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Telesat nearer financing satellite network after Canada investment



Telesat took a major step toward financing its low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation aiming to provide high-speed broadband after Canada on Thursday said it would invest C$1.44 billion ($1.2 billion) in the project.

Canada said it will loan Telesat, an Ottawa-based satellite communications firm, C$790 million, while purchasing C$650 million in preferred stock in the LEO unit, called Telesat Lightspeed. Canada will also receive warrants that can be exchanged for common shares in Telesat.

“We have dramatically moved the ball forward with this and expect to be fully financed in the near term,” Telesat Chief Executive Officer Dan Goldberg said in a telephone interview. “We are nearly there.”

Telesat has said it needs $5 billion (C$6.3 billion) to launch its satellite network. The latest investment means it has about C$4 billion. That includes about C$1.7 billion of its own cash and a C$400 million investment from Quebec.

The remaining financing is under negotiation with the French and Canadian export credit agencies, BPI and EDC respectively, and Goldberg said he hopes to wrap those talks soon.

The promised investment comes just three days before Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to seek an early election His government has promised to connect even remote Canadian households to high-speed Internet by 2030.

Telesat’s 298 LEO satellites will operate 36 times closer to earth than traditional ones, taking less time to send and receive information and leading to fibre-optic speed broadband even in Canada‘s isolated far north.

“Every Canadian should have access to affordable high-speed Internet,” Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement. “Today, we took a big step towards making that happen.”

Telesat is expected to become publicly traded on Nasdaq sometime this summer, and could also list on the Toronto exchange after that, Goldberg has said. Currently, Canada‘s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc are the main shareholders.

Telesat is racing against rivals including billionaire Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, who is putting the so-called Starlink LEO into orbit with his company SpaceX.

Thales Alenia Space (TAS) has been tapped to build the satellites. TAS is a joint venture between Italy’s Leonardo and France’s Thales.

($1 = 1.2509 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Steve Sherer in OttawaEditing by Arun Koyyur and David Holmes)


Alberta doctors raise alarm on specialist staff shortages in intensive care wards – Saanich News



The Alberta Medical Association says the province’s high COVID-19 numbers are behind a desperate shortage of specialized staff to care for critical care patients.

“The demand for (intensive care unit) nurses is currently so high that we need to increase the number of patients assigned to each nurse,” the medical association said in a public letter Monday.

“This reduction in staffing ratio is well below our normal standard of care. This will jeopardize the quality of ICU care that we are able to provide.”

The letter was signed by members of the group’s intensive care section.

Alberta’s hospitals and intensive care wards are overwhelmed by critical care patients, most of them stricken with COVID-19. The overwhelming majority are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Alberta Health Services has been briefing doctors on criteria to use should the health system collapse and they have to make on-the-spot decisions on who gets life-saving care.

Last week, Dr. Paul Parks, the medical association’s head of emergency medicine, said the staffing shortage is affecting care in other ways. Parks said some critical care patients are not being put on available ventilators because there aren’t enough nurses to monitor them.

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says while typical ICU care is one nurse per patient, an alternative model, known as a hub, is being used to adapt to the pandemic while ensuring care is delivered.

Each hub includes one or two trained intensive care nurses and two to four registered nurses.

“This model partners registered nurses from other areas with existing trained ICU (nurses) to expand the availability of the critical-care nursing skill set to more patients,” said Williamson in an email.

“ICU patients are never cared for by nurses alone. Whole teams work with nurses in ICU, including respiratory therapists and many others. “

In recent weeks, the province has scrambled to create more ad hoc intensive care beds, effectively more than doubling the normal total of 173 to accommodate 312 patients currently receiving critical care.

Staff have been reassigned, forcing mass cancellations of surgeries, including cancer procedures.

Alberta has asked the federal government for help, and the Canadian Armed Forces has said it will respond with eight more intensive care nurses and air transport to take critically ill patients to other provinces.

Almost two weeks ago, Alberta reintroduced gathering restrictions and brought in proof of vaccination requirements for entry to restaurants, bars, casinos, concerts and gyms to try to reduce spread of the virus.

Daily case counts remain well over one thousand and a growing number of doctors and infectious disease specialists are calling for a “firebreak” lockdown, which would include a shutdown of schools, businesses and other activities.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, in a weekend radio interview, rejected a lockdown. He said it would make “no sense for the 80 per cent of the population that is vaccinated” and who are much less likely to transmit the disease and be hospitalized.

Alberta has lagged behind other provinces in vaccination. Kenney and his United Conservative government have been trying to persuade more people to get their shots by offering $1-million prize draws, other gifts and, more recently, $100 debit cards.

About 73 per cent of eligible Albertans, those 12 and over, are fully vaccinated, while 82 per cent have had at least one shot.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said it’s time to partner with community groups and health-care professionals to go door to door and help those who are not vaccinated due to health or work concerns or a language barrier.

Those groups could be “having conversations and offering Alberta vaccines right there on people’s doorsteps,” Notley said in Calgary.

—Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

RELATED: ‘Removing the gift of life’: COVID-19 wave pushing back organ transplants

RELATED: Tensions high between vaccinated and unvaccinated in Canada, poll suggests


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Face ID stops working on iPhone 13 after any third-party screen replacements – XDA Developers



Apple just released the iPhone 13 series earlier this month, with four models to choose from: the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The phones are a step up from previous models, with smoother displays and enhanced cameras, but the iPhone 13 series appears to be a downgrade from earlier iPhones in at least one regard — Face ID will stop working after anyone except Apple (or an Apple-authorized repair center) replaces your screen.

The below video from Phone Repair Guru (via MacRumors) shows the displays on two iPhone 13 phones being swapped. Even though the displays are genuine Apple parts, and the screen assembly doesn’t contain any components directly related to Face ID, the result is that Face ID no longer works.

[embedded content]

It’s not clear at the moment if this is a software bug, or yet another measure against unauthorized iPhone repairs. Apple has become increasingly hostile to third-party repairs over the past few years. Apple has its own Independent iPhone Repair Program, which provides select companies or third-party repair centers with genuine Apple parts and repair manuals. However, an iFixit report from last year pointed out that it can take several months for repair centers to join the program, and Apple often sells parts to repair centers for high prices. In some cases, the cost for parts exceed what Apple would charge to perform the entire repair.

Apple has not yet published a statement about Face ID and third-party repairs. If Face ID is intended to break, it would likely only give more momentum to the ‘Right to Repair’ movement, which has pushed governments around the world to force electronics manufacturers to make replacement parts and repair manuals readily available. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July that called for the FTC to establish guidelines for device repairs, and other countries around the world are in various stages of crafting similar legislation.

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Signal, the encrypted messaging app, is currently down for many users (Update: it's back) – Yahoo Canada Shine On



Update 2: Signal is now back up for “99% of users,” according to its Twitter account.

Update: In a tweet, Signal said the disruption is due to a hosting outage.

Signal is down for many users right now. Its status website says the encrypted messaging app is “experiencing technical difficulties” and many people are getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. The company says it is “working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.” TechCrunch has contacted Signal for comment.

Signal's in-app error message

Signal’s in-app error message

Signal’s in-app error message

According to, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time this evening, and it appears to be affecting people around the world.

In January, Signal experienced a surge in downloads on the App Store and Google Play after WhatsApp changed its data-sharing policy.

Over the past few months, Signal has continued to build out its feature set, adding a default timer for disappearing messages that automatically applies the settings to all new conversations.

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