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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

Saskatoon police charge Quebec man wanted in 2014 jewelry store robbery

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:25
Saskatoon police have charged a Quebec man in connection to a jewelry store heist in 2014. The charges stem from a February 2014 robbery at a jewelry store in the 100 block of 3rd Avenue South. Four men used crowbars to break into the store and caused plenty of damage before stealing “a large quantity of jewelry and fleeing,” according to a media release from police. Canada-wide warrants were issued and three men were previously arrested. Two of the men were sentenced while charges against a third were stayed. Earlier this week, Montreal police found the fourth wanted man and sent him to Saskatoon to face charges. Officers believe a fifth person was involved in the robbery but not have been able to identify anyone. Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Saskatoon Police Service or Crime Stoppers.

Trump urged Justice officials to declare election ‘corrupt’

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:17
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump urged senior Justice Department officials to declare the 2020 election results “corrupt” in a December phone call, according to handwritten notes from one of the participants in the conversation. The notes of the Dec. 27 call, released Friday by the House Oversight Committee, underscore the lengths to which Trump went to try to overturn the results of the election and to elicit the support of law enforcement officials and other government leaders in that effort. Emails released last month show that Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the Justice Department to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread 2020 election fraud, and the department's inspector general is looking into whether department officials tried to subvert the results. “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” Trump said at one point to then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, according to notes taken by Richard Donoghue, a senior Justice Department official who was on the call. The pressure is all the more notable because just weeks earlier, Trump's own Attorney General William Barr, had declared that the department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results. The Dec. 27 call took place just days after Barr had resigned, leaving Rosen in charge of the department during a turbulent final weeks of the administration that also included the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in which pro-Trump loyalists stormed the building as Congress was certifying the election results. “These handwritten notes show that President Trump directly instructed our nation’s top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency,” committee chairman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. She said the committee had begun scheduling interviews with witnesses. The Justice Department earlier this week authorized six witnesses to appear before the panel, citing the public interest in the “extraordinary events” of those final weeks. _____ Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at Eric Tucker, The Associated Press

Rugby Canada condemns criticism of 7s team, with some coming from within

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:17
Rugby Canada has condemned "inappropriate comments" aimed at the women's rugby sevens team after its disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics. The fact that some of the comments came from within has added to a year of turmoil for the governing body and the sevens team, which launched a formal complaint in January under Rugby Canada's bullying and harassment policy. In the wake of the complaint filed by 37 current and former team members, an independent review concluded that while the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the athletes, it did not fall within Rugby Canada's policy's definition of harassment or bullying. Head coach John Tait, while maintaining he had done nothing wrong, subsequently stepped down. A former Canadian international, Tait was one of Rugby Canada's most successful coaches, leading the sevens team to the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.  The controversy has divided Rugby Canada, with most of Tait's staff leaving. And it appears some could not resist taking a shot at the women given their performance at the Olympics under interim coach Mick Byrne. "Karma is a bitch! #Survivorsmyass," read a since-deleted tweet from the account of Jamie Cudmore, a former star player who now serves as an assistant coach with the Canadian men's 15s team and runs Rugby Canada's national development academy. Rugby Canada confirmed the tweet came from Cudmore's account. Cudmore did not immediately respond to an interview request. "Rugby Canada stands with our women's 7s athletes," the governing body said in a social media post. "We support the team in their efforts both on and off the rugby pitch and are proud of the way they have represented our country. Rugby Canada is aware of recent social media comments made about the team and worked to ensure they were removed as quickly as possible. "Our organizational values include solidarity and respect, and everyone on our staff is expected to help create an inclusive environment for all. We condemn any inappropriate comments directed at the team and our leadership will be meeting to address this matter immediately." Several of Cudmore's deleted tweets were captured and posted by sevens player Charity Williams.  "I wanted to take this moment to talk about our performance and how proud I am of this team beyond any result," Williams wrote on Instagram. "Because I am, and what we accomplished this year is far greater than one weekend. What this team stands for and who we have become means that young female athletes across Canada can play their sport and feel safe. I’m proud of that.  "But instead I have to sit here once again and share what we’ve been going through as a team. The consistent hatred we have received from people in our own organization. I’m only sharing because this is what we have been dealing with for months. From private texts, to public stalking online and in person. The bullying and harassment that we have received for coming forward is outrageous and scary at times. This is the reason we called for an internal investigation because we haven’t been safe." In the wake of that probe, the players said they had been let down by Rugby Canada's harassment and bullying policy — which has since been updated and replaced. Captain Ghislaine Landry also took to social media from Tokyo. "We always knew this was about more than rugby, about more than one tournament, even if it’s the Olympics. We knew the last nine months might put our Olympic dream in jeopardy, we had that discussion as a group, and still the decision was clear. We were ready to put our dreams at risk for change. "This has not been a distraction but it has taken a toll on us. And so, while we are heartbroken not to have been able to play our best, we are proud and united." In a statement released April 28, the players said their complaint "explained the psychological abuse, harassment and/or bullying these athletes feel they were subjected to in the centralized training environment.'' Much had been expected of the Canadian women in Tokyo, given their performance in Rio and the fact they were tied with Australia on points for second in the World Rugby Sevens Series standings when the pandemic shut down the season last year. But the Canadian women were not at their best in Tokyo, losing to Fiji and France after beating Brazil to miss out on the quarterfinals. Their next game in Tokyo is for ninth place. Canada had hoped to qualify for the medal rounds after group play as one of the two best third-place finishers. But it was pipped by the Russian team by virtue of having scored two more points given the two sides had the same minus-12 point differential. It came down to the wire, with the Russians blanked 33-0 by New Zealand in their final pool came. Canada would have advanced if the Kiwis had scored one more point. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter   This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

CFL, Alouettes confirm jointly that Montreal co-owner Sidney Spiegel has passed away

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:07
MONTREAL — The COVID-19 pandemic robbed the Montreal Alouettes of a 2020 season and co-owner Sidney Spiegel the chance to see his franchise play. Spiegel died Wednesday in Toronto. Both the Alouettes and CFL confirmed Siegel's passing in separate statements Friday. Spiegel's age wasn't divulged. But he was listed as being 89 when he and Gary Stern purchased the Alouettes from the CFL in January 2020. Stern was not only Spiegel's business partner but also his son-in-law. The CFL purchased the Alouettes in May 2019. The club had been previously owned by American businessman Robert Wetenhall from 1997 to the time of its sale to the league. Wetenhall was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2015. But Spiegel never had the chance to see his club play. The CFL cancelled the 2020 campaign due to the global pandemic and is scheduled to kick off a 14-game '21 regular season Aug. 5. Montreal will play its opening contest Aug. 14 in Edmonton. "It's unfortunate, it really is," Alouettes head coach Khari Jones told reporters during a video conference Friday. "I really feel for him and his family. "I'm really grateful they took this on with the challenge of owning a football team. It makes me want to work that much harder to make sure they see the fruits of their labour, they see this team do what they're supposed to do. I know his family will still be there and be watching along and I feel like he'll be watching as well." Stern had emerged as the face of the Alouettes franchise as Spiegel remained in the background.  Spiegel began his company, Crawford Steel, in 1944 originally as a small scrap yard that dealt in discarded metal and other materials. The company website says Stern came aboard in 1977 and the operation now consists of one scrap yard and 17 distribution centres. "The Canadian Football League is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Montreal Alouettes co-owner Sid Spiegel," the league said in its statement. "Sid and his son-in-law Gary Stern made a strong commitment to one of our great franchises at an important time in its history and have tackled the challenge and opportunity before them with passion and enthusiasm.  "We regret we did not have the time to know Sid better, this giant of a man and true entrepreneur who built a business empire with legendary drive and intelligence, and a family that now includes children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our condolences go out to those who knew him best and loved him deeply, and to everyone positively touched by his remarkable life, which certainly includes all of us in the CFL family." Added the Alouettes: "He will be in our hearts every game." Jones guided Montreal to a 10-8 record in 2019, his first year as head coach. He said he had a closer association with Stern but always knew of Spiegel's presence within the organization. "I didn't have a major relationship with (Spiegel) but we always knew he was there, we always knew what his thoughts were through Gary," Jones said. Spiegel is survived by his wife, Naomi, four children, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

An ocean menace: study finds ghost gear capturing species at risk and lobster

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:03
HALIFAX — A new study says lost and discarded fishing gear dumped off the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia — site of Canada's most lucrative lobster fishery — is trapping species at risk. Researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax also determined that the abandoned collection of traps, ropes, hooks and other equipment is costing the lobster industry plenty in lost catches. While the scourge of so-called ghost gear is a global problem, the study is described as the first of its kind to provide a preliminary assessment of its environmental and economic impacts. The findings are based on what researchers found when fishing boats were used to haul up more than seven tonnes of lost, discarded and abandoned gear from the ocean floor. Lobster traps made up the majority of the gear pulled to the surface, and the researchers calculated lost traps could be responsible for more than $175,000 in annual commercial losses. As well, those untended traps are continuing to capture other bottom-dwelling creatures, including groundfish that are considered species at risk. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Alberta’s COVID-19 plan could have ripple effects across Canada: top doctors

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 09:59
CALGARY — Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s decision to end isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19, or who have been in close contact with someone who has, could have ripple effects across the country. Chief public health officer Theresa Tam is urging people to continue isolating, get tested for COVID-19 and inform their close contacts even if it is no longer mandated. Alberta's case levels have been rising and the Delta variant is now dominant. Vaccination rates have also begun to lag with around 75 per cent of eligible Albertans getting at least one dose of vaccine and 64 per cent fully immunized. Tam says Alberta still has a long way to go to get enough people vaccinated to keep everyone safe. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, adds that if Alberta sees more infections among its unvaccinated populations that could spread throughout Canada as people travel. The Canadian Paediatric Society has also written an open letter to Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, urging her to reconsider lifting isolation and testing requirements The society says the plan could jeopardize the province's recovery and enhance viral spread. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Federal modelling warns of fourth COVID wave driven by Delta if reopening is too fast

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 09:51
Federal officials are warning that Canada could be on the brink of a fourth wave of COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious Delta variant if the country opens too fast before enough people have been vaccinated. Canada's chief public health officer says long-term forecasts indicate that a hasty approach to reopening could portend a sharp resurgence of the virus by the end of the summer. Dr. Theresa Tam says the new modelling underscores the need for caution in lifting public health measures as early signs of epidemic growth emerge in some areas. Tam says officials expect that the Delta variant could fuel the spread of the virus among younger unvaccinated people, leading to a serious rise of case counts and hospitalization rates this fall and winter. Tam says increasing vaccine acceptance among young adults aged 18 to 39 to 80 per cent from 72 per cent could cushion the fallout of a potential fourth wave. She says current COVID-19 case counts have plummeted by 93 per cent since the peak of the third wave, for an average of 640 new infections being reported daily over the past seven days. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Copyright collective can’t force tariffs on university, Supreme Court rules

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 09:35
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says a copyright collective cannot force York University to pay specific tariffs for the use of published works in the classroom. In its unanimous decision today, the high court says the law does not empower the Access Copyright collective to enforce royalty payments set out in a tariff approved by a federal board if a user chooses not to be bound by a licence.  The Supreme Court heard the case in response to appeals on distinct aspects from both York and Access Copyright, which administers reproduction rights for published works, collects royalties and distributes them to copyright holders.  After licence renewal negotiations between York and Access Copyright hit a stalemate, the university briefly complied with an interim tariff approved by a federal board but then opted out, introducing its own "fair dealing" guidelines.  Under the guidelines, York faculty and staff paid no licence fees for a significant amount of material.  The Federal Court of Canada allowed Access Copyright's action to enforce the interim tariff, but York successfully contested the point in the Federal Court of Appeal. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Freeland says Liberals will extend aid programs to October because of uneven rebound

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 09:25
OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is extending pandemic aid programs by an extra month beyond the previously planned end date. The decision means that wage and rent subsidies for businesses, and income support for workers out of a job or who need to take time off to care for family or stay home sick, will last until Oct. 23. Freeland says the government is also freezing rates for the wage and rent subsidies at current levels, holding off on the previously planned decline. She adds that benefits will also be frozen at $300 per week for the three "recovery" benefits, and four more weeks of eligibility will be added to a maximum of 54 weeks. Freeland says extending the aid is necessary because many small businesses and workers are not yet fully back on their feet. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Finance Department says federal deficit was $23.8 billion deficit over April and May

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 09:02
OTTAWA — The federal government ran a deficit of nearly $24 billion over the first two months of its fiscal year, a sharp drop from the unprecedented spending one year earlier at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Finance Department's regular fiscal monitor says the budgetary deficit over April and May was $23.8 billion, down from the $86.8 billion recorded over the same months in 2020. The department's report says the drop in spending was expected given the improved conditions from last spring when the economy had a historic slide, prompting the federal treasury to pump out an unprecedented amount of emergency aid. The fiscal monitor says the deficit now reflects ongoing economic challenges, including the effect of third-wave lockdowns and ongoing spending on emergency aid that is scheduled to wrap up this fall. Program spending, excluding net actuarial losses, was almost $76.9 billion over April and May, a decline of about $37 billion, or a 32.5 per cent drop, from the $113.8 billion in the same period one year earlier. Revenues reached over $59.5 billion over April and May, which was a $27.1-billion, or 83.6 per cent, year-over-year increase from the $32.4 billion in the previous fiscal year. The fiscal monitor says the result is largely due to the steep drop in tax revenues at the onset of the pandemic as large parts of the economy were shuttered. Public debt charges increased by $300 million, or 9.1 per cent, to $3.9 billion from the almost $3.6 billion in the previous fiscal year. The Finance Department says the change is due to higher inflation adjustments on real return bonds, offset partially by lower interest on treasury bills and the government's pension and benefit obligations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. The Canadian Press

Show Segments

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 08:06
Gormley, with guest host Mike Couros, Friday, July 30, 2021 8:30 – As we head into another summer long weekend, The Hutterian Emergency Response Team (HEART) is hoping they do not get called for another recovery.  The team, based out of Manitoba, travels across the country to support search and rescue and recovery efforts when people go missing or drown in rivers and lakes.  Their dive team uses robot navigation with sonar equipment. Their most recent Saskatchewan call was for a 36-year-old man who drowned in Lake Diefenbaker on Canada Day when he jumped in to save a struggling child.  On July 22, HEART located his body.  Manuel Maendel is a co-pilot for HEART and he joins Mike to tell us more about their team and the recoveries they have performed. LIVE: Manuel Maendel, HEART co-pilot. 9:00 – The Ultimate Open Lines. 10:00 – Earlier this month on a Wednesday evening, Cole Chorney and his wife who is 8-months pregnant had just finished a supper out in downtown Saskatoon when they decided to go for a walk and enjoy the nice summer evening.  They were just a few minutes into their walk when Cole says he was attacked by a man with a knife.  Cole says it’s concerning that such a beautiful place which is often full with families and children can be so dangerous and he joins Mike to share his story. LIVE: Cole Chorney, attacked in downtown Saskatoon. 10:30 – “But wait! There’s more” – the infomercial icon known for this famous line has died.  TV pitchman and inventor Ron Popeil died Wednesday at the age of 86. He’s known for items like the Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone and the Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ.  What’s the best or worst ‘as seen on TV’ purchase you have ever made? Give us a call at 1-877-332-8255. 11:00 – What time is it? It’s Eatin’ Time! with Belton Johnson – powered by the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association! Grillmaster Belton Johnson joins Mike with his recipe for Burnt Ends! LIVE: Belton Johnson. 11:30 – It’s summer holiday time, the kids are out of school, we take time off work to head to the lake or cabin or pack up the camper for a road trip, but how many of us actually unplug during our holidays? Can you still be reached by your work email? Would you be brave enough to shut your phone off? A study done out of the Ontario branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association found that out of 2,598 employees who were able to do work remotely, only 27 per cent actually unplugged from their job while on vacation. Do you unplug? Give us a call at 1-877-332-8255.

Canada captures Olympic gold in women’s eight; soccer women advance to semis

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 07:27
It was a gold medal nearly 30 years in making, and it came in dominant fashion on Tokyo Bay. Canada women's eight led from start to finish at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, racing to its first gold medal in the event since the 1992 Barcelona Games. It was a performance reminiscent of Canada's rowing glory days in the 1990s, when Kathleen Heddle and current chef de mission Marnie McBean headlined a dominant crew. The crew saw the thunderclouds in the sky as a sign that Heddle, who died of cancer at the age of 55 earlier this year, was there in spirit.  "It was just a reminder that Kathleen was with us — and we're the storm and we're going to bring it," Susanne Grainger said. "We had a moment as a boat to remember her and make sure we brought the amazing grace and grit she rowed with into our race." Grainger, Lisa Roman, Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Christine Roper, Andrea Proske, Madison Mailey, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys and coxswain Kristen Kit flew over the 2,000-metre distance, finishing with a time of five minutes 59.13 seconds. New Zealand grabbed silver (6:00.04), while China took bronze (6:01.21). The gold-medal performance came one day after Victoria's Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens of Surrey, B.C., earned a bronze Thursday in the women's pair.  Roman said the win is "huge" for Canada's rowers, who are coming off a disappointing performance five years ago in Rio, where the program secured only one medal.   "We've worked so hard," she said. "I'm so grateful I got to be a part of this." In women's soccer, Team Canada advanced to the semifinals after a gruelling win over Brazil that was determined by penalty kicks. Vanessa Gilles had the decisive goal and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé sealed the win with a diving two-handed save on Brazilian defender Rafaelle as Canada won 4-3 on penalty kicks. Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence and Adriana Leon also scored for Canada. The two teams held each other scoreless through regulation and extra time, despite close calls by both teams.  Those included when Leon, a late substitute, charged down the right wing in the 105th minute, firing a bouncing shot toward the Brazilian goal that went just wide. In another instance, Labbé kept Canada in the game in the 118th minute, punching away a header from Brazil's Erika to keep the game 0-0. "That's what the Olympics are about, these tight games that bring out performances that make us really proud," Labbé said. There were also near-misses for two of Canada's most celebrated Olympians on Friday.  Swimmer Penny Oleksiak finished fourth in the women's 100-metre freestyle, an event she won in Rio, while two-time defending gold medallist Rosie MacLennan finished fourth in the women's trampoline. MacLennan finished with a score of 55.460, less than three-tenths of a point short of Britain's Bryony Page for bronze. The 32-year-old revealed that she'd been fighting an ankle injury that had left her on crutches and wearing a walking boot only weeks before the Olympics.  Xueying Zhu and Lingling Liu, both of China, took gold and silver, respectively. Another swimming medal would have made six-time medallist Oleksiak Canada's most decorated Olympian of all-time. Oleksiak tried, swimming her fastest time and eclipsing the Olympic record of 52.70 that she and American Simone Manuel set together in 2016 when they tied for gold. But Australia's Emma McKeon lowered the record to 51.96 en route to Friday's victory, ahead of Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong who touched in 52.27. The 21-year-old from Toronto appeared philosophical about missing the record.  "I have six Olympic medals. There's only three people in Canada that can say that," she said. The other two are speedskater Cindy Klassen and cyclist/speedskater Clara Hughes. Oleksiak gets another chance at that historic medal in Sunday's medley relay, where she's expected to swim the final freestyle leg. If not, Oleksiak points out that she's still young — and there will be another Olympics in just three years.  In track and field, Canada will have two runners in the men's 3,000-metre steeplechase final after solid runs in the heats by Matt Hughes and John Gay. But there was heartbreak for Melissa Bishop-Nriagu as the world silver medallist and Canadian record-holder finished fourth in her heat of the women's 800 metres and didn't advance. Canada's Moh Ahmed finished sixth in the men's 10,000 metres. Ahmed pushed the pace when he took the lead with 600 metres to go, but he couldn't hold on. In other action, the men's volleyball team won their match against Venezuela, bringing their record to 2-2 and improving their chances at making the quarterfinals.  Canadian divers Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware qualified for the semifinals of the women's three-metre springboard event after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in Friday's preliminary round. In sailing, Canada's Sarah Douglas qualified for the medal race in the women's laser radial classification. Douglas finished second in the 10th and final preliminary race to qualify fourth for Sunday's final. But Canada's hopes of earning another medal in women's rugby sevens were dashed when the team finished third in Pool B and missed the quarterfinals. The Canadian squad won bronze in the sport's Olympic debut in 2016. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021.  The Canadian Press

Japan expands virus emergency after record spikes amid Games

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 06:31
TOKYO (AP) — Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to four more areas in addition to Tokyo on Friday following record spikes in infections as the capital hosts the Olympics. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared an emergency in Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba, near Tokyo, as well as in the western city of Osaka, effective Monday until Aug. 31. Emergency measures already in place in Tokyo will be extended until the end of August, after the Olympics and well into the Paralympics which start Aug. 24. Tokyo has reported a record increase in cases for three days in a row, including 3,865 on Thursday, before logging another 3,300 on Friday. The cases have doubled since last week, although officials say the surge is unrelated to the Olympics. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. TOKYO (AP) — Japan is set to expand the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo to neighboring areas and the western city of Osaka on Friday in the wake of a record surge in infections while the capital hosts the Olympics. A government panel approved the plan putting Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba, as well as Osaka, under the state of emergency from Monday until Aug. 31. The measures already in place in Tokyo and the southern island of Okinawa will be extended until the end of August. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is scheduled to officially announce the measures later Friday. Five other areas, including Hokkaido, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, will be placed under less-stringent emergency restrictions. Tokyo has reported a record rise in cases for three days in a row, including 3,865 on Thursday. The cases have doubled since last week, and officials have warned they may hit 4,500 a day within two weeks. Officials said 2,995 were hospitalized, about half the current capacity of 6,000 beds, with some hospitals already full. More than 10,000 others were isolating at home or designated hotels, with nearly 5,600 waiting at home while health centers decide where they will be treated. Tokyo is also setting up a facility for those requiring oxygen while waiting for hospital beds. At Friday’s meeting of government experts, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said the spike in Tokyo despite being under the state of emergency for two weeks is an “alarming development that is different from anything we have seen before.” Nationwide, Japan reported 10,687 confirmed cases Thursday, exceeding 10,000 for the first time. It has recorded 15,166 fatalities from COVID-19, including 2,288 in Tokyo, since the pandemic began. Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, but its seven-day rolling average is growing and now stands at 28 per 100,000 people nationwide and 88 per 100,000 in Tokyo, according to the Health Ministry. This compares to 18.5 in the United States, 48 in Britain and 2.8 in India, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The emergency measures focus on an alcohol ban at eateries and karaoke bars and their shortened hours, but they have become less effective because people are only requested to stay and work from home. Many were defying the measures as they have become tired of restrictive life and less cooperative even at a time when the more infectious delta strain is spreading. “We need to come up with measures that are effective,” Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike told a regular news conference Friday, without elaborating. Noting that adults in their 30s or younger dominate recent cases, Koike reminded them of following basic anti-virus measures including mask-wearing and avoiding having parties, urging them to “share the sense of crisis.” As of Thursday, 27% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated. The percentage of the elderly who are fully vaccinated is 71.5%. Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press

Ottawa drummer squirrelled away 1968 Joni Mitchell tape recorded by Jimi Hendrix

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 06:25
OTTAWA — An Ottawa drummer with a passion for collecting reel-to-reel tapes deserves applause for the coming release of a Joni Mitchell performance recorded over half a century ago by none other than virtuoso guitarist Jimi Hendrix. The impromptu 1968 recording session of blossoming singer-songwriter Mitchell at the national capital’s Le Hibou Coffee House has long been the stuff of pop music lore, documented in Hendrix’s diary. But the tape’s fate was a mystery for decades. Mitchell announced this week that selections from the Ottawa gig would be included on a volume of archival recordings from 1968-71 to be released in October. A 24-year-old Mitchell was in the middle of a two-week stint at Le Hibou on March 19, 1968, when Hendrix, playing the nearby Capitol Theatre, phoned the Alberta-born songstress, whom he would soon dub “fantastic girl with heaven words” in his diary. “I think I’ll record her tonight with my excellent tape recorder (knock on wood) … hmmm … can’t find any wood … everything’s plastic,” he wrote. In liner notes from Mitchell’s forthcoming release, posted on her website, she recalls the evening vividly. “They came and told me, ‘Jimi Hendrix is here, and he’s at the front door.’ I went to meet him. He had a large box. He said to me, ‘My name is Jimi Hendrix. I’m on the same label as you. Reprise Records.’ “He said, ‘I’d like to record your show. Do you mind?’ I said, ‘No, not at all.’ There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box. “The stage was only about a foot off the ground. He knelt at the edge of the stage, with a microphone, at my feet. All during the show, he kept twisting knobs.” The resulting tape was stolen from a vehicle a short time later. Hendrix died in 1970. And it seemed Mitchell’s show would linger only in the memory of those who came out to Le Hibou. More than 30 years later, drummer Richard Patterson, who had played in Ottawa band The Esquires, asked fellow musician Ian McLeish to digitize more than 300 tapes he had amassed over the years. “Some were tapes sent to him by artists trying to get on the air, some were tapes of the groups and the artists he’d been involved with. And some were just tapes that he found hanging around in the studios,” McLeish said in an interview. After Patterson’s death in 2011, his estate asked McLeish to go through the old recordings again. “And I found a bunch of tapes Richard hadn’t given me the first time. And one of them was Joni Mitchell at Le Hibou, March 1968, taped by Jimi.” McLeish digitized the tape, and the original, along with all the others from Patterson, were given to Library and Archives Canada. “But I kept the digitized versions of everything,” said McLeish, who releases vintage Canadian recordings through Mousehole Music. “And I was hoping that this Joni thing might be of interest to somebody someday. But I didn’t really think, being an old tape, that it was that important.” McLeish heard last year that Mitchell had begun issuing some early performances. “And I said, well, this would be right up her alley.” He got in touch with the performer’s management and sent along the digital file. “They passed it on to Joni and, from what I understand, she freaked out. She had thought this stuff was lost forever, and so was really, really pleased to hear this set.” McLeish said he looked into retrieving the tape from Library and Archives because Mitchell expressed interest in having the original, but COVID-19 restrictions complicated matters. Richard Green, now retired from the archives, was manager of the music section when Patterson’s tapes were offered to the institution. He recalls accepting them even though there was a freeze on such acquisitions at the time. “I essentially took it upon myself to bring the material in when I wasn’t supposed to, and to hide it away in the backlog.” A full inventory was not done at the time, so Green didn’t know the Mitchell tape was among the recordings. The mystery is how it got into Patterson’s collection in the first place, McLeish said. “I don’t really know, because Richard’s gone now, how he got a hold of it. But I assume because he was always picking up tapes and adding them to the collection, either somebody gave it to him because they knew he was archiving stuff. Or he saw it somewhere and said, ‘Hey, can I take this?’” This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Still hope for an average crop in some parts of Sask.

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 06:00
For many farmers across Saskatchewan, it has been a tough year with many challenges ahead. Whether it’s from the drought or an infestation, there’s no shortage of hardship. However, there is still hope for a decent crop for some. Todd Lewis farms southeast of Regina. He’s also the president of the Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan. There’s a chance he could get an alright yield this year. “We’re in an area that we’ve caught some showers,” Lewis said. We’re in the heavy clay south of Regina. Once we do get some showers, the ground will hold the moisture a little bit better than other areas. “We have a possibility of having an average crop, especially if we get another rain here.” He’s still seen much better years, but he’s grateful for what he has. “Ninety per cent of the province, I’m sure, would trade with what we have in our area right now,” he said. However, there’s still no guarantee he’ll be able to make a good profit this year. “There’s still concern. The crop’s far from being in the bin yet … We’re quickly coming to the end of any kind of additional filling to these crops,” Lewis said. Some rain in the next week or so would definitely help to maintain his crops, but the forecast shows dry, sunny days ahead. “The jury’s out here yet on if we’re going to have an average crop … (but) we do have something at least that we’re going to put through the combine,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s a different story than a lot of the province.”