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Chinese woman illegally crossed Canada-U.S. border with $38K in gold bars: authorities – CTV News

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TORONTO —
A Chinese woman was arrested after allegedly entering the United States illegally from Canada while carrying more than $38,000 in gold bars, according to border authorities.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a statement released Thursday that the woman was arrested with 14.25 ounces of gold bars in her possession, valued at over $38,000 (US$28,500). She also had more than $13,500 (US$10,000) in cash.

The 36-year-old woman was apprehended near the town of Amity, Maine on Tuesday, the agency said in the statement.

Officials said the woman admitted to being a Chinese national illegally present in the U.S. The woman told border authorities that she had been legally allowed into Canada as a student and illegally crossed the border to visit a friend in San Francisco, Calif.

Border officials from the Houlton Border Patrol Station determined the spot where the woman illegally crossed the Canada-U.S. border by matching footprints with her shoes, according to the statement.

The woman, who has not been identified, was subsequently sent back to Canada following her arrest.

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Canadian family begs government for help to return as adopted daughter needs medical care – CBC.ca

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When Derek and Emilie Muth left Calgary to adopt their daughter Zoe in Nigeria last October, they had no idea that nearly a year later — after a terrifying medical ordeal and the onset of a global pandemic — they’d still be stuck abroad with no word on when they can come home.

That’s because despite their 2½-year-old daughter’s adoption being completed, her citizenship is not yet finalized. Canadian immigration staff have been repatriated from the only government office in West Africa that can finish processing their paperwork.

The family has gone months with government officials seemingly not even opening their documents, according to an access-to-information request, and, until CBC News reached out, no reply from the immigration minister to their urgent requests.

They still have no update on their application.

We definitely feel forgotten and left behind.– Emilie Muth

“This family has done every single thing that every authority and every expert has recommended to them in order to comply with the federal, the domestic, the international laws, and they are just stuck,” said Alicia Backman-Beharry, a lawyer who is representing the family pro bono. 

“If there’s anything that can be done to have their file reviewed in a timely fashion, it is going to make a difference in a toddler’s life. She’s not getting the medical care that she requires right now.”

A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said Zoe’s application has been identified as a priority and officers continue to assess applications, but the Canadian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, is currently limited in its processing capacity. 

“The adoption is complete. It’s legal. It’s done. We’re just waiting on a visa to come home. It’s been 10 months, and we haven’t been able to work. We’ve been away from our family. The pandemic has been really scary, navigating that abroad. She has a lot of medical difficulties,” Emilie Muth said. “We definitely feel forgotten and left behind.”

Derek Muth said they started their adoption journey in 2017. 

His wife is a nurse who has worked with children with blood disorders, so when they heard of a child with sickle cell anemia in government care in Nigeria, it seemed like it was meant to be. 

“It just felt natural,” Emilie Muth said.

Life-threatening infection, malaria

The couple finalized Zoe’s adoption in Nigeria on Oct. 28, 2019, and shortly after submitted the second part of her application to the office in Accra, which would grant her Canadian citizenship and the ability to enter Canada.

The same week as the second and final part of their application was submitted, Zoe contracted a life-threatening infection, leading to sepsis, and severe anemia requiring a blood transfusion.

The quality of health care in Nigeria was poor, and while Derek Muth was able to donate blood to Zoe — saving her life — both father and daughter contracted malaria. 

A doctor at the hospital recommended the family leave the country for Barbados, as it’s one of the few countries that allows Canadian and Nigerian visitors to stay for months without visas, so they could receive better medical care for Zoe.  

The family arrived in Barbados in mid-December, after receiving permission to travel from Nigerian adoption authorities. Zoe’s condition improved somewhat, and the family continued to communicate with the office in Accra, waiting for their daughter’s citizenship to be finalized.

Then the pandemic hit.

We’ve really taken a beating as a family. We need help.– Derek Muth

In February, the Muths asked the Canadian High Commission in Barbados for help to get home, given Zoe’s medical concerns that put her at additional risk if she catches COVID-19. 

Barbados gave residents and visitors just 24 hours’ notice before the country went into full lockdown. The family couldn’t leave their apartment or access groceries — they spent weeks eating just the canned food they had in their cupboards. 

Alberta Children’s Services requested an expedited review of the family’s case from the Accra office, but no action was taken.

By May, no flights home were available. The family was told that they had just two days to make it onto a repatriation flight. They quickly filed a visitor visa request but were denied. 

Their requests for a compassionate grant of a temporary resident permit or visa have been denied. They haven’t heard from the office in Accra since April. Two other families who were also in West Africa have received completed applications and have been able to return home.

“We’ve really taken a beating as a family,” said Muth. “We need help.”

Family spent nearly $70K while in limbo

Not including their initial costs to travel to Nigeria and complete the adoption, they’ve spent nearly $70,000 waiting to return home. That figure includes Zoe’s health-care costs, which have been entirely out of pocket. 

The family may not be able to stay in Barbados much longer.

They’ve been granted a second visa extension until the end of November. After that, they’ll likely be forced to return to Nigeria, a country that Canada warns against travelling to due to the risk of terrorism or kidnapping, and where they may not be able to access proper medical care for Zoe. 

If they can stay in Barbados, the situation isn’t much better — every day abroad costs the family more, and access to medication on the island is uncertain given the pandemic. There have been times the island has run out of Zoe’s medications since the lockdown. 

Soon, Muth will likely need to return to Canada for work, leaving his wife to navigate Zoe’s care alone.

“I feel emotional talking about that because we worked so hard at building trust with her and attachment … so leaving her, one of us having to leave her, it feels really hard,” Emilie Muth said through tears.

No updates to their application

In mid-September, after CBC News reached out, the Muths finally received a reply from the immigration minister’s office after months of sending letters.

“Due to the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, IRCC is unable to provide processing times for applications at this time. Please rest assured that you will be contacted when there are updates to this application,” the letter read, acknowledging that the response was likely not what the family “had anticipated.”

“Understandably, adoptive parents are anxious to complete the adoption process as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for IRCC told CBC News but added that time frames can vary widely from case to case.

The IRCC spokesperson also said that the government is obligated under international conventions to ensure children are not trafficked or removed from their biological families without legal consent, and the process is a complex one. 

‘Health of child is in jeopardy’

An access-to-information request filed by the Muths for the notes from IRCC’s centralized Global Case Management System shows the second part of their application (filed in November) seemingly hasn’t been started, and documents that show the adoption is complete do not even appear to have been opened, as there are no substantive updates to their file.

None of the letters the family sent between March and August requesting updates, nor multiple letters of support sent from an MP, Alberta Children’s Services and International Adoption Services, are recorded, either. 

There’s a comment on the file that states “email sent to visa office as health of child is in jeopardy because of lack of access to medication” — but no response from the office in Accra. 

“If Canada truly valued the best interest of the vulnerable, they would prioritize this adoption. Otherwise, we’re just paying humanitarian lip service in this country,” Derek Muth said. 

Mike Long, director of communications for Alberta Children’s Services, said in an emailed statement that staff have been working with the Muth family and have advocated on their behalf to the immigration department.

“It is now up to the federal government to work with the family to get the necessary documentation to return to Canada,” he said.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • Rising COVID-19 cases sparks debate over what appropriate response to second wave should be. 
  • B.C. chief provincial health officer says she’s received death threats during pandemic.
  • One in 10 students in Hamilton public schools aren’t wearing masks, Hamilton Wentworth-District School Board says.
  • Pandemic slashes worldwide income from work by a tenth, International Labour Organization finds.
  • U.K. government defends strategy for combatting a second wave from criticism that restrictions don’t go far enough.

The recent surge in COVID-19 is sparking debate around what the appropriate response is to a coronavirus second wave and how to keep the economy open while reducing community spread of the virus.  

With Ontario reporting its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since early May on Tuesday, there are mounting calls for the government to take more actions to slow the spread of the virus now, in an effort to avoid a full-scale lockdown later.

The province is facing rapid growth in coronavirus infections. The average number of new cases reported daily over the past week was 383, double what it was just nine days earlier. The daily case count has exceeded 400 on four of the past five days.

On Wednesday, the province reported 335 new COVID-19 cases, marking a considerable drop from the previous two days. 

“The premier and I are both very concerned about the rapid increase in numbers, as I know the people of Ontario are, but we do have a plan,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday. 

But Elliott and Premier Doug Ford did not announce any new public health measures yesterday to try to rein in those numbers. 

WATCH | New lockdowns possible if Canada’s COVID-19 surge continues, say health officials:

Canada’s health officials presented new projections for the COVID-19 pandemic if no measures are taken to control the virus’s spread and warned new lockdowns could happen if the public doesn’t take matters into their own hands. 2:02

They did unveil one element of Ontario’s promised COVID-19 fall preparedness plan — the province’s upcoming flu vaccination campaign. The government intends to roll out the rest of its fall plan piece-by-piece over the coming days. The ostensible reason for the gradual reveal is that the plan is so big that the public wouldn’t be able to absorb it all at once.

Meanwhile, Toronto city councillors say they are committed to avoiding tax hikes or service cuts in the face of a bleak new report on the city’s financial health, though averting those measures will require major funding from the provincial and federal governments.

A new city report that analyzed the first half of 2020 projects a shortfall of $1.34 billion by the end of the year. The figure is largely attributed to a combination of lost revenue and increased spending to combat the novel coronavirus during the spring and summer.

The report and measures to lift the city out of its dire financial situation are expected to be discussed Wednesday at Mayor John Tory’s executive committee.

WATCH | Jump in COVID-19 cases ‘very alarming,’ says respirologist:

‘We are in trouble,’ warns Dr. Samir Gupta, associate professor at the University of Toronto, and says Canada’s leaders need to ‘jolt’ Canadians into action against the coronavirus now. 5:24

“I think we are going to get through it, but it is going to be a very long, hard road ahead,” said Coun. James Pasternak, who sits on the executive committee.

And in Quebec, a similar problem is presenting itself as the province sees large spikes in cases: that is, how to keep things open while stopping the virus’s spread in the community? 

On Tuesday, the province recorded 489 new cases today, and the number of hospitalizations increased by 20.

In response to the rising numbers, more regions in Quebec will be facing stricter restrictions as new cases and hospitalizations rise in the province. 

WATCH | Why Outaouais is now an orange zone in Quebec’s COVID-19 rating system:

Christian Dubé, Quebec’s minister of health and social services, says community transmission in the Outaouais is concerning because of its potential impact on health-care workers. 0:45

Quebec’s Laval and Outaouais regions will be under “moderate alert,” or the orange alert level, said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé at a news conference Tuesday. The Centre-Quebec region will move from green alert to yellow alert, he said. 

“Primarily, the situations responsible for outbreaks are private gatherings, like parties, family dinners or weddings. These gatherings are closely linked to outbreaks that affect many communities in Laval and undermine the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Trépanier, regional director of Laval public health.

Dr. Karl Weiss — who heads the infectious diseases department at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital where there has been a recent surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 — said the second wave will “really be something different.”

“What we will have is outbreaks everywhere. We will have outbreaks in schools. We will have outbreaks in bars, associated with private parties, religious gatherings.”

As a result, Weiss said, the challenge will be in ensuring these outbreaks are quickly controlled.


What’s happening in the rest of Canada

As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 147,469 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 127,162 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,274.

About one in 10 students in Hamilton public schools aren’t wearing masks, according to the Hamilton Wentworth-District School Board (HWDSB).

The Hamilton Wentworth-District School Board says about one in 10 students in Hamilton public schools aren’t wearing masks. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

HWDSB spokesperson Shawn McKillop said that roughly 3,800 students are exempt from wearing masks or face coverings. With some 39,848 students in the public board registered for in-person learning, that means just under 10 per cent of students aren’t wearing masks or face coverings.

The Catholic school board said it didn’t have numbers on mask exemptions yet.

Mask wearing has been a contentious issue for the unions and the school board. The number of exemptions also comes as local schools are starting to see their first cases of COVID-19.

The exemption is for children with medical issues that would prevent them from using a face covering or mask or have difficulty breathing in one.

The chief provincial health officer in British Columbia says she’s received death threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says she has also received abusive letters and her staff has been harassed, all of which has caused concern for her personal safety. 

“There are many people who don’t like what I do or don’t like the way I say it or don’t like my shoes and feel quite able to send me nasty notes, to leave phone calls, to harass my office staff,” she said during a panel presentation at the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

“I’ve had to have security in my house. I’ve had death threats. How do we deal with that?”

Henry says she believes the attacks are partly because she is a woman in a high-profile position, and people feel comfortable targeting her in ways they would not necessarily target a male leader. 

WATCH | Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about death threats and added security:

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer talks about concerns over her safety as she handles the COVID-19 pandemic. 1:31

Two patients have died, and 14 other patients and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 as outbreaks continue to spread at Foothills hospital in Calgary.

A total of 88 staff members are now in isolation, Alberta Health Services said Tuesday. But the hospital remains fully staffed as it uses overtime and reassignments to cover shifts as needed.

Alberta Health said the outbreak is currently the largest in the province.

Two cardiac units and the hospital’s general unit are affected. The first case in one of the hospital’s cardiac units was detected Friday, and a case in the general unit was detected the next day.


What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 31.6 million. More than 971,400 people have died, while over 21.7 million have recovered.

Income earned from work worldwide dropped by an estimated 10.7 per cent, or $3.5 trillion US, in the first nine months of 2020, compared to the same period a year ago, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

The figure, which does not include income support provided by governments to compensate for workplace closures during the pandemic, is equal to 5.5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) for the first three quarters of 2019, it said.

“Workplace closures continue to disrupt labour markets around the world, leading to working hour losses that are higher than previously estimated,” the ILO said in its sixth report on the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.

Workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, had been affected to a much greater extent than in past crises, the United Nations agency said. It added that a decline in employment numbers had generally been greater for women than men.

The United Kingdom government is defending its strategy for combatting a second wave of coronavirus infections from criticism that new restrictions didn’t go far enough to stop the exponential spread of the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a slate of new rules on Tuesday to stem the renewed outbreak, including a 10 p.m. local time curfew on bars and restaurants, increased use of face masks and again encouraging people to work from home.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Wednesday that the government’s approach was “focused, balanced and proportionate.” He says that if everyone complies with the measures, they will be enough to prevent a second national lockdown “with all the impact on society and families but also the damage it would do to businesses.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a slate of new rules on Tuesday to stem a renewed outbreak of COVID-19. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

India added 83,347 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, showing some decline after a record 97,000 a week ago.

The past six days have shown some drop in the new cases. Wednesday’s increase reported by the Health Ministry raised the nation’s total to more than 5.6 million, which is on pace to pass the U.S. total within weeks.

The ministry said 1,085 more people died in the past 24 hours for a total of 90,020.

Confirmed daily coronavirus cases in the Netherlands hit a record high on Wednesday, with 2,357 confirmed over the previous 24 hours, according to data published by health authorities.

The country has had 100,597 confirmed cases since it began registering them in late February, according to data made available by the National Institute for Health (RIVM).

Cases have risen rapidly since late August amid a broader European second wave, leaving the country short of tests and prompting Prime Minister Mark Rutte to urge citizens to recover a sense of “urgency” about social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

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Canada sees 1,241 new coronavirus cases as worries of a second wave grow – Global News

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Canada added 1,241 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, marking the fourth straight day the country has seen a daily increase above 1,000.

The new infections bring Canada’s total case count to 146,527.

Provincial health authorities also said six more people have died after contracting COVID-19. The country’s death toll now stands at 9,234.

Read more:
Coronavirus numbers are surging in Canada. But who’s getting sick and why?

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The new infections come amid growing concern that Canada may be experiencing a second wave of the virus.

At a press conference earlier on Tuesday Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, called the new cases in Canada “concerning.”

She said the situation will continue to escalate unless both public health and personal preventive measures are strengthened.






1:49
Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says


Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says

“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.

Tam’s comments come as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to address the nation about the pandemic.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau is scheduled to “address Canadians directly on the urgency of fighting COVID-19 as we face down the prospect of a second wave of the virus.”

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He is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Read more:
Trudeau to address the nation over coronavirus pandemic after Wednesday’s throne speech

Ontario reported 478 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and health officials said three more people in the province had died.

Since the pandemic began, 41,342 people have recovered after falling ill, and 3,614,544 tests have been administered in Ontario.






2:44
Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean


Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean

In Quebec, 489 new novel coronavirus infections were reported, bringing the province’s total case count to 68,617.

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

Health officials also said one more person had died, pushing the total death toll in Quebec to 5,805.

So far, 59,450 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province, and 2,115,208 people have been tested for the virus.

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In Manitoba, 24 new cases of COVID-19 were detected on Tuesday, but provincial health authorities said the death toll remained at 18.

The province has tested 167,203 people for the virus and 1,234 have recovered after contracting COVID-19.

Saskatchewan saw 10 new COVID-19 infections Sept. 22, but no new deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,654 people have recovered from the virus in Saskatchewan and more than 175,400 tests have been conducted.

Further west in Alberta, 150 new cases were reported, and health officials said two more people had died.

The new fatalities bring the province’s death toll to 258.

However, 15,066 have recovered from the virus. So far 1,229,939 tests have been administered in Alberta.






1:21
Coronavirus: Trudeau says $19 billion for restarting economy to begin flowing to provinces


Coronavirus: Trudeau says $19 billion for restarting economy to begin flowing to provinces

British Columbia saw 89 new lab-confirmed cases of the virus, but health officials confirmed no one else had died.

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Provincial health authorities also reported seven new epidemiologically-linked cases, meaning they have not yet been confirmed by a lab.

To date, 6,589 people have recovered from COVID-19 in British Columbia and 479,574 tests have been administered.

New Brunswick did not see any new cases or deaths relating to COVID-19 on Tuesday.

To date, the province has seen 196 cases of the virus and two deaths.

Thus far, 191 people have recovered from COVID-19 in New Brunswick, and 70,844 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus.

Nova Scotia reported one new case of the virus on Tuesday, but health officials said the death toll remained at 65.

A total of 1,021 people have recovered from the virus in Nova Scotia, and 89,546 tests have been conducted.

Read more:
‘Canada is at a crossroads’: Federal health officials warn coronavirus habits must change

No new cases or deaths were detected in Prince Edward Island, health officials confirmed.

The island has seen a total of 57 cases of the virus, 56 of which are considered to be recovered.

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2:57
Coronavirus: Trudeau says handling pandemic ‘job one,’ throne speech has several elements


Coronavirus: Trudeau says handling pandemic ‘job one,’ throne speech has several elements

Newfoundland did not report any new cases or deaths related to COVID-19 either.

The province, which has seen 272 cases, has not recorded a new infection since Thursday.

A total of 3,8527 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Newfoundland, and 268 have recovered after contracting the virus.

No new cases in the territories

None of Canada’s territories reported a new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Nunavut has seen three cases of the virus to date, however, each have been tied to workers from other parts of the country.

The territory says the infections will be counted in the totals for the workers’ home jurisdictions, meaning Nunavut still considers itself free of COVID-19 cases.

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All five of the confirmed cases of the virus in the Northwest Territories are considered resolved.

Health officials in the territory have tested 4,801 people for the virus.

Similarly, in Yukon, all 15 confirmed cases of the virus are resolved.

A total of 3,185 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Yukon territory.

Read more:
Coronavirus took their lives. Here’s how their families will remember them

U.S. deaths top 200,000, global cases inch towards 32 million

The novel coronavirus pandemic passed another grim milestone on Tuesday, with the death toll in the United States surpassing 200,000.

As of 7:30 p.m. ET, 200,641 had died of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said the death toll was a “shame,” but defended his administration’s response to the pandemic.

“Well I think it’s a shame,” he said. “I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right, you’d have two and a half million deaths.”

The country, which remains the global epicentre of the virus, has seen more than 6.8 million cases.

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0:55
Coronavirus: Mike Pence recognizes grim milestone of 200,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths


Coronavirus: Mike Pence recognizes grim milestone of 200,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths

Worldwide, more than 31,444,163 cases of the virus have been confirmed.

Globally, the pandemic has claimed 967,197 lives.

–With a file from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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