Vanessa Bryant is showering her daughter, Natalia Bryant, with love on her 18th birthday.
Vanessa Bryant is showering her daughter, Natalia Bryant, with love on her 18th birthday.
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is reviving a lawsuit brought by a Georgia college student who sued school officials after being prevented from distributing Christian literature on campus. The high court sided 8-1 with the student, Chike Uzuegbunam, and against Georgia Gwinnett College. Uzuegbunam has since graduated, and the public school in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has changed its policies. Lower courts said the case was moot, but the Supreme Court disagreed. Groups across the political spectrum including the American Civil Liberties Union had said that the case is important to ensuring that people whose constitutional rights were violated can continue their cases even when governments reverse the policies they were challenging. At issue was whether Uzuegbunam’s case could continue because he was only seeking so-called nominal damages of $1. “This case asks whether an award of nominal damages by itself can redress a past injury. We hold that it can,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court. Writing only for himself, Chief Justice John Roberts disagreed. Roberts argued that the case brought by Uzuegbunam and another student, Joseph Bradford, is moot since the two are no longer students at the college, the restrictions no longer exist and they “have not alleged actual damages.” Writing about the symbolic dollar they are seeking, Roberts said that: “If nominal damages can preserve a live controversy, then federal courts will be required to give advisory opinions whenever a plaintiff tacks on a request for a dollar.” He accused his colleagues of "turning judges into advice columnists." It appears to be the first time in his more than 15 years on the court that the chief justice has filed a solo dissent in an argued case. That's according to Adam Feldman, the creator of the Empirical SCOTUS blog, which tracks a variety of data about the court. Uzuegbunam’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that focuses on faith-based cases, cheered the ruling. “We are pleased that the Supreme Court weighed in on the side of justice for those victims,” she said in a statement. Georgia Gwinnett College did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. In January, during arguments in the case which the justices heard by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said it was his “strong suspicion" that the dispute has continued because the issue of nominal damages is important to determining who pays Uzuegbunam's attorneys fees. Georgia Gwinnett College for years had a restrictive policy that limited where students could make speeches and distribute written materials to two “free speech expression areas.” Students had to get permission to demonstrate, march or pass out leaflets in other areas. In 2016, Uzuegbunam was distributing Christian pamphlets and talking to students on campus when a security guard told him he’d need to make a reservation and distribute the literature in one of the college’s two speech zones. But when Uzuegbunam did, he was approached again and told that there had been complaints and that he’d need to stop. Uzuegbunam sued and the college changed its policy in 2017. Students can now generally demonstrate or distribute literature anywhere and at any time on campus without having to first obtain a permit. The college has said it won’t go back to its old policy. The case is Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, 19-968. Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
Since the pandemic broke out, countries have seen a surge in reports of domestic violence as populations have been ordered to stay at home.
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo declined to specify Monday why Jeremy Jeffress was released from a minor league contract by the team, saying only that he considered it an “employment issue” and acknowledging it was not related to the reliever's baseball performance. “We’re just going to stand by the statement I made yesterday. It’s a 'personnel matter',” Rizzo said in a video conference with reporters a day after the team cut ties with Jeffress, a 2018 NL All-Star for the Brewers who was with the Cubs last season. "We’re not going to discuss it any further, per our policy on personnel matters, and we’re just going to keep it at that.” Asked to define the term he used in relation to the move, Rizzo responded, "A 'personnel reason’ is an employment issue." After Washington announced his release Sunday, Jeffress tweeted: “I’m not what they say I am, I’m what God says! I don’t deserve this false negativity!” Manager Dave Martinez wouldn't comment on Jeffress at all. “I’m really not inclined to talk about it,” Martinez said. Other topics addressed by Washington's GM or manager before the club hosted the New York Mets in an exhibition game Monday: — Pitcher Jon Lester is back in camp after surgery to remove his thyroid gland on Friday in New York. “He’s sore around where the incision is, so we’re going to take it slow. But we’re going to actually ramp him up," Martinez said. — 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Astros and throw 30 to 35 pitches in his first appearance since he was shut down in August and had carpal tunnel surgery on his right wrist. Strasburg only threw five innings in 2020. “We just got to keep an eye on him, make sure ... that (he) doesn’t do too much," Martinez said. “So for me, it’s just about watching his innings and building him up to where we feel like when we leave spring training, he’s up to about 85, 90 pitches.” — Rizzo said he and the team's owners are “in the midst of making decisions on what a time frame would look like” with long-term contracts for right fielder Juan Soto and shortstop Trea Turner. "We certainly have made, and will make, a long-term extension offer to both players some time in the near future,” the GM said. — Washington “probably would not consider” using a six-man rotation to begin the season, Rizzo said. “There’s going to be some creative ways to get these starters through games early on in the season until they’re really comfortable and really built up,” he said. — Reliever Tanner Rainey was scheduled to throw a bullpen session of about 20 pitches on Monday; he has been dealing with a muscle issue near his collarbone. Rizzo and Martinez expect Rainey to be ready for opening day. — The D.C. government said last week it has not approved spectators at Nationals Park, but Rizzo said he's optimistic a solution can be worked out. — The team's alternate site again will be at Fredericksburg, Virginia. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press
Stocks were mixed on Monday and Treasury yields climbed further after Congress made headway toward passing another significant COVID-19 relief package.
Facebook said Monday that Albanian political parties should be transparent on how they finance their political advertising on its pages before next month's election. A statement from Facebook said that starting Thursday “all electoral and political ads in Albania must come from authorized advertisers and include “Paid for by” disclaimers.” Albania holds a parliamentary election April 25.
China urged the United States on Sunday to remove "unreasonable" curbs on cooperation as soon as possible and work together on issues like climate change, while accusing Washington of bringing chaos in the name of spreading democracy. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden singled out a "growing rivalry with China" as a key challenge facing the United States, with his top diplomat describing the country as "the biggest geopolitical test" of this century. Speaking at his annual news conference, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, struck a tough line even as he outlined where the world's two biggest economies could work together.
Janet Yellen, the first woman to head the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department, says women seeking to pursue careers in economics face a number of obstacles from the way beginning economics courses are taught to overly aggressive questioning questions in college seminars. “There is a cultural problem in the profession, and we need to change the culture,” Yellen said Monday.
Samuel Corum/Getty ImagesA New York tattoo artist and member of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers who provided protection to disgraced Trump adviser Roger Stone the day of the sacking of the U.S. Capitol was arrested Saturday by the FBI for allegedly taking part in the Jan. 6 insurrection, a law enforcement official confirmed to The Daily Beast.Roberto Minuta, 36, was taken into custody at a business in Newburgh, New York, according to NBC New York, which first reported the arrest. Minuta is set to appear in White Plains federal court on Monday. Attorney information for him was unavailable at press time.Minuta, who reportedly lives in New Jersey, was spotted by ABC News providing security for Stone the day of the Capitol riot. Asked for comment, Minuta’s wife told the outlet that her husband hadn’t entered the Capitol building and had not been charged with a crime. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Minuta also has ties to the far-right militia group, the Oath Keepers. Dozens of Oath Keepers have since been arrested after allegedly planning for at least two months to storm the Capitol after the 2020 election. Trump State Dept. Aide Accused of Beating Cops During Riot Is Already Hating PrisonMinuta owns and operates a tattoo parlor in Newburgh called Casa Di Dolore—“House of Pain” in Italian—which made headlines in May 2020 for reopening in defiance of state lockdown orders. A crowd of supporters gathered outside Minuta’s shop the day he reopened, including a number of Oath Keepers and the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, who traveled to Newburgh from Texas to be there. “Robert will be urging other NY small business owners to follow his example in a mass defiance of Cuomo’s edicts,” Rhodes wrote in a “call to action” on the Oath Keepers’ website prior to the event, asking others to be there. “You should know that Robert drove 350 miles all the way down to Richmond, VA on January 20, 2020 to stand with us and our Virginia brothers at the massive, historic open carry rally to put the Virginia tyrant, Governor Ralph ‘Blackface’ Northam on notice that We the People will NOT comply with his unconstitutional violations of our rights.”As The Daily Beast previously reported, Minuta has also worked security for other Trumpworld figures such as former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at so-called Stop the Steal rallies in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Minuta was identified by Citizen Lab researcher John Scott-Railton and a group of volunteers calling themselves the “Capitol Terrorists Exposers” who were the first to note Minuta’s connection to Flynn. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Scott-Railton described the relationships between organized groups such as the Oath Keepers and high-ranking members of Trump’s inner circle as “troubling.” Although Flynn did not respond to a request for comment, his brother Joseph said neither he nor his brother knew Minuta.Volunteer researchers dubbed Minuta “Goggles” for the protective eyewear he wore in footage posted online of the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. “We don’t care about your jobs!” he yelled at cops guarding the building.Federal authorities also over the weekend arrested Isaac Steve Sturgeon, 32, for allegedly using a metal police barrier to push into officers—before crawling under the barricade to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Isaac Lawncare (@isaaclawncare) Sturgeon, who owns a lawn care business in Dillon, Montana, was arrested Saturday afternoon at JFK Airport in New York City on several charges, including obstruction of justice, for participating in the siege. Sturgeon was deposited after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast, Sturgeon, who traveled to Kenya after the riots, was seen in photos and videos on the Capitol grounds with a green jacket, scarf, and dark backpack. He also meticulously documented his involvement in the riots on social media, posting several videos from former President Donald Trump’s speech at the Washington monument.“I’ve seen the cry of The People today…,” he wrote in one Jan. 6 post, along with several photographs of him in a sea of MAGA supporters carrying confederate and Trump flags just outside the Capitol. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Isaac Lawncare (@isaaclawncare) In another video Sturgeon posted on Instagram, a lone D.C. police officer is seen being pulled in various directions by a crowd of rioters who are yelling at him—before other insurrectionists try to use flag poles to break down the Capitol doors. “This officer was pulled out of the Capitol, and dragged down the stairs forcefully, and then protected and returned to the force,” Sturgeon wrote. “BY THE SAME PEOPLE. Today we stand to make a statement, not hurt the police. But to represent a real issue! STAND.”Prosecutors allege the 32-year-old did in fact hurt law enforcement, as he was among a group of rioters who “picked up a metal police barricade and shoved” it into D.C. police officers. After pushing down officers, videos show Sturgeon crawling underneath the barrier to enter the government building.About two weeks after the violent siege, Sturgeon traveled to Kenya and planned to turn to the U.S. on April 5. Sturgeon posted several photos on Instagram about his trip, including one Jan. 28 post with the caption, “Shhh Rona don’t know i’m here…”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Every executive action Joe Biden has signed — and what they doThe president has signed a number of executive orders during his first weeks in office, ranging from the pandemic to immigration Joe Biden signs executive orders at the White House on 26 January. Photograph: Getty Images
"There's always something that just lands you on your ass."
TORONTO — Ontario's health minister says people won't be asked to provide proof of their pre-existing health conditions to access a COVID-19 vaccine during the second phase of the rollout.Christine Elliott says she believes most people will come to the clinics when they are permitted and not take advantage of the honour system.The vaccine will be offered starting in April to people with specific health conditions like organ transplant recipients, those living with obesity and those receiving treatments that suppress the immune system.Elliott says local public health units will screen people as they arrive at the clinics and may be able to check with a person's family physician, but that will not be mandatory.Meanwhile, Ontario is reported 1,631 new cases of COVID-19 today, but the government says the case count is higher than expected due to a "data catch-up process" in its system.The province also recorded 10 additional deaths linked to the virusHealth Minister Christine Elliott said 568 of the new cases are in Toronto, 322 are in Peel Region, and 119 are in York Region.Ontario said 994 more cases were resolved since the last daily update.The numbers come as a stay-at-home order in Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay lifts today, loosening pandemic restrictions imposed nearly two months ago.The three regions were the last ones still under the order, and are transitioning back to the government's colour-coded pandemic response framework.Toronto and Peel entered the strictest "grey lockdown" category, something local public health officials asked for in both regions.Even those strict measures, however, allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leave gyms and personal care services closed. Restaurants, meanwhile, can only offer takeout, drive-thru or delivery.Some restaurant owners said they won't be able to survive much longer unless they're allowed to reopen for on-site dining, even at limited capacity."Move us to the red zone (of the pandemic system) so we have a fighting chance. Even 14 days in grey lockdown could mean the end of my business and many others," Regan Irvine, owner of the Irv Gastropub in Toronto, said in an open letter to officials issued last week."Over the last year, my mother and I have depleted our life savings to try and keep the restaurant afloat. We have cashed RRSPs, drained savings accounts, maxed out credit cards and maxed out lines of credit because the government assistance programs simply aren't enough."North Bay is now in the "red zone," the second most restrictive level of pandemic measures.Elliott said the government is taking a "safe and cautious approach" to ending the provincewide shutdown, which started in January.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ben and Saanvi get a real eyeful in the latest — and pretty spoilery! — trailer for Manifest Season 3 (premiering Thursday, April 1 on NBC). The new teaser, shown below, recycles some previously seen moments while also establishing that Ben (played by Josh Dallas) has some sort of “connection” to the crashed Flight 828’s […]
LONDON — Ireland has given out half a million coronavirus vaccinations about two months after the first inoculation. Prime Minister Micheal Martin says the health department announced the figure on Saturday. It includes both first and second doses and comes 63 days after the first shot was given to a Dublin senior citizen. “Good news,” Martin tweeted. “The vaccines are having a significant impact on mortality and serious illness.” Ireland has experienced a spike in infections at the start of the year after getting through the early days of the pandemic. With a population of 4.8 million, Ireland has reported 222,169 cases and 4,405 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. It’s one of the 10 European countries where the British variant of the virus is dominant. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — California OKs reopening of ball parks, Disneyland — Europe struggles as infectious variants power virus surge — Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama gets coronavirus vaccine — CDC Study: Mask mandates helps slow spread, indoor dining precarious — Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: CHICAGO — The first case of the Brazil variant in Illinois has been detected in a Chicago resident, health officials say. City and state public health officials say Northwestern University researchers found the so-called P.1 variant in a test sample from a Chicago resident who came down with the disease. The infected person told contact tracers they hadn’t recently travelled outside Illinois. The P.1 strain was first found in Brazilian travellers who arrived in Tokyo in early January. It appeared in Minnesota later that month and has since been identified in several other states. Evidence suggests this variant can spread more easily than most currently circulating strains of the coronavirus, health officials say. The variants from Britain and South Africa have previously been identified in Illinois. ___ BERLIN — Coronavirus patients from hard-hit Slovakia are arriving in Germany for treatment. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany says the first two patients were expected to arrive at Dortmund airport Saturday on board a chartered plane. They will be treated at a hospital in the city. More patients may follow in the coming days. German news agency dpa reported that North Rhine-Westphalia says it has offered to take in a total of 10 patients from Slovakia. Patients from France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium have previously gone to Germany for treatment during the pandemic. The number of people in Germany needing intensive care has declined significantly in the past two months. ___ STOCKHOLM — Police has dispersed hundreds of people who had gathered in central Stockholm to protest against coronavirus restrictions set by the Swedish government. Swedish authorities say Saturday’s demonstration was illegal because it was held without permission. Police say on their website they cut short the gathering when number of participants exceeded what is currently allowed at public gatherings under Sweden’s pandemic laws. Video footage aired on Swedish media showed a sizable group of people without masks gathering to the Medborgarplatsen square in Stockholm city centre, not far from the Old Town. ___ ISTANBUL — Turkish health ministry statistics show a significant increase in coronavirus cases in Turkey’s largest cities and alarming rates in Black Sea provinces. A weekly, provincial map of infections shared by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca showed more than 111 positive cases identified in Istanbul per 100,000 people in the past week. That rate was about 60 the week of Feb. 6. Cases in Ankara and Izmir were also on the rise. This week, Istanbul was categorized as a “high risk” city for COVID-19. Restaurants and cafes have re-opened and weekend lockdowns were reduced to only Sundays except for “very high-risk” cities. Istanbul residents filled the streets and restaurants, many ignoring mask and social distancing rules. Northeastern provinces along the Black Sea have been categorized as “very high-risk,” where restrictions continue. The seven-day average of cases across the country rose back above 10,000 this week, bringing the total number of cases to more than 2.7 million and the confirmed death toll to 28,901. ___ SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California has cleared a path for fans to hit the stands at opening day baseball games and return to Disneyland nearly a year after coronavirus restrictions shuttered major entertainment spots. The state relaxed guidelines for reopening outdoor venues. COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths have plunged, and vaccination rates are rising. New rules allow concert stadiums and sports arenas to reopen with limited attendance on April 1. This week, the seven-day average rate of positive results from tests dropped to 2.2%, a record low. Theme parks can reopen in counties that have fallen from the state’s most restrictive tier. In all cases, park capacities will be limited, and coronavirus safety rules such as mask-wearing requirements will apply. More than 10 million doses had been given in the three months since the first vaccination, the Department of Public Health says. Just over 3 million people have been fully vaccinated, or about 10% of the population 16 and older. ___ WASHINGTON — Senators have worked through the night on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill, dispensing with a variety of mostly Republican amendments in a marathon series of votes without substantially changing the overall package. Approval of the bill is expected later, although the timing is uncertain, after Senate leaders and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin reached a deal late Friday over emergency jobless benefits. That compromise is backed by President Joe Biden. Once the Senate finishes work on Biden’s foremost legislative priority, the bill would return to the House for final approval. The package is aimed at battling the pandemic and nursing the economy back to health. ___ MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s governor extended the mask mandate for another month and state Health Officer Scott Harris is recommending people keep wearing masks in public after it expires. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday extended Alabama’s mask order until April 9. Harris says he hopes April 10 will look a lot like April 9 across the state. “There is nothing magical about the date of April 9. We don’t want the public to think that’s the day we all stop taking precautions,” he says. Alabama has the second-highest positivity rate in the nation at 19.9%. State health officials urge people to maintain precautions, particularly during spring break and Easter gatherings, as the state tries to ramp up vaccinations. So far about 14% of the state’s 4.9 million people have received at least one shot. Harris says they expect to deliver another 750,000 shots before the mask mandate expires. This week, the state reached 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus. ___ MILAN — Europe recorded 1 million new coronavirus cases last week, an increase of 9% from the previous week and a reversal that ended a six-week decline, according to the World Health Organization. Among the hard-hit places is the Milan suburb of Bollate, where the virus swept through a nursery school and an adjacent elementary school with alarming speed. In a matter of just days, 45 children and 14 staff members tested positive. Genetic analysis confirmed it was the highly contagious variant first identified in England late last year. The surge is leading to new restrictions across the continent. Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, says the spread of variants is driving the increase, but so is “the opening of society, when it is not done in a safe and a controlled manner.” The British variant is spreading significantly in 27 European countries monitored by WHO and is dominant in at least 10 by the agency’s count: Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal. ___ BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff says he is “very skeptical” about prospects of people travelling at Easter but expects the situation will have changed by late May. Merkel and Germany’s state governors this week agreed to extend lockdown measures until March 28, while laying down a roadmap for relaxing some rules in areas with relatively low infections. But many issues have yet to be addressed. Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told the Funke newspaper group in an interview published Saturday that he is “very skeptical as far as travel at Easter is concerned.” Easter falls on the first weekend in April this year. But he says he expects “that we can talk in a significantly more relaxed way about travel and leisure from Whitsun,” on May 23. Braun says Germany could return to full normality in the summer — if vaccine manufacturers keep to their delivery pledges and no new coronavirus mutation arises “that raises questions over the whole success of vaccination.” Germany has given 5.7% of its population a first dose of vaccine and 2.8% two doses. A fall in new coronavirus cases has stalled as a more contagious variant first detected in Britain spreads. ___ DHARMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, has received the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala. After receiving the injection, he urged people to come forward, be brave and get vaccinated. Dr. G.D. Gupta of Zonal Hospital, where the shot was administered, told reporters that the Dalai Lama was observed for 30 minutes afterward. Ten other people who live in the Dalai Lama’s residence were also vaccinated, Gupta said. All eleven received the Covishield vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and manufactured by India’s Serum Institute. ___ COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka says it will receive 264,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on Sunday as its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX Facility. The vaccines, which are being delivered through UNICEF, mark the first allocation of 1.44 million doses of vaccines from the COVAX Facility the Indian Ocean island nation will receive, said the ministry of health. The doses will be procured in stages until May. Sri Lanka has so far received 1 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in neighbouring India, which donated half of the doses. Sri Lanka purchased the balance from India’s Serum Institute. Sri Lanka began its inoculation drive in January, giving the vaccine first to front-line health workers. So far, more than 600,000 of the country's 22 million people have been vaccinated. ___ TORONTO — The head of the vaccine program for Canada’s most populous province expects to get every adult in Ontario a first vaccine shot by June 20. Ontario and provincial governments in the country are extending the interval between the two doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines to four months rather than three to four weeks so they can quickly inoculate more people. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier says by the first day of summer he wants everyone in Ontario who is eligible to get a dose. Hillier says the first dose offers an incredible level of protection. Canada is also getting a fourth vaccine to prevent COVID-19 as the country’s health regulator has cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. ___ HELENA, Mont. — Educators in Montana will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines next week through a federal partnership with pharmacies. President Joe Biden announced the program earlier this week, with the goal of vaccinating all teachers and child care staff by the end of March. The federal vaccine program is open to Montana educators even as the state has not made its vaccine allotment available to teachers. Montana was one of at least a dozen states that had not prioritized teachers as of Biden’s announcement. The Missoulian reported Friday that in Missoula County, Granite Pharmacy has enough vaccine doses to vaccinate all 2,000 county teachers. ___ CHASKA, Minn. — Minnesota Health officials say they are recommending a two-week pause on youth sports in Carver County, after the county has seen a recent outbreak of a variant of the COVID-19 virus. Health officials said that since late January, the county has recorded at least 68 cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom. Those cases have been linked to sports including hockey, wrestling, basketball, alpine skiing and others. Health department data shows from Feb. 24 through Thursday, there was a 62% increase in COVID-19 cases in the county. Health officials recommend a two-week, county-wide pause in youth school and club sports starting Monday. Due to the risk that the outbreak has spread to other counties, health officials are also recommending that other youth sports participate in active screening, weekly testing of athletes and coaches, and hold no gatherings before or after games. They also recommend strict enforcement of proper masking. ___ COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Gov. Henry McMaster lifted mandates Friday on face coverings in South Carolina’s government office buildings and restaurants, leaving it up to state administrative officials and restaurant operators to develop their own guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic. The executive order essentially reversed similar guidance from the governor issued in July, when McMaster made it a requirement that anyone entering a state office building, as per guidelines developed by the Department of Administration. At that time, McMaster also issued a similar edict for restaurant-goers and employees. But, given South Carolina’s declining number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the rising number of residents who have been vaccinated against the virus, McMaster said it was time to begin loosening more mandates - while still maintaining his recommendation that all South Carolinians wear face coverings in public settings where social distancing isn’t an option. The move is the latest in McMaster’s latest efforts to undo many of the restrictions instituted with the aim of curbing the pandemic. Late last month, he lifted restrictions on late-night alcohol sales and gatherings of more than 250 people, encouraging people “to make responsible decisions.” ___ LAS VEGAS — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is marking a year since COVID-19 was detected in the state as a “sombre milestone and anniversary.” The Democratic governor issued a statement to mark the anniversary of the first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus was detected in Nevada. In the year since, the state has reported 295,460 cases of the virus and 5,020 deaths. Sisolak says while the pandemic was one of the greatest challenges the state has ever faced, Nevada has not been broken and is working to overcome all the big challenges it faces, including the big hit to the state’s tourism industry. ___ NEW YORK — A new national study adds strong evidence that mask mandates can slow the spread of the coronavirus, and allowing dining at restaurants can increase cases and deaths. The CDC released the study Friday. It looked at counties placed under state-issued mask mandates and at counties that allowed restaurant dining — both indoors and at tables outside. The agency’s director says it shows decreases in cases and deaths when people wear masks. And it found increases in cases and deaths when in-person restaurant dining is allowed. The study was released just as some states are rescinding mask mandates and restaurant limits. The scientists found that mask mandates were associated with reduced coronavirus transmission and improvements in new cases and deaths increased as time went on. The reductions in growth rates varied from half a percentage point to nearly 2 percentage points. That may sound small, but the large number of people involved means the impact grows with time, experts say. Reopening restaurant dining was not followed by a significant increase in cases and deaths in the first 40 days after restrictions were lifted. But after that, there were increases of about 1 percentage point in the growth rate of cases and later 2 to 3 percentage points in the growth rate of deaths. Gery Guy Jr., a CDC scientist who was the study’s lead author, says the delay could be from the restaurants not reopening immediately and because many customers may have been hesitant to dine in right away. ___ NEW YORK — Movie theatres in New York City are reopening, returning film titles to Manhattan marquees that for the last 12 months read messages “Wear a mask” and “We’ll be back soon.” As of Friday, cinemas in the city are operating at only 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 per auditorium. As in other places, mask wearing is mandatory, seats are blocked out and air filters have been upgraded. For a theatrical business hit by the pandemic, the resumption of moviegoing in New York is a crucial first step. Screens had been closed for almost a year. Less than half of movie theatres are open nationwide, but reopenings are picking up. ___ This story was first published on March 6, 2021. It was updated on March 8, 2021 to correct the first name of Rick Hillier, the retired general overseeing Ontario province’s vaccine program. The Associated Press
Genesis will offer a limited-run Launch Edition model of its redesigned 2022 G70 sport sedan. Based on the rear- or all-wheel-drive variant of the G70 with the turbocharged 3.3-liter V6, the Launch Edition adds some unique exterior and interior treatments along with a small dose of exclusivity. Spotted by the eagled-eye folks over at Roadshow, the 2022 G70 Launch Edition appeared on the Genesis consumer web site without any official preamble.
A Moroccan court on Monday began hearing the extradition case of a Saudi-Australian national whose wife fears he may face torture and even death if sent to Saudi Arabia. Osama al-Hasani was arrested on Feb. 8 when he arrived in the Moroccan city of Tangier, where he was planning to join his wife and four-month-old baby. "I call on Moroccan authorities to release my innocent husband ... If he is extradited to Saudi Arabia, I am afraid he would face a fate similar to that of (Jamal) Khashoggi,” his wife Hanae said, referring to the journalist killed by Saudi agents in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in 2018.
Um, where are you going, Ginny?
Toronto has launched its own website and hotline for booking COVID-19 vaccines as it waits for a provincial system to make its debut. The website says appointments are only available at this time to priority groups identified by the province. Those include people aged 80 or older, some health-care workers and Indigenous adults. Toronto Coun. Joe Cressy, who chairs the city's board of health, says the booking system is an interim measure in place until the province’s centralized online registration system is launched. He says it is "not an ideal situation" but calls it a "necessary step" until the provincial system arrives, which is scheduled to be next week. The city says vaccines are being administered to those with confirmed appointments at a number of Toronto hospitals and community health-care centres, including the University Health Network, and the Michael Garron and Humber River hospitals. It says those institutions are working Monday to operate roughly 17 vaccination clinics, including mobile teams. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
A junior health minister was sent in place of the Health Secretary to respond to an urgent question from Labour.
There may be a resolution in the case against an Onion Lake woman charged with second-degree murder. A lawyer representing Shari Heathen, 27, requested an adjournment until next month saying he's in discussions with the Crown. Lawyer Blaine Beaven appeared in Lloydminster Provincial Court March 8 by phone for his client and said he has made a proposal to the Crown. Beaven waived Heathen’s attendance in court. She remains incarcerated at Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert since her arrest in July 2020. There have been numerous delays and adjournments in the case since her arrest. Heathen is accused of killing Braeden Alfred James Sparvier, 26. According to Turtleford RCMP, Sparvier’s body was found east of St. Walburg in the R.M. of Frenchman Butte on Jan. 1, 2020. Onion Lake RCMP and specialized RCMP units assisted in the investigation, which determined that Sparvier’s death was a homicide. An obituary for Sparvier described him as “selfless and (he) put everyone first.” It went on to say that he was “so loving, kind, gentle and happy. He had a smile that would light up any room and he had the most contagious laugh.” The matter will be brought before Lloydminster Provincial Court again on April 6. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist