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Details on $1B aid and Whitecaps back to training; In The News for May 13

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 13 …

COVID-19 in Canada ….

OTTAWA — The federal government will disclose details today of nearly $1 billion in emergency aid to be doled out to small businesses through its six regional economic development agencies.

The government announced several weeks ago the creation of a new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund but did not reveal much in the way of detail, apart from the overall amount of $962 million.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly are expected to fill in some of the blanks today, including how much money each of the six regional agencies — for the West, North, Atlantic, Quebec and northern and southern Ontario — are to receive and what each plans to do with it.

Each agency is expected to take a somewhat different approach to its share of the fund, targeting small businesses most in need in each region.

Overall, the fund is to commit $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations and communities and another $287 million to support the national network of community futures development corporations, which are to specifically target small businesses and rural communities across the country.

The fund is intended to cushion the financial blow experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other Canadian news …

CALGARY — A judge is scheduled to deliver a verdict today in the case of a Calgary man charged with killing his young daughter.

Oluwatosin Oluwafemi has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of four-year-old Olive Rebekah in 2014.

The trial heard that Oluwafemi called his wife at work, and she rushed home to find him performing C-P-R on their daughter.

A paramedic testified that when he arrived the girl was unconscious, not breathing and in cardiac arrest.

He said he received no explanation from the people in the home about what happened.

The Crown says the case is largely circumstantial — that the little girl died of multiple blunt force trauma, and the only other person in the home at the time was her father.

The defence told the trial that there’s no proof the man did anything to the child.

In case you missed it …

TORONTO — The Canadian National Exhibition has been cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual summer spectacle joins a slew of large public events sidelined by the outbreak, which also forced the cancellation of Toronto’s Pride Parade and Caribbean Carnival, the Calgary Stampede, live Canada Day events in Ottawa and music festivals across the country.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford broke the news at a televised press conference Tuesday, when he reminisced about his own treasured memories at the family-friendly cavalcade of amusement rides, agricultural exhibits and food.

“These are some of the sacrifices that we’re facing as a society,” Ford said. “It’s something part of our culture here, part of our heritage going back over 100 years, so I’m going to miss it.”

The Canadian National Exhibition Association said Tuesday the cancellation was “the right decision during this critical time to protect the health of all Canadians.”

This is only the second time in the fair’s 142-year history that it has cancelled all events. The last time was the Second World War, when the site was transformed into a training and recruitment centre.

The CNE is one of the largest fairs in North America and attracts more than 1.4 million visitors each year.

The 18-day event had been slated to run Aug. 21 to Sept. 7.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

It appears the dispute between Tesla and San Francisco Bay Area authorities over the reopening of a factory in the face of coronavirus shutdown orders is coming to an end.

The Alameda County Health Department announced on Twitter today that the Fremont, Calif., plant will be able to go beyond basic operations this week and start making vehicles this coming Monday — as long as it delivers on worker safety precautions that it agreed to.

It wasn’t clear from the statement whether Tesla would face any punishment for reopening Monday in defiance of county orders.

In Washington, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert issued a blunt warning that cities and states could see more COVID-19 deaths and economic damage if they lift stay-at-home orders too swiftly.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci testified by video to a Senate committee, his cautions on Tuesday marked a sharp contrast to President Donald Trump, who is pushing to right a free-falling economy.

COVID-19 around the world …

BEIJING — China reported seven new cases of the coronavirus today. Six of them were in the northeastern province of Jilin where authorities have raised alert levels and suspended rail connections to once county where a cluster of unknown origin has appeared over recent days.

Another 754 people are in treatment for being suspected cases or for having tested positive but not shown symptoms, while 104 people are in hospital undergoing treatment.

China has reported a total of 4,633 deaths among 82,926 cases.

On Tuesday, local media reported the government would conduct tests on all 11 million residents of Wuhan, the central industrial city where the virus was first detected late last year.

COVID-19 in sports …

The Vancouver Whitecaps got back to training Tuesday, albeit via voluntary individual workouts at the club’s practice facility.

Still it was a welcome return for 16 players, who each had a quarter of a field to work in during their hour-long outdoor sessions. Another nine are slated to go Wednesday at the team’s training centre at the University of British Columbia.

The players had been on their own since March 12 when MLS suspended play two weeks into the 2020 season due to the global pandemic.

“”It was special … especially on the mental side,” said Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos. “Just to have the players being together and slowly seeing each other, even if it’s on another side of the field.”

“I think it’s a very important step,” he added. “It’s Step 1, cleats going on the grass, touching the ball, seeing their teammates around, seeing coaches back around. It’s a beginning.”

Toronto FC started individual workouts Monday. The Montreal Impact are looking to join them after having their initial request rejected by Montreal Public Health.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2020

The Canadian Press

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