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WHO boss: 'By the end of this year, we may have a vaccine' – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Although companies attempting to produce a COVID-19 vaccine are increasingly saying it is likely that they will not complete the testing process until 2021, the head of the World Health Organization says there is still a chance a vaccine could be ready sooner than that.

“We need vaccines – and there is hope that, by the end of this year, we may have a vaccine,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday.

Tedros did not elaborate on that comment, which he made at the end of a special meeting of the WHO’s executive board.

Many vaccine candidates are in Phase 3 testing, the final stage of human trials. The WHO’s website lists 10 potential COVID-19 vaccines at this step as of Oct. 2.

However, the major manufacturers’ public comments have largely suggested that they do not expect to have any vaccine ready for distribution until the end of next year.

The most notable exception has been the Russian-developed Sputnik V, which has been registered and given to cabinet-level officials in that country even though testing is still ongoing. Russian authorities have said that they could start mass vaccinations this fall. Western leaders appear skeptical, as none have publicly backed Sputnik V.

Speaking from WHO headquarters in Switzerland, Tedros also urged world leaders to work together on vaccine distribution, saying governmental buy-in to sending any vaccine where it is most needed will be “crucial” in halting the pandemic.

“The most important tool is political commitment from our leaders, especially in the equitable distribution of the vaccines,” he said.

The WHO has set up a fund to help 92 poor countries pay for a vaccine, in exchange for early access for citizens of investing nations. Following criticism of Canada’s seeming lack of interest in the COVAX fund, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $220-million contribution last week.

The United States, China and Russia have not committed to having any involvement in COVAX. Not all of the front-running vaccine candidates are part of the project either; it does not cover Sputnik V, potential vaccines from China’s CanSino, Sinovac and SinoPharm, or the efforts by pharma giants Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

Canada has also signed separate deals to ensure access to six potential vaccines, should they be approved for use by Health Canada.

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WestJet pilots protest ‘outsourced’ flights to Swoop in Calgary – Global News

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About 50 WestJet pilots protested outside the Calgary International Airport on Sunday to draw attention to what they call the “outsourcing” of WestJet flights to low-cost carrier Swoop.

Though both are owned by the same company — the WestJet Group — protesters said Swoop is flying WestJet’s routes, which means fewer hours for WestJet pilots.

“The biggest issue for us is routes that have been flown by WestJet Airlines over the last two decades are now being flown by Swoop,” said Capt. Dave Colquhoun, WestJet Master Executive Council chair.

“When Swoop was initially envisioned, we were told that wouldn’t happen. Now that it started to happen, especially out of Toronto, we’re concerned about that and we want to bring that concern to the public view.”

Read more:
WestJet to start refunding flights cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Colquhoun said pilots want to see the WestJet Group consult all members on how to grow Swoop.

“They’ve done it unilaterally and they’ve done it in an environment where just recently we gave in major concessions to help them weather the storm,” he said.

“Our pilots have taken substantial cuts in wages and working conditions in order to help our airline through this pandemic. Right now, our guys are flying about a half to a third of what they were a year ago.”

Read more:
WestJet cuts ‘just the leading edge’ if feds don’t provide aid to airlines: experts

The WestJet Group responded to the union’s concerns, telling Global News that Swoop is important to the company’s future.

“[Swoop] is well-positioned to serve price-sensitive travellers while stimulating demand in Canada’s largest market,” it said.

“After a drop in guest traffic of up to 95 per cent and with recovery slower than anticipated, stimulating demand in our industry is critical for our group’s survival. Toronto is our country’s largest air travel market, and every guest who flies with WestJet, Encore or Swoop is a win for our group, assisting in our recovery and supporting our collective future.”

The WestJet Group said its focus is “ensuring we have a long-term sustainable future” while “providing good jobs for thousands.”

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There is no anticipated impact on WestJet operations.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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More than 100 People Gather for COVID-19 Protest in Windsor – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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The Great Demonstration Against Harmful COVID-19 Measures drew more than 100 people to downtown Windsor Sunday.

Protestors held signs rebelling against mask restrictions, quarantine protocols and what they’re calling “coerced testing” at the foot of Ouellette Avenue beneath The Great Canadian Flag for a rally around 1 p.m. — followed by a march up Ouellette Avenue where they stopped traffic in front of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit on the corner of Erie Street.

Co-organizer Currie Soulliere, who launched a failed attempt to shop at Devonshire Mall without a mask earlier this summer, says protestors don’t want to see another lockdown.

“There’s always a threat that there may be another lockdown and we need a guarantee that there’s something protecting us from that happening again,” she says. 

Medical Director of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed previously said the protest is dangerous, potentially spreading the virus and information with no scientific backing.

That didn’t stop the crowd from chanting outside a likely unstaffed health unit on a Sunday afternoon.

“He didn’t want to speak to us, I’m pretty sure he said that, but we are going to make our presence known in front of the health unit,” Soulliere added.

Parts of Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and the York Region have seen modified Stage 2 restrictions imposed this month as hot spots in record case numbers in Ontario.

Windsor remains in Stage 3 of COVID-19 recovery and has few restrictions outside of phycical distancing rules and mask requirements.

Soulliere says protestors want a guarantee that won’t change.

“Some kind of guarantee that we’re not going to have any more lockdowns or shutdowns over what is amounting to a far less deadly virus than we were initially told, ” says Soulliere. “Honestly, a lot of us are questioning whether [Dr.] Wajid Ahmed should have his position at the health unit.”

There have been 42.5-million cases of COVID-19 documented globally since the pandemic began in April resulting in 1.15-million deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

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Lee Kun-Hee, force behind Samsung's rise, dies at 78 – Business News – Castanet.net

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Lee Kun-Hee, the ailing Samsung Electronics chairman who transformed the small television maker into a global giant of consumer electronics but whose leadership was also marred by corruption convictions, died on Sunday. He was 78.

Lee died with his family members by his side, including his only son and Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the company said in a statement.

Samsung didn’t announce the cause of death, but Lee had been hospitalized since May 2014 after suffering a heart attack and the younger Lee has been running Samsung, South Korea’s biggest company.

“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the Samsung statement said. “His legacy will be everlasting.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent senior presidential officials to pass a condolence message to Lee’s family at a mourning site. In the message, Moon called the late tycoon “a symbol of South Korea’s business world whose leadership would provide courage to our companies” at a time of economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Moon’s office said.

Lee’s family said the funeral would be private but did not immediately release details.

Lee inherited control of the company from his father, and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Samsung sells Galaxy phones while also making the screens and microchips that power its major rivals — Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones.

Its businesses encompass shipbuilding, life insurance, construction, hotels, amusement parks and more. Samsung Electronics alone accounts for 20% of the market capital on South Korea’s main stock exchange.

Lee leaves behind immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.

His death comes during a complex time for Samsung.

When he was hospitalized, Samsung’s once-lucrative mobile business faced threats from upstart makers in China and elsewhere. Pressure was high to innovate its traditionally strong hardware business, to reform a stifling hierarchical culture and to improve its corporate governance and transparency.

Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structure and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea.

Lee Kun-Hee was convicted in 2008 for illegal share dealings, tax evasion and bribery designed to pass his wealth and corporate control to his three children. In 1996, he was convicted of bribing a former president. But in both cases, he avoided jail after courts suspended his sentences, at the time a common practice that helped make South Korean business tycoons immune from prison despite their bribery convictions.

Most recently, Samsung was ensnared in an explosive 2016-17 scandal that led to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s ouster and imprisonment.

Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and one of her confidants to help secure the government’s backing for his attempt to solidify control over Samsung. He was freed in early 2018 after an appellate court reduced his term and suspended the sentence. But last month, prosecutors indicted him again on similar charges, setting up yet another protracted legal battle.

Lee Kun-Hee was a stern, terse leader who focused on big-picture strategies, leaving details and daily management to executives.

His near-absolute authority allowed the company to make bold decisions in the fast-changing technology industry, such as shelling out billions to build new production lines for memory chips and display panels even as the 2008 global financial crisis unfolded. Those risky moves fueled Samsung’s rise.

Lee was born on Jan. 9, 1942, in the southeastern city of Daegu during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His father, Lee Byung-chull, had founded an export business there in 1938, and following the Korean War, he rebuilt the company into an electronics and home appliance manufacturer and the country’s first major trading company.

When Lee Kun-Hee inherited control of Samsung from his father in 1987, Samsung was relying on Japanese technology to produce TVs and was taking its first steps toward exporting microwaves and refrigerators.

A decisive moment came in 1993 when Lee Kun-Hee made sweeping changes to Samsung after a two-month trip abroad convinced him that the company needed to improve the quality of its products.

In a speech to Samsung executives, he famously urged, “Let’s change everything except our wives and children.”

Not all his moves succeeded.

A notable failure was the group’s expansion into the auto industry in the 1990s, in part driven by Lee Kun-Hee’s passion for luxury cars. Samsung later sold near-bankrupt Samsung Motor to Renault. The company also was frequently criticized for disrespecting labour rights. Cancer cases among workers at its semiconductor factories were ignored for years.

Earlier this year, Lee Jae-yong declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists questioned his sincerity.

The 52-year-old Lee expressed remorse for causing public concern over the 2016-17 scandal, but did not admit to wrongdoing regarding his alleged involvement.

Lee Kun-Hee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics before the 2008 conviction. But he received a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to Samsung’s management in 2010.

“As South Korea’s most successful entrepreneur, (Lee Kun-Hee) received a dazzling spotlight, but he had many vicissitudes full of grace and disgrace,” the ruling Democratic Party said in a statement. “We hope a ‘new Samsung’ will be realized at an early date as Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong promised.”

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