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Canada 'at a crossroads': COVID-19 will keep spreading if behaviours don't change, Tam says – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The latest federal modelling on the COVID-19 pandemic shows that in the short-term, Canada’s epidemic is set to keep growing, predicting up to 155,795 total cases and 9,300 deaths by Oct. 2, unless Canadians re-adopt the same degree of health precautions they took in the early months of the pandemic.

Federal health officials released updated national COVID-19 modelling on Tuesday, as there continues to be a surge in new cases of the virus across several provinces, prompting renewed anxieties about Canada’s ability to stave off a full blown second wave.

There are currently nearly 11,000 active COVID-19 cases in Canada, while another 126,230 patients have recovered. To date, more than 9,200 Canadians have died from the novel coronavirus.

“Canada is at a crossroads and individual action to reduce contact rates will decide our path,” said the federal presentation document provided to reporters.

The new modelling shows how the course of the pandemic Canada charts in the weeks ahead will vary greatly depending on the precautions in place, projecting big spikes this fall if Canadians don’t redouble efforts to limit the number of close contacts they have, maintain physical distance from people not in their immediate social bubbles, wear masks when distancing can’t be maintained, and stay home if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

“All of us have the future in our hands in terms of the decisions we’re making today,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu at Tuesday’s briefing. “Those decisions that we make today, to say ‘no’, to connect in different ways, to keep our gathering sizes small, to ensure that we’re not socializing more than absolutely necessary, are going to actually help drive the cases down. It’s a sacrifice that we all have to make.”

Cases reported now reflect increasing transmission one to two weeks ago, and the projections indicate that if Canada maintains its current rate of contacts, the epidemic will come back “faster and stronger,” warned Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

It’s time to re-adopt the personal protection and separation measures that were taken in March and April to have a change at reversing the epidemic growth, she said.

Tam said that with minimal controls—which is not Canada’s current reality— the epidemic in Canada is capable of surging into a “very sharp and intense peak” because most Canadians don’t have immunity to the virus.

“This surge could overwhelm our health system capacity and significantly impact social and economic systems as well,” she said.

As of the latest round of pandemic projections released last month, Canada’s top public health officials said they are were preparing for a fall peak of COVID-19 cases, and that there would likely be localized outbreaks until at least January 2022.

Tuesday’s data shows that the spread of the virus is accelerating nationally, but unevenly across Canada, with the Atlantic bubble not seeing the same surge in cases as other provinces are.

Hospitalizations lag behind increases in reported cases but show early signs of increase, while COVID-19-related deaths remain low. The latest data also show that there are outbreaks now being reported in a greater number of settings, including as a result of private gatherings, as well as in long-term care homes and schools.

The August modelling showed the rate of infections has hit young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 the hardest since June. This continues to be the case, as shown in Tuesday’s figures, prompting a specific plea from Canada’s top public health officer to young people to act responsibly.

Tam said then that her team was preparing for a scenario “several times worse” than the first wave, but was confident that Canada is more prepared than in March to handle another surge.

It was during April’s briefing on modeling that showed that Canadians had initially flattened the curve in many regions of Canada, which set off a cascade of easing of measures in many parts of the country that allowed for many businesses and workplaces to reopen and for social gathering sizes to increase.

Now, some regions are pulling back on what’s allowed and increasing their alert levels, in an effort to slow the spread, a move Tam said is necessary.

She stopped short of classifying the current uptick in cases as a second wave, saying that Canada is “riding this pandemic” like ski mogul hills, and it’s too early to say whether the rates of cases being reported now are the start of a huge increase or just one bump along the road.

Though, the new figures indicate that as has been the experience in other countries, a second COVID-19 resurgence can exceed the initial wave.

“The challenge we face now is to stay the course, no matter how weary we may feel. We have done this before, we know what works, and we know we can work together to get this done,” Tam said.

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More than 100 People Gather for COVID-19 Protest in Windsor – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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The Great Demonstration Against Harmful COVID-19 Measures drew more than 100 people to downtown Windsor Sunday.

Protestors held signs rebelling against mask restrictions, quarantine protocols and what they’re calling “coerced testing” at the foot of Ouellette Avenue beneath The Great Canadian Flag for a rally around 1 p.m. — followed by a march up Ouellette Avenue where they stopped traffic in front of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit on the corner of Erie Street.

Co-organizer Currie Soulliere, who launched a failed attempt to shop at Devonshire Mall without a mask earlier this summer, says protestors don’t want to see another lockdown.

“There’s always a threat that there may be another lockdown and we need a guarantee that there’s something protecting us from that happening again,” she says. 

Medical Director of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed previously said the protest is dangerous, potentially spreading the virus and information with no scientific backing.

That didn’t stop the crowd from chanting outside a likely unstaffed health unit on a Sunday afternoon.

“He didn’t want to speak to us, I’m pretty sure he said that, but we are going to make our presence known in front of the health unit,” Soulliere added.

Parts of Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and the York Region have seen modified Stage 2 restrictions imposed this month as hot spots in record case numbers in Ontario.

Windsor remains in Stage 3 of COVID-19 recovery and has few restrictions outside of phycical distancing rules and mask requirements.

Soulliere says protestors want a guarantee that won’t change.

“Some kind of guarantee that we’re not going to have any more lockdowns or shutdowns over what is amounting to a far less deadly virus than we were initially told, ” says Soulliere. “Honestly, a lot of us are questioning whether [Dr.] Wajid Ahmed should have his position at the health unit.”

There have been 42.5-million cases of COVID-19 documented globally since the pandemic began in April resulting in 1.15-million deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

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Lee Kun-Hee, force behind Samsung's rise, dies at 78 – Business News – Castanet.net

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Lee Kun-Hee, the ailing Samsung Electronics chairman who transformed the small television maker into a global giant of consumer electronics but whose leadership was also marred by corruption convictions, died on Sunday. He was 78.

Lee died with his family members by his side, including his only son and Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the company said in a statement.

Samsung didn’t announce the cause of death, but Lee had been hospitalized since May 2014 after suffering a heart attack and the younger Lee has been running Samsung, South Korea’s biggest company.

“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the Samsung statement said. “His legacy will be everlasting.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent senior presidential officials to pass a condolence message to Lee’s family at a mourning site. In the message, Moon called the late tycoon “a symbol of South Korea’s business world whose leadership would provide courage to our companies” at a time of economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Moon’s office said.

Lee’s family said the funeral would be private but did not immediately release details.

Lee inherited control of the company from his father, and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Samsung sells Galaxy phones while also making the screens and microchips that power its major rivals — Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones.

Its businesses encompass shipbuilding, life insurance, construction, hotels, amusement parks and more. Samsung Electronics alone accounts for 20% of the market capital on South Korea’s main stock exchange.

Lee leaves behind immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.

His death comes during a complex time for Samsung.

When he was hospitalized, Samsung’s once-lucrative mobile business faced threats from upstart makers in China and elsewhere. Pressure was high to innovate its traditionally strong hardware business, to reform a stifling hierarchical culture and to improve its corporate governance and transparency.

Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structure and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea.

Lee Kun-Hee was convicted in 2008 for illegal share dealings, tax evasion and bribery designed to pass his wealth and corporate control to his three children. In 1996, he was convicted of bribing a former president. But in both cases, he avoided jail after courts suspended his sentences, at the time a common practice that helped make South Korean business tycoons immune from prison despite their bribery convictions.

Most recently, Samsung was ensnared in an explosive 2016-17 scandal that led to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s ouster and imprisonment.

Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and one of her confidants to help secure the government’s backing for his attempt to solidify control over Samsung. He was freed in early 2018 after an appellate court reduced his term and suspended the sentence. But last month, prosecutors indicted him again on similar charges, setting up yet another protracted legal battle.

Lee Kun-Hee was a stern, terse leader who focused on big-picture strategies, leaving details and daily management to executives.

His near-absolute authority allowed the company to make bold decisions in the fast-changing technology industry, such as shelling out billions to build new production lines for memory chips and display panels even as the 2008 global financial crisis unfolded. Those risky moves fueled Samsung’s rise.

Lee was born on Jan. 9, 1942, in the southeastern city of Daegu during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His father, Lee Byung-chull, had founded an export business there in 1938, and following the Korean War, he rebuilt the company into an electronics and home appliance manufacturer and the country’s first major trading company.

When Lee Kun-Hee inherited control of Samsung from his father in 1987, Samsung was relying on Japanese technology to produce TVs and was taking its first steps toward exporting microwaves and refrigerators.

A decisive moment came in 1993 when Lee Kun-Hee made sweeping changes to Samsung after a two-month trip abroad convinced him that the company needed to improve the quality of its products.

In a speech to Samsung executives, he famously urged, “Let’s change everything except our wives and children.”

Not all his moves succeeded.

A notable failure was the group’s expansion into the auto industry in the 1990s, in part driven by Lee Kun-Hee’s passion for luxury cars. Samsung later sold near-bankrupt Samsung Motor to Renault. The company also was frequently criticized for disrespecting labour rights. Cancer cases among workers at its semiconductor factories were ignored for years.

Earlier this year, Lee Jae-yong declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists questioned his sincerity.

The 52-year-old Lee expressed remorse for causing public concern over the 2016-17 scandal, but did not admit to wrongdoing regarding his alleged involvement.

Lee Kun-Hee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics before the 2008 conviction. But he received a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to Samsung’s management in 2010.

“As South Korea’s most successful entrepreneur, (Lee Kun-Hee) received a dazzling spotlight, but he had many vicissitudes full of grace and disgrace,” the ruling Democratic Party said in a statement. “We hope a ‘new Samsung’ will be realized at an early date as Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong promised.”

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Job losses to come in wake of Cenovus-Husky transaction, but scale unknown – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

Business Council of Alberta president Adam Legge acknowledged likely job losses.

“No one likes to see any further job losses than what this province has already been experiencing, and that’s the likely, unfortunate outcome of these kinds of mergers,” he said. “(It will be felt) through everything from real estate to job losses.”

Cenovus said Sunday they had yet to make any decisions on their office space.

In past Alberta oil and gas mergers, including the 2009 deal between Petro-Canada and Suncor, sublease space was added to the market as companies aimed to cut redundancies. The same could happen here, speculated Greg Kwong, the Calgary managing director for real-estate brokerage company CBRE.

“The public can focus on the fact that (Cenovus) is doing this to create efficiencies and come out a stronger, merged company,” Kwong said. “We’re mostly worried that this is a trend we’re going to see more of, maybe not to this magnitude, but with all companies struggling in this environment they’re going to look for efficiencies.”

Legge praised the merger from a business standpoint, saying it should make Cenovus more resilient and diverse and give the company “a new lease on life.”

“This is great news for Cenovus. It expands their footprint, gets them into some of the downstream retail market, which it sounds like they’ve been looking at for quite some time,” he said. “It’s probably a sign of more to come in the sense that as companies look to thrive in a new landscape, the reality is they’ll need to survive through scale.”

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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