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COVID-19 aid for farmers and rescuing Cirque du Soleil; In The News for May 5

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, May 5th, 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 5 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is expected to announce today significant, targeted financial support for farmers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement will come just as some farmers are making decisions about whether to plant crops and others are considering whether they need to cull their cattle, pigs and poultry because of the reduced capacity of meat processing plants, which have proven particularly vulnerable to the spread of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The federal government has taken some small steps to cushion the blow to farmers but Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has been promising for several weeks that more aid is coming.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has been warning that financial assistance is urgently needed to protect against food shortages in Canada.

Two weeks ago, the federation urged the government to make food security a top priority, second only to protecting the health of Canadians.

In other Canadian news …

OTTAWA — Crew members on board a Halifax-class frigate personally witnessed last week’s helicopter crash that killed six Canadian Armed Forces members off the coast of Greece, the Department of National Defence has confirmed.

The revelation Monday follows initial military reports that the Cyclone helicopter was missing after contact with HMCS Fredericton was lost, suggesting the aircraft was far from the warship when it went down in the Ionian Sea.

It also comes as the Forces prepares to hold a ramp ceremony on Wednesday for those on board the Cyclone even though the remains of five of the fallen have not been recovered and identified.

Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier confirmed to The Canadian Press that some of the crew on board HMCS Fredericton watched as the Cyclone helicopter went into the water while returning from a NATO training exercise.

Le Bouthillier did not say how many crew members saw the crash nor did he say how close the helicopter was from the frigate at the time. However, he said “as part of their investigation, the flight-safety investigation team will conduct interviews with these eyewitnesses.”

The investigation team is proceeding without information from the Cyclone’s flight-data and voice recorders, which Le Bouthillier said have already been airlifted back to Canada and are now being analyzed by the National Research Council.

Also this …

VANCOUVER — The head of a Vancouver biotech firm says there’s another valuable shield available in the fight against the COVID-19 virus which could buy time as researchers race to develop a vaccine to fight the virus.

Carl Hansen of AbCellera Biologics says the company’s platform has already identified 500 disease-fighting antibodies in the blood sample of one of the first patients to recover from the virus in the United States.

Those discoveries could be used to create medicine for vulnerable populations until a vaccine is available.

AbCellera is partnering with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to develop a treatment for COVID-19 with the goal of beginning clinical trials in July.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $175 million in funding for AbCellera this weekend.

The funding will also cover the company’s plans to build technology and infrastructure for antibody therapies against future pandemic threats.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is making ever louder pronouncements casting blame on China for the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to sidestep domestic criticism of the president’s own response, tarnish China’s global reputation and give the U.S. leverage on trade and other aspects of U.S.-China competition.

President Donald Trump has vowed to penalize China for what U.S. officials have increasingly described as a pattern of deceit that denied the world precious time to prepare for the pandemic. The opening salvo isn’t in the form of tariffs or sanctions, but in a one-sided accounting of China’s behaviour that could yank the Chinese lower on the global reputation metre.

The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House have all launched public efforts in recent days to lay bare what they say is clear evidence that China tried to mask the scale of the outbreak and then refused to provide critical access to U.S. and global scientists that could have saved lives.

Trump and allies repeat and express confidence in an unsubstantiated theory linking the origin of the outbreak to a possible accident at a Chinese virology laboratory. U.S. officials say they are still exploring the subject and describe the evidence as purely circumstantial. But Trump, aides say, has embraced the notion to further highlight China’s lack of transparency.

COVID-19 around the world …

SEOUL — South Korea has reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases since Feb. 18 as the country restarts professional sports and prepares to reopen schools.

The three fresh infections and two more virus-related deaths bring South Korea’s totals to 10,804 cases and 254 fatalities.

Infections have slowed over the past month amid tightened border controls and waning transmissions in the worst-hit city of Daegu, which reported zero new cases today.

Schools will reopen in phase starting with high school seniors on May 13.

The pro baseball season started without fans in the stands, while soccer will kick off under similar conditions on Friday.

COVID-19 in Entertainment

MONTREAL — Quebecor Inc. says it wants to “rescue” Cirque du Soleil by purchasing a controlling stake in the struggling company and bringing its ownership back home to Quebec.

In a letter sent to four federal ministers from Quebec, the telecommunications company says it is in funding talks with Quebec’s pension fund manager as well the Fonds de Solidarite FTQ and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Quebecor says in a separate press release it is ready to spend “several hundred million dollars” to revive operations at the circus producer, which has halted all 44 shows worldwide and laid off 95 per cent of its employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conglomerate adds that it has been unable to obtain financial details for Cirque du Soleil, citing “blockage” by management.

Cirque du Soleil is reported to be exploring various options to stay solvent, with debt restructuring and bankruptcy protection among the potential options.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2020

The Canadian Press

Most Canadians comfortable with pace of easing coronavirus restrictions: poll

LAURA OSMAN THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

OTTAWA — As provinces start to tiptoe toward normalcy by gently lifting restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests Canadians are largely happy with the pace.

People in most provinces taking steps to reopen were between 60 and 70 per cent supportive of those moves, while 16 to 30 per cent would like to see their government slow down a little.

Some provinces have already begun loosening physical distancing measures put in place as the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases started picking up steam in March.

In Quebec, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Canada, the province is allowing some retail stores to reopen outside of Montreal with an eye to reopen the manufacturing and construction sectors next week. On Monday it pushed back the reopening of non-essential stores in the Montreal area at least another week.

Ontario, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the country, is allowing the partial reopening of some seasonal businesses. Manitoba has gone even further, allowing slightly restricted access to libraries, museums, and restaurant patios.

But in Alberta, which plans to allow certain retail stores, restaurants and daycare centres to reopen as early as May 14, people seem less comfortable with how quickly things are moving.

There, 50 per cent of respondents would like the province to slow down.

The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies between May 1 and 3, surveyed 1,526 adult Canadians and 1,002 adult Americans randomly recruited from its online panel. The internet-based survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples.

“Alberta is a bit different,” said Christian Bourque, vice-president of Leger.

“Everywhere else people seem to be in tune with what their governments have announced.”

Bourque was surprised by the latest results, considering similar polls in the last weeks indicated Canadians wanted to see major milestones hit before physical distancing measures were lifted, such as the development of a vaccine or a two-week period without new cases.

“I expected people to be even more cautious than they are,” he said.

In the latest poll, 28 per cent said they would be comfortable lifting restrictions if there are only sporadic cases and no pressure on the health-care system.

One reason for the acceptance of provincial plans to gradually reopen may be the steady support and trust respondents have expressed in their governments, which have remained high throughout the Canadian epidemic, Bourque said.

That’s in stark contrast to the United States, where 43 per cent of respondents expressed satisfaction with measures put in place by President Donald Trump to fight COVID-19. In Canada, 77 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with what Ottawa is doing.

The other reason may be that people are starting to slip when it comes to following the rules.

In general, the poll suggests Canadians’ fear of themselves or a loved one contracting the virus is lower than it was at the end of March. And while 27 per cent of Canadians said they did not comply with at least one of the public health measures two weeks ago, that number grew to 35 per cent in the latest poll.

That’s mainly because people are a little more likely to visit friends and family now, Bourque said. Last week only 16 per cent reported doing that and this week it was 18 per cent.

“More people now find it harder to do everything governments are asking them to do,” he said.

Smoked salmon benedict with garlic studded swiss chard

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, May 4th, 2020

INGREDIENTS

BENNY

METHOD

Special tools: whisk, stainless steel bowl

Chard
In a medium sauce pan roast garlic in olive oil. Sauté chard, season and let rest

Hollandaise
Bring butter up to heat and skim off the milk solids. Just before but brown stage, turn off and let sit for 3 minutes

In a medium stainless steel bowl whisk egg yolks, mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce to soft ribbon stage. Slowly add very warm butter while whisking. Loosen up with lemon juice and thicken with salt.

Add a splash of vinegar to simmering water, stir in a circulation and drop in two eggs. Poach for 2 minutes

Top toasted croissant with chard, smoked salmon and perfectly poached egg. Nappe with hollandaise and serve.

Provinces must give emotional support to returning students: education advocates

CAMILLE BAINS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, May 4th, 2020

VANCOUVER — Bored and isolated students are spending too many hours online and some have started using more substances, but all students will need extra emotional support when classes resume, says a psychiatrist who specializes in youth mental health.

Dr. Shimi Kang said that while teens typically question authority and act impulsively some are now self-medicating with substances or ignoring physical distancing measures as a way to deal with anxiety resulting from the pandemic.

“I would encourage schools to start with social emotional programming and talk about things like coping skills right in that first week going back, talk about what coping skills people used at home, what they can do now as they’re reintegrating,” said Kang, a clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s department of psychiatry.

She said academics will have to take a back seat to allowing students to express their thoughts and emotions as part of so-called social emotional learning that is already part of many curriculums across the country as a way to teach students to manage their emotions, learn empathy and compassion and to build resilience as part of a life-long practice.

That type of learning, which is separate from providing mental health supports, may involve students’ response to what’s happening in their community or around the world and being aware of how they would cope with certain situations, Kang said.

“If there’s anything that this pandemic has shown, it is that life skills get us through. It is the adaptability, the resiliency, the communication skills, the emotional regulation skills, the ability to problem solve and have optimism in the face of difficulty. That’s where we need to put our focus.”

It’s no longer good enough for schools to jam in a lesson on social emotional learning to meet the criteria, she said, advising that it should be incorporated into the overall kindergarten-to-Grade 12 curriculum.

Chris Markham, executive director of the non-profit Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, said part of the response to COVID-19 should involve a plan for all provinces to strengthen the social emotional learning components of their curriculums.

“The broader conversation pre-COVID was still on strengthening this curriculum — B.C.’s, Alberta’s, Ontario’s, they’ve all got it somewhere,” he said of most jurisdictions across the country.

“At this point in time maybe the shiny coin in all of this is how important all those skills are to enabling kids to be resilient and for them to thrive, sometimes in situations that are completely out of their control. This should be a wake-up call to us,” Markham said.

“Right now, we’re trying to facilitate a conversation with the province about doing that,” Markham said of Ontario, adding he recently discussed the importance of students’ well-being with Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Lecce said in a tweet on April 30 that he’d spoken with Markham about “our strong commitment to supporting the health and well-being of every Ontario student through COVID-19.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Education said in an email it has heard from parents and various groups “who have told us to prioritize well-being and mental health of our students. In collaboration with our education sector partners, we will continue to prioritize well-being and mental health when discussing the transition back to school.”

Shelley Morse, president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, said teachers should be prepared to provide “trauma-informed practices” in response to students’ needs, especially those who may be living in fear from having witnessed domestic violence or experienced food shortages during the pandemic.

“We have to make sure that when they come back, we’re ready to debrief and deal with those situations and worry about the content at a later time,” she said. “We know we’re going to have students with trauma, even trauma from going back into the classroom with all the unknowns.”

So far, only Quebec has announced plans to reopen schools in mid-May for primary students.

Morse said it’s hard to know how younger children will react to seeing teachers in personal protective equipment, if they choose to wear it, as well as not being permitted to get close to the classmates they haven’t seen in two months.

“I’m a little concerned about Quebec,” she said. “I’m not sure that they’ve had proper time for that return to school.”

The Ministry of Education in Quebec said in a statement that teachers would be vigilant in providing support to students who need it.

“This increased vigilance will also help detect students who have experienced trauma and those who will develop symptoms after returning to class,” it said.

British Columbia’s ministry said in an email that its social emotional learning program, called Core Competencies, is a central foundation of the curriculum.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2020.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Several provinces begin easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, May 4th, 2020

OTTAWA — A much anticipated new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic starts today with several provinces beginning the process of slowly loosening some of their lockdown restrictions.

Quebec, which accounts for more than half of Canada’s coronavirus cases, including deaths from the illness, is reopening retail stores outside Montreal while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen on May 11.

Ontario, the other epicentre for the virus, is allowing a small list of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.

Manitoba’s museums, libraries and retail businesses — including restaurant patios  — can re-open today, though at only half capacity. The province, along with Saskatchewan and Alberta, are also letting non-essential medical activities, such as dentistry and physiotherapy to resume.

British Columbia has yet to release its reopening plan, however, Premier John Horgan is promising details this week.

The Maritime provinces, where COVID-19 caseloads have been trending downward, began relaxing some restrictions over the past week, primarily in the areas of public health services and outdoor recreation.

Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador plans to loosen some of its public health and recreation restrictions on May 11.

It must be noted that even though some lockdown restrictions are being eased, physical distancing rules and guidelines still apply.

Canada has now recorded 59,474 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,682 deaths and 24,921 cases resolved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2020.

 

The Canadian Press

In The News for May 4

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, May 4th, 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 4 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

A new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic starts today with several provinces beginning the process of slowly loosening some of their lockdown restrictions.

Quebec, hardest hit of all provinces by coronavirus, is reopening retail stores outside Montreal while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen next week.

Ontario, the other epicentre for the virus, is allowing a small list of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.

Manitoba’s museums, libraries and retail businesses — including restaurant patios  — can re-open today, though at only half capacity. The province, along with Saskatchewan and Alberta, are also letting non-essential medical activities, such as dentistry and physiotherapy to resume.

B.C. has yet to release its reopening plan, however, details are expected this week.

The Maritime provinces, where COVID-19 caseloads have been trending downward, began relaxing some restrictions over the past week, while Newfoundland and Labrador plans to loosen some public health and recreation restrictions on May 11.

Though some restrictions are being eased, physical distancing rules still apply.

In other Canadian news …

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia psychiatrist specializing in youth mental health says academics will initially need to take a back seat to students’ emotional needs when schools reopen across the country.

Doctor Shimi Kang says some students have taken to using substances to self medicate during the pandemic while others are spending far too much time online outside of their schoolwork or ignoring physical distancing needs.

She says teens in particular are having a tough time coping with the disruptions and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.

Most schools already have a way to help them when they resume classes, but Kang says so-called social emotional learning aimed at teaching students how to be more aware of their emotions and becoming more resilient must now be made a priority.

Shelley Morse, president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, echoes that sentiment and says some students will have experienced trauma without support from the usual connections they make at school.

Morse says she’s concerned Quebec may not be prepared to deal with such issues as primary schools reopen this month, though the Education Ministry there says teachers will be vigilant in supporting students.

Also this …

MISSION, B.C — A justice advocacy group says it wants prisoners at a federal institution in Mission, British Columbia ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak to know there are people in the community fighting for their safety.

Meenakshi Mannoe of the Vancouver Prison Justice Day Committee says members were rallying outside Mission Institution Sunday and making noise from their cars or at a safe physical distance.

The committee is calling for the urgent care of all prisoners across Canada and the immediate release of detainees to ensure adequate physical distancing and quarantine measures.

Mannoe says inmates’ sentences should not include exposure to a potentially fatal respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The group is also calling for broader testing of all prisoners, and daily updates with details of the situation for their family members.

Mission Institution is experiencing the largest prison outbreak in Canada. The B.C. government said Saturday that 133 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

Across Canada, 290 federal inmates have been infected, with 155 having recovered, according to federal figures released Saturday.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — The Senate will gavel in today as the coronavirus rages.

The senators face a deepening national debate over how best to confront the deadly pandemic and its economic devastation.

With the House staying away due to the health risks, but the 100 senators meeting for the first time since March, the conflicted Congress reflects an uneasy nation.

Tops on the Senate agenda isn’t the next virus aid package, but confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees.

Senate Republicans are reluctant to spend more money on virus relief and are counting on the country’s re-opening to kick start the economy and reduce the need for aid.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quietly crafting the next relief package and Democrats say more must be done.

COVID-19 around the world …

There are signs today the coronavirus pandemic is easing significantly in some parts of Europe but getting worse in India and Russia.

While people around the world started taking advantage of an easing in lockdowns to enjoy the outdoors, health experts warned of a potential second wave of infections unless testing is expanded dramatically.

As Italy prepared to reopen parks and public gardens today, health officials reported 174 deaths, the lowest number since a national lockdown began on March 10.

Like Italy, Spain has seen a significant downward trend in reported new cases. And Belgium was also relaxing some of its lockdown measures, confident enough that the outbreak there was on the wane.

But in India, new infections have been rising rapidly. The lockdown of the country’s 1.3 billion people was extended two more weeks, but with some measures relaxed, as reported cases reached 42,000 with nearly 1,400 deaths.

And in Russia, new reported cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time, bringing total cases to about 135,000 with nearly 1,300 deaths.

Meanwhile, in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he got so sick from the coronavirus that doctors had discussed what to say if he had died.

COVID-19 in Entertainment

NEW YORK — Lesley Stahl says that instead of covering COVID-19 news for C-B-S News, she’s become part of the story.

The “60 Minutes” correspondent says she’s finally feeling better after a battle with COVID-19 left her in the hospital for a week.

Stahl says she fought pneumonia caused by the virus for two weeks before being admitted, a journey she says left her “really scared.”

Stahl is 78, and is the dean of correspondents at the C-B-S newsmagazine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, May 1st, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on May 1, 2020:

There are 53,236 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 27,538 confirmed (including 1,859 deaths, 6,299 resolved)

_ Ontario: 16,187 confirmed (including 1,082 deaths, 10,205 resolved)

_ Alberta: 5,355 confirmed (including 89 deaths, 2,161 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 2,112 confirmed (including 111 deaths, 1,322 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 947 confirmed (including 28 deaths, 545 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 389 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 295 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 264 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 220 resolved), 11 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 258 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 225 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 118 confirmed (including 114 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 24 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 8 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: 1 confirmed

_ Total: 53,236 (11 presumptive, 53,225 confirmed including 3,184 deaths, 21,436 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

COVID-19 threat to Indigenous people and quaratine stream; In The News for May 1

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 1st, 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 1 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

OTTAWA —The federal government will be under pressure today to explain what it’s doing to prevent COVID-19 from spreading like wildfire through First Nations reserves and remote Inuit communities in the North.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal are scheduled to be grilled by MPs at a virtual meeting of the House of Commons Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee.

Their appearance comes one day after Nunavut identified its first positive case of COVID-19 in Inuit community of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island.

First Nations reserves and remote communities are considered among the most vulnerable areas in the country, due to often over-crowded living conditions that make physical distancing next to impossible and the lack of ready access to health-care services.

Even as the infection rate appears to be slowing down in most of the country and provinces are taking the first cautious steps toward reopening their economies, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned Thursday about the growing risk to Indigenous communities.

“I am also concerned about increasing numbers of COVID-19 in First Nations communities in several provinces,” she said.

“We must get ahead of things to protect and support these communities, ramping up testing and contact tracing to find where chains of transmission are occurring.”

In other Canadian news …

OTTAWA — The search for five Canadian service members enters the third day today after a helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece during a NATO training mission.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance confirmed Thursday the body of one sailor, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough of Nova Scotia, had been recovered.

The six were aboard a Cyclone helicopter that went down Wednesday as it was returning to the Halifax-based frigate HMCS Fredericton.

The Canadian military is deploying a flight investigation team to determine the cause of the crash.

Allied warships and aircraft are also helping the Canadian military find the other service members and the missing helicopter in the Ionian Sea.

Also this …

CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island is poised today to become the second province to cautiously begin a gradual return to normal.

It will restart priority, non-urgent health-care services, including some elective surgeries and certain health providers, including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors. And it will begin allowing outdoor gatherings and non-contact outdoor recreational activities of no more than five individuals from different households.

P.E.I. follows New Brunswick’s move last week to allow limited golfing, fishing and hunting;    interactions between two families; and a return to school for post-secondary students.

Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba are also planning to ease some restrictions.

Quebec, which has seen the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, is set to reopen retail stores outside Montreal on Monday, with those in Montreal to follow on May 11. Schools and daycares outside Montreal are set to re-open May 11 as well.

The federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, unveiled earlier this week national guidelines for re-opening shuttered businesses and allowing Canadians to resume more normal activities.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

Essential workers will strike nationwide on May Day to demand safer conditions during the coronavirus outbreak, while other groups plan rallies against tight stay-at-home orders they say are crippling the U.S. economy.

Organizers say employees of Amazon, Whole Foods, Target and FedEx have become the unexpected frontline workers of the pandemic.

Workers will walk off the job or call out sick to demand unpaid time off work, hazard pay, sick leave, protective gear and cleaning supplies.

Meanwhile, protesters will take to the streets in cities nationwide to demand states loosen shelter-in-place rules and “reopen.”

COVID-19 around the world …

ROME — When Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said the government would relax some parts of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, residents entering an eighth week of home confinement dove for their dictionaries.

Conte announced that starting May 4, people in Italy will be permitted to travel within their home regions for visits with their “congiunti.” That’s Italian for either relatives, relations or kinsmen.

Italy’s cooped-up citizenry, therefore, sought clarification. Which relatives? What relation? Would a second-cousin count as kin? A brother-in-law?

Conte sought to clear up the confusion, but he created more.

He said he meant that Italians will be able to visit “relatives, and those with whom they have relationships of steady affection.”

COVID-19 in sports …

Female athletes, particularly hockey players, will be interested to see if the federal government provides pandemic bailout money to the Canadian Football League.

A men’s professional league that pays an average salary of $80,000 asking for as much as $150 million in taxpayer money has those from the defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League contemplating the disparity.

A pandemic didn’t shutter the CWHL last year, but the sheer size of CFL’s financial ask is mindboggling to former goaltender Liz Knox.

“We’re asking for peanuts compared to a $150-million ask,” Knox told The Canadian Press on Thursday.

“When the CWHL was folding, we were talking in the hundreds of thousands (of dollars) to get us in the clear so the league didn’t have to fold.

“We’re talking two or three CFL salaries. That would made the difference of us literally surviving or not.”

Former CWHL commissioner Jayna Hefford told The Canadian Press in an email “there were conversations” with the federal government about financial aid to save the league before it went under in the spring of 2019.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the CFL’s long-term future would be in peril if the 2020 season was wiped out by COVID-19.

Your quarantine stream …

Cinemas are staying closed in the midst of the pandemic, but some of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars will be glowing bright on streaming platforms in May.

Here’s a rundown of other standout titles heading to streaming services in May:

“I Know This Much is True”

Mark Ruffalo plays identical twin brothers whose turbulent relationship has endured the many demons of their troubled family. But when an incident at a public library leaves one of them committed to an asylum for his paranoid schizophrenia, the other brother goes to great lengths to contend with his own past. (Crave/HBO, May 10)

“Space Force”

Steve Carell reunites with Greg Daniels, the writer who revamped “The Office” for American audiences, for a space-race satire in the vein of “Dr. Strangelove.”  The supporting cast is stacked with scene stealers, including John Malkovich, Fred Willard and Jane Lynch. (Netflix, May 29)

“Peanut Butter Falcon”

A troubled crab fisherman, played by Shia LaBeouf, who’s on the lam encounters a young man with Down syndrome who escaped an assisted living facility and is headed to Florida in hopes of meeting his wrestling hero. (Crave/HBO)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

C.D. Howe’s Business Cycle Council says country has entered a recession

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 1st, 2020

TORONTO – The C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council says Canada has entered a recession due to the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report released today, the council says the economy peaked in February before the steps taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus brought the economy to a standstill.

A commonly used definition for a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative quarter-over-quarter economic growth.

However, the C.D. Howe council defines a recession as a pronounced, persistent, and pervasive decline in aggregate economic activity and it looks at both GDP and employment as its main measures.

It says by that measure, the preliminary economy data suggests the country has entered a recession.

The March jobs report showed more than a million jobs were lost in the month, while a preliminary estimate by Statistics Canada suggests the economy contracted by nine per cent in the same month.

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