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Referee banned from working NHL games after being caught on live mic wanting to call penalty on Predators

Referee Tim Peel has been banned from officiating future NHL games after he was caught saying he wanted to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators during a game on Tuesday.

Peel was wearing a microphone for the Detroit-Nashville game Tuesday night and was heard making the comment over the TV broadcast.

“It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a [expletive] penalty against Nashville early in the,” Peel was heard saying before his microphone was cut off after Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was called for a tripping penalty at 4:56 of the second period.

Peel worked the game with referee Kelly Sutherland. The Predators were called for four penalties and the Red Wings three in Nashville’s 2-0 win.

WARNING: Clip contains profane language

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” Colin Campbell, the league’s senior executive vice-president of hockey operations, said in a statement issued by the NHL Wednesday. 

“Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve,” he said in the statement. “There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity our game.”

The NHL’s statement was unclear on whether Peel had been fired, but TSN reported Wednesday he planned to retire following this season.

NHL players weigh in

Nashville’s Matt Duchene on a local radio appearance Wednesday wondered aloud what would have happened if Detroit scored on the power play, won the game and the Predators missed the playoffs by a point.

“The crazy part is he was talking to [teammate Filip] Forsberg in that clip, and he told our bench that,” Duchene said. “Really bizarre. I don’t think there’s a place in hockey for that.

“You’ve got to call the game. I’ve always been frustrated when I’ve seen even-up calls or stuff like that. If one team is earning power plays, you can’t punish them because the other team is not.”

Even-up — or make-up — calls are when referees will penalize one team to compensate for what they perceive to be an incorrect penalty imposed on the opposing team. 

Duchene and other players around the league cast doubt on “make-up calls” being a regular part of hockey, though he acknowledged “there’s definitely nights where you’re skeptical of it.”

“Some of the good refs definitely have a feel for the game and they know the ebbs and flows, and they know to try to keep the game as even as possible unless the play dictates otherwise,” New York Rangers forward Ryan Strome said. “But as players, all you can ask for is that they try to call it as fair as possible.”

‘The league had to do what they had to do’

Washington centre Nicklas Backstrom, a 14-year veteran, said the incident was a first for him.

“I’ve never heard anything like that,” Backstrom said. “I think it’s maybe unfortunate that it happened and came out that way. But at the same time, the league had to do what they had to do.”

Predators coach John Hynes said it probably doesn’t matter how he feels about what the official said.

“But the referees are employees of the league and rather than me comment on it, it’s an issue that I think the league will have to take care of,” Hynes said.

Most players and coaches expressed respect for on-ice officials and lamented how difficult their jobs are in keeping track of the fast-paced game. Buffalo interim coach Don Granato said he has “full faith” in the people who work for the NHL.

“[Peel] made a mistake, but unfortunately you don’t want make-up calls to be part of the game,” Edmonton’s Adam Larsson said. “I don’t think it’s right. I think if it’s an obvious one I don’t think it should be made up for.”

Peel, 54, from Hampton, N.B., has been an NHL referee since 1999.

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CBC | Sports News

Flight PS752 shot down after being ‘misidentified’ as ‘hostile target,’ Iran’s final report says

Iran’s civil aviation authority says an error by the Iranian military was the cause of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752’s destruction in January 2020.

In its long-awaited final report on the incident, released today, Iranian safety investigators conclude that the Boeing 737-800 passenger plane was shot down by accident after being “misidentified” by an air defence unit as a “hostile target.”

All 176 passengers and crew members — including 138 people with ties to Canada — died in the crash.

“The … aircraft was misidentified by the air defence unit in the suburbs of Tehran and, consequently, two missiles were launched toward it,” the report reads. “The operation of the aircraft had not imposed any error to the air defence unit.

“The interference of military activity with civil aviation operations resulted in an accident.”

Investigators identified the immediate cause of the crash as the detonation of a warhead on the first of two surface-to-air missiles fired in close proximity to the plane. The explosion damaged the aircraft’s navigation systems and caused it to crash. The plane exploded on impact.

The report, conducted by Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board, bolsters the Iranian government’s claim that the plane was shot down as a result of human error — but it leaves unanswered many questions raised by the Canadian government and the families of the victims.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said it has received the final report and senior officials will respond at a press conference Thursday morning.

Iran denied shooting down the aircraft for three days after the crash. In response to mounting international pressure and evidence, Iran later admitted a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “mistakenly” shot down the jet.

The Iranian military was on high alert at the time because of the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike five days earlier, and a subsequent retaliatory attack by Iran on Iraqi bases where U.S. forces were stationed.

In a video posted to Facebook, Ukraine’s foreign minister blasted the investigation as incomplete and biased.

“What we saw published today is just a cynical attempt to hide true causes of the downing of our passenger aircraft,” Dmytro Kuleba said, according to an English translation.

“This is not a report but a collection of manipulations aimed not at establishing the truth, but acquitting the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Kuleba said the investigation violated standards set out under international law and by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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CBC | World News

PlayStation 5 Scalpers Think They’re Being Demonized Unfairly

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The people making bank selling PlayStation 5’s, Xbox Series X, various types of footwear, and both Nvidia and AMD GPUs believe they’ve been misunderstood. If you think about it, scalpers are really just providing a service. They’re not parasites, they’re just economically savvy.

Forbes recently spoke to some of these charming go-getters to get their opinions on the recent console shortages.

“There seems to be A LOT of bad press on this incredibly valuable industry and I do not feel that it is justified, all we are acting as is a middleman for limited-quantity items.” said one individual named Jordan, who co-founded a group known as the Lab. The Lab is what’s known as a “cook group,” a private organization that advises paying users on how to bypass site security systems and order multiple consoles at once.

A bot in action. Image by Janhoi McGregor, Forbes

According to Jordan, buying 25 PlayStation 5’s and reselling them for £700 (base retail price: £450) is no different than a retailer buying milk from a wholesaler at a low price before reselling it at a higher price. Another scalper, Regan, defended The Lab’s actions on the grounds that it donated most of its earnings to an unspecified local food bank.

The “scalpers are really just another form of reseller” argument would hold up better if the business relationship was voluntary. Much of the Forbes article is concerned with the various ways scalpers bypass website security and subvert ordering systems. It’s hard to imagine Walmart trumpeting the availability of Fruit of the Loom underwear while the manufacturer briefed the press on its efforts to prevent sales.

Retailers continue to insist that they’ve closed these loopholes and that they are taking every precaution possible against bots. Somehow, bot authors also keep talking up their successes, and products keep showing up on black markets. Based on what we know about the bot market structure, most of these products use a subscription model, implying that customer churn is fairly high — most people, presumably, subscribe to the service for only as long as they need to score a desired product.

The people using bots to bypass website security systems and order products before they’re even supposed to go on-sale aren’t just scalping. These people are abusing point-of-sale systems to artificially restrict supply and inflate the value of their own inventory. Third-party analysis has suggested scalpers are accounting for 10-15 percent of Xbox and PS5 sales. That’s enough to meaningfully constrict supply when manufacturers are already having a difficult time keeping systems on shelves. In some cases, there are knock-on effects to these shenanigans. PC component prices have been all over the map, making it cheaper, in a lot of cases, to buy a machine rather than build one. Scoring 10-20 Nvidia GPUs may earn the buyer a nice chunk of change on the black market, but the only value they’re providing is to themselves.

For the rest of us, this is an unwelcome, unwanted change. People should not have to subscribe to bots to have a chance at scoring products at MSRP, and we wouldn’t count on a sympathetic response any time soon.

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Boeing 737 MAX back in the air, nearly 2 years after being grounded by deadly crashes

Commercial flights with Boeing 737 Max jetliners resumed Wednesday for the first time since they were grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes nearly two years ago.

Brazil’s Gol Airlines became the first in the world to return the planes to its active fleet, using a 737 MAX 8 on a flight from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre, according to the flight tracking website Flightradar24.

The company’s own announcement didn’t specify the route of the flight.

Gol is set to start regular service on Dec. 18, according to aviation data firm Cirium, with several daily flights between Sao Paulo and other major Brazilian cities.

Customers will be able to exchange their tickets if they don’t want to fly on a 737 Max, a Gol spokesperson told The Associated Press in an email.

Gol, the country’s largest airline with 36 million passengers annually, owns seven 737 Max aircraft, according to Cirium. It is the only Brazilian company with the model in its fleet.

“The MAX is one of the most efficient aircraft in aviation history and the only one to undergo a complete recertification process,” Gol’s chief executive officer, Paulo Kakinoff, said in a statement earlier this week.

Canada yet to clear 737 Max to fly

The Boeing plane was grounded globally in March 2019, shortly after a 737 Max crashed in Ethiopia. A prior crash in Indonesia involving the model occurred in October 2018. In all, 346 people died.

Brazil’s aviation regulator lifted its restrictions on the 737 Max in November, clearing the way for the plane to resume flights in Latin America’s biggest country.

Similar restrictions have been lifted in the U.S. and Europe, where commercial flights with the plane are expected to resume soon, likely starting with American Airlines on Dec. 29.

WATCH | Canada holds off on clearing Boeing 737 Max 8 to fly:

U.S. aviation authorities have cleared the Boeing 737 Max 8 to return to active service more than two years after a pair of crashes killed 346 people, but Transport Canada is holding off, despite assurances from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing that the troubled MCAS computer system has been fixed. 2:00

In Canada, Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s office told CBC News last week that no final decision on validating changes to the aircraft had been made yet and that the “commercial flight restrictions” remain in effect. 

That came after Canadian families of crash victims say they took part in a video call with officials from the department who told them it could soon take the first step toward potentially clearing the aircraft to fly again.

Transport Canada has been working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and received a directive listing changes to the aircraft.

Transport Canada’s safety experts have been doing their own independent review of those proposed changes to determine if the aircraft is safe to fly again.

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CBC | World News

Cautious Russians weigh the risks of being among the 1st in line to try Sputnik V vaccine

As Russia’s mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign got underway this week, thousands of Russians rolled up their sleeves and volunteered to be among the first to get their arms jabbed with a dose of Sputnik V.

Many others, however, appear to be holding back to see how things turn out for those who did.

“People are worried because they don’t understand how the vaccine is made, and they see a lot of controversy in the media,” said Dr. Yevgeny Timakov, a Moscow-based infectious disease specialist.

“Most of my patients — about 80 per cent — want to get vaccinated, but of those … [only] 20 per cent are ready to do it right now,” he told CBC News in an interview.

His observations reflect what might be a broad public hesitancy to take a vaccine that has been developed, approved and delivered to the public in a record-shattering time frame.

Dr. Olga Moskova gets vaccinated against the coronavirus. She told CBC News that while the vaccine may not yet be perfect, getting it is ‘the right thing to do’ for now. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

What Timakov is hearing from his patients echoes the findings of a public opinion survey done by the independent Lavada Institute in October. It suggests vaccine distrust among Russians has increased as the pandemic has worsened, with 59 per cent of those surveyed suggesting they are unwilling to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness.

Another survey published around the same time by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported that more than 70 per cent of Russian did not plan to get vaccinated. 

Still awaiting full Phase 3 results

Russia’s vaccine, whose name is meant to invoke memories of Soviet-era success in space, was the first in the world to be registered in August and since then, tens of thousands of health care workers, teachers, military personnel and others with government connections have taken it.

However, the vaccine’s initial success was championed on the basis of results involving a small sample of less than 100 volunteers.    

Subsequent results derived from larger Phase 3 trials have validated those early findings, but Sputnik V’s developer has yet to publish those full results like Western vaccine developers have done.

Pfizer/BioNTech published its safety data yesterday as part of its approval process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Vials of Sputnik V at BIOCAD, a biotechnology company in Saint Petersburg. While some in the West have criticized the lack of transparency around the Russian vaccine’s development, others say the underlying science is sound and in line with other COVID-19 vaccines. (Anton Vaganov/Reuters)

“People are wary of vaccination and are waiting for the end of clinical trials and [to] see that the vaccine works. All this they will see in time,” said Timakov, who supports the vaccine and is encouraging Russians to take it.

Its maker, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, has said it hopes more than two million Russians can be vaccinated by the end of the month although it’s unclear if that target can be met.

Russia repeatedly promised a national vaccination program throughout the fall, but production delays kept pushing the start date back.

‘The right thing to do’

CBC News visited one of the 70 hospitals and clinics in the Moscow area that began administering the vaccine this week as part of the national immunization program.    

Many of those who signed up to be among the first to get inoculated were health care workers, at higher risk of contracting the virus.

“You need to get vaccinated because you need to keep working,” said Dr. Olga Maskova.

Like everyone else who received the vaccine, Maskova was handed an information sheet listing the possible short-term side effects, including chills, fever and skin irritation.   

‘My role as a doctor is to explain the risks there will be if they don’t take the vaccine,’ says Natalia Kuzinkova, head physician at Clinic No. 68 (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

“I’m absolutely convinced that this is the right step,” she said. “Later, the vaccine might be perfected, and maybe there will be other vaccines, but I think this is the right thing to do at this time.”

Sputnik V is an adenovirus-based platform that uses a modified common cold virus to trigger the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against the coronavirus and requires a booster shot 21 days after the first injection. 

It’s a similar process to the one used by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for its vaccine. 

India, South Korea, U.A.E. sign on for Sputnik

Western experts have been split on the Russian vaccine, with some bemoaning the lack of transparency of the trials and the reliance on early data to draw sweeping conclusions about its effectiveness.    

Others, however, argue the science behind the vaccine is proven, and it will likely make an important contribution to fighting the virus globally once it is in widespread use.

Natalia Kuzinkova, the chief doctor at Clinic No. 68, the facility CBC News visited, said she understands there may be reticence to be among the first to get vaccinated but that the risks of waiting are far greater.

“My role as a doctor is to explain the risks there will be if they don’t take the vaccine,” she said. “Yes, I hear the opinions,  but my responsibility is to tell them that if they haven’t been sick yet, they could still get sick and die.”

The Kremlin has fought an intense global public relations campaign to sell its vaccine to COVID-weary customers abroad but also to demonstrate Russian superiority in an area that was once a point of pride for the former Soviet Union: vaccine production.

Few Western governments, with the notable exception of Hungary in the European Union, have thus far expressed an interest in the Russian vaccine. However, dozens of nations in other parts of the world, including India, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, have signed agreements to buy it.

The Sputnik V vaccine arrives at Ferenc Liszt International Airport in Budapest in November. Hungary is the only EU country to express interest in the Russian vaccine thus far. (Matyas Borsos/Hungarian Foreign Ministry/Reuters)

Process moving too fast, say some

While some of the concerns over the virus are clearly rooted in the adversarial nature of the relationship between Putin and his counterparts in Europe and North America, they have also been amplified by Russia’s own bragging about the vaccine’s success and the timing of proclamations that appeared designed to one-up announcements by Western vaccine makers.

The CBC News team in Moscow visited the Kuznetsky Most pedestrian mall a few blocks from the Kremlin to ask people at random if they planned to sign up for the vaccination.

Most told us they would not.

“I don’t trust this vaccine,” said Artyom Bagamayev. “The trials usually take many years, but here, it’s just a bit too fast.”

“In the past, it was an arms race, but now, it’s a biological one, a vaccine race.”

Natalia Panfilova agreed.

“You can’t produce an effective vaccine in such a short period of time and test it and say it’s effective,” she said. “I don’t understand if it works or if it doesn’t work or how effective it is.”

A medical worker receives their Sputnik V vaccination. Phase 3 trials of the vaccine are not yet complete. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC )

Putin not yet vaccinated

The potential for vaccine hesitancy is clearly not unique to Russia, but it may be accentuated by a longstanding lack of trust in the country’s health care system.

Hospitals in many parts of the country are being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases, and social media has been inundated with videos shot by patients showing deplorable conditions.

So far during this second wave of coronavirus cases, Russian authorities in most cities, including the capital, Moscow, have been reluctant to invoke lockdowns because of the heavy economic toll it might inflict on an already struggling economy.

The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 500 deaths a day, also makes getting a large public buy-in to the vaccine program even more essential if the virus is to be brought under control.

While many prominent Russians have been shown on TV getting their vaccinations, the most prominent person in the country, and the vaccine’s biggest cheerleader, so far has not.

The Kremlin says Putin has not taken the two doses of COVID-19 and has not yet offered a time frame on when he will do so.

WATCH | Why some Russians are wary of getting the Sputnik V vaccine:

Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine is now being administered to the general population despite still being in Phase 3 trials. One Russian doctor says only 20 per cent of his patients want to be first in line to get it because of concerns over safety and efficacy. Some in the West have also been skeptical, but scientists in the U.K. have said the results of the Sputnik trials have been consistent with those of other vaccines. 2:01

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CBC | World News

How COVID-19 vaccines are being approved in Canada

The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada could potentially be days away with the initial supply to be limited to about three million Canadians, in the first three months of 2021. But what approval processes have the vaccines gone through? CBC explains:

Is the approval process for the COVID-19 vaccine different than for other vaccines?

Due to the immediate need for the COVID-19 vaccine, some flexibility has been introduced to the approval process. Typically, a vaccine manufacturer will do all their clinical trials, gather all their data, prepare a submission package and put that forward for approval, said John Greiss, a Toronto-based intellectual property lawyer with Norton Rose Fulbright, who advises companies in the life sciences sector that are regulated by Health Canada.

“Health Canada will comment on it or ask for additional information and it will go back and forth until they come to a decision, he said.

But with COVID-19, Health Canada has accepted what’s known as a “rolling submission.” 

“The new process allows for a company to start an application process, submit the information that they have available, as of that date and add new data and new information as it becomes available, Greiss said

Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser to Health Canada, said this enables the organization to start reviewing the potential vaccine and will shorten the overall review process “while still maintaining those same standards for the safety and the efficacy.”

What’s included in the submission?

That really hasn’t changed, Greiss said. Vaccine manufacturers have to submit all of the scientific data that they have, which includes any kind of lab data that demonstrates how the vaccine works, any kind of clinical trial data that they have obtained, along with Phase 1 to Phase 3 clinical trial data.

WATCH | Vaccines are coming soon

Dr. Njoo tells reporters the federal government is expecting 6 million doses of first two vaccines to arrive in Canada after approvals within the first quarter of the new year. 1:35

They also have to submit information about the manufacturing process and standards and procedures that demonstrate they’re meeting good manufacturing processes in their facilities, Greiss said.

How is the vaccine reviewed?

One vaccine submission is hundreds of thousands of pages long and can take, on average around 2,000 person hours to review, Sharma said. For COVID-19, Health Canada is employing specialized teams of seven to 12 people who have experience in areas like toxicology, infectious diseases, clinical medicine, microbiology and epidemiology to review the vaccine.

“Each vaccine submission has its own team that’s dedicated to it. And they will go through all of that information,” she said.

Reviewers must confirm there are no significant safety concerns, determine that the vaccine is able to prompt an adequate immune response in vaccinated people and show that it can protect against disease, she said.

“We go through all of that to see if it actually meets our standards for safety, efficacy, quality,” Sharma said. 

“We need to make sure that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potential risks and that we know that it’s being made in at a licensed place that’s up to standards and up to code.”

Greiss said that during the review process, Health Canada officials might, for example, ask for further clarification about the clinical trial procedure, or how patients were recruited.

The approval process has been modified to accommodate the pressing need for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

“Or if they see anomalies in the data, they’ll ask the company to justify or clarify that information,” he said. “So there is still that back and forth in terms of Health Canada sort of digesting and analyzing the data and the company having to provide answers for that before they get an approval.”

Are the vaccine manufacturing facilities inspected?

For manufacturing facilities around the world, not just for vaccines, but for medications as well, Health Canada has entered into mutual recognition agreements with other regulators, Sharma said.

“We actually have sent our inspectors over to their country,” she said. “They’ve sent inspectors over to our country. We make sure that our standards are the same, our processes are the same.”

Every facility that manufactures vaccines needs to have an inspection before it’s licensed. And there are ongoing inspections to make sure standards are maintained, she said.

What are they looking for in these facilities?

They’re looking at key factors, known as the four Ps, Sharma said. 

  • Product: What’s being made there.
  • Premises: There are very detailed specifications on the facilities themselves. For example, special flooring and ventilation systems have to be in place.
  • Process: All the processes that go into manufacturing the product.
  • People: The qualifications and training of the people that work there.

All of those things are really important in terms of making sure that standards are met, she said.

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CBC | Health News

Why Calgary was chosen as curling hub despite being a COVID-19 hotspot

After weeks, maybe even months, of waiting and wondering what the curling season might look like in 2021, there is finally some clarity.

But for as much excitement as there is around Curling Canada making it official that Calgary will be the curling hub city, there are many who are massively skeptical about why it’s being held in what is now the COVID hotspot in the country. 

CBC News broke the story — just 24 hours after the hub city announcement — that Alberta is calling on the federal government and Red Cross for help that includes field hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton to treat hundreds of patients. 

The optics of planning curling events in a province spiralling deep into a pandemic emergency are bad. And while many of the curlers are excited about the potential of playing in these events, there are others who are asking themselves if this all really worth it.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux, Colleen Jones discuss Calgary curling hub:

Devin Heroux is joined by six-time Scotties medallist Colleen Jones to discuss the announcement of the Calgary curling bubble. 5:34

It raises the question, why Calgary? 

In an email to CBC Sports, Curling Canada’s communications director Al Cameron said there were a few cities in consideration for the curling bubble, but that it’s their policy not to name other cities. 

“Calgary has an international hub airport, great host facility with international size ice surface [a big deal for spacing on ice for players and the on-ice camera people], no potential junior hockey tenants to kick out and modern ice plant, and proximity to host hotels was very good, and the city and province put together a good bid,” Cameron wrote in the email. 

Curling Canada officials won’t really get into details, but perhaps the most important thing to note when it comes to where this curling bubble was going to be held is that it needed the approval of all levels of government. 

Alberta’s government was ready to jump at the opportunity. So too was Calgary’s city council, while the federal government is still in conversation with Curling Canada about some of the restrictions and protocols. 

“This series of championship curling events is a fantastic opportunity for Alberta to once again show the world that our ability to host major hub-city sporting events is second to none,” Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Leela Sharon Aheer, said.

WATCH | Gushue disappointed by cancellation of curling world championship:

In an Instagram Live with our curling aficionado Devin Heroux, Brier 2020 champion Brad Gushue said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ about the cancellation of the curling world championships. 1:34

In fairness to Curling Canada, they have agonized over this entire process, spending countless hours to come up with the safest environment imaginable for these events. And let’s not forget, this is a national sport organization with relatively limited resources as opposed to the big bucks of the NHL and NBA that can spend millions to make their bubbles happen.

So while Calgary prepares to host the Scotties, Brier, mixed doubles nationals, men’s world championship, as well as two Grand Slam events, in the background provincial and territorial curling associations are scrambling to come up with ways to qualify representatives for the events. 

To that end, Northern Ontario late Thursday night made the decision to forego any playdowns and have handpicked Brad Jacobs and Krista McCarville as their representatives. This comes just days after Saskatchewan cancelled the venue for its provincials which were supposed to take place in an arena in Estevan in late January. 

Sources close to a number of provincial associations say many of the provinces and territories have come up with two or three scenarios to determine their representatives: smaller fields, two-team playdowns and handpicking reps are all common scenarios. 

Is it all worth it?

The key reason why Curling Canada is holding all of these events, aside from keeping sponsors happy, is to get teams in line for the world championships. Remember, Canada has not yet qualified for the Beijing Olympics and will need top-six finishes to do so at the upcoming worlds. 

On Thursday, USA Curling said it would not be holding nationals before any of the world championships and instead just picked its women’s, men’s and mixed doubles representatives — that includes 2018 Olympic champion John Shuster.

Could Curling Canada not just have sent Scotties winner Kerri Einarson and Brier winner Brad Gushue to this year’s world championships? Neither were able to go last spring because of the pandemic — and many people would not be all that upset to see these two teams wearing the Maple Leaf. 

Finally, we’re getting more details about the restrictions of life in the bubble, including what life will be like for competitors with young children, especially new mothers who are nursing. 

Curling Canada is not allowing any family members inside the bubble and each curler will get their own room. However, nursing-mother competitors will be allowed to bring their baby and a care-giver into the green zone with them.  

It’s becoming clear very quickly that there are many curlers across Canada who are going to be forced to make difficult personal decisions about whether or not they want to spend multiple weeks away from their families, not to mention take time off work, to play in events in the COVID hotspot of Canada.

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CBC | Sports News

Barack Obama on a Biden presidency, racism in the Trump era and what he misses about being president

Former U.S. president Barack Obama says the biggest challenge for president-elect Joe Biden will be to bridge the gulf that exists in the country and bring together a vastly polarized populace.

“You’ve seen growing divisions, some of which are deeply rooted in questions of race and gender and date back to the founding of this country, some of which are a result of a changing economy,” Obama told CBC Radio’s The Current in a Canadian exclusive interview that will air on CBC Radio Monday morning.

Obama said Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris would “set a different tone” from that of the Trump administration but will face a divided country, one where more than 73 million people voted for Trump and some still support the current president’s refusal to concede.

Obama served as the 44th president of the United States from 2008 until Trump’s upset victory in 2016. His new book, A Promised Land, published last Wednesday, charts his rise in politics up to the first two and a half years of his two-term presidency.

The book, the first of a two-volume memoir of his presidency, broke records, selling nearly 890,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours.

  • Listen to the full interview on The Current on CBC Radio One, Monday at 8:37 a.m., online or on the CBC Listen app.

Obama told The Current‘s host, Matt Galloway, that healing divisions will be especially challenging for a Democratic president because the “splintering of media has created a big ecosystem of conservative media that is very hard to penetrate.”

“If that’s your source of what’s happening in the outside world, then you would think that Donald Trump has not only done great work as president, but you would think that he’s justified in taking the positions he’s taking,” Obama said.

Obama meets with then president-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Nov. 10, 2016. Obama said the new president, Joe Biden, must find a way to heal the divide between those who kicked Trump out of office in the recent election and those who still support him. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

He warned that it’s important for Democrats to try to understand why people voted for Trump, because it will be “hard to get big stuff done if the country is this polarised.”

“How we bridge that gap between those who have strongly opposed this president and those who still support him is going to be a big challenge,” he said.

“There are all kinds of ways in which a determined opposition can block everything, not just some things. So, I think Joe is going to have to try to arrive at areas of potential compromise.”

WATCH | Biden must tap into ‘areas of potential compromise’:

Former U.S. president Barack Obama said in an interview with The Current that for president-elect Joe Biden’s first job will be to heal the deep divisions in the country, which run deeper than just the recent election. 3:45

Failure to lead

When asked whether he, as the country’s first Black president, saw his successor, Donald Trump, as racist, Obama said what’s important is that Trump was “more than happy to fan racist sentiments” during his four years in office. Whether or not he personally believed that rhetoric doesn’t matter, he said.

“I’m not interested in what’s in his heart. I’m interested in what he does,” Obama said.

“Whether he’s cynically riding that wave to achieve his ends or whether it taps into something he actually believes, here’s what I can say for certain: that he does not consider it his job to fight against racist sentiments.

“That, to me, is a failure of any leader.”

He said during Trump’s time in office, rhetoric that had been relegated to the fringes of the Republican Party moved “front and centre.”

“This fear of the other, this suggestion that somehow there’s real Americans and then there are people who, I guess, are fake Americans,” he said.

“And somehow, the fake Americans tend to look like me.”

WATCH | Trump ‘more than happy to fan racist sentiments’: Obama

Former U.S. president Barack Obama said in an interview with CBC’s The Current that while he can’t say whether or not Donald Trump is a racist at heart, the current president fans racist sentiments and is ‘cynically riding that wave to achieve his ends.” 4:43

Advice from the sidelines

Four years after he left office, Obama said he misses the camaraderie, the team work and “mental exercise of figuring out hard policy problems” — but not the pomp of the presidency.

Someone once asked him if he would serve a third term if he could.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to be out front,” he said.

“But if somebody had said, you can sit in your basement in your sweats, and there’s somebody else who’s playing the president with a microphone in his or her ear, and you can just kind of give suggestions and policy — then I might have enjoyed doing that.”

WATCH | What Obama misses about the presidency:

Former U.S. president Barack Obama doesn’t miss the pomp of the office but joked in an interview with CBC’s The Current that he’d like to be the bug in the ear of the president, offering real-time advice from his basement. 2:15

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Nunavut woman says she called 911 from Ottawa hospital after being denied water

An Inuk woman from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, says she was mistreated by nurses at a hospital in Ottawa, who refused to give her water and change her diaper.

Leesee Qaqasiq told CBC News she was medevaced to the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital after fracturing her pelvis in mid-October.

Qaqasiq said doctors told her she likely sustained the injury from landing too hard on her wheelchair. The wheelchair was salvaged at the dump and she said that she often has to chase after it when she’s not sitting in it because it has no brakes.

For treatment, Qaqasiq was flown to Ottawa. It’s a common practice for Nunavummiut requiring medical care not available in the territory to be flown to facilities in southern Canada. 

“I had to rely on the nurses to change me, to change my diapers, and they were so tired of doing it that they said I can just pee in them,” Qaqasiq said from her home on Baffin Island.

By Nov. 2, toward the end of her two-week stay, Qaqasiq said nurses on the night shift refused to change her diaper and denied her water.

“There was one [nurse] that said I peed too much and denied me water because I was going to pee too much,” she said. 

“I wasn’t given water all night long until I called 911 in desperation,” she said. “I thought I was going to die of thirst.” 

EMS arrived at her hospital room, where Qaqasiq said they delivered bottles of water.

Ottawa hospital reviewing allegations

The Ottawa Hospital denied CBC’s interview request. 

In a written statement, media relations officer Michaela Schreiter said the hospital’s patient relations department is “reviewing the situation to ensure all concerns are addressed.”

“The hospital sincerely apologizes for any negative experiences that do not align with [its] values,” Schreiter said. 

Qaqasiq said that throughout her two-week stay, nurses complained regularly about the tasks involved in her care. 

“I felt guilty for making them work,” she said.  

A written statement from the media relations officer at the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital said they were ‘reviewing the situation to ensure all concerns are addressed.’ (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Qaqasiq’s medical escort — her son — was not allowed to enter the hospital because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

“What I’m most afraid of is elders who cannot speak English — how will they be treated?” Qaqasiq said. “They will have no way of knowing what to do, where to go, who to talk to.”

Qaqasiq, who attended residential school as a child, believes she was mistreated because she’s Inuk. 

“We’re done. Like, we’re not going to be treated like that anymore, anywhere,” Qaqasiq said. 

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CBC | Health News

Pro female soccer players being overlooked, left behind during pandemic, survey reveals

Women’s professional soccer players have seen wages cut or suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic in 47 per cent of the nations surveyed by international players’ union FIFPro.

FIFPro collected data from players’ associations from 62 countries. In the survey released Wednesday, 69 per cent of the women said that communication about the virus was poor or very poor, and 40 per cent reported that they had received no physical or mental health support during the outbreak.

In April, FIFPro released a report warning of COVID-19’s impact, saying it is “likely to present an almost existential threat to the women’s game if no specific considerations are given to protect the women’s football industry.”

And indeed there were setbacks, in part because federations experienced dramatic financial consequences from cancelled matches and tournaments, as well as restrictions on attendance.

FIFA said at the height of the pandemic all but four of its 211 member federations had ceased play. The global impact of the virus on the game was estimated to be $ 14 billion US.

In June, the FIFA Council approved a $ 1.5 billion relief effort, portions of which were dedicated to women’s soccer. FIFA also introduced eight new development programs for member associations in September, designed to further grow the women’s game.

Women in 52% of the countries FIFPro surveyed said their federations hadn’t reached out to national team players during the pandemic. The period covered in the survey was July-October.

FIFPro’s survey involved 62 players’ associations, or about 95 per cent of the union’s membership. Only 16 of the top women’s leagues is amateur. Based in the Netherlands, FIFPro represents about 65,000 pro soccer players.

The report did note some positive developments, including the National Women’s Soccer League vow to pay salaries for players regardless of whether they took part in the league’s Challenge Cup tournament or fall series in local markets.

It also pointed to the Netherlands, where players lobbied to allow the women’s league to return to play with the men’s league.

“Like most industries, women’s football is being severely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the findings of this survey highlight what we have said from the outset, that both players and the game itself need strategic support to get them through these tough times,” FIFPro chief women’s football officer Amanda Vandervort said in a statement. “To that end, we also identified great cases of innovation and advancement in which new solutions are showcasing the unique potential of women’s football to thrive today and in the future.”

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CBC | Soccer News