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Health

New Brunswick RCMP member tests positive for coronavirus

A police officer in New Brunswick has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating at home.

“At this time, the case is not believed to be related to frontline interaction,” RCMP said in a statement released on Saturday.

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In the meantime, police said there is no anticipated impact on frontline policing or deployability.

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World News

The disgusting mess clogging Halifax’s sewers during COVID-19

As more Nova Scotians stay home in order to comply with the province’s state of emergency, it’s putting a strain on Halifax’s sewer system.

New photos released by Halifax Water on Friday give a good picture of what employees at the utility company are facing as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in their own way.

They show “disposable wipes” and plastic gloves gathered into piles of brown and off-white material.

Halifax Water has already issued a warning about the use of so-called “flushable” wipes.

They are not actually meant to be flushed down the toilet and don’t break down like toilet paper does.

As a result, they can cause messy clogs, Halifax Water said in a tweet.

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“When residents are quarantining or self-isolating at home due to COVID-19, nobody wants to be out of their residence due to a sewer back-up.”

Halifax Water spokesperson James Campbell told Global News last month that it doesn’t want to have to deal with clogs as it works to keep essential services up and running.

Halifax Water will clear up any clogs from the sewer main in the street up to the property line, but Campbell cautioned homeowners that they’re on their own if a blockage forms in the home.

“Accessing a plumber might not be all that easy at this time period,” he said. “In the meantime, you’ve got all this sewage in your basement which is potentially very hazardous that you have to deal with.”

The best idea to dispose of wet wipes and plastic gloves is to throw them in the garbage.

The utility also warned that in the midst of trying to fix such a mess, government instructions on social distancing may be compromised, posing a serious health risk to workers and homeowners.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

With files from Global News’ Elizabeth McSheffrey 

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Politics

Situation is under control, but more steps to be taken, says PM Lee who will address nation on Covid-19 at 4pm on April 3

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will address the nation at 4pm on Friday (April 3), saying in a Facebook post that the Government will take additional steps to control the Covid-19 situation.

“Since Covid-19, we have responded to the crisis calmly and systematically, planning ahead and adjusting our measures as the situation changed. The current situation is under control, but we want to take a few more steps now,” said PM Lee in a Facebook post.

Singaporeans can watch his address on TV and radio, or on his Facebook page.

“Let me reassure Singaporeans that our food supply is secure and adequate. Buy just what you need, and share any extra you have with those who need it. Let’s stay calm and united during this challenging period,” he said.

The number of Covid-19 cases rose past 1,000 this week. Singapore has also seen five deaths from the coronavirus.

The Republic has adopted a series of increasingly stringent safe distancing measures in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Late last month, the Government put in place strict measures, including closing bars and entertainment venues, suspending religious gatherings and services, and limiting gatherings outside of work and school to 10 people or less.

For now, these measures will stay in force until April 30.

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Politics

New law proposed to protect individuals, firms whose contracts have been affected by Covid-19

SINGAPORE – A new Bill aimed at protecting individuals and companies unable to fulfil their contractual obligations because of the Covid-19 pandemic will be introduced in Parliament next week, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said on Wednesday (April 1).

The Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill will, for instance, seek to prevent a hotel or catering firm from forfeiting a deposit when a wedding or business function has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The ministry said it intends to have the process of passing the new Law expedited through a Certificate of Urgency signed by the President, which would allow all three readings of the Bill to be taken in one Parliament sitting.

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said the Bill was a whole-of-government effort involving agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as committee members from the private sector, such as law practice Drew & Napier, DBS and Capitaland.

“The Bill was put together very quickly, in a matter of days, as we saw the situation deteriorating,” he said.

When passed next week, the law will also prevent landlords from terminating commercial leases due to non-payment of rent if this is due to Covid-19, such as a restaurant whose footfall has fallen because of the virus outbreak.

Although rent will continue to accumulate and be payable, they will be due only six months later.

In this way, the law will provide temporary cash-flow relief for both businesses and individuals who may otherwise have to pay damages or risk having their deposits or assets forfeited from failing to meet their contractual obligations, said the ministry.

Explaining the need for the temporary law, the Ministry of Law said the pandemic, and the resulting public health measures imposed by governments around the world, have caused “unprecedented and unforeseeable social and economic impact and led to supply chain disruptions and manpower shortages”.

“In many cases, this has undermined the ability of individuals and businesses to fulfil contractual obligations,” it said.

“It would be unfair to hold them strictly liable for their failure to do so.”

The proposed law will apply retroactively, and cover contractual obligations to be performed on or after Feb 1 this year, which the ministry said was the approximate date when Covid-19 started to significantly impact Singapore.

It will cover contracts entered into or renewed on or before March 24, which is the day the multi-ministry task force set up to deal with the outbreak announced stricter measures to minimise the virus’ spread, such as the closure of entertainment venues, and deferment or cancellation of all events and mass gatherings.

The ministry said the proposed law will not absolve or remove parties’ contractual obligations, but suspend them for a prescribed period, which is six months from when it becomes law.

For instance, it provides that a hotel cannot forfeit a deposit for a wedding dinner if it is postponed to a later date – and must restore the deposit if it was forfeited earlier – but this protection does not apply if the wedding couple cancels the event or switches hotels.

To guard against unfair outcomes, MinLaw said it will employ about 100 assessors to resolve disputes arising from application of measures under the law.

An assessor, who will be a professional such as an accountant or a lawyer, will decide if the inability to perform contractual obligations was due to Covid-19, and will have the power to grant relief that is “just and equitable in the circumstances”.

“Parties will not be allowed to be represented by lawyers, and there will be no costs orders,” said the ministry.

“Assessors’ decisions will be final and not appealable.”

The Minister for Law may also extend the prescribed period of relief for up to six more months, but the law will cease to have effect after one year, said the ministry.

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Health

Agriculture worker conditions in Okanagan a ‘ticking time bomb’ for COVID-19: advocate group

A group that speaks on behalf of seasonal agriculture workers in the Okanagan Valley believes the government needs to better monitor living and working conditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Robyn Gunn with Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA) says the outbreak of the virus at a West Kelowna business, where so far 19 workers have tested positive, is unfortunate but not surprising.

She calls housing for migrant workers a “ticking time bomb.”

“Given what is happening right now we need to really look at what is actually happening on farms and we need to improve the standards,” Gunn said. “We need to have more oversight. We need to have more inspection.”

Agricultural producers are on the honour system when it comes to enforcing 14-day quarantines on foreign workers who arrived in Canada since provincial and federal orders were issued in late March.

Housing conditions for workers, including sanitation to prevent the spread of the virus, is also up to farmers, which Gunn said is worrisome.

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“Self-regulation does not work. It has never worked,” Gunn said.

Former orchardist Robert Hogue agrees with Gunn’s concerns.

Hogue wants to stop the seasonal agricultural worker program in Canada during the pandemic.

“Farmers are under the eight-ball right now,” Hogue said. “They are going to find themselves …scrambling to get work done and what are they going to do? Many of them are going to cheat.”

The B.C. government announced that the Medical Services Plan will cover the cost of COVID-19 medical treatment for temporary foreign workers just as it would for locals.

Gunn is hoping the government steps up enforcement on agricultural workers living conditions to ensure the entire community is protected during the pandemic.

Seventy-five workers have been impacted by the outbreak at Bylands Nurseries Ltd., including 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers, according to the Interior Health Authority.

The migrant workers arrived in Kelowna from outside of Canada on March 12.

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Health

2 Edmonton Police Service employees have now tested positive for COVID-19

The Edmonton Police Service confirmed Thursday that a second employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

An EPS spokesperson told Global News the second confirmed case involves “a civilian member” and that this marks EPS’ “first case of the virus acquired through exposure (not travel).”

“Provincial health guidelines have been followed to limit any additional exposure of our members,” EPS spokesperson Carolin Maran said in an email. “This individual was not in frequent contact with the public in their capacity as an EPS employee.

“They are currently in self-isolation at home where they are expected to make a full recovery.”

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Earlier this week, Maran told Global News that on March 25, EPS learned that a “sworn member tested positive for COVID-19.”


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World News

Edmonton restaurant owner encourages people to think beyond delivery apps during COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis is a critical time to support local businesses — including restaurants — in Edmonton who are adapting to just take-out and delivery.

One independent restaurant owner is encouraging people to think beyond using third-party apps.

Paul Shufelt owns Workshop Eatery on the south side near Summerside and Woodshed Burgers on 124 Street in central Edmonton. Like many others right now, he has pivoted his business model.

“We’ve been open here just shy of five years and I’ve never laid anybody off — between our two restaurants, I’ve had to lay off 40 people shortly after this started,” he said on Thursday from Workshop.

Shufelt said he has been able to bring some employees back, to take phone orders and make deliveries.

He said he wants to keep everything internal rather than going with a third-party app like Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes.

“The big players are playing in that 25 to 30 per cent range,” Shufelt explained.

He said a restaurant typically operates with about 30 per cent labour costs.

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“You’re now giving that entire dollar value to a third-party delivery driver,” he said.

“Yes that driver needs a job as well, but you are taking that right out of people in the restaurant.”

Shufelt said it’s one thing when it’s a side part of the business, but another when take-out and delivery is all that’s left.

In Alberta, the industry as a whole is taking a big hit.

Mark Von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice president for Western Canada, said worries his members is that once social distancing becomes a thing of the past and dine-in service can resume, is the amount of debt they’ll have to take on to restore cash flow.

“Given the thin margins in the industry, that would take a long time to pay that money back. So some of our members are just saying, ‘I can’t afford to do that.’ Either close or close later because of the huge amount of additional debt that will just never be able to be paid back,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of members now scrambling to figure out how they’re going to pay their lease, never mind all of the other utilities and other bills that they have to pay as well with no income.”

At Workshop, employees just want to help wherever they can.

“Who’s left employed is happy and grateful, so there’s been no complaining that’s for sure,” said managing partner Kristina Shufelt.

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Health

U.S. border construction projects like Keystone XL spur rural coronavirus fears

Major construction projects moving forward along the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are raising fears that the coronavirus could race through temporary camps and workers could spread it to nearby rural communities that would not be able to handle an outbreak.

Despite a clampdown on people’s movements in much of the U.S., groups of workers travel every day from camps in New Mexico to build President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Along the northern border, TC Energy says it will start work this month on the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which could bring thousands of workers to rural communities in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Residents, Indigenous leaders and state officials have warned that the influx of outsiders could make problems worse in rural areas with little or no medical infrastructure capable of dealing with a surge of infections. Both the border wall and pipeline are exempt from stay-at-home restrictions intended to reduce the spread of the virus.

Faith Spotted Eagle, an environmental activist and member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, said she’s reminded of her grandmother’s stories about the tribe’s struggles to survive small pox and the Spanish flu.

“It’s the 1800s again, the cavalry is coming in and they’re going to set up their fort, whether it’s justified or not,” she said.

Cities have borne the brunt of the virus so far in the U.S., but rural areas are expected to be hit as well.

That’s a fear in tiny Columbus, New Mexico, where residents worry about the influx of border wall workers who often gather outside the town’s few restaurants while the rest of the community has been ordered to stay at home and keep their distance from others.

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In the town of less than 1,500 people, about 30 construction workers are setting up camp in tightly packed trailers, residents say. Others are staying at two small hotels while they put up bollard-style fencing along the scrub desert — a small piece of about 320 kilometres of barriers being built along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“My bottom line is nothing is worth thousands or hundreds or tens of people getting COVID,” said resident July McClure, who manages a local RV park and volunteers with the fire department.

About 160 kilometres to the west, Diana Hadley said construction has been “going on like mad” along the Arizona section of the border. Hadley, whose family owns a border cattle ranch, says workers carpool daily to the barrier and stay together in hotels, which she fears makes transmissions among them and to the community more likely.

“It would be safer if they just shut down the work — safer for them and for everyone else,” she said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the contractors working on the southern border, said it follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but declined to share specifics on how it’s protecting public health during construction.

Just south of the Canadian border, workers have begun arriving in the small Montana town of Glasgow to work on the 1,930-kilometre Keystone pipeline this month, according to local officials and the governor’s office. Keystone would tie into another pipeline at the Nebraska-Kansas line that would carry crude oil south to the Gulf of Mexico for refining or export.

First proposed in 2008, the pipeline was stalled for years by legal challenges and rejected twice under President Barack Obama. Trump revived it by personally approving the line’s border crossing permit, and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday that the provincial government was investing more than $1 billion to get work going quickly.

Calgary-based TC Energy, the project’s sponsor, said it’s collaborating with health officials in northern Montana to minimize risks, including checking everyone entering work sites for fever and ensuring workers follow social distancing guidelines. The company says more than 10,000 construction jobs would be created by the $8-billion project, with about 100 workers initially at the border crossing.

“We’re very cognizant of what’s going on,” spokesman Terry Cunha said. “We’re talking about thousands of jobs… We want to make sure what they do will ensure the safety of everybody.”

The company had planned to build 11 camps for workers along the pipeline’s route — six in Montana, four in South Dakota and one in Nebraska, according a U.S. State Department review of the project. Those plans were being reviewed in light of the pandemic, but they will still be required eventually, Cunha said Wednesday.

The camps would be built on open land and house up to 1,000 people, according to the State Department review.

Some local officials aren’t concerned about the influx of workers coinciding with the spread of the virus. In the cattle and wheat country of Montana’s remote Phillips County, nearly the size of Connecticut but with less than 5,000 people, county commissioner Richard Dunbar predicted the camps will not be built until the health threat has eased.

He said he thinks college students who left school early and returned home pose a greater threat to their elderly relatives than the construction workers.

Several tribes whose land is skirted by the proposed pipeline route in South Dakota and Montana have enacted stricter coronavirus measures than the states. Many tribal members worry what a widespread outbreak would do to a population already at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Spotted Eagle said she did not believe any promised safety measures, such as quarantining workers or regular screenings, would be enough to keep communities safe. Many health clinics have just a few beds and even fewer ventilators.

Floyd Azure, chairman of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes on Montana’s Fort Peck Reservation, said an influx of pipeline workers to northeastern Montana could accelerate the spread of the virus that has so far spared the reservation. He worries about a repeat of the problems that accompanied an oil boom in the region last decade — from drugs to sex trafficking — now exacerbated by the virus.

The pipeline would run just outside the reservation’s boundaries. Azure said he had no authority to stop the work and has been unable to convince state officials or federal lawmakers to intervene.

“We have enough problems on this reservation without someone creating more for us,” he said.

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Categories
Sports

Your Daily Dose: 10 unlikely champions

1 STEVEN BRADBURY, OLYMPIC SPEED SKATING, 2002

Sport has some basic rules. Put the ball over the net. Stay on your feet. Bradbury, the Australian, did the second and it took him from last to first. In the men’s short track 1,000m speed skating event, Bradbury was in fifth place. Then the top four skaters got in a tangle in the end, all fell and Bradbury skated past them and over the finish line. Then, fittingly, he said: “I don’t think I’ll take the medal as the minute-and-a-half of the race I actually won. I’ll take it as the last decade of the hard slog I put in.”

Watch: youtu.be/vN7ih576VYM

2 RULON GARDNER, OLYMPIC WRESTLING, 2000

Aleksandr Karelin once carried a fridge up to his flat. He reportedly weighed 7kg at birth. He won three successive Olympic super heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestling gold medals (1988, 1992, 1996) and had not lost a bout in 13 years and was nicknamed “The Experiment”. A fourth Olympic gold in 2000 was a formality because he was fighting a relatively unheralded Wyoming farmboy named Rulon Gardner. But Gardner somehow, incredibly, prevailed, and later said: “I kept saying, ‘I think I can. I think I can.’ But it wasn’t until it was over that I knew I could.”

Watch: youtu.be/yJ4qh3P92VQ

3 NIGERIAN FOOTBALL TEAM, OLYMPICS, 1996

In the semi-finals, the Nigerians played a Brazilian team which had Ronaldo, Bebeto and Roberto Carlos. Nigeria trailed 1-3. In the final, the Nigerians played an Argentinian team which had Hernan Crespo and Diego Simeone. Nigeria trailed 1-2. Yet the African team won both matches, the semi-final 4-3 and the final 3-2, on their way to a miraculous gold. In Nigeria that night, wrote The Guardian, some bars ran out of beer.

Watch: youtu.be/UtZl_sq7kVA

4 BUSTER DOUGLAS, HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING, 1990

In Mike Tyson’s 35th fight, Michael Spinks lasted 91 seconds. In Tyson’s 37th fight, Carl Williams was down in 93 seconds. So it was appropriate that in Tyson’s 38th fight, Buster Douglas was a 40-1 outsider. But Tyson was not in perfect shape and Douglas was unafraid. Despite being knocked down in the eighth round, Douglas knocked Tyson down for the first time ever in the 10th round and won. “I knew he would break,” Douglas told The Independent years later, “if I kept on hitting him. And what did I have to lose?”

Watch: youtu.be/Rv4ro4D16H0

5 BORIS BECKER, WIMBLEDON, 1985

The son of a German architect had a beautifully-built serve which he used to knock down people and history. When the tournament began in 1985, Becker was world No. 20 and not widely known; when the tournament ended, he had become, and would stay, unforgettable. The 17-year-old had style, power, joy and timing. His 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win in the final over Kevin Curren made him the youngest champion on those lawns, the first German man to win there and the first unseeded player to grab the men’s singles.

Watch: youtu.be/Y5M1aR5pCgA

6 HINAKO SHIBUNO, BRITISH OPEN GOLF, 2019

She had never played a tournament outside Japan. She had never played in an LPGA event. She had never been at a Major. But Shibuno, a cheerful presence who was dubbed “Smiling Cinderella”, won the British Open at Woburn by a single shot. When asked by a reporter how she would spend her winnings, she replied: “Could you tell me how much I won?”

Watch: youtu.be/tmXqx5L9jkw

TOMORROW: Comebacks worth coming back to

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Categories
Sports

Coronavirus: Sports streaming service DAZN to stop paying rights fees to leagues, says source

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Streaming service DAZN Group has told sports leagues it will not pay rights fees for any suspended or cancelled games amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The streaming service is the first media company operating in the United States that has decided to withhold fees, which are paid to sports leagues for the right to air events, as broadcast networks have traditionally continued to pay the fees when games have not aired.

The move was first reported earlier on Tuesday by Sports Business Journal.

DAZN will also not pay for future seasons until the company is given an update on when those seasons will begin, the source said.

DAZN did not want to continue paying the fees because it has no clarity on when sports seasons will resume, and is focused on defraying costs, the source added.

The streaming service, launched in 2016, is available in nine countries including the United States and Canada. It streams boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) in the United States and holds streaming rights for the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) in Japan.

The spread of the coronavirus has upended sports across the world, including causing the Tokyo Summer Olympics to be postponed for one year.

MLB said earlier this month it will push back the opening of its 2020 regular season, but did not say when it expected to begin the season. The National Basketball Association earlier this month also suspended its current season.

The NFL, which begins its regular season in September, has not announced a delay due to the coronavirus.

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