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Bowman to host interactive discussion for kids about COVID-19

Winnipeg’s mayor is taking to social media to answer local kids’ questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

Brian Bowman says he’ll host an interactive discussion via Instagram on his @mayorbrianbowman page at 5 p.m. Thursday, and is encouraging local parents and children to participate.

Bowman told 680 CJOB on Wednesday that the city is busy working on the COVID-19 problem for Winnipeggers, including looking into the possibility of deferring taxes and the potential for declaring a state of emergency.

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Trump looking to put troops near Canadian border amid coronavirus fears

American government officials inside Donald Trump’s White House are actively discussing putting troops near the Canadian borders in light of U.S. border security concerns around the coronavirus pandemic, sources tell Global News. 

Few people cross from Canada into the United States at an unofficial point each year but the goal of the policy would be to help border guards detect irregular crossers, the sources said. 

While the White House is pushing for this, no decision has been made. It’s not clear if Canadian officials have been officially briefed but informal conversations are ongoing. 

Global News has asked the White House to comment on this story but has not received a response.

Any militarization on or near the Canadian border would be a stark departure from traditional relations between the two countries as the Canadian-US border has traditionally been recognized as one of the longest non-militarized borders in the world. 

The proposal has raised diplomatic concerns on both sides of the border.

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Demand increases for moving services in southern Alberta

While the COVID-19 pandemic is halting business in many sectors, moving companies in southern Alberta are as busy as ever.

“Our demand has not diminished. In fact it’s actually increased,” said Francois Dodier, a foreman with 1Up Moving and Delivery in Lethbridge.

Dodier adds although business is booming, they aren’t being lackadaisical with sanitation.

“We’ll put on our gloves, put on our masks,” he said. “We’ll greet the client – of course not shaking any hands.”

He says they haven’t had any clients in Alberta who have shown symptoms of COVID-19.

“As long as the government doesn’t shut us down, we’re still planning on doing all of the services that anyone needs to do.”

Jeff Lockridge, manager of media and public relations with U-Haul Rentals, says its 22,000 locations haven’t been impacted yet, and it’s aiming to help college and university students stuck in limbo.

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“They’re forced to go back home,” Lockridge said.

Lockridge encourages students with valid identification to consider applying for free 30-day storage.

“We know how they’ve been impacted by these university schedule changes,” he said.

Being able to physically move personal items may not be an issue right now, but several real estate agents have stopped in-person showings to increase social distancing.

Lethbridge resident Cayleigh Duffield says this could be an issue for those looking to rent.

“It is kind of hard because it can kind be sort of deceiving when you look at pictures so it’s hard to tell what a place looks like.”

Duffield considers herself lucky, having started the moving process before the pandemic took hold of the industry.

“Just stay calm about the whole situation,” said Duffield. “That’s just how I’ve been taking it.”

Peak moving season in Lethbridge typically occurs between April and September.

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EU chief fumes at European leaders over handling of coronavirus ‘Show real leadership!’

With the Eurozone’s economy on the brink of collapse, the European Parliament’s president warned Brussels lacks the tools to keep it afloat. David Sassoli called on the bloc’s leaders to reach an agreement on a series of new fiscal measures that can help support countries through the economic upheaval caused by the global pandemic. He said: “The instruments we have available now are not enough.

“A profound crisis will impact our economy, our structure and our very social model.

“It is not enough for the European Council to just open up debate – we need real leadership.”

European capitals have begun negotiations over so-called “coronabonds”, a joint eurozone debt initiative to help prop up its economies hit hardest by COVID-19.

While at least nine member states are pushing for the measure, Germany and the Netherlands have presented themselves as staunch opponents.

In a joint letter to European Council president Charles Michel, leaders from the nine countries insisted the EU needed “to work on common debt instrument issued by a European institution to raise funds on the market on the basis and to benefits of all member states”.

France’s Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte and Spain’s Pedro Sanchez have all argued that the fight against coronavirus is a special case that could trigger economic shocks that impact all countries.

The letter said: “We are collectively accountable for an effect and united European response, they wrote in the letter, with the joint support of the leaders of Ireland, Greece, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Portugal and Belgium.

“This common debt instrument should have sufficient size and long maturity to be fully efficient and avoid roll-over risks now as in the future.

“The funds collected will be targeted to finance in all member states the necessary investments in the healthcare system.”

Opposition member states, which also include Austria, Denmark and Finland, argue that the bloc shouldn’t deploy such drastic measures until absolutely necessary.

One EU diplomat said: “We have national measures. We have the Commission’s instruments, as a second fallback. We have the European Investment Bank, and other investment instruments.

“The problem is that we’ve been asked to jump immediately to the last resort mechanism while not having exhausted all the options on the road to that last resort.”

MUST READ: Spain’s regional hatred for Madrid has help fuel coronavirus crisis

Another source added: “We shouldn’t use up all our instruments this week because we don’t know how deep this crisis will be. There must always be spare ammunition to fall back on if need be.

“My country will not agree to corona bonds, that’s quite clear. We don’t think this is the right solution to the crisis at this time,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.”

Eurogroup finance ministers have already failed to reach a consensus for the planned measure, instead leaving leaders to make a final decision.

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The new joint credit lines are reminiscent of the eurobonds that were discussed as part of the rescue package after the end of the EU debt crisis.

During tense negotiations, the bloc’s debtors proposed the EU “mutualise’ debt through a joint debt instrument.

But German economy minister Peter Altmaier said the discussion over the measure was a “phantom debate”.

“I urge caution when supposedly new, ingenious concepts are presented which often enough are just long discarded ideas coming back from the dead,” he fumed.

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N.B. teachers produce lip-sync music videos to cheer up students amid COVID-19 school closures

Some creative teachers in New Brunswick have put together a series of lip-sync music videos to cheer up their students who are unable to attend school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirk Geldart is a teacher at Moncton High School and said he was more than happy to take part in the video produced by his school, because he wanted to help cheer up his students.

“Just so that they know that we are thinking of them and just to try and help them lighten their day a little bit,” said Geldart.

He said dealing with the impact of the pandemic has been stressful for students and teachers. He said the videos are meant to give the kids a lift and to let them know that their teachers are there for them even if they cannot be in the classroom.

“We have good days and bad days, and we have really silly fun days like what we show in the video,” he said.

Chris West’s wife Lindsay also took part in the videos, which have been produced by several schools across the province.

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“It also allowed some of the teachers to really go outside of their zone to entertain the students,” said Chris.

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Subway apologizes for Calgary sign offering free face masks with sandwich purchase

Subway Canada has apologized for a sign outside a Calgary restaurant advertising free face masks with the purchase of sub sandwiches.

The large billboard sign seen outside a Subway in the Westbrook Mall on Thursday advertised that if a customer bought two regular size sandwiches, they’d get a free medical face mask.

“FREE medical mask to protect you and your kids,” it read.

It also featured images of two people wearing face masks.

In an emailed statement, Subway Canada country director Cristina Wells said the company didn’t direct the franchisee to put up the sign.

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“This was an unsanctioned and completely inappropriate promotion undertaken by a franchise owner,” Wells said.

“This was addressed with the franchisee immediately upon becoming aware and the sign has since been taken down.

“Subway Canada in no way condones this regrettable incident, and sincerely apologizes for the insensitivity in the message.”

Face masks have been in high demand since the coronavirus outbreak started, with pharmacies and suppliers across the country facing shortages and resale sites banning and removing online ads for them.

Community groups, organizations, post-secondary schools and suppliers are also ramping up production of the masks — and other health supplies and equipment — to provide to front-line health workers amidst worries about a possible shortage.

In Toronto, at least two hospitals have started rationing protective gear as they face supply shortages.

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Kingston woman raises donations to provide personal protective equipment to nurses

A Kingston woman is  raising funds to purchase masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff at the Kingston General Hospital.

Hospitals in Canada are beginning to face a shortage of face masks and other protective gear due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shortage of PPE has become more concerning to hospital staff as the number of COVID-19 cases rise throughout the world.

Even though the provincial government has assured Canadians that there is not a shortage, they are asking that businesses provide proper medical masks and other supplies if they are able to do so.

Now, Lynette Johnson, a Kingston woman, is taking matters into her own hands by raising funds to purchase masks and PPE for staff at the Kingston General Hospital — a hospital where she says her mother has worked for several years.

Johnson has created a GoFundMe page called Help nurses in Kingston purchase PPE.

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“I didn’t choose to become a doctor or a nurse so I can’t help in that way, but I can use technology to help gather resources and reach out to people,” says Johnson.

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Coronavirus: B.C. Hockey League using online simulation for 2020 playoffs

It’s a conundrum: What sports are there to watch?

The simple answer: with all sports leagues having been cancelled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there’s nothing on but reruns.

Enter the B.C. Hockey League, which, through fresh, electronic efforts, is trying to solve who this season’s league champion would be.

“Due to the disappointment felt across the league after the Shaw BCHL playoffs were cancelled, the BCHL has partnered with its players and its teams to create a simulation of the remainder of the postseason using EA Sports NHL 20,” the league said on its website.

The BCHL had just completed its first round of playoffs before the rest of the season was cancelled on March 13 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The eight teams that had advanced to the second round were selected to participate in the online contest.

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The online matchups mirrored the second-round matchups:

  • Trail Smoke Eaters vs Salmon Arm Silverbacks
  • Penticton Vees vs Vernon Vipers
  • Coquitlam Express vs Surrey Eagles
  • Nanaimo Clippers vs Cowichan Valley Capitals

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Hamilton driver charged after allegedly spitting on Tim Hortons employee

Police have arrested and charged a driver who allegedly spat on a Tim Hortons drive-thru employee last week.

Investigators say the incident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Friday following a dispute at a Tim Hortons on the East Mountain.

“At the window, a discrepancy arose over the form of payment. The customer became verbally aggressive, however, payment was received and the order was filled,” said Const. Jerome Stewart, “As the driver was leaving, he spat three times in the direction of the employee, striking her and the drive-thru window.”

Detectives were able to track down the vehicle and the suspect – a 52-year-old Hamilton man – on Sunday and he was arrested and faces assault and mischief under $5,000 charges.

He is scheduled to appear in court on May 25, 2020.

In a release following the arrest, Stewart asked the public to be mindful of taking such actions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hamilton Police are reminding citizens to exercise patience and better judgment, especially during this challenging time,” Stewart said.

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U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than any other country

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reached 81,378 on Thursday, more than any other country, overtaking both Italy and China, a Reuters tally showed.

China was second with 81,285 cases, and Italy was third with 80,539 cases.

Tallies from The New York Times and Johns Hopkins University also showed that the U.S. surpassed China and Italy on Thursday.

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More than 1,000 people have died due to the virus in the U.S.

This is a breaking news story that will be updated.

 

 

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