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COVID-19 in Canada: Remote communities locking down – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The latest wave of COVID-19 is bringing health-care resources in some remote communities in Canada to the breaking point as case numbers explode.

Record-breaking cases have been documented across much of southern Canada in recent days, and while many hospitals are reporting smaller numbers of critically ill patients than in previous waves, they are struggling with a higher absentee rate because health workers are getting sick in much higher numbers.

Those strains are exacerbated in remote communities where access to health care is already quite limited.

Bearskin Lake First Nation, a fly-in community in northern Ontario, declared a state of emergency on Dec. 30 when 43 residents tested positive for the virus. By Sunday, 169 people had confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, more than 40 per cent of the total population.

“That’s a crisis,” Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Derek Fox said in an interview.

Bearskin Lake has no hospital and is usually served by a nursing station with two nurses. An emergency evacuation would take more than three hours for a plane to get in and out from Sioux Lookout or Thunder Bay, and that’s only if weather permits it to land.

A federal rapid response team with three primary care nurses, a paramedic and two environmental health officers landed in Bearskin Lake on Dec. 30, bringing more testing capacity with them. Two public health nurses were sent by the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority as well.

Fox said it’s not enough for a community that has no hospital and no capacity to even determine how sick any of the infected residents are.

“The federal government and the provincial government need to acknowledge this is a crisis,” Fox said. “They’re not treating this like a crisis. They’re waiting to see what happens.”

He said about a dozen of the 49 communities in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation have confirmed COVID-19 cases right now, including the 169 in Bearskin Lake, and roughly 80 more in 11 other First Nations.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu spoke with Fox by phone Sunday and said Ottawa is there to help.

“I reiterated that we’ll be there for them, to support them, and that they just need to kind of keep telling us what they need and we’ll work really hard to make sure those resources are in place,” she said.

On Sunday, Hajdu said $483,000 had been approved to help Bearskin Lake with food security, personal protective equipment, funding for local community COVID workers, and supplies like wood cutting and collection.

She said when so many people are sick, and homes are only heated with wood stoves, even ensuring there is wood to burn is a challenge.

Outbreaks in remote communities are also affecting Nunavut, northern Quebec and Labrador.

Nunavut confirmed another 22 cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the total to 196 in just 10 days.

That’s more than one-fifth of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory since the pandemic began almost two years ago, and the territory’s chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says it is putting immense strain on health care.

“Please remain patient and kind, as there will be continued delays,” he said in a statement issued Sunday.

“Please stay home as much as possible and please don’t take any unnecessary chances.”

Nunavut is discouraging all non-essential travel within the territory and has banned non-essential travel to and from several communities, including Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Igloolik and Pangnirtung.

Travel bans are also in place now in Nunavik in northern Quebec until mid-January, with only critical or essential travel allowed into or out of the region’s 14 villages.

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 in the week leading up to Christmas, and 131 between Dec. 27 and Dec. 31.

“The situation is serious,” the health board warned in a statement to the community on New Year’s Eve.

On Labrador’s remote northern coast, where COVID-19 showed up for the first time last week, leaders are pleading with residents to be cautious and imposing tight travel restrictions into local communities.

Innu Nation Deputy Grand Chief Mary Ann Nui said in a Facebook post Sunday that the inability to get confirmed test results quickly is adding to the stress.

The community of Natuashish locked itself down eight days ago after exposures to potential cases on flights into the town and a bar at Trapper’s Cabin, just before Christmas. Nui said the presumptive cases still haven’t been confirmed.

“Living in the northern area takes longer I guess, but it shouldn’t be like that,” Nui wrote.

In Nain — Labrador’s northernmost community — there are 14 presumptive cases, found through rapid testing, but confirming them with PCR tests is slow because of a lack of supplies.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Health Minister said tests were being deployed to the region, but said the uptick in demand couldn’t have been predicted.

Nui said the local health region should have been more prepared.

Newfoundland and Labrador was one of several provinces recording drastic spikes in COVID-19 case counts on Sunday, logging 466 new infections and toppling a single-day record set just 24 hours earlier.

Nova Scotia also marked a new one-day peak on Sunday, recording 1,184 cases and eclipsing the 1,000 daily case mark for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. The province reported 1,893 new infections over the past two days.

A two-day count from Prince Edward Island came in at 137. Public health officials on the Island say the total number of infections has nearly tripled over the past two weeks.

Ontario’s daily tally fell short of Saturday’s record high, but still came in at 16,714, and the province is now showing more than 100,000 active infections.

Quebec, meanwhile, logged 15,845 new infections on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2022.

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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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