Monday U.S. Economic Lookahead Durable goods orders (March) Core capital goods ...
To mark Earth Day, Apple TV Plus released “The Year the Earth Changed,” a look at how nature and wildlife thrived as the world stayed in lockdown, and the second season of “Tiny World,” an intimate look at the tiny creatures that roam the planet. The former was shot across seven continents over nine months, […]
High-quality, classic pieces you won't regret adding to your wardrobe.
The cast and creator of the uplifting series talk about saying goodbye and what's to come in season 7.
President Joe Biden signed an emergency determination Friday that keeps refugees admissions to the U.S. at a Trump-era cap of 15,000.
The NEXT: 21 to watch in 2021: Fornite gaming sensation and content creator Lachlan Power talks to Yahoo Finance about how to build a successful career, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFT's), and how he attracted millions of followers on social media.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan on Friday extended by five weeks a pandemic order that requires masks in public, limits capacity inside businesses and caps gathering sizes, as the state continued to confront the country’s highest daily coronavirus infection rate. The state health department’s measure, which was expected and replaces one that had been due to expire Monday, includes a change. Children ages 2 to 4 in day care facilities or camps are no longer exempt from having to wear face coverings, starting April 26. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has resisted tightening restrictions that were in place during two previous COVID-19 surges, including prohibitions on indoor restaurant dining, in-person high school instruction and youth sports. She instead is urging a voluntary pause on the activities and pushing vaccinations and treatments. Michigan’s daily case rate has led the U.S. for weeks and COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state hit a record this week. At least 43% of people ages 16 and older have gotten at least one dose, including 29% who are fully vaccinated. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — U.S. sets up $1.7B network to track virus variants, expand research — Indian vaccine maker asks U.S. to ease export curbs — South Africa takes first step to offer shots to the elderly — Chile study finds Chinese vaccine slashes COVID-19 deaths — Tokyo Olympic organizers again say postponed games will open in just 100 days despite Japan's virus surge — Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: PORTLAND, Ore. — As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Oregon, officials on Friday addressed the “stark” and “unacceptable” disparities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported that people in the state’s wealthiest ZIP code are 58% vaccinated, while a low-income community that has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic is 22% vaccinated. “I want to recognize the fact that vaccinations in Oregon have not been administered as equitably as they need to be,” said Pat Allen, the director of the state’s health authority. Vaccine disparities have been addressed by Oregon health officials since shots began being administered in December. At one point the Vaccine Advisory Committee discussed whether to prioritize racial minorities, but decided against it as they said people of colour likely fell into other prioritized groups and due to concerns about legal issues if race was the focus. Based on data from the health authority, white people represent 75% of Oregonians. While they only comprise about 50% of coronavirus cases, they account for 71% of vaccinations. ___ ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has registered more than 63,000 daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, as infections continue to soar to record levels. The Health Ministry also reported 289 COVID-19-linked deaths, the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the outbreak. The deaths pushed the total number of fatalities in the country to 35,320. The overall number of infections now stands at more than 4 million. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week imposed tighter restrictions in the country of 84 million for the first two weeks of Ramadan, and warned of stricter measures if the infection rate does not drop. The measures include bans on intercity travel, a return to online education, the closing of sports and leisure centres and expanding the length of night-time curfews. Earlier, Erdogan had also re-imposed weekend lockdowns and ordered restaurants and cafes shut during the holy Muslim month. The ministry says around 85% of the cases in the country can be traced to the faster-spreading variant that was first detected in Britain. ___ SANTIAGO, Chile — A real-world study of millions of Chileans who had received the Chinese-developed CoronaVac vaccine has found it 67% effective against symptoms and 80% against death from COVID-19. Chile Health Ministry adviser Rafael Araos said Friday that the Chilean government's study covered 10.5 million people, including 2.5 million who had received both doses of the vaccine and 1.5 million who had received a single dose between Feb. 2 and April 1. It counted cases starting 14 days after application of the second dose of the vaccine, which in Chile was given 28 days after the first. He said vaccines had reduced hospitalizations by 85%, intensive care visits by 89% and deaths by 80%. It is one of the broadest studies so far published of any of the vaccines used against the coronavirus. Most previous studies were based on clinical studies of limited groups of thousands of people given the vaccines to test efficacy and safety prior to general use. ___ WASHINGTON — The White House says American Indian tribes and Alaska Native communities are getting more than $4 billion from President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief legislation. The money will help address a range of issues, including getting more people vaccinated, improvements in testing and contact tracing and reimbursing tribal health systems for lost revenue during the coronavirus shutdown. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says at the coronavirus briefing that American Indians and Alaska Natives have borne an unusually heavy toll from the pandemic. They are more than three-and-a-half times as likely to get COVID-19 than whites and four times more likely to be hospitalized. The money is “part of a broader commitment to increase access to vaccines and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in hard-hit communities,” Murthy says. The Indian Health Service has already administered more than 1 million shots to people and the $600 million funding boost will expand that campaign. Part of the money will pay for mobile vaccination teams to go to remote or hard-to-reach communities. ___ NEW YORK — A panel of government health advisers have scheduled a new meeting to consider what to say about unusual blood clots linked to one type of coronavirus vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet April 23. The panel advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The group held an emergency meeting this week to decide what to advise government health officials about reports of an unusual combination of dangerous blood clots and low platelet counts in six women who had received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The committee decided it didn’t have enough information and wanted to see if additional, similar reports are coming in before assessing the risk. It’s not clear added data will be available at the next meeting. The CDC has received reports of possible similar illnesses, and is investigating them, but has not yet reported confirmed additional cases. The committee decided to meet regardless as it monitors the situation. ___ WASHINGTON — The Biden administration says the U.S. is setting up a $1.7 billion national network to identify and track coronavirus variants and analyze disease threats. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the U.S. is averaging nearly 70,000 new daily coronavirus cases, up from about 53,000 just four weeks ago. Hospitalizations have been trending higher, and deaths were up for the third day in a row. Along with relaxed restrictions on gatherings and indoor dining, the emergence of variants that spread more easily is part of the reason for the worsening trend. White House officials unveiled a national network strategy featuring three components: a major funding boost for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments to ramp up gene-mapping of coronavirus samples; the creation of six “centres of excellence” partnerships with universities to conduct research and develop technologies for gene-based surveillance of pathogens; and building a data system to better share and analyze information on emerging disease threats. The effort relies on money approved by Congress as part of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package. Typically, the government scrambles to counter a potential threat, but funding dries up when it recedes. The new genomic surveillance initiative aims to create a permanent infrastructure. “It’s a transformative amount of money,” says Mary Lee Watts, federal affairs director at the American Society for Microbiology. ___ ROME — Italian Premier Mario Draghi announced Italy will take a “reasoned risk” in reopening restaurants with outdoor seating and school at all grade levels in some regions starting April 26. The openings will apply to regions that have the lowest tiers of restrictions. Mask-wearing and social distancing will be “scrupulously observed.” Italy’s 10 p.m. curfew will remain in place. It’s the first sign of a gradual re-opening since the fall virus surge. Draghi says the “reasoned risks was based on data, which is improving but not dramatically.” He calls the first phase in the opening “is an extraordinary opportunity not just for the economy but for our social lives.” ___ JOHANNESBURG — South Africa took the first step in its mass vaccination campaign on Friday by starting online registrations for the elderly to receive shots beginning next month. People age 60 years and older will be vaccinated first as they are regarded as having the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. South Africa’s inoculation drive is dependent upon millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving in the country within weeks. So far South Africa has vaccinated only 290,000 of its 1.2 million health care workers, using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This week, the government announced it would pause vaccinating its health workers with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a report by the U.S FDA. ___ INDIANAPOLIS — Drugmaker Eli Lilly says its COVID-19 antibody drug should no longer be given to patients alone because treatment combinations work better fighting some variants of the coronavirus. The company is asking U.S. regulators to revoke their emergency authorization for the use of bamlanivimab alone. Lilly announced Friday there are no new safety concerns with the drug, but the combination with another drug etesevimab fights more of the emerging COVID-19 variants in the U.S. Last November, bamlanivimab became the first antibody authorized for emergency use in the U.S. as a COVID-19 treatment. Antibodies are proteins that attach to a virus and block it from infecting cells. The combination of drugs also has received an emergency use authorization from federal regulators. The government has been supplying treatments to hospitals, and last month it stopped delivering bamlanivimab alone in favour of treatment combinations. ___ BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has received a first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. In a tweet sent by her spokesman, Merkel says she had received the vaccine Friday. “I thank everyone involved in the vaccination campaign - and everyone who has let themselves be vaccinated.” The long-time German leader added “vaccination is the key to overcoming the pandemic.” Authorities in Germany recently restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people age 60 and over, due to concerns about the risk of rare blood clots detected in some people who received the shots. ___ BANGKOK — Thailand announced new restrictions to slow its spread but didn’t institute any curfews or lockdowns. Thai health officials on Friday confirmed 1,582 new cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 39,038 and 97 confirmed deaths. Infections have been surging to record highs almost daily since early April. Most of the new cases involve the virus variant first found in Britain. New nationwide protective measures take effect nationwide Sunday for at least two weeks. They include restrictions on school, no gatherings of more than 50 people and closing of bars. Inter-provincial travel is not banned, though some provincial authorities have ordered testing of arrivals. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha suggested harsher measures could cause economic hardships. ___ MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says he is “very hopeful” the country can come up with its own COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. Sánchez visited Spanish pharmaceutical company HIPRA, in northeastern Spain, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine candidate in partnership with the government. Sánchez says a new shot would still need to go through clinical trials, but he says for Spain it is “fundamental” to have its own response to the pandemic. Spain has ordered 87 million doses of other vaccines, which are to arrive by the end of September. ___ KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine received its first 117,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine sharing program on Friday. Under a contract between Kyiv and Pfizer, the country expects a shipment of 10 more million doses in May-June. Ukraine reported 17,479 new coronavirus cases on Friday. Ukraine’s chief health doctor, Victor Liashko, says immunization with the Pfizer shot will begin on Sunday in the Kyiv region and offered across the country on Monday. Residents and staff of Ukraine’s retirement homes will be the first in line to get the shot, then it will be offered to emergency officials and border guards. Ukraine started vaccinations in February after receiving 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot from India. The immunization campaign has been hampered by widespread reluctance to take the vaccine, with only 432,817 people getting at least one shot so far. Kyiv has ordered 1.9 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese drug maker Sinovac Biotech. Struggling to contain the soaring infections, the Ukrainian authorities introduced lockdown restrictions in many of the country’s regions. Ukraine’s Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says the measures helped stabilize the situation. The former Soviet nation of 41 million has registered 1.9 million cases and more than 39,000 confirmed deaths. ___ DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh recorded 101 new deaths, the highest in a day, raising the nation’s confirmed death toll to 10,181. The country registered another 4,417 positive cases in the last 24 hours, raising the total cases to 711,779, according to the Ministry of Health Affairs, The new figures came amid reports that may hospitals in the capital, Dhaka, were overwhelmed with patients despite a nationwide lockdown. Officials say the number of deaths has increased in recent weeks as new strains of the virus were spreading quickly. They say the number of daily cases has increased seven-fold in a month while the number of deaths has doubled in recent weeks. Using the AstraZeneca vaccine from India’s Serum Institute, some 5.7 million people have been inoculated with the first dose while another 900,000 people have received the second dose. ___ GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization said coronavirus cases are continuing to rise globally at “worrying” rates and noted that the number of new cases confirmed per week has nearly doubled during the past two months. At a press briefing on Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of new cases “is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far in the pandemic.” Tedros said some countries that had been able to avoid widespread COVID-19 outbreaks are now seeing steep increases, citing Papua New Guinea as an example. “Until the beginning of this year, Papua New Guinea had reported less than 900 cases and nine deaths,” Tedros said. The noted. The country has now identified more than 9,000 cases and 83 deaths, half of which were reported in the last month. “Papua New Guinea is a perfect example of why vaccine equity is so important,” Tedros said, adding that the Pacific island nation has relied on vaccine donations from Australia and the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative. To date, COVAX has shipped about 40 million vaccines to more than 100 countries, or enough to protect about 0.25% of the world’s population. ___ NEW DELHI — The chief executive of India's Serum Institute, the world’s largest maker of vaccines and a critical supplier of the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative, asked U.S. President Joe Biden to lift an embargo on exporting the raw materials needed to makeCOVID-19 vaccines. Adar Poonawalla wrote to Biden on Twitter: “If we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up.” Poonawalla told the The Associated Press earlier that the unavailability of certain raw materials, such as the specific medium needed to grow microorganisms, was going to affect the Serum Institute’s production of a vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Novavax. The Serum Institute and Novavax have inked a deal to supply 1.1 billion doses of vaccine to COVAX. India on Friday confirmed over 200,000 new virus cases in 24 hours. Amid a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals and left unprepared authorities scrambling, the country has been trying to vaccinate enough people to slow the spread of the virus. To do so, India has paused vaccine exports to other nations. ___ MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said it’s uncertain when the Philippines can get adequate COVID-19 vaccines while warning more people will die and “the worst of times” is yet to come. Duterte said his administration has done its best despite criticism and he could use emergency power, for example, to take over hotels if hospital room shortages worsen. But he said wealthy nations control the vaccine supply and other countries could hardly do anything but wait. “When will we have that stocks sufficient to vaccinate the people? I really do not know. Nobody knows,” Duterte said in a televised meeting Thursday night with key Cabinet members. “I think before it gets better, we’ll have to go to the worst of times.” “There’s no sufficient supply to inoculate the world. This will take a long time. I’m telling you many more will die here.” The Philippines has received more than 3 million doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, most of it donated by China and through the COVAX arrangement by the World Health Organization. At least 1.2 million people have been given initial doses. The government aims to purchase at least 148 million doses to inoculate about 70 million adult Filipinos but the plan has faced supply problems and delays. The vaccination delays have coincided with an alarming surge in coronavirus infections that the government has been scrambling to ease in the hard-hit capital and four outlying provinces. The Philippines has long been a coronavirus hotspot in Southeast Asia with more than 904,000 infections and 15,594 deaths. ___ COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark is opening up faster than planned and allowing restaurants to serve patrons indoors starting Wednesday, providing they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or can show negative test results. The limit on outdoor public gatherings will be raised to 50 from 10 on April 21. Soccer fans will be allowed to return to stadiums. A majority of Danish lawmakers agreed Friday on the reopening plan for next week. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke say, “It will shape our daily lives in a positive direction.” Denmark's coronavirus outbreak is largely under control. Hair salons and smaller shopping malls already have reopened. On Wednesday, people can go to larger shopping malls and department stores. ___ SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom says nearly half of Californians eligible for vaccination have received at least one shot against the coronavirus. He is urging more residents to sign up for appointments and not let apprehension get in the way of getting protected against the illness. The nation’s most populous state on Thursday began vaccinating anyone age 16 and over regardless of occupation or health condition. The move comes as California and other states have seen vaccine supplies rise in recent weeks. But officials are working to address hesitancy, particularly in some of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic. ___ NEW YORK — New U.S. government data show the country had approximately 600,000 more deaths than usual during a 13-month span. The coronavirus was blamed for most of those deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the estimate Thursday. It covers Jan. 26, 2020, to Feb. 27. The coronavirus was first detected in the U.S. in late January of last year. CDC researchers say the biggest spikes in the deaths occurred in early April, late July, and the very end of December. At least 75% of the deaths were directly tied to COVID-19, but the estimate includes deaths from all causes. This week, the CDC released provisional data through the end of September 2020 that suggested drug overdose deaths for the year were far exceeding tallies seen in any previous year. The CDC says more than 87,000 deaths were reported over a 12-month period. ___ The Associated Press
CALGARY — Doctors say the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be offered to Canadians in a wider age range as COVID-19 infections soar in many parts of the country. Provinces limited eligibility for that vaccine to those 55 and older, after a small number of cases of an unusual and serious blood clotting condition appeared in younger people — mostly women — who had received a shot. Dr. Daniel Gregson with the University of Calgary says the age limit can easily be dropped to as low as 35.He says uncertainty has been planted in peoples' minds about getting AstraZeneca, but they do things that are riskier on a daily basis without a second thought. Dr. Susy Hota with the University Health Network in Toronto says she'd also support dropping the age limit, so long as no other worrying side-effects arise and recipients are aware of the risk, however small. She says given the surge in case counts and the impact it's having on Ontario hospitals, the vaccine should be used more. Health Canada has deemed the vaccine safe, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. The National Committee on Immunization has not yet changed its recommendation that the shot only be offered to those 55 and up. But the decision ultimately rests with provinces, and officials in Alberta and Quebec have both said they are discussing a change. The Canadian Press
New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - April 16, 2021) - WHY: Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, reminds purchasers of the securities of SOS Limited (NYSE: SOS) between July 22, 2020 and February 25, 2021, inclusive (the "Class Period"), of the important June 1, 2021 lead plaintiff deadline.SO WHAT: If you purchased SOS securities during the Class Period you may be entitled to compensation without payment of any out of pocket fees ...
Bernie Sanders and nine other Democratic senators urged President Joe Biden on Friday to back a temporary patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines that would allow countries to manufacture treatments locally and accelerate the global vaccination effort. World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonko-Iweala on Wednesday urged WTO member to address inequitable access to vaccines, with low-income countries administering just 0.2% of 700 million global doses. She urged WTO members to advance negotiations on a proposal by India and South Africa and backed by over 80 WTO members that would temporarily waive the intellectual property (IP) rights of pharmaceutical companies.
HAVANA — Raul Castro said Friday he is resigning as head of Cuba’s Communist Party, ending an era of formal leadership by he and his brother Fidel Castro that began with the 1959 revolution. The 89-year-old Castro made the announcement Friday in a speech at the opening of the Eighth congress of the ruling party, the only one allowed on the island. He said he was retiring with the sense of having "fulfilled his mission and confident in the future of the fatherland." Castro didn’t say who he would endorse as his successor as first secretary of the Communist Party. But he previously indicated that he favours yielding control to 60-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded him as president in 2018 and is the standard bearer of a younger generation of loyalists who have been pushing an economic opening without touching Cuba's one-party system. His retirement means that for the first time in more than six decades Cubans won't have a Castro formally guilding their affairs, and it comes at a difficult time, with many on the island anxious about what lies ahead. The coronavirus pandemic, painful financial reforms and restrictions imposed by the Trump administration have battered the economy, which shrank 11% last year as a result of a collapse in tourism and remittances. Long food lines and shortages have brought back echoes of the “special period” that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Discontent has been fueled by the spread of the internet and growing inequality. Much of the debate inside Cuba is focused on the pace of reform, with many complaining that the so-called “historic generation” represented by Castro has been too slow to open the economy. In January, Diaz-Canel finally pulled the trigger on a plan approved two congresses ago to unify the island’s dual currency system, giving rise to fears of inflation. He also threw the doors open to a broader range of private enterprise — a category long banned or tightly restricted — permitting Cubans to legally operate many sorts of self-run businesses from their homes. This year’s congress is expected to focus on unfinished reforms to overhaul state-run enterprises, attract foreign investment and provide more legal protection to private business activities. The Communist Party is made up of 700,000 activists and is tasked in Cuba's constitution with directing the affairs of the nation and society. Fidel Castro, who led the revolution that drove dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959, formally became head of the party in 1965, about four years after officially embracing socialism. He quickly absorbed the old party under his control and was the country's unquestioned leader until falling ill in 2006 and in 2008 handing over the presidency to his younger brother Raul, who had fought alongside him during the revolution. Raul succeeded him as head of the party in 2011. Fidel Castro died in 2016 The Associated Press
President Michael Glynn said Parker will continue to back public safety officials as mayor.
A Hearing Panel of the Central Regional Council of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada ("MFDA") has issued its Reasons for Decision dated April 15, 2021 ("Reasons for Decision"), in connection with a settlement hearing held by electronic hearing on March 10, 2021, in the matter of Benjamin Stewart ("Respondent").
Her prerogative is still to have a little fun.
VANCOUVER — The B.C. Supreme Court says lawyers for Meng Wanzhou are applying to adjourn the final three-week leg of her extradition case set to begin April 26. The court says in a statement that the Huawei executive's legal team will bring the application before the court on Monday but it doesn't explain the reasons. The hearings are expected to cover a final branch of abuse of process allegations from Meng's team before moving on to arguments over remedy and the actual extradition hearing. Meng was arrested in 2018 at Vancouver's airport on a request by the United States, where she faces fraud charges that both she and the telecom company deny. She is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei's control of another company doing business in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions. A Hong Kong court approved a document-sharing agreement last Monday that Huawei claimed would allow it to obtain information from HSBC that would prevent her extradition. A Huawei spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about whether the ruling is linked the application to adjourn the planned hearings, saying only that the reasons would be disclosed in court. This story by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
DETROIT — Michigan’s worst-in-the-nation COVID-19 outbreak is beginning to slow auto production, with a major Ram pickup truck plant reducing its output because of a high number of absent workers. About 10% of the production work force at the Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) assembly plant in Sterling Heights, north of Detroit, either tested positive or is on quarantine, a person who has been briefed on the situation said Friday. That is equivalent to about 600 workers, said the person, who asked not to be identified because neither the company nor the United Auto Workers union is releasing details. The 5-million-square-foot plant has about 7,450 hourly workers, but not all of them are on the assembly lines. To try to stem the shortfall, the company has pulled workers from a pickup factory in nearby Warren, Michigan, that has been forced to shut down by the global shortage of semiconductors. But because those workers have to be trained to build the new Ram pickups, the assembly line is moving more slowly than normal, said the person, who did not know how much production had been lost. As it has for weeks, Michigan continues to suffer from the nation’s highest seven-day case rate, 538 per every 100,000 residents, the federal government reported. The UAW confirmed that cases are on the rise at Sterling Heights. Many of the absent workers didn't test positive but are either awaiting tests or isolating themselves because of close contact with others who have the virus, the union said. “While the numbers change by shift, we can say that there is a recent increase in cases, as there is throughout Michigan," UAW Vice-President for Stellantis Cindy Estrada said in a statement. She urged workers to be cautious to "keep the plants and our UAW members and families safe.” Stellantis also wouldn't provide numbers but confirmed that it has had employees test positive for the coronavirus as cases rise in Michigan. The company says in a statement that it's been taking steps to keep factory workers safe and urging them to get vaccinated. “We continue to be aggressive in following recommended guidelines for contact tracing," the statement said. “We also continue to strongly encourage our employees to follow the same health and safety measures whenever they are out and about.” The Ram pickup, the third-most-popular vehicle in the U.S., is an important profit driver for Stellantis. The company sold 563,000 of the trucks last year. Stellantis' rivals Ford and General Motors have each said that they haven't lost any production in recent weeks due to virus cases. The Sterling Heights production slowdown was first reported Friday by Bloomberg News. _____ David Eggert contributed to this report from Lansing, Michigan. Tom Krisher, The Associated Press
Holy calf muscles!
Eighth-ranked Canada got a peek Friday at its possible road at the Olympic women's soccer tournament this summer. Using the April rankings, FIFA released the makeup of the pots to be used in next Wednesday's draw to determine the three groups of four for the women's field in Tokyo. Pot 1 contains host Japan (ranked No. 11), the U.S. (No. 1), and the Netherlands (No. 3) while Pot 2 is made up of Sweden (No. 5), Britain (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are ranked separately by FIFA) and Brazil (No. 7). Canada is in Pot 3 along with Australia (No. 9) and China (No. 14). Pot 4 consists of New Zealand (No. 22), Chile (No. 37) and Zambia (No. 104). Britain qualified via England’s performance at the 2019 Women’s World Cup — the three best-placed European teams earned Olympic berths — so was allocated to a pot based on England’s position (No. 6) in the rankings. FIFA says the "general principle" for the tournament draw is to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same confederation, so Canada should avoid the Americans to start. That would also suggest that Canada will end up in a group with Japan, given the host country is a member of the Asian Football Confederation as are Australia and China — Canada's companions in Pot 3. And if the Netherlands get Brazil from Pot 2, given the other two sides (Sweden and Britain) are also from Europe, that would leave Canada with one of those two European representatives. FIFA declined the confirm those permutations, saying "we will not speculate on the draws." Sweden knocked the Canadians out of the 2019 World Cup in France in the round of 16. Canada beat Britain 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Games in London, where Canada won bronze — as it did four years later in Rio. Getting Japan, the lowest-ranked team in Pot 1, is no guarantee of success given Canada is 4-7-3 against the Japanese, losing 4-0 last time out in October 2019. Former Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen will help with the draw in Zurich. The former defender captained New Zealand at the 2008 and 2012 Games. Former U.S. international Lindsay Tarpley, who won gold in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008) will also assist. Canada (ranked 10th at the time) was drawn in a group with Germany (No. 2), Australia (No. 5) and Zimbabwe (No. 95) at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Canadian women upset Germany to top the group with three wins. They defeated France 1-0 in the quarterfinals before falling 2-0 to eventual champion Germany in the semifinals. Canada then downed Brazil 2-1 for the bronze. Canada remained at No. 8 in the FIFA rankings released Friday. But this time it does not have company there with Brazil moving up one place to No. 7 at the expense of Australia, which fell two spots to No. 9. The U.S. and Germany remained 1-2 with the Netherlands leapfrogging France into No. 3. The rest of the top 10 has France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia and North Korea Also next week, the 16 men's sides in Tokyo will be drawn into four groups of four. Pot 1: Japan, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea. Pot 2: Mexico, Germany, Honduras, Spain. Pot 3: Egypt, New Zealand, Ivory Coast, South Africa. Pot 4: Australia, Saudi Arabia, France, Romania, The Olympic soccer tournament runs July 21 to Aug. 7 in Tokyo, Sapporo, Miyagi, Kashima, Saitama and Yokohama. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — Brass bands playing at a 24-hour drive-thru coronavirus vaccine event. Doses delivered to commercial fishermen minutes from the docks. Pop-up immunization clinics at a Buddhist temple, homeless shelters, truck stops and casinos, with shots available at night or on weekends. And now, door-to-door outreach getting underway in neighbourhoods where few people have gotten vaccinated. Louisiana is making a full-court press to get shots in arms, with aggressive — and sometimes creative — outreach to make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated. The effort comes as vaccine supplies are surging but demand is not. The state has enlisted health care workers, colleges, community groups and church pastors to help cajole the hesitant and set up vaccination events. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has thrown open vaccine access to anyone age 16 or older. The health department has launched a call centre to answer vaccine questions and set up appointments for those without internet access or limited tech skills. Civic organizations and faith-based groups working with the state have started using get-out-the-vote tactics, knocking on doors and making phone calls, to pitch the vaccine. But even with widespread ease of access, Louisiana officials struggle with a problem almost as vexing as COVID-19 itself: How to persuade those who are iffy about the shot to roll up their sleeves. “I, quite frankly, don’t know what folks are waiting for. It just doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m going to continue to appeal to them,” Edwards said. Health officials anticipate a difficult time reaching the threshold scientists believe is needed to stop uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, a benchmark of 70% or higher of the population having immunity either through vaccination or past infection. The problem has taken on particular urgency as more virulent and contagious virus strains reach the United States. State surveys indicate 40% or more of Louisiana residents are hesitant about getting the vaccine or entirely unwilling to do so. And while Louisiana is administering doses at rates greater than some other Southern states, it remains among the bottom six in vaccinating adults 18 and older, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other states also are trying novel approaches, either because they've seen noticeable dips in vaccine interest or have concerns about equitable access. Even with the resistance, the United States has shown remarkable progress: As of Friday, more than 200 million doses have been administered to Americans, and nearly half of American adults have received at least one dose. Alaska's health department is weighing creating vaccine clinics in airports. Ohio's health agency asked vaccine providers to develop sites near bus stops and to consider offering mobile immunization services. In Connecticut, the health department launched an effort to call residents directly to schedule appointments. Mississippi is working with local organizations to bring vaccinations directly to homebound elderly people. Alabama's health agency surveyed vaccine reluctance to determine how it should craft messaging to appeal to the hesitant. Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Louisiana's capital, Baton Rouge, said she’s hearing from people who believe vaccine misinformation from social media, but also from those who simply don’t have a sense of urgency about getting a shot. Others worry about side effects. “We have enough vaccine. ... If you want an appointment, you can get it within a week,” O'Neal said. But for many “there’s no driving force on when they’ll get it.” Nearly 31% of the state’s population has received at least one dose of a vaccine that can require two doses, according to state data. More than 22% have been fully immunized. Shane Pizani, a former Marine who lives in a New Orleans suburb, contracted COVID-19 shortly after Thanksgiving, with lingering symptoms for more than a month. Still, he was jittery about the vaccine. To alleviate his worries, he did research and discussed it with his doctor, gaining information he said put him more at ease. When he got his first shot in mid-February, he had a panic attack. Still, he got the second dose and then went to work to persuade his mom — who repeated anti-vaccine conspiracy theories she saw on social media. “I just kept on, kept on, kept on. I told her, ‘We’re going to stop coming around with the kids, because I cannot live with myself if I gave you COVID and something happened to you,’” Pizani said. “So, she finally went and got her appointment.” Kerri Tobin, an education professor at Louisiana State University, initially worried the vaccine came together too quickly to be safe. Then, she watched as more friends in the health care industry and others she trusted posted on social media about receiving their doses. “I see someone else doing it and they are OK. And that keeps happening,” she said. Tobin received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the end of March. Health officials believe that sort of word-of-mouth among friends and family will help boost vaccinations. Surveys show those who are reticent or don't want the vaccine cross racial groups and regions. A recent LSU survey showed greater uninterest from Republicans than Democrats. State officials have particular concern about southwest Louisiana, where people are struggling with recovery from back-to-back hurricanes and appear less focused on the pandemic. In each instance, Louisiana's health department and state officials are trying to find a persuasive approach. For example, data shows Black people have gotten vaccinated at lower rates so the state reached out to African American pastors and is hosting immunization events at their churches. The state's historically Black college system is doing its own targeted outreach enlisting alumni, and faith-based and social organizations to encourage people to get vaccinated. Some parishes have started delivering vaccines to seniors who are disabled at home and worked out deals with rideshare services to offer free transportation to vaccination events. Such vaccine outreach may be further complicated by this week's pause of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of rare blood clots in six women who received it. Experts say it's too early to tell whether that will increase reluctance in Louisiana and elsewhere. Mike Bayham, secretary of the Republican Party of Louisiana, had a rough battle with COVID-19 in March 2020. He was bedridden for a week and dealing with symptoms for weeks longer. He's now received his first shot — and he's encouraging fellow Republicans to do the same. Bayham tells friends and colleagues the vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of Donald Trump's presidency, and he shares details of what it feels like to have COVID-19. “You don't want this virus. Whatever the vaccine can do to you, the virus is far worse,” Bayham said. Melinda Deslatte, The Associated Press
There were at least a dozen employees and customers inside the restaurant when the shooting took place.