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Canada beats Brazil in penalty kicks for spot in Tokyo soccer semifinals

LUCAS CASALETTO | posted Friday, Jul 30th, 2021

Canada beat Brazil 4-3 in penalty kicks in the women’s soccer quarter-finals on Friday to advance to the high stakes semi-finals where they will, once again, play for a medal.

In a rematch of the bronze medal game from the 2016 Rio Olympics, Canada’s keeper Stephanie Labbé stood out with huge, game-saving saves when it mattered most.

This isn’t the first time the Canadians have iced Brazil’s dream of a medal in women’s soccer. Back in 2016, Canada beat Marta and the home team 2-1 to earn bronze at the Rio Games.

Two of the other semifinal matches on the women’s side were ongoing by the time Canada beat Brazil. Sweden faced the home team Japan and Great Britain played Australia. The United States was slated to face the Netherlands later on Friday.

Canada will play the winner of the latter match in the semifinals.

With files from Sportsnet’s Julia Kreuz

Alaska coast hit by 8.2 magnitude earthquake, no tsunami risk for B.C.

HANA MAE NASSAR | posted Thursday, Jul 29th, 2021

A massive earthquake rocked some parts of Alaska late Wednesday night.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake was a magnitude 8.2, hitting just off the Alaska Peninsula, southeast of Perryville and southwest of Kodiak, at a depth of 32 kilometres — which is considered to be shallow.

It struck just after 11 p.m. PT and occurred along the Aleutian chain — an area that has seen many quakes in the past.

“You have this subduction zone, it’s 1,000 miles long, and there have been quite a number of quakes of large size that have occurred there in the past,” explained Randy Baldwin, a USGS geophysicist.

Tsunami warnings had been issued for much of the Alaska coastline, but have since been cancelled. Advisories were originally put in place for South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands, according to various media reports.

“Remember, strong and unusual currents may continue for several hours. If you have damage, please report it to your local officials,” wrote the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center hours after the earthquake struck.

Emergency Info B.C. confirmed early Wednesday there was no tsunami risk to British Columbia as a result of the magnitude 8.2 quake.

The earthquake and ensuing tsunami risk in parts of Alaska forced some communities to order residents to seek higher ground.

According to the Alaska Earthquake Centre, the shaker was “felt throughout the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak.”

The city of Kodiak was among communities impacted by evacuation orders, with police urging locals to get to a local high school that was higher up.

According to the National Tsunami Warning Centre, a wave measuring less than 30 centimetres high was generated by the seismic activity.

No damage has been reported as a result of the tremblor, but Baldwin is not expecting anything major.

“The estimated loses or fatalities would be probably minimal, if there were any at all,” he added.

-With files from The Canadian Press

Demand increasing: Canadian Blood Services watching supply as COVID-19 rules eased

BILL GRAVELAND, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jul 29th, 2021

A return to a somewhat normal summer as COVID-19 restrictions are eased is putting a strain on Canada’s blood supply.

Several provinces have started lifting restrictions — most notably Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan — and demand is up as a result.

“As provinces slowly open up, there’s some return to normal activities. Hospital demand is increasing,” said Tracy Smith, the Prairies and Northwest Territories donor relations director for the Canadian Blood Service.

“You can imagine that they are trying to catch up with some of the backlogs, some of those surgeries that were put on hold during the pandemic. They’re trying to get those in … (and) blood products are becoming more in demand.”

The need for blood products tailed off dramatically 16 months ago as the pandemic brought travel to a near standstill and all but the most critical surgeries were cancelled.

At the same time, Canadian Blood Services wasn’t able to accommodate as many donors because of physical-distancing requirements at clinics, so the two balanced each other out.

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million population give blood on a regular basis.

Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs.

But the inventory has a shelf life — a year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets — so it takes some work to ensure supply continues to meet demand.

Smith said the blood agency has made some changes in anticipation of an increased need, including extending hours at some donation centres and mobile clinics, but many pandemic safety precautions remain in place, including limiting the number of donors allowed inside at one time.

“We’re only accepting appointments from donors. We’re not accepting walk-ins in order to manage our physical distancing,” Smith said. “It’s more important for donors to fill the appointments for us.”

Smith couldn’t say how much the demand for blood has increased in the last six weeks, but she said the need is evident in supplies of O negative blood, the universal blood type used primarily in emergency rooms.

“We have just over four days supply and at times it’s dipped to between three and 3 1/2,” she said. “That gives you an indication of the increase in demand that we’ve seen.”

A Calgary vascular and trauma surgeon said operating rooms have been a lot busier in the last six weeks.

“There’s certainly no slowdowns. It’s more in the other direction trying to catch up,” said Dr. Paul Cantle.

“At certain times of the year, (blood supply) is always a concern, but very few of us have ever run into a situation where we haven’t had what we’ve needed at the end of the day.”

Cantle said people go out more in the summer, drive more on highways and spent more time in physical activity, so it’s not a surprise blood demand has gone up.

“It was inevitable. People just try and get out there and enjoy their summers: getting out on their ATVs and their horses and their mountain bikes,” he said.

“It’s the same every year, but it’s maybe just a little more extreme this year with people trying to make up for lost time.”

Penny Oleksiak wins bronze in 200-metre freestyle

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jul 28th, 2021

Canada’s Penny Oleksiak has won a bronze medal in 200-metre freestyle swimming at the Tokyo Olympics.

This is her sixth Olympic medal, making her Canada’s most decorated summer Olympian.

Oleksiak finished fourth in her semifinal heat with a time of 1:56.39 to qualify for the final.

The Toronto native made history at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, becoming the first Canadian to win four medals (one gold, one silver, and two bronze) in the same Summer Games and the youngest Olympic champion at just 16-years-old.

Ahead of Tuesday’s final, Oleksiak also anchored the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team to silver during the first days of this Olympics.

Can Toronto police itself out of a homelessness crisis?

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Jul 28th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, over the past few weeks, Toronto police have stormed into at least three park encampments where homeless people have been living. They’ve been met with protesters and journalists, and police have sometimes responded with violence.

In the end, not many people have ended up in homes, and the city’s reputation is in tatters. How long can Toronto sustain this strategy? What could the city do differently, if it’s willing to admit to its past failures? And what should other places in Canada, facing similar crises, learn from this?

GUEST: Leilani Farha, global director of Make The Shift

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Voluntary recall issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 27th, 2021

A voluntary recall has been issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning over a possible Salmonella contamination.

McCormick & Company, Inc. says the recall covers 153g bottles with a best before date of September 6, 2022.

The bottles were shipped to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

No illnesses have been reported, and McCormick says the potential risk was brought to their attention by the FDA during routine testing.

Salmonella poisoning can result in a wide range of symptoms, from short-term fever, headache and nausea to more serious issues including severe arthritis and, in rare cases, even death.

Pearson airport won’t sort arriving passengers based on COVID-19 vaccination status

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 27th, 2021

Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.

But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday.

Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”

She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.

Mary Simon set to be installed as 30th governor general, and first Indigenous

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 26th, 2021

OTTAWA — Mary Simon will be installed later this morning as the country’s new governor general and become the first Indigenous person to hold the role.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Simon, an Inuk leader and former Canadian diplomat, as his choice to be the Queen’s representative in Canada earlier this month, replacing Julie Payette who resigned in January.

Trudeau will be among the few people allowed to witness the ceremony in person as public health guidelines have set limits on attendance and mask requirements for anyone there in person.

Simon will be greeted at the Senate building by a First Nations drumming circle and be accompanied by a traditional Inuit drummer on her way into the Senate chamber.

Inside the chamber, a traditional Inuit oil lamp will remain lit during the ceremony.

Simon’s first speech as governor general is to touch on the themes of reconciliation and youth.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Will we still use masks when all the mandates expire?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Jul 26th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, masking has become second nature to most of us during the pandemic. But with the end cautiously in sight, how many of us will still cover up once we’re no longer forced to?

In eastern nations like Japan, masking in crowded public spaces in simply part of the culture — especially during flu season. Why hasn’t that taken hold here, and how can masks continue to help us stay safe without remaining a battleground in the culture wars?

GUEST: Dr. Mitsutoshi Horii, professor of Shumei University in Japan

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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