Tag Archives: urges

Trudeau urges Canadians to check up on loved ones, celebrate safely for Easter

The latest:

Canada’s chief public health officer is urging people to keep their guard up as COVID-19 disrupts Easter celebrations for a second year.

Canadians need to be careful since the more contagious variants of concern “could be anywhere,” Dr. Theresa Tam wrote on Twitter.

“Let’s all be careful [and] cautious and keep up our guard,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged in a video message that COVID-19 has forced Canadians to celebrate Easter differently for a second straight year, and that many people are having to forego in-person church services and family dinners.

He urged Canadians to stay optimistic, suggesting that the battle with COVID-19 was drawing to a close.

“My friends, soon this crisis will end,” he said.

In the meantime, he asked people to check up on loved ones who are isolated and to find different ways to celebrate the holiday.

Several other politicians also sent out Easter messages paying tribute to front-line workers and encouraging Canadians to respect pandemic-related safety measures over the holiday.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,003,994 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 58,402 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,062.

In British Columbia, three people police are describing as “key organizers” have been ticketed $ 2,300 each after a rally against COVID-19 restrictions in Nelson.

According to a press release from the Nelson Police Department, about 150 people participated in a “freedom rally” at the local city hall on Saturday afternoon. Between 75 and 80 people also took part in a march on Baker and Vernon streets.

Alberta reported an estimated 950 new COVID-19 cases, based on preliminary data.

In Saskatchewan, inmates at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre are worried about a repeat of a November 2020 outbreak after three positive cases were reported at the facility.

Meanwhile, the province recorded 221 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths. As of Sunday there were 194 people in hospital, including a record 44 in intensive care.


In Ontario, the provincial government says it has chosen Dr. Homer Tien, the CEO and president of Ornge Air Ambulance, to lead its COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.

Tien, also a trauma surgeon, will be its “operational lead” as the province prepares to move into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, according to Stephen Warner, spokesperson for Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

Tien’s official title is chair of the task force and he replaces retired Gen. Rick Hillier in that role. Hillier stepped down when his contract expired on March 31 after declining a request to stay on.

WATCH | Modelling paints bleak picture of what lies ahead in Ontario’s 3rd wave:

The province’s Science Advisory Table has released its latest modelling on the spread of COVID-19, with a harrowing image of what lies ahead for the pandemic’s third wave in Ontario. Projections show that intensive care admissions will be high enough to threaten the health-care system’s ability to care for all patients, and that the spread of variants of concern is dangerously outpacing Ontario’s vaccination campaign. Jessica Ng has more details. 1:57

Quebec, which confirmed 1,154 new cases and nine more deaths on Sunday, says it is adding several cities in the Chaudiere-Appalaches region south of Quebec City to the list of municipalities on lockdown due to rising cases of COVID-19.

The government says in a news release that the curfew will be moved from 9:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the regional municipalities of Beauce-Sartigan, Bellechasse, Les Etchemins, Nouvelle-Beauce and Robert-Cliche.

Schools will close for in-person learning, while non-essential businesses and restaurant dining rooms will also be shuttered from tomorrow evening until at least April 12.

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


People wear face masks as they walk in a park in Montreal on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

New Brunswick registered 11 new cases as the Edmundston Regional Hospital is preparing for the imminent transfer of patients after an influx of COVID-19 cases in intensive care. Officials say the spike in the hard-hit region is being driven by the  B117 variant.

Nova Scotia identified seven new cases, raising the province’s active caseload to 34.


What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday, more than 130.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a coronavirus tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.84 million.

In the Americas, Brazil’s Sao Paulo sped up efforts to empty old graves and  make room for a soaring number of COVID-19 deaths as the city hall registered record daily burials this week.

WATCH | Brazil’s cemeteries struggle to keep up with record COVID-19 casualties:

Brazil’s cemeteries struggle to keep up with record COVID-19 casualties, extend services to all hours and attempt to accommodate new caskets. 1:23

In Asia, Bangladesh authorities are imposing a one-week nationwide lockdown on Monday. Forhad Hossain, the country’s junior minister for public administration, says organizations providing emergency services will be available during the lockdown and industries will remain open.

In Europe, some 9,000 people are getting vaccinated at a huge stadium in Lyon during Easter weekend, and thousands more around France are spending the holiday lining up for injections elsewhere as the government tries to speed up vaccinations amid a new virus surge.

In Africa, authorities say Libya has received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines after 101,250 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine landed in the capital, Tripoli. The North African nation has seen a swell in confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

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CBC | Health News

Trudeau urges Canadians to ‘stay strong’ as vaccine deliveries accelerate

Canadians should be able to receive their vaccinations against COVID-19 sooner now that deliveries of vaccine doses ordered by the federal government are speeding up.

Ottawa announced today that millions of additional vaccine doses are expected to arrive from three approved vaccine makers over the spring.

Pfizer-BioNTech agreed to move up delivery of five million vaccine doses to Canada from late summer to June following negotiations with the federal government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a press conference in Ottawa today.

The accelerated timeline means the pharmaceutical giant now plans to ship 17.8 million doses between April and June — more than a million doses each week in April and May and another two million per week in June.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand also said the first doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine will arrive at the end of April. While the exact amounts and dates for the Johnson & Johnson product remain in flux, it’s the first indication of a delivery schedule since that vaccine was approved by Health Canada over three weeks ago.

Canada also will receive an additional 4.4 million additional doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine by the end of June, Anand said. Those doses will come from the manufacturer itself, the Serum Institute of India and the COVAX global vaccine initiative.

“As we’ve been saying for months, and as we’ve been planning with provinces and territories since last year, the end of March will be followed by an increase in vaccine supply,” Trudeau said.

“We now have handily exceeded our promised target of six million doses delivered before April. And this week, we begin our ramp-up phase.”

WATCH: Procurement minister says Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in Canada at end of April 

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will begin to arrive in Canada at the end of April. 0:28

More than 3.2 million doses are expected to arrive this week alone, bringing the total number of doses delivered to Canada since vaccinations began in December to 9.5 million.

Almost half of the doses arriving this week come from a shipment of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine that landed today from the United States — one day after provinces suspended its use in people under the age of 55. 

Without counting the Johnson & Johnson doses, Anand said Canada is on track to receive 44 million doses of vaccine by Canada Day.

That amount is more than enough to provide one dose to the 31 million Canadians over the age of 16.

But Trudeau also issued a warning that Canadians need to “stay strong a little longer” as case counts and hospitalizations rise across the country, driven by more transmissible variants of the coronavirus. He asked Canadians not to gather or have parties over the Easter/Passover weekend.

“We’re entering the final stretch of this crisis,” Trudeau said. “I know it’s not easy but, together, we will get through this.”

Provinces limit use of AstraZeneca-Oxford

The promise of more doses this spring comes as some warn that people may be hesitant to take the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine because of the confusion caused by changing advice about its safety.

The panel of scientific experts that advises the federal government on immunization policy recommended pausing the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine among people under the age of 55 yesterday. It’s a precautionary measure in response to possible links between the vaccine and rare but severe instances of blood clots in some immunized patients — notably younger women.

Dr. Shelley Deeks, the vice-chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), said the recommendation came after new data from Europe suggested the risk of severe blood clots could be up to one in 100,000 — much higher than the one in one million risk reported before.

Health Canada has ordered AstraZeneca to conduct a study of the risks and benefits of its COVID-19 vaccine across multiple age groups and by sex. NACI’s recommendation will remain in place while that study is completed.

The recommendation marked the third time NACI altered its guidance on the vaccine in the past month. It prompted provinces and territories to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford in the under-55 age group.

WATCH: AstraZeneca guidance change ‘precautionary,’ says federal government adviser

Pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55 was a precautionary measure, says Dr. Shelley Deeks of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Deeks also said that the NACI continues to revise guidance based on evidence. 12:00

Today, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the changing recommendations are the result of evolving science.

“The advice on any medication or vaccine can evolve over time and I think Canadians should be reassured that we have systems in place to detect safety [issues] and then analyze them,” said Tam. 

Tam said some rare events following vaccination only become apparent after millions of vaccines are administered in the real world. She added that all decisions and guidance from public health officials have been shaped by the “data at hand” and that Canadians can be confident in the vaccines that have been approved.

“This is a rapidly moving pandemic and the vaccines are being put in place after very good clinical trials, but we will obviously continue to see data evolve,” said Tam.

“That’s only to make sure that we have the best, most safe and effective vaccines.”

No blood clots linked to the vaccine have been reported in Canada. About 309,000 doses have been given in Canada to date from the initial shipment of 500,000 two weeks ago. Many provinces initially reserved those doses for people in their 50s and early 60s.

WATCH: Trudeau discusses impact AstraZeneca restrictions could have on overall vaccine rollout

The CBC’s Tom Parry asks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau what impact the new AstraZeneca restrictions will have on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada. 2:29

Trudeau urged Canadians to accept the first vaccine that becomes available to them.

“The bottom line for Canadians is the right vaccine for you to take is the very first vaccine that you are offered,” he said.

Supply of vaccines unreliable, Ontario’s Premier Ford says

Despite today’s announcement of doses to come, some provinces say they are experiencing a short-term supply crunch. 

In an email on Tuesday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office said the province is still waiting for a shipment of 225,400 Moderna doses that has been delayed until Apr. 7.

The province also expects to receive 583,400 of the AstraZeneca-Oxford doses that arrived today. But the U.S. manufacturing facilities where they were produced still require Health Canada approval and the doses cannot be used until that approval is granted.

“Our ability to get needles into arms grows by the day, but the supply of vaccines isn’t keeping up with our ability to deliver them,” Ford said today. “We simply don’t have enough vaccines or a guarantee when we will get them.”

In an interview airing on CBC’s Power & Politics this evening, Anand pushed back.

“The claim that we don’t have a steady supply coming into the country is completely false,” said Anand.

“The reality is that supply of vaccine outpaces the administration that the provinces are undertaking, and so as these vaccine deliveries ramp up … we’re going to need the provinces and territories to really ramp up as well.”

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CBC | Health News

Tam takes aim at COVID-19 ‘infodemic,’ urges vigilance over misleading online content

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Sunday warned Canadians to maintain vigilance about the pandemic information they consume online as misleading content widens its reach.

“Throughout the pandemic we have relied on technology and information-sharing platforms to keep us safe, informed and connected,” Tam wrote in her Sunday COVID-19 update.

“At the same time, these platforms have contributed to an overabundance of information — an infodemic — that worsens the current pandemic by allowing false information to circulate more easily, hampering public health responses, creating confusion and distrust, and ultimately making it more difficult for people to make vital decisions about their health and safety.”

Sunday’s statement — which normally dives into a topic related to COVID-19 — was largely focused on battling misinformation and disinformation that has arisen over the course of the pandemic.

The public health crisis has sparked a torrent of misleading information and conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus, how it is transmitted and the efficacy of vaccines.


Tam said false information has attempted to erode social cohesion and trust during the COVID-19 crisis and makes ‘it more difficult for Canadians to determine fact from fiction and make informed decisions.’ (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

In early February, Statistics Canada published a report that found that almost all Canadians who used online resources to research the novel coronavirus believed they spotted misinformation online.

One-fifth of Canadians always checked the accuracy of COVID-19 information found on online platforms, while half of Canadians shared information they were unsure was accurate.

False information used to erode trust

“I am increasingly concerned about the number of false and misleading claims related to COVID-19 that make it more difficult for Canadians to determine fact from fiction and make informed decisions,” Tam warned.

Canada’s top doctor acknowledged the frustrations of Canadians struggling to keep up with constantly evolving public health advice and noted that pandemic restrictions mean people are spending more time on social media than usual.

“It is also important that we distinguish between misinformation — false information that is not created with the intention of hurting others — and disinformation, an extreme type of misinformation created with the intention of causing harm,” Tam said. 

“During this pandemic, disinformation has been used to try to erode social cohesion, our trust in each other, our communities and even our public health institutions.”

Tackling misinformation

Canada’s threatened information landscape has led some people to take matters into their own hands.

Timothy Caulfield, Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, is one of the founders of an online campaign launched last month aimed at combating misinformation about COVID-19.

“It’s not going to fix everything, and we’re talking about moving the needle. But when you’re talking about something as problematic and as important as the spread of misinformation, moving the needle matters,” Caulfield told CBC’s Radio Active.

Radio Active7:35#Science Up First

Misinformation and conspiracy theories continue to be an issue that dogs online discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic. We speak to Timothy Caulfield one of the cofounders of a new digital media campaign that wants to combat that misinformation. 7:35

Others, including First Nation leaders and regional public health officials, have moved to tackle vaccine hesitancy and misleading information in their own communities.

In her statement, Tam advised Canadians to check where information comes from, even if it appears to come from a legitimate source. 

“Try checking to see if the information can be validated by other legitimate sources, like the Government of Canada’s or the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 websites, from provincial and territorial health ministry sites, or from local public health units or other trusted institutions like universities or health organizations. Finally, consider what the majority of experts are saying over what one or two individuals may have to say.”

She also recommended fully reading articles rather than only headlines, reporting false information on social media platforms and speaking with friends and family when something untrue is shared.

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CBC | Health News

2nd Republican senator urges Trump to resign as impeachment looms

Two Republican senators now say U.S. President Donald Trump should resign in the wake of deadly riots at the Capitol, while support for the House drive to impeach him a second time is gaining momentum.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to “resign and go away as soon as possible” after a violent mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol building on Wednesday. Murkowski, who has long voiced her exasperation with Trump’s conduct in office, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that Trump simply “needs to get out.”

Toomey said even though he believes Trump committed impeachable offences in encouraging loyalists in the Capitol siege, he did not think there was enough time for the impeachment process to play out. Resignation, Toomey said, was the “best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rearview mirror for us.” The senator was not optimistic that Trump would step down before his term ends on Jan. 20.

House leaders, furious after the violent insurrection against them, appear determined to act despite the short timeline.

Late Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, sent a letter to her colleagues reiterating that Trump must be held accountable. She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to “be prepared to return to Washington this week” but did not say outright that there would be a vote on impeachment.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus to ‘be prepared to return to Washington this week’ but did not say outright that there would be a vote on impeachment. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable,” Pelosi wrote. “There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the President.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said that “it may be Tuesday, Wednesday before the action is taken, but I think it will be taken this week.”

Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina and a close ally of president-elect Joe Biden, suggested that if the House of Representatives does vote to impeach, Pelosi might hold the charges — known as articles of impeachment — until after Biden’s first 100 days in office. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could not begin before Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

“Let’s give president-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn said. “And maybe we will send the articles some time after that.”

Clyburn said lawmakers “will take the vote that we should take in the House” and that Pelosi “will make the determination as when is the best time” to send them to the Senate.

Republicans split

Another idea being considered is to have a separate vote that would prevent Trump from ever holding office again. That could potentially only need a simple majority vote of 51 senators, unlike impeachment, in which two-thirds of the 100-member Senate must support a conviction.

Toomey indicated that he might support such a vote: “I think the president has disqualified himself from ever certainly serving in office again,” he said. “I don’t think he is electable in any way.”

The Senate is set to be split evenly at 50-50 but under Democratic control once vice-president-elect Kamala Harris and the two Democrats who won in Georgia’s Senate run-off last week are sworn in. Harris will be the Senate’s tie-breaking vote.

WATCH | Trump and the future of the Republican Party:

CBC News speaks with Chris Galdieri, associate professor of politics at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, for his take on the state of the Republican Party. How divided is it, where does it go from here and how much influence will Trump and Trumpism have? 4:10

While many have criticized Trump, Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive in a time of unity.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said that instead of coming together, Democrats want to “talk about ridiculous things like `Let’s impeach a president’ who isn’t even going to be in office in about nine days.” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said Trump’s actions “were clearly reckless,” but “my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.”

Still, some Republicans might be supportive.

WATCH | Former White House chief of staff says Trump should resign:

Former secretary of defense, director of CIA, and White House chief of staff, Leon Panetta, says Donald Trump should resign and allow Mike Pence to steer the final days of the administration. 8:21

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he would take a look at any articles that the House sends over. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent Trump critic, said he will “vote the right way” if the matter is put in front of him. But, he said, “I honestly don’t think impeachment is the smart move because I think it victimizes Donald Trump again.”

The Democratic effort to stamp Trump’s presidential record — for the second time and just days before his term ends — with the indelible mark of impeachment once more has advanced rapidly since the riot at the Capitol.

Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said Saturday that his group had grown to include more than 200 co-sponsors.


Lawmakers planned to formally introduce the proposal on Monday in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate.

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice-president. It would be the first time a U.S. president has been impeached twice.

Potentially complicating Pelosi’s decision about impeachment is what it means for Biden and the beginning of his presidency. While reiterating that he has long viewed Trump as unfit for office, Biden on Friday sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does “is for them to decide.”

Trump increasingly isolated

A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden’s victory over Trump in the electoral college.

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.

A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building, and many other officers were injured. A woman from California was fatally shot by Capitol Police, and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos.

WATCH | Photojournalist recalls chaos at U.S. Capitol:

Andrew Harnik, a photojournalist with The Associated Press, recounts the moments when he sheltered in place with members of the U.S. Congress and shares some of the powerful images he took. 6:36

Outrage over the attack and Trump’s role in egging it on capped a divisive, chaotic presidency like few others in the nation’s history.

Trump has few fellow Republicans speaking out in his defence, and the White House declined to comment on the new Republican calls for resignation. He’s become increasingly isolated, holed up in the White House, as he has been abandoned in the aftermath of the riot by many aides, leading Republicans and, so far, two cabinet members — both women.

Toomey appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and NBC’s Meet the Press. Clyburn was on Fox News Sunday and CNN. Kinzinger was on ABC’s This Week, Blunt was on CBS’s Face the Nation and Rubio was on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures.

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CBC | World News

Joe Biden gets COVID-19 vaccine, urges Americans to get it as soon as it’s available

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine live on television Monday at a hospital in Newark, Del., in an effort to boost confidence in its safety ahead of its wide distribution in the new year.

Biden has said he would make the fight against COVID-19, which has killed more than 315,000 Americans and infected more than 17.5 million, his top priority when he takes office on Jan. 20. At age 78, he is in the high-risk group for the highly contagious respiratory disease.

His black long-sleeved shirt rolled up, Biden received the injection from Tabe Masa, nurse practitioner and head of employee health services at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., in front of reporters.

After getting the shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Biden praised medical professionals as “heroes.”

“I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine. There’s nothing to worry about,” Biden said.

His wife, Jill Biden, who got the injection earlier in the day, stood by.

WATCH | Biden gets the shot and tells Americans they should do the same: 

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden says he got the shot to demonstrate that people should take the vaccine themselves when it is available. “There’s nothing to worry about,” he said. 3:34

But Biden also noted that the vaccine would take time to roll out and that people should listen to medical experts and avoid travelling during the holidays.

Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris is expected to get the vaccine next week.

Republican President Donald Trump has frequently played down the severity of the pandemic and overseen a response many health experts say was disorganized, cavalier and sometimes ignored the science behind disease transmission.

Efforts to limit the economic fallout on Americans from the pandemic were boosted on Sunday when congressional leaders agreed on a $ 900-billion US package to provide the first new aid to citizens in months, with votes likely on Monday.

Biden names more economic officials

Biden on Monday named additional members to his National Economic Council, rounding out his economic policy-making team with people his transition office said would help lift Americans out of the economic crisis.

David Kamin, an official in former president Barack Obama’s White House, will be NEC deputy director, and Bharat Ramamurti, a former top economic adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign, will serve as NEC deputy director for financial reform and consumer protection, Biden’s team said in a statement.

Joelle Gamble will be special assistant to the president for economic policy.

“This is no time to build back the way things were before, this is the moment to build a new American economy that works for all,” Biden said in the statement.

Biden had already named Brian Deese, who helped lead Obama’s efforts to bail out the automotive industry after the 2008 financial crisis and negotiate the Paris climate agreement, to lead the council, which co-ordinates the country’s economic policy-making.

Much of the fate of Biden’s White House agenda will hinge on the outcome of a pair of Senate runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5 that will determine which party controls the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress.

Harris travelled on Monday to Columbus, Ga., to campaign on behalf of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidates locked in tight races with incumbent Republicans.


U.S. President Donald Trump was briefly hospitalized with COVID-19 in October. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump was briefly hospitalized in October with COVID-19, and many of his advisers and White House staff have also contracted the illness.

The outgoing president, making unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud, has focused on trying to overturn his election loss in recent weeks, even as daily COVID-19 deaths soared. His campaign’s latest long-shot effort was another petition to the U.S. Supreme Court on Sunday that legal experts predict will fail.

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CBC | World News

Palestinian Authority urges Israel to return to talks focused on 2-state solution

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister on Saturday urged Israel to return to talks based on a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ahead of the transition to a new U.S. administration.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki’s comments came in a joint statement with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi of Jordan.

In a news conference after their meeting, al-Malki said that the Palestinian Authority is ready to co-operate with U.S. president-elect Joe Biden on the basis of achieving a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital on territory Israel captured in the Six Day War in 1967. Biden will be sworn into office on Jan. 20.

“We are ready for co-operation and dealing with the new U.S. administration, and we are expecting that it would redraw its ties with the state of Palestine,” he said.

The diplomat said co-ordination with Cairo and Amman is a “centre point” that would establish a “starting point” in dealing with the incoming Biden administration. Egypt and Jordan are close U.S. allies.


In September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international conference early next year to launch a “genuine peace process,” based on United Nations resolutions and past agreements with Israel. The Palestinians urged that the conference be multilateral, since they contend the United States is no longer an honest broker.

Palestinian negotiators have suffered numerous setbacks under the Trump administration and complained about what they say are biased pro-Israel steps from Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump has sidelined the Palestinian Authority, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, slashed financial assistance for Palestinians and reversed course on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians.

Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 war. The international community considers both areas to be occupied territory, and the Palestinians seek them as part of a future independent state.

WATCH | Some young Palestinians see no end to the Israeli occupation:

The dream of a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears in retreat, in large part because of the failure of the international community to insist upon it. 9:47

Israel annexed East Jerusalem and considers it part of its capital — a step that is not internationally recognized.

It has also built a far-flung network of settlements that house nearly 700,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem since their capture in 1967.

The Palestinians want both territories for their future state and view the settlements as a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace — a position with wide international support.

Security co-ordination

Al-Malki also said they have returned to security co-ordination with Israel, after Israeli authorities sent a “message, for the first time, that they are abiding to all agreements” made with the Palestinians.

In May, Abbas, the Palestinian president, announced that the Palestinian Authority would cut ties with Israel, including security co-ordination, following Israel’s pledge to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

In a statement following their meeting, the three foreign ministers said they would work to rally international support against Israel’s “illegitimate measures,” which include settlement expansion, demolishing dozens of Palestinian homes and seizing their land.

“These are illegitimate Israeli actions on the ground that affect all chances to reach a comprehensive peace process that can only happen by the two-state solution,” Safadi, Jordan’s top diplomat, told the news conference.

The ministers said in their statement that Jerusalem’s status should be resolved in the negotiations, calling for Israel “as the occupying power, to stop all violations that target the Arab, Islamic and Christian identity of Jerusalem and its sanctuaries.”

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi also met with the Jordanian and Palestinian ministers, according to his office.

WATCH | Israel signs agreement with Bahrain, U.A.E. to normalize relations:

A historic Middle East agreement has been signed at the White House, after U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker a deal for Israel to normalize relations with both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. 1:58

He said in a statement that Egypt has been working toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “taking into account the regional and international changes.”

He was apparently referring to the election of Biden as the U.S. president and the normalization deals between Israel and four Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

Those deals, crafted by the Trump administration, dealt another heavy setback for Palestinians.

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CBC | World News

Unable to say final goodbye, wife of late Oiler Colby Cave urges Canadians to respect COVID-19 regulations

Emily Cave didn’t expect her Instagram post about taking COVID-19 regulations seriously to go viral.

The wife of Edmonton Oilers’ centre Colby Cave, who died in April after suffering a brain bleed, simply wanted people to know how the pandemic is impacting people like her – people who can’t say a final goodbye to their loved ones.

“My 25-year-old husband died alone,” Emily Cave wrote in a story on Thursday. “I have no clue what his last breath was like. I have yet to be able to have a funeral because of this global pandemic.

“So for goodness sake, wear a mask. Wash your freaking hands and it’s not the end of the world if you can’t go to house parties or do things that are essentially a ‘luxury’ in your blessed world.”

Cave said she’d been seeing and hearing a lot of complaints about restrictions aimed at curbing the virus not just in Alberta, where measures were increased Thursday, but around the globe.

“I try to be super respectful and mindful. But I kind of just hit my breaking point a little bit yesterday,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“COVID is impacting people in so many different ways. It’s impacting small business owners, it’s impacting health care workers, it’s impacting politics. But I can’t speak on behalf of those people. I can speak on behalf of losing a loved one during the global pandemic and what that looked like.”

It wasn’t the first time Cave has gone online to express herself. She posted heart-wrenching updates on Instagram after Colby was placed in a medically-induced coma at a Toronto hospital in April, detailing how she and his parents could only see him through a window and speak to him with a walkie talkie because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on Colby’s brain, but the forward from North Battleford, Sask., died on April 11.

When the pandemic began taking hold in North America in March, Cave and her husband were concerned about staying healthy and protecting others, but never would have imagined how they were about to be impacted by the virus.

Her latest Instagram story has shown, however, that she isn’t alone in finding ways to grieve through the health crisis.

Immediately, people began sharing her post. By the time she woke up on Friday, her phone had “blown up,” and her words had caught the attention of outlets like TMZ and the New York Post.

Several people also got in touch with Cave to share their own stories.

“I’ve had people reach out saying `I haven’t had a funeral for my loved one’ or `I was on FaceTime saying goodbye to my loved one’ and all of that….It’s probably the worst experience you could ever go through,” she said. “And if [my post] can open a few eyes, that’s great.”

People have been reaching out in various ways since Colby’s death, Cave said. At first it was odd but now she finds solace in the messages.

“The more and more I get and the more and more time goes on, it’s really actually comforting just to know I’m not the only one, I’m not alone,” she said. “And if me sharing things can help people realize that they’re not alone, I’m more than willing to continue to share stories.”

Some of the comments have brought tears to her eyes, including the one where someone wrote “Colby chose his wife well.”

“It made me cry but I just felt like I was doing him proud,” Cave said.

She hopes the story she shared this week opens eyes and reminds people that they may not be aware what impact COVID-19 is having on the lives of others.

“Just be careful, be kind, look out for each other, don’t take things for granted — all those cliché things that, until a trauma happens to you, you can’t really grasp or really appreciate,” she said.

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Think-tank urges China to release Canadian employee Michael Kovrig

The president of the International Crisis Group used a high-level U.N. Security Council meeting attended by China’s foreign minister Tuesday to appeal for the release of the think-tank ‘s northeast Asia expert, Michael Kovrig, who has been held by Beijing for nearly two years as part of a diplomatic dispute with Canada.

Robert Malley told the council at the end of his briefing on security in the Persian Gulf that the Crisis Group strives to be “an impartial conflict resolution organization” and its staff tries to understand the perspectives of all parties.

“That’s what our colleague Michael Kovrig was doing in his work on China’s foreign policy,” Malley said.

He said it wasn’t the time or place to discuss Kovrig’s case, “but I cannot conclude without appealing to the Chinese authorities, if they are listening, to understand the mission he was pursuing, end his almost two-year detention, allow him at long last to be reunited with his loved ones and continue his work toward a more peaceful world.”

Diplomats speak up

The participants at the virtual council meeting were shown on the screen, and when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi heard China mentioned he looked up and paid attention. But he made no mention of Kovrig in his speech to the council.

German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen did, echoing Malley’s appeal “to liberate Michael Kovrig.”

“He is not only a member of the International Crisis Group, but a former colleague of ours, a former diplomat,” Heusgen said.

Britain’s acting ambassador, Jonathan Allen, echoed Heusgen, saying Kovrig’s case “causes us deep concern.”

On Oct. 10, China granted consular access to Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, both Canadians, for the first time since January.

The following day, the Canadian government expressed serious concern at their “arbitrary detention” and called for their immediate release.

China’s Foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, denied on Oct. 12 that the two Canadians had been arbitrarily detained in response to Canada’s arrest of an executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei. He said Kovrig and Spavor were “suspected of engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security.”

Despite its disavowals of any connection, Beijing has repeatedly tied the detentions to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder. The U.S. is seeking her extradition on fraud charges and the case is before Canadian courts.

“What Canada did in the case of Meng Wanzhou was arbitrary detention,” Zhao said.

Bilateral ties have suffered as China has upped its demands that Canada release Meng, who was detained during a stopover in Vancouver in December 2018 and is currently living in one of her mansions in that city while fighting extradition. Kovrig and Spavor were detained days later.

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Biden offers condolences, urges COVID-19 vigilance after Trumps test positive

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says U.S. President Donald Trump testing positive for the coronavirus is a “bracing reminder” of the seriousness of the virus. He also says he’s received two tests, and both came back negative.

Speaking at an event in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday, Biden said he received a test in Delaware and one from “the former White House doctor” who came up to Delaware to administer the test, “and everything’s clear.”

The president said early Friday that he and his wife, Melania Trump, had tested positive for coronavirus. Biden was tested after spending nearly 90 minutes onstage with the president during their debate earlier this week.

Biden said he wished the president and the first lady a full recovery and that “this is not a matter of politics.” Biden said it was a “reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It is not going away automatically.”

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Vatican urges bishops to report more sex abuse allegations to police in new manual

The Vatican told bishops around the world on Thursday they should report cases of clergy sex crimes to police even when not legally bound to do so, in its latest effort to compel church leaders to protect minors from predator priests.

The Vatican issued a long-awaited manual for bishops and religious superiors on conducting in-house investigations into allegations of priests who rape and molest minors and vulnerable adults. While the Vatican has had detailed canonical norms in place for two decades, the laws have been ignored by some bishops who dismiss allegations by victims in favour of protecting their priests.

While the manual doesn’t have the force of a new law, it goes beyond the current Vatican policy about co-operating with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and police. That policy requires bishops and religious superiors to report allegations of sex crimes with minors only where local laws requires it.

The manual says: “Even in cases where there is no explicit legal obligation to do so, the ecclesiastical authorities should make a report to the competent civil authorities if this is considered necessary to protect the person involved or other minors from the danger of further criminal acts.”

And it says church leaders must comply with “legitimate” subpoena requests.

The manual, issued in a half-dozen languages, appears aimed in part at depriving bishops and religious superiors of their frequent excuses not to carry out preliminary investigations into accused priests or co-operate with law enforcement.

The manual states, for example, that anonymous allegations should not be dismissed outright, and that even hearsay and social media posts can constitute the basis on which to launch a preliminary probe.

In addition, the manual says bishops should not ignore allegations just because they fall outside the church’s statute of limitations, since the Vatican can at any time decide to waive the time limit.

The only justification for dismissing an allegation outright, the manual says, is if the bishop determines the “manifest impossibility of proceeding,” such as if the accuser wasn’t under age 18 at the time or the priest wasn’t physically present when the alleged crimes took place.


A banner reading ‘stop excuses’ carried by sex abuse survivors is shown at a Rome demonstration in February 2019, when Pope Francis hosted a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse. (Alessandra Tarantino/The Associated Press)

For any bishop not knowing, it makes clear that the type of crimes that fall under sexual abuse is “quite broad” and includes not only sexual relations but any physical contact for sexual gratification.

The manual lists exhibitionism, masturbation, pornography production and “conversations and/or propositions of a sexual nature” that can occur through a variety of means of communication as crimes that must be investigated.

And it warns that bishops can themselves be prosecuted canonically for negligence if they fail to take allegations seriously and investigate them.

Documents follows abuse summit last year

The manual was published by the Vatican office that investigates priestly sex crimes, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and was issued in Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish, with a German edition expected.

Its origins lie in Pope Francis’s 2019 sex abuse summit, in which the presidents of all the world’s bishops conferences came to the Vatican for a four-day tutorial on abuse.

Francis summoned them after he himself botched a notorious case of abuse and coverup in Chile, and after he realized that many bishops around the world still didn’t understand or take seriously the depth of the abuse problem in the church.

On the first day of the summit, Francis issued 21 points of reflection going forward, with the first point a recommendation that the Vatican issue a handbook to help bishops investigate and prosecute sex crimes.

While the Vatican has issued a variety of abuse-related documents over the years, the new manual provides point-by-point instruction on how to conduct investigations, from start to finish.

The No. 2 at the Vatican office responsible, Monsignor Giacomo Morandi, acknowledged that no new norms are being promulgated.

“The real novelty, however, is that for the first time the procedure is described in an organized way — from the first report of a possible crime to the definitive conclusion of the cause,” he told Vatican Media.

The Vatican has long refused to flat-out require bishops to report abuse allegations to police, arguing that such a universal law could lead to unjust treatment of priests in countries where Catholics are a persecuted minority.

Survivors and advocates have long blasted the position, arguing that the Vatican could make a universal reporting mandate with certain exceptions if needed.

READ l Procedure in treating cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by clerics:

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-founder of bishop-accountability.org, an online resource centre about abuse, said the manual’s non-binding recommendation that bishops should report abuse was “incrementally better” than the Vatican’s past position.

But she stressed: “We’re past the point of ‘should.’ There is nothing stopping the pope from ordering bishops and religious superiors [to report] all allegations to civil authorities,” with exceptions where it’s not safe.

And she insisted that real progress would come when the Vatican institutes a true “zero tolerance” policy, permanently removing from public ministry any cleric who abuses and any bishop who enables him.

“That will be progress. That will be the reform that is needed,” she said.

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