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Canada clinches 2022 men’s curling Olympic spot with Bottcher’s key win over Norway

Canada’s Brendan Bottcher downed Norway’s Steffan Walstad 6-4 in the men’s world curling championship Thursday — an important win for the host country.

The victory ensured the Canadian rink a spot in the playoffs, thus qualifying the country for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The World Curling Federation confirmed to CBC Sports that Canada clinched following the match.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET; Saturday 7:30 p.m. ET; Sunday 5 p.m. ET) featuring the men’s curling championship on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The top six teams at the conclusion of the preliminary round Friday remain in contention for the world title while qualifying for the Olympics.

The top two seeds earn byes to Saturday’s semifinals. Sergey Glukhov’s Russian Curling Federation team and Sweden’s Niklas Edin locked down those semifinal berths with 10-2 records Thursday.

John Shuster of the United States earned a playoff spot with a 9-3 record.

Scotland’s Bruce Mouat and Canada are tied at 8-4, and Norway and Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz are both 7-5 . They will battle for the three remaining playoff berths Friday. Canada caps the round-robin against Germany (4-8) on Friday.

Teams third through sixth in the standings will compete in qualification games with winners reaching the final four. The medal games are Sunday.

WATCH | Bottcher clips Walstad for key victory:

Canada clinches playoff spot in the men’s world curling championship and qualifies for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing with Brendan Bottcher’s 6-4 win over Norway’s Steffen Walstad. 0:42

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NHL expresses concern over Canucks’ COVID-19 protocol situation

The NHL’s deputy commissioner says the Vancouver Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak is a concern, but he remains confident the team will be able to complete its schedule.

In an email to The Canadian Press on Monday, Bill Daly says the team’s numbers are “concerning from a health and safety standpoint, not necessarily from a scheduling standpoint.”

Daly said the league believes the Canucks will return and conclude their 56-game schedule.

He also said the league will not change its COVID-19 protocols in the aftermath of the Canucks’ situation.

After forward Adam Gaudette’s positive test came back last Tuesday, practice continued without him, and then last Wednesday morning’s skate went ahead.

Left-winger Nils Hoglander was added to the NHL’s protocol list on Monday. Seventeen of the 22 players on the Canucks’ active roster are now on the protocol list.

WATCH | Canucks sidelined by COVID-19:

The Vancouver Canucks have cancelled several upcoming games after a COVID-19 outbreak hit at least half the team’s roster. 1:59

A player on the list has not necessarily tested positive — the list, for example, also has players who must self-isolate for being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or for travel reasons. A player who tests positive must self-isolate for 10 days.

The list is updated every day at 5 p.m. ET.

The team has had four games officially postponed because of the virus, and it appears it will be sidelined longer. The Canucks are next scheduled to face the Calgary Flames on Thursday and Saturday, but the NHL announced Calgary will face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday instead. The league also moved Friday’s match between the Oilers and Ottawa to Thursday.

P1 variant suspected

Multiple reports have said the P1 variant first identified in Brazil is suspected to be involved in the Canucks’ outbreak, but the Canucks and NHL have not commented publicly on results of tests since the Vancouver organization confirmed Gaudette had tested positive last week.

A Canadian infectious disease specialist says more information is needed on the Canucks before deeper analysis is possible.

“I think it’s a bit early to speculate about what’s happening with the Canucks. I mean I suspect that the outbreak there is likely going to turn out to be related to P1, but we don’t know yet whether anyone’s going to have severe infections,” said Dr. Ilan Schwartz, an infectious disease expert with the University of Alberta.

“Certainly any of the variants, including what we call the wild type or the original variant, are able to cause symptomatic disease in young people; it’s just the degree of symptomatology that is variable. And so it’s difficult to draw conclusions just from one small group, but certainly this should put Canadians on notice.”


The Vancouver Canucks have had four games officially postponed because of the virus, and it appears the team will be sidelined longer. It’s next scheduled to face the Calgary Flames on Thursday and Saturday, but the NHL announced Calgary will face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday instead. (The Canadian Press)

The biggest previous COVID-19 outbreaks in the NHL were all in the United States.

The Dallas Stars had their first four games of the season postponed after 17 players tested positive — most of whom were asymptomatic.

The New Jersey Devils had 19 players on the COVID-19 protocol list and seven games postponed earlier this season, while the Buffalo Sabres had nine players on the list and six games postponed.

Schwartz said it’s not surprising to see an outbreak on a team, even though there is regular testing.

“I think it was just a matter of time, and it’s sort of similar to what we saw unfold with the White House and the outbreaks that occurred there,” he said.

“Basically we know that testing is not intervention in and of itself. It’s able, perhaps, to identify people who are infected earlier than if we were just waiting for the development of symptoms alone, but if it’s not also implemented with other safeguards and restrictions, it’s basically like relying on a pregnancy test to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. So I think it’s probably expecting too much for the testing alone to be able to prevent the infection.”

The Canucks’ outbreak comes with the vaccine rollout going slower in Canada than in many states in the U.S.

“There’s two different countries, different rules, different situations,” Calgary Flames centre Mikael Backlund said. “There’s nothing we can do about it really. We’ve just got to wait for our turn.”

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Quebec expands COVID-19 lockdown, and worry in Ontario over hospitals

The latest:

New COVID-19 restrictions will go into effect in Quebec Monday evening as the province tries to deal with rising COVID-19 case numbers involving more contagious variants.

The provincial government said the curfew will move from 9:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday evening in the regional municipalities of Beauce-Sartigan, Bellechasse, Les Etchemins, Nouvelle-Beauce and Robert-Cliche.

Non-essential businesses will have to close starting Monday evening, as will restaurant dining rooms. Schools will also have to close for in-person learning. The measures will be in place until at least April 12, the province said.

The Quebec government imposed the same restrictions on three other cities last week, including Quebec City and Gatineau.

Quebec reported 1,252 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths on Monday. According to a provincial dashboard, hospitalizations stood at 503, with 123 in intensive care.

The expanded restrictions in parts of Quebec come as several provinces face mounting COVID-19 case numbers and increasing hospitalizations, prompting concern about strain on health-care systems.

Ontario on Monday reported figures covering two days, for a total of 5,979 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 additional deaths.

According to figures released Monday, hospitalizations in Ontario stood at 942, with 494 people in “ICU due to COVID-related critical illness.” Of those in ICU, 469 were still testing positive for COVID-19, the update said.

In Toronto, Mayor John Tory said the city is working on a plan to vaccinate high-risk people at their places of work.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 12:40 p.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada


People stand outside a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test centre at London Bridge Station, in London, Britain, April 5, 2021. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

As of 12:40 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,011,238 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 61,007 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,088.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

In New Brunswick, health officials reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.  Fourteen patients are hospitalized with the disease, including eight in intensive care, the province said.

The update came a day after health officials said a hospital in northwestern New Brunswick is nearing its capacity for acute care patients, according to a statement released by the Vitalité Health Network over the weekend. 

“The evolution of the variant and its atypical behaviours are creating problems that exceed the pessimistic projections that had been made for that region,” the statement from the organization’s president and CEO Dr. France Desrosiers said. “The Edmundston Regional Hospital will soon reach its maximum capacity in terms of patients requiring acute care.”

Desrosiers, who praised the efforts of front-line workers and health-care staff, noted that the transfer of patients to other facilities “is imminent.”

Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador had not yet reported updated figures Monday.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories or Yukon on Sunday.

WATCH | Nunavut premier celebrates turning a COVID-19 corner:

Arviat once hosted Nunavut’s worst COVID-19 outbreak. But with almost one-third of the territory’s population fully immunized and travel restrictions easing, Premier Joe Savikataaq visited his hometown to share his appreciation with those who helped turn the corner. 2:17

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba did not provide an update on COVID-19 on Sunday.

In Saskatchewan, health officials reported 221 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 194, with 44 people in intensive care due to COVID-19, the highest figure recorded in the province.

In Alberta, a preliminary estimate of new case numbers reported Sunday stood at 950, the province’s top doctor said in a tweet. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said hospitalizations remained stable, noting that health officials would provide an update on Monday.

WATCH | COVID-19 ‘disaster’ on the doorstep,’ says Calgary ER physician:

Calgary is in the midst of explosive COVID-19 growth, which is driven by variants, says Dr. Joe Vipond, an emergency room physician. He says leaders have been slow to respond to this ‘five-alarm fire.’ 5:55

British Columbia will provide updated case numbers later Monday. Businesses putting staff and patrons at risk by remaining open in defiance of COVID-19 rules will face consequences, the province’s public safety minister said Sunday as the province works to bring surging infections under control.

The warning from Mike Farnworth comes after a Vancouver restaurant that flouted restrictions by serving patrons indoors was slapped with a closure notice on Saturday, which its owner has indicated she intends to ignore.

“Harassment of enforcement officials will not be tolerated, and closure orders by Vancouver Coastal Health or any other health authority must be respected,” Farnworth said in a statement.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 11:45 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world


Quebec reported 1,154 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and nine additional deaths. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

As of early Monday afternoon, more than 131.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.8 million.

In the Americas, starting Monday, any adult in Florida is eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. In addition, the state announced that teens ages 16 and 17 can also get the vaccine with parental permission.

Johnson & Johnson is taking over “full responsibility” for a subcontractor’s Baltimore facility that produces the drug substance for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after an embarrassing mix-up. The company said it’s adding leaders in operations and quality control to the Emergent BioSolutions plant to supervise the work of its vaccine line.

It comes after enough drug substance for about 15 million doses was contaminated by human error at the plant. The issue was flagged to federal regulators, who have yet to approve any doses from the Baltimore plant, last week.

J&J has delivered about 20 million doses from another plant to the federal government already and says it expects to deliver about 80 million more by the end of May.

LISTEN | ‘I call it … one endless Wednesday’: More than one year in, pandemic burnout is real, author says:

Front Burner21:48Pandemic burnout is real

Today on Front Burner, Anne Helen Petersen explains the forces behind burnout and why more and more Canadians are struggling with it one year into a global pandemic that has altered the way many of us work and live. 21:48

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippine government extended a lockdown by another week Monday after an alarming spike in coronavirus infections continued to surge and started to overwhelm many hospitals in the capital and outlying regions.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metropolitan Manila and four outlying provinces, a region of more than 25 million people, under lockdown last week as daily infections breached 10,000. Roman Catholic leaders shifted Holy Week and Easter events online after all public gatherings, including in places of worship, were temporarily banned.

Bangladesh began enforcing a weeklong nationwide lockdown Monday, shutting shopping malls and transportation as authorities try to stop a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths.

The decision came after health authorities said that they were facing overwhelming pressure in intensive care units in recent weeks because of severe infections. This is the second time the South Asian nation has enforced a virus lockdown after the first last March.

India has reported its biggest single-day spike in confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, and officials in the hard-hit state home to Mumbai are returning to the closure of some businesses and places of worship in a bid to slow the spread.


Medical workers fill a box with traditional Easter cakes known as Colomba as they prepare to tour the COVID-19 ward of the GVM Maria Pia Hospital in Turin on Sunday. (Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

The Health Ministry on Monday reported 103,558 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, topping the previous peak of 97,894 daily cases recorded in late September. Fatalities rose by 478, raising the country’s death toll to 165,101.

India now has a seven-day rolling average of more than 73,000 cases per day and infections in the country are being reported faster than anywhere else in the world.

In the Middle East, Iran’s capital is once again facing the highest level of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus as the country struggles with a new surge in daily deaths. State media said the measure on Monday is the third time Tehran has faced a so-called code red since the pandemic began. A code red involves a ban on any travel by personal cars to and from cities and limits working hours of many businesses and offices to prevent the spread of the virus.

About 50 cities and towns are in code red, with only 23 in code blue, or “safe” status, out of the country’s total of more than 800 cities and towns. The rest are in orange and yellow status, which involve fewer restrictions.

The report comes as Iran’s daily death toll again reached three digits, after months of being under 100. On Sunday, 161 deaths were reported, bringing the registered death toll in Iran to more than 63,000, the highest in the Middle East. Iran has reported some 1.9 million confirmed cases of the virus

Also on Monday, Iran said it received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the Netherlands through the global COVAX initiative. 

In Africa, South Africa’s health minister said Sunday that the number of confirmed cases in the country — the hardest-hit on the continent — stood at more than 1.5 million, with nearly 53,000 recorded deaths.

In Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday his government was hopeful that non-essential international travel would restart from May 17, but did not want to underestimate the growing number of COVID-19 cases elsewhere. He said a task force would report later this week to set out what might be a “reasonable” plan.


A health worker administers the Covishield vaccine for COVID-19 at a residential area in Ahmedabad, India, on Sunday. (Ajit Solanki/The Associated Press)

France’s health minister warned Monday that the number of COVID-19 patients in the country’s intensive care units could reach levels seen during the first crisis a year ago. France’s hospitals have already surpassed the number of coronavirus ICU patients seen during the second surge in November, and Olivier Veran said on TF1 television that “it’s possible we could approach” the ICU saturation levels of April 2020.

Portugal on Sunday extended until April 15 restrictions on travel via land and sea to Spain that had been due to end this weekend.

Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco told the Financial Times newspaper that the biggest threat to a global economic recovery is the irregular pace at which countries are vaccinating their populations against COVID-19.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 12:40 p.m. ET


Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.


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CBC | Health News

Suez Canal backlog officially over as last stranded ships pass through

The last ships stranded by the grounding of a giant container vessel in the Suez Canal passed through the waterway on Saturday, according to the canal authority, which said an investigation into the incident would report its findings soon.

The Suez Canal Authority said the last of 422 ships stranded by the grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given made their way through the canal by Saturday, ending the backlog caused by the blockage.

International supply chains were thrown into disarray when the 400-metre-long Ever Given ran aground in the vital trade artery on March 23, with specialist rescue teams taking almost a week to free her after extensive dredging and repeated tugging operations.

The massive container vessel was finally dislodged on Monday, thus ending the backlog of shipping that built up during the crisis.

An SCA investigation began on Wednesday into what caused the vessel to run aground in the Suez Canal and block the waterway for six days, Rabie told the MBC Masr private TV late on Friday.

“The investigation is going well and will take two more days, then we will announce the results,” he added.

WATCH | High tide, tugboats help free ship stuck in Suez Canal:

The gigantic container ship Ever Given has been freed from a sandy bank in Egypt’s Suez Canal after a team of tugboats helped pull its heavy bow from the shore and send it on its way. 0:56

The Ever Given had crashed into a bank of a single-lane stretch of the canal about six kilometres north of the southern entrance, near the city of Suez.

That forced some ships to take the long, alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip — a 5,000-kilometre detour that costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other costs. Others waited in place for the blockage to be over.

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7 Hong Kong democracy leaders convicted over 2019 protests

Seven Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates were convicted Thursday on charges of organizing and participating in an unlawful assembly during massive anti-government protests in 2019 that triggered a crackdown on dissent.

The seven include media tycoon and founder of the Apple Daily tabloid Jimmy Lai, as well as 82-year-old Martin Lee, a veteran of the city’s democracy movement. Lai had already been held without bail on other charges related to his pro-democracy activities.

They were convicted for their involvement in a protest held on Aug. 18, 2019. Organizers said that 1.7 million people marched that day in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

The activists, apart from those who have been remanded in custody on other charges, were granted bail on condition they do not leave Hong Kong and must hand in all their travel documents.

They will next appear in court on April 16, where mitigation pleas will be heard before sentences are handed down. Taking part in an unlawful assembly or a riot in Hong Kong can result in a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment for serious offences.


Pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-yan waves to supporters as he arriving at the West Kowloon Courts for verdicts in landmark unlawful assembly case, in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Ahead of the trial, supporters and some of the defendants gathered outside the court, shouting “Oppose political persecution” and “Five demands, not one less,” in reference to demands by democracy supporters that include amnesty for those arrested in the protests as well as universal suffrage in the semi-autonomous territory.

‘We believe in the people of Hong Kong’

“So on this day, in a very difficult situation in Hong Kong, political retaliation is on us,” Lee Cheuk-yan, one of the defendants, said ahead of the court session.

“We will still march on no matter what lies in the future. We believe in the people of Hong Kong, in our brothers and sisters in our struggle, and the victory is ours if the people of Hong Kong are persistent,” he said.

Previously, two other defendants — former pro-democracy lawmakers Au Nok-hin and Leung Yiu-chung — had pleaded guilty to organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly.

Hong Kong was rocked by months of protests in the second half of 2019, sparked by the extradition bill. The bill was eventually withdrawn, but the protests expanded to include full democracy and other demands and at times descended into violence between demonstrators and police.

In the aftermath of the protests, Beijing took a tough stance on dissent, imposing a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong and approving electoral reforms that would reduce public participation in elections and exclude critics from running for the city’s legislature.

China had pledged to allow the city to retain freedoms not permitted elsewhere in the country for 50 years when it took Hong Kong back from Britain in 1997, but its recent steps are seen as a betrayal.

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Marketplace flagged over 800 social media posts with COVID-19 misinformation. Only a fraction were removed

The world’s social media giants promised to crack down on harmful COVID-19 misinformation that has proliferated since the pandemic began, but a CBC Marketplace investigation found that when problematic posts were flagged, most weren’t labelled or removed. 

Marketplace producers, between Feb. 3 and Feb. 16, combed through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter — using the user tool to flag and report more than 800 posts that breach each company’s policies that cover, among other things, posting misinformation.

The result: 12 per cent of the posts were labelled with warnings or taken down entirely. That number jumped to 53 per cent per cent only after Marketplace journalists identified themselves and shared the findings directly with the companies.

WATCH | Full Marketplace report on COVID-19 misinformation:

Inside one of the world’s most dangerous Covid-19 conspiracy movements; Canada’s food labels fail to disclose added sugar content which makes some packaged foods appear healthier than they are. 22:30

“Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have become the primary superspreaders of misinformation in our world,” said Imran Ahmed, founder of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit based out of Washington, D.C., which Marketplace collaborated with on this project. “That is a shocking failure to act on misinformation that was handed to them on a silver platter.”


This post, presented as a study, claims ‘masks provide no benefit’ and ‘vaccines are inherently dangerous.’ It was one of the few posts that was taken down shortly after Marketplace reported it. (CBC)

Of the 832 posts Marketplace flagged, 391 came from Facebook, 166 from Instagram, 173 from Twitter and 102 from YouTube. The posts had a combined 1.5 million likes and 120,000 comments and covered a range of COVID-19-related topics, but generally circled back to a few central themes: vaccines are dangerous, COVID-19 isn’t and don’t trust authorities. 

Partly fuelled by social media, partly fuelled by the COVID-19 conspiracy movement’s effective persuasion tactics, misinformation has contributed to anti-lockdown sentiment, COVID-19 denial and vaccine hesitancy, said Ahmed.

Ahmed says companies such as Facebook are motivated to keep users sharing more content, not less. The more you scroll and the more users consume, the more these companies make from advertisements, which is where most of their revenue is generated, he said.


Imran Ahmed, the founder of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, says social media companies have become the primary superspreaders of misinformation online. (Jason Burles/CBC)

‘Incredibly dangerous’

Marketplace was interested in seeing if the social media giants had made improvements since a 2020 CCDH study, which found the companies only acted on five per cent of misinformation it reported. The CCDH cross-referenced and analyzed CBC’s data to ensure problem posts did breach company policies for FacebookInstagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, took action on about 18 per cent of the posts flagged on both platforms. That number jumped to about 67 per cent after Marketplace shared its findings. 

One of the posts that is still up on Facebook weeks later shows a picture of Bill Gates with the headline: “New vaccine causes sterility in 97% of women!” There is no evidence that links coronavirus vaccines to sterility.


As of March 29, this post remains on Facebook, even though Marketplace reported it and subsequently shared the findings with the company. (CBC)

Another post shows a homeopathic product, which purportedly “enhanced immunity” against COVID-19 and promised “reduced frequency and shorter duration of symptoms.” It sells for $ 49.99 US.

There are no homeopathic remedies that can cure or alleviate COVID-19 symptoms.

“Completely ridiculous and a little bit infuriating,” Timothy Caulfield, a health law and policy expert at the University of Alberta, said after he was shown the post. “Homeopathic is an easy one because it’s completely scientifically implausible. That one is so clearly wrong and harmful it should be taken down immediately.”


This homeopathic remedy, which purports to prevent COVID-19 symptoms, was flagged but remains on Facebook. There are no homeopathic remedies that can cure COVID-19. (CBC)

Caulfield says self-reporting tools on social media must lead to action otherwise people will stop using them, but understands the difficulty of monitoring platforms that have billions of users.

“The numbers of messages that have to be evaluated are just huge so I think that is one of the great challenges of social media: how can you meaningfully monitor all of these posts, but we know we need to,” said Caulfield. “The challenge is there but the harm is real.”

Over the course of Marketplace‘s test, Facebook did take down a number of prominent accounts on its platforms, including Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Instagram account, which had close to a million followers — the result of a new policy in February that outright prohibited the posting of any anti-vaccination or COVID misinformation. RFK Jr.’s Facebook account, and the Facebook and Instagram accounts of his group, Children’s Health Defense — with a combined following of close to 700,000 — are still up.

The company disputed that some of the posts Marketplace flagged violated its protocols, and said in an emailed statement that it had “removed millions of pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram that violate our COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policies — including two million since February alone.”

YouTube, Twitter performed worst

Of the four platforms Marketplace tested, Twitter and YouTube took the least action.

Twitter initially left up all but two of the 173 posts Marketplace reported — including one by a prominent anti-vaccination leader that called the COVID-19 vaccine a “military-grade, deadly bio-weapon.” The post yielded more than 2,100 likes and 1,400 retweets. 


This Twitter post claims the COVID-19 vaccine is a ‘military-grade, deadly bio-weapon.’ Marketplace reported it but it still remained online as of March 28. (CBC)

While Twitter has since removed 18 per cent of the posts Marketplace reported, the company would not say why it initially left up the majority of flagged posts and said it doesn’t “directly comment on third-party studies.” It pointed to its updated policies, which include a five-strike system for users that would lead to an account deletion.

YouTube didn’t take down any of the flagged videos until Marketplace shared its findings. After that, it took down 34 per cent of the reported videos.

But many still remain — including one from a known conspiracist telling his audience that people are sending him information “telling me causes of [COVID] death have been altered.” He said he is also receiving information about, “hospitals that are completely dead, nothing happening in there,” referencing a viral trend early in the pandemic where people would record videos of empty hospitals to try to back up their claims that COVID-19 wasn’t real.

The video has over 700,000 views.


This video showing a prominent conspiracist talking about COVID-19-related deaths being altered is still up online, despite Marketplace reporting the video. (CBC)

YouTube said in a statement that only some of the videos Marketplace reported violated its policies, and said that since February 2020, it had “removed more than 800,000 videos for violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policies.”

Ahmed says CBC’s results suggest YouTube, Twitter and Facebook may not be paying as close attention to misinformation until news organizations or legislators put them under the microscope. 

“What’s really great about this study is that this tells us what they’re doing when they think no one is watching.”

  • Watch full episodes of Marketplace on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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CBC | Health News

Canadian men open Olympic soccer qualifier with win over El Salvador

Sparked by Tajon Buchanan’s two early goals, Canada opened play at the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship with an impressive 2-0 win over El Salvador on Friday.

While there were a few shaky moments at the back, the Canadian under-24 side looked good against a physical El Salvador side. Canada moved the ball quickly and showed teeth in attack.

The performance was all the more commendable given eight of Canada’s starters are with MLS clubs and so just starting their pre-season.

“I’m happy with the results,” said Canada coach Mauro Biello. “It was tough for the boys in terms of the fitness of this group. But I’m very proud of the way they fought, the way they were able to hurt the other team in moments, and closed out the game.

“What I said to them is we’re going to grow throughout this tournament. It’s normal. Some players had met for the first time.”

WATCH | Canada shuts out El Salvador:

Tajon Buchanan made an impressive international debut, scoring twice as Canada opened play at the CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifying championship in Guadalajara, Mexico with a 2-0 win over El Salvador. 3:14

The eight-country tournament will decide which two teams represent the region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, at the Tokyo Olympics. The qualifier was originally scheduled for last March but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The Canadian men last made it to the Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles where they lost to Brazil in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.

Canada continues Group B play against Haiti on Monday and Honduras next Wednesday. Group A opened play Thursday with the U.S. defeating Costa Rica 1-0 and Mexico beating the Dominican Republic 4-1.

The top two in each group advance to the semifinals with the winners booking their tickets to Tokyo.

Buchanan, who is entering his third season with the New England Revolution, made his presence felt early. A live wire blessed with pace and a deep bag of tricks, he turned heads in MLS last year when he led all Canadians with 23 regular-season appearances — some at fullback.

“Everybody will see the two goals but coaches will look at the work that he does,” said Biello. “The way he tracked back in the 90th minute, for me, was quite impressive.

“He’s a player that’s just growing. He had a good season last year in New England, came into camp with the men’s [senior] team in January [and] showed his qualities. And now today he was focused to show what he could do and he was able to get those two great goals. And again the work that he puts in for the team is excellent.”

WATCH | Canada’s path to Tokyo:

Signa Butler is joined by John Molinaro of CPL.ca and Joshua Kloke of The Athletic to talk about Canada’s roster challenges, strengths and what they need to do to grab one of two spots for Tokyo 6:43

The 22-year-old winger from Brampton, Ont., opened the scoring in the 17th minute, capping a rapid-fire attack that saw Ballou Tabla find Buchanan in space near the edge of the El Salvador penalty box. The speedy Buchanan beat defender Kevin Menjivar and slotted his left-footed shot from a tight angle through goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez’s legs.

Buchanan scored again four minutes later, this time with a rocket of a shot through traffic. A Canadian free kick landed at the feet of Derek Cornelius in the El Salvador penalty box and the Canada captain calmly laid the ball back to Buchanan, who hammered it home with his right foot from just outside the box.

Buchanan, named Canada Soccer’s Youth International Player of the Year in 2020, celebrated with an equally impressive double-somersault. A kneeling Cornelius then mimed giving him a shoeshine.

Buchanan is the 12th Canadian to score twice in a CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifier — and the first since Tosaint Ricketts in 2008.

Buchanan played provider in the 51st minute, beating a defender down the flank and the bending a perfect ball to Tabla in front of goal. But Gonzalez got his body in front of the shot.

It was 30 degrees Celsius at kickoff at the 55,000-capacity Jalisco Stadium, which was empty due to the pandemic. The Canadians also had to deal with the altitude (1,550 metres).

Honduras blanked Haiti in the earlier game. Haiti started with 10 men and an outfield player in goal because part of its delegation arrived in Guadalajara late, impacting the timing of COVID-19 testing. The team got reinforcements during the match, including a goalkeeper, after tests came back negative.

Adding to Haiti’s woes, defender Djimy Alexis was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.

Biello’s starting 11 included five players who had seen action with the senior side: goalkeeper James Pantemis, defenders Zachary Brault-Guillard, Marcus Godinho and Cornelius and forwards Charles-Andreas Brym and Tabla.

The 23-year-old Cornelius has the most senior caps at 13. Pantemis and Buchanan are uncapped but have both spent time with the senior team.

Pantemis has a good game, equal to everything thrown at him. Biello called his team’s defensive efforts “a hell of a shift.”

8 MLS players in starting XI

Canada’s starting 11 featured the eight MLS players — three each from Montreal and Vancouver and one apiece from Minnesota and New England. Of the other three, one was from the USL and two from Europe.

There were six yellow cards in the game, three apiece.

Only players born in 1997 or later are eligible for Olympic qualifying (the same age limit was kept despite the qualifying tournament’s one-year delay). Countries that make it to the Olympics are allowed up to three overage players.

Canada made two late changes to its roster Friday morning.

Citing medical reasons, Canada replaced defender Thomas Meilleur-Giguere (Pacific FC, CPL) and forward Kris Twardek (Jagiellonia, Poland) with Cavalry FC defender/winger Mo Farsi and York United FC defender Diyaeddine Abzi.

While Canada Soccer did not specify the medical issues, Meilleur-Giguere said he had torn his medial collateral ligament the day before the match.

“Life is so unfair sometimes, worked so hard for that moment and boom,” he wrote in a social media post.

The departures leave Canada short at centre back, a problem that was exacerbated when Callum Montgomery left the game with an injury.

Farsi, named Best Canadian U-21 Player of the Year in the CPL in 2020, came off the bench in the 85th minute.

Mexico, which has won the last two CONCACAF qualifiers, and Honduras represented the region at the last two Olympics. Honduras was fourth at the 2016 Rio Games while Mexico defeated Brazil 2-1 to win gold in 2012 in London.

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CBC | Soccer News

Tokyo Olympics hit by another scandal over sexist comment

Tokyo Olympics creative director Hiroshi Sasaki is resigning after making demeaning comments about a well-known female celebrity.

It is yet another setback for the postponed games and another involving comments about women. The Olympics are to open in just over four months, dogged by the pandemic, record costs and numerous scandals.

In February, the president of the organizing committee Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign after making sexist comments, saying women talk too much in meetings.

Two years ago, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee Tsunekazu Takeda was also forced to step down in a bribery scandal connected to vote-buying involving International Olympic Committee members.

Sasaki was in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics, which are to begin on July 23. Last year he told planning staff members that well-known entertainer Naomi Watanabe could perform in the ceremony as an “Olympig.”

Watanabe is a heavy-set woman and very famous in Japan, and “Olympig” was a play on the word “Olympic.”

‘It is unforgivable’

Sasaki released a statement early on Thursday saying he was stepping down. He said he had also called Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organizing committee, and tendered his resignation.

“For Ms. Naomi Watanabe, my idea and comments are a big insult. And it is unforgivable,” Sasaki said. “I offer my deepest regrets and apologize from the depth of my heart to her, and those who may have been offended by this.”

“It is truly regrettable, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” he added.

Hashimoto, who replaced Mori, was scheduled to speak later on Thursday.

Sasaki formerly worked for the giant Japanese advertising company Dentsu Inc., which has been a key supporter of these Olympics. It is the official marketing partner and has helped to raise a record of $ 3.5 billion in local sponsorship, almost three times as much as any previous Olympics.

The torch relay for the Olympics kicks off next week from northeastern Japan and will be a severe test with 10,000 runners crisscrossing Japan for four months, heading to the opening ceremony and trying to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Organizers and the IOC insist the Olympics will go forward during the pandemic with 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes entering Japan. Official costs for Tokyo are $ 15.4 billion but several government audits show the real cost might be twice that much.

A University of Oxford study says Tokyo is the most expensive Olympics on record.

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CBC | Sports News

Over half of Canadians say monarchy is obsolete after Harry and Meghan’s interview, poll suggests

A new poll suggests just over half of Canadians believe the British monarchy is a relic that Canada should abandon, following Prince Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Fifty-three per cent of respondents to an online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say the British monarchy no longer has its place in 21st-century Canada, while one-third say they would rather preserve this part of our heritage.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said the interview — and how Canadians are responding to its revelations — should be considered a blow for the monarchy and those who believe in the importance of the role it plays in Canada.

“I think this probably would not have been true a few weeks ago,” Bourque said.

The poll also found that 59 per cent of respondents sympathize more with Harry and Meghan, while 26 per cent say they held more sympathy for the Royal Family.

The online poll of 1,512 adult Canadians was carried out March 12 to 14. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based surveys are not considered random samples.

WATCH | Palace issues stark response to Meghan, Harry’s interview:

Buckingham Palace issued a stark response amid the chaos surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview, which included an outburst from well-known TV personality Piers Morgan. 2:03

Fifty-two per cent say the recent events involving the couple, which included the Duchess of Sussex divulging that she had been driven to thoughts of suicide and that a member of the Royal Family had asked how dark her son Archie’s skin might be, speak about a fundamental problem with the institution.

Negative view of monarchy higher in Quebec

Forty-three per cent of respondents say the recent events show the Royal Family holds racist views, which Bourque said is damaging to its reputation.

The negative view of the monarchy was higher in Quebec, where 71 per cent of respondents said it is out of date, which Bourque said is not surprising.

“Even if you exclude the Quebec numbers, you still get about half of Canadians who say basically do we really need the Royal Family in Canada,” he said.

WATCH | Trudeau says he won’t comment on ‘what’s going on over in the U.K.’:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he “won’t comment on what’s going on over in the U.K.” after being asked about allegations of racism made against the Royal Family in Oprah’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. 2:23

An earlier poll of 2,122 adult Canadians carried out from Feb. 5 to 7 had 46 per cent of respondents saying the monarchy is outdated and that Canada should get rid of it, so the numbers are slightly higher after the interview with Harry and Meghan.

In the more recent poll, Canadians appear divided on what could replace the monarchy.

Thirty-six per cent of respondents said they would prefer the prime minister be the head of state, with no other representative such as the governor general. Sixteen per cent said they would like Canada to be a republic with an elected president and 20 per cent said they would like to keep the existing arrangement.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook-Canadian Press News Fellowship, which is not involved in the editorial process.

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CBC | World News

Canada will recommend AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for those over 65, documents show

Canada will change its guidelines on the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine and recommend it be given to those over age 65, according to documents obtained by CBC News and sources with direct knowledge of the guidelines.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) previously recommended Canadians over 65 not receive an AstraZeneca-Oxford shot earlier this month, despite emerging evidence from around the world demonstrating its ability to prevent severe COVID-19 in older adults.

But the NACI recommendations were based largely on AstraZeneca-Oxford’s clinical trial data and didn’t examine real-world evidence past Dec. 7 — months before the effectiveness of the vaccine was fully realized in other countries for older age groups.

Those recommendations led provinces to reorganize their vaccination plans for seniors and meant those aged 60-64 could receive the shots ahead of older age groups, who are at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Sources with firsthand knowledge of the new recommendations confirmed to CBC News that NACI plans to update its guidelines on the vaccine Tuesday. 

Documents obtained by CBC News — marked “final” and dated Tuesday, but which may be subject to change — show the decision is based on emerging real-world data from other countries. The recommendations also state that mRNA vaccines, such as those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, will still be “prioritized” for older age groups. 

“Following this careful review, NACI decided to expand recommendations for the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to include those 65 years of age and over,” the documents read. 


Pharmacist Abraam Rafael administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Maureen Doyle at his pharmacy in Toronto on Sunday. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

The documents state real-world data of vaccine effectiveness — for those over 65 who received one dose of AstraZeneca’s — saw a “reduction in the risk of symptomatic disease and hospitalization” that appeared to reach a “comparable level” to those aged 18 to 64.

CBC News reached out to representatives from NACI, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada for comment but did not receive a response by publication time.

No evidence

Other countries such as France and Germany initially advised those 65 and older not to receive the shot, but overturned their decisions earlier this month after new evidence showed the vaccine significantly reduced hospitalizations in that age group.

But Germany followed other European countries like Denmark and Norway on Monday and suspended the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot over reports of blood clotting in some recipients of the vaccine. Italy and France did the same. 

WATCH | Benefits outweigh risks with AstraZeneca vaccine, experts say:

Despite some European countries temporarily halting use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine after 30 cases of blood clots, experts maintain it is still safe to use in Canada. 2:01

AstraZeneca-Oxford said Sunday a “careful review” of all available safety data for more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and the U.K. showed “no evidence of an increased risk” of blood clots. 

It’s unclear if NACI’s guidelines for the vaccine will change further in light of the blood clotting reports, but the documents make no mention of them and there is no evidence to suggest Canada will follow suit in suspending the use of the shot. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is safe and Canadians should have no concerns about receiving it.

Already hesitant

It’s unclear how the change in recommendations will affect provincial and territorial vaccine rollout plans, given that those aged 60-64 have already started receiving shots and continue to be booked for appointments. 

Quebec is the only province so far to ignore the national recommendations. Officials there said last week they would administer the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to seniors.

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and medical director of infection control at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said the vaccine has already raised concerns from the public because the clinical trials underestimated its effectiveness, did not enroll enough people over 65 and lacked key data because few participants actually got infected with COVID-19. 

“People are already hesitant around this vaccine from that,” he said. “And even if you do get better data to support its use you now still have to fight against these three different streams of negativity towards this vaccine.” 

Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said issues with data from Scotland, regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine in older age groups, may have factored into NACI’s initial decision. 

“Overall, what has happened with the AstraZeneca vaccine has been very, very unfortunate from almost the get-go,” said Stall, who is a member of NACI but does not speak on behalf of the committee. “So many things, unfortunately, went wrong along the way.” 

Stall said the reported blood clotting also “reared its ugly head” at an extremely unfortunate time. 

“Then of course, people see a product that I think they perceive as inferior,” he said. “Secondly, [the initial shipment] expires on April 2, so people feel like this is sort of like this second rate product that’s imminently expiring that the government is trying to get rid of.” 

Stall said all of those factors combined have led to a “very, very understandable but unfortunate perception” that AstraZeneca-Oxford’s is somehow a “bad vaccine” — which simply isn’t true. 

WATCH | Blood clots likely unrelated to vaccine, epidemiologist says:

People who got blood clots after taking the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine probably would have gotten them anyway, says epidemiologist and cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos. He says blood clots are a common ailment among people who are currently the focus of many vaccine programs. 4:01

“I do believe that probably when all is said and done, that the AstraZeneca vaccine is going to show similar real world efficacy in terms of preventing those outcomes we care most about, the hospitalizations and deaths, very comparably to the mRNA vaccines,” he said. 

Matthew Miller, an associate professor of infectious diseases and immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the emergence of real-world data allows officials to continually assess how effective the vaccine is globally.

“That data is now very strongly suggesting that the vaccine is working in those older individuals, and is particularly good at preventing severe infection and hospitalization, which are ultimately the outcomes that are most important,” said Miller, who also works with NACI.

“What we don’t want to have happen is these individuals, especially those who belong to vulnerable demographics, becoming seriously ill, hospitalized and dying. Those are the things that stretch ICU capacity and so those are the outcomes of greatest concern.”

Chagla says clear, transparent communication from politicians and public health officials is needed in order to explain to Canadians why the change was made. 

“It wasn’t the fact that it was ineffective, it was the fact that there just wasn’t data — but there is now,” he said. 

“There is going to be a stigma done by this but at least if people have the right information to make an educated decision and feel like their public health officials are being open and transparent with them, it at least encourages people to make the decision that they need to.”

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CBC | Health News