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Southwestern Ontario loses all Via service amid anti-pipeline blockades – The London Free Press

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Thousands of London-area students and other travellers will have to regroup after Via Rail suspended national service Thursday in the fallout of anti-pipeline protests disrupting rail freight and passenger service across the country.


London’s Via Rail station, the nation’s fourth-busiest, is all but deserted Thursday, Feb. 13, as the passenger rail provider suspended service nationwide in the face of pipeline protesters’ rail blockades. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)


Thousands of London-area students and other travellers will have to regroup after Via Rail suspended national service Thursday in the fallout of anti-pipeline protests disrupting rail freight and passenger service across the country.

London is a hub on Via’s heavily travelled southern Ontario corridor, and the fourth-busiest railway station in the country, with especially heavy traffic from many of the 50,000 post-secondary students in the city.

Via is also a preferred way to get to Toronto for many business and leisure travellers from the region.

The suspension of Via service comes just days before a key travel period for many students, the start of their February break at Western University when many head for homes elsewhere, especially in the Toronto area.

Across Canada, escalating protests over a natural-gas pipeline project in British Columbia have caused havoc for the national rail carriers, CN Rail, on whose lines Via Rail runs in Southwestern Ontario, and CP Rail.

The protests — blockades and other disruptions — are showing solidarity with hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs who oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in their traditional territories.

Via already had cancelled all service this week as of Thursday on its Montreal-Toronto and Toronto-Ottawa routes, bringing the number of trains cancelled this week to nearby 160, not counting those cancelled Friday.


At Via’s London station Thursday afternoon, the disruption drew mixed reactions from passengers.

“For now, I am stranded. I don’t know what to do,” said Jamal Usamont, an Oakville resident.

“It’s kind of messed up,” said Londoner Keith Martin, on his way to visit family in Guelph for a birthday party.

“It’s not good, not good.”

Urwath Qu, a project manager for Gateway Entertainment and Casinos Ltd., was headed home to Toronto. His scheduled train 78 was the only one still running after Thursday’s announcement.

“It will be fine. I can make other arrangements (if needed),” he said.

Via’s Southwestern Ontario corridor extends from Windsor to Chatham, London, Woodstock and Brantford, with some service to and from Sarnia.

With files by Heather Rivers, The London Free Press

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3 new COVID-19 outbreaks declared in Calgary | CTV News – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
Three new COVID-19 outbreaks were declared in Calgary on Friday, including 13 cases being reported from a private gathering, five cases at a Cargill meat processing facility and five at a childcare centre in the southwest.

An outbreak was also declared in the community of Fort Mackay in northeastern Alberta, with five cases being reported at CNRL Albian.

Alberta Health Services would not comment on where or when the private gathering was held but said of the 13 cases, nine are considered active and four recovered.

Five active cases were reported at the Cargill plant in the 0-100 block of Freeport Way N.E. 

Two active cases and three recovered cases were reported at Fledglings Educare Centre in the 1100 block of Canterbury Drive S.W.

An outbreak is declared in acute and long-term care facilities when there are two or more cases, and in a community setting when there are five or more cases. The outbreak is considered over when four weeks passes without any new cases being declared.

A total of 84 new cases were reported by the province on Friday, with 20 of those in the Calgary Zone and 52 in the Edmonton Zone.

There are now 12,053 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, with 1,036 of those active and 10,796 recovered. There are 48 people in hospital with 13 of those in ICU.

One additional death was reported Friday, bringing the provincial total at 221.

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COVID-19 outbreak declared at new Cargill plant as Alberta reports 84 new cases province-wide – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

“This plant in terms of the pre-existing conditions was better,” Hesse said. “But the question is what Cargill does now.”

Alberta also announced two other new Calgary outbreaks Friday. One is at Fledglings Educare Centre, where two staff and three children were infected with COVID-19. Two of the children have now recovered. As well, an outbreak at a private gathering is linked to 13 cases, nine of which remain active.

Also Friday, Alberta reported 84 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the province’s total to 12,053.

The new cases came from about 8,200 tests, a one per cent positive rate. More than 800,000 tests have now been conducted in Alberta.

Both active cases and hospitalization rates stayed stagnant from Thursday. There are 1,036 active coronavirus cases in Alberta, while 48 Albertans remain in hospital with the virus, including 13 receiving treatment in intensive-care units.

One new death from COVID-19 in Alberta, a woman in her 60s from the AHS South zone, was reported Friday, bringing the province’s total to 221.

Elsewhere Friday, Calgary’s public and Catholic school boards each announced that they were mandating masks for all students in schools. Previously, Alberta Education only required students in Grades 4 to 12 to wear masks.

jherring@postmedia.com
Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Trump says 'whatever' to concerns about WeChat ban hurting Apple – AppleInsider

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During a press conference Friday, President Donald Trump appeared unconcerned with the possible impact that a WeChat ban could have on Apple’s business.

Earlier in August, Trump signed a pair of executive orders that would bar any transactions between U.S. companies and Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat. That, in effect, would ban both apps from the U.S., though it’s unclear what impact it might have globally.

On Friday, Apple joined a growing number of other major companies calling for the president to end the executive orders. That includes Disney, Ford, and Walmart.

When asked by a Bloomberg reporter at a White House press conference Friday morning about whether he was concerned about the effect the ban could have on iPhone sales in China and other markets, Trump simply responded “whatever.”

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“Gotta do what’s good in terms of the security of our country,” Trump said. “We’ve been very badly let down by China.”

WeChat is a wildly popular app among Chinese users. And in a Bloomberg survey conducted in August, 95% of respondents in China said that they would rather give up their iPhones for Androids than lose out on WeChat.

On Monday, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cautioned than an outright ban on WeChat could cut global iPhone shipments by about 30%.

It isn’t clear whether the U.S. ban would only bar WeChat’s use in the country, or if its vague wording could force Apple to pull it from the global App Store. WeChat parent company TenCent said that it is seeking clarity.

Trump’s order to ban TikTok could be stopped if a U.S. company acquires the social media platform — which Microsoft is in talks to do. Such an acquisition has not been discussed for WeChat.

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