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EGGcellent Cruise brought people out of their pandemic funk – Prince George Citizen



It’s been a year of keeping our distances, not leaving the house and avoiding crowds, so finding something for the masses to do that’s fun and encourages activity is a rare treat indeed during these pandemic times.

Saturday’s Most EGGcellent Cruise was all it was cracked up to be.

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An estimated 2,500 people took the opportunity to get away their screens and into the great outdoors to take part in 25 activities that made for an Easter weekend afternoon of fun.

Cruisers were challenged at Pine Centre Mall and the City Hall/Rolling Mix Concrete Arena parking lots to try to find a character dressed in red and white stripes and wearing thick-rimmed glasses for a Where’s Waldo sighting. A fox on the run was playing hide and seek and posing for pictures from a safe distance at Moore’s Meadow and there was a moose on the loose entertaining the kids at Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick Bravery Park.

The Prince George Traditional Drummers beat the skins for five hours straight to entertain the people who dropped by the Northern Interior Health Unit. People took selfies in front of the Terry Fox/Bridget Moran statues and at the Ginter House foundation. Ron’s Towing set up at the Hart Centre Mall to give out bubble makers and coloured chalk, while volunteers stationed in church parking lots handed out Easter eggs and potato chips to anybody who came for a visit.

Jes Gagnon and his wife Robyn loaded their two young sons, five-year-old Micha and three-year-old Sam into their vehicle and they went to all 25 stations set up for the five-hour event.

“We thought it was really great,” said Jes. “The boys had a lot of fun driving around trying to find the characters and getting the drive-through candy.”

Gagnon is the marketing/communications officer for community and continuing education at the College of New Caledonia and because of the pandemic he’s been working from home since he started his job in October. He and wife and sons welcomed the chance to do something different, with most recreational events not happening and city facilities still in lockdown mode to minimize the threat of the virus.

“It’s been interesting being at home all the time,” he said. “Micha’s in kindergarten so he has some entertainment there but Sam isn’t yet so there’s a lot of staying at home doing nothing because there’s nothing to do. This is a lot better than staying at home and watching TV all day, and they kept us safe and distanced.”

Jane Gauthier had about 300 carloads of fun-seekers drop by Northern Lights Estate Winery for a drive-through game of bean bag toss, which came with a COVID twist – all the throws directed at the hoop had to be made from inside your vehicle.

“I just loved seeing everybody out and all the smiles and families together,” said Gauthier, community development co-ordinator for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northern BC. “It was so awesome to see so many people out enjoying the day. We had kids out with grandma or grandpa and multi-generational families. Kids were throwing from car seats and I was quite impressed with everybody’s skills.

“We saw a number of students as well and that was really awesome to see. They’ve just been hit hard by COVID. It’s so great to be a part of something like that.”

People who took part in the cruise are being asked to submit their photos on Facebook and Instagram to the #pgeggcellentcruise to be eligible for prizes. There’s a special prize category for College of New Caledonia and University of Northern B.C. students who designate their student status with I Am A Student when they enter their photos. That makes them eligible for food/merchandise/restaurant gift certificates, a $500 CNC tuition voucher, a $500 snowboard and an iPad. For the kids, bikes, scooters and a Nintendo Switch game console are among the coveted prizes to be handed out next week.

EGGcellent Cruise organizer Dave Horton, whose usual job as director of Ness Lake Bible Camp has been temporarily wiped out by the pandemic, also instigated of the Halloween Candy Cruise In October and the Family Day Adventure Cruise in February, to try to get people out of their pandemic funk. Those events were also hugely popular and Horton was delighted to see so many sponsors, volunteers and participants rally behind the cause again on Saturday.

“It wasn’t crowded but at every station I went to there was way more people than I expected, we were shocked at the numbers,” said Horton. “We wanted to push people into parks and into open spaces and there was no reason to be crowded in a line in your car.”

While Saturday’s cruise was geared towards kids and families, Horton wanted to give college students a reason to get involved and the prizes provided by sponsors certainly did that.

“This year has been awful for those guys,” said Horton. “They’ve been paying full price for online learning, and then all restrictions at dorms and housing, so we aimed a whole slew of prizes at them and we had quite a few students show up as well.

“Our town just had 2,500 people take part in a city-wide activity, what other community can do that besides Prince George? It’s overwhelming how unified we are as a community, through COVID, trying to meet mental health and social needs people have right now. We’re trying to give people a safe option so they don’t just take whatever option they want. If we don’t do the work to give families safe options they’re going to find unsafe ones.

“I’m viewing this Easter EGGcellent Cruise in a lot of ways as a pre-wrapup party,” he said. “We’ve got to be so close (to the end of the pandemic).”  





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Canada’s Telesat takes on Musk and Bezos in space race to provide fast broadband



By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Telesat is racing to launch a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to provide high-speed global broadband from space, pitting the satellite communications firm founded in 1969 against two trailblazing billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Musk, the Tesla Inc CEO who was only a year old when Telesat launched its first satellite, is putting the so-called Starlink LEO into orbit with his company SpaceX, and Inc, which Bezos founded, is planning a LEO called Project Kuiper. Bezos also owns Blue Origin, which builds rockets.

Despite the competition, Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s chief executive officer, voices confidence when he calls Telesat’s LEO constellation “the Holy Grail” for his shareholders – “a sustainable competitive advantage in global broadband delivery.”

Telesat’s LEO has a much lighter price tag than SpaceX and Amazon’s, and the company has been in satellite services decades longer. In addition, instead of focusing on the consumer market like SpaceX and Amazon, Telesat seeks deep-pocketed business clients.

Goldberg said he was literally losing sleep six years ago when he realized the company’s business model was in peril as Netflix and video streaming took off and fiber optics guaranteed lightning-fast internet connectivity.

Telesat’s 15 geostationary (GEO) satellites provide services mainly to TV broadcasters, internet service providers and government networks, all of whom were growing increasingly worried about the latency, or time delay, of bouncing signals off orbiters more than 35,000 km (22,200 miles) above earth.

Then in 2015 on a flight home from a Paris industry conference where latency was a constant theme, Goldberg wrote down his initial ideas for a LEO constellation on an Air Canada napkin.

Those ideas eventually led to Telesat’s LEO constellation, dubbed Lightspeed, which will orbit about 35 times closer to earth than GEO satellites, and will provide internet connectivity at a speed akin to fiber optics.

Telesat’s first launch is planned in early 2023, while there are already some 1,200 of Musk’s Starlink satellites in orbit.

“Starlink is going to be in service much sooner … and that gives SpaceX the opportunity to win customers,” said Caleb Henry, a senior analyst at Quilty Analytics.

Starlink’s “first mover” advantage is at most 24 months and “no one’s going to lock this whole market up in that amount of time,” Goldberg said.

Telesat in 2019 signed a launch deal with Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin. Discussions are ongoing with three others, said David Wendling, Telesat’s chief technical officer.

They are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Europe’s ArianeGroup , and Musk’s SpaceX, which launches the Starlink satellites. Wendling said a decision would be taken in a matter of months.

Telesat aims to launch its first batch of 298 satellites being built by Thales Alenia Space in early 2023, with partial service in higher latitudes later that same year, and full global service in 2024.


The Lightspeed constellation is estimated to cost half as much as the $10 billion SpaceX and Amazon projects.

“We think we’re in the sweet spot,” Goldberg said. “When we look at some of these other constellations, we don’t get it.”

Analyst Henry said Telesat’s focus on business clients is the right one.

“You have two heavyweight players, SpaceX and Amazon, that are already pledging to spend $10 billion on satellite constellations optimized for the consumer market,” he said. “If Telesat can spend half that amount creating a high-performance system for businesses, then yeah, they stand to be very competitive.”

Telesat’s industry experience may also provide an edge.

“We’ve worked with many of these customers for decades … That’s going to give us a real advantage,” Goldberg said.

Telesat “is a satellite operator, has been a satellite operator, and has both the advantage of expertise and experience in that business,” said Carissa Christensen, chief executive officer of the research firm BryceTech, adding, however, that she sees only two to three LEO constellations surviving.

Telesat is nailing down financing – one-third equity and two-thirds debt – and will become publicly traded on the Nasdaq sometime this summer, and it could also list on the Toronto exchange after that. Currently, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc are the company’s main shareholders.

France and Canada’s export credit agencies, BPI and EDC respectively, are expected to be the main lenders, Goldberg said. Quebec’s provincial government is lending C$400 million ($317 million), and Canada’s federal government has promised C$600 million to be a preferred customer. The company also posted C$246 million in net income in 2020.

Executing the LEO plan is what keeps Goldberg up at night now, he said.

“When we decided to go down this path, the two richest people in the universe weren’t focused on their own LEO constellations.”

($1 = 1.2622 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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$600K donation to boost online mental health programming in Nova Scotia



Nova Scotia Health’s mental health and addictions program hopes to offer more online support to people across the province after receiving a significant donation this week.

The QEII Foundation announced that RBC is contributing $600,000 toward the province’s e-mental health programming.

“It’s particularly important for the current time under all the strains of COVID,” said Dr. Andrew Harris, a psychiatrist and the senior medical director for the program.

The plan for online programming has been in the works for years, he said, but the pandemic expedited the push. Last June, the department launched a number of applications that can be used to help those with anxiety, depression and addictions.

Since then, as many as 3,000 Nova Scotians have used the site to access mental health services.

“There’s a persistent difficulty in accessing services,” Harris said of traditional models in Nova Scotia. He said those who don’t need intensive therapy may find the support they need through the online programs.

He uses the example of someone who can’t take time off work to speak to a clinician.

“It’s better for them to be able to access a service after hours or on the weekend. So our e-mental health services are tailored a little bit to meet that need.”

Calls to crisis line increase

Harris said the province’s mental health crisis line continues to see a 30 per cent increase in calls for help, so he’s trying to raise awareness that services can be accessed immediately online.

“I think everyone is aware that for a lot of people it’s much easier to talk about a physical illness than a mental illness. So there’s an allowance there for privacy, for some anonymity but still making available things that can help the person who is struggling in the community.”

The online portal has a list of programs that people can use, covering things like reducing stress, solving problems and becoming mindful. It mirrors a site in Newfoundland and Labrador that Harris said is used to help people in remote areas.

Harris said the donation from RBC will be used to continue to evaluate more services, and pay for the licensing of the products that are mostly developed by other organizations.

He encourages anyone who is struggling to test out the site, and use it as an entry point into the mental health system.

“It’s important for people to acknowledge when they’re struggling. It happens to all of us through our lives in different times.”

Anyone in Nova Scotia looking to access the tools can visit:


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Samsung’s cheapest 5G Galaxy phones yet are launching this month




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  • Samsung is launching five new phones in its Galaxy A series this month.
  • Three of them will support 5G connectivity, and the most expensive phone is just $500.
  • The cheapest phone of the five still has three cameras but lacks 5G and other features.
  • See more buying advice on the Insider Reviews homepage.

Samsung may be best known for its high-end Galaxy S phones that rival the iPhone. But the tech giant is proving that it can appeal to cost-conscious customers with the launch of five new smartphones in the United States, the priciest of which only costs $500.

Samsung’s new lineup of budget phones, which debuted in other markets before coming to the US, are all launching this month. Some of them will be released as soon as this week, while the least expensive model will debut on April 29. The launch comes as competitors like Apple and Google have also been focusing on cheaper smartphones to boost sales.

Three of these new Samsung devices also support 5G, another sign that shoppers no longer have to pay a premium to get access to next-generation wireless networks. All five of the new phones also have the traditional headphone jack for wired listening and run on an octa-core processor.

Here’s a look at the new Samsung Galaxy A series phones that will be launching soon.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Galaxy A52 5G_Awesome Black_Front_Back


  • Release date: April 9
  • Price: $499.99

The Galaxy A52 5G is the most expensive smartphone of the bunch. It comes with a 6.5-inch FHD+ screen and a quad-camera system that includes some of the same features as Samsung’s more expensive Galaxy S phones. These include Single Take, which creates several different photos or video clips with different effects with a single press of the shutter button.

Its screen can also boost its refresh rate up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and performance, a feature that has become common on pricier flagship phones but is rare on cheaper models. It’s also the only phone in this A-series lineup to include Samsung’s notch-free screen design.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

Galaxy A42 5G_Prism Dot Black_Front_Back


  • Release date: April 8
  • Price: $399.99

The less expensive Galaxy A42 5G has a slightly larger screen than the A52 5G, but scales back on certain features when it comes to the camera and screen refresh rate.

Still, it has a triple-lens camera with high-resolution sensors, and like its pricier sibling it also supports Single Take.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

GalaxyA32 5G_Awesome Black_Front


Release date: April 9

Price: $279.99

The Galaxy A32 5G is Samsung’s cheapest 5G smartphone to date. It has a large 6.5-inch screen, but it’s made from an LCD panel instead of Super AMOLED. That means it will likely lack some of the contrast and boldness of Samsung’s other devices. But Samsung hasn’t skimped on the camera considering this model has a quad-lens main camera, which is rare if not unheard of at that price.

Samsung Galaxy A12

Galaxy A12_Black_Back


Release date: April 9

Price: $179.99

Samsung’s Galaxy A12 doesn’t come with 5G support, but it still gives you a lot for the price. For less than $200, you’re getting a quad-lens camera and a large 6.5-inch LCD screen. But remember this phone only has 32GB of storage, so it’s best suited for those who don’t store a lot of photos and videos on their device.

Samsung Galaxy A02s

Galaxy A02s_Black_Front


  • Release date: April 29
  • Price: $109.99

The Galaxy A02s is Samsung’s cheapest phone, offering a 6.5-inch LCD screen and three main cameras. It doesn’t have 5G support or as much computing power or camera prowess as Samsung’s other A-series phones, but that’s to be expected for a device at this price. This phone is truly for those who just need the basics and little else.

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Source:- Business Insider

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