Tag Archives: support

Rapper DMX on life support after heart attack, lawyer says

DMX’s longtime New York-based lawyer, Murray Richman, said the rapper was on life support Saturday evening at White Plains Hospital.

“He had a heart attack. He’s quite ill,” Richman said.

Richman said he could not confirm reports that DMX, 50, overdosed on drugs and was not sure what caused the heart attack.

“I’m very sad about it, extremely sad. He’s like my son,” Richman said. “He’s just a tremendous person, tremendous entertainer, tremendous human being. And so much to offer, so much to say. Not the run-of-the-mill rapper. A person of great depth.”

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The multi-platinum selling album was anchored by several hits including Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, Get At Me Dog and Stop Being Greedy.

The rapper had four other chart-topping albums including …And Then There Was X, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My BloodThe Great Depression and Grand Champ. He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations.

Along with his music career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film Belly and appeared in Romeo Must Die a couple years later with Jet Li and the late singer Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for the film’s soundtrack song Come Back in One Piece.

The rapper also starred in Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal and Cradle 2 the Grave with Li.

Over the years, DMX has battled with substance abuse. The rapper cancelled a series of shows to check himself into a rehabilitation facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he apologized for the cancelled shows and thanked his fans for the continued support.

Last year, DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a Verzuz battle, which drew more than 500,000 viewers.

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CBC | World News

Blizzard’s Diablo II Remaster Will Support 20-Year-Old Save Files

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If you were playing games 20 years ago, you probably spent at least a little time with Diablo II. This game was so popular that some people are still playing it, but an upgrade is on the way. Blizzard is working on a remastered version of the game, and it will be very faithful to the original. How faithful? Blizzard producer Matthew Cederquist confirms save files from the original game will work with the remaster, allowing you to finish the quest you started two decades ago. 

Like the other Diablo titles, the second incarnation takes place in the mystical realm of Sanctuary. At the opening of Diablo II, the hero from the original game has been corrupted by the malevolence of the eponymous prime evil, known as Diablo. Players have to once again attempt to defeat the prime evils and confine them to the underworld. 

The adventure role-playing style of Diablo II was groundbreaking at the time, which is why so many of us wasted uncountable hours of our lives hunting for epic loot. While Diablo III was also a massive success, it never quite reached the cult status of Diablo II. This is a remaster and not a remake because the content will be largely the same. Diablo II: Resurrected features new graphics and networking components, but the story and character balance are unchanged. There are a few quality of life improvements, though, including a shared stash for your characters, automatic gold pickups, and a few other small tweaks. 

Naturally, the remake has a lot of people interested. As a casual to mildly obsessive Diablo player, this all sounds great to me. For those who worked long and hard to kick their addiction to this game, it’s going to be a rough couple of years. The overall similarity has allowed the developers to keep the same save file structure. Therefore, you can take a save from the day the game launched more than 20 years ago and plug it into Resurrected. That quest you abandoned years ago when you kicked the addiction? It’s back on. 

There’s also cross-play support for the new game. So, you can pick it up on multiple consoles or PC and access the same progression on all platforms. It’s amazing to think you’ll theoretically be able to transfer a saved game from a 20-year-old PC title to a brand new PlayStation 5. If you’re on the go, you can pick up where you left off on a Nintendo Switch with the same file.

Blizzard plans to release Diablo II: Resurrected later this year, but there’s no firm date. It will be available on Windows, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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AMD Will Support Smart Access Memory on Ryzen 3000 CPUs for Gaming

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When AMD announced its Ryzen 5000 CPUs, it introduced a feature it dubbed Smart Access Memory, known more generally across the industry as Resizable BAR. Resizable BAR allows a CPU to access more than 256MB of GPU memory at any given time. The feature can boost game performance on Ryzen 5000 CPUs by between 3-7 percent on average based on our tests at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Nvidia claims up to 10 percent improvements for Ampere GPUs.

Initially, SAM was going to be a Ryzen 5000 feature and required a 500-series motherboard from the B550 or X570 families to use. Now, AMD has announced it’ll be bringing the feature to its Ryzen 3000 CPUs as well. A 500-series motherboard will still be required. Note that the Ryzen 3000 APUs, which technically use the Zen+ architecture, are not included here.

Formal support will still require a GPU from AMD’s RDNA2 family or an Nvidia Ampere card. In Nvidia’s case, it also requires a VBIOS update (all RDNA2 GPUs support the feature out of the box). Presumably, motherboard vendor UEFIs will also need to be updated to enable the feature on Ryzen 3000 CPUs. Intel support will be available on Z490 motherboards and upcoming 500-series products for 10th and 11th Gen CPUs. Z390 has apparently been supported as well by some manufacturers, but that’ll be OEM by OEM.

This slide shows how SAM / ReBAR works across Intel and AMD platforms with AMD and NV GPUs both.

This is a canny move on AMD’s part. Ryzen 5000 chips have been in very short supply these last months, making it harder than usual for the company’s fans to actually buy its hardware. Extending this small boost downward into the Ryzen 3000 family won’t change anybody’s life, but it’s a nice gesture to people who were looking for upgrades this year and may not have gotten the hardware they wanted.

The reason we won’t see Resizable BAR/SAM support added across the spectrum of current PC hardware is that UEFI/BIOS updates and GPU BIOS updates are apparently both required. Motherboard vendors and GPU manufacturers aren’t going to revisit the idea of adding these features to older cards and card families.

Hunting for Performance in the Proverbial Couch Cushions

Companies are getting increasingly creative in the places they look for additional performance. Nvidia’s DLSS feature leverages the cloud and AI/ML training to provide superior visual quality at a lower base resolution. DLSS 2.0 is a substantial improvement on 1.0, and while the feature isn’t perfect, it’s evolving nicely.

In AMD’s case, it’s got a rumored response to DLSS coming soon and we’ve recently seen the effectiveness of slapping a large L3 on top of a GPU, as well as the introduction of features like ReBAR/SAM. Intel has plans to integrate hybrid low-power CPU cores into its products, starting with Alder Lake later this year. Features like Variable Rate Shading have been introduced (if not yet popularized) as another way of diverting more GPU horsepower to the areas that need it most.

I suspect the next few years will see a lot of mud tossed at these proverbial walls as the industry continues to move away from the idea that lithography will provide additional performance improvements, and towards a model that prizes a multi-disciplinary approach to semiconductor performance improvement. Tightening the linkages between hardware and software and squeezing out inefficiencies is how companies are pushing performance forward these days. Clock jumps still count — witness the increase on AMD’s Radeon 6700 XT — but they’re increasingly just one tool in the toolbox.

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Support for essential workers could bring COVID-19 under control faster in Canada, doctors say

Doctors are calling for more supports for essential workers facing “life-or-death” inequities, saying it will do more to control coronavirus outbreaks than high-profile punishments of those who break the rules.

COVID-19 has exacerbated existing problems — not only among long-term residents bearing the brunt of deaths from the virus — but also for people struggling to get by despite working on the front lines on farms, in warehouses and grocery stores.

Now, these vulnerable workers can face additional challenges from authorities such as breaking Quebec’s curfew order or living in cramped, poorly ventilated quarters that make it easy for the coronavirus to spread. 

Nav Persaud, a family physician in Toronto who holds the Canada Research Chair in health justice, said he’s “dispirited” by how little attention inequity receives. 

“It’s always been a life-or-death issue, health inequities,” Persaud said. “People not being able to afford basic necessities like healthy food, medication, safe housing has always killed people and put people’s health in jeopardy.”


An Amazon warehouse north of Calgary in Balzac, Alta., that reported an outbreak of COVID-19 last spring. Doctors say warehouse workers need immediate access to paid sick leave to help control coronavirus outbreaks. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

He said much of the coronavirus transmission happening now in the Greater Toronto Area is from people going to work or interacting in ways that won’t be stopped by charging those holding large parties, for instance. 

“I think the people who benefit most from those punishments are the authorities, because they can exert their power and give off the impression that they’re being helpful when they’re not,” Persaud said. “It would be better if they were providing supports.”

In Toronto, Persaud said people who rely on public transit to get to work from priority neighbourhoods with a disproportionately higher number of COVID-19 cases may face long, crowded commutes on buses. That’s why the greater supports he’s seeking also includes extended public transit.

But providing more supports is harder for politicians from all levels to do than chastising individual rule breakers, he said. 

“I’m in favour of there being rules and the rules do need to be enforced, but I think these are relatively unimportant incidents in the grand scheme of things.”

A recent opinion article by three physicians points to how Ontario’s modelling showed three times more daily confirmed cases among communities with the most essential workers compared with communities with the least. Researchers in California reported a similar observation that hasn’t yet been peer reviewed by outside experts.

Call for supports to control outbreaks faster

Martha Fulford, an associate professor of infectious diseases at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., would like to see an immediate “liveable support” such as paid sick leave as a fundamental for essential workers. 

“It’s extremely easy to stay home and be in isolation for somebody like me. I have a big house, I have a big yard, I can click on Amazon and get my stuff delivered,” Fulford said. “But who’s delivering it? What choice does the person delivering to my house have?

“If we don’t provide the same sorts of supports for all the essential workers, this is never going to come under control.” 

Doctors say if essential workers are now a key driver of transmission then the coronavirus won’t be contained unless they’re able to stay home when sick or potentially exposed without having to worry about putting food on the table. 


Dr. Nav Persaud, seen here in 2018, favours rules to control the COVID-19 pandemic, but said some some infractions by individuals aren’t a priority, compared to broader supports that are needed. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Fulford also noted that the highest rates of transmission are among people living in crowded conditions or working in large warehouses

“I’m not an economist, I’m just a physician, but I can’t help but think in the long term, it would be far more cost effective to invest money in the areas where we’re seeing the highest transmission, and support them, than shut down an entire economy.”

Facilitate work from home when possible

Persaud said punishments such as charges and fines for violating COVID-19 safety rules often hit individuals rather than institutions such as employers. 

He sees the charges laid against Cargill for the country’s largest workplace outbreak in High River, Alta., as an exception and “a fairly extreme example.” The allegations haven’t been tested in court.

For other workplaces, Persaud suggested addressing larger, underlying issues contributing to outbreaks, such as office managers asking staff to come in to perform duties that could be done from the safety of home.

WATCH | Why Peel Region’s workplaces struggle with COVID-19 outbreaks:

Ontario’s Peel Region, just west of Toronto, has long been a hotspot for COVID-19, but the high number of warehouses and transportation facilities may be partly to blame. 2:15

Another recent high-profile case of charges being laid include a couple in Durham, Ont., east of Toronto, who are accused of obstructing contract-tracing efforts of public health officials investigating the introduction of the B117 variant of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K.

A third involves a penthouse owner in Vancouver who welcomed party goers. 

In contrast to charges, Fulford highlights a role model for countering conditions for outbreaks: hospitals.

“We have had hospital outbreaks and we’re not pointing fingers or getting angry because we understand, we do a root-cause analysis to figure out where we went wrong and we do better next time,” Fulford said.

Despite the best efforts of employers and workers, outbreaks can sometimes happen because of sheer bad luck.

Fulford said when an outbreak occurs in a workplace, bringing in infection prevention and control experts is a more productive approach than laying charges

“It’s a very unusual situation for me that we would be criminalizing public health interventions.”

Fulford said drug-resistant tuberculosis is one of the few instances that the Quarantine Act has been enforced for individuals. 

In the context of COVID-19, Fulford gives the example of someone who decides to meet family members from outside their household at a park and gets charged for breaking pandemic public health rules.  

In such a case, Fulford favours educating people and explaining why such behaviour is a problem to encourage them not to do it again — not naming and shaming. Otherwise, there could be unforeseen consequences for public health.

“Contact tracing is going to become a hundred times more difficult if the fear is that you’re going to be charged, your name is going to be in the newspaper.”

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CBC | Health News

‘Overwhelmed with love’: Canadian diver Benfeito thankful for support after surviving condo fire

Caeli McKay was overwhelmed by a 2017 move from her native Calgary to Montreal, where she joined the national diving team as a 16-year-old. She knew little of her new partner, three-time Olympic bronze medallist Meaghan Benfeito, and nothing about her other teammates.

“The new environment was huge, and I had no experience,” McKay, now 21, told CBC Sports on Tuesday. “Meg welcomed me. If I was anxious or stressed out, she told me I didn’t need to feel nervous, that I belonged.

“I lived with Meg and her family for five months. We would drive to the pool and home together. Growing our relationship made it easier to feel comfortable.”

Now, Benfeito needs a helping hand after the third-floor condo she shared with boyfriend and Canadian Football League player Alexandre Dupuis in Mirabel, Que., burned to the ground following a fire that broke out between 6:15 and 6:25 p.m. ET on Jan. 28.

Home alone, Benfeito was on the phone when a barbecue propane tank exploded on the balcony of the unit directly below her on the second floor. The 31-year-old Montreal native grabbed her scarf, jacket, keys, put on her boots and called 911 at 6:27 p.m., only minutes away from when Benfeito usually took her nightly 45-minute bath at 6:30.

WATCH | Benfeito: ‘I think being an athlete did help me react quickly’:

During a media availability on Tuesday, decorated Olympic diver Meaghan Benfeito discussed her escape from her condominium apartment after a barbecue propane tank exploded on the balcony of a nearby unit. Benfeito lost all her possessions, including all her medals when the building burned to the ground last Thursday night. 2:34

“I think being an athlete did help me react quickly because we’re always taught to expect the unexpected,” Benfeito told reporters Tuesday afternoon on a Zoom call while sitting poolside at the National Institute of Sport in Montreal. “What if I was in the bath and didn’t hear the explosion and didn’t have time to get out [of the building]? I think everything happens for a reason.

“I’m really trying hard not to cry. I’m overwhelmed with love. We’re alive, we’re healthy and we can still do what we love to do.”

Benfeito’s teammates reached out immediately, with McKay reaching her idol, mentor and close friend by phone about 20 minutes after the explosion while Benfeito sat in a police car with her father. Out of the blue, said McKay, she received a picture on her phone from Benfeito of a balcony on fire.

“Please tell me that’s not your [condo],” McKay recalled asking Benfeito. “She was crying, very upset and shaken. She said, ‘I don’t have anything, my clothes or my [Olympic] medals. Everything is gone.’ We talked for a bit and I tried to make sure she was OK.

“Unfortunately, with the [8 p.m. coronavirus] curfew in Quebec, I wasn’t able to think about bringing her anything that night. When I got off the phone, I went to my bedroom to pack her a suitcase of clothes, bathing suits and training stuff.”

‘More mentally drained than physically’

McKay, who lives a 40-minute drive away, delivered the suitcase to Benfeito on Friday after the latter slept for “maybe three, four hours” at her parents’ house. McKay knew Benfeito, who has been “flooded with support” from many people, including strangers through social media, needed space, so they communicated by phone and text messages through the weekend.

“I think I’m more mentally drained than physically,” said Benfeito, who surprised her teammates by returning to practice on Monday, a day before she was named Diving Canada’s top female athlete for 2020. “I think I cried [for] two minutes when I saw Jen [Abel], Caeli and Pam [Ware]. I wanted to hug them but can’t.

WATCH | Benfeito relying on support from loved ones following condo blaze:

In a media availability on Tuesday, decorated Olympic diver Meaghan Benfeito tells CBC Sports’ Doug Harrison that she’s relying on support from her boyfriend, CFL football fullback Alexandre Dupuis and teammate Caeli McKay, after losing all her possessions and medals when her condominium burned down last Thursday. 5:12

“Everybody on the team has been amazing. Caeli has been there through it all — in 2019 when I lost my grandmother, [whenever] I got injured and then when COVID happened. I think [the pandemic] has made us closer than we ever thought we would be.

“She brought me a tea this morning and I’m dressed in Caeli’s [hoodie] now. I think I’ve said thank you a million times the last five days, but I don’t think it’s enough to repay anybody that’s been there for me.”

Over $ 30,000 raised on GoFundMe

It could be several months before the International Olympic Committee presents Benfeito with her replacement medals from 2012 (10-metre synchro) and 2016 (10m synchro and individual 10m).

The fire is the latest stress felt by Benfeito and Dupuis, who didn’t play one second of football as Edmonton’s fullback in 2020 after the CFL cancelled its season in August because of COVID-19 and lost jerseys, trophies and autographed footballs from ex-teammates in the fire.

“Alex is someone I can always rely on and always takes the positive side of things,” said Benfeito, noting suitcases of Team Canada clothes and her 2016 BMW SUV in the condo’s underground parking garage were also victims of the blaze. “He’s always taught me to focus on the work [in diving], not the result, and to be grateful for everything I do. That’s how we help each other.”

Melanie Rinaldi, one of Benfeito’s former teammates, set up a GoFundMe page to help the couple move forward. A total of $ 31,536 of the target goal of $ 100,000 had been raised as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Before the fire, McKay said her and Benfeito often spoke about and looked at dream houses, and where they wanted to buy.

“Maybe she can find something positive out of this and find somewhere she wants to live,” said McKay, adding the duo is preparing to compete at the April 18-23 Diving World Cup in Tokyo that will double as the sport’s final qualifier for the Olympics this summer.

“I’ve been bugging Alex so much … to buy a house because I [didn’t] like living in a condo. I think it’s too small,” added Benfeito, who grew up in a house with her parents and younger twin sisters, Alicia and Chelsea. “I don’t know if we’re eventually going to buy a house, but I’m going to cross my fingers.”

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Ontario personal support worker is first Canadian to get dose of COVID-19 vaccine 

An Ontario long-term care worker became the first person in Canada to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, kicking off an immunization campaign expected to last the better part of a year.

Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker at the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place in Toronto,  sat down for her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shortly after 12 p.m. ET.

The shot was administered at a site in the University Health Network, a system of hospitals and health-care facilities throughout the city. The exact location is being withheld for security reasons, the province says. 

Quidangen was one of five front-line health professionals slated to get a first dose of the vaccine, which arrived by plane in Hamilton from the United States last night. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses several weeks apart.

“This is a watershed moment — the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day, but we must remain on our guard.”

WATCH | Toronto personal support worker becomes first Canadian to get a COVID-19 vaccine:

Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker in Toronto, became the first person in Canada to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14, 2020. 0:44

Ford also specifically acknowledged Quidangen, who has been a personal support worker since 1988 and often did double-shifts during the pandemic to care for residents. 

“Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so,” Ford said.

The other health-care workers to receive the first dose of vaccine today were:

  • Cecile Lasco, personal support worker. 
  • Derek Thompson, personal support worker. 
  • Lucky Aguila, registered practical nurse. 
  • Colette Cameron, registered nurse. 

Cecile Lasco, a personal support worker with decades of experience, was the second person in Canada to be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTEch COVID-19 vaccine. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)

Speaking to CBC News Network this morning, retired general Rick Hillier, the head of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force, called it “an incredible day.

“I think there’s a little trickle down the spine of every single person in the province and in the public service and in the health sector who have been working for months, who have been fighting COVID-19,” he continued.

WATCH | Retired general Rick Hillier on the arrival of first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Ontario:

Retired general Rick Hillier, head of Ontario’s vaccine task force, calls the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine ‘an incredible day.’ ‘We’re on the way out of the abyss,’ he said.   0:50

Ford was on hand at Hamilton International Airport on Sunday to greet the UPS plane carrying the vaccine when it landed, marking a major milestone in the massive immunization campaign about to begin in earnest.

“Today’s milestone officially launches the first phase of our three-phase vaccine implementation plan to keep Ontarians safe and marks the beginning of the long journey to return life back to normal,” he said today.

Some 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are going to the UHN, while another 3,000 will go to The Ottawa Hospital.

An additional 85,000 or so doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to be provided to 14 hospital sites in Ontario regions currently in the red and lockdown levels of the province’s COVID-19 restrictions system by the end of the year.

Health-care workers, long-term care residents and their caregivers will be among the first to receive the vaccine. Adults in Indigenous communities, residents of retirement homes, and recipients of chronic home health-care will also be priority groups, the Ministry of Health has said.

The province expects to receive 2.4 million doses — allowing it to vaccinate 1.2 million people — during the first three months of 2021, with vaccines becoming more broadly available to the general public in April. It will take another six to nine months to immunize all Ontarians who opt to get the vaccine.

“I encourage everyone to be patient. This is the biggest immunization program in a century, and our vaccine supply will arrive in stages,” Ford said.


Ontario Premier Doug Ford looks on as the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrive at Hamilton International Airport last night. (Government of Ontario)

Meanwhile, this morning Ontario reported another 1,940 cases of COVID-19 and 23 more deaths from the illness.

The new cases include 544 in Toronto, 390 in Peel Region, 191 in York Region, 134 in Hamilton and 114 in Windsor-Essex.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Waterloo Region: 71
  • Durham Region: 68
  • Halton Region: 64
  • Niagara Region: 58
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 47
  • Ottawa: 45
  • Middlesex-London: 43
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 33
  • Eastern Ontario: 27
  • Southwestern: 26
  • Brant County: 13
  • Huron Perth: 12
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington: 11
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 11

(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario Health Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)

The Ministry of Education also reported 137 new cases that are school-related: 114 students and 23 staff members. Some 889 of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools, or about 18.4 per cent, have at least one case of COVID-19, while 18 schools are currently closed because of the illness.

The new cases bring the seven-day average to 1,841.

There are currently 16,586 confirmed, active infections of the novel coronavirus provincewide.

Ontario’s network of labs processed 57,091 test samples and reported a test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent, the highest it has been in about a week. 

Moreover, the number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of the illness increased 44 up to 857. Of those, 244 are being treated in intensive care and 149 require the use of a ventilator.

The 23 additional deaths bring the official toll to 3,972.

York, Windsor-Essex move into lockdown

As of today, York and Windsor-Essex have joined Toronto and Peel in the lockdown level. 

It means indoor public events, dining in restaurants and bars, and close personal care services are off-limits, indoor sports facilities must close, and non-essential retail is limited to curbside pickup.

Five other regional health units are also tightening restrictions today.

Middlesex-London, Simcoe Muskoka, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph move to the red “control” zone, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit moves to orange “restrict,” while Leeds, Grenville and Lanark shifts to yellow “protect.”

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Shamattawa First Nation in Manitoba receives more military support for COVID-19 battle

More help from the Canadian Armed Forces has arrived in Shamattawa following a desperate plea from the First Nation’s chief.

The northern Manitoba fly-in community has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases, with about 25 per cent of people living on reserve testing positive for COVID-19, according to Chief Eric Redhead.

Just after noon on Saturday, Redhead posted on Facebook that roughly 25 members of the military had arrived in the community, with more set to arrive later in the day, including medics, nurses and other personnel.

“It was emotional. I have to be honest there. I felt that it was a relief not only for me but for members in the community. It was an emotional feeling for sure. I held back tears because I knew our people needed health and it finally arrived,” he said in an interview with CBC News Saturday evening.

He said the team will set up isolation units at the community’s school and help with tasks like door-to-door grocery delivery, wellness checks and contact tracing. The military will work alongside members of the Bear Clan Patrol, the Canadian Red Cross and Shamattawa’s chief and council, Redhead said.


A Hercules military aircraft arrived in Shamattawa First Nation earlier this week. On Friday, Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead said a small military assessment team that was sent to the community wasn’t enough support. (Eric Redhead/Facebook)

Redhead, who first called for military support on Nov. 30, said he is expecting an additional 30 military members to arrive Sunday. He said medics, nurses and regular military members are part of the deployment. He said they are bringing personal protective equipment, medical supplies and hopefully snowmobiles.

The chief said as of Friday, there were 323 positive cases identified but he suspects the number is higher because of difficulties getting people tested.

“I’m afraid that the entire community is a contact,” he said.

Nearly 60 military personnel expected by Sunday

A spokesperson for the military said by Sunday, the contingent deployed to Shamattawa will include nearly 60 people.

Seventeen of them — including nurses, medical technicians and one general duty member — will make up a multi-purpose medical assistance team that will establish and staff an alternative isolation area in the community, the spokesperson said. Those members are from the 1 Canadian Forces Health Services Group in Edmonton.

Roughly 40 others sent to Shamattawa will help establish that isolation area and will be redeployed once that’s done, the spokesperson said. That team is from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry from Shilo, Man.

Those members of the military will be in addition to six Canadian Rangers and one Canadian Ranger instructor from Winnipeg who were sent to Shamattawa earlier to support the community, the spokesperson said.

Military deployed to the northern community will also help local authorities support those in isolation, provide general duty support where it’s needed and integrate personnel into the local emergency operations centre command post, the spokesperson said.

‘Hardest-hit community’

In Manitoba, “the hardest-hit community right now is Shamattawa,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Friday.

Roussin announced 447 new cases of COVID-19 province-wide Friday, more than 100 of which were from Shamattawa. 

“They’re certainly dealing with a significant outbreak,” he said.

The chief, who said the test positivity rate on his reserve is hovering between 70 to 80 per cent, blamed overcrowding in his community for the rapid spread of the illness.

An elder who contracted COVID-19 had to be airlifted to Winnipeg, where she is in intensive care, Redhead said. He said all 15 members of the elder’s crowded home tested positive.

“When you have so many people living in a confined space, it’s prime breeding ground for this virus,” he said.

Redhead said a small military assessment team that was previously sent to the community wasn’t enough support. He repeated a call for an additional 60 to 70 members to help in the COVID-19 response in the community, about 745 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

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AMD Will Bring Smart Access Memory Support to Intel, Nvidia Hardware

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When AMD announced its Smart Access Memory, it sounded as if the company had finally designed a method of allowing Ryzen CPUs and GPUs to specifically work together in order to deliver higher performance than either could achieve together. Our performance tests confirmed that SAM worked fairly well, but it hasn’t been clear if the future would be restricted to AMD-AMD CPU/GPU configurations or not.

Thanks to a recent PCWorld interview, we have an answer. According to AMD, it has people on the Ryzen team working to get SAM working on Nvidia GPUs, while there are people on the Radeon team working with Intel to get the feature functional with Intel CPUs and chipsets. If AMD is comfortable making this kind of announcement, it implies that there’s reciprocity in these arrangements, meaning we’ll see cross-platform, cross-vendor support, though we haven’t heard anything about Nvidia/Intel cooperation. It only makes sense for the two companies to work together, however, since the alternative amounts to giving AMD a free performance advantage.

This confirms that SAM isn’t an AMD-specific technology as such, though AMD has done the work of enabling the feature before anyone else did. Resizable BAR Capability (that’s the PCIe specification-name for SAM) was initially baked into the PCIe 2.0 standard in 2008 before being modified in revisions to PCIe 3.0 in 2016. Microsoft added support for the feature with Windows 10 when it introduced Windows Display Driver Model 2.0, but evidently, no GPU vendor supported it until now.

If this were an AMD-specific technology, one might suspect that the company had to design Zen 3 and/or RDNA2 to use it. The fact that support can apparently be extended to Intel and Nvidia hardware implies the feature either wasn’t viewed as being worth the trouble or that the companies in question weren’t aware it could deliver a real uplift in performance until someone actually tested it. The latter would be rather droll.

According to AMD, there’s some work required to support the feature appropriately, implying we may not see it enabled immediately on Intel and Nvidia platforms. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of performance we see other platforms and hardware pick up from enabling this capability — Intel might benefit more than AMD (or vice-versa) and AMD GPUs might benefit more than Nvidia cards or the reverse.

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Nvidia, Google to Support Cloud Gaming on iPhone Via Web Apps

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So you want to stream some video games from the cloud? Apple hasn’t made that very easy on its devices thanks to some heavy-handed App Store policies, but the open internet is coming to the rescue. Both Nvidia and Google have announced iOS support for their respective cloud gaming platforms via progressive web applications. Apple can’t block that. 

This controversy dates back about a year when Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now became available on select mobile devices. Google’s Play Store allowed the streaming apps, but Apple blocked them for dubious reasons. Apple later updated its policies to say that cloud gaming was a-okay as long as providers adhered to the App Store’s draconian rules like creating separate store pages for each game and having all titles approved by Apple for purchase inside the App Store. The company claimed this was about ensuring a level playing field for developers, but it also would have gotten Apple its customary 30 percent cut of sales. 

Microsoft already announced that it would bring xCloud to iOS via a web app, but Nvidia is the first to get there. Anyone with an iDevice can get started by heading to the GeForce Now website — you’ll also need a $ 4.99 monthly subscription. Once you’re logged in, you can import your existing library from Steam, Epic, and other game distribution platforms. Yes, that means Fortnite is back on iOS. The WebRTC-based client can stream the video of your gameplay session and relay your control inputs to the cloud just like a local app. You can pair an Xbox, PS4, or mobile Bluetooth controller with the device. The web app also has touch controls, but they won’t work in all games. And even if they do, you probably don’t want to use them. 

Google says its web app version of Stadia for iOS will launch in the coming weeks. Like Nvidia and Microsoft, Google was prevented from launching an iOS Stadia app, and the company seemed caught off-guard. When reviewing Stadia for its launch last year, there was a beta iOS client available for testing. Google was unable to release it on the App Store this whole last year. 

When the web version of Stadia launches in the next few weeks, you’ll be able to direct the Safari browser to the Stadia site to stream your games. Unlike Nvidia, Google sells games specifically for Stadia, but Google does let everyone play the base version of Destiny 2 for free. The $ 10 monthly Stadia Pro subscription adds features like 4K streaming and surround sound. 

Apple’s stubbornness has slowed the growth of cloud gaming on its platform, but it’s not stopping it. By early 2021, there should be three cloud gaming services live on iOS via the web. 

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Ottawa’s COVID-19 support is not ‘infinite,’ PM warns premiers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he has warned the premiers that “impossible” choices will have to be made if they don’t lower their COVID-19 caseloads soon.

His comments follow a Thursday evening call between the prime minister and the premiers.

“One of the things that I did highlight is that our resources are not infinite at the federal government, whether it comes to support on contact tracing, extra support on [personal protective equipment], support through the military or the Red Cross. We are there to support the provinces as they handle this pandemic,” Trudeau told his regular pandemic media briefing earlier today in Ottawa.

“But there is a threshold beyond which when the cases spike too much, we might have to make really difficult choices about where to deploy the limited resources we have.”

Trudeau insisted the federal government is not at the point of making those “difficult choices” yet.

“Controlling the virus now reduces the impossible decisions and choices we might have to make down the road,” he said.

Trudeau said his government has approved a request from Manitoba to provide support in the province’s long-term care facilities until Jan. 15, 2021.

WATCH: Trudeau warns the premiers about rising COVID caseloads:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that in his discussion with the Premiers he highlighted that difficult choices might have to be made if they move beyond the limits of the federal government. 1:15

“Hospitals start to get overwhelmed in various parts of the country as resources start to grow thin, as people are giving up on contact tracing,” he said. “The federal government can add more but not an unlimited amount.

“That’s why we all have to make sure we do not get to the kinds of spikes that are being projected, that with the approach of winter we all realize we’ve got to get this back under control and everyone needs to do their part.”

Friday’s warning follows Trudeau’s sobering comments on Tuesday, when he urged the provinces and territories to “do the right thing” and impose restrictions to counter the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

That warning didn’t play well with all the premiers.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said it was “extremely unhelpful” for the prime minister to frame the issue as a “false choice” between protecting Canadians’ health and protecting the economy.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio’s The House, Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious diseases physician at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital, said many governments around the world are coping what he described as a “false dichotomy” between fighting the pandemic and saving the economy.

“Places like the [International Monetary Fund] have chimed in on this and said if you don’t control COVID, your businesses are going to be in serious trouble,” he said. “This is kind of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenario. But overall, controlling COVID is better than not controlling COVID. 

“So it’s an awful time to be a premier in this country. It’s an awful time to be a leader. Yet that’s the reality we have… Pretending that we can have both, we can … deal with massive increases in COVID while saving our businesses is just wrong.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, told today’s briefing that new modelling suggests the country is on track to record 10,000 new cases per day by early December.

Saving Christmas

“We are obviously working hard at vaccine preparations but that’s going to take time, so we need everybody to make an effort,” Tam said.  

“From where I’m sitting, anywhere outside of the Atlantic bubble, the Atlantic jurisdictions and the territories, fires are burning in so many different areas. Right now is the time to get those under control.”

Tam added that unless measures are taken now and the curve is flattened, the pandemic will affect Christmas gatherings.

“Right now, it’s not looking good. People have to like, really take everything seriously,” Tam said, singling out the Prairie provinces as a region that has a lot of work to do.

Gardam said that the current spike in COVID cases is a direct result of Canada taking its “foot off the brake over the summer months.” 

The exponential growth in new COVID cases, Gardam said, will continue in the coming weeks — and Canadians shouldn’t assume that Canada had done a good job in fighting the virus.

“If you look at us in comparison to many other countries, we don’t stand out as one of the better places,” he said. “We stand out as one of the places that has really struggled with controlling this.

“I think it’s time for us to have a little bit of a reality check and perhaps quit patting ourselves on the back here. We haven’t done as great a job as I think we think we have.”

Watch: Trudeau discusses how families should plan for the Christmas holidays:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters during the Friday pandemic briefing in Ottawa. 3:08

Trudeau also announced today that the federal government will offer $ 1.5 billion in job training support to the provinces and territories to help Canadians in hard-hit industries.

Trudeau said the funding will help laid-off workers in sectors like construction, transportation and hospitality re-enter the workforce by improving access to skills training and employment services.

The money comes as a new survey from Statistics Canada reports that nearly one third of businesses do not know how long they can keep going under the current conditions of the second wave.

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