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Canada sees record-breaking 14,456 new COVID-19 cases amid Omicron spread – Global News

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Canada added a record 14,456 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the federal government revealed expanded aid benefits to help those impacted by the rapid spread of Omicron.

The new infections brings Canada’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,922,227. Another 27 deaths linked to COVID-19 were announced Canada-wide as well, pushing the death toll to 30,112.

Read more:

Canadians should ‘hunker down’ to slow Omicron spread, Trudeau says

So far, more than 1.8 million patients have recovered after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and 65,807,168 vaccinations have been administered to date.

The new daily infections tallied on Wednesday represent the highest ever new infections recorded in a single day so far since the pandemic, according to Global News data.

Currently, the data also points to Canada registering another pandemic high: a seven-day average of 8,930 cases as of Dec. 21.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Canada broadens Worker Lockdown Benefit as Omicron prompts new restrictions'



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COVID-19: Canada broadens Worker Lockdown Benefit as Omicron prompts new restrictions


COVID-19: Canada broadens Worker Lockdown Benefit as Omicron prompts new restrictions

Wednesday’s figures come amid growing concerns from government and public health officials over the spread of the new, highly-contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant.

In a press briefing Wednesday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that there were at least 2,360 confirmed cases of the variant identified in the country to date.

Since the variant was first identified in Canada, provinces like Ontario, B.C. and Quebec have re-enacted strict public health restrictions in the last several weeks to curb a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

Read more:

Canada broadens $300-a-week COVID-19 benefit as Omicron prompts new restrictions

In response to the public health measures — which include limiting the capacities of restaurants and stores by 50 per cent — the federal government on Wednesday introduced an expansion to the eligibility of its new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB).

The expansion now allows for any worker to apply for the $300-per-week program if their workplace has been hit with the capacity-limiting restriction of 50 per cent or more.

The expanded eligibility only applies until Feb. 12, 2022, while the the CWLB lasts until May 7, 2022.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: More than 2,300 confirmed Omicron cases in Canada to date, Tam says'



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COVID-19: More than 2,300 confirmed Omicron cases in Canada to date, Tam says


COVID-19: More than 2,300 confirmed Omicron cases in Canada to date, Tam says

You would also need to have lost 50 per cent or more of your income as a result of capacity limits in order to apply for the benefit, according to the government.

“We’re temporarily expanding eligibility for key programs. For the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit and the Local Lockdown program, you will be able to apply if you’re subject to capacity-limiting restrictions,” announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier Wednesday.

“Here’s the bottom line: we need, all of us, (to) do what it takes so Canadians are protected and to have what you need to weather the storm.”

Last Thursday, there were more than 43,000 active COVID-19 cases across Canada — a number that has nearly doubled in less than a week, standing now at just over 82,000.

Read more:

Omicron carries less risk of hospitalization vs. Delta, study suggests

“In less than a week, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration of epidemic activity in locations across Canada,” said Tam.

“While Delta is still spreading in many areas, Omicron is increasingly responsible for a rapid rise in case counts.”

Tam warned that infections in Canada could be higher by the beginning of the new year unless the spread is slowed.

Trudeau, meanwhile, urged Canadians to “hunker down in the coming weeks.”

“I know nobody wants to be in this situation right now, but Canadians have shown we’re there for our neighbours, we’re there for our most vulnerable, we’re there for our front-line health-care workers … we know that as long and dark as winters can be, spring is coming and spring will be better if we hunker down in the coming weeks,” Trudeau said.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: New financial support for Canadian businesses, workers hit by Omicron'



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COVID-19: New financial support for Canadian businesses, workers hit by Omicron


COVID-19: New financial support for Canadian businesses, workers hit by Omicron

Provincial case counts

With Canada reporting its highest-ever single-day high in new cases, several provinces have also released daily case counts not seen in months.

Ontario reported its highest single-day count since late April with over 4,380 new COVID cases on Wednesday, pushing their provincial total to more than 661,500.

Cases in the province have more than doubled since last week, with new cases in the province standing at just over 1,800 last Wednesday.

In Quebec, cases of COVID-19 are rising “exponentially” according to Premier Francois Legault Wednesday.

About 6,361 new cases of COVID-19 were officially recorded on Wednesday, though Legault said that the province had recorded about 9,000 new cases, some of which would be added to Thursday’s official total.

Read more:

Federal government deeply concerned by rising Omicron cases, says Public Safety Min.

Wednesday marks the fifth straight day Quebec has reported a record number of infections.

“In the past week, the number of COVID cases has tripled. We have today about 9,000 new cases, and we expect hospitalizations to continue to increase,” said Legault in a press conference.

“Our goal remains the same: to protect our hospitals so that we can continue to treat all those who need it.”

British Columbia on Wednesday also smashed its previous single-day record of new COVID-19 cases with 1,474 more infections on Dec. 22.

In the Prairies, case counts have also drastically increased.


Click to play video: 'Travel confusions amid Omicron variant surge'



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Travel confusions amid Omicron variant surge


Travel confusions amid Omicron variant surge

Alberta confirmed over 1,300 new cases of COVID-19, of which 522 were confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

Manitoba reported its highest one-day jump in new COVID-19 cases since late May, with 400 new infections and two more deaths Wednesday.

Officials in Saskatchewan added 105 more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as one more death.

Provinces in Atlantic Canada have also seen a record-shattering week for their case counts.

Read more:

Provinces take new measures to stem impact of Omicron variant

Nova Scotia broke its daily case count record for the seventh day in a row on Wednesday with 537 new cases. New Brunswick added a record 237 new cases on Wednesday — the highest since the pandemic began.

Newfoundland and Labrador added another 60 cases on Wednesday, while P.E.I. posted its highest single-day increase with 33 new cases.

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

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China’s Investment into Foreign Media

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Over the last few decades, China’s power and influence have grown remarkably quickly. The largest country in Asia is now one of the world’s biggest superpowers, and its influence has extended across the continent and into new territories as the Chinese government looks to cement its power for the future. According to a recent report released by Reporters Without Borders, China has started investing in foreign media to deter criticism and spread propaganda.

According to the research, “China’s Pursuit of a New World Media Order”, Beijing is spreading its worldview through several techniques, including increased international broadcasting, huge advertising campaigns, and infiltration of foreign media outlets.

China has recently opened laws across the country to give its people more freedom. However, there are still many restrictions in place, including against online gambling. Despite this, Chinese citizens can get online and place sports bets and wagers at online casinos, using trusted online gambling portals such as Asiabet. Interested players can access a wide range of leading casinos and sportsbooks through the site as well as information regarding the legality of the recommended operators, safety, and strategy before joining up, making it easier for players to understand what they’re getting into.

Why Is Chine Looking to Control Foreign Media?

The Chinese government is spending up to $1.3 billion a year to boost Chinese media’s global reach. Chinese state-run television and radio shows have been able to dramatically expand their foreign reach in recent years because of this financing. China Radio International is now transmitted in 65 languages, while China Global Television Network is distributed across 140 countries.

Considering the current global geopolitical climate, this looks to be a smart move, as it allows China to present itself how it wants to be seen to a global audience. In recent years, China has gained media attention across the West for its influence on North Korea, its expansion into the South China Sea, and its treatment of the minority Uighurs within its own country.

How Is China Influencing Foreign Media?

The Chinese government has recently increased spending on advertisements in Western newspapers and publishing sites to promote Chinese viewpoints. Advertising dollars have enticed media outlets, which has had a particularly large impact considering news media is currently struggling with profitability. China Daily, a mouthpiece for the Chinese regime, has paid American newspapers 19 million dollars in advertising and printing in the last four years alone, according to US Justice Department records.

China is also aiming to influence and control foreign media outlets by purchasing interests in them, according to the research. The report found that, in many cases, Chinese ownership typically leads to self-censorship, and journalists have lost their jobs in the past for publishing negative articles about the country.

For example, Reporters Without Borders claim that a journalist for South Africa’s Independent Online, which has a 20% investment in Chinese investors, had his column stopped in September 2018. This came just hours after a column about China’s mistreatment of ethnic minorities was published.

Reporters Without Borders has also claimed that, in addition to buying shares in media firms, Beijing has impacted foreign media by inviting journalists from developing nations to China for training. According to the report, China invited several Zambian journalists to a specially designed event named the 2018 Zambia Media Think Tank Seminar.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Western Media?

China has long had a lack of press freedom, with the country ranked 177 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index in 2021. It looks like the country is using domestic tactics used to control media narratives and bring them to the wider world, allowing it to control what people say about the country and regime in other countries too. By silencing and pressing foreign journalists and news stories, the Chinese government is damaging the trust that people place in the media.

Some people feel that this report is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. It could be that the influence from the Chinese government is even greater than previously expected. While a lot of foreign governments will often have an impact on media in other countries to control a narrative, this is on a scale never seen before.

Despite this, there are many journalists around the world who refuse to be influenced and still work hard to preserve the integrity of journalism. Reporters Without Borders will continue to document and report on the extent of China’s influence on foreign media.

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Emmy-winning actor Louie Anderson dead at age 68

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Louie Anderson, a three-time Emmy Award winner, comedian and game show host, died on Friday morning after a battle with cancer, his publicist told Deadline. He was 68.

The star of the comedy series “Baskets” died in Las Vegas, where he was admitted into a hospital earlier this week for treatment of diffuse large B cell lymphoma, publicist Glenn Schwartz told the entertainment publication.

Anderson was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy Series, winning one in 2016 for his role as Christine Baskets on the FX series.

He also won two Daytime Emmys for outstanding performer in an animated program for “Life with Louie,” a program that aired on Fox in 1997 and 1998.

The Saint Paul, Minnesota, native was a counselor to troubled children before he got his start in comedy when he won first place in the Midwest Comedy Competition in 1981, according to Deadline.

Anderson was in Eddie Murphy’s 1988 hit movie “Coming to America.” He also hosted “Family Feud” from 1999 to 2002 and starred in several situation comedies over the last two decades.

Anderson wrote several books, including “Good­bye Jumbo … Hello Cruel World,” a self-help book for people struggling with self-esteem issues.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Two Canadians die in shooting at Mexican Caribbean resort

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Two Canadians died of gunshot wounds after an argument turned violent at a resort near Cancun on Mexico‘s Caribbean coast, authorities said on Friday.

Both guests at the upscale resort on the Riviera Maya of Quintana Roo state had criminal records, said Mexican officials, citing information from the Canadian police.

Mexican police are searching for another person thought to have fired the shots who had a “long” criminal record in Canada, said the attorney general’s office in Quintana Roo, home to a stretch of white-sand beach resorts and lush jungles.

Quintana Roo’s head of public security, Lucio Hernandez, said on Twitter a gun was fired amid “an argument among hotel guests” at the Hotel Xcaret.

Three people were injured and taken to hospital, Hernandez said. He posted photos of the alleged shooter, showing a man in a gray track suit and black face mask wielding a gun in front of green landscaping.

Xcaret said the incident appeared to be “targeted and isolated” and that the hotel was helping the affected people. “We deeply regret the events that occurred at Hotel Xcaret this afternoon,” it said in a statement.

The Canadian government said it was contacting Mexican authorities and could not provide more details due to privacy considerations.

 

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon, Lizbeth Diaz and Miguel Angel Gutierrez in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto; Editing by William Mallard)

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