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

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The latest:

Quebec’s health minister is expressing concern about some parts of the province’s health-care system, saying that while Montreal has so far avoided returning to lockdown, the region is still “under pressure.”

“The situation in our hospitals is concerning,” Health Minister Christian Dubé wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Hospital capacity in intensive care is fragile.”

Quebec expanded its lockdown to several additional municipalities on Monday, as health officials reported 1,252 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 503 with 123 COVID-19 patients in ICU, according to a provincial dashboard.

Premier François Legault is expected to hold a press conference Tuesday evening, but it was not immediately clear what he would announce.

Quebec is not the only province keeping a close watch on health system capacity — the head of the Ontario Hospital Association has called the situation in that province’s hospitals “extremely, extremely serious” and Saskatchewan on Monday recorded its highest-ever number of COVID-19-related patients in intensive care units.

As of Monday, there were 195 people in hospital with COVID-19-related illness in Saskatchewan, including 47 in ICU. The bulk of the patients needing intensive care were in Regina, where tighter public health measures are in place in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. The province reported 219 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Monday.

Ontario on Monday reported 2,938 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths. According to an update posted on a provincial dashboard, 942 people were hospitalized, including 494 in ICU “due to COVID-related illness.”

The trends in Ontario prompted the top health officials in three major urban areas to ask the province to impose tougher restrictions beyond the 28-day “shutdown” it ordered last Thursday. Chief medical officers of health for Toronto, neighbouring Peel Region, and Ottawa have written to Ontario’s top doctor to ask him to impose a “stay-at-home order” to prevent deaths and irreparable strain on the health-care system.

WATCH | ‘Case counts are horrific’: Top doctors plead for stay-at-home order in Ontario hot spots:

The medical officers of health from three Ontario regions are pleading with the government to implement a stay-at-home order as case counts reach ‘horrific’ levels. 3:38

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET


What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

As of early Tuesday morning, Canada had reported 1,013,520 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 57,814 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,118.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported 10 new cases of COVID-19, while Nova Scotia reported three new cases. There were no new cases reported in Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 135 new cases and two new deaths. 

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the province’s top doctor said the number of confirmed cases of a COVID-19 variant that are linked to a large employer is likely to rise.

So far, three of 26 infections linked to work sites in Alberta’s central and northern zones are confirmed to be the Brazilian variant, but Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that’s likely to increase as more results come in. She said there was also an outbreak of five cases — one linked to the Brazilian variant — at a separate Calgary-area workplace.

Alberta reported 887 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths on Monday. Hospitalizations on the province stood at 312, with 76 people in intensive care.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut or Yukon on Monday. Health officials in the Northwest Territories reported one case on Monday in Yellowknife. The person is a Northwest Territories resident and the infection is “related to international travel,” a statement from the office of the chief public health officer said Monday. “The investigation and contact tracing does not identify any risk to the public at this time.”

In British Columbia, health officials reported 999 cases on Sunday and 890 cases on Monday. The province said 23 people had died from complications linked to the virus since Thursday. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday there is a “significant” amount of P1 in the province and he expects the variants of concern to eventually replace less transmissive COVID-19 strains.

“What we know is the most transmissive varieties, the variants of COVID-19, are ultimately going to take over,” he said. “We’ve seen that in other jurisdictions and we expect to see that here.”

Of the 318 people in hospital, 60 are linked to variants of concern, he said.

Coronavirus variants of concern are on the rise — and not just in B.C. — sparking repeated calls from health officials across Canada to stick with public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday evening, a federal tracking site had recorded more than 15,200 variant cases, including:

  • 14,009 cases of the B117 variant first reported in the U.K.
  • 337 cases of the B1351 variant first reported in South Africa.
  • 857 cases of the P1 variant first connected to travellers from Brazil.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 9:15 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

Suez Canal captains receive a dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 in Ismailia, Egypt. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 131.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.8 million.

In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden was set to announce Tuesday that he is shaving about two weeks off his May 1 deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines. Biden was set to make the announcement at the White House later Tuesday following a visit to a vaccination site in Virginia, a White House official said.

With states gradually expanding eligibility beyond such priority groups as older people and essential, front-line workers, the president plans to announce that every adult in the U.S. will be eligible by April 19 to be vaccinated, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Biden’s plans before the formal announcement.

The new deadline of April 19 is about two weeks earlier than Biden’s original May 1 deadline. The president had announced just last week that 90 per cent of adults would be eligible for one of three approved vaccines by April 19, in addition to having a vaccination site within five miles (eight kilometres) of their home. CNN was first to report on Biden’s planned announcement.

WATCH | Fears of 4th COVID-19 wave grow in the U.S.:

Fears of a fourth wave of COVID-19 are increasing in the U.S. after six million people travelled over the Easter weekend and the average age of new cases drops because of variants of concern. 2:03

In New York, people over 16 years old can sign up for COVID-19 vaccination starting Tuesday. That’s a large expansion of eligibility as the state seeks to immunize as many people as possible.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded eligibility to 30 and over last week and announced people age 16 to 29 would be eligible on April 6. Teens age 16 and 17 will be limited to receiving the Pfizer vaccine, since it is the only one authorized for use in people under 18. None of the available vaccines have been approved for people under 16.

Colombia, meanwhile, will allow private imports of COVID-19 vaccines, the health ministry said on Monday, but the shots must be free for those being inoculated.

In the Asia-Pacific region, many Indian state leaders have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open up vaccinations to most of the country’s hundreds of millions of adults, following a second surge in infections that has eclipsed the first wave.

Australia on Tuesday said it had not yet received more than three million doses of previously promised AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid export curbs by the European Union, leaving a major hole in its early nationwide inoculation drive.

In Africa, the World Bank estimates that Africa would need about $12 billion US for COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution to attain sufficient levels of vaccination coverage to interrupt virus transmission, according to a new paper by the bank and the IMF.

In Europe, Spain is stepping up its vaccination drive, with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez saying Tuesday that a steep rise in deliveries over the coming months will allow the country to inoculate 70 per cent of its adult population — some 33 million people — against COVID-19 by the end of August.

“The priority now, more than ever, is to vaccinate without respite,” Sanchez told a news conference. “Vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate.”

Spain’s new COVID-19 infections have been edging higher in recent weeks. The 14-day cumulative incidence — a key contagion metric — rose Monday to 163 cases per 100,000 people, from 149 a week earlier. The country expects to receive 87 million doses by September.

“Anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one,” Sanchez said.

Hungary will begin gradual easing of restrictions within days, as it expects to have 25 per cent of its population of 10 million inoculated by Tuesday or early Wednesday.

In the Middle East, Pfizer said on Monday it was working on a new deal to supply COVID-19 vaccines to Israel after an initial supply agreement forged in late 2020 ended.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9:10 a.m. ET

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Wall Street’s plant-based love wilts

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By Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath Kumar

(Reuters) – A cooling of the U.S. stock market’s taste for plant-based meat makers has raised doubts among some investors and analysts about Impossible Foods’ plans to achieve a $10 billion flotation.

Impossible is seeking to go public through an initial public offering or via a merger with a blank-check company within the next 12 months, sources told Reuters this month.

The market value of larger competitor Beyond Meat, however, has sunk from a peak of $14 billion to closer to $8.5 billion and is predicted by several brokerages to fall further.

Both firms carry expectations of being big players in a so-called faux meat market which some predict could be worth $85 billion a year by 2030 as dietary habits shift.

But with retail sales of some products sliding, four sectoral investors told Reuters that Beyond’s 420% rise in value since listing in September 2019 was now seen as overcooked.

“It’s pretty shocking when you see some of these valuations come out,” said Patrick Morris, whose Eat Beyond vehicle has invested in three Canada-listed plant-based ventures.

“The $10 billion for Impossible Foods, with Beyond Meat at $8 or $8.5 billion? The first reaction is that these valuations are coming from outer space,” added Morris, who said he is looking at investing in Impossible if it opens its books.

Some existing investors have told Impossible that it should aim to go public at a valuation below where Beyond is trading, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

Impossible declined to comment.

BIG DEALS

While the signs remain positive for plant-based food, COVID-19 has halted restaurant sales, and sector studies suggest that the industry has yet to convincingly win over shoppers.

Nevertheless, both Beyond and Impossible have signed deals with major restaurant and grocery chains and the U.S. industry as a whole grew by 44% last year during the pandemic.

Revenues at Beyond and some other producers are growing, but the rate of volume sales growth of fresh and fully cooked plant-based meat alternatives has been declining steadily at U.S. retail stores since July last year, NielsenIQ data shows.

Unit sales growth eased from 32.6% in the July to September period last year to 1% in January to March quarter of 2021, when compared to the same period a year ago, the data showed.

Beyond’s sales overall were still just $407 million last year, and its stock trades at nearly 21 times sales per share, according to Refinitiv data, versus 1.6 times and 1.9 times for Kellogg Co and Kraft Heinz, which last year had sales of $13.78 billion and $26.19 billion respectively.

“Food companies need to trade in a multiple that has some logic to it,” said Christopher Kerr, Chief Investment Officer at Unovis Asset Management, an early investor in Beyond Meat who cashed out and now holds stakes in Oatly and Zero Egg.

“The question is can they get to something that represents market valuation tied to revenues … right now we’re seeing some pretty premium valuations out there,” Kerr added.

 

Graphic: Beyond Meat market cap – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzz/jznpnandjvl/Beyond%20market%20cap.PNG

 

SPAC BOOM

One reason for the valuation floated for Impossible is the boom in special-purpose acquisition deals and initial offerings that has seen big jumps for a range of start-ups at launch.

Brian Schaeffer, managing director of private equity trading platform InvestX, which allows investors to trade in pre-IPO companies, said Impossible had been one of the top five traded stocks on the platform since introducing it this year.

“The SPAC trend is super aggressive right now …so those kind of public valuations are being translated into interest on the private platforms,” Schaeffer added.

Some market debuts, however, have not gone as well.

British-based food delivery service Deliveroo flopped on its debut last month.

While Impossible does not publish sales numbers, some industry estimates give it a less than 4% share of the U.S. imitation meat industry, compared with Beyond Meat’s 25%.

Beyond has signed deals with McDonald’s, PepsiCo and KFC and Taco Bell owner Yum Brands while Impossible last year gave up on McDonald’s, citing its inability to supply on the required scale.

Impossible’s burgers and sausages are available at only 20,000 stores globally, versus Beyond’s 122,000 and it is still seeking regulatory approval in Europe and mainland China, where the genetically modified yeast it uses is banned.

“There is so much money (from SPACs) looking for so few places to go, because the space is so new,” Curt Albright, managing member of alternative protein investment firm Clear Current Capital said.

“Whether the valuations are too much or too little, that the market will figure out eventually.”

 

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Alexander Smith)

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The Art of Finding Work

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By Nick Kossovan

Interviews Are Modern Greek Tragedies

Odds are the person interviewing you has a similar story as mine—they developed their interviewing skills “on the job.” Executives and managers are thrust into the recruiting part of their job without first developing skills to evaluate talent.

Outside of human resources, those whose job requires them to assess and interview candidates get little to no training. I never received any formal training regarding how to interview and evaluate a candidate. Yet, I’ve interviewed 1,000’s throughout my career.

I admit I stumbled through my first 150 – 200 interviews. I developed my interviewing skills, a skill I knew would serve me well, on job candidates, which I now admit was unfair to them.

Hiring the right people who’ll fit with the position, team and company can’t be overstated. I keep British-American author Simon Sinek’s words top of mind, “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for the money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

Since finding work is seeking approval, I often think of interviews as conduits to modern Greek tragedies.

We spend much of our youth and adulthood seeking approval, trying to “fit in” with the right clothes, car, house, job, etc. We’re constantly aware we’re being judged—a cause of much of why we second-guess ourselves and the stress this causes.

 

  • Am I good enough?
  • Do I fit in?

 

You desperately want to hear, “We want you.”

WARNING: Three interview truths coming.

  • When interviewing, everything goes into “the mix”—past hiring mistakes, bias, prejudices, commonalities.
  • At the core of every hiring decision is gut feel.
  • Likability is the most valuable currency a job seeker has, trumping education, skills, and experience.

 

When a candidate is sitting in front of me, I’m asking myself:

  • Will this person fit in with the current team members and the company’s culture?
  • Will this person be seen as a good hire by my boss and peers, and the team? (A bad hire = bad judgment, which is an X against my reputation.)

Acing an interview is extremely hard. Much of your success depends on whom you’re speaking to, and humans are the ultimate moving target. The best you can hope for is to stack the odds in your favour and hope your interviewer is in a good mood.

Keep top of mind: An interview is a sales meeting, and hiring is a business arrangement.

When interviewing, your job is to establish rapport (READ: connection), build trust and achieve the following goals of making the interviewer:

  • Believe in you.
  • See you as a fit.

You achieve these goals by:

  • Clearly demonstrating what value you can bring to the employer. Connect how yourtrack record, which needs to be quantified; otherwise, it’s just your opinion, would be an asset to the employer.
  • Presenting yourself as a problem solver. If you look at work holistically, you’ll realize every position within an organization exists to solve a problem(s). How can your experience and skills solve the problem(s) the position you applied to exists to solve?
  • Asking good questions. By asking good questions, your interviewer will talk about their pain points. You can then explain (sell yourself) how you’d go about solving their pain point.

Three things worth noting and using as guidance when interviewing:

  • An employer will hire you if they’re convinced you’ll bring more value than you cost, therefore offer as much value as possible.
  • Problem solvers, those with a proven track record of solving their employer’s pain points, will always be in demand.
  • People don’t have short attention spans. They have short interest spans. Make your interviewer interested in you!

 

There’s no blueprint to guarantee interview success. All you can do is stack the odds in your favour as much as possible. However, there’s one universal interview rule that’ll tip the odds in your favour: Always tell the person sitting across from you what they want to hear. When you develop the ability to read your interviewer and comfortably offer solutions to their pain points, you’ll have developed solid interviewing skills. Such skills will mitigate the number of Greek tragedies you’ll experience while job searching.

______________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

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Judge Rules to delay Huawei CFO’s extradition hearings

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By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canada judge has agreed to delay Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s U.S. extradition hearings for three months, according to a ruling read in court on Wednesday, handing her defense team a win.

Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on charges of bank fraud in the United States for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

Meng’s team had asked for more time to review additional documents that became available after HSBC and Huawei reached a settlement in Hong Kong. Extradition hearings were originally set to wrap up in May.

Defense attorney Richard Peck argued in court on Monday that they were requesting “a modest frame of time” to be able to read the documents and potentially file them as evidence in the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Lawyers representing the attorney general of Canada had fought the adjournment of hearings set to start on Monday, arguing that Meng’s team had been given more time than was usual in an extradition to make their case, and the contents of the documents were too redacted to be relied upon as significant to the case.

“The outstanding feature of this application is that it’s based on speculation,” prosecutor Robert Frater said on Monday.

But Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes disagreed, siding with the defense in granting an adjournment.

Her reasons will be read out on in court on April 28.

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

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