Tag Archives: Fever

Fever, loss of taste or smell among telltale COVID-19 symptoms in Canadian kids

New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that one-third of children who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 had no symptoms, but in those that did, loss of taste/smell, headache, fever and nausea/vomiting were most strongly associated with positive cases.

Other flu-like symptoms — including cough, runny nose and sore throat — were the most prominent symptoms in positive cases, but the study suggests they couldn’t be used to accurately predict which cases were positive because they were also most prominent in cases that tested negative.

The study, published Monday, was by researchers at the University of Alberta who analyzed 2,463 test results from children in the province between April 13 to Sept. 30. They compared symptoms of those who tested positive (1,987) with those who tested negative (476).

Eight per cent of kids with positive COVID-19 tests had loss of taste/smell, versus one per cent of kids who tested negative. And four per cent had nausea or vomiting, versus less than one per cent of those who tested negative.

Headache was a symptom in 16 per cent of positive cases, compared to six per cent in negative cases, and 26 per cent of positive cases had fever, compared to 15 per cent of negative cases. 

Symptoms in hospitalized kids differ

Dr. Finlay McAlister, one of the authors of the study, says those symptoms were associated more with having coronavirus rather than some other virus.

He said cough, runny nose and sore throat were equally common symptoms in kids who didn’t have coronavirus but may have had another virus.

Symptoms of fever or chills, cough and runny nose in this study (19 to 26 per cent) were less frequent than in studies conducted in hospital settings. The authors of the study suggest that was because this was a community-based cohort and cases of disease were likely more mild than those seen in hospitals.

Children aged four and younger were more likely to test negative, and teenagers (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to test positive.

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CBC | Health News

Auto Racing Goes Virtual to Ward Off Cabin Fever

Somehow our family became auto racing junkies. Watching F1 became a bonding experience, following a relative of ours who drives in IndyCar became a hobby, and the action of NASCAR wormed its way into our hearts. Even Formula E has grown on us. So when we were first encouraged to stay-at-home as much as possible we looked forward to watching racing as a way to break the monotony. At the time, it looked like racing might continue, minus local fans.

Except, of course, since then, actual auto racing has come to a complete standstill. In its place, its otherwise-second-class sibling of eSports has come to the rescue. Each of the major series has begun to ramp up its virtual racing efforts. We watched a number of the big-name versions over the weekend and found a wide variety of approaches and effectiveness.

eNASCAR Nailed It

By far the most organized and enjoyable event was eNASCAR’s. First, it was raced by the regular NASCAR drivers, which makes it feel like a real NASCAR Cup race. Second, they ran it at their regular time, on their regular cable network and mobile app — Fox Sports. So everyone knew how to view it, and didn’t have to deal with odd scheduling. Production values were also excellent, with regular commentators in the studio (keeping a safe distance, unlike three of the four virtual F1 commentators). Finally, the drivers all had a great attitude and didn’t seem hung up about looking bad, so there was a lot of great chatter between them.

eNASCAR is in its 11th season on the iRacing platform

eNASCAR is in its 11th season on the iRacing platform

Some drivers already had nice iRacing rigs at home, while others either had just gotten them or had more pedestrian racing setups. My personal favorite was Timmy Hill, whose kit was the same as you’d find in the homes of millions of hobbyist racers.

The only place where NASCAR didn’t quite hold up to its rivals was graphics. The iRacing platform it used is a great choice in most respects. Many pro drivers are already familiar with it, it has a great track record of hosting large events, and it has excellent racing simulation. However, it doesn’t have the same realistic lighting models available with some of the other racing sims, so the cars appeared a little more toylike — although they acted correctly and appeared with good detail.

NASCAR driver Alex Bowman delegated some of the work to his dog, Finn

NASCAR driver Alex Bowman delegated some of the work to his dog, Finn.

F1 Scrambled for a Good Start, but They’ll Do Better

F1 was a little late to the party, allowing themselves only a few days to put together their first official virtual Grand Prix. Because of that, it was hard to get many of the actual drivers equipped and up to speed on the F1 2019 platform used for the race. It was also clear that many of the drivers were afraid of looking bad, so they elected not to participate. With any luck that is temporary, and more of the drivers will get up to speed over the coming weeks.

In the event, only two current drivers raced. Lando Norris, a fan favorite, whose participation was unfortunately crippled because of connectivity issues. And Nicolas Latifi, who ironically has now started more virtual GPs than real ones, as he is slated to be a rookie driver this season. Super-popular Max Verstappen was scheduled to race but had to pull out at the last minute. Hopefully, he’ll race in the future. You can watch highlights of the race, along with future races, on F1’s YouTube channel.

The road driver’s skepticism about their ability was justified, with veteran F1 driver Johnny Herbert and others crashing out early and often. Limited damage settings helped at least keep everyone in the race. An F2 driver, Renault’s Guanyu Zhou, who is also an experienced eSports racer, took the checkered flag after a race that was shortened from 28 laps (half-distance) to 14 laps. One fun benefit of virtual racing is that it provides an opportunity for our favorite retired drivers — like Johnny Herbert — to make a comeback, and for participation by celebrities. However, that means fiddling with driver assists and damage levels, so there probably need to be two classes of race: one run as close as possible to real race conditions, and the others in a more flexible format.

Real eSports Drivers Dominate Veloce’s “Not the Bah GP”

In addition to the F1-branded race, there was also a more traditional eSports version. While this event isn’t new, it attracted a lot of extra attention this year for obvious reasons. Like the official F1 race, you needed to track it down on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch. For eSports regulars, that’s no big deal, but for traditional race fans, it’d be great if these events could also be run on traditional cable and over-the-air channels like the real races. A lot of the most interesting action took place on Twitch, which is also new to many.

Being a true eSports event, this pair of races, like others in its series, was dominated by eSports stars, and not the road-race drivers who participated. There are a few top road drivers who also play a lot of eSports, like Stoffel Vandoorne, but they still can’t finish on top.

One really cool thing about virtual racing is that it is easy to experiment with interesting alternative race formats. The second race of the Not the Bah was run reverse grid (slowest qualifier on pole, etc.). There is a lot of debate about whether that would make for more interesting racing, but it would be expensive and potentially even a bit dangerous to try it out with real drivers and cars. In the virtual world, it made for an interesting change of pace. I might have thought that going virtual would eliminate random mechanical failures, but disconnects are apparently the virtual equivalent of blown motors.

“The Race” Lures Idle Indycar Drivers

Indycar didn’t have its own official eSports race. But “The Race All-Star eSports Battle,” run on the rFactor 2 platform, featured a number of current and former Indycar drivers, including Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, and this week’s race took place on a virtual version of the Indy road course. Road pros got multiple chances to qualify for the main event, while eSports pros had just one. That didn’t stop them from dominating the actual race, but as usual, Felix Rosenqvist put in a strong performance for a road racer. You can re-watch the whole race as well as future races on The Race’s YouTube channel.

Production Has Room For Improvement

With the exception of NASCAR, there was a disappointing lack of effective production during the races. You’d think one advantage of a virtual race is that you could easily ask to see any car at any time, from any angle. But commentators struggled to get footage of crashes and passes to show. For race fans used to the super-polished professional production teams that broadcast real races, they’re going to want the same quality if they are going to keep watching eRaces after the novelty wears off.

Overall: A Tribute to How Far Racing Sims and Platforms Have Come

The biggest takeaway from all these events is how impressive racing sims have become, and how well the platforms and network scale to real-time events (although with some glitches). If you didn’t know that the races weren’t real, you might do a double-take when you first tuned in.

[Image credits: The Race, eNASCAR, Alex Bowman]

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Hailey Bieber Says Kylie Jenner’s Daughter Stormi Is Giving Her ‘Baby Fever’

Hailey Bieber Says Kylie Jenner’s Daughter Stormi Is Giving Her ‘Baby Fever’ | Entertainment Tonight

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‘#KawhiWatch’ hits fever pitch in Toronto amid unconfirmed sightings of Raptors star

“Kawhi Watch” is reaching new levels now.

A private plane owned by the group that operates the Toronto Raptors landed Wednesday afternoon at Pearson International Airport in Toronto — and video footage leading people to speculate that Kawhi Leonard was one of the passengers on that plane.

The plane’s occupants boarded SUVs on the tarmac and were driven toward downtown Toronto, with at least one news helicopter airing their trip live even though it was not confirmed that Leonard was indeed in one of those vehicles.

Meanwhile, a large crowd was forming outside a posh downtown hotel where Raptors president Masai Ujiri had been spotted earlier in the day, with the assumption being that the hotel is where the meeting between Leonard and the team may be taking place.

Leonard is the top free agent whose decision about where to play next season remains unknown.

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CBC | Sports News

Invasion unlikely, but fever builds in Venezuela, pumped up by 2 presidents

Caracas is a city where everyone knows the dominant political affiliation of each neighbourhood. Basically, the east belongs to the opposition, much of the west to the Chavistas.

Many opposition supporters would be reluctant to venture into the poor barrios where President Nicolas Maduro can still find support, and foreign journalists who visit them are sometimes met with considerable hostility. 

But CBC News found only kindness and hospitality when we visited the Marin barrio in San Agustin parish, a towering ridge of cinderblock houses and corrugated iron roofs that is served by a cable car built 10 years ago by the Chavez government at an exorbitant (and heavily padded) price.

Most of the residents CBC News spoke to in San Agustin agreed about one thing: they don't like Venezuela being threatened with potential military action by the United States.

"The psychological warfare is very strong," says Reinaldo Mijares, who's lived his whole life in this neighbourhood.

Reinaldo Mijares says it's tough to sleep in the barrio of Marin in Caracas. 'I don't doubt that the gringos … can invade any country in the world, and that includes Venezuela.' (CBC News)

"It's been tough for me to sleep, because I'm nervous. I don't doubt that the gringos, with their desire for hegemony, can invade any country in the world, and that includes Venezuela.

"In history, we have cases where they've created an atmosphere, and a self-justification, to allow themselves to invade countries. They've been doing it for 200 years, but more recently, they're doing it right now in Syria. They did it in Libya, and they did it in Iraq."

'They'd have to kill everyone here'

Maria Lourdes Rodriguez speaks through the iron bars that cover her window. She apologizes for not opening the door, but she's cleaning.

She says that for the U.S. to occupy Venezuela, "they'd have to kill everyone here."

Does she really think they'll do it?

"No, because we have Russia and China, and they won't let it happen. The [oil] deposits belong to us, and with them, we'll be able to move forward."

Maria Lourdes Rodriguez speaks to CBC News through her window in the Caracas barrio of Marin, sharing her thoughts about any potential U.S. occupation. 0:31

While the U.S. has a long and controversial history of involvement in South and Central America — including in Chile, Panama, Nicaragua and elsewhere — if it's planning to invade Venezuela, it's certainly not doing much to prepare for it.

Anyone who remembers previous operations like Desert Storm or the invasion of Iraq, and even relatively minor ones such as Panama in 1989, knows the U.S. only goes to war after a long and highly visible buildup. 

A cable car connects the neighbourhood with the outside world. (CBC News)

Leaves are cancelled, planners work around the clock, troops train and ships assemble. The fact that none of that is happening fits with what most U.S. military experts agree on: the U.S. isn't about to invade Venezuela, and U.S. President Donald Trump's talk of a military option sounds hollow.

But the rhetoric appears to have helped Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela convince ordinary people, such as those in San Agustin, that U.S. marines could hit the beaches at any moment.

Massive military exercise planned for Sunday

On Saturday, Maduro ordered the incorporation of the Socialist Party's Bolivarian National Militia — a force the government has claimed is 1.5 million strong — into the armed forces. It represents another step in the politicization of a military in which soldiers already salute officers with a shout of "Chavez lives!"

WATCH: The Bolivarian Militia is more of a political organization to rally support for the Socialist Party than a serious fighting unit, but opposition members fear its rifles could be turned on them if Venezuela's conflict deepens:

Next Sunday, Venezuela will launch an enormous military exercise called Operation Angostura 2019 lasting five days. According to the armed forces, it will involve "nearly two million men and women."

Maduro tweeted on Monday about a visit to a naval exercise: "Men and Women of the Sea … I call on you from my worker's heart to show maximum cohesion and maximum preparation. Loyal always like Sucre! Traitors never, like Santander."

Maduro, a man who is famously fond of the ceremonial, appears to have devoted most of his waking hours this week to a series of marches, rallies and displays of loyalty designed to shore up the connection between the government and the armed forces, which is called Civic-Military Union in official Socialist Party dogma.

He tweeted: "We patriots are standing and in Civic-Military Union, raising the banners of respect the dignity and honour of our nation, against those who call for imperialist intervention. Venezuela will never surrender!"

And yet, outside the government's strongholds such as San Agustin, the efforts to whip up invasion fever are being met mostly with derision.

One Maduro propaganda video that showed the president boldly striding forward, arms locked with men in uniform, was clearly intended to project an image of unity within the armed forces at a time when some service members have been defecting and using social media to call on others to follow suit.

But the message backfired when an opposition troll set it to the tune of the Village People's 1978 hit YMCA, and it soon proliferated over YouTube.

The Socialist Party and the Bolivarian Armed Forces can't control what people post on platforms such as Twitter, and their posts are usually followed with a deluge of disparaging comments from Venezuelans who no longer feel the same respect for the military institution they used to.

Chief Admiral Remigio Ceballos's tweeted last week: "We don't accept foreign interference …. We are loyal to our President and Commander in Chief Nicolas Maduro Moros!" A Venezuelan citizen responds "You're a traitor to the nation, this is how Venezuela sees your armed forces."

Forces mobilizing at Colombia-Venezuela border

But if the odds of a full-scale U.S. invasion are slim, there are reasons to take more seriously the prospect of conflict between the Venezuelan and Colombian armed forces. 

The two "sister nations" that were once one Gran Colombia in the time of Simon Bolivar have taken very different directions politically in recent years.

Colombia's President, Ivan Duque, has never hesitated to call Maduro a dictator, and there have been minor frontier skirmishes in recent months over disputed islands in the Orinoco River, as well as threats by Venezuela's former foreign minister, Roy Chaderton, to invade and annex Colombia.

A girl carries water home in Caracas. Due to poor maintenance, the water supply has diminished, which makes life tougher for the residents of this hillside barrio. (CBC News)

In August, Venezuela's military placed missiles and other weapons along the border near Cucuta, where hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing economic meltdown have crossed into Colombia.

A plan by opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido and the government of Colombia to set up a depot in Cucuta and ship humanitarian aid into Venezuela has been met with threats that it will be turned back.

In recent days, Colombian troops have been pouring into the region, and Venezuela has used tow-trucks to ship artillery to the border.

While a full-fledged war between Venezuela and the U.S. seems highly unlikely at this point, the conflict on the border certainly has the potential to turn violent.

On Tuesday, Venezuelan troops blocked one of the main bridges from the Cucuta area to Venezuela with shipping containers, as Maduro reiterated his intention to block all humanitarian aid.

"Nothing will enter," he said.

Aerial view of the Tienditas Bridge, in the border between Cucuta, Colombia, and Tachira, Venezuela, after Venezuelan military forces blocked it with containers on Tuesday. (Edinson Estupinan/AFP/Getty Images)

And north of there on the same border, at Pedro Maria Urena, a local congressman tweeted pictures of Venezuelan armoured personnel carriers being surrounded by people who want aid to be allowed to enter.

The tweet read: "#Just now #Frontier municipality of Pedro Maria Urena they brought armoured cars to intimidate the people, when the truth is that all Venezuelans are waiting for #humanitarian aid. There are three people injured and some motorcycles destroyed by those armoured cars. The townspeople stopped them."

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CBC | World News

Loaded for boar: Wild pigs in crosshairs as nations scramble to contain swine fever

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.


  • These are dangerous times for wild boars, as nations try to stop the spread of African swine fever.
  • The timing couldn't have been better for an in-depth interview with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
  • Gillette unleashed a controversial ad campaign this week that set the internet and the airwaves ablaze, and while some are praising it, critics and cynics can't quite get past what they see as the company's ultimate motivation.
  • Missed The National last night? Watch it here.

Loaded for boar

These are dangerous times for wild boar.

Tomorrow, Polish hunters will take to the woods for the second of three weekend mass culls of the feral pigs. So far this season, almost 190,000 have been killed across the country, and 20,000 more are being targeted.

The hunts are controversial — thousands gathered outside the Polish parliament last week to protest, and an online petition calling for an end to the slaughter has garnered more than 350,000 signatures.

A hunter takes part in a collective boar hunt in the Wapowiec region of southern Poland on Jan. 13. Poland has been trying to stop the spread of African swine fever amongst the wild boar population, culling thousands of the animals since April 2018. (Darek Delmanowicz/EPA-EFE)

But the government insists they are necessary to control the burgeoning pig population and stop the spread of African swine fever (ASF).

The highly infectious disease is endemic among European wild boars, and is both fatal and unstoppable when it spreads to farm pigs.

Since it first appeared in Poland in 2014, crossing from neighbouring Belarus, the virus has spread widely. There were 3,300 confirmed wild pig cases last year, and to date it has touched 213 farm herds, leading to the destruction of 43,000 domestic swine.

Eradication efforts cost the Polish government 203 million złoty ($ 71 million Cdn) in 2018, but the real problem is the economic threat to Europe's pork industry.

Activists in front of Poland's parliament in Warsaw on Jan. 9 protest the cull of wild boar, which was ordered by Polish authorities to stem the spread of African swine fever (ASF) that poses a threat to the pork industry. (Janek Skarzynksi/AFP/Getty Images)

The African swine fever virus is easily spread through the body fluids of pigs, and is highly concentrated in the animals' flesh. It can survive for months in chilled, frozen, smoked and salted meat — only cooking kills it — which means that humans can communicate it too, via our cuisine and food waste.

And while the disease is not harmful to people, it is a death blow to pork exports.

That fear explains why France announced its own cull this week, after two cases of ASF were confirmed in wild pigs just across the border in Belgium.

The plan calls for the creation of a several-kilometre-deep "boar free zone" along the length of the frontier, and the building of a new fence that will stop the animals from crossing or tunnelling into the Republic.

"We are now at a maximum risk level," the French agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile in Germany, the national Farmers' Association is calling for a cull of at least 70 per cent of the country's wild boar population, saying that even one case of ASF could lead to an export ban that would crash the price of pork by 30 per cent overnight.

(It's not clear how many wild pigs there are in the country, but Berlin alone is estimated to be home to up to 8,000 of them.)

On Wednesday, Italy's populist government moved to set up courses to train citizens to help with its "wild-boar emergency," and assist forest rangers in ongoing pig hunts.

The nightmare scenario already exists in China, where an African swine fever outbreak that was first detected last August has now spread to wild boar and pigs in 24 provinces, leading to the destruction of 916,000 domestic swine. The problem is now so acute that there are shortages at market.

Workers disinfect passing vehicles on the outskirts of Beijing, China, after an outbreak of African swine flu on Nov. 23, 2018. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

The disease has yet to be detected in Hong Kong, but authorities there have been talking about how to deal with the city's growing wild pig population, discussing bringing back culls, or maybe relocating the animals to an uninhabited island — a measure deemed ineffective, since they are fantastic swimmers. A pilot program to inject the boars with contraceptives, launched in 2017, has proven to be a dismal failure.

It's clear that wild boars are now a worldwide issue.

But those who champion mass hunts as the solution might want to consider Alberta's experience.

The province used to offer a $ 50-a-head bounty for the wild pigs, which first started to appear in the wild in the 1980s after they were imported from Europe for farming and hunting. Over a nine-year period at least 1,135 were killed, but it's hardly made a dent in the population. In fact, indications are that hunting actually disperses the animals more widely as they seek to evade their predators.

So conservation authorities have turned to high-tech measures, using drones and remote cameras to track wild herds and trap them in baited pens so they can be euthanized.

And those who still want to raise the boars for meat must now keep them corralled behind 1.5 metre-high, 4,000 volt electric fences.

To date, there has never been a case of African swine fever in North America.

But it's probably only a matter of time.

One on one with Jagmeet Singh

They say timing is everything, and it couldn't have been better for The National co-host Rosemary Barton's in-depth interview with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, she writes.

Sometimes you get lucky in your journalistic timing. This week was one of those times.

We had been trying to book an interview with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for a while, but given everyone's busy schedules we finally landed on this week.

The byelection has finally been called and Singh is now busily campaigning in his riding in Burnaby, B.C., with an actual date in mind, Feb. 25. So the timing for the interview was good, but it got even better: the Liberal candidate in the riding, Karen Wang, sent out a call appealing to Chinese Canadians (of which she is one) to vote for her and not the Indian candidate.

The comments were at the very least divisive and the opposite of what the Liberals want to project, and at most, racially insensitive. Whatever they were — Wang now says she was misinterpreted and is not "racist" — they were enough to get her bounced as the Liberal candidate running against Singh.

Needless to say, the NDP team was in a decent mood when we met Wednesday at the Burnaby Art Gallery, an older building in a beautiful park. The weather was ridiculously mild and Singh arrived dressed in a dark blue suit and a hot pink turban. (Which only becomes relevant because I was wearing hot pink blazer, so it looked like we had coordinated our outfits. We had not).

Rosemary Barton chats with Jagmeet Singh outside the Burnaby Art Gallery. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

The last time I interviewed Singh it was remotely rather than face to face, and it was very short. This time we spoke in person and for about 50 minutes.

Which, if you are wondering, is about how long we spent with the Prime Minister for a similar one-on-one interview just before Christmas. Less than a year away from the election, we all need to start asking the party leaders "What would you do if …"

Admittedly, that's easier if you've been a sitting MP for any time at all, and Singh has only been a politician since 2011.

Singh and I talked about his leadership, the state of the party, his sometimes seeming lack of preparation, and how he is feeling about the election.

But I also tried to get a sense of where he stands on bigger policy issues, from pipelines, to climate change, to how he would have negotiated a better USMCA trade deal.

Jagmeet Singh. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

The full interview airs Sunday on The National. I'll let you decide how he fares with the questions and what you think of his chances in the byelection — and the federal election, which he says he will stick around for regardless of the outcome in February.

Oh, and I asked him all the same personal questions I asked the Prime Minister outside in the snow in Montreal back in December. Some of those questions may seem trite, but they are also telling. I figure that if you're figuring out who you want to lead this country, it might also be nice to know some things about the people themselves, like what kinds of books they read and things they do. So you'll get a sense of Singh from that, too.

Here's a hint: we do not share the same kind of taste in fiction. Ha!

Hope you'll watch the interview and let us know what you think.

– Rosemary Barton

  • WATCH: Rosemary Barton's interview with Jagmeet Singh on Sunday's The National on CBC Television and streamed online

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Gillette gets woke

This week, Gillette unleashed a controversial ad campaign that set the internet and the airwaves ablaze. Some are praising it, while critics and cynics can't quite get behind what they see as the company's ultimate motivation: to sell more razors than the other guy, writes producer Tarannum Kamlani.

Proctor and Gamble (P&G), the makers of the iconic Gillette razor brand, have taken the praise-outrage mix stirred up by Nike and kicked it up a notch.

The provocative new ad campaign Gillette released this week has the brand taking its own marketing to task, viewing its old ads through the lens of #MeToo and questioning its own role in the defining what it means to be a man.

And while Gillette and parent company P&G got plenty of praise, anger from some predictable sources wasn't too far behind.  

The furor is similar to that generated by the Nike ad last year starring free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked outrage by kneeling during the U.S. national anthem to protest police brutality. Many owners of Nike sneakers decided to burn them in protests of their own. But by choosing to pick a side in the debate over Kaepernick's actions, Nike has reaped the rewards.

Gillette is following suit, not only allying itself with a progressive cause but adding some self-reflection to the mix as well. Here's the ad:

The ad turns the company's iconic tagline "The Best A Man Can Get" on its head. Images of its old ads are intercut with scenes of bullying and harassment, and the narrator asks "Is this really the best a man can get?"

It also features Terry Crews — a former face of another Proctor and Gamble brand, Old Spice — testifying before congress and urging men to hold other men accountable.

The ad ends with adult men stepping in to stop bullying and harassment as young boys look on, and the narrator saying we need to show the men of tomorrow that there is a better way to be a man.

British TV personality Piers Morgan took umbrage on Twitter and on his morning show across the pond, calling it another salvo in the war on masculinity. Actor James Woods was so outraged he vowed on Twitter to never use Gillette products ever again.

Cynics have pointed out that the campaign, and a pledge to donate $ 1 million a year to charities that help men achieve their personal best, are really all part of a sophisticated marketing effort designed to make sure that the brand will stay relevant to the shavers of the future.

Others say that if the makers of Gillette truly wanted to make a meaningful statement, they would do away with the so-called pink tax where women pay more than men for standard items like razors, but are paid less on average in the workplace.

Our seasoned crew of Pop Panelists will be on the show to unpack it all.

Andrew Chang is back in the host's chair tonight. Joining him around the table are Flare.com's senior editor Ishani Nath, Chatelaine senior writer Sarah Boesveld, and Donnovan Bennett, writer and host at Sportsnet.

Hope you'll join us!

– Tarannum Kamlani

  • WATCH: The Pop Panel tonight on The National on CBC Television and streamed online

A few words on … 

A much-longer-than-planned rest stop.

Quote of the moment

"We would miss the legendary British black humour and going to the pub after work hours to drink an ale. We would miss tea with milk and driving on the left-hand side of the road. And we would miss seeing the panto at Christmas."

– Part of an open letter from German politicians and business leaders, published in the Times of London today, urging the U.K. to reconsider Brexit.

Flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday after Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal was rejected. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

What The National is reading

  • U.S. Congress to probe report that Trump directed Cohen to lie (CBC)
  • Zimbabwe orders second internet shutdown amid fuel protests (Deutsche Welle)
  • Twitter warns that private tweets were public for years (BBC)
  • Tesla slashing workforce by 7 per cent to make cheaper Model 3 (CNN)
  • Sweden finally gets new government, four months after election (Guardian)
  • Oxford University suspends research funding from China's Huawei (Associated Press)
  • Banned for his dreadlocks, Montreal comedian tells everyone to calm down (The Gazette)
  • Optimist plans to open alcohol-free bar in Dublin (Irish Times)

Today in history

When Canada's second-largest brewer teamed up with the third-place Carling O'Keefe, the promise was more corporate efficiency, not better beer. But drinkers were assured that all their favourite brands would still be available. Thirty years later, they still are — technically. Although, when was the last time you saw somebody order an Old Vienna anyplace other than the Legion?

The new company will control 53 per cent of the Canadian beer industry and become Labatt's sole rival. 2:10

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Curling season reaches fever pitch as Scotties, Brier approach

If the first half of the curling season is any indication of what's to come in the following months, then buckle up.

It appears the level of curling is the highest it's ever been. Many of the games are being decided by the smallest of margins as curling continues to evolve and grow. Parity is also at an all-time high. On any given day and on any given sheet, these top teams can find a way to win.

This week the top 16 men's and women's teams from around the world are in North Battleford, Sask., taking part in the Grand Slam of curling's Meridian Canadian Open. It's the fifth stop on the Slam Tour this season, and for the Canadian teams it's the last real tune-up before provincial playdowns to qualify for the men's and women's national championships.

Many of the curlers on the ice this week have raised their intensity level as the pressure continues to build —January marks the sprint to the finish with the big curling prizes creeping into focus.

The Scotties will be played in just over a month in Sydney, N.S. That's followed by the Brier in Brandon, Man., at the beginning of March. The winning teams will then represent Canada at the respective world championships. Teams will use this week as a last chance to tinker with lineups, techniques and strategy before locking it in heading into provincials.

Triple knockout

The Canadian Open has a unique format different from most bonspiels fans would be used to watching. Rather than round-robin pool play that puts the top teams into the playoff round, this week it's a triple knockout format.

Essentially teams want to win three games before they lose three games in order to clinch a spot into the playoffs. For instance, if a team wins its first three games, they automatically qualify on the A side and will get a full day of rest.

On the flip side, should a team follow a win-lose-win-lose scenario, the journey to the playoffs gets a lot longer. That final game would then become a do-or-die situation to remain in the tournament. 

In total, two A teams (3-0) qualify, three B teams (2-1) qualify and three C teams (3-2) qualify for the playoffs.

The quarter-finals are slated for Saturday morning with the semis being played later that night. The men's championship goes Sunday morning with the women's final being played on Sunday afternoon.

Rachel Homan is part of the world’s top-ranked rink. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

World curling supremacy

Coming into the Slam event the world rankings are extremely close. Kevin Koe and Rachel Homan — Canada's two Olympic representatives one year ago — are the top teams in the world right now.

Following Koe on the men's side are Nik Edin, Bruce Mouat, Brad Jacobs and Brad Gushue to round out the top five. On the women's side, Anna Hassselborg, Jennifer Jones, Kerri Einarson and Silvana Tirinzoni follow Homan.

Teams are also trying to secure valuable Pinty's Cup points this week. Each Slam points are up for grabs and tallied up throughout the season. There is a men's and women's Pinty's Cup champion crowned after the last event of the year with a cash prize of $ 75,000. Gushue and Jones are the defending Pinty's Cup champions. 

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CBC | Sports News

Nigeria reports 450 suspected cases of Lassa fever

The World Health Organization says an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria may have infected up to 450 people in less than five weeks.

The United Nations health agency said Tuesday that it is scaling up its response to the outbreak, which has spread to 17 states.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 4, nearly 450 suspected cases were reported, of which 132 are laboratory confirmed Lassa fever. Of these, 43 deaths were reported, including 37 that were lab confirmed.

“The high number of Lassa fever cases is concerning. We are observing an unusually high number of cases for this time of year,” Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative to Nigeria, said in a release.

The acute viral hemorrhagic fever is endemic in Nigeria. The current outbreak is centred in the southern states of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi.

Among those infected are 11 health workers. Four died.

Like Ebola, the disease is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of sick people.

The reservoir, or host, of Lassa virus is a rodent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s website says. Humans often contract the virus from eating food contaminated by the urine or feces of rodents.

The CDC says in most people, symptoms are mild and may include slight fever, body aches and weakness. In about 20 per cent infected individuals, it can progress to bleeding from the gums, nose or eyes, respiratory distress and shock.

There is no vaccine to prevent it.

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CBC | Health News

West African country reports death from Lassa fever

Authorities in Guinea announced the first death from Lassa fever in more than two decades Thursday, heightening anxiety about another hemorrhagic fever in the West African country where an Ebola epidemic first emerged.

The Ebola outbreak in late 2013 went on to kill more than 11,000 people in part because local authorities and the international community were slow to act when cases first popped up in a rural part of the deeply impoverished nation.


Lassa fever has similar symptoms as Ebola, starting as a fever with aches and pains it can progress to headache, vomiting and diarrhea. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

In a government statement, health authorities confirmed that at least one person was dead and more than two dozen others had been monitored for possible symptoms. However, critics questioned why the government was only now making the news public when the victim died Jan. 11.

Further complicating the situation was the fact that the Guinean citizen died across the border in Liberia — the same way that Ebola initially spread. Authorities, though, said there was nothing to fear.

“None of the patient’s contacts in Liberia became sick or tested positive for Lassa,” the statement said.

There is no approved vaccine for Lassa fever, whose symptoms are similar to Ebola. After starting as a fever with aches and pains it can progress to headache, vomiting and diarrhea. According to the World Health Organization, severe cases can cause victims to bleed from the mouth and nose.

Like Ebola, Lassa fever can be spread through contact with the bodily fluids of sick people. Humans also can contract it from eating food that has been tainted by the urine or feces of rodents.

Dr. Sakoba Keita, who coordinated Guinea’s national response to the Ebola outbreak from 2014-2016, told private radio station Espace FM that the new Lassa fever case was the country’s first known one since 1996.

The disease, however, has long existed in West Africa. Nigerian authorities have reported more than 440 suspected cases throughout the country so far this year, according to the non-governmental organization known as ALIMA. At least 40 people are believed to have died from Lassa fever there. 

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CBC | Health News

Rita Ora Talks Royal Wedding Fever Over ‘Fun Prince’ Harry (Exclusive)

No one’s more excited for the royal wedding than Rita Ora!

The 27-year-old British singer and actress couldn’t help but gush about this May’s big event and her love of Prince Harry while speaking with ET’s Cameron Mathison at the Paris press junket for her film Fifty Shades Freed on Monday.

“He’s, like, the cool, fun prince, do you know what I mean?” she said of Prince Harry. “All my friends are like, since we’ve been growing up it’s like we wanna hang out with Harry. ‘Cause in our culture it’s like Prince Harry’s untouchable. You know, it’s a real thing.”

Ora, who recently visited Kensington Palace for a charity event, opened up about mingling with the royals in person.

“Of course I kept it respectful, and I’m respectful of his wedding, which I think is gonna be so fun,” she said. “I’m crazy, you know, I do love the royal family. I love everything about them. So it’s really nice to see him happy and everything making sense, but as a kid, everyone wanted to hang out with Harry, ‘cause he was the fun one.”

Harry is tying the knot with American actress Meghan Markle on May 19, and Ora says she’s “so happy” for the couple.

Love certainly is in the air as Ora promotes the latest installment of the Fifty Shades franchise, which comes out later this week. One big surprise from this film is that star Jamie Dornan will be singing in it.

“Jamie can sing!” Ora said of the Irish actor. She added that she didn’t think he was intimidated to sing in front of her, saying, “No, I don’t think he was. He was in the zone. He was loving it, I think.”

Fifty Shades Freed premieres Friday, Feb. 9.

For more royal wedding fun, watch the clip below!


Royal Wedding Countdown: Meghan Markle’s Friends Share Details About Her Life With Prince Harry

Jamie Dornan Says He and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ Co-Star Dakota Johnson Have a ‘Brother, Sister’ Relationship

Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Include Sarah Ferguson in Their Wedding? Here’s What We Know

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