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New travel guidance: Feds advise against non-essential travel – CTV News

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The federal government is again advising against non-essential foreign travel as COVID-19 cases rise in Canada and the threat of the Omicron variant of concern mounts.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement Wednesday in a joint press conference with other ministers and public health officials.

“To those who are planning to travel, I say very clearly, now is not the time to travel. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant on a global scale makes us fear the worst for Canadians that may think of travelling,” he said.

Duclos said the travel measure will be in place for four weeks, at which point the government will reassess the epidemiological situation.

“We know that this may sound very drastic to many listening, but we must avoid overloading our hospital system and our health-care workers,” he said.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Monday there is community transmission of the Omicron variant in Canada and cases have the potential to “rapidly escalate.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported last Friday that should Omicron spread continue at its current rate, Canadians could expect to see 12,000 cases a day by mid-January.

“The epidemiological situation is changing rapidly; the information currently available suggests a significant resurgence of infections,” said Duclos.

Conservative MP and transport critic Melissa Lantsman told CTV News Channel’s Power Play the new advisory is a “failure” of the Liberal government.

“The conversation of underutilized resources that we have within our public health toolbox is the fault of the Liberals and that’s why were seeing this advisory so close to Christmas,” she said.

TESTING

The government said they will continue increase testing capacity at the border, and will have more to say on that “soon.”

Currently, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after short trips of 72 hours or less to the United States and abroad do not have to provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test.

For longer trips, anyone coming into Canada from international locations is required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure in order to board the aircraft and to avoid a potential 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

NDP MP and health critic Don Davies said the government should consider tightening border restrictions for non-Canadians seeking to enter the country.

“The Liberals are telling Canadians do not travel, say to the United States for non-essential reasons but Americans can pour in across our border for non-essential reasons. That makes no sense. I don’t understand how that’s going to keep us safe at all,” he said.

Duclos said that following a conversation Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had with premiers last night, more rapid tests are also being deployed to provinces and territories.

“Deliveries for December have already started…an additional 35 million tests are being delivered to provinces and territories, the majority of which have already been received,” the health minister said.

The government also pledged to allocate $1.7 billion to Health Canada and PHAC to help secure rapid tests and the supplies needed to administer them, as detailed in their economic and fiscal update Tuesday.

BOOSTER SHOTS

Duclos said 16 million COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are already available in Canada, with “many more” coming over the next few weeks.

“Our window of opportunity is small, but we have the power to change the course collectively and individually, we all have a role to play,” he said.

Provinces and territories are taking their own approaches to the administration of booster shots. Many are moving up timelines as Omicron continues to spread quickly.

In a year-end interview with CTV News’ Evan Solomon, airing in full on CTV’s Question Period this Sunday at 11 a.m. EST, Trudeau said the government has procured enough booster supply to inoculate all Canadians but offered no insight on a specific timeline for when the doses would arrive in Canada.

“There are commitments to have the boosters in Canada as soon as we need them. We have enough boosters for everyone,” he said, stipulating that if by tomorrow the entire eligible population requested a booster, “we wouldn’t be able to deliver them into 26 million arms.”

Speaking to reporters later in the day Wednesday, Trudeau said he understands the current situation “sucks” heading into the holidays.

“Nobody wants to see Omicron arriving, nobody wants to see the level of communicability we’re seeing in communities, in provinces right across the country. This is not what anyone wanted for our Christmas holidays. Not much in the last year has been what anyone wanted,” he said.

With a file from CTV News’ Mackenzie Gray.

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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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