A number of lessons have already been gleaned about the international and scientific response to the novel coronavirus, but understanding emerging variants remains a murky area, the expert who led the recent World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China says.
“We clearly have to invest much more in understanding how these viruses are emerging,” Peter Ben Embarek said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.
“We also have to improve our surveillance of these emerging diseases so people [identify them] before they jump into humans. And when they emerge like last year, we shouldn’t wait too long before starting to look at the origin of these viruses.”
Those investigations should be happening in tandem with initial responses such as identifying treatment options and positive cases, Ben Embarek told CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton.
The scientist is a food safety and animal diseases expert who was part of a team investigating the origins of the virus in Wuhan, China, where the first cases of COVID-19 were discovered.
The four-week mission concluded earlier this month, with initial findings suggesting that the virus was introduced to humans through an “intermediary host species.”
There are also indications that there was no widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus before December 2019, though there is evidence there was “much wider transmission” during the second half of that month than previously thought, Ben Embarek said.
What’s the strategy for variants?
But one question that remains unanswered involves new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus — and whether the world has done enough to control them.
“I think we are dealing with them with a lot of concern and attention, and we are increasingly able to detect them,” Ben Embarek said.
“The big question is, are we good enough at handling them, or are we handling them [as we did] the first one — the original one — and taking the same strategy to control them?”
Ben Embarek said more conversations are needed about those strategies to see whether the measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 can also be applied to emerging variants.
“I think it’s a big question, and nobody has the answers, unfortunately,” he said.
“It’s also important for people to understand what this mission was and what it was not. It was not an investigation into any wrongdoing or … how the system in China operated from the start of this event,” Ben Embarek said.
“This was a joint study between Chinese counterparts and international counterparts trying to develop and conduct studies that would help us get a better understanding of what happened. And that’s what we did.”
The WHO is expected to present its preliminary report from the mission in the coming week.
Intel’s Raja Koduri will present a video session titled “1000x More Compute for AI By 2025” at the upcoming Samsung Advanced Foundry Ecosystem (SAFE) conference. The significance of this is lost on nobody: You don’t show up on someone else’s stage — especially not a competitor’s — unless you’re sending a message. In this case, said message may include details on how Intel and Samsung will be partnering together in the future.
Intel’s CEO Bob Swan alluded that something like this might be happening soon during Intel’s Q3 2020 conference call last week. Asked a question about the company’s near-term plans when it came to using client foundries versus its own manufacturing, Swan first identified Intel’s three core criteria for evaluating whether or not it would tap a client foundry based on schedule “schedule and schedule predictability, product performance and economics with supply chain.”
So the criteria are relatively simple and we’re evaluating each one of those kind of as we exit 2020 and really early 2021, because that’s the time that we’ll have to make the determination as to whether we’re buying more 7-nanometer equipment or whether a third-party foundry would be adding that capacity. So we’re going through this process really looking at our capabilities others’ capabilities around those three fundamental criteria.
I would say since the last time we spoke, our 7-nanometer process is doing very well. I mean, last time we spoke we had identified an excursion. We had root caused it. We thought we knew the fix. Now, we’ve deployed the fix and made wonderful progress. But nonetheless, we’re still going to evaluate third-party foundry versus our foundry across those three criteria. And the call will be towards the end of this year early next year.
Pair this paragraph with a statement Swan makes in his opening statement on the call: “We have another great lineup of products in 2022 and I’m increasingly confident in the leadership our 2023 products will deliver on either Intel 7-nanometer or external foundry processes or a combination of both.”
Building its own chips is foundational to Intel’s culture. Image by Intel.
I think it would be a drastic exaggeration to imply Intel is laying the groundwork to get rid of its fabs at the present time. What’s more likely is that Intel is admitting it’s going to be building some significant chips with companies such as TSMC and Samsung, while simultaneously attempting to reassure investors and customers that building hardware at a different foundry isn’t the kiss of death for Intel’s own business.
In the short term, the company is probably right about that. While it would be unprecedented for Intel to move significant amounts of its leading designs over to other foundries, doing so might let Intel transition over to a new node more quickly, or repair its own designs more aggressively, since there’d be less need to operate the factory at full production while simultaneously upgrading it. The nature of the foundry business is that customers come and go.
Intel’s stock has been shaky since this call last week, with most of the blame placed on its data center segment performance. To my eye, this section of the transcript was a much bigger deal. If this deal helps Intel reach competitive parity with AMD more quickly and simultaneously allows it to focus on fixing its 7nm problems while developing a 5nm process, it’ll be hailed as a great decision. If it doesn’t, Intel may itself be driven from the cutting edge. I think that’s still more unlikely than likely, but it’s definitely on the table in a way it didn’t used to be.
Also, a 1,000x increase in AI performance would be incredibly useful for a lot of different reasons, so if Intel can deliver it, I’ll happily take it.
As social movements go, the Olympics have proven themselves to have plenty of staying power.
Much more than a sporting event, the modern Olympics were conceived of by, among others, a French educator, Pierre de Coubertin.
The International Olympic Committee was formed to govern them back in 1894 two years before they actually took to the field of play in Athens, Greece in 1896.
The Olympic Charter, which has evolved over time, is much more than rule book for sport. It is, in fact, a roadmap envisioning a way of life which espouses universality, inclusion, and a wide-ranging set of commonly held and seemingly unassailable values.
The Charter holds dear things like persistence, hard work, fair play, tolerance, and togetherness. It is unapologetic in professing the notion that sport is ultimately a good thing.
International Olympic Day came into being in 1948. The same year the London Olympics were held after two editions of the Games, both winter and summer, had been lost due to the Second Word War.
The purpose of International Olympic Day is to celebrate the birth of the Olympic Movement, to encourage mass participation in sport regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation, circumstance, or ability, and also to be mindful of living the “Olympic Values.”
Upholding Olympic Values
Recent events in the world have made all of this very difficult.
Corruption in leadership, rampant doping issues, athletes who feel disenfranchised, a worldwide pandemic which has stopped the current congregating power of the Tokyo Olympics in its tracks, plus a call for freedom of expression in light of anti-Black racism has forced the IOC to take a long, hard look in the mirror.
One of the most powerful social movements on the face of the earth is now forced to confront dramatic change or risk becoming out of step with the times or, even worse, irrelevant.
WATCH | Damian Warner discusses IOC’s stance on protest gestures:
Canadian decathlete Damian Warner had strong words for the IOC, calling their stance on athletes protesting ‘unfortunate’ and said they are on the ‘wrong side of history.’ 0:50
Canada’s past and present members of the IOC unanimously agree that the Olympic Movement must now face these issues head on, and when making changes, they have to get it right or else lose their constituency.
“It’s about defining what living the Olympic values means in the current context,” said Canadian Olympic Committee president, 4-time Olympian, and IOC member, Tricia Smith.
“It’s not a simple question. But I believe the Olympic values do provide a framework for addressing all of these issues in a way that is hopeful and inclusive and unique. Unique, because as we know, there is nothing like sport to bring the world together, even a world that can seem so fractured. We need that now more than ever.”
Athletes are at the centre of the change which is afoot and all of the Canadian IOC members we contacted, competed at the Olympics in one sport or another.
“Athletes are familiar with setting ambitious goals, working towards achieving them, in the process, learning from both success and failure,” said Richard Pound, a swimmer at the 1960 Olympics who was first elected to the IOC in 1978 and is currently its longest serving member.
“On occasions, such as we now face, during which the usual paradigm of our society and interpersonal relationships come under unprecedented pressures, it is important to maintain a healthy perspective and to recognize the need to realign our conduct and goals. The Olympic Movement has an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate that these qualities have an impact for not only sport but also across the entire gamut of society.”
Charmaine Crooks is a five-time Olympian and has served on the IOC Athlete’s Commission, was a full voting member of the IOC from 2000-2004 and is a founding member of the IOC Ethics Commission.
As a Black, track and field, athlete, she understands the importance of the IOC making its stance on racism defensible.
“Sport is a powerful platform in the fight against systemic racism,” Crooks stressed.
“Now more than ever, the voices of athletes here in Canada and around the world are coming together as a team to be a catalyst for accelerating sustainable change and promoting the values that unite us well beyond sport.”
The athletes are increasingly finding their voices and are eager to use them to prompt an Olympic evolution.
“The biggest challenge is to stay humble and connected to the little guy and the athletes versus ‘playing God’ which many believe the IOC does,” said 4-time Olympic hockey champion and current IOC Athlete’s Commission member Hayley Wickenheiser.
“Humility, transparency, and allowing the athletes to truly have a voice are all keys to success. The athletes need to understand they have more power than they think. The collective voice is strong. I believe the right thing, the truth, will always win out in the end.”
“I think the biggest challenge the Olympic Movement faces right now is potentially also its biggest opportunity,” said cross country skiing gold medallist Beckie Scott, who served on the IOC from 2006-2014 as well as chairing the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Athlete’s Commission.
“Sport has historically consolidated a majority of its power at the top level, leaving athletes out of the equation and powerless to influence the decisions that affect them the most. It’s a business model that has worked very well for a very long time for some. But the foundation of the model needs to shift in order to grow and stay current. Athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement, its most important and precious stakeholder. What a fantastic challenge to acknowledge, embrace and – as a result – progress the movement.”
It is a critical time for the Olympics.
There are serious issues to deal with and it’s not overstating the case to say the future of something, which we have all become accustomed to, is on the line.
Still, on this International Olympic Day, those from within who advocate change universally acknowledge that the Games are worth fighting for.
“Everything I have in my life, I owe to the Olympic Games,” Wickenheiser concluded.
“There is nothing that unites the world like the Olympic Games. They are the most incredible display of humanity I’ve ever been a part of.”
Now the task for the Olympic Movement is to prove that it not only has staying power but that it is also open to change for the better.
It has come up on the margins, but the increasingly violent clashes in Hong Kong have barely registered on the formal agenda of G7 leaders meeting in Biarritz, France.
At least one expert says the crisis is a crucial test for the world’s major democracies — one they may be failing.
A Hong Kong police officer fired a gunshot during protests on Sunday, the first time live ammunition has been used since demonstrations broke out.
Water cannons have also been deployed by authorities and protesters have reportedly lobbed bricks.
At least 36 people were arrested Sunday. Dozens were injured on Saturday in a sharp escalation of violence, after a senior Hong Kong official warned China’s military could intervene during any civil unrest.
I think it represents what democracies are about– Colin Robertson, former diplomat
The importance of the world’s leading liberal democracies presenting a united front on events in the former British colony cannot be understated, said Colin Robertson, a former diplomat and vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
“I think it represents what democracies are about.”
Hong Kong, which counts approximately 300,000 Canadian-Chinese citizens, is perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in Asia, and its political autonomy was guaranteed by international covenants.
The potential violation or even the stealth dismantling of its political and economic freedoms would be a major blow, and having G7 leaders lay down a marker in the face of authoritarian threats — veiled or otherwise — is important.
“If we give China a pass, which I believe [U.S. President Donald] Trump would be inclined to do, then I think you begin to wonder,” said Robertson.
“We [democracies] are really on our back foot because around the world, we’re losing, and we appear to be losing in so many places.”
The leader to watch, given his country’s long history in Hong Kong, will be newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Robertson added.
“Where does he come from on this? I think his inclination might be to just put it under the table.”
The issue of Hong Kong was raised at least twice in bilateral discussions Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had with Johnson and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.
Canada and the EU issued a joint statement on Hong Kong earlier this month, calling for China to show restraint.
“It is crucial that restraint be exercised, violence rejected and urgent steps taken to de-escalate the situation,” said the Aug. 17 statement.
“Fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly, and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the ‘one-country, two-systems’ principle, are enshrined in the [Hong Kong] Basic Law and in international agreements, and must continue to be upheld.”
The statement drew a sharp, personal rebuke for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland from Chinese authorities.
A Canadian official going into the weekend’s gathering said there hasn’t been much indication from the other countries that they consider Hong Kong a major topic for the leaders beyond where it might fit in an overall discussion about China.
Time is of the essence in the fledgling Canadian Premier League.
All seven teams are up and running and everyone’s got something to show for their effort — some more than others.
Calgary’s Cavalry FC has galloped into an early lead with two straight wins, while the GTA’s York9 FC remains the only club still searching for that elusive first victory.
The CPL’s inaugural season splits into two uneven halves. The spring campaign comprises of just 10 games per team. The longer fall season, which runs from July to October, is more of a marathon with each club facing an 18-game schedule.
There are no playoffs. The winners of each season will meet in a one-game title match to determine the first-ever CPL champion.
Demanding early weeks
These early weeks are demanding. There is little time to rest, reflect, adjust or retool. Players need to know and understand their assignments, while coaches are scouting on the fly, trying to work out what challenges future opponents will present.
The action comes thick and fast. There are three games this weekend — all of which will tell us a little more about the protagonists.
We kick off in Winnipeg, where Valour FC hosts the HFX Wanderers from Halifax. Valour will be desperate to cash in at home after back-to-back losses. The visitors will be playing loose after marking their historic home debut with a victory last weekend.
WATCH | Wanderers bring the party in home win:
Luis Alberto Perea buries the game winner to give HFX Wanderers FC their first win in their first home match. Halifax beat Hamilton 2-1. 1:19
Edmonton — the “city of champions” — will also be rocking. FC Edmonton is ready to make its home debut. The Eddies will be aiming to take full advantage against Pacific FC, who are clocking up plenty of AirMiles but not many CPL points so far.
The pick of the bunch brings us back to where it all began. Pacesetters Cavalry come to Hamilton to face the Forge.
Hamilton finally earned its first win on Wednesday against PFC. Forge benefitted from some clinical finishing to cruise to a comfortable 3-0 win. Goals at one end and a shutout at the other — check and check.
WATCH | Forge FC earns 1st-ever win:
Forge FC defeats Pacific FC 3-nil in Hamilton. 1:02
It was all achieved without their captain, who wasn’t missed for a minute. Kyle Bekker will be missing again on Sunday as he completes a two-game suspension for violent conduct.
The Forge skipper is in the prime of his career. At 28, Bekker has a chance to truly make his mark on the Canadian soccer landscape. But not like this. Deliberately elbowing an opponent is not only dangerous — it is an act of pure stupidity.
There is no room in the CPL, or any other league, for that kind of behaviour. Even though the referees missed the incident, the disciplinary panel did not, and issued the punishment retroactively.
WATCH | Bekker briefly gets away with elbowing during inaugural CPL match:
Kadell Thomas scored the equalizer in the 78th minute, as Forge FC played to a 1-1 draw against York9 FC in the Canadian Premier League’s first-ever match. 1:00
Bekker must serve the time, and will hopefully learn his lesson. The Canadian Soccer Association has sent out an early warning to all other players — you are being watched and you will be reprimanded if necessary.
No player is bigger than his club or this league. In short: keep it competitive but do not cross the line.
Physicality, creativity formula for success
Cavalry, meanwhile, is looking solid and well organized. The Cavs have the look of a team that is hard to beat. A physical battle does not bother them.
Mix that with a little creative flair and you’ve got a template for success. Honduran striker Jose Escalante caused problems all night against Valour and capped the performance with a curling free kick to end the stalemate in the dying minutes.
However, we haven’t yet seen Cavalry on the road. Can they stampede their way into the Hammer and become the first CPL team to notch a hat trick of wins?
Easier said than done. Forge will be in buoyant mood, and their boisterous fans always come together to create a fortress-like atmosphere. The Cavs would likely settle for a point before cantering back to Calgary and a pair of home games against Edmonton and Halifax.
There’s no time like the present to bag those points. They might just be decisive when it comes to crowning a CPL spring champion on Canada Day.
After expensive and ultimately futile in-vitro fertilization treatments, Kathryn Lee sent out a very public plea for help on Facebook: Would anyone be willing to be a surrogate for her family?
“I broadcast it to the world that we were having fertility issues, that I couldn’t get pregnant, and that we needed help,” she says.
Her post was shared many times and a woman came forward to volunteer. Now, almost four years later, Lee and her husband have a thriving three-year-old boy. And their family is one of the lucky ones, she says.
Surrogacy is legal in Canada, but surrogates are forbidden from receiving any sort of financial incentives or rewards beyondpay for basic expenses. That’s not the case in the U.S., which has different rules.
But payment beyond covering pregnancy-related expenses continues to be illegal. Punishments for infractions run up to 10 years in prison or a $ 500,000 fine.
For women carrying a child for another family, parents-to-be are allowed to pay them for things like clothing, food, travel and medical care. But what surrogates get reimbursed for, says Lee, is open for negotiation.
She said they were extremely lucky — their surrogate tried to save the couple money by buying maternity clothing second-hand and didn’t charge them for food.
But she’s heard of some surrogates who ask for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses.
Different market in the U.S.
“The demand side of this equation has started to grow and that’s why we’re having this conversation now,” says Rene Almeling, an associate professor at Yale University and author of the book Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm.
She points to the lack of regulations in the U.S., which effectively lets the market determine prices for services rendered.
Almeling says that while data on providers and prices isn’t well-tracked, large agencies will typically pay women between $ 8,000 to $ 10,000 US for their eggs. For that money, women will typically do daily hormone injections, spend time going to doctors appointments, and ultimately go through out-patient surgery.
“For sperm, men are typically paid about $ 100,” Almeling says, a price that has remained the same for decades.
As for carrying a child, a range of about $ 25,000 to $ 35,000 US is normal when someone is being paid, says Heather Jacobson, a professor and author of the book Labor of Love: Gestational Surrogacy and the Work of Making Babies, which focuses on surrogacy in the U.S.
In her research, she found both cost of living as well as a surrogate’s experience can help determine where someone sits on that pay scale.
“Matching with a woman who has been a surrogate before, for someone else, brings a feeling of a level of safety for intended parents,” Jacobson says.
She also says surrogacy is just one piece of a growing industry that also includes fertility clinics, lawyers, counsellors and escrow companies to handle payments. Jacobson estimates there are now around 100 specific surrogate-matching businesses in the U.S.
Legal grey area
Kara Erikson, who has had two healthy children of her own and is now carrying a child for another family, has mixed feelings about compensating surrogates. But she does say parents should be able to give gifts to someone who’s carrying their child or do something special for them.
And there shouldn’t necessarily be a cap on reimbursement amounts.
“There are a lot of unforeseen costs that can come from being a surrogate. Be it bed rest or C-sections or complications … it needs to be flexible.”
She says there’s also the sticky business of money being the motivating factor for would-be surrogates.
“I don’t think it should be criminalized for people to receive money, but I also don’t think it would bring the right type of people to step up to donate or to be surrogates if you’re getting compensation for it.
University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman agrees that the laws need to be updated.
University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman agrees that laws need to be updating.(Craig Chivers/CBC)
“Things have got to change,” he says.
Removing fear of uncertainty
Bowman argues we need to get thefear out of these legally uncertain situationswithout completely turning the process over to market forces where people could get involved for the wrong reasons.
“We could have women trapped in impoverished situations, where they’re really doing it not because they want to put their body on the line, but because they really well and truly need the money,” he says.
He says it’s a problem if poorer women are sought out to be surrogates for their country’s wealthier people. He points to India and Thailand where commercial surrogacy services are illegal.
“They’ve closed down because they feel there’s exploitation of their citizens,” Bowman says
He says Canada doesn’t collect data on how many surrogacies are happening and that Canada’s 2004 laws don’t have enough clear specifics. Which is why he’s in favour of more legal clarity.
“It’s really unfair to leave people in such a confusing, murky, convoluted system as the one we have now.”
The 20-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star took to Instagram Stories on Saturday to share her lavish push present that she received after giving birth to daughter Stormi.
“Push present,” the new mom says in the background as she shows off her black Ferrari. Jenner and boyfriend Travis Scott welcomed Stormi on Feb. 1.
That same day, Jenner and Scott were spotted with a handful of friends, including Jordyn Woods, grabbing lunch at Nobu in Malibu, California. The makeup mogul wore black pants with a matching loose top and was carrying a burgundy jacket. Meanwhile, the rapper was in black pants, a tee and black jacket.
Earlier this week, Jenner showed off her new makeup collection inspired by her daughter. Perfectly named the Weather Collection, the beauty products include lipsticks with lightning bolts on them, as well as lip glosses, highlighters and liners.
“A few of my favorites,” Jenner wrote on Instagram, adding. ”Inspired by Stormi.”
She also shared the story of how the collection came to be. “I worked on this pretty much my entire pregnancy,” she explained. “Right after we chose Stormi’s name, her name really inspired me. I spent a lot of time on this collection and put a lot of detail into it.”
For more on the couple and how they’re handling the birth of their baby, watch below.
On the 12th day of Christmas, her true love gave to her… more than $ 200,000 worth of investments! Kim Kardashian West took to Instagram to reveal the assortment of stocks that her husband, Kanye West, loaded her stocking with for Christmas on Monday. “For one of my Christmas presents from Kanye he gives me this little box with a Disney Mickey toy, Apple headphones, Netflix, Amazon gift cards and Adidas socks,” the reality star shared. “But then I open the next box and it is stock to Amazon,…
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