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CDPR Apologizes for Cyberpunk 2077 Launch, but Explains Very Little

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Late on Wednesday, CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwinski posted a video in which he apologized for Cyberpunk 2077’s abysmal console launch. Iwinski took responsibility for the decision to launch the title and its subsequent unacceptably poor performance on the base Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The video covers three broad topics. First, there’s the apology. Second, Iwinski offers some comments on “how the situation looked from the inside.” Third, he gives some detail on what players can expect in the future as far as updates and improvements. As far as the apology is concerned, Iwinski’s comments are clear and concise. There’s no real dodging, as far as responsibility.

His explanation for how the console version got so screwed up, however, leaves something to be desired. According to Iwinksi, the reason the Xbox One and PS4 look so bad is that the company put almost all its effort into prepping the launch on PC. It assumed, according to Iwinksi, that it could simply turn detail levels back down and have an acceptable product to work with.

This is in direct contradiction to multiple statements CDPR made over the course of Cyberpunk 2077’s development. The company told gamers that the game was constantly evaluated on all platforms. It told gamers that they could expect a good visual experience relative to what the console systems were capable of. During its October investor call, CDPR told investors that there were no problems with the console versions other than minor, normal bug fixing.

It’s nice to know that the console versions weren’t being evaluated, but there’s no explanation of why employees, executives, and board members of the company misrepresented the state of game development over a sustained period of time.

Iwinski does give us a hint at what isn’t working well on last-gen systems. According to him, getting data to stream in properly in Cyberpunk 2077 when running on the base consoles was more difficult than the company assumed due to the need to constantly improve the streaming engine. He also claimed that “our testing did not show a big part of the issues you experienced while playing the game.”

The only way CDPR didn’t experience the issues of its players is if CDPR didn’t playtest the game or didn’t listen to its playtesters. The console versions are instantly bad. The PC version, while vastly better on high-end hardware, was still very buggy at launch. Supposedly, the company believed that it could genuinely bring the Xbox and PS4 versions of the game fully up to snuff by launch date.

I flatly don’t believe this. Or, rather — I believe it, in the sense that some executives may have been willing to throw the console version of the game under a bus to hit their sales targets, to the point that they convinced themselves a game as catastrophically broken as CP2077 on Xbox One / PS4 could be fixed in a few short weeks. Maybe some people arrogantly believed there was no need for serious playtesting or bug-fixing cycles, but if so, that was highly motivated and suspect reasoning.

I cannot claim to have worked in game development, but I’ve worked on a multi-team modding project that sank several thousand hours of collective effort into a product we released for public download, and I’ve worked on my DS9 remastering project for most of a year. In both cases, I absolutely had a sense of when I might or might not be able to write a new story or release an update / new version. When you’re as deep in bug-fixing hell as CP2077 clearly was, right up until the moment it released, there’s no way you’re going to magically clear those problems and launch an acceptable game.

Either someone at the company knew about this, and that person got silenced, or the company is so poorly organized, necessary information about the state of its product failed to reach the people who most needed to hear it.

The developers actually assigned to fix the console version would have known the game wasn’t going to be ready for December 10. Marcin Iwinski says that “we” believed the game would be ready to launch. He doesn’t clarify if that refers to other people in corporate leadership, or if that was the opinion of the programmers who were actually working on the game. I wouldn’t bet on the latter.

Finally, we’ve got some news on what’s happening next. The January update will drop within 10 days, but the update coming in February was only described as arriving “in the following weeks.” After this round of work is done, the company will get started on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 enhancements, which will now likely be delayed into 2021.

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

CFL commissioner says 2021 schedule will be released ‘very soon’

Optimism was the word of the day — it’s been one of Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s favourite words during his tenure at the helm of the league.

And for the first two years there was a lot to be optimistic about. What a difference a year has made.

While the CFL is doing its best to generate a level of excitement to begin what would have been the start of Grey Cup Week in Regina, there’s no question a dark cloud is still hanging over the league after failing to take to the field in 2020.

For the first time since 1919 the Grey Cup will not be awarded after the league officially cancelled the season in August.

On Monday, Ambrosie held his annual state of the league address — obviously in a very different fashion. For nearly 30 minutes the commissioner fielded vetted fan questions in a virtual Q and A.

Most notably, Ambrosie revealed planning is well underway on a 2021 schedule.

“There’s good reason to be optimistic that our players will be back on the field in 2021,” he said. “We’re going to publish a schedule very soon.”

WATCH | CFL’s Ambrosie calls for optimism ahead of potential 2021 season:

In his annual State of the League address, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says “there’s good reason to be optimistic that our players will be back on the field in 2021.” 2:01

How the league gets back to playing next year was a question asked repeatedly by fans in several different ways. From gate revenue to the business model to global expansion and even American expansion, fans were hoping to get a sense of a concrete plan on how the CFL is going to make it back to the stadiums.

Though no concrete plan was presented, Ambrosie did talk about the optimism he felt with Monday’s announcement of a second vaccine. It appears as though the CFL’s plan to return is pinned on there being a vaccine.

There’s no question this is a league that needs fans in seats and bleachers come next season to survive, something Ambrosie acknowledged.

“The single biggest, best solution for the CFL in respect to our plan is to get our fans back in the stands,” he said. “That is the single best thing that could happen to this league.”

During this same address last year from Ambrosie, the tone couldn’t have been more different.

During the celebrations in Calgary (including Tuffy the horse making a hotel lobby appearance) Ambrosie was brimming with confidence and excitement as he looked toward a bigger, bolder and brighter future of the league. 

“I won’t ever apologize for thinking big for this league. I’ve always thought we’ve punched below our weight. We have to think bigger, and we will,” Ambrosie told CBC Sports just days before the 2019 Grey Cup. “It is time for some good old-fashioned CFL swagger.”

That swagger is all but gone now as the league tries to find a way back to the field in 2021.

WATCH | A deeper look into the cancelled 2020 CFL season:

Between other leagues starting up again and the CFL’s livelihood depending on ticket sales, Devin Heroux explains the ramifications of the lost season. 12:05

In a very short amount of time Ambrosie’s tune has changed, including asking for up to $ 150 million from the government earlier this year.

He said Monday, talks are still ongoing with the government.

During that same government committee meeting Ambrosie revealed CFL teams were collectively losing anywhere from $ 10 to $ 20 million last season.

There’s a lot of ground and money to make up for a league that one year ago was eyeing Halifax and global expansion and is now just trying to find a way to get back on the field for next season.

“We did get knocked down but like great football players we’re going to get right back up and look forward to the next play,” Ambrosie said. 

“Hard at work and optimistic.”

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CBC | Sports News

WHO backtracks on claim that asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 is ‘very rare’

A top official with the World Health Organization has walked back statements that the spread of COVID-19 from people who do not show symptoms is “very rare,” amid backlash from experts who have questioned the claim due to a lack of data. 

Maria van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the COVID-19 technical lead for the WHO, said Monday that the available data from published research and member countries had shown asymptomatic cases were not a significant driver for the spread of the virus. 

“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” she said at a media briefing in Geneva on Monday. “It’s very rare.”

On Tuesday, Van Kerkhove aimed to clear up “misunderstandings” about those statements in an updated briefing, stressing that she was referring to “very few studies” that tried to follow asymptomatic carriers of the virus over time to see how many additional people were infected. 

“I was responding to a question at the press conference, I wasn’t stating a policy of WHO,” she said. “I was just trying to articulate what we know.” 

Van Kerkhove said she didn’t intend to imply that asymptomatic transmission of the virus globally was “very rare,” but rather that the available data based on modelling studies and member countries had not been able to provide a clear enough picture on the amount of asymptomatic transmission.

“That’s a big, open question,” she said. “But we do know that some people who are asymptomatic, some people who don’t have symptoms, can transmit the virus on.”

WHO did ‘questionable job’ of communicating

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician at Toronto General Hospital, said there has been confusion over the evolving science on the amount of asymptomatic transmission since the start of the pandemic.

“At a fundamental level it’s extremely important to explain the science well and explain what our current knowledge is and also explain what the unknown questions are,” he said.

“I don’t think the WHO did a very good job of that yesterday and they did a questionable job of that today when they were trying to clarify their comments.” 

Bogoch said there is a key discrepancy between people who do not have symptoms, those who have not yet shown symptoms and those who only have mild symptoms, which can make studying the true amount of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 extremely challenging. 

“We still don’t understand the role of people who have no symptoms the entire time [they’re infected] versus people that have very, very mild symptoms that are misclassified as having no symptoms, versus people that have no symptoms for the first few days and then go on to develop them,” he said. 

“So, when we heard the WHO say that people without symptoms rarely transmit this infection, an eyebrow went up, because we certainly know that there are different types of people without symptoms and it’s a little more complicated than what they had reported.”

Some experts say it is not uncommon for infected people to show no symptoms, but data is sparse on how likely such people are to transmit the disease. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta who studies health misinformation, said it was notable how quickly van Kerkhove’s statement was criticized and shows how desperate people are for clear information on asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. 

“It demonstrates how incredibly important it is to take great care in how you’re communicating science that is hyper-relevant to the public right now,” Caulfield said, adding we still don’t have a clear picture from the research community on how much asymptomatic spread is actually occurring. “The science is very uncertain and it’s evolving rapidly.”

He said van Kerkhove didn’t appear to have the intention of making a definitive statement on behalf of the WHO in her comments on Monday, and instead was speculating about her interpretation of the emerging research on the topic. 

“This is exactly the World Health Organization’s job, right? This is why they exist: to lead the world in these moments,” he said. “So when it’s less than ideal, it’s not surprising that people are critical. We need [WHO] to be a trusted voice.” 

Data on asymptomatic spread ‘flawed’

Some experts say it is not uncommon for infected people to show no symptoms.

A non-peer-reviewed study from Germany in May based on 919 people in the district of Heinsberg — which had among the highest death tolls from COVID-19 in Germany — found that about one in five of those infected were symptomless.

But data is sparse on how likely such people are to transmit the disease.

The co-head of Singapore’s coronavirus task force told Reuters on Monday there had been asymptomatic transmission cases there, between people living in close quarters.

China said last week that 300 symptomless COVID-19 carriers in the central city of Wuhan, the pandemic’s epicentre, had not been found to be infectious.

Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease physician at the University of Alberta who has been reviewing the available literature on the topic, said studying asymptomatic transmission is extremely difficult. 

WATCH | How many asymptomatic people could there be?

Doctors answer your questions about the coronavirus, including if there’s any way of knowing how many asymptomatic people could be walking around when only symptomatic people are being tested.  4:20

Van Kerkhove was referencing modelling data that estimated anywhere between six per cent and 41 per cent of the population may be infected but not have symptoms.

Saxinger said that modelling data is “flawed” because it makes assumptions about how many people are asymptomatic and then runs a simulation on how many people could then transmit it.

“There’s a big question mark at the actual data in real-world observations with asymptomatic [carriers],” Saxinger said.

“Asymptomatic spread is a dumpster fire in terms of data.”

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CBC | Health News

‘This situation is very scary’: Coronavirus is disrupting Vladimir Putin’s Russia

In Yakutia, in Russia’s far north east — easily one of the most remote resource regions on the planet — isolation appears to be the least of concerns among its more than 10,000 oil field workers.

“We’re infected! Where’s the f—ing quarantine? Where are the f—ing masks?” employees shouted in an angry rant aimed at their company and local government posted on a Russian social media site earlier this week.

As many as 10,500 workers at the Chayanda oil field site have been tested for COVID-19, and though the results haven’t been released, the website Meduza quotes the regional governor as saying the number of positive cases is “very significant.” 

The availability — or rather scarcity — of protective gear at facilities and institutions closer to the country’s major population centres appears to be equally problematic.

“Here is the real truth about Reutov hospital [near Moscow] — there is no personal protective equipment in the coronavirus department!” one hospital worker wrote this week on a whistleblower Facebook page set up by frustrated Russian health-care workers.

“Staff wear [their] disposable protective equipment over and over again.”

Another video viewed by CBC News showed COVID-19 patients in a hospital in the city of Derbent, Republic of Dagestan, crammed into makeshift bunks in what appears to be storage room, coughing and hacking with IVs in their arms. They were being tended by a nurse who wasn’t wearing a mask or any other protective gear.

Social media video from Derbent, in the Russian republic of Dagestan, shows patients stacked in bunk beds to get treatment for coronavirus, with staff who aren’t wearing face masks or protective gear. (MoshebabaV/YouTube)

COVID-19 appeared to come late to Russia, compared with North America and Europe, but now it’s striking with a vengeance, the damage compounded by the lack of personal protective equipment for hospital workers.

There are almost daily reports across the vast country — from St. Petersburg to Siberia — of hospitals being quarantined because of coronavirus outbreaks among staff.

On Thursday, the state news agency RIA novesti reported that Prime Minister Mikhail Mishutsin tested positive for the coronavirus and is in self-isolation. He is so far the most senior member of government known to have contracted the virus. President Vladimir Putin has not been seen in public with Mishutsin in weeks, and the prime minister broke the news by video conference.

Doctors dying

Among health care workers, the toll has been so high over the past fortnight or so that colleagues have started compiling the names of the dead on an online memorial page — 74 names as of Tuesday night and growing.

Among them was Natalia Lebedeva, who headed up medical services at Russia’s cosmonaut training centre outside Moscow. She allegedly died after falling out a window — a fate that has become strikingly common over the years for those who either disapprove of or disappoint Russian authorities.

Independent Russian media reported Lebedeva may have committed suicide after being blamed for letting the coronavirus spread throughout the facility.

Another doctor from Siberia may also have tried to take her life by similarly jumping out of a fifth-storey window at her workplace in Siberia.

As in the cosmonaut hospital case, local media reported that Yelena Nepomnyashchay was blamed by authorities for an outbreak of the virus. She survived but is in critical condition.

A screenshot from the popular Russian Information program Vesti Nedeli, or News of the Week, shows doctors handling wards of COVID-19 patients in Moscow. (Russia 1 Television)

Putin’s plan

For the first time, Putin has acknowledged Russia is having trouble meeting the demands for enough personal protective equipment for its health-care workers.

In an address Tuesday, Putin admitted that “there is still a shortage of some technical items, equipment and disposable materials,” despite increasing production of masks 10-fold in April and making more than 100,000 protective suits every day.

“We have concentrated and mobilized all our industrial resources,” he said.

Protesters in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, stage a protest on April 20, urging the government to end the lockdown and allow them to return to work. (Youtube)

Russia is poised to surpass 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with approximately 900 reported deaths. Those are extremely low numbers compared with the experience of western Europe, where more than 20,000 people have died in each of the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain.

Many doctors — even those sympathetic to the government — have told CBC News part of the challenge is that Russia’s tests return an unusually large number of false negative results.

Other health officials linked to opposition groups believe many deaths are also either deliberately or unintentionally misrepresented.

For example, the Russian business publication RBC quoted Moscow’s deputy mayor as saying cases of pneumonia increased more than 70 per cent in the past week, filling up urgent-care beds in the city. 

Since many coronavirus patients develop pneumonia, the head of a doctors advocacy group told CBC News in an earlier interview that it’s fair to assume most of those patients had COVID-19.

Economic disaster

Putin is also facing increasing pressure over the enormous economic cost of the coronavirus lockdown, now into its fifth week in the capital Moscow.

With Moscow and most other Russian cities locked down for a over month, up to six million jobs have disappeared. (Alexey Sergeev/CBC)

Russia’s labour ministry reported Tuesday that unemployment could soon reach six million people.

Many of those out of work would only be eligible to receive a meagre maximum payout of roughly $ 200 Cdn a month.

Others who are self-employed might not get anything.

“They can’t survive in this situation if the lockdown is prolonged,” said opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov.

Gudkov is among those calling on the Putin administration to release some of the money in Russia’s huge sovereign wealth fund, which holds more than $ 150 billion US.

When oil revenues were stronger, the money was set aside by the Putin administration to help ease the shock of any future economic sanctions that might be imposed by the West. But Gudkov says the money should be spent now, by making direct payments to people, as has been done in Canada and the United States.

“He doesn’t want to spend this reserve fund,” Gudkov told CBC News.

Frustration growing

“Putin needs the money to maintain the ‘Putin forever’ model,” a reference to the Russian leader’s attempts to change the constitution to allow him to serve two more terms as Russia’s president.

Gudkov says Putin has a long list of “legacy projects” he wants built, and spending money on direct payments to people will deplete the funds for that.

But frustration is growing, as jobs dry up and the Kremlin offers people little in return, Gudkov says.

“If there is a choice to die from hunger or the virus, it’s better to die from the virus.”

Russian opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov wants the Kremlin to offer a much bigger assistance package to those hurt by COVID-19. (Chris Brown/Skype)

In his remarks Tuesday, Putin indicated the government is preparing another round of economic assistance for individuals and businesses, but he didn’t offer any clues to what it might be.

He also suggested that some parts of Russia might be able to start easing their lockdown and returning to work after a holiday period that ends in mid-May. 

‘Very scary’ for Russian government

In an online discussion hosted by the Carnegie Centre in Moscow, liberal-leaning Russian economist Sergei Guriev, who is based in Paris, suggested COVID-19 represents the most difficult challenge Putin has faced in the 20 years he has sat atop Russia’s power structure.

Guriev says street protests against the lockdown may become more frequent, as Russians run out of money and face difficulties feeding their families.

“We are in very uncharted waters,” he said. “This situation is very scary for the Russian government.”

WATCH | Russians’ frustration with the COVID-19 lockdown is growing:

Millions of Russians have become impoverished during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Kremlin is offering little financial support even though it has billions in the coffers. 2:04

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CBC | World News

‘Very challenging’ for sports to meet public safety demands, says health minister

As professional sports continue plotting potential returns to play, one major hurdle will be doing so in a way that meets public health requirements in every province or state that hosts games.

“I don’t believe when sports come back they’re gonna come back with a full stadium anywhere in North America. I think there’ll be empty stadiums at the beginning,” Ford said.

However, containing the virus even within an environment that only includes players and essential staff will also prove difficult, according to federal health minister Patty Hajdu. 

“There is a high degree of contact and a high degree of exhalation and a high degree of, sort of, potential of droplets, if you will. Spit and all kinds of stuff, you know, entering each others bodies and that makes that particular sector very challenging,” Hajdu said.

WATCH | Ford, Hajdu on return of sports:

Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the return of sports is going to be very challenging and Ontario Premier Doug Ford believes when sports return it will be with empty stadiums. 3:09

The NHL’s most recent return-to-play model included using multiple cities as hubs where each division would congregate and play as many as three games per day. The NBA said on Monday team training facilities wouldn’t reopen until May 8 at earliest.

But as was the case when the NBA shut down following Rudy Gobert’s positive diagnosis, Hajdu said the possibility of a player testing positive could “take out” however many teams are playing within that specific hub.

“I see professional sports much like the same as any other sector. There will have to be considerations that are based on science, that are worked out with the employer and with the employees, in this case, to make sure that the people in that sector are kept safe and the people that are interacting with that sector are kept safe as well,” Hajdu said.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, invited leagues to come up with plans as soon as possible, though sports haven’t been specifically discussed at the federal level yet.

“I think the idea is to encourage people to think ahead, submit their plans to public health, and see if it would actually meet public health requirements. But I have to admit that we haven’t actually specifically talked about that setting, as of yet,” Tam said.

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CBC | Sports News

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa may face ‘huge peak’ in coronavirus cases ‘very soon,’ WHO warns

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa could see a peak in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, and testing should be urgently increased in the region, World Health Organization officials said Thursday.

“During the last four days, we can see that the numbers have already doubled,” Michel Yao, WHO’s Africa program manager for emergency response, said at a media teleconference on Thursday.

“If the trend continues, and also learning from what happened in China and in Europe, some countries may face a huge peak very soon.”

The numbers of people infected with the coronavirus in Africa have been relatively low so far — with nearly 11,000 cases and 562 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and WHO data.

WATCH | Here’s what it’s like to get tested for COVID-19:

A look at what patients could expect if they end up in an emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms. 1:59

Infection numbers ‘growing fast’

The WHO’s Africa head, Matshidiso Moeti, said there is an “urgent need” to expand testing capacity as the virus spreads through countries. While 48 of Africa’s 54 countries now have testing capability, that often is limited to their capitals or other major cities.

“Without help and action now, poor countries and vulnerable communities could suffer massive devastation,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva.

“The infection numbers in Africa are relatively small now, but they are growing fast.”

He said the havoc wrought even in wealthy countries in the 100 days since China first informed WHO of cases of a “pneumonia of unknown cause” in the city of Wuhan.

Even if testing kits and other equipment are found, another challenge is delivering them amid the thicket of travel restrictions. Cargo space is rare because many airlines have stopped flights to African destinations, Yao said.

Close to 20 African countries have closed their borders, and several are now under lockdown to try to prevent the virus’s spread. Millions of people wonder whether nations will follow Rwanda’s lead in extending the period that all but essential workers are confined to their homes.

Lifting the lockdowns will depend on the situation in neighbouring countries, said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Otherwise, “what’s the point? If Botswana or Zimbabwe have cases and South Africa opens up, you waste everybody’s time.”

Feeling the economic impact

African leaders, including the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and Rwanda, have rallied around Tedros, a former foreign minister of Ethiopia, after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the United Nations agency and threatened to withhold his country’s contribution to its budget.

Although Africa accounts for a fraction of global cases of the disease, its countries are feeling the economic impact. In a report published Thursday, the World Bank said the outbreak is expected to push sub-Saharan Africa into recession in 2020 for the first time in 25 years.

The bank’s Africa’s Pulse report said the region’s economy will contract 2.1 per cent to 5.1 per cent from growth of 2.4 per cent last year, and that the coronavirus will cost sub-Saharan Africa $ 37 billion US to $ 79 billion in output losses this year because of trade and value chain disruption, among other factors.

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CBC | World News

Biden’s lifelong presidential dream ‘very much alive’ after big win in South Carolina

There’s an old story Joe Biden tells about himself, his presidential dreams and an encounter with a Roman Catholic nun.

His eternal hope flickers brighter today, with the former vice-president scoring a desperately needed primary win at a critical moment in this year’s election cycle. 

Biden once described speaking to a group of students back when he was a rookie senator, many years ago, and telling them he had no plans to seek the White House. 

He got called out by a sister.

“I could see a nun at the back of the room stand up. ‘You know that’s not true, Joey Biden,’ she said as she pulled from the folds of her habit a paper I’d authored in grade school,” Biden wrote in Promises To Keep, the memoir he released for his second presidential run, not to be confused with Promise Me, Dad, released for this, his third presidential run. 

“I’d written that I wanted to be president when I grew up, she said. So I was caught red-handed.”

Nearly half a century later, following three presidential runs spanning four decades, his aspirations so notorious his denials became their own punchline, he’s finally won one presidential contest.

And boy did he need this one.

Biden hurtled into Super Tuesday with momentum and a message: for voters hoping to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders, he’s now the best bet.

Barack Obama’s former vice-president rode a wave of nostalgia for the former administration and won decisively in the first state where the majority of voters were black.

Biden won by nearly 30 percentage points, and came close to wiping out the lead in convention delegates Sanders had amassed in earlier states.

Biden himself alluded to South Carolina’s history of backing winners: It’s chosen the eventual Democratic nominee in four of five competitive cycles since 1992.

Watch: Joe Biden celebrates much-needed victory in South Carolina

Democratic leadership candidate Joe Biden is hoping victory in the South Carolina primary will give him momentum for Super Tuesday. 0:42

“You launched Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, to the presidency,” Biden told a victory rally Saturday night.  

“For all those of you who’ve been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign. 

“Just days ago the press and the pundits had declared this candidacy dead.… We are very much alive.” 

Another candidate, billionaire Tom Steyer, quit the race Saturday.

Other candidacies will be made and broken this Tuesday. 

More than one-third of the delegates in this nomination cycle are up for grabs in a single day — with 14 states voting. 

The good news, bad news for Biden

The good news for Biden is that a few Super Tuesday states are similar to South Carolina — in geography, demography, and voting history.

Five of the 14 states are also in the South; also have large black populations; have more centrist voters; and they all rejected Sanders in 2016.

“A strong turnout in South Carolina will send signals to all the other southern states,” said Todd Shaw, associate director of African-American studies at the University of South Carolina.

One South Carolina Democrat emphasized the ripple-effect potential with a personal anecdote.

Jaime Harrison, running for the U.S. Senate this fall against incumbent Lindsey Graham, called it a “springboard” effect across the South. People in nearby states look at South Carolina, he said.

“As my grandma said, ‘We’ve got relatives all across the South. And they look at what we do in South Carolina.'” Harrison said in a podcast chat.

“And that has a factor in what happens on Super Tuesday. We saw it with President Obama [in 2008], we saw it with Hillary Clinton [in 2016], and you’ll probably see it again with the winner of our primary.” 

That’s the good news for the former VP. Now a word of caution for those in the throes of Bidenmania.

It’s still an uphill battle. 

It’s important to note Biden will face an important new rival on Super Tuesday: billionaire Mike Bloomberg is set to enter the race, competing for the anti-Sanders vote with limitless resources at his disposal, as evidenced by the generous selection of free barbecue he’s doling out to people who attend his rallies.

Bloomberg isn’t the only competitor with deeper pockets than Biden. 

Biden started February with $ 7 million US left of $ 69 million raised. Sanders had almost $ 10 million more in the bank, on $ 134 million raised. Even Pete Buttigieg raised more than the former vice-president. And that was before Biden’s catastrophic showings in the first two states, followed by a more respectable second place in Nevada. 

Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Virginia Wesleyan University Convocation Hall in Virginia Beach, Va. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

Then there’s his California problem. 

The most populous state in America holds 415 delegates — by far the biggest prize on Super Tuesday, with more than 10 per cent of this year’s overall total. 

He’s polling dismally there. If he, and other candidates, fail to win the minimum 15 per cent of the vote, Sanders could conceivably walk off with most or even all of those massive electoral spoils. It’s no accident Sanders headed straight for California this weekend. 

So Biden and his team will begin making a more emphatic case to the large cross-section of Democrats who oppose Sanders. 

The message: It’s Biden or bust. 

Sanders has already begun efforts to unite the Democratic Party around him with general-election-style campaign messaging.

In South Carolina, Sanders focused almost exclusively on attacking President Donald Trump in a tease of what he’d sound like as a candidate this fall. 

Sanders mentioned, barely in passing, that he’d be likelier to beat Trump than Biden, because of his lifelong progressive record and ability to fire up young voters and get them to turn out.

Watch: ‘You cannot win ’em all,’ Bernie Sanders says after South Carolina defeat

Bernie Sanders congratulated Biden after the South Carolina primary, noting there were many more contests to come in the Democratic leadership race. 0:38

Biden’s crowds this week in South Carolina weren’t as large as Sanders’s. 

But he spent lots of time with people at his smaller events, taking questions and lingering afterward to sign autographs. 

Biden did so in a school gymnasium where a smallish crowd of a few dozen people lined up to meet the former vice-president in Sumter, S.C. 

He took subtle digs at Sanders. As he did in his victory speech Saturday, Biden suggested that what Americans voters want after Trump is competent, stable government — not systemic overhaul. 

“This nation isn’t looking for a revolution. We’re looking for progress. For results,” he said in Sumter. 

Marybeth Berry, who asked Biden a question at a campaign event in Sumter, S.C., said she wavered about her vote in the Democratic primary but would vote for anyone in the general election against President Donald Trump. (Alexander Panetta/CBC News)

When asked what would be his first three priorities as president, Biden promised to re-enter the Paris climate accord on Day One of his presidency; send Congress an immigration plan; and tackle education reform. 

But one wavering voter appeared to suggest he might try emulating Sanders a bit. She asked Biden what motivates him.

“You see Bernie and you see Elizabeth Warren and you see that fire,” Marybeth Berry asked at the Sumter event.

“What is your fire?”

Biden’s reply: “Decency and honour.” 

In a lengthy response, the ex-VP said that just because he doesn’t scream like Sanders and wave his arms like Warren doesn’t mean he lacks passion. 

Biden went on to mention fighting inequality and injustice, abuse of power, men who hurt women, and he spoke of lessons learned from his father. 

After the event, Berry said she was still wavering between Sanders and Biden, though inching closer to the Biden camp. 

But what if Sanders wins? 

The vast majority, but not all, Democrats tell exit pollsters they’d vote for whoever becomes the party nominee. Given the closeness of most U.S. presidential races, the party can’t afford to fragment this fall.

People vote in the state’s primary election in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Berry said she’d vote for anyone against Trump — literally anyone. She pointed to a CBC reporter and said: “I’d vote for you.”

But, she was reminded, it’s illegal for non-Americans to run for president.

Berry shrugged, “Whatever.

“At this point,” she said, “what we have in the White House is a disgrace.” 

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Bouwmeester ‘doing very well’ after cardiac episode during game

St. Louis Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester remained hospitalized and was undergoing tests Wednesday one day after suffering a cardiac episode and collapsing on the bench during a game in Anaheim.

General manager Doug Armstrong said the 36-year old Bouwmeester was unresponsive after collapsing on the bench Tuesday night. A defibrillator was used and he regained consciousness immediately before being taken to an Anaheim hospital.

“He is doing very well and is currently undergoing a battery of tests. Things are looking very positive,” Armstrong said during a news conference in Las Vegas.

Teammates Vince Dunn and Alex Pietrangelo immediately called for help after Bouwmeester slumped over with 7:50 left in the first period. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the Blues bench. After a couple of minutes, Bouwmeester was taken out on a stretcher through a tunnel under the stands as players stood in shocked silence on the ice. The game was postponed.

WATCH | Bouwmeester collapses on bench:

The Blues’ defenceman left the bench on a stretcher after collapsing during a break in play in the first period. 0:50

Pietrangelo said he visited Bouwmeester in the hospital Tuesday night and the rest of team got to see him via FaceTime. The team stayed overnight in Southern California before taking a chartered flight to Las Vegas, where they will play the Golden Knights on Thursday.

“It was important for us to see him. It made everyone feel a lot better that he was in good spirits,” Pietrangelo said.

The last player to collapse on an NHL bench before Bouwmeester was Dallas forward Rich Peverley in 2014. Peverley had an irregular heartbeat, and the quick response of emergency officials made sure he was OK. Detroit’s Jiri Fischer had a similar episode in 2005.

The NHL has had standards in place to deal with potential life threatening cardiac problems for several seasons. They include having a team physician within 50 feet of the bench. An orthopedic surgeon and two other doctors are also nearby.

Defibrillators must also be in close range. The home team has one on its bench and the away team must have theirs no further away than their locker room. Each medical team regularly rehearses the evacuation of a severely injured player before the season and all players are screened for serious cardiac conditions.

WATCH | Blues offer update on Bouwmeester’s condition:

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong gives an update on defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who collapsed on the bench Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks following a cardiac episode. 10:41

“The Peverley and Fischer incidents and now Bouwmeester reminded us all how important it is to have team doctors close to players’ benches and defibrillators easily accessible in short notice,” said Edmonton Oilers general manger Ken Holland, who was with Detroit in 2005 when Fischer collapsed on the bench. “It has probably saved all their lives. Incredible job by league and team medical people.”

Bouwmeester is in his 17th NHL season and his fitness and conditioning has always been a source of pride. He helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season and won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

Bouwmeester was skating in his 57th game this season and the 1,241st of his NHL career. He had skated 1:20 in his last shift before collapsing and logged 5:34 of ice time as the game got going.

“His training and the way he takes care of himself, it crystallizes how things can quickly change. It is a testament to the NHL and teams to have everyone positioned when something like this takes place,” Armstrong said.

Bouwmeester’s father was at the game as part of the team’s annual dads trip and accompanied his son to the hospital.

The Blues and Ducks are talking with the league about making up the game Armstrong said a full 60 minutes will be played and it will resume with the game tied at 1.

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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Are ‘In a Very Good Place,’ Source Says

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Are ‘In a Very Good Place,’ Source Says | Entertainment Tonight

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‘This is going to be very ugly’: Weinstein defence may use prevailing myths about rape to his advantage

This story is part of #MeToo 2020, a CBC News series examining what’s changed since the start of the #MeToo movement two years ago and how the trial of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein will affect the future of the movement.

When opening arguments begin Wednesday in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein, the former Hollywood mogul’s behaviour will be put under a microscope. But so, too, will the actions of his accusers, and some psychologists worry that outdated myths about rape will be used to discredit them.

“I think this is going to be very ugly,” said Louise Fitzgerald, professor emeritus in the women and gender studies department at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and predatory sexual assault against two women. He has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

Fitzgerald said the defence may employ a tactic commonly used in sex assault cases: turning the focus from the accused to the accuser and playing on misconceptions about victims.

One line of defence in such cases is to suggest the rape didn’t really happen or that it wasn’t really rape.

“They are going to try and capitalize on myths,” Fitzgerald said.

One of the accusers in the trial, who hasn’t been identified, alleged Weinstein raped her in a New York Hotel room in 2013. Weinstein’s defence has said they’ll reference friendly emails the accuser sent to the former producer after the alleged assault.

“There’s direct communications between Harvey and women, always friendly, sometimes romantic, that would lead, I think, any reasonable person to think that the claims are untrue,” Weinstein’s lead defence lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told ABC News.

Tackling rape myths

Fitzgerald, who has written about rape myths and workplace sexual harassment, said there are decades of studies detailing how women behave in certain situations after being sexually assaulted, and the reasons behind that.

In addition to questioning the motivation and actions of the accusers, Weinstein’s defence is expected to call two experts to testify about memory. This court sketch shows Weinstein, left, with his lawyers Damon Cheronis and Donna Rotunno in front of Judge James Burke at his sexual assault trial in New York City. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

“Lots of people remain in contact with their abuser for a whole variety of reasons,” she said. “In some cases, because he has a lot of power and he can hurt you.”

Trauma psychologist Joan Cook said it’s disheartening to already see indications from Weinstein’s team that it will be relying on an outdated understanding of how victims of sexual assault behave. 

“There’s a lot of ways that men and women who have been sexually violated respond, and it’s not the way we think,” Cook said.

“Most don’t go to the police; most don’t confront their abuser; and many don’t disconnect for various reasons.” 

Many survivors are in shock or numb after the assault, so they stay silent, Cook said, because what happened to them may not register right away or because they’re afraid of the personal and professional consequences of cutting off contact.

“It’s not surprising to me at all that people would have kept in touch with [Weinstein],” said Cook. “He owned Hollywood, so if you wanted to function there, weren’t you going to still try and maintain a connection?”

Staying in touch doesn’t mean it didn’t happen

That was among the reasons Dominique Huett said she stayed in touch with Weinstein, even after she alleged he sexually assaulted her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2010. She was the first Weinstein accuser to file a civil claim against him.

“I emailed him after the assault happened, but that doesn’t mean the assault didn’t happen,” Huett told CBC News. “It just means I was trying to regain some sense of control back over what he did.”

Dominique Huett, who has accused Weinstein of sexual assault in a hotel room in 2010, admits she emailed him after the alleged assault but says ‘that doesn’t mean the assault didn’t happen.’ (Steven D’Souza/CBC News)

Huett’s allegation falls within the statute of limitations, and she hopes charges can still be filed in California for her case.

“I think the old rhetoric of blaming the victim is very outdated at this stage,” said Huett. “I think the #MeToo movement kind of exposed how women are not, you know, liars.”

Huette is a member of the Silence Breakers, a group of Weinstein accusers who have come together to amplify the experiences of sexual assault survivors.

Questioning memory

In addition to questioning the motivation and actions of the accusers, Weinstein’s defence is expected to call two experts to testify about memory. The judge, however, limited the scope of their testimony and denied a defence request to have them testify about a phenomenon called “unwanted voluntary sex.”

Cook said the understanding among researchers used to be that memory was fixed and unchanging, but today, it’s recognized that the fact that an assault victim’s recollections may change over time isn’t necessarily a sign of deceit.

“The truth is, memory is much more fluid, and memories can change, and they can be altered over time,” Cook said.

The prosecution will be calling Dr. Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist at Temple University in Philadelphia who is an expert on rape and sexual assault trauma.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is hoping ZIv can counter some of the myths around sexual assault, including why victims often wait to disclose their assault.

Ziv gave such testimony in the second trial of Bill Cosby, who was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a Canadian woman who met Cosby while working at his alma mater, Temple University, in the early 2000s.

The prosecution also hopes the four additional women who will be allowed to testify even though their allegations against Weinstein haven’t resulted in charges will help establish a pattern of behaviour similar to how the testimony of other women did in the Cosby retrial.

Jury is 7 men, 5 women 

The question of how deeply the message of the #MeToo movement has permeated society was an undercurrent during the contentious two weeks of jury selection. Judge James M. Burke cautioned jurors that the case was not a referendum on the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment or women’s rights.

In narrowing down the jury pool, the prosecution accused the defence of “systematically eliminating” younger white women, who are more likely to be aware of #MeToo and possibly sympathize with Weinstein’s accusers.

Weinstein’s lead defence attorney, Donna Rotunno, has been highly critical of the #MeToo movement. She has said it strips the accused of due process, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

In the end, seven men and five women were chosen. Six of the men and two of the women are white. 

How educated the jury is in rape myths will be crucial in determining the outcome, Fitzgerald said.

“That’s always what’s critical in rape cases — the jury has to be willing and able to see through these things,” Fitzgerald said.

Impact of #MeToo

The flood of sexual assault and harassment allegations against Weinstein, which followed a New York Times exposé in October 2017 that sparked the #MeToo movement, ignited an international conversation about women’s experiences. But Fitzgerald says she doesn’t think public awareness has progressed as far as people want to believe it has.

Fitzgerald worked as a psychological consultant for Anita Hill and her legal team in 1991, when Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Fitzgerald called that moment the first great awakening for American society in the debate over sexual misconduct.

She said after that, however, society forgot the lessons learned about women’s experiences, and the issue fell out of the national conversation. But with high-profile stars now speaking out, she hopes there will be a more permanent reckoning with the issue on national scale.

“I think it’s going to be more powerful this time, and it’s going to be more widespread and more lasting.”

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