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Bank of Nova Scotia vacating top floors of Toronto's Scotia Plaza skyscraper – The Globe and Mail

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Bank of Nova Scotia will vacate the top floors in Scotia Plaza skyscraper in Toronto’s financial district, adding more prime office real estate on the market during the pandemic.

Scotia Plaza’s owners publicly announced that Scotiabank renewed part of its lease but that the bank would give up the top floors of the 68-storey office building.

The landlords, KingSett Capital and Alberta Investment Management Corporation, made the lease renewal announcement as numerous Bay street firms and other businesses have been putting some of their space on the sublet market.

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The increase in sublets has sent downtown Toronto’s office vacancy rate to 7.2 per cent in the fourth quarter from 2 per cent prepandemic, according to CBRE data.

Although Scotiabank is vacating the top floors in Scotia Plaza, the bank is taking space in a new building in the financial core. Brokers said it was expected that Scotiabank would shed space as it prepares for the move. Scotiabank and Aimco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This was calculated and planned. I don’t think the pandemic was the final decision,” said Bill Argeropoulos, head of research with commercial real estate company Avison Young. “All of the banks have been looking at their footprints over the last several years,” he said.

It is unclear what the demand will be like for the top floors of Scotia Plaza. The red granite building, the second tallest skyscraper in the financial district, will be competing with a number of newer office towers. As well, this is occurring as other prominent downtown office tenants are trying to shed their space. That includes TMX Group, which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, consultancy Mercer Canada and British-based Finastra, which owns a widely used mortgage-processing platform called Filogix.

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Here We Go Again: Why GameStop Stock Is Soaring Today – The Motley Fool Canada

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The top indexes in the United States were down broadly in mid-morning trading on February 25. However, a handful of “meme stocks” were on the run again. In late January, the investing world was swept up in the reddit-fueled GameStop (NYSE:GME) craze. Its shares fell precipitously in early February, punishing those that bought late into the frenzy. Shares of GameStop were up nearly 50% in mid-morning trading today. What is behind this latest surge?

The top “meme stock” still has life

On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that GameStop’s chief financial officer Jim Bell was pushed out to make way for an executive with a vision more in line with Ryan Cohen. Cohen is an activist investor on the board and the co-founder of online pet-food retailer Chewy.com. His addition to the board sparked the big rush to GameStop stock.

The r/WallStreetBets board saw so much traffic that it went down after trading halted. GameStop was not the only “meme stock” to benefit from this social media-powered surge. We saw a handful of the same names putting together a solid mid-week spike. AMC Entertainment, which has suffered mightily in the cinema space during the pandemic, was up 10% in late-morning trading on February 25. Meanwhile, BlackBerry had failed to pick up any significant momentum.

Is there any reason to consider GameStop as a long-term investment?

Earlier this month, I’d suggested that investors should look elsewhere in the promising video game space. GameStop has been an amusing roller-coaster ride, but investing on the whims of a social media mob is usually not a recipe for success. More importantly, GameStop is in a tough position as brick-and-mortar retail looks to decline even further in the years ahead. It will need to dramatically reshape its business model to have a chance in this new economy.

Here are some stocks I like better than GameStop right now

I’d also suggested that investors may want to look at Cineplex (TSX:CGX). Canada’s top cinema operator has also struggled mightily during the pandemic. Indeed, movie theatres have barely been able to operate commercially over the past year. Still, shares of Cineplex have climbed 60% in 2021 so far. There are high hopes for a rebound in this industry as the economy reopens.

Cineplex cinemas will reopen in Ottawa and Cornwall this week. Its shareholders can look forward to a further return to regular operations in the weeks and months ahead. A flurry of box office draws that have been delayed have the potential to thrust Cineplex back to normalcy. GameStop’s business, however, does not have high hopes as currently constructed.

Copper Mountain Mining (TSX:CMMC) is a top base metals mining company in Canada. Copper and other commodities have erupted in late 2020 and early 2021. Shares of Copper Mountain Mining have climbed nearly 80% in the year-to-date period. The stock is up almost 500% from the prior year. Instead of betting on “meme stocks” like GameStop, investors can hop on the base metals bull run. This has a good shot to continue into the rest of 2021, as the global economy rebounds.

Speaking of stocks I’d buy over GameStop…

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Fool contributor Ambrose O’Callaghan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of GameStop. The Motley Fool recommends BlackBerry, BlackBerry, and CINEPLEX INC.

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Dairy farmers advised to stop adding palm oil to feed as butter controversy heats up – CBC.ca

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After news coverage of butter becoming harder to melt, possibly due to palm oil additives in cattle feed, the Dairy Farmers of Canada association is recommending that producers stop the practice for the time being.

Gordon MacBeath, a member of the national group’s board and chairman of the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I., said the group is responding to recent concerns about the hardening of some types of Canadian butter.

“It’s just a precautionary [measure] to ensure that consumers maintain confidence in dairy products across Canada,” MacBeath said in an interview with CBC Prince Edward Island’s Island Morning.

Dairy Farmers of Canada also announced on Feb. 19 that it is putting together a working group to study the issue of “fat supplementation in the dairy sector.”

The group will include producers, processors, the Consumers Association of Canada, veterinary nutritionists and animal scientists.

WATCH | Butter won’t melt? Some have theories about why that is:

Canada’s dairy producers are under fire after foodies claimed butter has become harder and put the blame on palm oil. Dairy farmers say adding palm products to cattle feed has become common, but critics say it violates a ‘moral contract’ about the purity of Canadian butter. 1:52

“We want to err on the side of caution and we’re advising producers to just simply drop it as an ingredient in the ration until the working group has an opportunity to do their work,” said MacBeath.

The Quebec Milk Producers Association is also looking at the use of palm fat in feed, and says it will follow the recommendations of the national group.

Palm fat an approved supplement

Palm fat is not a new addition to dairy cattle diets, MacBeath noted. It has been used for about a decade. The supplement is also being used in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The fat is an energy supplement, MacBeath explained.

“I would compare it to yours and my diet. We need a balance of energy and protein, and the cow is no different. She needs a balance of energy and protein,” he said.

The properties of the butter on your table might change for many reasons from year to year, says Gordon MacBeath, chairman of Dairy Farmers of P.E.I. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

“Palm supplements are just another energy source for the cow.”

A cow requires about 35 kilograms of feed a day. If palm fat is part of that diet, within that 35 kilograms the cow would typically get 200 to 250 grams of the fat.

In the decade during which palm fat has been used as a supplement for dairy cattle feed, MacBeath said no health issues for the cow or changes to the milk have been detected. He said dairy farmers are in regular consultation with veterinary nutritionists to ensure their cows are getting a healthy diet.

Palm fat is approved as a supplement by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

At least one researcher is questioning whether this is even a problem that needs to be addressed.

Alejandro Marangoni, a food science professor at University of Guelph, said while components of palm oil found in milk fat can affect the melting point of butter, there’s no data to support “sensationalist” claims of a great hardening.

Many possible reasons for change in butter 

There are a lot of things that can change from season to season and year to year that can make a difference to the milk products on your table, said MacBeath.

“Milk is such a natural product. From the time it leaves the cow, it’s processed very little and it ends up in the consumer [market] with very little change,” he said.

Cows need variety in their diet, just like people do. (Benjamin Lecorps/UBC Animal Welfare Program via the Canadian Press)

If there is a change in the butter, he said it’s not unreasonable to assume it’s because of something the cows ate. But MacBeath said the list of potential causes is long.

“To give an example, this year was very dry, so the texture of the forage and the grass the cow is eating is different than it was the previous year,” he said.

“The previous year we had Hurricane Dorian and that changed the quality of the corn.”

Dairy Farmers of Canada notes that dairy cattle feed varies not only from season to season and year to year, but also from place to place, because the type of feed available varies depending on what local farmers are growing.

“While farmers grow the majority of the crops they feed their cows, a number of common feeds like flax, canola, corn, and other plants have been used for decades in a targeted way to ensure cows are meeting their energy requirements,” says a statement posted on the group’s site

“All milk sold in Canada is nutritious and safe to consume and is subject to Canada’s rigorous health and safety standards.”

More from CBC P.E.I.

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Is a single COVID-19 vaccine dose enough for those previously infected? – Global News

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As coronavirus vaccines continue to roll out to vulnerable populations across Canada, health officials are looking at data about the effectiveness of a single dose in preventing COVID-19 illness.

A new letter by two Canadian experts published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) last week stated that with a 92.6 per cent efficacy, the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was “highly protective.”

Read more:
Delaying second dose of coronavirus vaccines is ‘risky gamble,’ experts say

During a news conference on Feb. 18, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said that according to early data, the indicators are that there is a “good level of protection” after just one dose.


Click to play video 'How COVID-19 vaccination plans are evolving in Quebec, Ontario'



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How COVID-19 vaccination plans are evolving in Quebec, Ontario


How COVID-19 vaccination plans are evolving in Quebec, Ontario

France’s health authority, H.A.S., has gone one step further in recommending that everyone who has been previously infected with COVID-19 receive a single shot, instead of the two-dose regimen prescribed by vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna.

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The recommendation made on Feb. 12 says the single booster shot should be given three to six months after COVID-19 infection.

The reasoning, according to H.A.S., is that people who have had a confirmed infection should be considered protected for at least three months by post-infection immunity, whether the disease was symptomatic or not.

“It is an interesting approach to take,” said Rowland Kao, professor of veterinary epidemiology and data science at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

“And you would expect that natural immunity will give you .. a more broad response (than the first dose) because it is the original virus that is causing it.”


Click to play video 'Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 80-90% effective after 1st dose'



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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 80-90% effective after 1st dose


Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 80-90% effective after 1st dose

A spokesperson for H.A.S. told Global News that the French health minister has yet to make a decision on the recommendation. For now, France is giving two shots for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

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Amid shortages in vaccine supplies and a rush to control the pandemic, some experts say this strategy is worth considering as it could potentially save precious doses.

Read more:
Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine is safe, prevents COVID-19, U.S. FDA says

Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of infectious diseases at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said a single dose of vaccine in someone previously infected is “reasonable while we continue to have a short supply of vaccine globally.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Two small studies in the United States by Mount Sinai and the University of Maryland showed a single dose in people who had COVID-19 provided at least the same amount of protection as two shots in people who haven’t been infected. The data has not yet been peer-reviewed.

You could treat getting COVID-19 as like getting your first dose of vaccine,” said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

A single dose could serve as a booster to get the “prime long-term response,” he told Global News.

“You could definitely save on vaccine supply with these mRNA vaccines by only giving those individuals a single dose moving forward.”

Some Canadian provinces have decided to delay giving the second dose, which some experts have called a “risky approach” and “a gamble.”

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Last week, New Brunswick health officials said the province will delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who are considered to be at a lower risk.

In mid-January, Quebec announced that it was pushing the time between the two doses to a maximum of three months in an attempt to vaccinate more seniors faster with a first injection.

Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna propose intervals of 21 and 28 days, respectively.


Click to play video 'Why is Health Canada taking so long to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine?'



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Why is Health Canada taking so long to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine?


Why is Health Canada taking so long to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine?

In its recommendation for the previously infected, France’s H.A.S. says people who have proven immunosuppression, which makes them more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness, should be given the two doses.

It also says people who catch the virus in the days after a first dose is given should not receive a second shot within the usual timeframe, but within three to six months after infection.

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Read more:
Booster shots, new clinical trials — What the COVID-19 variants could mean for vaccines

According to the data from the clinical trials, Pfizer’s vaccine, which is 95 per cent effective, can offer partial protection as early as 12 days after the first dose.

Kao said the immediate protection after the first dose and second dose is quite similar.

However, it still remains to be seen what the long-term immune response will be after the first dose.

We really don’t know how long that protection is going to last,“ said Kao.

The second dose is really there to give you that long-lasting immunity.”


Click to play video 'Quebec public health experts support delaying second COVID-19 dose'



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Quebec public health experts support delaying second COVID-19 dose


Quebec public health experts support delaying second COVID-19 dose

Data analysis by Canadian experts published in the NEJM found a 68.5 per cent vaccine efficacy beginning seven days after Pfizer’s first dose and a 92.6 percent efficacy two weeks after a single shot.

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Based on the evidence so far, Chagla says it is premature to roll out the single-dose strategy on a wide scale and that more research was needed on that front.

“If you could prove that works, you really do save a significant amount of vaccine … and you really can change your vaccine strategy almost overnight if you can implement something like that.”

— With files from Global News’ Linda Boyle

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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