Throughout her long life, Vernon’s Dorothy Chura has fought many battles, and overcome countless obstacles. Her most recent victory: a fight against COVID-19.
At 105, she is believed to be the oldest person to survive the virus in B.C.
It’s for this reason her upcoming 105th birthday will serve as an extra-special milestone.
The Heritage Square resident will celebrate her birthday on March 16, 2021. Born in Witko, Sask. in 1916, the beginning of Chura’s story predates her move to Vernon by nearly a century.
Given that she’s lived through multiple World Wars and other global catastrophes — as well as personal health scares and extreme poverty — her survival of the novel coronavirus is almost unsurprising.
Almost, if not for the fact that U.S. Centers for Disease Control data suggests people aged 85 years and up have a fatality rate 7,900 times higher than people from ages five to 17 — and the risk is much higher among centenarians.
Seventy people, 47 residents and 23 staff tested positive and nine people died following an outbreak at Heritage Square. Although Chura was also infected, she fought through. The outbreak, which was announced in late December, was declared over mid-February.
“She has always been determined to overcome the challenges of her life even as she aged, and she has,” Dorothy’s daughter, Diane, told the Morning Star.
As Diane tells it, Chura’s first major life alteration came at the age of five when her mother passed away,
Her father moved to the United States to re-marry. Chura was placed in eight different foster homes before landing in a family whose patriarch would not allow her to go to school, instead sending her to work the farm.
Such was life in the Prairies for an orphaned girl, until she got married on Aug. 6, 1938 to Peter (Pat) Chura at the age of 21.
As the oldest of five children Peter had been forced to leave medical school to help his mother and siblings, when his own father suddenly died. He later became a teacher — it was a cheaper and easier profession to get into then as it is now.
Following this, the young couple moved around Saskatchewan. Pat took part in local theatre activities, and Dorothy took the spotlight.
“Reportedly she was a gifted actress,” her daughter says.
When they arrived in Toronto in 1942, Dorothy proved herself an “exceptional seamstress” and talented hair stylist, but with her husband’s purchase of confectionery and lunch restaurant, she manifested herself in the city as a businesswoman. And she was good at that, too.
“It was hard work with long hours, but they made it thrive,” Diane said. “Dorothy proved to be a natural businesswoman and through her contacts, wheeling, dealing, and great resourcefulness managed always to procure items no other store could find.”
One lunch confectionery became two, but in the interest of sparing themselves from extremely long hours, they sold the business — only to go the Empire route.
The Churas moved to Hamilton, Ont. and bought the Empire Motel. They had a daughter in 1949; Diane came to them between two hotel purchases after they relocated to Brantford and bought The Strand, a prohibition-era hotel, which suffered damage from a major fire that levelled several businesses on the block. Pat returned to teaching.
The couple had been married almost 50 years when in the late 1980s Pat became sick. An earlier diagnosis of arthritis later manifested itself as prostate cancer.
“Dorothy nursed him lovingly at home for as long as she was able, but the disease was too far progressed,” says Diane. Pat died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brantford in 1988.
“The loss of her life partner was traumatic,” her daughter said. “Still, Dorothy carried on valiantly for many years in Brantford after he passed, continuing to be an active member of her church community in the company of her friends of so many years and created a new life for herself.”
In 2007 Dorothy moved to Vernon to be nearer to Diane and son-in-law Wayne Wilson. But the strain and magnitude of the trip took its toll, and she suffered a heart attack.
“However, Dorothy has always been a remarkable survivor, and triumphed in true prairie fashion,” Diane said.
Churas stayed remarkably spry as a centenarian. At 100 years old she maintained her flower pots, bowled weekly, took long walks, did leg lifts daily to maintain her figure and avidly read the papers. Diane says she still dressed fashionably, got her hair done every Saturday and looked younger than her age. She watched the news on TV to stay informed about a world her generation had long since passed on to the next.
She moved into Heritage Square in Vernon after breaking her hip in 2019, and a day before her 104th birthday the retirement residence went into full COVID-19 lockdown.
Pandemics are said to be once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While Churas likely doesn’t remember the Spanish Flu of 1918 having been just two years old at the time, she’s one of few to live through multiple global outbreaks.
That’s worthy of a toast come March 16th.
Atos reports drop in revenue, to conduct U.S. accounting review
By Bartosz Dabrowski and Juliette Portala
(Reuters) -French IT consulting group Atos reported a drop in first-quarter revenue on Tuesday, putting further pressure on its share price which has been hit by an accounting issue in the United States.
The company, which develops solutions in hybrid cloud, big data, business applications and digital workplace, disclosed earlier this month that auditors had found accounting errors at two U.S. units, sending its shares diving 18% at the time.
On Tuesday the company said it had decided to conduct a full accounting review of the two U.S. units and would give a status update when it releases first-half results on July 28.
Atos also has a big contract to provide solutions for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and said that it was prepared for all scenarios, including a further postponement or complete cancellation of the event.
“For us, there will be no cancellation of the contract even if the Olympics were to be postponed,” head of investor relations Gilles Arditti said in a conference call.
Atos shares were down by more than 5% after the company said its revenue for January-March dropped 3.9% organically from a year earlier to 2.69 billion euros ($3.24 billion).
The company, however, maintained its full-year guidance.
“The results today are a meaningful miss (on market expectations) and likely to weigh further on sentiment,” Barclays said in a note, adding that the U.S. accounting situation was a bigger concern.
Year to date, Atos’ shares have now declined by nearly a quarter.
The company also said on Tuesday that it had acquired Canada-based Processia, UK-based Ipsotek and German firm cryptovision, as it continues with bolt-on acquisitions in a bid to boost revenue from digital, cloud, security and decarbonisation business over the medium term. It gave no financial details of the transactions.
($1 = 0.8292 euros)
(Reporting by Bartosz Dabrowski and Juliette Portala in Gdansk ; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Susan Fenton)
Rogers wireless service back for majority of users following outage
(Reuters) –Rogers Communications Inc said late on Monday its services had been restored for most of its users, following intermittent interruptions to wireless voice and data services for several hours.
“Wireless calls, SMS and data services are now restored for the vast majority of our customers”, the company said on Twitter. (https://bit.ly/32rx8HL)
The company said earlier on Monday that its residential and business wireline internet services were not impacted. (https://bit.ly/3sAqs4B)
About 11,000 users in Canada reported issues with the wireless service provider, as of 1900 GMT on Monday, according to outage monitoring website Downdetector.ca.
Downdetector tracks outages by collating status reports from a series of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform. The outage could have affected a larger number of users.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu, Rithika Krishna and Nandakumar D in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shounak Dasgupta)
Canada’s Telesat takes on Musk and Bezos in space race to provide fast broadband
By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Telesat is racing to launch a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to provide high-speed global broadband from space, pitting the satellite communications firm founded in 1969 against two trailblazing billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Musk, the Tesla Inc CEO who was only a year old when Telesat launched its first satellite, is putting the so-called Starlink LEO into orbit with his company SpaceX, and Amazon.com Inc, which Bezos founded, is planning a LEO called Project Kuiper. Bezos also owns Blue Origin, which builds rockets.
Despite the competition, Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s chief executive officer, voices confidence when he calls Telesat’s LEO constellation “the Holy Grail” for his shareholders – “a sustainable competitive advantage in global broadband delivery.”
Telesat’s LEO has a much lighter price tag than SpaceX and Amazon’s, and the company has been in satellite services decades longer. In addition, instead of focusing on the consumer market like SpaceX and Amazon, Telesat seeks deep-pocketed business clients.
Goldberg said he was literally losing sleep six years ago when he realized the company’s business model was in peril as Netflix and video streaming took off and fiber optics guaranteed lightning-fast internet connectivity.
Telesat’s 15 geostationary (GEO) satellites provide services mainly to TV broadcasters, internet service providers and government networks, all of whom were growing increasingly worried about the latency, or time delay, of bouncing signals off orbiters more than 35,000 km (22,200 miles) above earth.
Then in 2015 on a flight home from a Paris industry conference where latency was a constant theme, Goldberg wrote down his initial ideas for a LEO constellation on an Air Canada napkin.
Those ideas eventually led to Telesat’s LEO constellation, dubbed Lightspeed, which will orbit about 35 times closer to earth than GEO satellites, and will provide internet connectivity at a speed akin to fiber optics.
Telesat’s first launch is planned in early 2023, while there are already some 1,200 of Musk’s Starlink satellites in orbit.
“Starlink is going to be in service much sooner … and that gives SpaceX the opportunity to win customers,” said Caleb Henry, a senior analyst at Quilty Analytics.
Starlink’s “first mover” advantage is at most 24 months and “no one’s going to lock this whole market up in that amount of time,” Goldberg said.
Telesat in 2019 signed a launch deal with Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin. Discussions are ongoing with three others, said David Wendling, Telesat’s chief technical officer.
They are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Europe’s ArianeGroup , and Musk’s SpaceX, which launches the Starlink satellites. Wendling said a decision would be taken in a matter of months.
Telesat aims to launch its first batch of 298 satellites being built by Thales Alenia Space in early 2023, with partial service in higher latitudes later that same year, and full global service in 2024.
The Lightspeed constellation is estimated to cost half as much as the $10 billion SpaceX and Amazon projects.
“We think we’re in the sweet spot,” Goldberg said. “When we look at some of these other constellations, we don’t get it.”
Analyst Henry said Telesat’s focus on business clients is the right one.
“You have two heavyweight players, SpaceX and Amazon, that are already pledging to spend $10 billion on satellite constellations optimized for the consumer market,” he said. “If Telesat can spend half that amount creating a high-performance system for businesses, then yeah, they stand to be very competitive.”
Telesat’s industry experience may also provide an edge.
“We’ve worked with many of these customers for decades … That’s going to give us a real advantage,” Goldberg said.
Telesat “is a satellite operator, has been a satellite operator, and has both the advantage of expertise and experience in that business,” said Carissa Christensen, chief executive officer of the research firm BryceTech, adding, however, that she sees only two to three LEO constellations surviving.
Telesat is nailing down financing – one-third equity and two-thirds debt – and will become publicly traded on the Nasdaq sometime this summer, and it could also list on the Toronto exchange after that. Currently, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc are the company’s main shareholders.
France and Canada’s export credit agencies, BPI and EDC respectively, are expected to be the main lenders, Goldberg said. Quebec’s provincial government is lending C$400 million ($317 million), and Canada’s federal government has promised C$600 million to be a preferred customer. The company also posted C$246 million in net income in 2020.
Executing the LEO plan is what keeps Goldberg up at night now, he said.
“When we decided to go down this path, the two richest people in the universe weren’t focused on their own LEO constellations.”
($1 = 1.2622 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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