Tag Archives: hotel

U.S. taxi services see business boost helping Canadians avoid hotel quarantine

Airport transport service, Buffalo Limousine, lost about 70 per cent of its business during COVID-19 pandemic. But the company said its luck changed recently, thanks to Canadian snowbirds returning from U.S. sunbelt states who want to avoid Canada’s hotel quarantine requirement. 

“This is a huge, huge shot in the arm for us, this Canadian snowbird travel,” said Carla Boccio, owner of Buffalo Limousine. “It’s a godsend.”

Since February 22, air passengers entering Canada have been required to quarantine for up to three days in a designated hotel and pay for the cost — up to $ 2,000. However, travellers entering by land are exempt from the rule. 

To avoid the hotel quarantine, some snowbirds are flying to U.S. cities close to the Canadian border — such as Buffalo, N.Y. — and then hiring a ground transport service — such as Buffalo Limousine — to drive them across the Canadian border.

“When Canada imposed that hotel [quarantine], then it was just like our phones were exploding,” said Boccio. “What I hear from the majority of these people, it’s not even so much the cost, it’s like you’re in jail … with this hotel quarantine.”

A new post on Buffalo Limousine’s website informs Canadian travellers that it will drive them from Buffalo, N.Y., across the Canadian border. (Buffalo Limousine)

CBC News interviewed three airport transport services based in Buffalo and one in Burlington, Vt., which is about 70 kilometres from the Quebec border. The companies said they’ll drive Canadians to or across the Canadian border for around $ 100 US and, for an added fee, the Buffalo companies will drive passengers directly to their homes in Ontario. 

Each company said it has seen a boost in business after Canada introduced the hotel quarantine requirement.

Since late February, Buffalo Limousine has, on average, transported 50 customers a day across the Canadian border, increasing its lagging business by around 50 per cent, Boccio said. 

“I’m more thankful than I could even put into words.”

Buffalo Limousine charges about $ 120 US to drive a couple from the Buffalo airport across the border to neighbouring Fort Erie, Ont., or Niagara Falls, said Boccio. A trip to downtown Toronto costs around $ 300 US.

Crossing by land has different rules

The federal government surprised snowbirds abroad when it changed the travel rules on Feb. 22, requiring air passengers entering Canada to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and spend up to three days of their 14-day quarantine in a hotel to await the test results.

Ottawa introduced the hotel quarantine requirement to discourage international travel and help stop the spread of COVID-19 infections, which are surging due to more contagious variants

But travellers entering Canada by land face no hotel quarantine requirement. Instead, they must quarantine at home for 14 days and take multiple COVID-19 tests, including one in the U.S. within 72 hours of arrival at the Canadian border. 

According to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data, land entries into Canada jumped by 15 per cent during the first three weeks of March, compared to the same period in February (when the hotel quarantine rules were not yet in effect). Those entries include both leisure travellers and essential workers who aren’t truck drivers.

WATCH | Quarantine hotels problems include access to food, travellers say

Some Canadians who’ve had to stay at a mandatory quarantine hotel say they’ve been met with long delays, crowded waiting areas and issues accessing basic needs like food. 2:07

To avoid the hotel quarantine requirement, snowbird Jaroslaw Stanczuk said when he returns home from Florida later this month, he will fly to Buffalo, and take a taxi across the border to his home in Fort Erie, Ont. 

Stanczuk, who got the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, said he’s taking the necessary safety precautions during the pandemic and feels the hotel quarantine is a needless step. 

“You want me to get a COVID-19 test? I’m happy with that. You want me to get one when I arrive? I’m happy with that. But why punish me with three days of quarantine in a hotel?” 

Canadian snowbird Jaroslaw Stanczuk said he plans to fly to Buffalo when he returns to Canada from Florida and then take a taxi across the Canadian border. (submitted by Jaroslaw Stanczuk)

Other snowbirds are also travelling by cab. Since the hotel quarantine rule took effect, Buffalo Airport Taxi said it has driven, on average, 20 to 30 customers a day across the Canadian border, increasing its business by at least 50 per cent.

“They want to go home. They don’t want to go to quarantine prison,” said Buffalo Airport Taxi manager, Saleman Alwhishah. “It boosted our business tremendously.”

Why can U.S. drivers cross the border?

John Arnet, general manager of 716 Limousine in Buffalo, said he’s been inundated with requests for transport across the Canadian land border and questions about the rules for entering Canada during the Canada-U.S. land border closure to non-essential traffic.

“Most of the questions are … ‘Can you take us across the border?'” said Arnet. “Yes, we can take you across the border. We’re an essential service.”

CBSA said that foreign transport workers such as taxi and bus drivers can enter Canada during the border closure, if they establish they’re employed as a driver and are performing a service related to their job. 

CBC News asked the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for comment about Canadians travelling home by land to avoid the hotel quarantine requirement. The agency did not provide a direct response. Instead, it listed the types of fines and other penalties Canadians can face if they violate quarantine rules. 

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Somalia hotel hit by explosion and gunfire; casualties expected

A suspected suicide car bomb exploded on Sunday in Somalia’s capital and was followed by a shootout between militants and security forces at a hotel, causing an unknown number of casualties, witnesses and authorities said.

A vehicle loaded with explosives crashed into the entrance gate of the Afrik Hotel, near Mogadishu’s strategic K-4 junction, on Sunday afternoon, police spokesperson Sadiq Adan Ali said.

A number of armed gunmen then quickly invaded the hotel, opening fire on staff and patrons inside, he said. Government forces responded to the attack, and gunfire could be heard coming from the hotel. Police rescued many people from the hotel, including its owner and an army general.

At least seven wounded civilians could be seen, although police did not immediately give casualty figures.

“The blast made the hotel tremble as we sat inside and were talking. We were panicked, confused,” witness Ahmed Nur said, adding that he escaped via a ladder down a wall. “I jumped down and ran.”

In this image made from video, people flee from the area as gunshots are heard on a street near the Afrik Hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday. (The Associated Press)

Al-Shabaab, Somalia’s homegrown jihadist rebel group, claimed responsibility for the attack through its Andalus radio station.

“We know, they have changed nothing from their usual tactic, ramming explosives into a building and following up, assaulting with rifles,” Ali said.

There was no immediate word from Somali officials or the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission, which supports the government against al Shabaab.

In a separate incident, at least eight children have died and scores of others were wounded when a bomb went off in the Golweyn area, about 40 kilometres north of the coastal town of Merca, some 120 kilometres south of Mogadishu.

Smoke billows from the scene of the explosion in what’s known as the Kilometre-4 area of Mogadishu. (Feisal Omar/Reuters)

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CBC | World News

Airlines suspending certain flights, Ottawa introducing quarantine hotel stays to discourage travel

Canada’s main airlines have agreed to cancel service to the Caribbean and Mexico and the federal government is introducing new mandatory quarantine rules as it tries to discourage international travel.

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat have agreed to suspend service to some sun destinations starting this Sunday until April 30, and will be making arrangements with their customers who are in these regions now to organize flights home.

“With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” said Trudeau outside his home at Rideau Cottage.

Starting at 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 3, all international passenger, private and charter flights, including from the U.S., will land at the Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal airports. Cargo-only flights will remain exempt.

The prime minister said the government will soon introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada “as soon as possible in the coming weeks.” That’s on top of the pre-boarding test already required.

WATCH | Prime minister introduces new restrictions for international travel:

Justin Trudeau announced that Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations until April 30. 3:13

Travellers will then have to wait up to three days at a government-approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which Trudeau said is expected to be more than $ 2,000.

Transport Canada said there will be “very limited exceptions.”

Those with a negative test will then be able to finish their 14-day quarantine at home, with increased surveillance. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam added that returnees will also be swabbed on day 10.

She also said travellers who have been vaccinated abroad will still be subject to the quarantine rules, but added that’s under discussion.

“We know that just one case of the variant that comes in could cause significant challenges and that’s why we need to take extra measures,” Trudeau said.

 “Yes, it is extremely low, the percentage of cases that are traced back to international travel, but it’s not zero.”

He also said that, in the coming weeks, Canada will begin requiring non-essential travellers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the U.S.

Ed Sims, president and CEO of WestJet, said the federal government asked the airlines to temporarily shutter some of their flights.

“The government asked, and we agreed,” said Sims.

“While we know that air travel is responsible for less than two per cent of cases since the start of the crisis, and even less today, we recognize the Government of Canada’s ask is a precautionary measure.”

Air Canada issued a statement saying the decision won’t have much impact on their cash burn, given already reduced levels of travel.

“Air Canada believes a collaborative approach with the Government of Canada involving all air carriers is the best means to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially given concerns around the variants of COVID- 19 and travel during the Spring Break period,” said company president Calin Rovinescu. Customers with booked flights to any of the 15 impacted destinations will be offered full refunds, he added.

Similar measures

When asked why other vacation destinations, including Florida, aren’t part of the suspensions, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government looked at the most popular locations.

“There is a voluntary agreement and understanding with the airlines that it’s best to suspend their airlines. Now for people who are travelling to the U.S., they will be subjected to the same requirements that we subject all arrivals to,” he said.

“What we’re doing is we’re calling on all Canadians to cancel their flights, not just to the Caribbean, not just to Mexico, to all destinations. The prime minister has been clear for a while. I’m repeating it right now, we’re calling on all Canadians to please cancel your vacation.”

Friday’s move follows weeks of mounting political pressure on the federal government to tighten up border travel.

Canada’s move is not without precedent. Australia has been requiring most travellers to quarantine at a government-arranged hotel for 14 days for $ 2,800 AUD per adult and $ 4,620 AUD for a family of four.

The U.K. introduced similar measures on Thursday and now requires citizens arriving from dozens of high-risk countries to quarantine in hotels for 10 days at their own expense.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said his party was the first to ask to secure the border at the start of the pandemic and the Liberals were slow to act.

“Lockdowns and restrictions were put in place to buy governments time to get permanent solutions like vaccines, rapid testing, variant testing capacity, and therapeutics – these tools now exist,” he said in a statement.

“The problem is, Justin Trudeau hasn’t succeeded in bringing them to widespread use in Canada. We need to be using these tools to reduce quarantine times, like our allies around the world are doing.”

Canada has had a ban on non-essential travel into the country by anyone who isn’t a citizen or permanent resident since March, but banning the flow of Canadians in and out of the country is a thornier task.

People who return from abroad for non-essential reasons must quarantine for two weeks, or risk hefty financial penalties or jail time — a measure that’s also been in place since March.

As of earlier this month, most travellers must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in Canada.

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B.C. hotel employee spat on by customer refusing to wear mask has heart attack shortly after, manager says

An accountant for a hotel in downtown Nelson, B.C., had a heart attack and collapsed shortly after being spat upon by an angry customer refusing to wear a mask, according to the hotel manager.

The Nelson Police Department confirms it is investigating last Friday’s incident, in which the customer allegedly yelled at a barista who offered him a face covering at the Empire Coffee shop in the Adventure Hotel.

According to hotel manager Rob Little, the suspect “was screaming profanities at the top of their lungs to the point that they [the staff of Empire Coffee] had to say, ‘Just get out!’ “

Little said that after receiving a call from the coffee shop manager, he sent his accountant — a woman in her 50s — to see what was going on.

“It was at that point that the person was trying to enter again,” Little said.

“And she said, ‘Listen! You’re not going to talk to our people this way, and this is the law.’ And he proceeded to spit on her.”

Rob Little, general manager of the Adventure Hotel, said his accountant had a heart attack and collapsed an hour and a half after the encounter with the customer, who allegedly spat on the woman. (Bob Keating/CBC)

Little says police arrived and removed the suspect and took a statement from the accountant. 

After arriving back at the office about an hour and a half later, Little said the accountant, who was distraught from the experience, reported feeling ill and fell to the ground. 

She was airlifted to a hospital in Kelowna where it was determined she’d had a heart attack.

“She’s stable right now, but she’s not out of the woods by any stretch,” he said. 

Aggressive behaviour around mask mandate

At least one other business in the city of over 10,000 people said they’ve experienced an increase in aggressive behaviour targeting customer service representatives, after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced last Thursday that face coverings are now mandatory in all retail spaces.

This week, Kootenay Co-op — a grocery store near the hotel — hired a security guard for the first time in its 45 years to head off rude behaviour among some shoppers who are resisting the mask mandate.

The grocery store’s manager said while most customers have followed the new regulations, about 10 to 20 per cent are refusing to wear a mask and become confrontational when asked to do so. 

“We all live here because of the quality of people that are here,” Little said. “To see this kind of polarizing views on things and people going to such extremes is just disappointing.”

Staff Sgt. Brian Weber says the Nelson Police Department is looking into the spitting incident. (Bob Keating/CBC)

Police investigating spitting incident

Staff Sgt. Brian Weber with the Nelson Police Department says police are looking at the relationship between the woman’s heart attack and the spitting incident with the customer. 

“There have been … some investigations that have made those causal links in the past,” he said.

“[But] it’s far too early and I know far too little about the exact file to make that kind of jump right now.”

The suspect is facing an assault charge.

Tap the link below to listen to Bob Keating’s conversation with Rob Little and Staff Sgt. Brian Weber on Daybreak South:

Daybreak South4:49Nelson hotel accountant gets heart attack after being spat on by an anti-mask coffee shop customer

CBC reporter Bob Keating speaks to the hotel manager and a Nelson police officer about the ugly incident that happened last Friday. 4:49

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Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Opening a Hotel in Texas

Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Opening a Hotel in Texas | Entertainment Tonight

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All 46 people survive carbon monoxide leak at Winnipeg hotel

All 46 people who went to hospital after a carbon monoxide leak at a Winnipeg motel on Tuesday have survived and most have been released, according to a city health official. 

“We can confirm there have been no fatalities, nor any patients requiring intensive care services,” Paul Turenne, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. 

“The vast majority of the patients have already been discharged. The remaining patients are being treated and monitored. No patients have been admitted to hospital at this time,” he said in a statement Tuesday evening. 

People were taken, or took themselves, to four area hospitals — St. Boniface, Seven Oaks General, Grace Hospital and the emergency departments at Health Sciences Centre — after a carbon monoxide leak this morning at the Super 8 Motel West near the city’s western edge.

Fifteen of them were, at one point, in critical condition and five were unstable, according to a city official. 

Turenne added he does not expect to provide any further updates. 

Gas workers check air quality at the motel. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

A carbon monoxide alarm went off at the motel — on Portage Avenue, near the Perimeter Highway — just after 10 a.m. CT Tuesday.

Eight fire trucks, along with ambulances and a mass incident response vehicle responded to the alarm, which was in the motel’s boiler room, said Winnipeg Fire Paramedics Services chief John Lane. 

Fifty-two people and a dog were evacuated, according to the city. Winnipeg Animal Services helped the dog.

“It became immediately apparent that there was carbon monoxide present in the location,” Lane told reporters.

He said the carbon monoxide readings were as high as 385 parts per million. Ten to 20 parts per million is when carbon monoxide becomes dangerous.

“I’m happy to say none of the patients were requiring resuscitation, none of them were intubated or anything,” he said. 

Watch John Lane speak to media:

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service chief John Lane briefs the media about the carbon monoxide leak at the Super 8. 0:30

Motel guest Leo Flett was sleeping when ambulances arrived. He said he fled his room after getting a phone call notifying him of the emergency. 

“I was kind of spooked,” he told CBC News.

Flett told emergency services he was okay and didn’t go to hospital.

The motel’s owner, Justin Schinkel, told reporters at the scene that at least one of his staff needed oxygen after the building was evacuated.

“It’s a huge misfortune that this happened,” said Schinkel, who wasn’t at the motel when the alarm sounded, but said he went there after getting a call from his general manager around 10:30 a.m.

“I’m super happy that the first responders got here as quickly as they did.”

The leak “basically drained” the fire stations of the city’s West End neighbourhood according to firefighters union president, Alex Forrest.  

“This was a major, serious incident,” Forrest told CBC News. 

Watch Alex Forrest speak to media:

United Firefighters of Winnipeg president Alex Forrest talks about how crews handled the emergency. 1:27

The source of the leak is under investigation. Manitoba Hydro crews shut off the gas lines and started ventilating the building. 

Schinkel said the motel recently had a fire inspection and has never had a gas leak. He also said the motel wasn’t undergoing any upgrades at the time.  

Justin Schinkel, the motel’s owner, said his business was not undergoing any upgrades at the time and at least one staff needed oxygen after being evacuated. (Daniel Gagne/Radio-Canada)

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Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs found dead in Texas hotel room

Tyler Skaggs had persevered through injuries to be a valuable pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels.

The left-hander had posted a photo of himself and teammates in cowboy hats for their weeklong trip to Texas where he was set to start on the Fourth of July holiday.

The 27-year-old pitcher died Monday, when he was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas, stunning Major League Baseball and leading to the postponement of Los Angeles’ series opener against the Rangers.

Skaggs was “an important part of the Angels Family,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Carli, and his entire family during this devastating time.”

Police said they were investigating but that no foul play was suspected. Skaggs was pronounced dead at the scene.

Skaggs, who would have turned 28 on July 13 and was married just seven months ago, had been a regular in the Angels’ starting rotation since late 2016, when the left-hander returned from Tommy John surgery. He struggled with injuries repeatedly in that time but was 7-7 in 15 starts this season to help an injury-plagued rotation.

In his cowboy-themed Instagram post Sunday, Skaggs wrote “Howdy y’all” and made reference to the Texas trip for games against the Rangers and the Houston Astros this weekend.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “deeply saddened” by Skaggs’ death.

“We will support the Angels’ organization through this most difficult period, and we will make a variety of resources available to Tyler’s teammates and other members of the baseball family,” Manfred said in a statement.

At the team’s hotel about 20 miles from the ballpark, All-Star centre fielder Mike Trout was among players in the lobby and a nearby patio before they all left together to go to another part of the hotel. None of the players spoke to reporters, but Trout shared his thoughts on Twitter .

“Words cannot express the deep sadness we feel right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carli and their families. Remembering him as a great teammate, friend, and person who will forever remain in our hearts… we love you, 45,” Trout said in the post.

A fan with an Angels jersey sat on a rock wall near the hotel entrance with a bouquet of flowers attached to a balloon that read “thank you.”

Skaggs is the first Angels player to die during a season since Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunken driver 10 years ago. The 22-year-old rookie right-hander was coming off his first start of the 2009 season, his fourth career game in the big leagues.

Jose Fernandez, a two-time All-Star pitcher for the Miami Marlins, was killed in a boating crash near Miami Beach, Florida, in September 2016. He was 24.

Pitcher Darryl Kile, who played in the majors for 12 seasons (1992-2002) was on the road with the St. Louis Cardinals when he died in June 2002 in his Chicago hotel room at age 33. Albert Pujols, now a member of the Angels, was Kile’s teammate then.

The Angels clubhouse was never opened to the media before players and coaches who had already arrived for Monday night’s game left together to return to the hotel.

Texas general manager Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward told their players what had happened and dismissed them.

Woodward described it as “one of those moments where you’re just kind of numb” and said the Rangers were thinking about Skaggs’ family and the Angels organization.

“There were a lot of pretty emotional guys in there,” Woodward said. “Some guys that didn’t even know him were visibly shaken.”

Rangers officials said there had been no discussions on the status of Tuesday’s game or the rest of what was supposed to be a four-game series. They said only that Monday’s game would not be made up this week.

“Real life takes precedence here,” Daniels said. “Some things are a lot bigger than baseball.”

The Angels’ Triple-A team, the Salt Lake Bees, also postponed their scheduled game at Tacoma on Monday night.

Skaggs was born in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Woodland Hills, in the far western part of the sprawling San Fernando Valley. He graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2009, when the Angels drafted him in the first round.

The Angels traded Skaggs to Arizona in 2010, and he started his big league career with 13 appearances over two seasons for the Diamondbacks. The Angels reacquired him in December 2013, and he won 25 games over five seasons with the club.

Skaggs started a career-high 24 games last season, going 8-10 with a 4.02 ERA. He missed playing time in April this season with a sprained ankle but came back strong.

Skaggs was part of the same Angels’ draft class as Trout, and they were roommates in the low minor leagues before Skaggs was traded to Arizona. They played on the same team in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2010.

Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, who played with Skaggs in the Diamondbacks organization, tweeted: “We came up together. We won together. We laughed and celebrated together. Today, we all lose and mourn together.”

Skaggs’ mother, Debbie, was the longtime softball coach at Santa Monica High School. She famously provided postgame tips on his pitching mechanics, even deep into his big-league career.

Skaggs grew up in Santa Monica, on the west side of the sprawling Los Angeles metroplex, but rooted for the Angels instead of the closer Dodgers.

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Soccer star Neymar accused of rape in Paris hotel, according to police document

A Brazilian police document says an unidentified woman has accused soccer star Neymar of raping her in Paris last month. The player’s father calls the incident “a setup” against his son.

The document obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday says the incident took place May 15 at 8:20 p.m. in a hotel. The woman went to police on Friday in Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo state’s Public Security Secretariat, which oversees police, confirmed in a statement that the complaint was registered, but did not offer details.

Neymar’s representatives have not replied to a request for comment, but his father and agent Neymar da Silva Santos denied any wrongdoing by the player in a television interview.

Santos said Neymar had consensual sexual relations with the accuser and was blackmailed by her lawyer after they broke up.

“This is a tough moment. If we can’t show the truth quickly it will be a snowball. If we have to show Neymar’s WhatsApp messages and the conversations with this lady, we will,” Santos told TV Band.

Neymar’s father said he has evidence that his son was blackmailed, including pictures and witnesses, but did not show either in the interview. He also said his son is already preparing his defense for a legal case if needed.

‘Aggressive and with violence’

The Paris police and the city’s prosecutors’ office said through spokesmen that they were unaware of any complaint.

The woman says she and the Brazil star met in France after exchanging Instagram messages.

She told police a representative of the Paris Saint-Germain player named Gallo allegedly bought her tickets to Paris and booked her a hotel room. She said Neymar arrived apparently drunk at the hotel.

The woman described to police that they “touched each other, but in a given moment Neymar became aggressive and, with violence, had sexual intercourse against the victim’s will.”

The text also says the woman left Paris two days later and said she did not file her complaint in Paris because she was shaken.

The police document says the woman will go through medical exams as part of an investigation.

Neymar is in Brazil preparing for the Copa America starting next week. He arrived at the Granja Comary training ground outside Rio de Janeiro 10 days after the alleged incident.

Brazil players had a day off Saturday. Neymar left the training ground with other teammates in his helicopter earlier in the day.

Multiple disasters

On Sunday, an event named after the player is expected to take place in Rio, but his presence is not assured.

The 27-year-old Brazilian has had problems on and off the pitch. One week before the accusation of rape became known, he lost Brazil’s national team’s captaincy for the Copa America to veteran Dani Alves. Coach Tite did not lay out the reasons for the move, but he was under pressure to punish Neymar for his disciplinary problems at Paris Saint-Germain.

After PSG lost the French Cup final to tiny Rennes on April 27, Neymar had altercation with a fan and publicly criticized teammates he didn’t name for not listening to him enough.

That was one of his first matches since January, when he once more picked up a fifth metatarsal injury in his right-foot. That was the same problem that affected his performances in the last World Cup, a tournament he prefers to forget because of an image disaster caused by his constant diving.

Brazil’s fitness coaches say he will be in better shape once the South American tournament begins.

This week Neymar skipped two Brazil training sessions in Copa America preparations because of pains in his left knee. Brazil’s soccer confederation said Friday he was fully recovered.

Fan love for the player has also been stained because of politics after his showing of support to far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has made a series of racist, misogynistic and anti-gay statements.

As Neymar prepared for his return after the injury, Brazilian media reported his father had met Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes to discuss the player’s tax problems, which didn’t help him with fans that will pressure him more than ever to win a Copa America on home soil later this month.

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Police say 17 killed in fire at New Delhi hotel, 4 others hurt

A fire engulfed a shoddily built budget hotel in central New Delhi early Tuesday, killing 17 people and injuring at least four others, Indian authorities said.

Most of the deaths at the Arpit Palace Hotel were due to suffocation, said Satyendar Kumar Jain, the Delhi government cabinet minister of health and urban development.

A hotel guest said rescue efforts were delayed because fire engine ladders couldn't reach his floor.

The five-storey hotel had a makeshift sixth floor built on top of the roof out of fibreglass, Jain said.

"Carelessness on the part of authorities is evident. We are going to investigate, and the wrongdoer will be punished," he told reporters at the scene.

The Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh, an area in India's capital city full of shops and budget hotels that is popular with tourists, had 43 guest rooms, according to its website.

Rescuers had to use the windows to reach people because the corridors, made of wooden panels that worsened the fire, were blocked, Vipin Kental, Chief Fire Officer, told NDTV.

A fire brigade is seen outside the hotel where the deadly fire broke out. (Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters)

The fire was extinguished, first responders had cleared all the rooms and the hotel was sealed by midday Tuesday. Authorities were still investigating what sparked the blaze, Deputy Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

Twenty-five fire engines responded to the fire, which had engulfed all but the ground floor of the hotel, fire officer Vijay Paul said.

About three dozen people were rescued from the hotel, Paul said.

'Help, help!'

Among those rescued was Sivanand Chand, 43, a hotel guest who was jolted awake around 4 a.m., struggling to breathe.

"When I got out of my room, I could hear 'help, help!' from adjoining rooms," Chand said, adding that he opened the window and saw flames rising very fast.

"In 15 minutes, the whole room was black," he said.

The rescue took about 30 minutes because fire engine ladders could not initially reach Chand's floor, he said.

The injured were taken to hospitals, but their medical conditions were not immediately known.

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Kenya hotel attack may not be over as renewed gunfire heard

There are indications an attack on a hotel in Kenya's captial may not be over. More than 12 hours after the initial explosions and gunfire Tuesday, a first responder reported renewed gunfire and explosions coming from the Nairobi  complex. 

Extremists initially attacked a luxury hotel Tuesday afternoon local time, sending people fleeing in panic as explosions and heavy gunfire reverberated through the complex and black smoke rose over the scene. 

Surveillance video showed three attackers dressed in black running across the parking lot at 3:30 p.m., shortly followed by a fourth. At least two of the men were wearing green scarves in the close-up footage. One appeared to be wearing a green belt with grenades on it.

Al-Shabaab — the Somalia-based extremist group that carried out the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that left 67 people dead — claimed responsibility.

In this grab taken from security camera footage released to the local media, heavily armed attackers walk in the compound of a Nairobi hotel Tuesday. (Security Camera Footage/Associated Press)

"It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible. I have seen a human as I ran out, and there is what looks like minced meat all over," said one man who said he ran from the scene, Charles Njenga. He did not give details.

The co-ordinated assault began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank, and a suicide bombing in the hotel lobby that severely wounded a number of guests, said Kenya's national police chief, Joseph Boinnet.

Cars are seen on fire at the scene of explosions and gunshots in Nairobi on Tuesday. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

About eight hours after the siege began, Interior Minister Fred Matian'i said that all of the buildings affected by the attack had been secured and that security forces were mopping up.

"I would like to reiterate that the situation is under control and the country is safe," he said.

But into the early hours of Wednesday local time, gunfire could still be heard as authorities evacuated about 150 survivors from the buildings, according to a first responder, who said a pregnant woman and the daughter of a former Kenyan politician were among them. 

Civilians who had been hiding in buildings flee under the direction of a member of security forces. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

He said many more wounded remained trapped inside.

A Kenyan police officer said at least 15 bodies had been taken to the morgue over the course of the day. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

A U.S. State Department official confirmed one of the victims was American.

Kenyan authorities have not yet announced whether the attackers are dead, detained or on the run. 

Security camera footage released to the local media showed an armed attacker walking in the notel compound. Al-Shabab, the Somalia-based extremist group, is claiming responsibility. (Security Camera Footage/Associated Press)

Families have said some people are still hiding inside the complex.

A witness who gave his name only as Ken said he saw five bodies at the hotel entrance during the attack. He said that other people were shouting for help and "when we rushed back to try to rescue them, gunshots started coming from upstairs, and we had to duck, because they were targeting us and we could see two guys shooting."

​Kenyan hospitals appealed for blood donations even as the number of wounded remained unclear.

'Quite nerve-racking'

The complex includes the DusitD2 hotel, along with bars, restaurants, banks and offices and is in a well-to-do neighborhood with large numbers of American, European and Indian expatriates.

Security forces point their weapons through a shattered door behind which an unexploded grenade lies. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

Simon Crump, an Australian who has lived in Kenya for five years, told CBC's As It Happens he didn't know if it was safe to run outside when the violence broke out, so instead he and two colleagues barricaded themselves in his office and waited for things to subside.

They couldn't see anything, because they were on the side of the building facing away from the chaos.

"You'd hear footsteps above, you'd hear other things, other people moving around in the building," said Crump.

"And it's quite nerve-racking, because you just don't know whether the noises you're hearing, whether it's people, whether it's police, whether it's terrorists, you just don't know what those noises are."

Civilians flee the scene after terrorists attacked an upscale hotel complex in Kenya's capital Tuesday, sending people fleeing in panic as explosions and heavy gunfire reverberated through the neighbourhood. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

Other survivors closer to the where the attackers rampaged reported hearing a shattering blast and saw people mowed down by gunmen as they sat at a cafe. Victims were left lying on tables, bleeding.

"We were changing our shifts, and that is when I heard a loud blast and people were screaming," said Enoch Kibet, who works as a cleaner at the cafe and managed to crawl out of a gate in the basement. "I couldn't believe I was alive. The blast was so loud and shook the whole complex."

Associated Press video from inside the hotel showed Kenyan security officers anxiously searching the building and scared workers emerging from hiding while gunfire could still be heard. Some women climbed out of windows. One man got up from the floor where he appeared to be trying to hide under a piece of wood paneling, then showed his ID badge.

As officers searched luxury fashion displays, wounded people were carried away on stretchers.

Anniversary of military base attack

Gunfire continued several minutes after the first reports as ambulances, security forces and firefighters converged on the scene. A bomb disposal unit arrived, and vehicles were cordoned off for fear they contained explosives.

Police said they blew up a car that had explosives inside. An unexploded grenade was also seen in a hallway at the complex.

Crump said gunfire could still be heard as him and his colleagues eventually evacuated.

"I don't know where those shots were coming from or who they were coming from, but as we were leaving it was definitely still much still very much active shooters around," he said.

Al-Shabaab has vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia since 2011. The al-Qaeda-linked group has killed hundreds of people in Kenya, which has been targeted more than any other of the six countries providing troops to an African Union force in Somalia. 

Members of security forces secure a building at the scene in Nairobi. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

The hotel complex in Nairobi's Westlands neighborhood is less than two kilometres from Westgate Mall and lies on a relatively quiet, tree-lined road in what is considered one of the most secure areas of the city. The hotel's website says it is "cocooned away from the hustle and bustle in a secure and peaceful haven."

"I've been here five years, and obviously you're aware of the security issues and the fact that hotels and corporate office blocks and shopping centres are high targets, but I think we've had a false sense of security," said Crump.

On Monday, a magistrate ruled that three men must stand trial on charges they were involved in the Westgate Mall siege. A fourth suspect was freed for lack of evidence.

The attack on Tuesday came three years to the day after al-Shabaab extremists attacked a Kenyan military base in neighbouring Somalia, killing scores of people.

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