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Florida coronavirus cases jump 50% as surge continues

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 16:20
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s coronavirus cases jumped 50% this week, the state Health Department reported Friday, continuing a six-week surge that has seen it responsible for 1 in 5 new infections nationally, becoming the outbreak's epicenter. The release came shortly after Gov. Ron DeSantis barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month, saying there is no evidence they prevent outbreaks among students or staff. More than 110,000 new coronavirus cases were reported statewide over the past week, up from 73,000 last week and 11 times the 10,000 reported the week of June 11, six weeks ago. Case numbers are now back to where they in January, just before vaccinations became widely available. The Florida Hospital Association also said Friday that statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations are nearing last year’s peak. More than 9,300 patients are hospitalized, up from 1,845 a month ago and nearing the record 10,179 set on July 23, 2020. On a per capita basis, Florida now has more people hospitalized than any other state. The state reported 409 deaths this week, bringing the total to more than 39,000 since its first in March 2020. The state’s peak happened in mid-August 2020, when 1,266 people died over a seven-day period. Deaths usually follow increases in hospitalizations by a few weeks. DeSantis has blamed the surge on a seasonal increase — more Floridians are indoors because of the hot weather with air conditioning circulating the virus. About 60% of Floridians 12 and older are vaccinated, ranking it about midway among the states. DeSantis said barring mask mandates at schools will improve students' experience and make it easier for them to focus on learning. “I have (three) young kids. My wife and I are not going to do the mask with the kids. We never have, we won’t. I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun,” DeSantis said at a news conference in southwest Florida a few hours before he signed the executive order. DeSantis is seeking reelection next year and has been positioning himself nationally for a possible 2024 presidential bid. But his critics are blaming his unwillingness to mandate mask wearing, such as his executive order barring mask requirements at public schools. “We know that masks are a simple and effective way to help prevent virus spread, and from a medical perspective it makes absolutely zero sense to discourage their use,” said Dr. Bernard Ashby, head of Florida's progressive Committee to Protect Health Care. "DeSantis’ power grab will put the health of kids and teachers alike at risk.” DeSantis' decision came after the Broward County school board voted to require masks and other districts and colleges around the state were considering it. “We will have to change our policy,” Broward board member Debbi Hixon told the South Florida SunSentinel. “I am not looking to defy the governor. I believe it is an irresponsible decision but if it is the law, I will agree to follow it.” The Florida Education Association, the state's teachers union, said DeSantis should leave the decision to local officials rather than impose a statewide edict — a position he once held. When the pandemic began in March 2020, DeSantis said local officials should control the response, that the business closures and mask mandates imposed in Miami, Tampa and other big cities wouldn't work in small, rural counties. “Gov. DeSantis continues to think that Tallahassee knows best what all Floridians need,” union President Andrew Spar said in a statement. “We reject that kind of thinking. Instead, we ask Gov. DeSantis to allow all Florida’s citizens to have a voice by empowering the elected leaders of cities, counties and school districts to make health and safety decisions locally.” Meanwhile, Publix, the state's largest supermarket chain, announced Friday that employees will again be required to wear masks and several hospitals said they are postponing elective surgeries and limiting visitors. At Tampa General Hospital, the 90-plus patients hospitalized with COVID already exceeds the previous high of 86, said Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, medical director of its Global Emerging Diseases Institute. She said the hospital, like many, can't hire enough staff and it is leaving those working exhausted. “It feels like we are getting hit by a train, the pace is so fast and uncontrolled,” Laskshmi said. “I just don’t have any words anymore. This is awful, just awful and it is going to be awful." She said last year, her patients' median age was in the 70s. Now, it is just over 50, with the younger patients getting sicker than in the past. She pointed to a patient in his early 30s whose lungs “sound like Velcro” being pulled apart. A father of young children, he will likely have permanent damage and might need a transplant eventually, she said. She said 83% of Tampa General's COVID patients are unvaccinated while the others have immune-deficiency issues that prevented the vaccine from working. __ Gomez Licon reported from Miami. ___ Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Terry Spencer And Adriana Gomez Licon, The Associated Press

Vaccine hesitant woman changes mind, goes to Regina pop-up clinic

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 16:11
Many people across Saskatchewan got their first COVID shot weeks, if not months ago. But some people took a while to make up their minds. Larissa, a Regina woman who wasn’t comfortable sharing her last name, rolled up her sleeve at the pop-up vaccine clinic at Buffalo Meadows Pool Friday. It was her first dose. She had been feeling skeptical and nervous about the vaccine for some time. “I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand COVID … I just didn’t want to, because, truth is, I’m Aboriginal, and … The government doesn’t have a lot of great ideas for us. So, at first, I was scared with all the historical facts of stuff that was done to us,” she said. “Plus, a lot of the internet stuff. ‘Oh, the government’s putting a chip in you …’ So, a lot of that went in my mind because you see it on social media.” As for what changed, she gradually started to take the virus more seriously. “I just feel like it’s our job as a community to help each other stay safe, because some people can’t get vaccinated,” she said. Also, the pop-up clinic at the pool offered free tickets to the Queen City Ex for anyone getting their vaccine. That also helped nudge Larissa in the direction of getting the shot. “It was a free Ex pass, and I’m low-income … I thought I could help the community, and help myself,” she said. Pop-up clinics like the one at Buffalo Meadows Pool will soon become the norm for anyone looking to get their COVID vaccine. The province is discontinuing mass immunization clinics and won’t be booking any more appointments through the government as of Aug. 8.

Canada in Tokyo – Donovan Bailey – Olympic Flashback

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 16:00
The men’s 100-metre competition gets underway at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo later today, a competition with a lasting legacy for all Canadians. Atlanta 1996. Donovan Bailey. 9.84. While that dramatic event celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this month, for Bailey, the outcome was never in doubt. “For me it was never wide open,” Bailey said while chatting to the Green Zone earlier this year. “The only thing that was going to prevent me from winning was myself. My confidence was at its highest.” A stacked lineup in the final saw Bailey joined by Namibian Frankie Fredericks, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ato Boldon, and Linford Christie from Great Britain. It had not been the easiest passage for Bailey in the earlier rounds, trailing Christie in the quarterfinals, and false starting in the semifinal before finishing second to Fredericks. False starts would play a huge part in the final too, but Bailey remained unfazed. “I knew exactly what was going to happen. As the false starts happened I actually got more relaxed,” Bailey recalled. “Nothing was going to bother me. In fact, before the race where we all went off, I said to the guys, ‘Relax, it’s going to be over in a minute.’” Defending-champion Christie false-started out of the competition in controversial manner, and Boldon jumped the gun too, but the runners got off the fourth time. “I made an incredible mistake out of the blocks, the worst 30 metres I had ran all season,” Bailey said, something that still frustrates him when he watches back to this day. “They’re the very best of the best, (but) I knew I could beat them at any time. Me at my best versus them at their best, there is absolutely no competition. It’s no different to later on all of us watching Usain Bolt.” Bailey’s late-race surge saw him come through the field to take gold in that world-record time now etched into Canadian sporting folklore. “The 100 metres is the culmination of months and years of monotonous training, nutrition, therapy, weight training. It’s the sum total of an incredible amount of time that’s been put in to work to perfection,” Bailey said. Bailey was born in Jamaica before moving to Canada, and the Olympic champion explains how after the win he saw his father cry for the first time, something he describes as one of the greatest compliments you can receive. “Most immigrant fathers want their kid to be a lawyer, doctor or professional. I was a banker so he was happy with that,” Bailey said. “When I went to track and field he wasn’t very happy. He didn’t really understand that this is sports and an incredible legacy that I can create. When I won I think he finally realized that this was the very top.” That legacy, both of the gold and world record, is something that Bailey still feels every day, even 25 years later. “I get to be serenaded by amazing Canadian fans every day. The definition really was reaching that goal,” Bailey said. “No matter where you come from or what you do, you can get to the very top. I was very blessed.” Andre De Grasse will lead the challenge for Team Canada at Tokyo 2020, with Bismark Boateng and Gavin Smellie also hoping to make their mark on the iconic event. Listen to the Green Zone’s chat with Bailey earlier this year – https://iono.fm/e/988216

Deadline day for inquiry’s final report on eco groups and Alberta energy industry

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 15:37
EDMONTON — Friday was the deadline for a public inquiry into what the Alberta government says is foreign funding of environmental groups who want to curtail energy development — an investigation lauded by Premier Jason Kenney as principled but derided by critics as a buffoonishly sinister political witch hunt. “We have not yet received the (final) report but expect to have it delivered to the minister’s office sometime today,” Jerry Bellikka, chief of staff to Energy Minister Sonya Savage, said in an email. The inquiry was given five deadline extension stretching back a year to July 30, 2020. Its budget was set at $2.5 million, but later increased to $3.5 million. Savage has up to three months to release the report once she receives it from forensic accountant Steve Allan. Kenney launched the inquiry in 2019, fulfilling a United Conservative election campaign promise. He accused Canadian environmental charities of accepting foreign funding in a co-ordinated attempt to hinder energy infrastructure and landlock Alberta's oil to benefit U.S. competitors. Kenney recently said he was not surprised eco-groups are criticizing the inquiry as unfair and tilted toward a prejudged outcome “They don’t want the public to realize they have been receiving massive amounts of money from foreign sources to shut down the largest job-creating industry in Canada,” Kenney said on July 22. “They don’t want the disinfectant of transparency to come down on them. That’s why they went to court … Thankfully, the Court of Queen’s Bench threw their case out.” In May, a judge dismissed a challenge by the environmental law firm Ecojustice to quash the inquiry. The judge ruled Ecojustice failed to prove the inquiry was called to intimidate charities concerned about the environmental impact of the energy industry. In recent days, leaked sections of Allan’s draft report show he has concluded that eco-groups have not in any way broken the law. But critics say Allan exceeded his mandate by linking any opposition to resource development as being “anti-Albertan.” Allan, in a letter this week to Greenpeace Canada, made it clear that “anti-Alberta” is meant simply as a “a non-pejorative geographic modifier.” University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski said “anti-Alberta” is not an innocent term but a broad-based slur, easily weaponized by political opponents. He said it turns those concerned with the pace of resource development and its effect on the environment into scapegoats and depicts them as traitors to the community. “The precedent (is) anything can become anti-Alberta, essentially anything that the premier disagrees with,” said Olszynski. “To some extent a government has a democratic mandate, but it only goes so far. It can’t go to the point where opposition to that mandate --dissent — is branded as treason and sedition. “That’s very authoritarian.” The inquiry has been criticized for operating in secret: no witnesses called publicly, little to no evidence on its website and those investigated being given little time late in the game to respond. Its terms of reference have also been altered twice. “This has been something out of 'Alice in Wonderland,'” said Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada. “We got funding from international foundations. It was about two per cent of our revenue over a decade. “We got a lot more money from Albertans.” He said Greenpeace Canada has been one of the inquiry's targets and that letters to Allan asking for information and details have been ignored. “We don’t even get to publicly defend ourselves or even see the evidence against us. (Allan) says, ‘I interviewed 100 people.’ He won’t tell us who they were. How are we supposed to respond to evidence that we’re not allowed to see?” Allan, on his website, noted that his inquiry sent out 40 invitations in mid-June for participants to respond by mid-July.  “Some participants did not accept the commissioner’s invitation until some weeks after June 18, and they were then granted access to the (inquiry) dataroom to review content,” Allan said in a statement July 21. “The material provided to each party for review included material necessary to understand the context surrounding potential findings and contained potential findings related to them.” Olszynski said there’s a “good chance” Allan’s final report will be challenged in court on the grounds it was procedurally flawed and reached unqualified conclusions. “Inquiries are not courts of law … but it’s not the Wild West,” he said. Kathleen Ganley, energy critic for the Opposition NDP, said Savage should release the report immediately upon receiving it. “Leaked drafts of the report show the inquiry relied on misinformation found in Google searches and ‘research’ conducted by the UCP’s own ridiculous war room,” said Ganley. “But despite putting their thumb on the scale with this shoddy research, the inquiry was still forced to conclude there was no wrongdoing or illegal activity.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

B.C. readies response ahead of second heat wave expected this weekend

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 15:32
VANCOUVER — British Columbia is gearing up to respond to another heat wave by taking several steps including opening civic centres that would otherwise be closed so people can escape to a cool place if they lack air conditioning. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says social media updates will be posted so people can access resources, Information on illnesses related to heat waves will also be available online. Farnworth says local governments are being encouraged to provide information on cooling centres for residents who have been forced to leave their homes due to wildfires in parts of the province. Health Minister Adrian Dix says jobs for more paramedics and dispatchers were being posted on Friday as part of an effort to provide better service to 911 callers after the last heat wave at the end of June led to multiple complaints about hours-long waits. Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the weekend but cooler temperatures are expected on Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Vehicle crashes into Saskatoon bookstore

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 14:40
It wasn’t just bookmarks hitting the pages in Saskatoon Friday. Around 10:30 a.m., police were called to the McNally Robinson Booksellers and Prairie Ink Restaurant on the 3100 block of Eighth Street East after a vehicle struck the wall of the building. While some people were shaken up, nobody in the building was hurt. The driver was uninjured as well. Police did issue a ticket for driving without due care and attention due to the incident.

Federal government reaches nearly $8B deal with First Nations on drinking water suit

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 14:33
OTTAWA — The federal government has reached a nearly $8-billion settlement with multiple First Nations who launched class-action lawsuits over the lack of clean, safe drinking water in their communities. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, alongside the Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Curve Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation, announced today that they have reached an "historic" agreement in principle. Miller says the agreement includes $1.5 billion in compensation for people who were deprived of clean drinking water, the creation of a $400 million First Nation economic and cultural restoration fund and at least $6 billion to support reliable access to safe drinking water on reserve. The agreement also includes a renewed commitment to Canada's action plan for the lifting of all long-term drinking water advisories, support for First Nations to develop their own safe drinking water bylaws and initiatives, and planned modernization of First Nations drinking water legislation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2015 to lift all drinking water advisories by this March, but Miller acknowledged last December that the government would not meet that goal.  Miller says as of today, First Nations with support of Indigenous Services Canada have lifted 108 long-term drinking water advisories since November 2015. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

40-year-old man charged after downtown Saskatoon attack

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 14:29
It was between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on July 14 when Cole Chorney and his wife decided to take a walk along Spadina Cr. in downtown Saskatoon. They had just had dinner at a local steakhouse and were staying in a downtown hotel. The couple says says they walked past Kiwanis Park and crossed at 22 St. E. when suddenly his wife yelled out to him. “I didn’t see, my wife did at first, and all she did was yell ‘Cole run!’ And she started to go,” Chorney told Gormley with guest host Mike Couros. “I turned around and saw him. He then lunged towards me- (I) didn’t realize what was in his hand until I jumped out of the way. He had a knife,” said Chorney. The father-to-be had his pants slashed and was superficially cut by the knife. He said the man began mumbling something to him but eventually put his knife away and walked back towards Kiwanis Park. No one else was hurt. Chorney’s wife immediately called for police who came quickly. “They were able to catch the man,” he said. Saskatoon Police confirm that a 40-year-old man was arrested and charged with multiple offences, including assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, and carrying a concealed weapon. Chorney said while the physical attack didn’t hurt him, he and his wife are now suffering mentally. “I catch myself thinking more and more about it and what could have been- and that’s what’s worrying me most… she’s (wife) is definitely having the same thoughts too. Luckily not too much physical damage, but I’m starting to struggle with it more.” Chorney said from now on, he and his wife would feel safer in a group if they head into downtown Saskatoon.

Judge seeks more evidence, delays bail ruling for suspect in Montreal kidnapping case

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 14:22
MONTREAL — A judge has put off a decision on a bail request from one of three men accused in an alleged abduction that triggered an Amber Alert in Montreal this week, telling the court on Friday she needs more evidence before ruling. Two 21-year-olds and a 22-year-old — two of whom are brothers of the 16-year-old alleged victim — were charged in connection with the incident. Quebec court Judge Joëlle Roy was expected to render a decision Friday in the bail application of the 21-year-old brother but instead asked for more evidence, including a full statement from the victim to police and testimony from the parents to better understand the familial and cultural context of the case. “I want more information, this is a unique dossier with a whole societal and cultural backdrop,” Roy told the court. The judge extended the bail hearing into next week, when the other two co-accused will also make their bid for bail. A court order prohibits the publication of any information that could identify the minor victim. During a hearing Thursday, the court heard the girl had been controlled by her brothers in recent months, with their mother's approval. The alleged victim had left her mother's home to go live with her father recently after a dispute, and the brothers believed it was their duty to bring her back to their mother's home, the Crown said. Prosecutor Bruno Ménard recounted that she was forced to give her money to her brother, she was told how she could dress and she wasn't allowed to smoke electronic cigarettes. He said the teen told police her brothers monitored her text messages and frequently turned off the Wi-Fi at home, causing her to fail school classes. The 21-year-old brother forbid her to work at night and even went to her workplace against her wishes and told her employer she had quit. The victim alleged her mother threatened to take steps to verify whether she was still a virgin, according to the Crown's account. Montreal police have said that just after 11 p.m. on Monday, the teen was allegedly forced into a vehicle from her place of work at a restaurant in Kirkland, Que, a suburb in western Montreal. The Crown says the brothers are alleged to have entered the restaurant and forcibly removed their sister, smashing her glasses and phone and assaulting another employee who tried to stop them. Much of the interaction was caught on video. In the car with her 21-year-old brother, she told investigators, he removed her shoes and jewelry. The prosecutor told the court her brother threatened, "If you go to the police, don't worry, I have more than one way to shoot you in the head." Major-crimes investigators elected to issue an Amber Alert early Tuesday, fearing for the girl's safety. Police tracked the cellphone of the 21-year-old brother and arrested him. The girl and the other 21-year-old accused turned up at a Montreal police station soon after the alert was sent out. The 22-year-old brother was arrested by police later that morning. The prosecutor argued the 21-year-old brother should remain detained because of the seriousness of the crime and because of the exercise of control over the victim. The defence has countered that it was an unfortunate event amplified by the Amber Alert, noting the accused has no criminal record. The accused assured the court he was a good brother and would abide by conditions. But Roy said Friday she needs a fuller picture. “I also have a duty to protect a 16-year-old girl," Roy said. “I want a global portrait of the family and what’s going on.” The case will resume Wednesday and Friday next week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Latest COVID update July 30: 56 new cases, 22 recoveries, no new deaths

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 14:11
In its daily COVID-19 update on Friday, the province said there were 56 new cases in Saskatchewan. The new cases are located in the following zones: far northwest (eight), far north-central (one), far northeast (11), northwest (two), north-central (two), Saskatoon (13), central-west (four), Regina (two), south-central (two), and southeast (six). Five cases are without hometown information. Two previously reported cases were assigned to the far northwest zone while another two were assigned to the north-central zone. An additional two cases tested out of the provinces were added to the Saskatoon zone. No new deaths were reported Thursday. The total number of COVID-19 deaths remains at 578. There is a total of 49,940 cases with 48,914 recoveries and 448 cases considered active. There are 46 people in hospital — 34 are receiving inpatient care in the far northwest (one), northwest (one), north-central (four),  Saskatoon (16), Regina (11) and southeast (one). Twelve people are in intensive care in the north-central (one), Saskatoon (six), and Regina (five) zones. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 case numbers has risen to 45, or 3.8 new cases per 100,000. Vaccination update An additional 5,345 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 1,406,189. Vaccines were given in the far northwest (119), far north-central (38), far northeast (156), northwest (242), north-central (280), northeast (176), Saskatoon (1,433), central-west (259), central-east (370), Regina (1,037), southwest (165), south-central (322) and southeast (526) zones. There were 222 doses administered without a known hometown. Seventy-five per cent of those 12 and older have received their first dose and 63 per cent of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the provincial daily update. As of Aug. 8, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is shifting their vaccination focus from mass vaccination to an outreach model, targeting those in the province who are unvaccinated or have just one shot. Beginning on Aug. 3, the province will no longer provide daily updates on the numbers. It will provide a weekly update. The COVID-19 dashboard will still be updated daily.

Latest COVID update July 30: 56 new cases, 22 recoveries, no new deaths

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 14:10
In its daily COVID-19 update on Friday, the province said there were 56 new cases in Saskatchewan. The new cases are located in the following zones: far northwest (eight), far north-central (one), far northeast (11), northwest (two), north-central (two), Saskatoon (13), central-west (four), Regina (two), south-central (two), and southeast (six). Five cases are without hometown information. Two previously reported cases were assigned to the far northwest zone while another two were assigned to the north-central zone. An additional two cases tested out of the provinces were added to the Saskatoon zone. No new deaths were reported Thursday. The total number of COVID-19 deaths remains at 578. There is a total of 49,940 cases with 48,914 recoveries and 448 cases considered active. There are 46 people in hospital — 34 are receiving inpatient care in the far northwest (one), northwest (one), north-central (four),  Saskatoon (16), Regina (11) and southeast (one). Twelve people are in intensive care in the north-central (one), Saskatoon (six), and Regina (five) zones. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 case numbers has risen to 45, or 3.8 new cases per 100,000. Vaccination update An additional 5,345 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 1,406,189. Vaccines were given in the far northwest (119), far north-central (38), far northeast (156), northwest (242), north-central (280), northeast (176), Saskatoon (1,433), central-west (259), central-east (370), Regina (1,037), southwest (165), south-central (322) and southeast (526) zones. There were 222 doses administered without a known hometown. Seventy-five per cent of those 12 and older have received their first dose and 63 per cent of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the provincial daily update. As of Aug. 8, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is shifting their vaccination focus from mass vaccination to an outreach model, targeting those in the province who are unvaccinated or have just one shot. Beginning on Aug. 3, the province will no longer provide daily updates on the numbers. It will provide a weekly update. The COVID-19 dashboard will still be updated daily.

Drake’s DreamCrew to executive produce Black hockey player doc with LeBron James

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 12:35
TORONTO — Drake is teaming up with LeBron James and other creators for a feature documentary on the history of Black hockey players. The Toronto rapper's production company says in a release he will executive produce "Black Ice," an examination of the "often overlooked and marginalized contributions" of Black players to the game.  The story will begin with the creation of the Coloured Hockey League (CHL) in the Maritimes and extend into the experiences of Black players in the modern-day National Hockey League. "Black Ice" will be directed by Hubert Davis who was nominated for an Oscar for his2005 short “Hardwood” and made the documentary "Giants of Africa," aboutToronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri’s youth basketball camps in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. Alongside the project's fellow executive producer Adele (Future) Nur,Drake runs DreamCrew Entertainment, which produced HBO’s "Euphoria" and the American version of "Top Boy" on Netflix. The Springhill Company, co-founded by James and Maverick Carter, and Uninterrupted Canada, an extension of Drake's "athlete empowerment" brand Uninterrupted, will also be involved in the film. For decades, the history of Black hockey players went largely undiscussed in the sports mainstream, though some effort has been made to address that in recent years. The 2016 documentary "Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future" detailed the story behind the CHL, while George and Darril Fosty's 2004 book "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritime" laid some of the histories to page.  Recent memoirs from players Willie O'Ree and Val James have filled in other gaps. Drake has long been a hockey fan, having played on the Weston Red Wings minor hockey team in his childhood before starring in "Degrassi: the Next Generation" and becoming one of the world's most popular music performers. "Black Ice" is currently in production and will be released in theatres by Elevation Pictures before heading to TSN, the Crave streaming service and other CTV outlets. Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press

Two travellers from U.S. fined $20,000 each for fake vaccination documents

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 12:04
TORONTO — Two travellers who arrived in Toronto from the United States have been fined for providing fake COVID-19 proof of vaccination documents and lying about pre-departure tests. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the travellers also didn't comply with requirements to stay at a government-authorized hotel or to get tested upon arrival.  The agency says in a news release Friday that the travellers arrived last week and have been handed four fines totalling $19,720 each. Canada eased quarantine requirements on July 5 for fully vaccinated Canadians and foreign nationals with an exemption to enter the country, but they must upload their proof of vaccination documents to the ArriveCAN app before entry. Those who are not fully vaccinated are still required to stay for three days at a government-approved hotel, quarantine for 14 days and undergo tests pre-departure, post-arrival and eight days later.  The public health agency is warning that all travellers are obligated to answer questions truthfully and that providing false information or documents to government officials upon entry to Canada is a serious offence.  The agency says violating quarantine or isolation instructions when entering Canada could lead to a $5,000 fine for each day of non-compliance or each offence, or more serious penalties including six months in prison or $750,000 in fines. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Riders sell out first game back since 2019

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 11:53
A sea of green will wash over Mosaic Stadium next week. The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced their first game of the 2021 CFL season — a clash with the B.C. Lions on Aug. 6 — has officially been sold-out, meaning 33,356 fans will take in the action. It’s the first time the Riders will take to the field since the West Final against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Nov. 17, 2019 — a 20-13 loss for the Green and White. There will be no requirements or public health orders in effect for the game, meaning anyone can go — vaccinated or not. This has brought forward concerns from people, health experts and politicians on social media. Sask. NDP leader Ryan Meili said a couple days ago that if vaccines were required, the game would have sold-out already.

Riders sell out first game back since 2019

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 11:50
A sea of green will wash over Mosaic Stadium next week. The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced their first game of the 2021 CFL season — a clash with the B.C. Lions on Aug. 6 — has officially been sold-out, meaning 33,356 fans will take in the action. It’s the first time the Riders will take to the field since the West Final against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Nov. 17, 2019 — a 20-13 loss for the Green and White. There will be no requirements or public health orders in effect for the game, meaning anyone can go — vaccinated or not. This has brought forward concerns from people, health experts and politicians on social media. Sask. NDP leader Ryan Meili said a couple days ago that if vaccines were required, the game would have sold-out already.

Blue Jays acquire right-hander Berríos from Twins for pair of top prospects

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 11:27
TORONTO — In need of pitching as the trade deadline approached, the Toronto Blue Jays significantly upgraded their starting rotation by acquiring right-handed José Berríos from the Minnesota Twins on Friday. The two-time all-star has a 7-5 record with a 3.48 earned-run average and 126 strikeouts over 20 starts with the Twins this season. Berríos's services did not come cheap. Toronto parted with two top prospects -- infielder Austin Martin and right-handed Simeon Woods Richardson --  to land the 27-year-old. The six-foot, 205-pound Berríos was selected by Minnesota in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2012 first-year player draft. He was named an American League all-star in both 2018 and 2019.  Berríos has a 55-43 record with a 4.08 ERA over six seasons. Martin, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays fifth overall in the 2020 first-year draft. He was ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Blue Jays organization behind pitcher Nate Pearson. Woods Richardson, 20, was 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA over 11 starts for Double-A New Hampshire this season.  He was ranked the No. 4 prospect in Toronto's system. The trade was confirmed a couple of hours before baseball's Friday afternoon trade deadline, and on the same day the Blue Jays were set to play their first game at Rogers Centre in almost two years. The Jays had been based in the United States for the entire 2020 season and the first four months of the 2021 season due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Nunavut to let unvaccinated dependants isolate in territory

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 11:26
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Unvaccinated dependants travelling to Nunavut with their parents or guardians be allowed to complete their isolation in the territory starting Monday. Those who left Nunavut with their parents or guardians previously had to complete 14 days of isolation at a designated hotel in Southern Canada before they could return. Anyone who is fully vaccinated has been able to enter Nunavut without isolating since June. But unvaccinated travellers still need to quarantine. Nunavut's health department says parents and guardians will be responsible for their dependants' isolation. The department also says people who breach isolation can be fined $575. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021.  The Canadian Press

Canada’s women setting great example for girls in Tokyo, says Regina sports organization

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 11:11
Canada’s entire medal haul at the Olympics has been reeled in by women so far and that has a leader in Regina’s sporting community thrilled with what she’s seeing in Tokyo. Kaylan Berg is the CEO of Girls in the Game, a youth sport program that aims to build self-esteem in girls through athletics. Whether it has been on the field, the mat, or in the water, Canada’s women have shone brightly. Berg says they are setting a powerful example for youth and what they can achieve. “We always say at Girls in the Game, and in any in anything, you have to see it to be it,” Berg says. She points to the importance of girls having role models in sports. At Girls in the Game, the coaches and organizers are all current or former athletes. Without mentors, Berg says it can be intimidating to participate in physical activity, whether it’s gym class or tee ball. “Monkey see, monkey do. Whatever they’re seeing on TV or seeing in their communities, that’s what they know to be normal,” she says. The Olympics have thrust women’s sports into the spotlight for a change. At other times, Berg has found it difficult to find broadcasts of high-level women’s sports. If she wants to see Kia Nurse, regarded as Canada’s top women’s basketball player, she turns to YouTube, not the television. “Unless you’re actively searching out different teams that you’re maybe already a fan of, or looking for that, sometimes it can be hard,” she says. Much of Girls in the Game’s programming targets those between five and 10 years old. Berg says research has shown that is a critical age bracket that heavily influences a child’s life. “If a girl has not had positive sport experience by the time she’s 10 or around grade five, the chances of her going on to live a active lifestyle significantly decreases,” she says. Sports have given Berg a lot. She landed a volleyball scholarship in university. She has also travelled playing ultimate frisbee. Along the way, she built friendships, learned life skills and experienced a sense of belonging that she wants to pass on to others. “I feel like every success that I have, I can connect directly back to either family or sports,” she says. “Personally, I always feel like I’m at my best self when I’m really active, especially in sports.”

Former CFL defensive back Lin-J Shell passes away at the age of 39

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:46
Lin-J Shell, who played seven CFL seasons with four teams, has died. He was 39. The cause of death was not immediately known. Shell was a defensive back with the Toronto Argonauts (2009-11), B.C. Lions (2012-13), Calgary Stampeders (2014) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2015). All four clubs, along with the CFL Alumni Association, took to social media to express their condolences to Shell's family and friends regarding his sudden passing Thursday. The five-foot-11, 180-pound Shell was Toronto's top rookie in 2009 and an East Division all-star in 2010-11. Shell earned a Grey Cup ring with Calgary in 2014 before finishing his CFL career with Winnipeg. Shell, a native of Orlando, Fla., had become a football coach at Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Fla. upon retiring as a player.  In 2018, Shell was teaching physical education at Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville when he disarmed a woman who had retrieved a gun and was returning to a school gym where an altercation had ensued. A number of former CFL players took to social media to remember Shell. Many echoed the sentiments of former Argos running back Jeff Johnson. "This is heartbreaking," Johnston tweeted. "He impacted everyone on the field and off the field. "Lin-J was one of those guys going out of his way after practice/game to say hello, visit with kids/fans on the sidelines and share words of positivity. He impacted many. RIP bro." This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Mandy Gull-Masty becomes first woman elected grand chief of Quebec Cree Nation

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:36
CHISASIBI, Que. — Mandy Gull-Masty has become the first woman to be elected grand chief of Quebec's Cree Nation. Gull-Masty won 64 per cent of the vote in a run-off election held Thursday, defeating Pakesso Mukash, who received 34 per cent.  Gull-Masty, who was elected deputy grand chief in 2017, had received 46.6 per cent of the vote in the first round of the election, held on July 14, ahead of incumbent Abel Bosum, who had 29.5 per cent. Bosum dropped out after the first round, leaving Gull-Masty to contest the run-off against Mukash, a musician and activist, who received 24 per cent of first-round votes. Gull-Masty campaigned on a platform of improving transparency and accountability and creating a strong financial plan for the Cree Nation, which represents a population of more than 18,000 people in northern Quebec. Her victory follows other firsts for woman Indigenous leaders this month, with RoseAnne Archibald elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations and Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer becoming grand chief of the Kahnawake Mohawk community south of Montreal. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021.  ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press

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