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Australia, Thailand report 1st COVID-19 deaths as coronavirus continues global spread – CBC.ca

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Coronavirus cases surged in Italy, and France closed the world-famous Louvre Museum on Sunday as the deadly outbreak has now hit more than 60 countries and the death toll worldwide reached at least 3,000.

New fronts in the outbreak opened rapidly over the weekend, deepening the sense of crisis that has already sent financial markets plummeting, emptied the streets in many cities and rewritten the routines of millions of people. More than 88,000 around the globe have been infected, with the virus appearing on every continent but Antarctica.

Australia and Thailand reported their first deaths Sunday, while the Dominican Republic and the Czech Republic recorded their first infections.

Italian authorities announced that the number of people infected in the country soared 50 per cent to 1,694 in just 24 hours, and five more people had died, bringing the death toll there to 34. France raised its number of reported cases to 130, an increase of 30 from the day before, and said it has seen two deaths from the virus.

The U.S. government advised Americans against travelling to the two northern Italian regions hit hardest, including Lombardy, which includes Milan. Major American airlines began suspending flights to Milan.

The travel restrictions against Italy and the rising alarm in France could deal a heavy blow to the countries’ tourism industries. Spring, especially Easter, is a hugely popular time for schoolchildren to visit France and Italy.

Medical staff wearing protective suits carry the coffin containing the body of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in Laigueglia, northwest Italy, on Sunday. (The Associated Press)

Tourism accounts for 13 per cent of the economy in Italy, a country famed for its world-class art museums, archeological sites and architectural treasures. More than 5.6 million Americans visit Italy every year, representing nine per cent of foreign tourists.

Iran, Iraq and South Korea, among other places, also saw the number of infections rise. Cases in the U.S. climbed to at least 74 with the first death inside the United States reported on Saturday — a man in his 50s in Washington state who had underlying health problems but hadn’t travelled to any affected areas.

As a result, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Saturday, directing state agencies to use “all resources necessary” to prepare for and respond to the outbreak. The declaration also allows the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary.

Panic buying of daily necessities emerged in Japan, where professional baseball teams have played spring-training games in deserted stadiums.

Tourist sites across Asia, Europe and the Mideast were deserted. Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia have been closed to foreign pilgrims. And governments have closed schools and banned big gatherings.

20 cases in Canada

Ontario confirmed three new positive cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 11.

The new cases involve a woman, 34, in York Region, and another woman, 51, and her husband, 69, in Durham region. Both women had just returned from Iran.

York Region public health officials have begun a search for anyone who might have come in contact with one of the cases, either in the air or on a GO bus to Richmond Hill.

Watch: How Canadians can prepare for coronavirus outbreak

From stocking up on supplies to changing travel plans, The National looks at how Canadians can prepare for a coronavirus outbreak and what may be unnecessary. 1:52

Also on Saturday, health officials in B.C. announced the province’s 8th case of coronavirus, a woman visiting the province from Tehran, Iran.

Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said the woman is in her 60s and had been visiting family in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Henry says she arrived earlier this week and began experiencing symptoms once in Canada. Henry said that her illness is mild and she is recovering in the home where she is staying.

There are  currently 20 confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada, including one in Quebec. There have been no deaths.

Louvre closes in Paris

In France, the archbishop of Paris told parish priests to put the Communion bread in worshippers’ hands, not in their mouths. French officials advised people to forgo the customary kisses on the cheek upon greeting others. And the Louvre closed after workers who guard the Mona Lisa and the rest of its priceless artworks expressed fear of being contaminated by the stream of visitors from around the world.

The Louvre, the world’s most popular museum, got 9.6 million visitors last year, almost three-quarters of them from abroad.

Louvre staffers were also concerned about museum workers from Italy who had come to the museum to collect works by Leonardo da Vinci that were loaned for a major exhibition.

Tourists stand outside the Louvre museum in Paris on Sunday. (Rafael Yaghobzadeh/Associated Press)

“We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere,” said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative. “The risk is very, very, very great.” While there are no known infections among the museum’s 2,300 workers, “it’s only a question of time,” he said.

The shutdown followed a government decision Saturday to ban indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people.

Among the frustrated visitors was Charles Lim from Singapore. He and his wife, Jeanette, chose Paris to celebrate their first wedding anniversary and bought tickets in advance for the Louvre.

“We waited for about three hours before giving up,” he said. “It was incredibly disappointing.”

More deaths in China, South Korea and Iran

China, where the outbreak began two months ago, on Sunday reported a slight uptick in new cases over the past 24 hours to 573, the first time in five days that the number exceeded 500. They remain almost entirely confined to the hardest-hit province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan.

South Korea reported 210 additional cases and two more deaths, raising its totals to 3,736 cases and 20 fatalities.

South Korea has the second-largest number of infections outside China, with most of the cases in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas.

Medical staff wearing protective suits are seen outside a hospital in Daegu, South Korea, on Sunday. (Kim Hyun-tae/Yonhap via AP)

South Korea’s president used a speech marking the 101st anniversary of an anti-Japanese independence uprising to call for national unity to overcome the crisis.

Iran’s death toll climbed to 54 as the number of confirmed cases jumped overnight by more than half, to 978. The new figures represent 11 more deaths than reported on Saturday.

Around the world, many cases of the virus have been relatively mild, and some of those infected apparently show no symptoms at all.

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The Gender War amongst Us

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The United Nations define gender-based violence as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women and other persons, including threats of acts of violence, coercion and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Gender-Based Violence is a global public health problem that challenges and affects the morbidity and mortality of women and the LGBTQ Community. It is estimated that 30% of women and 85% of The LGBTQ have experienced at least one form of GBV in their lifetime since the age of 15. The United Nations study among Women of reproductive age revealed that Intimate Partner Violence(IVP) ranged from 15% in Urban Regions(ie Japan) to 71% in Rural Regions (ie Ethiopia)Evidence reveals that this problem is most prominent in developing nations where socioeconomic status is low and education limited, especially in sub-Saharan Africa countries.
Gender Prejudice and Violence directed towards Women and The LGBTQ Community is globally widespread, even within the well-educated populations of the developed world.

Gender-Based Violence is a common practice in Africa, Asia and developing nations in Latin America. Most African Cultural beliefs and traditions promote men’s hierarchical roles in sexual relationships and especially in marriage. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the African population live in rural settings which increases the difficulty to access basic amenities and communities are isolated from the influence of central governments or the laws that prohibit GBV. Despite legislative advances, GBV remains pervasive and a daily reality for Women, Girls and THE LGBTQ Communities. Within Rwanda, many Women and Girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence and oppression including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, early and forced marriages, genital mutilation and human trafficking.

Gender Biased Violence directed towards The LGBTQ Community is high within African society, where their lifestyle may appear as a challenge to other males’ masculinity or gender understanding. Within the Latin Community, such violence exists but is far less felt than in areas within Africa. The Latin Worlds’ understanding of masculinity seems to vary, appearing to be more accepting of “the different”. Many Latin Males have multiple gender partners even within marriage. African attitudes are far more conservative and unyielding.

Gender Politics have shaped our world, moving from ancient acceptance of the power and influence of Womanhood to a place where religion became the excuse to oppress Women and other elements of society like the LGBTQ Community. Humanities’ move toward freedom and self-expression has been squashed by the manipulative, powerful masculinity of Mankind. Impressions of a controlling, protective society show us what we are to believe and how we are to live our lives.

Equality, self-determination and self-expression for Women and the LGBTQ Community still remain important aspects of the developed world’s policymaking and implementation. Within the continents of Africa, Central and Latin America, and some Asian nations government policymakers attempt to legally establish the necessary laws to protect their populations, but cultural, political and societal traditions and prejudices have entangled themselves within these nations’ evolutionary movement towards equal rights and gender democracy. A Gender War remains among us, within us, allowing prejudice, fear and hate to shape our society. Like all wars, there are many casualties, but with education, determination and the hand of justice applied, this war can be won.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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Journalists in Canada face 'alarming' levels of stress, trauma and harassment, report suggests – CBC.ca

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Members of Canada’s news industry are suffering “alarming” levels of work-related stress and trauma, a new report suggests, and researchers are calling for better supports to help journalists cope with covering COVID-19 and other crises.

The findings, based on 1,251 voluntary responses to an online survey conducted between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18, 2021, showed that media workers have dealt with high rates of mental health conditions over the past four years.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents reported anxiety, 46 per cent said they had depression, and 15 per cent said they experienced post-traumatic stress injury.

The lead researchers on the project said the report underscores how the upheaval of a pandemic-accelerated news cycle has exacerbated the pressures of working in a profession steeped in competition and tragedy.

“Our findings confirm our worst fears and suspicions about the industry,” Carleton University journalism professor Matthew Pearson said at a news conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

“The onus is now on all of us — from the front lines, to newsroom leaders, executives and journalism educators — to grasp the gravity of this situation and meaningfully address it to reduce the harms Canadian media workers are suffering on the job.”

Co-author Dave Seglins, a CBC News journalist and mental health advocate, said the information age has ramped up stress for journalists facing more demanding workloads and perilous job security, while also opening the floodgates for online misinformation and harassment.

More than half of participants surveyed said they had experienced online harassment and threats, and 35 per cent said they had encountered harassment in the field.

The harms of harassment were particularly pronounced among women, transgender and non-binary journalists, the report said. Black, Arab, South Asian and Filipino journalists reported higher rates of online harassment. Workers who were more identifiable as members of the media, such as video journalists and photographers, were more likely to be targeted in the field.

The survey also indicated that exposure to trauma is taking a toll on media workers, with 80 per cent of participants saying they’ve experienced burnout as a result of reporting on stories about death, injury and suffering. Some participants also reported experiencing other emotional and psychological side effects, such as suicidal thoughts or “numbing out” by using alcohol or other substances.

More than half of participants said they had sought medical help to deal with work stress and mental health, while 85 per cent of those surveyed said they had never received training on mental health and trauma at work.

The “suck it up” culture of many newsrooms deters journalists from seeking help to manage their struggles due to fears about how speaking up could impact their careers, Seglins said, and many employers lack the expertise, resources and benefits needed to support journalists’ well-being.

He urged news organizations to collaborate with workers to identify and redress these gaps to ensure the proper functioning of the Fourth Estate.

“All of this is having a profound impact on the health of people who work in the news industry — the watchdogs of our democracy,” Seglins said.

The Canadian Press provided images for the report, and the survey was distributed to Canadian Press employees.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error.

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Canada donates $1 million to probe sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine

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OTTAWA — Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.

Ten RCMP officers, and Canadian civilian law enforcement experts, are helping to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual violence by Russian troops.

Global Affairs Canada said the extra money could be used to help fund specialist sexual violence investigations and to protect victims who may be witnesses in war-crimes cases.

The funds may also be used to provide psychological support for victims.

Joly said it was important that Russian troops who have used sexual violence against Ukrainians be brought to justice.

“Canada condemns in the strongest terms the use of conflict-related sexual violence and we will continue to work with partners such as the ICC to end impunity for these heinous crimes,” she said in a statement.

“Those who commit sexual violence in conflict situations must be held to account.”

At a meeting in Ottawa earlier this month with Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, Joly discussed the need to treat Russian troops using sexual violence as a weapon as war criminals.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Joly said 10 RCMP officers would help gather evidence of rape and sexual violence by the Russian military.

Linde said Sweden has also sent “experts on investigating sexual and gender-based crime” to help the ICC with its war crimes investigation. They are interviewing refugees — “mainly women and girls and children,” she said — as witnesses.

Ukraine’s ambassador designate to Canada told members of Parliament earlier this month that Russia is using sexual violence against women and children as a weapon of war.

Yulia Kovaliv told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on May 2 that Ukraine is compiling “horrific documented evidence” of war crimes.

“The horror is that children are victims of these sexual crimes, which are done (before) the eyes of their parents,” Kovaliv said. “Sexual crimes is part of the Russian weapon (against) Ukraine.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published 26, May, 2022.

 

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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