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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Jan. 1 – CBC News

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The latest:

Several provinces have again set new highs in COVID-19 cases, reporting on the first day of 2022 that the highly transmissible Omicron variant continued to drive up infections across Canada.

Ontario on Saturday reported 18,445 cases — an increase from 16,713 new cases reported New Year’s Eve.

Infectious disease experts have said for several days that the actual number of new cases is likely far higher than those reported each day because many public health units in Ontario have reached testing capacity.

The provincial public health department said 12 more people have died due to the virus and 85 more people were in hospital.

WATCH | Nurse reacts to Ontario’s decision to stop reporting COVID-19 cases in schools: 

Ontario nurse reacts to province’s decision to stop reporting COVID-19 cases in schools

7 hours ago

Duration 8:48

Doris Grinspun, head of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, responds to news that the Ministry of Education would be suspending the reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools and child-care centres. 8:48

Quebec reported 17,122 new cases, marking the fifth straight day a record number of new infections have been reported in the province. It also recorded eight additional deaths.

Outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations in the province were prohibited as of 10 p.m. ET because a curfew, lasting until 5 a.m., went into effect on Friday. The curfew is Quebec’s second of the pandemic. A previous curfew, announced in early January 2021, was in place for nearly five months.

New restrictions also include banning nearly all indoor gatherings and the closing of restaurant dining rooms. Indoor gatherings involving more than one household bubble have been prohibited.

WATCH | Exhaustion as Quebec’s COVID-19 curfew comes into force on New Year’s Eve: 

Exhaustion as Quebec’s COVID-19 curfew comes into force on New Year’s Eve

23 hours ago

Duration 2:17

Quebec residents are frustrated and exhausted as the province’s latest round of COVID-19 restrictions — including a renewed curfew — come into effect on New Year’s Eve. 2:17

Meanwhile, with almost two weeks until their next game, and their list of players in COVID-19 protocol growing, the Montreal Canadiens are pausing activities.

The news came shortly after the Canadiens lost 5-2 to the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Saturday. Montreal dressed only 11 forwards and five defencemen for the game. Forward Jake Evans and defenceman Alexander Romanov were added to the protocol list just hours earlier, giving the Habs 16 players now in isolation.

Records were also set on Saturday in Nunavut, which reported 50 new cases, and Newfoundland and Labrador, which logged 442 new infections.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Health Minister John Haggie said he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was isolating with cold-like symptoms.

The province’s surge in cases will affect health-care services in St. John’s. Eastern Health says non-urgent services will be temporarily scaled back as of Tuesday to allow for a greater focus on booster vaccine clinics and testing for COVID-19. The health authority says it plans to focus on urgent or emergent acute care services within the city.

However, prenatal appointments will continue, as will those for cancer treatment. The medical imaging program will be performing exams on a priority basis, and those patients will be contacted only if their appointment has been cancelled, Eastern Health said in a statement issued Friday. All non-urgent appointments have been cancelled, it said.

Boosting vaccination efforts is one of the country’s top priorities as 2021 turns to 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his year-end statement on Friday.

Trudeau said Canadians will need to continue working together to end the pandemic, adding that the “strength, determination and compassion” they’ve demonstrated over the past year will “keep inspiring and guiding us in the new year.”


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Provinces shift strategies in attempt to counter Omicron’s rapid spread: 

Provinces shift strategies in attempt to counter Omicron’s rapid spread

24 hours ago

Duration 2:02

Provinces are shifting their COVID-19 strategies as the Omicron variant sweeps through Canada at record-breaking speed. More provinces have shortened isolation periods, while Ontario has stopped trying to track and trace its cases, as labs report testing backlogs. 2:02

On the last day of 2021, nearly every province reported record-breaking daily numbers for new cases of COVID-19.

British Columbia was no exception, reporting 3,795 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Friday. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s public health officer, said earlier in the week that the true number of cases is likely higher because B.C. had reached its maximum capacity on testing and contact tracing.

The province also announced it is limiting visits to long-term care facilities to essential visitors and will fast track its booster program.

In the Prairies, Manitoba reported a single-day high of 1,494 new cases on Friday, as well as five new deaths. ​​​​​Saskatchewan reported 735 new cases on Friday, another daily high. (Alberta did not announce new numbers; it will resume regular reporting on Tuesday.)

In Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island reported a record 175 new cases on Friday. New Brunswick also reported a daily high of 682 new infections — a number Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said could rise to 1,000 a day within a week.

Shephard also said the province could see more than 160 COVID-19 patients in hospitals by mid-January, a scenario she warned “would very quickly overwhelm” health-care providers.

Nova Scotia reported 618 new cases on Friday. Starting next week, the province will accelerate its descending age-based approach for boosters to include those 30 years and older.

In North, the Northwest Territories, which is delaying a return to school, reported 42 new cases on Friday. Yukon reported 26 new cases and one additional death.

B.C., Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick on Friday became the latest provinces to reduce the number of days people with two doses of vaccine must isolate if they get COVID-19. The isolation period has come down from 10 days to five for those individuals.

Ontario and Saskatchewan both announced on Thursday that they were reducing the isolation period to five days for double-vaccinated people with positive test results.

For Ontario and Saskatchewan, the changes were immediate. For B.C. and Manitoba, the new measures start on Jan. 1. Alberta’s change takes effect Jan. 3, with New Brunswick set to implement the measure on Jan. 4.


What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday, roughly 289.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.4 million.

In the Americas, the annual Rose Parade returned to the streets of Pasadena, Calif., with marching bands and floral floats after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. The crowd was smaller than in previous years, but the parade still drew thousands of fans along its 8.8-kilometre route.

Rose Queen Nadia Chung, centre, waves to the crowd at the 133rd Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday. (Michael Owen Baker/The Associated Press)

The parade and the afternoon Rose Bowl football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes remained on track despite an explosion of COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County, where daily new cases topped 27,000 on Friday.

In the Asia-Pacific region, China ended the final week of 2021 with its biggest tally of local COVID-19 cases for any seven-day period since it largely contained the country’s first epidemic nearly two years ago.

The National Health Commission on Saturday reported 175 new community infections with confirmed clinical symptoms for Dec. 31, bringing the total number of local symptomatic cases in China in the past week to 1,151, driven mostly by an outbreak in the northwestern industrial and tech hub of Xi’an.

Xi’an has been under lockdown for 10 days as of Saturday.

A man undergoes a test for COVID-19 in Xi’an, in China’s northern Shaanxi province, on Wednesday. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates will ban non-vaccinated citizens from travelling abroad from Jan. 10, the country’s state news agency WAM reported on Saturday, citing the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.

The report said that fully vaccinated citizens would also require a booster shot to be eligible to travel. The ban would not apply to those with medical or humanitarian exemptions.

In Europe, Pope Francis delivered a New Year’s message on Saturday in which he acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has left many scared and struggling amid economic inequality.

“We are still living in uncertain and difficult times due to the pandemic,” Francis said. “Many are frightened about the future and burdened by social problems, personal problems, dangers stemming from the ecological crisis, injustices and by global economic imbalances.”

Pope Francis adresses the crowd from the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking Saint Peter’s Square during the New Year Angelus prayer at the Vatican on Saturday. (Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images)

Thousands of Rome residents and tourists, wearing face masks as protection against the spread of the coronavirus, gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a sunny, mild day to hear the Pope lay out his recipe for world peace, cheering his appearance.

In Africa, businesses working in Morocco’s key tourism sector say the country’s tough COVID-19 restrictions, including a full flight ban, are undermining its competitiveness compared with rival destinations.

Morocco shut its borders in late November and will only reopen them at the end of January. It also banned New Year’s Eve celebrations and is enforcing its vaccine pass requirements more strictly in response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“These restrictions are unjustified and they have made Morocco lose tourists to Mediterranean competitors such as Egypt and Turkey,” said Lahcen Zelmat, head of Morocco’s hotel federation.

Morocco is Africa’s most vaccinated country, having now administered two shots to 23 million people, in a total population of 36 million. Nearly three million have also had booster shots.

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Sask. RCMP issue Canada-wide warrant for anti-vaccine dad charged with abducting daughter, 7 – CBC.ca

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Saskatchewan RCMP have charged and issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for a Carievale, Sask., man accused of abducting his daughter to prevent her getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Michael Gordon Jackson, 52, is charged with one count of abduction in contravention of a custody or parenting order, RCMP said in a news release Friday evening.

It comes after CBC News reported earlier this month that the father fled with his seven-year-old daughter, Sarah, in mid-November to keep her from getting immunized against the coronavirus. Jackson’s ex-wife, Mariecar Jackson, had wanted to get their daughter vaccinated, but Jackson did not. 

The girl had been visiting her father when she was allegedly abducted.

Since an enforceable court order was issued earlier this month, investigators say they have followed up on several tips and reported sightings of the father and daughter — including by reviewing surveillance footage at several businesses. However, no tips have led to locating them.

Sarah, 7, is described as four feet two inches tall and 76 pounds with waist-length brown hair that’s all one length. She has brown/hazel-coloured eyes and was last seen wearing teal-coloured eyeglasses. (Saskatchewan RCMP)

At this point, RCMP say, the criteria for an Amber Alert has not been met, which is why Mounties are continuing to ask the public for help in tracking the pair down.

“Sarah: we want you to know that you are not in any trouble,” Chief Supt. Tyler Bates, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP south district, said in a message to the girl contained in the news release.

“Your mom misses you very much, and we have police officers doing what they can so you can see her again soon.”

Sarah is described as four feet two inches tall, 76 pounds, with waist-length brown hair that’s all one length. She has brown/hazel-coloured eyes and last wore teal-coloured eyeglasses.

Jackson’s ex-wife, Mariecar Jackson, says she hasn’t communicated with her daughter since mid-November. (Submitted by Mariecar Jackson)

Michael Jackson is described as weighing about 250 pounds with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He also typically wears glasses, RCMP said.

While Jackson resides in the Carievale area — located in Saskatchewan’s southeast corner — Mounties said he may have connections to the communities of Dilke, Oxbow, Alameda and Regina, along with Lamont, Alta. RCMP said he may also be in Manitoba.

“Locating Michael Gordon Jackson and Sarah is a top priority for Saskatchewan RCMP officers,” Bates said. “Our investigators are diligently following up on all tips and reported sightings. We are committed to locating Michael Gordon Jackson and reuniting Sarah with her mom.”

WATCH | Sask. woman says she’ll never stop looking for her child:

Sask. mom pleads for public’s help finding daughter taken by anti-vaccine dad

9 days ago

Duration 1:55

A Saskatchewan mother is pleading for the public’s help to locate her seven-year-old daughter taken in mid-November by the girl’s father to prevent her from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 1:55 

RCMP noted that investigators believe Michael Jackson may be getting help in evading police and reminded people that this activity may result in criminal charges. 
 
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Michael or Sarah Jackson is asked to call the Saskatchewan RCMP at 306-310-7267 or 306-780-5563. Tips can also be anonymously submitted to Crime Stoppers at at 1‐800‐222‐8477 or www.saskcrimestoppers.com.

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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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