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'A trip from hell:' Canadian passengers on Swoop flight to Hamilton 'stranded' in Mexico –



More than 100 Swoop Airlines passengers who were expecting to arrive in Hamilton’s John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport on Tuesday were “stranded in Mexico” after a cancelled flight.

Passengers say they had a hard time getting information from the airline, were offered “dingy” places to stay in unsafe areas of the city, not provided with transportation and in some cases told they’d need to wait days for a new flight home. 

Amrit Jhooty, 26, from Brampton, Ont., tells CBC News she and other Canadians were set to board Flight WO651 from Cancún International Airport around 1:25 p.m.

Almost two hours later, staff at the airport told them the flight would be delayed.

“We kept asking someone at the front desk what was happening and they said it’ll only be a 5-10 minute delay,” she says.

“People were getting worried because we’re two hours in with no answers.”

Between 3 and 4 p.m., Jhooty says anxious passengers heard there was an accident on board caused the delay.

Helen Ball, 61, frrom Brampton, tells CBC News that about an hour later, airport staff revealed a flight attendant suffered a knee injury which required a trip to the hospital. 

Swoop told CBC News in a statement “industry regulations stipulate that we cannot operate a flight without a full complement of flight attendants.”

They watched the stewardess roll through the airport with ice on her knee, but still, Jhooty and Ball expected to make it home.

“It’s ridiculous to think the plane may have had to fly back empty with just the crew,” Ball says. “What a waste.”

Jennifer Woo, 37, from Bowmanville, was also waiting with her two daughters and husband, Jesse.

When they heard about the longer delay, they approached the staff to get Jesse’s medication from his checked baggage.

“He needs medication every five hours or else he’s in pain,” Woo says.

“They told us they could and then they couldn’t and then another person told us they couldn’t do it … and we made them very well aware that he needed it.”

We had to show airport staff the flight was cancelled for them to believe us.– Jennifer Woo, passenger on Flight WO651 

But at about 7:00 p.m., the mood in the airport worsened.

“Family members started messaging us saying that online our flight was cancelled,” Jhooty says.

Woo says she also got texts from family saying Hamilton listed the flight as cancelled.

Not long after, passengers say Swoop began sending emails to passengers officially cancelling the flight.

“I had a panic attack,” Jhooty says.

Jhooty and Woo say no one was able to get a hold of Swooop members, alleging that some staff hung up on them and did not respond via social media or email.

“When an incident occurs, call centre wait times do increase. We understand how frustrating it is when travel doesn’t go as planned and apologize for the inconvenience,”  read a statement from Swoop Airlines.

They also say tensions within the airport began to flare with miscommunications from employees and few accommodations, though Swoop Airlines says it offered meal vouchers.

“We had to show airport staff the flight was cancelled for them to believe us,” Woo says.

But Swoop also offered alternative flights. Some were set to take off the next day or the day after. 

Though, Jhooty would have to wait until Jan. 23 while Woo and Ball’s alternative flight was scheduled for Jan. 25.

“It was ridiculous,” Ball says.

Three to four more hours of waiting the hungry, fatigued and frustrated passengers began to collect their luggage at around 11 p.m.

Woo says her husband finally got a chance to take his medication.

“He was in pain today though … when we land and get back we’ll have to set up a doctor’s appointment to make sure everything is ok,” she says.

‘Cockroach-infested, two-star, really dingy place’

Swoop also provided passengers with a list of places to stay and Jhooty says the airline offered to pay for two nights. Passengers say one spot was a hostel while all three areas were in “unsafe” areas — and customers add the airline didn’t provide any means of transportation.

Ball’s daughter described the area where they stayed as what appeared to be “cartel territory.”

“It was a cockroach-infested, two-star, really dingy place,” Woo says. “It was a trip from hell.”

“The bed was on a piece of plywood … people in the hotel said ‘you really shouldn’t leave after dark because it’s a dangerous area,’ ” she says.

Jhooty opted for her own hotel instead.

Now, passengers are looking for compensation.

“I’ve spent $600 out of pocket, maybe more,” Ball says.

Ball, Woo and Jhooty are expecting to return to Canada on non-Swoop flights.

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Canada's biggest maker of paper towel concerned about supply amid COVID-19 –



The head of Canada’s largest manufacturer of tissue products says he’s concerned about the industry’s supply of paper towel ahead of a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Kruger Products CEO Dino Bianco says demand for paper towel has soared as people stay at home and clean more frequently.

He says the industry is “very tight” on paper towel inventory across North America, despite efforts to build up supply.

Bianco says Kruger, which makes SpongeTowels paper towels, is pushing to open its new plant in Sherbrooke, Que., to add more capacity in Canada.

Although slated to open in February 2021, he said the company is trying to get the factory up and running faster. Some machines started over the summer, while more are set to come online in October.

Bianco said the plant will increase the company’s paper towel and toilet paper manufacturing capacity by 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, he says the company is also seeing a shortage of the recycled fibres used in about 25 per cent of its tissue products.

Bianco says Kruger recycles white paper used in offices, but that the market has dried up because people aren’t in offices printing.

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Woman suspected of mailing ricin to White House arrested at U.S.-Canada border –



Three U.S. law enforcement officials say a woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border.

The officials say the woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and is expected to face federal charges. The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Aaron Bowker of the CBP confirmed with CBC News that the arrest took place at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, N.Y., and that the individual was travelling from Canada into the United States.

The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House.

An RCMP spokesperson told CBC News on Saturday that it was assisting the FBI in the investigation and that “initial information from the investigation suggests that the letter originated in Canada.”

An official from the Western District of New York told CBC News on Monday they “don’t have a time yet for a court appearance.”

There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin, which can be derived from castor oil plants.

A navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes containing the substance from which ricin is derived to Trump, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and James Mattis, then the secretary of defence. At least two of the letters made it to a Pentagon mail sorting facility.

The Utah man has yet to be tried in the case and could face life in prison if found guilty.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to then-president Barack Obama and other officials.

The previous year, a woman was accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to Obama and Michael Bloomberg, then the mayor of New York City. The woman, who tried to frame her husband for the scheme, was sentenced to 18 years in prison after reaching a plea deal.

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Canada confirms 873 more coronavirus infections as cases continue to surge – Global News



Canada has diagnosed 873 more people with the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s surging case count to 143,527 on Sunday.

Provincial and territorial health authorities reported six more people had died from the virus, although those numbers are incomplete as British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon and Northwest Territories did not report updates over the weekend.

Since the pandemic began, 9,217 people have died from COVID-19 in Canada, while 124,691 have recovered from the virus after falling ill. So far, more than 7.8 million tests have been administered across the country.

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Twenty new cases and no new deaths were reported in Saskatchewan. A total of 1,807 infections have been diagnosed there since the pandemic began. Of those, 24 patients have died and 1,643 have recovered.

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Health officials have administered 171,945 tests so far.

In Manitoba, provincial health authorities detected 29 new confirmed cases of the virus, though one previously announced diagnosis was removed from the total. Overall, the province has recorded 1,586 cases.

As of Sunday, the province had administered 164,177 tests in total, while 1,216 people had recovered after becoming infected and 16 people had died.

Ontario has diagnosed 46,849 people with the the virus, including 365 announced Sunday along with one more death.

To date, 2,827 people have died throughout the province while more than 3.5 million tests for COVID-19 have been conducted and 40,968 people have recovered.

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In Quebec, the province hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials confirmed 462 new cases of the virus, bringing the provincial tally to 67,542.

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In total, the province has confirmed 5,802 people have died from the virus, including five deaths on Sunday. One of those deaths occurred within the last 24 hours, while the other four occurred earlier this month. So far, more than 2 million people in Quebec have been tested for the virus, while 58,796 have recovered.

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New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 or deaths relating to the virus, and only one case remains active. The provincial tally remains at 194 confirmed diagnoses and two deaths.

There have been 69,791 tests for the virus administered by the province.

Nova Scotia’s provincial cases numbers remained at 1,086 after health authorities detected no new infections or deaths. In total, 88,514 people have been tested, 65 have died and 1,021 are in recovery.

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Newfoundland and Labrador saw no new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday. The provincial total remains at 272, while health authorities said a total of three people had previously died from the virus.

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N.L. has conducted more than 37,738 tests for COVID-19, while 268 people have recovered from the virus.

Nunavut confirmed its first two cases of the virus on Saturday. However, a spokesperson from the territory said the cases will not be counted in Nunavut as the individuals who contracted COVID-19 were not residents.

“[The cases] will be counted in the jurisdiction where they contracted the virus,” they said.

So far, 2,593 tests have been administered in Nunavut.

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In British Columbia, provincial health officials reported a total of 7,720 cases on Friday and 223 deaths.

In Alberta provincial health officials recorded 107 new infections Friday for a cumulative total of 16,381 infections and 255 deaths.

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Coronavirus: Biden compares U.S. and Canada COVID-19 deaths to show Trump administration’s failures

No new cases were diagnosed in Prince Edward Island during its most recent update on Wednesday, keeping the provincial tally at 57. The province has yet to see its first COVID-19-related death.

To date, 56 in the province have recovered from the virus.

All 15 confirmed cases in the Yukon have recovered. Nobody in the territory has died from the virus.

All five confirmed cases in the Northwest Territories have also recovered.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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