in a partisan environment where few, if any, Republicans are expected to back planks of the president’s agenda. Democrats used a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to approve Biden’s top priority without Republican support, a strategy that succeeded despite the reservations of some moderates. But work in the coming months on other issues such as voting rights and immigration could prove more difficult. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pledged that Senate Republicans would block passage of a sweeping House-passed bill on voting rights. The measure, known as HR 1, would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to the campaign finance system. It would serve as a counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s repeated false claims about a “stolen” election. “Not one Republican is going to vote for HR 1 because it’s a federal takeover of elections, it sets up a system where there is no real voter security or verification,” Graham said. “It is a liberal wish list in terms of how you vote.” When asked about the voting rights bill, Manchin on Sunday left the door open to supporting some kind of a workaround, suggesting he could support “reconciliation” if he was satisfied that Republicans had the ability to provide input. But it was unclear how that would work as voting rights are not budget-related and would not qualify for the reconciliation process. “I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also,” Manchin said. On Sunday, the anti-filibuster advocacy group “Fix Our Senate” praised Manchin’s comments as a viable way to get past “pure partisan obstruction" in the Senate. “Sen. Manchin just saw Senate Republicans unanimously oppose a wildly popular and desperately-needed COVID relief bill that only passed because it couldn’t be filibustered, so it’s encouraging to hear him express openness to reforms to ensure that voting rights and other critical bills can’t be blocked by a purely obstructionist minority,” the group said in a statement. Manchin spoke on NBC's “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” CNN's “State of the Union” and ABC's “This Week,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures." ___ Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. Hope Yen, The Associated Press
Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada's chief public health officer expressed optimism over vaccines ahead of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it's been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice."Yet, as the months have gone by, I have also witnessed the remarkable courage, strength, and generosity demonstrated by Canadians," she wrote in a statement."Through it all, it is the incredible support that Canadians have shown for one another that has impressed me the most."Tam expressed optimism that brighter days were coming, thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines."This week has been a very good week for Canada's COVID-19 vaccination programs," she wrote.The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are among the provinces preparing to lift restrictions on Monday after weeks of stable or declining cases. A stay-at-home order in Ontario's Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions, including Quebec City, will be downgraded from red to orange on the province's colour-coded regional alert system.All of New Brunswick will transition to the less-restrictive "yellow" alert level Sunday at midnight, meaning residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.Canada's two biggest cities will remain under fairly strict restrictions, however. Toronto — and neighbouring Peel Region — will enter the "grey lockdown" category, which will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining closed.The greater Montreal region remains a red zone, which means an 8 p.m. curfew is still in effect.Tam said the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.In a long message, Tam said it is not that it is not possible to directly compare the efficacy of different vaccines to one another."Each vaccine was studied in a separate trial conducted at different times, using different populations and conditions," she wrote.She said the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 62 per cent in generally preventing "symptomatic COVID-19." Both vaccines, she said, were found to protect against severe disease, meaning that those who got COVID-19 after the shot were much less likely to get seriously ill. Currently, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization does not recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those aged 65 or over due to limited data, but Tam stressed that the recommendations could change.She noted both the new vaccines are easier to transport than those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require freezer storage. With Canada set to receive more than 900,000 COVID-19 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, many provinces are ramping up their vaccination campaigns.Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65.Quebec, which has been booking vaccine appointments for seniors 70 or 80 and over depending on the region, will speed up the pace this week as more mass vaccination centres open across the province after focusing mainly on hard-hit Montreal last week. Quebec counted 707 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and seven more deaths. Ontario reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. That province logged 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 15 added deaths. Manitoba counted 56 new cases of the virus and two more deaths. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 116 more cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19, including a person who was under 20 years old. Alberta logged roughly 300 new cases of the virus Sunday, though the province said a system upgrade meant precise numbers weren't available. Farther east, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each recorded two new cases of COVID-19. The government said it would receive more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be sent to five different parts of the province.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
The Champions League talking points ahead of the first set of second-leg matches in the round of 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday: JUVENTUS VS. PORTO (first leg: 1-2) Álvaro Morata is finding his best form at the right time for Juventus. Morata had not scored in the league since December and was sidelined recently with illness but the Juventus forward has scored three times in his last two matches -- including in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Lazio. Morata has scored six goals in this season’s Champions League, two more than teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The 36-year-old Ronaldo was given some much-needed rest at the weekend and went on only for the final 20 minutes, which should leave him fresh for Tuesday's match against Porto. Juventus has been dealing with illness and injuries. Coach Andrea Pirlo hopes Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt will recover in time to play Porto. Forward Paulo Dybala is still sidelined, while Rodrigo Bentancur is also out after contracting the coronavirus. Porto also has some injury problems, including defender Pepe with a right leg ailment. DORTMUND VS. SEVILLA (3-2) Borussia Dortmund’s 4-2 loss to Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich at the weekend could leave its mark for Tuesday’s visit from Sevilla. Star striker Erling Haaland, who scored twice in Dortmund’s 3-2 win over Sevilla in the first leg, was taken off early with stud marks on the back of his right ankle after a nasty challenge from Jérôme Boateng. Although Haaland told Dortmund coach Edin Terzic “it wouldn’t be a big problem.” The loss in Munich marked the end of Dortmund’s four-game winning run across all competitions. The team was without Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Guerreiro and Gio Reyna. All three face a race to be fit for Tuesday. Sevilla has been struggling since the first-leg loss to Dortmund, losing three of its four matches since then. It is coming off a loss to relegation-threatened Elche in the Spanish league, and was eliminated by Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey despite a 2-0 first-leg win. PSG VS. BARCELONA (4-1) Barcelona seems like a different team to the one which played so badly in the second half at home to PSG. Ronald Koeman’s lineup is 16 games unbeaten in the league and the defence appears to be considerably stronger now that he has ditched the ineffective 4-3-3 formation for a 3-5-2 system which offers his central defenders more protection. Veteran defender Gerard Pique is a doubtful starter for the game, however, after hurting his knee midweek. A lot will rest Wednesday on Barça’s French defenders Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, with PSG is almost at full strength. Goal-scoring winger Angel Di Maria is back from injury and Neymar is close to a return after getting back to training. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino may see no valid reason to drop the 4-2-3-1 formation which worked so well in Spain, with Kylian Mbappe helping himself to three goals despite playing wide and not as the central striker. Even though PSG defends a big lead at Parc des Princes, there may be some nerves about facing Lionel Messi in top form once again. PSG went out after losing 6-1 in Spain in 2017 having won the home leg 4-0. But this Barcelona lineup is not as strong as the 2017 squad, and PSG is more resilient now. LIVERPOOL VS. LEIPZIG (2-0) The teams return to neutral territory at the Puskas Arena in Budapest with Liverpool's two-goal cushion perhaps not as commanding as it seems given the team's recent problems, particularly in its injury-hit defence. The pressure is on the soon-to-be-deposed English champions because winning the Champions League might be the most likely route back into the competition for next season. Juergen Klopp's squad currently sits outside the Premier League's top four. Leipzig is on a six-game winning run in the Bundesliga and briefly took over top spot on Saturday. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann omitted Angeliño from the team that beat Freiburg 3-0, but dampened hopes the Spanish winger will return in time for Liverpool. Uncharacteristic defensive lapses helped Liverpool in the first leg. The game is again taking place in the Hungarian capital due to German restrictions on visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The world’s most renowned hockey dad, remembered for having a “love for life” and being important to the “culture of Canada” by his legendary hockey son, was laid to rest on Saturday. Walter Gretzky’s funeral took place at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Brantford, Ont., but was significantly scaled back from anywhere near the scope and grandeur fitting the mark he left, with capacity limited to 30 per cent due to pandemic protocols. “I don’t think I met a prouder Canadian than my dad,” Wayne Gretzky said of his father. Dozens of community members, including throngs of youngsters donning hockey uniforms, gathered outside the church, located near the home where Gretzky raised his family. Wayne told the sombre gathering of family and friends that his father, who suffered a brain aneurysm in the early 1990s and had a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease, had sustained a bad hip injury a few weeks ago. Gretzky clung to life for 21 days, with his family sitting with him, similar to how he fought after numerous other debilitating health complications over the years. He died March 4. He was 82. “We thought weeks ago that the end was here,” Wayne told the mourners. “He had a love for life and he didn’t want to leave.” Wayne called his late father a remarkable man who had a “heart of gold.” He said the world would be better off if there were many more people like him. “It’s been a tough time,” Wayne said. He thanked the community for leaving food and sandwiches as the family waited for the worst. Wayne told a fond story about how his father missed the birth of one of his sons, Brent, so that the two of them could attend a tournament in Whitby. When bothered by family and friends about missing the birth of his boy, an irritated Gretzky responded, “Yes, but we got the trophy,” Wayne recounted. “Every grandchild loved him,” Wayne said describing Walter’s close relationship to his grandchildren. “They understand how important he was, not only to our family but to the culture of Canada.” Gretzky was remembered as a man of faith who cherished family, hockey and church. The gathering also heard how he treated everyone equally and was willing to volunteer his time and raise money for charities. “Walter was great with kids, our kids, and all those kids he coached in minor league over the years, and those kids who came up to him for an autograph,” said Tim Dobbin, the former parish priest at St. Mark's who presided over the funeral. He left that church late last year. " The retired Bell telephone technician was often referred to as Canada’s most famous hockey dad. Son "Wayne tweeted the news of his father’s death on behalf of the family late Thursday: “He bravely battled Parkinson’s and other health issues these last few years but he never let it get him down ... He was truly the Great One and the proudest Canadian we know. We love you Dad.” Walter Gretzky rose from humble beginnings to become the patriarch of this country’s most legendary hockey family. Wayne honed his skills in a backyard rink that Walter built for his children and neighbourhood kids. It was dubbed “Wally Coliseum.” That’s where he taught his sons the basics of the game. Walter was born on the family farm in Canning, Ont., in 1938, where his mom made “good, old country Polish food,” including perogies that were “second to none,” he wrote in his autobiography, “On Family, Hockey and Healing.” His father, from Russia, specialized in making wine. Walter went to work for Bell Canada as a technician after finishing school, and is reported to have lost hearing in one ear after an on-the-job injury. He stayed with the company until 1991, when he retired after 34 years. Wayne had barely learned to walk when Walter had him out on his backyard patch of ice, teaching him to skate. His eldest son became a child phenomenon at hockey, annually scoring hundreds of goals and skating rings around older, stronger kids. Walter also coached two other sons. Keith Gretzky is assistant general manager of the Oilers. Brent Gretzky played 13 games in the NHL, all with Tampa Bay, and played a season in the Maple Leafs system when the top farm team was in St. John’s, N.L. Friends recalled that Walter was also an astute coach of other boys in the Brantford minor hockey system, including former Boston Bruins tough guy Stan Jonathan. In 1991, three days after his 53rd birthday, Gretzky suffered a stroke." In 2007, he was named to the Order of Canada, recognized for his contributions to minor hockey and support for numerous charities and non-profits, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. In 2010, he carried the Olympic torch hours before the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Games. Two years later, Gretzky was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease." That same year, an elementary school in Brantford was named in his honour. Walter Gretzky’s wife, Phyllis, died in 2005. He leaves behind daughter Kim and sons Wayne, Keith, Glen and Brent. With files from Star staff 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
While the federal Liberal government vowed in its 2015 election campaign to end water advisories in Indigenous communities by the end of March 2021, a recent report from the auditor general says they haven’t taken action to make this happen. Auditor General Karen Hogan says 100 water advisories have been lifted since the Liberals came to power, but 60 remain across 41 communities. “I am very concerned and honestly disheartened that this longstanding issue is still not resolved,” said Hogan, who presented her report to parliament in late-February. “Access to safe drinking water is a basic human necessity. I don’t believe anyone would say that this is in any way an acceptable situation in Canada in 2021.” She attributes this situation in part to an outdated funding model that hasn’t been changed in 30 years, as well as the lack of a regulatory regime similar to those in settler communities. “Until these solutions are implemented, First Nations communities will continue to experience challenges in accessing safe drinking water,” Hogan’s report reads. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, whose government has contributed $3 billion to address the issue, acknowledged in December that the government would not meet its target. He says he accepts the report’s findings and that the government is committed to fully funding operating and maintenance costs. Although COVID-19 is to blame for some of the delays, Hogan’s report says that delays were apparent in early-March 2020. Miller didn’t provide a concrete date by which the AG’s recommendations will be fully implemented. “While there are some plans in place or under development, those solutions won’t be in place until at least 2025; that’s a very long time for a community to go without safe drinking water,” said Hogan. In a statement, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called on the government to make ending water advisories an urgent priority. “Access to safe, clean water is more important now than ever to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep us all safe,” said Bellegarde. “I want to see significant and sustained investments in water treatment and water distribution for First Nations, a renewed commitment by the federal government to end boil water advisories within realistic timelines and real investments in First Nations infrastructure to close the infrastructure gap by 2030.” Chief Bellegarde highlighted the importance of water to Indigenous people, not only as a source of sustenance but spiritually. “Water is sacred to First Nations and key to the health and well-being of all living things,” he said. “We must see the human right to safe drinking water prioritized by our government partners. Sustained funding, including investments in operations and maintenance that reflect the true costs, not formula-driven numbers, is the only way to address long-standing issues and ensure safe drinking water for our people and nations.” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says the AG’s findings demonstrate the Liberals’ flakiness when it comes to upholding Indigenous rights. “There is no excuse that anyone in our country doesn’t have access to clean drinking water, particularly the first people of this land,” he said. This sentiment was also expressed by Conservative Indigenous Services critic Gary Vidal. “Government success isn’t measured by funding announcements, it’s measured by outcomes, and it is unacceptable that any Canadian is without clean drinking water,” said Vidal. “The Liberals like to make eye-catching promises in order to win elections but their consistent failure to deliver on these promises is undermining trust and hurting reconciliation.” The water advisories are based on quality tests and fall into three categories — boil water advisories, which require the water to be boiled for consumption, and use in cooking and cleaning; do not consume advisories, which means the water can only be used for adult bathing; and do not use. Most advisories fall into the boil category, according to Hogan’s audit. According to reporting from APTN, 15 percent of First Nations homes depend on water delivered to them in trucks, while thousands rely on cisterns attached to their homes. That’s because the government’s $1.74 billion dedicated to water infrastructure in First Nations communities doesn’t include enough funds for the pipelines needed to bring water from the treatment plants directly to people’s homes. Perry Mcleod, a water treatment plant operator in Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan, said he’s found dead mice, snakes and a car battery in water cisterns he’s cleaned. “They’re always testing positive for E. coli and bacterias and whatever,” said Mcleod. “There’s standing boil water advisories on all the cisterns and we’re never going to lift it, until we get water trucked, or our water piped to every household.” Jeremy Appel is a LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Authorities promised Sunday to pursue criminal charges after a massive party near the University of Colorado in Boulder devolved into a violent confrontation with police that left three officers injured. (March 7)
Western embassies appealed to the ruling military junta to allow the protesters to leave Sanchaung, where they were cornered at the end of another day of bloodshed in Myanmar in which at least three protesters were killed elsewhere in the country. "Free the students in Sanchaung," people chanted in the streets in districts across the former capital, where daily protests have taken place for more than a month against the Feb. 1 coup which overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
VICTORIA — Health authorities across British Columbia announced locations for COVID-19 vaccine centres Sunday, the day before some of the province's oldest residents could start booking appointments to get their first shots. Vaccine call centres are set to open Monday morning to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people 90 and older, and Indigenous people 65 or older, as well as those who identify as Indigenous elders. Island Health officials said Sunday 19 community sites across Vancouver Island have been identified to administer COVID-19 vaccines and 25 community sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will be used as clinic locations. The Interior, Northern and Fraser health authorities say they will confirm vaccination sites with people when they book a COVID-19 appointment. "We recognize that there's lots of people that are eager to call in and get going (Monday), so just another reminder that please, unless you are in that category of over 90 or Indigenous over 65 or you identify as an elder, please don't call next week so we can get through this important population,'" said Victoria Schmid, Island Health's pandemic planner. "Your turn will come," she said at a news conference Sunday. "We just need everyone to be patient right now." People can contact their health authority and book appointments for themselves or their spouse, and family members or friends are permitted to schedule an appointment on someone else's behalf, Schmid said. People will be asked to provide the person's first and last name, date of birth, postal code and personal health number and will be asked for an email address or text number to confirm the COVID-19 vaccine appointment, she said.. People born in 1936 or earlier can start calling for appointments on March 15 and those born in 1941 or earlier can start scheduling their shots on March 22. Schmid said she expected the appointments to last about 30 minutes, which includes a 15-minute waiting period following the administration of the vaccine. She suggested people wear short sleeves to make it easier to give the vaccine and not to forget a mask. A support person to can accompany people to the vaccine clinic, she said. Schmid said sites for the community clinics were chosen for their accessibility and comfort and familiarity for Indigenous people. "Ease of access was really important to us," she said. "We really tried to keep a travel time to no more than 15 minutes within urban areas. We want to make sure these sites are accessible for individuals with mobility challenges." Immunization clinics will also be held at Indigenous friendship centres in Victoria, Port Alberni and Port Hardy, Schmid said. Vancouver Coastal Health said in a news release its clinics will be located cross Metro Vancouver and the Squamish and Whistler areas and the Sunshine Coast. The clinics will be held at community, friendship, senior and cultural centres and other regional sites. The health authorities plan to have B.C.'s population of elderly people, ranging in age from 80 to more than 90 years and Indigenous people 65 and older and elders, vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 12, Schmid said. She said a person 90 years and older who calls next week for a COVID-19 vaccination will get their appointment within one week. "They have a week to register for the following week's vaccination appointment," said Schmid. "After that, we're going to move to register those over 85 and then moving down the week after to those over 80." Island Health's Dr. Mike Benusic said he's optimistic about the vaccination rollout. "The announcements we're giving right now provide me with such a sense of hope," he said. "The fact is right now we have 25 times the number of people vaccinated within Island Health than people who have had COVID-19 within Island Health, and we're only going to see that number sky rocket in the next few weeks and months." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
OCALA, Fla. — Austin Ernst won the Drive On Championship on Sunday for her third LPGA Tour title, pulling away to beat fellow former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho by five strokes at Golden Ocala. Tied for the lead with Kupcho after each of the first two rounds and a stroke ahead entering the day, Ernst closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the wire-to-wire victory at 15-under 273. “I think it’s just really cool to be in the heat of it all week and to be able to perform the way I did,” Ernst said. “To hit the shots I hit, and to shoot the scores I shot, I think it’s just kind of testament to me, that I can do this week in and week out and just if I have a little belief myself kind of what I can do.” Kupcho, coming off a closing eagle Saturday, had a double bogey and three bogeys in a 74. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished in a tie for 44th place at 2-over 290. Calgary's Jaclyn Lee finished in a tie for 62nd after shooting a 7-over 295. Following sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda in the first two events of the year, Ernst gave the United States three straight victories to open a season for the first time since 2007. “I think the difference this week even just the last week was I just fully committed to believing in what I do and that it’s good enough,” said Ernst, who missed the cut last week in the Gainbridge LPGA with rounds of 75 and 72. “I think this week proved that it’s more than good enough. It was fun to walk up and know that I was going to win. I haven’t had that yet, so that was fun.” The 29-year-old former LSU star from South Carolina, showing her school spirit Sunday with a purple shirt, also won the 2014 Portland Classic and the 2020 NW Arkansas Championship. She won the NCAA title in 2011. With brother Drew — a former player at Coastal Carolina — working as her caddie, Ernst birdied Nos. 4-7 to get to 17 under, but dropped back with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13. “Walked to 14 and Drew just told me, `Hey, you’re playing great. Just keep doing what you want to do and let’s just make a few birdies coming in,'" Ernst said. “Didn’t make any birdies, but played well coming in, and that made it easy.” Kupcho birdied 10 and 12 to pull within three strokes of Ernst, then bogeyed 14, made the double bogey on the par-3 15th and bogeyed 17. She played most of the back nine in the opening round Thursday with a migraine that blurred her vision. “I set myself up after 12 to be able to make a little bit of a move,” Kupcho said.” I just missed a pretty easy up-and-down, honestly, on 13, and obviously missed the putt on 14. ... But I didn’t really think it was over until I hit the tee shot on 15. Everyone hits bad shots. It’s just unfortunate that’s when mine came for the week.” Winless on the tour, the former 23-year-old former Wake Forest star from Colorado won the NCAA title in 2018 and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. “Just work on getting stronger and continuing to focus on my game,” Kupcho said. “Pretty much the same thing I did over the off-season. I think it will be nice to have a little bit of a break for sure for a couple days.” Jenny Coleman made it a 1-2-3 U.S. finish, closing with a 71 to get to 8 under. “It helps boost my confidence and know I have the game to be out here and I deserve to be out here,” the 28-year-old former Colorado player said. In Gee Chun of South Korea was fourth at 7 under after a 69. Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela was another stroke back after a 73. Nelly Korda, tied with Ernst and Kupcho for the first-round lead, had weekend rounds of 76 and 75 to tie for 28th at even par. Jessica Korda shot a 71 to tie for eighth at 4 under. The Associated Press
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 600 others on Sunday, authorities said. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said the explosion at 4 p.m. local time was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite” in the military barracks located in the neighbourhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata. “The impact of the explosion caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata," the president said in a statement, which was in Spanish. The defence ministry released a statement late Sunday saying that a fire at a weapons depot in the barracks caused the explosion of high-calibre ammunition. It said the provisional death toll was 20, adding that the cause of the explosions will be fully investigated. The country's president said the fire may have been due to residents burning the fields surrounding the barracks. State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the explosion site as crowds fled, with many people crying out “we don’t know what happened, but it is all destroyed.” Images on local media seen by The Associated Press show people screaming and crying running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital. Equatorial Guinea, an African country of 1.3 million people located south of Cameroon, was a colony of Spain until it gained its independence in 1968. Bata has roughly 175,000 inhabitants. Earlier, the Health Ministry had tweeted that 17 were killed. The ministry made a call for blood donors and volunteer health workers to go to the Regional Hospital de Bata, one of three hospitals treating the wounded. The ministry said its health workers were treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still missing under the rubble. The blasts were a shock for the oil rich Central African nation. Foreign Minister Simeón Oyono Esono Angue met with foreign ambassadors and asked for aid. “It is important for us to ask our brother countries for their assistance in this lamentable situation since we have a health emergency (due to COVID-19) and the tragedy in Bata,” he said. A doctor calling into TVGE, who went by his first name, Florentino, said the situation was a “moment of crisis” and that the hospitals were overcrowded. He said a sports centre set up for COVID-19 patients would be used to receive minor cases. Radio station, Radio Macuto, said on Twitter that people were being evacuated within four kilometres of the city because the fumes might be harmful. Following the blast, the Spanish Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommended on Twitter that “Spanish nationals stay in their homes." ___ Joseph Wilson reported from Barcelona, Spain. ___ A previous version of this story was corrected to show that state television is TVGE, not TGVE. Sam Mednick And Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
Meghan said she considered suicide or self-harm during her time with the Royal Family after asking for help but getting none. "I just didn't want to be alive any more. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember how [Prince Harry] just cradled me," the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey during an interview aired Sunday. Asked if she thought of harming herself or having suicidal thoughts, Meghan said yes. "This was very, very clear, ... and very scary," she told Winfrey. Meghan also said the Royal Family refused to make her and Prince Harry's son, Archie, a prince partly due to conversations about how dark his skin might be. Meghan, left, discusses her experiences with the royal family with Oprah Winfrey during a special that aired on Sunday.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) "They didn't want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn't going to receive security," Meghan told Winfrey. "In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of, you won't be given security, not gonna be given a title and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born." Asked who the conversation was with, Meghan said "I think that would be very damaging to them." Says Royal Family failed to protect her Sunday night's two-hour special — which opened with a one-on-one interview between Meghan and Winfrey — provided a first, and unprecedented, peek into the couple's departure from royal duties and the strains it has placed on them. Harry joined in the second half of the program to announce that the two are expecting a baby girl this summer. Earlier, Meghan said the Royal Family tried to silence her and people within the institution not only failed to protect her against malicious claims by the British press but lied to protect others. "It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family," Meghan said, "But they weren't willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband," she said. Prince Harry, left, joined Meghan to discuss their decision to leave active roles in the Royal Family.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Meghan also refuted British tabloid reports that she made her sister-in-law Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, cry before her 2018 wedding, but rather that the reverse happened. Meghan told Winfrey that Kate subsequently apologized and she forgave her. But when tabloid stories emerged purporting the opposite, Meghan said that marked a turning point for her relationship with U.K. media, and said she would have hoped Kate would have wanted the story corrected. "What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn't do, but that happened to me." The show, which included Winfrey's interviews with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aired first in the United States — Meghan's home country — and Canada at 8 p.m. ET. British audiences will wake up Monday to headlines and social media posts about Winfrey's special, but won't be able to see the full interview until Monday night when it airs on ITV. Meghan told Winfrey that she realized life as a royal would be different than she anticipated when her future husband, Prince Harry, asked her if she knew how to curtsey before meeting Queen Elizabeth. "There was no way to understand what the day-to-day was going to be like," Meghan told Winfrey. "I went into it naively," she said about joining the royal family. Meghan, who said she was not being paid for the interview, also said she and Harry were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their public wedding. She called that day an "out-of-body experience." Where to get help:
BEIJING — China’s foreign minister warned the Biden administration on Sunday to roll back former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by Beijing as its own territory. The claim to Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949, is an “insurmountable red line,” Wang Yi said at a news conference during the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial legislature. The United States has no official relations with Taiwan but extensive informal ties. Trump irked Beijing by sending Cabinet officials to visit Taiwan in a show of support. “The Chinese government has no room for compromise,” Wang said. “We urge the new U.S. administration to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue” and “completely change the previous administration’s dangerous practices of ‘crossing the line’ and ‘playing with fire,’” he said. President Joe Biden says he wants a more civil relationship with Beijing but has shown no sign of softening Trump’s confrontational measures on trade, technology and human rights. Surveys show American public attitudes turning more negative toward China, which is seen as an economic and strategic competitor. Wang gave no indication how Beijing might react if Biden doesn't change course, but the ruling Communist Party has threatened to invade if Taiwan declares formal independence or delays talks on uniting with the mainland. The State Department later reiterated that the Biden administration's support for Taiwan was rock-solid and that the U.S. stood with its regional friends and allies, including “deepening our unofficial ties with democratic Taiwan.” “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives," said the statement issued late Sunday in Washington. Wang’s comments in a wide-ranging, two-hour news conference reflected Beijing’s increasing assertiveness abroad and rejection of criticism over Hong Kong, the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other sensitive topics. Wang defended proposed changes in Hong Kong that will tighten Beijing's control by reducing the role of its public in government. He dismissed complaints that erodes the autonomy promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997. The changes announced Friday follow the arrest of 47 pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong under a national security law imposed last year following months of anti-government protests. Beijing needs to protect Hong Kong’s “transition from chaos to governance,” Wang said. The proposal would give a pro-Beijing committee a bigger role in picking Hong Kong legislators. That would be a marked reduction of democracy and Western-style civil liberties in Hong Kong. Mainland officials say they want to make sure the territory is controlled by people deemed patriots. “No one cares more about the development of democracy in Hong Kong than the central government,” Wang said. He said the changes will protect the “rights of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate interests of foreign investors.” Also Sunday, Wang rejected complaints Beijing’s treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang amounts to genocide. Human rights researchers say more than 1 million people, many of them members of the Uyghur minority, have been sent to detention camps. Chinese officials say they are trying to prevent extremism. “The so-called existence of genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It is a complete lie fabricated with ulterior motives,” Wang said. He blamed “anti-China forces” that he said want to “undermine the security and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China’s development and growth.” Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
A gauge of global stocks rose in choppy trading on Monday as investors eyed the yield on U.S. Treasuries for signs of inflation pressures in the wake of the U.S. Senate's passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. The Japanese yen weakened 0.49% versus the greenback at 108.83 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3813, down 0.20% on the day.
As pandemic restrictions loosen in Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region, businesses across the personal care services industry say they’re being left behind. Several professionals and proprietors who spoke to the Star on Sunday complained they’re being treated unfairly as they continue to be barred from opening under the “grey” lockdown category. Outcry from the sector, which includes salons, barbershops and other cosmetic services, comes on the heels of the province announcing Friday that it was lifting the strict stay-at-home orders in those jurisdictions. Michele Bonnick, the owner of Amani Hair Studio in Toronto, said anticipation built as dozens of people were on a waiting list, expecting to get the green light to book hair appointments this month. Bonnick instead had to tell them she was remaining closed indefinitely. She slammed the provincial rule book for what she sees as favouritism towards big-box stores and other retailers, while struggling entrepreneurs are left to bear the brunt of the restrictions. “It’s just garbage,” she said. “The standards that they’ve set for us are so high.” Her salon has been closed for more than three months, since the November lockdown. “The problem is the ongoing shutting down and opening up, shutting down and opening up,” she said. “It’s so inconsistent.” Bonnick dipped into her savings to stay afloat during last spring’s lockdown. She’s now relying on government loans to stave off closure, but says it’s not sustainable. Bonnick pivoted last year to offer online services like consultations and product sales. “I’ve been feeling like trying to find something outside of my field in order to survive,” she said. Toronto and Peel, along with North Bay—Parry Sound, were the last ones still under the stay-at-home order imposed in December amid surging cases of COVID-19. Most of the province transitioned back to the government’s colour-coded pandemic response framework last month. Toronto and Peel will be placed in the strictest “grey lockdown” category of the framework starting Monday, as was recommended by public health officials in the two areas. That will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor dining closed. Social gatherings remain banned indoors, and are capped at 10 people outdoors. The province said Friday it opted to place Toronto and Peel in the lockdown category because the two regions are making progress but their case rates remain high. Anosha Swalah, the creative director of Saboohi’s Salon & Spa in Mississauga, is part of a collective of about 30 salons and spas across Peel Region that have been lobbying local politicians and sharing the plight of the industry. “We’ve only operated for about three months of the entire year,” she said, adding that there was at least an 80 per cent decline in business due to closures and the crash of the wedding industry in 2020. Swalah defends the industry, saying that there is no evidence, to her knowledge, that salons have been drivers of outbreaks in Peel. She says people in the profession are feeling undermined even when they follow strict protocols, including proper sanitization, which she says is typical of the industry before the pandemic. “I feel degraded in some form,” she said. “That’s the anger that our industry is feeling.” She said the laser treatment part of the industry has taken a huge hit because they were unable to do any work during the peak winter season. Reeya Tanna, a registered nurse and owner of the Etobicoke-based Plumpitupp, a medical spa offering cosmetic injections, medical facials and esthetic treatments, said, “It has been difficult to stay motivated and hopeful when there is no end to the lockdown in sight.” Tanna worked in the industry for a few years before deciding to open her own clinic. She was on verge of opening her own private clinic on Jan. 1, but those plans were halted by ongoing restrictions. After months of not being able to offer her services in 2020, Tanna is now grappling with the uncertainty of when her clinic can get up and running. “I have little hope of opening any time soon as the government has put our industry (as cosmetic nurses) in the personal care services sector on hold,” she said. When asked why salons and other personal care services are not yet being allowed to reopen, Toronto Public Health referred to the province’s general COVID-19 response framework, which establishes thresholds based on criteria such as case counts and test positivity rates for when regions are allowed to ease restrictions on certain sectors. Peel’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, told the Star in a statement on Sunday: “Given the nature of the service provided, with a recognition that precautions cannot be consistently maintained (e.g., distancing) and are not always foolproof, many jurisdictions have targeted these settings for closures. “There have also been notable outbreaks in these settings reported in other areas of the province, notably a large nail salon outbreak in Kingston. This resultant evidence and data have been built into the framework set by the provincial government.” The debate over the science behind the lockdown was front and centre during Mississauga council meetings last week. Coun. Ron Starr criticized the provincial and regional rationale for extending the closure of the personal care industry. “What is the empirical data?” he asked. “What is the rationale, in certain areas, when we don’t have that data? Yet, this is the way medical people are saying it’s going to happen?” Starr said that women, many of whom own businesses in the industry, are feeling the brunt of pressure from the uncertainty surrounding the closures. “I don’t think our message from Peel is going through,” he said during a council meeting. “Why are they shut down,” Carr asked. “Yet, we’re opening up other areas." In responding to Mississauaga council on Wednesday, Loh said the region has not achieved the critical mass of vaccinations needed to achieve herd immunity. In spite of public fatigue over restrictions, Loh said he’s avoiding prematurely reopening then having to close again. Loh said there needs to be an uptick in vaccination to lower the chance of severe outcomes for vulnerable segments of the community. “Until that time, this still remains a novel threat,” he said, adding, “There is still the storm of the century that is raging out there.” He cautioned that while some people question the science behind his decisions, “the reality is, we’ve seen what happens in other countries where they get this wrong.” “We’re so close to the vaccine,” he said. “We’re so close to warmer weather, where we can start to open with confidence again.” With files from The Canadian Press 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
Seven current and former inmates in British Columbia, along with prisoner advocacy organization the John Howard Society, have filed a constitutional challenge in B.C. Supreme Court. In a notice of civil claim, the inmates say the Correctional Service of Canada and the attorney general of Canada have failed to provide them with basic rights during the pandemic and failed to adequately protect them against COVID-19. The group says the restrictions and conditions they have endured during the pandemic — which they say include extended lockdowns, suspended parole hearings, inadequate health care and withholding visitation and religious services — have infringed on their rights. The Correctional Service of Canada has yet to file a counter claim. In a written statement, the service said the health and safety of its employees, offenders and the public continue to be its top priority. "We continue to implement the rigorous health measures we've implemented in order to mitigate the spread of the virus," the statement said. 'Cruel and degrading' Catherine Latimer, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, says many people have been worried about how prisoners have been treated during the pandemic. "The UN would describe the conditions in which vast numbers of federal prisoners were detained during this period as cruel and degrading, inhumane and torture," Latimer said. "Not even a global pandemic can justify the way in which prisoners' rights have been eroded or ignored during this period." The Mission Institution in British Columbia was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.(Rafferty Baker/CBC) The correctional service's main tactic for containing COVID-19 appears to be putting prisoners in isolation, Latimer says, with little access to the outdoors or other inmates. Prisoners and their advocates say doing so for long periods of time is detrimental to their physical and mental health. Seeking injunctions Other complaints mentioned in the notice of civil claim include withholding services like educational or substance abuse programs that prisoners need to secure parole eligibility, inadequate training for staff on how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, inadequate sanitization and a lack of access to cleaning supplies. The group is seeking injunctions to prevent any further charter violations during the pandemic, including restoring paused programs and services, limiting the use of lockdowns, and increasing access to personal protective equipment, among other actions. Latimer says the John Howard Society has advocated for correctional institutions to release prisoners as much as possible, especially those who may be vulnerable to infection or severe complications, but little has been done. She hopes the correctional service will find better solutions to keeping COVID-19 at bay. But the CSC says it has put infection prevention measures in place. These include mandatory masks for inmates and staff, physical distancing measures, screening for people entering its institutions and increased cleaning and disinfection. The procedures are highlighted in a commissioner's directive on the matter, the service says, as well as its integrated risk management framework. 10% of prisoners infected A recent status update from the Office of the Correctional Investigator says just over 10 per cent of prisoners have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic, compared to about two per cent of the general population in Canada. During that period, four inmates have died from COVID-19. The update also says the number of inmates in custody in federal institutions has dropped by 10.5 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic — the lowest count for the past decade. During the pandemic, the office has received nearly 500 complaints or inquiries from inmates regarding COVID-19. The CSC says it has provided 1,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine to 600 offenders across the country as part of its additional measures to limit the spread of the virus. It says it will offer more vaccines in consultation with public health partners and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday March 7, 2021. There are 886,574 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 886,574 confirmed cases (30,268 active, 834,067 resolved, 22,239 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,489 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 79.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,880 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,697. There were 26 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 245 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 35. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 25,159,921 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,006 confirmed cases (91 active, 909 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 19 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,814 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 141 confirmed cases (26 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 16.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 112,416 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,659 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,565 resolved, 65 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 366,679 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,455 confirmed cases (36 active, 1,391 resolved, 28 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.61 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 242,695 tests completed. _ Quebec: 292,631 confirmed cases (7,100 active, 275,059 resolved, 10,472 deaths). There were 707 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 699. There were seven new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 122.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,452,036 tests completed. _ Ontario: 308,296 confirmed cases (10,389 active, 290,840 resolved, 7,067 deaths). There were 1,299 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 70.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,069. There were 15 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,205,314 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,225 confirmed cases (1,130 active, 30,188 resolved, 907 deaths). There were 56 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 81.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 366 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 52. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 541,269 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,709 confirmed cases (1,517 active, 27,794 resolved, 398 deaths). There were 116 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 128.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,062 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 152. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 590,938 tests completed. _ Alberta: 135,837 confirmed cases (4,949 active, 128,974 resolved, 1,914 deaths). There were 300 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,333 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 333. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,445,307 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 83,107 confirmed cases (4,975 active, 76,752 resolved, 1,380 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 96.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,653 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 379. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.81 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,969,444 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,232 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,849 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 381 confirmed cases (25 active, 355 resolved, one deaths). There were four new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 63.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,852 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
Orangeville Transit is getting government funds to help it ride out the pandemic. The transit authority will receive $81,309 as part of the $150 million the provincial government provides to municipalities. “The $150 million noted by the report was just announced on Monday,” said Doug Jones, general manager of infrastructure services. “It is to offset operational losses due to COVID-19. The transit hub is a capital expenditure and is not eligible for this funding.” Council requested town staff to investigate the possibility of using the Edelbrock Centre as a transit hub. This came after councillors reversed their decision on the Broadway hub in a 4-3 vote on Nov. 23, after hearing numerous concerns from downtown businesses and the BIA. This allocation builds upon the first phase of the federal and provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced in summer 2020. It was developed to help municipalities deliver critical services during COVID-19. “The town has received Phase 1 SRF funding of $96,000 for the 2020 fiscal period,” said Nandini Syed, treasurer. “We have also received $1.5 million in ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) funding.” The first phase of Safe Restart funding for transit flowed $700 million to municipalities in 2020, and to date, $1.5 billion in funding has been allocated. As part of the Safe Restart Agreement funding, municipalities need to work with the province to explore options to ensure transit is safe, sustainable, affordable and integrated, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and after. "We heard from municipalities, and we are responding to their need for more support as COVID-19 continues to result in lost revenue and additional costs for transit systems," said Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation. The town also received an ICIP grant of $2.09 million, of which 26.67 per cent is the responsibility of the municipality. The federal and provincial governments provide the other 73 per cent. “These funds will be utilized to purchase new buses to accommodate the system going to an expanded four-route system, new transit station, new transit shelters and stop amenities and finally for a specialized transit service, not until 2024,” said John Lackey, manager of transportation and development. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
TORONTO — Health-care workers across Ontario still struggle to obtain personal protective equipment to shield them from COVID-19, three major unions said Sunday as they called on the province to do more to ensure their safety as the pandemic rages on. Unifor, the health-care arm of the Service Employees International Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees also called for a "universal wage" of $25 an hour for all personal support workers regardless of what part of the provincial system they work in. Both messages are part of a provincewide public awareness campaign set to launch in workplaces on Monday. The secretary-treasurer of CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions said many workers were denied access to PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, contending it was often kept under lock and key by employers. Sharon Richer said that practice continues today in some cases, despite assurances from the province that it has a stockpile of 12.4 million pieces of PPE such as N95 masks. "We're asked to work with a deadly virus," she said. "We're not provided with the tools to protect ourselves and not supported if we become ill from it. We demand better from this government and our employers." The unions, which represent 175,000 health-care workers, say thousands of them have contracted COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and 20 have died from the virus. Richer said early in the pandemic there was debate about how COVID-19 was spread and N95 masks were difficult to obtain. But as the pandemic nears its one-year anniversary, she argued there is no excuse not to provide workers with vital protective gear. "The masks were very scarce," Richer said. "They're not now. ... We shouldn't have to go into work on a daily basis and beg for protection to keep us safe from this virus." SEIU President Sharleen Stewart said the unions are also asking the government to raise the wages of personal support workers in all health care settings to $25 an hour. The pandemic has illustrated the importance of PSWs in hospitals, long-term care, and in home care, she said. A staffing study released by the province last year illustrated the disparity between PSW wages in different sectors of the health-care system. It found that PSWs in Ontario long-term care homes make an average hourly wage of $22.69. That compared to the $17.30 average hourly rate paid to PSWs delivering home care. Stewart said working conditions for PSWs are poor, full-time opportunities and benefits are hard to come by, and wages are low. "The government ... must raise the minimum wage for personal support workers and make it universal in every sector," she said. "Whether you work in a hospital, a nursing home or in home and community care, a PSW, is a PSW, is a PSW." Katha Fortier of Unifor said workers will participate in the campaign in the coming weeks, as Ontario prepares to launch its 2021-2022 budget. "COVID-19 has over-stressed Ontario's health-care resources and led to the tragic failure of the long term care system," she said. "But the truth is the pandemic revealed systemic problems that frontline workers have been struggling with for years." During the pandemic, Ontario has spent hundreds of millions to provide temporary pay hikes to workers throughout the health-care sector. In October, the province said it would provide a targeted wage increase between $2 to $3 an hour to more than 147,000 personal support workers. That program, which cost $461 million, is set to expire on March 31. A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the government is monitoring the impact of that temporary wage increase for PSWs and evaluating next steps. "We will continue to engage with our sector partners to inform an approach to a wage enhancement intervention after March and in the long-term for the home and community care sector," Alexandra Hilkene said in a statement. The government has also spent nearly $1.1 billion on PPE and other supplies for health care workers, she added. "We have continued to respond to emergency escalations for PPE within 24 hours to hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other facilities in order to support essential workers in all settings and ensuring supplies and equipment are expedited to those most in need," Hilkene said. Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with 15 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 329 new cases in Toronto, 192 in Peel Region, and 116 in York Region. Sunday's data is based on 46,586 completed tests. The province also reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — The long ball helped Bryson DeChambeau outlast Lee Westwood on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, only the key shots were as much with his putter as his driver. DeChambeau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the front nine and a 50-foot par putt early on the back nine. He closed it out with a nervy 5-foot par putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over the 47-year-old Westwood. It matched the low score of the day, one of only three rounds under par in the toughest final round at Bay Hill in 41 years. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., stayed in the mix until the very end. The Canadian holed a 15-foot eagle putt on the 16th to get within one shot, only to find a bunker on the par-3 17th and miss a 6-foot par putt. With a bogey on the final hole, he shot 74 to finish alone in third. DeChambeau and Westwood were never separated by more than one shot over the final 15 holes, a fascinating duel of generations that came down to the last shot. For the second straight day, DeChambeau revved up thousands of fans on the par-5 sixth hole by smashing driver over the lake and leaving himself 88 yards away on the 565-yard sixth hole. Westwood was 168 yards behind him, and raised both arms to jokingly mimic DeChambeau's reaction from the day before. They both made birdie. DeChambeau appeared to be in trouble on the 11th when he narrowly missed going in the water off the tee, caught a plugged lie in the front bunker and gouged it out to 50 feet. He made that for par to stay ahead by one. Westwood tied him with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-5 12th, only to give it back with a three-putt on the 14th. The tournament turned on the par-5 16th, where it was Westwood who had the advantage. DeChambeau's drive went up against the lip of a bunker and he had to lay up short of the water. Westwood had 158 yards and hit a poor short iron that came up short of the green. He chipped nicely, except that it rolled out 6 feet by the hole on the lightning-quick greens and he missed the birdie for a chance to tie. DeChambeau took the one-shot lead to the 18th and hit his most important drive of the day — in the fairway. Westwood's tee shot settled in a divot, and he did well to get it on the green and two-putt from 65 feet. DeChambeau's birdie putt slid by some 5 feet and he shook his arms in celebration when the par putt dropped. Westwood closed with a 73, not a bad score considering the average of 75.49 was the highest for a final round since 1980. Jordan Spieth was part of a four-man race on the front nine and briefly tied for the lead with a birdie on the par-5 sixth. That turned out to be his last birdie of the day. He took bogey on three of his last four holes for a 75, dropping him into a three-way tie for fourth with Andrew Putnam (71) and Ricky Werenski (73). For Spieth, it was his third top-five finish in his last four events. DeChambeau said he received a text Sunday morning from Tiger Woods, who is recovering from serious leg injuries from his car crash in Los Angeles. He said Woods, an eight-time Bay Hill winner, told him to “keep fighting.” He also considered the words from Arnold Palmer to “play boldly.” He needed all of that with the fight Westwood gave him, and the test Bay Hill provided. “It's been quite a battle this whole entire time,” DeChambeau said. DeChambeau rose to No. 6 in the world with his ninth PGA Tour victory, and he became the first player this season with multiple victories, to go along with his U.S. Open title in September. It matched the longest it took for a multiple winner on the PGA Tour since 1969. Nick Price won his second title in the 21st week of the season in 1994. Rory McIlroy, who started four shots out of the lead, was never in the mix. He came undone on the par-5 sixth, where he hit two tee shots into the water and then hit the fairway, green and made the putt to salvage double bogey. He shot 76. Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
U.S. crowd-safety company Evolv Technology said on Sunday it is combining with blank-check firm NewHold Investment Corp to go public in a deal that will value it at about $1.7 billion. Evolv is backed by investors including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and venture capital firm General Catalyst. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, and the company expects to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker "EVLV", according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.