ANTM earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2020.
American Airlines Co said on Friday that a Boeing 737 MAX bound for New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport declared an emergency after the captain shut down one engine over a possible mechanical issue. The possible issue was related to an engine oil pressure or volume indicator and not the result of anything related to the MCAS system linked to two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that prompted the plane's 20-month grounding, it said. Boeing Co said it was aware of the American flight and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will investigate.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California on Friday lifted some coronavirus restrictions on outdoor sports and entertainment venues, clearing the way for fans to attend games on Major League Baseball's opening day and for theme parks like Disneyland to reopen for the first time in more than a year. The rules take effect April 1, but they only apply to people living in California. Baseball teams, event organizers and theme parks are not allowed to sell tickets to anyone living out of state as public health officials try to limit mixing while continuing to roll out coronavirus vaccinations. The San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A's all announced they will have fans in the stands for opening day on April 1. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants both start their seasons on the road and said they would announce their plans later. Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock did not say when the iconic theme park would reopen, but added “we can’t wait to welcome guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon.” Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration announced the rules on the same day the governor signed a law aimed at returning public school students to classrooms by April 1. Newsom and state lawmakers have moved quickly in recent days to change the state's coronavirus rules, including allowing indoor youth sports to resume and making it easier for businesses to reopen in most counties. Newsom also faces a recall threat that has gained steam during the pandemic amid growing opposition to shutdowns. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's top public health official, said the state is acting now because the rates of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are declining while the number of people receiving vaccines is increasing. California reported 4,659 new coronavirus cases on Thursday while just over 3 million people have been fully vaccinated, or about 10% of the population 16 and older. “Today’s announcement is focused on building in some of the compelling science about how the virus behaves, and how activities when done a certain way can reduce risk,” Ghaly said. Despite President Joe Biden saying there will be enough vaccine doses for all adults by the end of May, state officials said Friday that they can't estimate when the next group of people will be eligible for shots. Supplies are expected to stay flat for several weeks, said Marta Green, who is with the state agency charged with vaccination delivery. California divides its counties into four colour-coded tiers based on the spread of the virus. The purple tier is the most restrictive, allowing the fewest activities because of COVID-19 spread, followed by red, orange and yellow. Attendance limits for outdoor sports and other events are based on what tier a county is in. Outdoor sports will be limited to 100 people in the purple tier. The limits increase to 20% capacity in the red tier, 33% in the orange tier and 67% in the yellow tier. Teams and event organizers can only sell tickets regionally in the purple tier. In the other tiers, teams and organizers can sell tickets to anyone living in California. No concessions will be allowed in the purple tier, while in others, concession sales will only be available at seats. Enforcing the rules will be left to venues. Ghaly and Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said organizers will have to sell tickets in advance and can cross-check to confirm hometowns to help with contact tracing if needed. Myers acknowledged that some people will try to beat the system, but she said officials hope people will respect the guidelines. The Oakland A’s announced fans will be seated in pods of two or four seats, and tickets will only be available on the MLB Ballpark app. Fans can order concessions on their phones and have them delivered to their seats. No tailgating is allowed, and teams will not accept cash inside the stadium. People who don’t have debit cards can purchase one with cash at a limited number of locations inside the venue. Richard Haick of San Pablo, California, has already bought ticket vouchers for the Oakland A’s return and said he hopes to take his 10-year-old son to a game soon. “It’s nice to have, even in a reduced capacity, some sense of normal,” said Haick, a 45-year-old photographer. Theme parks can open in the red tier at 15% capacity and boost attendance limits as virus rates decrease. Again, only people who live in California can buy tickets. Indoor rides at outdoor parks will be allowed because they are typically short and can allow for proper spacing. Disneyland employees have been furloughed or out of a job for nearly a year. Andrea Zinder, president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union that represents Disney workers, said employees are “excited to go back to work and provide Californians with a bit more magic in their lives." Disney fan Kenny King Jr. said he became an annual Disneyland passholder a decade ago and typically takes his family there five times a year. King, 38, and his family, who live in Pleasant Hill, last went to Disneyland in February 2020 for his birthday. He's excited to return with his 8-year-old daughter, who had just started enjoying rides such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain, and to take his 2-year-old son, who was mesmerized by the lights and sounds when he visited last year. “We’ll sit there at the house sometimes and we’ll be like man, I just miss Disneyland,” King said. He said he's confident Disney will take appropriate safety measures. “They’ve had plenty of time to game plan on that,” he said. ___ Associated Press writer Janie Har in San Francisco contributed to this story. Adam Beam And Kathleen Ronayne, The Associated Press
NEW YORK, March 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, reminds investors that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of investors that purchased Tricida, Inc. (NASDAQ: TCDA) securities between September 4, 2019 and October 28, 2020 (the “Class Period”). Investors have until March 8, 2021 to apply to the Court to be appointed as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Click here to participate in the action. Tricida is a pharmaceutical company that focuses on the development and commercialization of its drug candidate, veverimer (TRC101), a non-absorbed, orally administered polymer designed as a potential treatment for metabolic acidosis in patients with CKD. Tricida has completed a Phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of veverimer in patients with CKD and metabolic acidosis. On September 4, 2019, Tricida announced that it had submitted a New Drug Application (“NDA”) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) under the Accelerated Approval Program for approval of veverimer for the treatment of metabolic acidosis in patients with CKD. On July 15, 2020, Tricida issued a press release announcing that, on July 14, 2020, the Company received a notification from the FDA, stating that as part of the FDA’s ongoing review of the Company’s NDA for veverimer, “the FDA has identified deficiencies that preclude discussion of labeling and post marketing requirements/commitments at this time.” Tricida stated that “[t]he notification does not specify the deficiencies identified by the FDA.” On this news, Tricida’s stock price fell $10.56 per share, or 40.31%, to close at $15.64 per share on July 16, 2020. Then, on October 29, 2020, Tricida announced an update on its End-of-Review Type A meeting with the FDA regarding the veverimer NDA, advising investors that the Company “now believes the FDA will also require evidence of veverimer’s effect on CKD progression from a near-term interim analysis of the VALOR-CKD trial for approval under the Accelerated Approval Program and that the FDA is unlikely to rely solely on serum bicarbonate data for determination of efficacy.” Concurrently, Tricida disclosed that it “is significantly reducing its headcount from 152 to 59 people and will discuss its commitments with vendors and contract service providers to potentially provide additional financial flexibility.” On this news, Tricida's stock price fell $3.90 per share, or 47.16%, to close at $4.37 per share on October 29, 2020. The complaint, filed on January 6, 2021, alleges that throughout the Class Period defendants made materially false and misleading statements, and failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operational, and compliance policies. Specifically, defendants made false and/or misleading statements and failed to disclose to investors that: (i) Tricida’s NDA for veverimer was materially deficient; (ii) accordingly, it was foreseeably likely that the FDA would not accept the NDA for veverimer; and (iii) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. If you purchased Tricida securities during the Class Period and suffered a loss, are a long-term stockholder have information, would like to learn more about these claims, or have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Brandon Walker, Melissa Fortunato, or Marion Passmore by email at email@example.com, telephone at (212) 355-4648, or by filling out this contact form. There is no cost or obligation to you. About Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.:Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C. is a nationally recognized law firm with offices in New York and California. The firm represents individual and institutional investors in commercial, securities, derivative, and other complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country. For more information about the firm, please visit www.bespc.com. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Contact Information:Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.Brandon Walker, Esq.Melissa Fortunato, Esq.Marion Passmore, Esq.(212) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors that purchased Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: LDOS) securities between May 4, 2020 and February 23, 2021, inclusive (the "Class Period"). Investors have until May 3, 2021 to apply to the Court to be appointed as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, is investigating potential claims against 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD) on behalf of 3D Systems stockholders. Our investigation concerns whether 3D Systems has violated the federal securities laws and/or engaged in other unlawful business practices.
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, is investigating potential claims against Baker Hughes Company (NYSE: BKR) on behalf of Baker Hughes stockholders. Our investigation concerns whether Baker Hughes has violated the federal securities laws and/or engaged in other unlawful business practices.
The upcoming event highlights a continuing GOP divide.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's bid for a second full term in 2022, continuing their yearslong alliance in a move to strengthen ties with the early-voting state that Trump won twice. In a statement through his Save America PAC, Trump commended McMaster's efforts on behalf of the military, veterans and law enforcement, saying the Republican “has my Complete and Total Endorsement as he runs for re-election!” The endorsement, along with other recent moves, continues to signal Trump's desire to maintain ties with South Carolina, home of the first presidential primary votes in the South. Earlier this week, Trump formally endorsed U.S. Sen. Tim Scott in his own 2022 reelect bid, also complimenting Scott’s work on behalf of the military, law enforcement and veterans. Last month, Trump gave backing to Drew McKissick for a third term as chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, signalling a desire to wade not only into state-level politics but also to play a role in maintaining the local party framework in places that backed his presidency and where his support remains steady. But the former president’s relationship with McMaster goes deeper, predating either man’s administration. In early 2016, then-Lt. Gov. McMaster threw his support behind Trump’s presidential bid, becoming the first statewide-elected official in the country to do so. That summer, McMaster was one of two speakers to formally nominate Trump at the Republican National Convention. The move helped boost Trump to a double-digit victory in South Carolina’s early primary. It also surprised many allies and friends of McMaster, a longtime member of South Carolina’s establishment GOP circles. But McMaster’s wager paid dividends a year later, when Trump picked Nikki Haley as his U.N. ambassador, allowing McMaster to ascend to the governor’s office, a post he had long sought. In 2018, as McMaster sought his first full term in office, Trump campaigned for his ally roughly 12 hours before polls opened in a GOP runoff race, which McMaster ultimately won. ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer whose former company still bears his name, has been indicted on fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday. Authorities accused McAfee and his bodyguard, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., of exploiting McAfee's large Twitter following to artificially inflate prices of "altcoins" through a so-called pump-and-dump scheme, and concealing payments McAfee received from startup businesses to promote initial coin offerings.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it will boost sampling of foods for babies and young children and increase inspections after a congressional report found "dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals" in some baby foods that it said could cause neurological damage. The FDA stopped short of committing to issuing new regulations, however. The agency said it was moving ahead with a "plan aimed at reducing toxic elements in foods for babies and young children to levels as low as is reasonably achievable."
Venezuela's central bank said on Friday that it would introduce a banknote worth 1 million bolivars beginning next week, as years of incessant hyperinflation continue to batter the value of the crisis-stricken South American country's currency. The new banknote will be worth just 52 U.S. cents at the current official exchange rate. Interannual inflation was running at 2,665% as of January, according to the central bank.
NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration insisted Friday that a quest for scientific accuracy, not political concerns, prompted members of his COVID-19 task force to ask the state health department to delete data last summer from a report on nursing home patients killed by the coronavirus. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, citing documents and people with knowledge of the administration’s internal discussions, reported late Thursday that aides including secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa pushed state health officials to edit the July report so it counted only residents who died inside long-term care facilities, and not those who died later after being transferred to a hospital. At the time, Cuomo was trying to deflect criticism that his administration hadn't done enough to protect nursing home residents from the virus. About a third of the state's nursing home fatalities were excluded from the report as a result of the change. The revelations about the removal of the higher fatality number come as the Democrat also faces accusations he sexually harassed two former aides and a woman that he met at a wedding. Cuomo had apologized Wednesday for acting “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” but rejected calls for his resignation and said he would fully co-operate with the state attorney general's investigation into the sexual harassment allegations. Federal investigators are scrutinizing his administration’s handling of nursing home data. Top Democrats in the state have said they want those investigations to conclude before they make a judgment about Cuomo's conduct, but in the wake of Thursday night's report, a few state lawmakers renewed calls for the governor to either resign or be ousted. “And Cuomo hid the numbers. Impeach,” tweeted Queens Assembly member Ron Kim, who said Cuomo bullied him for criticizing how Cuomo withheld nursing home data. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the allegations that Cuomo aides deleted data from the report was “troubling” and said the White House “certainly would support any outside investigation.” The July nursing home report was released to rebut criticism of Cuomo over a March 25 directive that barred nursing homes from rejecting recovering coronavirus patients being discharged from hospitals. Some nursing homes complained at the time that the policy could help spread the virus. The report concluded the policy didn't play a major role in spreading infection. The state's analysis was based partly on what officials acknowledged at the time was an imprecise statistic. The report said 6,432 people had died in the state's nursing homes. State officials acknowledged even then that the true number of deaths was higher because the report was excluding patients who died in hospitals. But they declined at the time to give any estimate of that larger number of deaths, saying the numbers still needed to be verified. In fact, the original drafts of the report had included that number, then more than 9,200 deaths, until Cuomo's aides said it should be taken out. State officials insisted Thursday that the edits were made because of concerns about accuracy. The administration initially released data about how many nursing home residents died at both hospitals and nursing homes, but quietly stopped in early May. “While early versions of the report included out of facility deaths, the COVID task force was not satisfied that the data had been verified against hospital data and so the final report used only data for in facility deaths, which was disclosed in the report,” Department of Health Spokesperson Gary Holmes said. The governor's office didn't respond to questions from The Associated Press about whether Cuomo himself was involved in removing the higher death total from the report. Scientists, health care professionals and elected officials assailed the report at the time for flawed methodology and selective stats that sidestepped the actual impact of the directive. The administration refused for months to release more complete data. A court order and state attorney general report in January forced the state to acknowledge the nursing home resident death toll was higher than the count previously made public. DeRosa told lawmakers earlier this month that the administration didn't turn over the data to legislators in August because of worries the information would be used against them by President Donald Trump's administration. “Basically, we froze, because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys, what we start saying was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa said. Cuomo and his health commissioner recently defended the March directive, saying it was the best option at the time to help free up desperately needed beds at the state’s hospitals. And they've argued community spread is the biggest risk factor for nursing homes, and that it's unlikely that most hospital patients treated for COVID-19 were contagious once they arrived. “We made the right public health decision at the time. And faced with the same facts, we would make the same decision again,” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Feb. 19. The state now acknowledges that at least 15,000 long-term care residents died, compared to a figure of 8,700 it had publicized as of late January that didn’t include residents who died after being transferred to hospitals. The Associated Press
TV commercial casting director Merrill Jonas died Thursday at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, Calif. after a long illness. She was 96. Starting out as an actress, Jonas rose to head of the casting department at Ogilvy and Mather in New York, where she led a six-person team that cast more than 100 […]
Booking a provincial campsite is a high-stakes venture — like getting a front row seat to a concert. Everyone goes in with a plan, refreshing and calling furiously just to snag a coveted spot. And now, some worry about another parallel: campsite scalpers. Alberta Parks acknowledged the concern Friday on its social media channels after receiving several reports and complaints from campers. "We're committed to ensuring access to camping in Alberta Parks is fair and equitable," read a statement from Alberta Environment and Parks. While the ministry told CBC News that reselling is rare, it has posted a reminder on social media because it's something it wants to prevent. "We had some social media followers reach out to us today saying there were a couple of resale ads online," the Facebook post says. "We ask Albertans if they see any ads or posts attempting to resell reservations to call our Contact Centre at 1 (877) 537-2757. We will cancel the reservations of those trying to resell their campsites." By the time staff were able to look into reports, the solicitations had already been pulled, Parks told CBC. For many, May long weekend is the kickoff of camping season in Alberta. They take a chance on spring weather to secure a spot. With all the competition, it can be tough to land a site that weekend. Camping enthusiast Lisa Gabruck said she's already seen at least one for sale on Facebook groups. "The non-refundable reservation fee is too low at the moment," Gabruck said. "Most resellers are willing to take the hit as they will make it back on other sites they are reselling." According to the Alberta Parks website, changing a reservation costs $5, the campsite reservation fee is $12 and non-refundable. 'I have an extra site' Last year, Nathan Larson missed out on reservations and saw upselling behaviour first hand. He wanted a site and messaged a couple of people advertising provincial sites for sale. He said they were looking for $20 to $30 on top of the typical cost of the site. This year, he's turned to private sites to avoid the hassle and the crowds. But on opening day this week, Larson was curious if the Alberta Parks reservation system had improved this year. He hopped on Facebook groups to see what campers were saying. What he saw on some social media groups was frustrating. "I kept seeing people saying, 'I have an extra site here, I have an extra site there,'" Larson said. "It just seemed a little odd you would spend all this time and effort, frustration, to book multiple sites and immediately go online and try to offload them." Booking should be fair, says camper Opening day 2021 produced 23,830 bookings by the end of the day, compared with 11,628 reservations for last year's opening. By Friday at 1:30 p.m., there were 27,538 bookings. This flood of activity came with issues. Alberta Parks' reservation site crashed, and people were repeatedly told to be patient. Larson isn't sure how the reservation system can improve, but it's frustrating enough for him to avoid the provincial park system altogether. "It's supposed to be a fair site for everybody to use," he said. Alberta Parks says there has been a surge in demand over the past couple of years — people aren't able to book vacations so they are exploring parks instead.(CBC) When she first moved to Alberta from Ontario years ago, Tamara Higgins said she was surprised at how difficult it can be to get a provincial campsite. She has also decided to primarily book through private campgrounds because of repeated issues and frustrations. The problem, Higgins said, is a complicated combination of a poor booking system, desperation to get a site, and little enforcement of the rules. Higgins doesn't believe people are making extra cash from the practice. Many, she thinks, are prone to overbook to secure a spot for themselves and a group before their plans have firmed up, and sometimes plans change, or life happens. The overbooking then leads to those who genuinely want a site for a certain time and date missing out, and those who have sites to spare with a place to make an arrangement. "Because of the rush to book, they just book a whole bunch and then they start selling them off as they realize they are not able to go," Higgins said. In the past, despite the warnings that sites aren't transferable, Higgins said she's been able to pick up a stranger's reservation. Alberta Parks told CBC News there has been a surge in demand over the past couple of years — people aren't able to book vacations so they are exploring parks instead. "We encourage those who aren't able to use their sites to please let us know because there are a lot of people who could use them," read the statement from Alberta Environment and Parks. "Albertans can get a full refund, minus the reservation fee, three days ahead of their arrival date."
California health officials on Friday gave Walt Disney Co's Disneyland and other theme parks the go-ahead to reopen at limited capacity from April 1, after a closure of almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Capacity will be limited to between 15% and 35%, the California Department of Health said in an update. Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, said in a statement that the decision meant "getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community."
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin struck a deal late Friday over emergency jobless benefits, breaking a nine-hour logjam that had stalled the party's showpiece $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The compromise, announced by the West Virginia lawmaker and a Democratic aide, seemed to clear the way for the Senate to begin a climactic, marathon series of votes expected to lead to approval of the sweeping legislation. The overall bill, President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority, is aimed at battling the killer pandemic and nursing the staggered economy back to health. It would provide direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans and money for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, aid to state and local governments, help for schools and the airline industry and subsidies for health insurance. While the Senate next faced votes on a pile of amendments that were likely to go overnight, Democratic leaders' agreement with Manchin suggested it was just a matter of time until the chamber passes the bill. That would ship it back to the House, which was expected to give it final congressional approval and whisk it to Biden for his signature. But the day's lengthy standoff also underscored the headaches confronting party leaders over the next two years as they try moving their agenda through Congress with their slender majorities. Manchin is probably the chamber’s most conservative Democrat, and a kingmaker in a 50-50 Senate that leaves his party without a vote to spare. With Democrats’ slim majorities — they have a mere 10-vote House edge — the party needs his vote but can’t tilt too far centre without losing progressive support. With 10 million fewer jobs since the pandemic struck a year ago, aiding unemployed Americans is a top Democratic priority. But it’s also an issue that drove a divide between progressives seeking to help jobless constituents cope with the bleak economy and Manchin and other moderates who have wanted to trim some of the bill’s costs. “People in the country are hurting right now, with less than two weeks from enhanced unemployment checks being cut,” Biden said at the White House, referring to the March 14 end to the current round of emergency jobless benefits. He called his bill a “clearly necessary lifeline for getting the upper hand” against the pandemic. The package faces a solid wall of GOP opposition, and Republicans used the unemployment impasse to accuse Biden of refusing to seek compromise with them. “You could pick up the phone and end this right now,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said of Biden. The House version of the relief bill provided $400 weekly jobless benefits — on top of regular state payments — through August. Manchin was hoping to reduce those costs, asserting that level of payment would discourage people from returning to work. As the day began, Democrats asserted they'd reached a compromise between party moderates and progressives extending emergency jobless benefits at $300 weekly into early October. That plan, sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., also included tax reductions on some unemployment benefits. But by midday, lawmakers said Manchin was ready to support a less generous Republican version. That led to hours of talks involving White House aides, top Senate Democrats and Manchin as the party tried finding a way to salvage its unemployment aid package. The compromise announced Friday night would provide $300 weekly, with the final check paid on Sept. 6, and includes the tax break on those benefits. Before the unemployment benefits drama began, senators voted 58-42 to kill a top progressive priority, a gradual increase in the current $7.25 hourly minimum wage to $15 over five years. Eight Democrats voted against the proposal, suggesting that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and other progressives vowing to continue the effort in coming months will face a difficult fight. But eight hours after that minimum wage roll call began, it still hadn’t been formally gaveled to a close as all Senate work ceased while Democrats struggled to resolve their unemployment benefits problem. The next step would be a mountain of amendments, mostly by GOP opponents, virtually all destined to fail but designed to force Democrats to take politically awkward votes. Republicans say the overall bill is a liberal spend-fest that ignores that growing numbers of vaccinations and signs of a stirring economy suggest that the twin crises are easing. “Our country is already set for a roaring recovery," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in part citing an unexpectedly strong report on job creation. “Democrats inherited a tide that was already turning.” Democrats reject that, citing the 10 million jobs the economy has lost during the pandemic and numerous people still struggling to buy food and pay rent. “If you just look at a big number you say, ‘Oh, everything's getting a little better,'" said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “It's not for the lower half of America. It's not." In an encouraging sign for Biden, a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 70% of Americans support his handling of the pandemic, including a noteworthy 44% of Republicans. Friday's gridlock over unemployment benefits gridlock wasn't the first delay. On Thursday Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., forced the chamber's clerks to read aloud the entire 628-page relief bill, an exhausting task that took staffers 10 hours and 44 minutes and ended shortly after 2 a.m. EST. Democrats made a host of other late changes to the bill, designed to nail down support. They ranged from extra money for food programs and federal subsidies for health care for workers who lose jobs to funds for rural health care and language assuring minimum amounts of money for smaller states. In another late bargain that satisfied moderates, Biden and Senate Democrats agreed Wednesday to make some higher earners ineligible for the direct checks to individuals. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has reserved his decision on a request from three churches to throw out provincial health orders that prevent them from holding in-person services. Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson said Friday he doesn't want to delay unnecessarily and he appreciates the urgency of the matter from the petitioners' point of view, but he must give the case careful thought. "You've presented me with very difficult issues to resolve and I will take the time necessary to try and resolve those issues fairly." Hinkson gave no date on when he would release his decision. Jacqueline Hughes, a lawyer for B.C.'s attorney general, told the court the orders by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry do not single out or ban all in-person religious services and Henry has invited exemption requests. The petitioners include the Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church in Abbotsford and the Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack. Hughes said the churches are now permitted to hold in-person services of up to 25 people, outdoors and with safety measures in place, through a "variance" to Henry's orders granted late last month. Individual worship and drive-in events are also permitted under the orders, subject to conditions, she said, while weddings, funerals and baptisms may include no more than 10 guests. Henry has the statutory powers during an emergency to issue orders she reasonably believes are necessary to prevent and mitigate further harm from a health hazard, including restricting entry to a place, said Hughes. The province's top doctor has made efforts to consult faith leaders while weighing their charter rights against data about COVID-19 cases in B.C. and explaining her reasoning in public briefings and in writing, she said. Paul Jaffe, legal counsel for the petitioners, has argued Henry's orders reflect a value judgment. On Friday, he said his clients have been subjected to discriminatory treatment compared with other groups. Orthodox Jewish synagogues were granted variances to hold indoor services on the Sabbath around the time Henry and the attorney general sought an injunction to stop his clients from worshipping in person, Jaffe said. Hinkson dismissed the province's injunction application last month, saying the provincial health officer has means under the Public Health Act to enforce the rules without a court order. Jaffe told the court on Friday there has been no change in the degree to which Henry's orders arbitrarily infringe on his clients' charter right to freedom of religion from the time they were made last November to now. "All the Crown has been able to show you are the opinions of Dr. Henry," he said. "But opinions aren't evidence. You need cogent, persuasive evidence to justify those opinions and there simply isn't any." He told the court earlier this week that his clients have adopted safety measures similar to those approved by the provincial health officer in places that remain open. Jaffe works with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a Calgary-based legal advocacy group that's also asking the court to dismiss tickets of up to $2,300 each for alleged violations of the public health orders. Hughes told the court on Friday "there's no absolute rule that constitutionally protected interests must be preferred to those that are just pressing and substantial" in matters such as the petition at hand. The only requirements, she said, are that any balance struck is reasonable, that "sincere religious practice" is accommodated where possible, and that religious and non-religious beliefs are treated neutrally. "We say Dr. Henry understood these requirements and applied them to best of her ability," Hughes told Hinkson. Henry's mandate to protect public health is a balancing exercise, she said, and "charter rights do not trump the public health mandate that she has and is continuing to exercise over the course of this pandemic." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Two people were transported to hospital in serious but stable condition after a helicopter crash on Bowen Island, B.C. B.C. Emergency Health Services says in a statement that they received a call at about 10 a.m. Friday morning for reports of a downed helicopter on the island off the coast of West Vancouver. Emergency Health Services says two patients have been airlifted to hospital. Capt. Chelsea Dubeau with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre says a helicopter was initially sent to help in the rescue, before the call was cancelled. A spokeswoman for the Transportation Safety Board says an investigation team is expected to arrive at the crash site on Saturday. Bowen Island resident Tony Mainwaring, who was the first person on scene, says he was shocked to find both occupants alive and apparently suffering only minor injuries. Mainwaring says he saw the helicopter flip upside down before it crashed near the Mount Gardner dock, on the north side of the island, after the pilot attempted to land in a field. "As soon as (the helicopter) hit the ground, we heard it," he says. "It was a huge impact." The safety board says the helicopter, operated by Airspan Helicopters, had departed Sechelt, B.C., and was bound for Cypress Provincial Park when the crash occurred. Mainwaring says he quickly gathered a few friends, went to the scene and found both people involved walking around near the crash site. "I've never witnessed anything like that. I'm a faller and I've spent a lot of time in the bush, but I've never seen anything like that." He says the crash site had jet fuel spilled across it, so they worked to get the helicopter's occupants away to safety in case a fire started. A spokesman for Airspan Helicopters said the company is working with the Transportation Safety Board in its investigation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
The trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer charged in George Floyd's death, starts March 8 in Minneapolis. Here's what to know.
The former Olympian was found dead on Thursday a central Minnesota residential treatment center