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Birth rates: Canada hits lowest number since 2006 – CTV News



According to Statistics Canada, 2020 marked the lowest number of annual births in Canada since 2006, with 13,000 fewer births than in 2019.

Last year, there were 358,604 live births across the country, excluding Yukon, for which data was not available.

In the Tuesday release of the numbers, StatCan remarked that while births have been decreasing nationally every year since 2016, this year was the greatest single decline from a previous year. In 2019, around 372,000 births took place.

StatCan noted that these are preliminary birth numbers for 2020, and data could be revised with later releases.

The agency said that there was a number of reasons why births may have decreased in 2020.

“With the onset of the pandemic, decreased international migration because of travel restrictions may have led to fewer births to newcomer parents,” the release stated. “In addition, other social and economic factors from the COVID-19 pandemic (school and daycare closures, job losses, and financial uncertainty) may have led some families to delay having children, which could reduce the number of births later in the year.”

They added that other countries have also seen a birth drop in 2020, with the United States reporting a four per cent decrease, while England and Wales reported a 3.9 per cent decrease from 2019 to 2020.

The highest number of births in a year in Canada within the last 20 years was in 2016, when around 383,000 infants were born.

Another interesting facet of 2020 birth trends was an increase in the number of non-hospital births.

The 7,606 non-hospital births made up 2.1 per cent of all births in the country, which is the highest that proportion has been in more than a decade.

“During the pandemic, there may have been added fears of going into a hospital where COVID-19 patients were being treated, leading more women to choose to birth at home or in a non-medical birthing centre,” the release stated. “This type of trend is not new and has been observed during previous disease outbreaks.”

Non-hospital births increased steadily from 2005-2015 to more than 8,000 annual births. But from 2015-2019, non-hospital births decreased slowly until the jump in 2020.

“This shift indicates that a greater proportion of women were choosing to give birth in the home, a birthing centre or other facility during the pandemic,” the release states.”

On the provincial level, Ontario and Alberta noted the biggest spike in non-hospital births in 2020 in more than a decade.

There were also more non-hospital births in the months immediately after the pandemic started than any other months. StatCan found that from April to May 2020, there were 1,526 non-hospital births, which means that 20 per cent of the entire year’s non-hospital births occurred in just two months.

“This is the highest number of non-hospital births to occur during any two-month period in over a decade,” the release states. “This time frame aligns with the onset of the pandemic, when public health measures were put into place in many provinces and territories to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Birth rates are still higher now than they were at the start of the century. From 2000 to 2005, the annual number of births in Canada was consistently below 350,000.

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Former U.S. President Clinton leaves hospital, will return to New York



Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walked out of a Southern California hospital on Sunday after being admitted last week for a Urological Infection, live video showed.

Clinton, 75, will return to New York and remain on antibiotics, Dr. Alpesh Amin, who had been overseeing his care at the hospital, said in a statement released by Clinton’s spokesman. His fever and white blood cell count have normalized, Amin added.

The former president had been in California for an event for his foundation and was treated at the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit after suffering from fatigue and being admitted on Tuesday.

He left the medical center accompanied by his wife, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The two-term president, who has had previous heart problems, held the White House from 1993 to 2001.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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China condemns U.S., Canada for sending warships through Taiwan Strait



The  Chinese military on Sunday condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year, provoking anger in Taipei.

China sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1 in a further heightening of tension between Beijing and Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.

The U.S. military said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China along with the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.

“Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said its forces monitored the ships and “stood guard” throughout their passage.

“The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble… seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

“Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”

U.S. Navy Ships have been transiting the strait roughly monthly, to the anger of Beijing, which has accused Washington of stoking regional tensions. U.S. allies occasionally also send ships through the strait, including Britain month.

While tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen, there has been no shooting and Chinese aircraft have not entered Taiwanese air space, concentrating their activity in the southwestern part of the ADIZ.

While including Taiwanese territorial air space, the ADIZ encompasses a broader area that Taiwan monitors and patrols that acts to give it more time to respond to any threats.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that three Chinese aircraft – two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft – flew into the ADIZ again.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing, Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Pravin Char and John

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No end in sight to volcanic eruption on Spain’s La Palma – Canaries president



There’s no immediate end in sight to the  volcanic eruption that has caused chaos on the Spanish isle of La Palma since it began about a month ago, the president of the Canary Islands said on Sunday.

There were 42 seismic movements on the island on Sunday, the largest of which measured 4.3, according to the Spanish National Geographical Institute.

“There are no signs that an end of the eruption is imminent even though this is the greatest desire of everyone,” President Angel Víctor Torres said at a Socialist party conference in Valencia, citing the view of scientists.

Streams of lava have laid waste to more than 742 hectares (1833 acres) of land and destroyed almost 2,000 buildings on La Palma since the volcano started erupting on Sept. 19.

About 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on the island, which has about 83,000 inhabitants and forms part of the Canary Islands archipelago off northwestern Africa.

Airline Binter said it had cancelled all its flights to La Palma on Sunday because of ash from the volcano.

“Due to the current situation of the ash cloud, operations with La Palma will continue to be paralyzed throughout today. We continue to evaluate the situation,” the airline tweeted.

Almost half – 22 out of 38 – of all flights to the island on Sunday have been cancelled, state airport operator Aena said, but the airport there remains open.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Pravin Char)

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