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Original Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs Aiming to Reopen in Spring

Original Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs Aiming to Reopen in Spring



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The Coney Island stand is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn Paper reports

Jane Bruce

Looks like Coney Island won't be back to its normal boardwalk-packed self until next spring; Brooklyn Paper reports that the original, iconic Nathan's Famous won't be reopening until this spring, as rebuilding efforts continue post-Hurricane Sandy.

The storm that hit the New York coast last month forced Nathan's Famous to close their original location on Surf Avenue for the first time in 96 years, the company reportedly says.

"Nathan’s has begun the process of rebuilding and anticipates reopening this spring, before the summer season," a spokesman for the company told Brooklyn Paper, as much of the equipment ended up underwater as the Boardwalk flooded. Tradition lovers and competitive-eating enthusiasts need not fear, however; Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Championship, held every year on July 4 on the corner of Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue is still on, officials say. Our nation's tradition of stuffing our faces with hot dogs will continue.


Original Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs Aiming to Reopen in Spring - Recipes

Every season offers a reason to love the Big Apple, but spring in New York City brings a joyful sense of renewal that’s best appreciated outdoors.

Fans of the classic song “Autumn in New York” may beg to differ, but I’ve always found springtime in the Big Apple to be the most inviting. As temperatures warm, days get longer, rooftop bars reopen and vibrant green buds emerge in city parks, it’s an annual rite to get outside and appreciate the natural beauty that’s poking through all the manmade steel and concrete.

Every year, I enjoy a few springtime rituals that help me appreciate the season to the fullest.

Brush up on botany in Central Park.

I lived on the Upper West Side for 20 years and always considered Central Park my backyard — even though I had to share it with millions of other people. I still spend time walking, running and daydreaming there year-round, but I always find myself counting the days until late March, when nature begins heeding the sun’s call to burst forth in all of its technicolor glory.

There’s no better place to enjoy spring in Central Park than the east side, where flowering trees planted a century ago frame the walkways from late March to mid-May and the Conservatory Garden at 105th Street blossoms in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of color. When I lived nearby, I often took the “scenic route” home from work — past the cheery yellow daffodils that line the East 69th Street entrance, the intense fuchsia azaleas and rhododendrons around Bethesda Terrace and the serene clouds of pale pink blossoms on Cherry Hill.

Admire the skyline by walking the High Line.

I have a confession to make: in recent years, I’ve been cheating on Central Park with a newer, trendier green space — the High Line. This 1.5-mile-long urban park set atop an abandoned rail line runs from West 34th Street near 11th Avenue in Chelsea to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a walk and appreciate some of the city’s oldest architecture (including the Empire State Building, the Met Life Tower and the London Terrace Apartments) and newer additions (like the Whitney Museum, the IAC Building and the Chelsea Nouvel).

I love to wander amid the nascent foliage — mostly native plants and grasses — and take a break at Terroir On The Porch, a wine bar located on the High Line at 15th Street and open seasonally. After all, there’s nothing New Yorkers love more after a harsh winter than sitting outside in the late spring sun and sipping a glass of vino.

Get your fill of Coney Island thrills.

When I feel like embracing the sun along with a fresh ocean breeze — and enjoying a bite of summer before the July-through-August crowds arrive — I hop on a Brooklyn-bound D train from Manhattan to Stillwell Avenue (the F, N and Q go there as well) and take a stroll along the legendary Coney Island boardwalk. It’s open year-round, as is the original Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand. The hot dogs are savory, but the thick-cut French fries have always been my favorite nibble.

Once I even decided to act like a kid again and ride two of Coney Island’s landmark attractions: the 90-year-old Cyclone and the 98-year-old Deno’s Wonder Wheel. My ride on the Cyclone, a rickety, wooden roller coaster, lasted less than two heart-pounding minutes. But it was the Wonder Wheel that stole the show — the 150-foot-tall ferris wheel has cars that slide back and forth, so they feel like they are about to fly off the track. Both are open on weekends from late March until Memorial Day and daily after that.

Enjoy the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival.

New Yorkers don’t always make time for all the fun stuff the city is famous for, but I do try. So this spring, I plan to head to Fifth Avenue for my first-ever Easter parade. This year it coincides with April Fool’s Day, so I’m hoping the kooky hats and bonnets will be extra over-the-top.

That leaves just one question: Should I be a spectator or a participant? Either way, I know I’ll enjoy myself just by being outside in springtime — and perhaps this will become the newest ritual to add to my list.

Quick Tip:

While spring temperatures in New York generally range from the 50s to 70s, there’s a good chance you may encounter some inclement weather. Pack a small umbrella or foldable rain jacket to carry with you — and have a back-up plan (like going to a museum, shopping or a Broadway show).


Family Owned

Betty and Paul Pink, founders of Pink’s Hot Dogs: From a $50 loan from Betty’s mother to buy a hot dog cart in 1939 to a family owned nationwide enterprise 78 years later! This is the story of the Pink family who started out with a simple chili dog recipe and pursued their dream of someday selling thousands of hot dogs a day throughout America. How: A dedication by Paul & Betty Pink and now their children, Richard, Gloria and Beverly, to the original recipe that brought countless Hollywood celebrities to Pink’s Hollywood from the early 1940s to today. Click here to read more about this amazing family story.


Joey Chestnut, Sonya Thomas Win The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut took home the Mustard Belt for the fifth year in a row at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition on Coney Island. Chestnut was dogged by some stiff competition: Peter Bertoletti, of Chicago, kept pace with Chestnut throughout much of the competition. In the last few minutes, though, Chestnut broke out ahead of Bertoletti, keeping a comfortable four dog lead.

“I came out here to win, did what I needed to do,” Chestnut said. “I feel great.”

Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas is the first winner of the women’s division. Thomas ate 40 hot dogs in ten minutes.

Sonya Thomas, right, smiles as she finishes the 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at the original Nathan's Famous in Coney Island on July 4, 2011 (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

It is the first time the storied competition has had a women’s division.

Thomas had been the favorite prior to the competition. Thomas is 5𔃿″ and weighs 105 pounds. She smoked her nearest challenger, Juliette Lee, who ate 29 dogs. Thomas takes home the coveted pink Pepto Bismol belt.

WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reports: Thomas First Women’s Hot Dog Eating Champion

“I’m so excited,” she said in an interview after the competition. “I’m so happy.”

“I could eat something else later,” Thomas said.

Longtime rival Takeru Kobayashi wasn&rsquot at the competition Monday. Kobayashi crashed last year’s contest and was arrested. Since he is unwilling to sign an exclusive contract with Major League Eating, he wasn’t officially competing. He did, however, eat along with the contestants from a separate location in Manhattan, downing dogs during the telecast.

Takeru Kobayashi, foreground, reacts after eating 69 Nathan's hot dogs in ten minutes during an unofficial contest Monday July 4, 2011 in New York. Kobayashi, who did his eating alone as a live ESPN broadcast of the Nathan's Coney Island Hot Dog competition was showing beside him on an outdoor plasma screen, was ineligible to compete in the Coney Island contest because he won't sign an exclusive contract with Major League Eating. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

Unofficially, he ate 69 hot dogs, which would be a new record.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports:

In the 2009 competition, Chestnut beat the previous record of 59 hot dogs and buns by eating 68 hot dogs, which set a world record. Last year, he took home the belt after consuming 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes &ndash which he described as a disappointing performance.

Chestnut fasted ahead of Monday’s event. As he took the stage to compete, he said “I feel like a big American eating machine.”

Chestnut said that despite eating an estimated 20,000 calories during contests, his diet and exercise regimen when he&rsquos not training for a competition – combined with doctor check-ups – would allow him to continue competing for a few more years.

Four-time reigning champion Joey Chestnut, center, raises his arm in victory as he wins his fifth Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating World Championship with a total of 62 hot dogs and buns, Monday, July 4, 2011, at Coney Island. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“It’s absolutely a sport and it has the attendance of a sport, and these guys are athletes for sure,” said George Shea.

The contest is a bonanza for the fast-food company. As the eaters expanded their gastric capabilities, the event’s popularity soared. Likewise have sales of Nathan’s hot dogs.

Last year, over 453 million franks were sold, almost doubling sales in 2003.

“This is one of the greatest marketing stunts ever put forth in the United States,” said Rich Shea of Major League Eating.

It’s a natural for Nathan’s, which first opened at the fun-filled amusement park 96 years ago.

In the late 1970’s, the contest was just another Coney Island sideshow, thought up by PR stuntman Max Rosey.

“We waited for a couple of fat guys to walk by. We asked if they wanted to eat hot dogs in a contest. They said yes,” he said.

Max’s protege George Shea and his brother Rich are the marketing men who have brought competitive eating into the modern era.

They’ve created a phenomenon by introducing the coveted mustard yellow championship belt, having ESPN cover the event, and by promoting the eaters as professional athletes.

And there’s a new rivalry between the U.S. and China: Chinese eaters were flown in to Coney Island, just when Nathan’s happens to be embarking on a major expansion in China.

“If they take the belt, they are going to be eating our lunch, literally,” Rich Shea said before the competition.

The Sheas have qualifying events across the country and sponsors for other eating events: chicken wings, oysters, and hamburgers, all party of major league eating.

Nathan’s stock tripled in the past seven years. The company also donates 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City.

What do you think of the tradition: disgusting, All-American, or both? Is Kobayashi the true champion? Sound off in our comments section below&hellip


Massive blaze breaks out at Brooklyn power plant: FDNY

This old dog has learned some new tricks.

The world’s first hot dog is making a comeback on Coney Island’s Surf Avenue — and giving Nathan’s Famous a run for its bun.

Exactly 150 years ago, German immigrant Charles Feltman ­invented the hot dog when he stuck a sausage inside a specially made elongated bun and called them “red hots.”

Now Coney Island historian and tour guide Michael Quinn has ­revived Feltman’s name and original recipe and brought them back to the beach.

“Coney Island has come back big time so the timing is right to bring back the original hot dog,” Quinn told The Post at his grilling outpost at 1000 Surf Ave. — the exact spot where Feltman set up shop a century and a half ago, and only two blocks from Nathan’s.

The proximity is fitting, since Quinn hopes to resuscitate the ­rivalry between Feltman and Nathan’s Famous founder Nathan Handwerker a century ago.

Feltman’s invention became an immediate sensation in 1867 and his business ballooned into a destination — considered the largest restaurant in the world.

In 1915, after Feltman’s sons had taken over the restaurant pavilion, Nathan Handwerker got a job as a bun slicer. A few months later, Handwerker set up his own 5-by-8-foot stand, underselling Feltman’s famous dogs by 5 cents.

Handwerker “was very nervous at the time. It was like going up against the ‘Death Star,’ ” Quinn explained. “Feltman was so connected with all the politicians and people in charge.”

The dogfight continued into the 1920s, but once the Great Depression hit, Feltman’s tanked and Nathan’s thrived.

“Nathan sold a cheap version of Feltman’s and catered to poorer people,” Quinn said. Feltman’s family sold the business in 1946 and it eventually shuttered in 1954.

Quinn, born and raised in Coney Island, brought back Feltman’s dogs two years ago and has sold them to Brooklyn butcher shops and opened a small stand on
St. Marks Place. This month, he returned to where it all began.

He sells five different hot dogs, including “The Original” with onions, sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard for $4.25 a chili cheese dog for $7.50 the “Al Capone” with vodka sauce and grated parmesan for $8.50 and a casing-free kid’s dog for $3.75.

The descendants of both Feltman and Handwerker are delighted the dog-eat-dog competition has returned to Coney Island.

Feltman’s great-great-granddaughter, Molly Feltman Edwards, 47, who hopes to help Quinn expand to the West Coast, said, “I’m excited that my great-great-grandfather’s legacy is finally realized.”

Added William Handwerker, 62: “My grandfather used to say to me, ‘Competition is the best thing because it makes you better.’ [He] proved that theory correct.”


Nathan's hot dogs returns coronavirus small business loan

Hot dog maker Nathan’s Famous Inc. said Monday it would return a loan it received under the Paycheck Protection Program after larger companies drew criticism for applying for relief meant for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nathan’s applied for and received a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration worth about $1.2 million, according to an SEC 8-K filing. The company said it returned the money after the SBA issued new guidance on April 23 that larger companies with access to outside capital should return the money if they couldn’t demonstrate it was necessary to maintain operations.

“In light of the New Guidance, the Company has determined to repay and return the entire amount of the PPP Loan to the Lender,” Nathan’s said in a filing.

The SBA hit its initial $349 billion lending limit less than two weeks after the PPP initiative began. Many small businesses were unable to secure a loan before the money ran out, even as larger chains secured relief.

Nathan’s was one of several notable companies to return PPP funds in recent days. The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and prominent restaurant chains such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, PotBelly, Shake Shack and Sweetgreen all returned funds.

A second round of PPP relief began Monday.

Nathan’s acknowledged in the filings the pandemic has disrupted its business operations with the “majority” of its franchised locations forced to close in order to comply with public health guidance. The company expects a negative impact to sales at those locations in the near future.

“Since the situation around the COVID-19 virus is constantly changing, we may implement additional measures to ensure the safety of our team members and guests over time,” Nathan’s said. “We also expect to realize declines in sales and profits from our Branded Product Program during this period as many of our customers operate in venues that are currently closed and may be slow to reopen, such as professional sports venues, amusement parks, shopping malls and movie theaters.”

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(Bloomberg) -- The top U.S. energy regulator has proposed forcing three power traders, all veterans of JPMorgan Chase & Co., to pay a total of $242 million for allegedly manipulating an obscure of corner of the country’s largest electricity market.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accused GreenHat Energy LLC and its owners of placing bets on potential grid bottlenecks, known as the financial transmission rights market, that sent false price signals, according to statement Thursday. The wagers cost utilities and other traders in the PJM Interconnection market more than $179 million in losses.“Today’s order offers another reminder that the Commission has a solemn responsibility to investigate and penalize participants that engage in market manipulation,” FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Thursday during a FERC meeting.Also Read: Ex-JPMorgan Traders Lost Millions on Bad Bets in Power MarketThe move comes after the number of FERC probes into wrongdoing in energy markets fell to a record low last year under the Trump Administration. Glick has made it a priority to step up investigation since he was appointed to lead the agency by the Biden Administration earlier this year.FERC proposed civil penalties totaling $179 million to GreenHat and fines of $25 million each to two of its owners: John Bartholomew and Kevin Ziegenhorn. The agency also proposed ordering them to surrender nearly $13.1 million in profits.A third GreenHat owner, Andrew Kittell, died in January. His estate is being asked to respond to the allegations. The parties have 30 days to respond.GreenHat started placing the bets in auctions held by PJM Interconnection LLC, which operates the country’s largest power market, in 2015 and kept building positions into 2018. The company kept placing the bets even as other market participants flagged PJM about the risk before it defaulted on a $1.2 million payment in June 2018 and those losses have ballooned 150 times. At the time of the default, GreenHat had less than $560,000 in collateral on deposit with the grid operator.GreenHat rigged the auctions by using inside information about sell offers made by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc to design its own bids to buy those same transmission rights from the energy giant, the commission said Thursday. The three owners of the firm had realized “their enormous portfolio” was not expected to be profitable overall, but some of the FTRs did gain value after GreenHat bought them. GreenHat then sold these “winners” in four deals to third parties for a total of $13.1 million.“This alleged scheme is an example of a type of fraud in which perpetrators acquire assets with no intent to pay for them, and then try to turn the assets into immediate cash for themselves,” FERC said in the FERC statement.Shell didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment, nor did lawyers representing Bartholomew and Ziegenhorn. Lawyers representing Kittell’s estate declined to comment.This default by a small, new trader was the largest any U.S. grid had experienced of any kind, until the freeze that struck Texas in February left the state’s power market facing a nearly $3 billion shortfall. GreenHat’s default forced the previous PJM chief executive out. PJM also hired a new chief risk officer reporting to the board and sparked a review of credit policies across grids.Market participants have already been charged $180.5 million for GreenHat’s bad bets when factoring related costs and those losses will continue to widen until the last positions are liquidated this month, according to the market monitor’s most recent report.FERC’s enforcement team has been investigating GreenHat’s trading behavior since at least 2018, bringing fresh scrutiny on trading activity by Kittell and Bartholomew just a few years after they were part of a team investigated at JPMorgan, according to filings. In 2013, the bank settled a case alleging its traders manipulated the California power market for a record $410 million fine at the time.FERC Commissioner James Danly concurred with the GreenHat order, calling in light of the massive default, in the monthly meeting. “It’s necessary for the commission to make an official pronouncement on whether or not there was manipulation.”(Updates with reference to GreenHat using Shell’s data in the eighth paragraph. An earlier version corrected the story to say that the penalties are proposed.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

What Hedge Fund Analysts Do for Investments

Every investment class needs someone to manage it. From the market makers and clearing houses that ensure stock trading to the bankers who move currencies around the world, markets are not natural phenomena. They require management. Perhaps nowhere is that more … Continue reading → The post What Hedge Fund Analysts Do for Investments appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.


A Month After Sandy, Coney Island Looks to Recover


Longtime home to New York's zany carnival culture and a number of dining institutions, Coney Island was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Much of the area was under four or five feet of floodwater and leaked sewage, and most businesses lost power for days or weeks. Now over a month on, the area and its restaurants are working hard to get back from the storm, a process that will last well into next year.

  • The dining room, ready for opening night.
  • The temporary lobby as post-hurricane renovations continue. [@Gargiulos]
  • Owner Nino Russo with staff on opening night. [@ConeyIslandFun]


The biggest milestone in Coney Island's recovery to date came this weekend with the reopening of Gargiulo's. The West 15th Street restaurant, a local destination for special occasions, lost power and took on several feet of floodwater that destroyed two side rooms in the front of the restaurant, though the dining room was relatively unscathed. With a temporary lobby set up to hide those rooms as construction continues, the dining room's been decorated for Christmas and resumed service on Saturday. The restaurant was even able to host a fundraiser Saturday morning for close to 400 people.


Two other Coney Island landmarks?which garnered a decent amount of media attention last week?fared worse. The original Surf Avenue location of Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs will remain closed until early 2013, as the company attempts to repair "significant damage" caused by Hurricane Sandy. ("Significant damage" is the phrase used by company officials in a piece by the Brooklyn Paper last week.) Nathan's hopes to reopen in the spring, just in time for the busy season in the summer. The annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest will return in 2013 as well.

Likewise, the beloved original location of Totonno's remains closed. According to a Serious Eats report, the pizzeria took on four feet of flood water that toppled the walk-in located behind the coal-burning oven. Pete Wells relays the news that the family that owns Totonno's hopes to reopen before Christmas.


The shops and restaurants on the boardwalk were spared the worst of the flooding, but they still lost power and, in some cases, suffered wind damage. Paul's Daughter, for example, lost the memorable Mama Burger that stood atop the restaurant's roof. Mama was eventually found, but her burger was lost. She's been replaced on the roof by what appears to be Papa Burger, and the restaurant, after briefly reopening, has closed for the season.

The boardwalk location of Tom's Restaurant, a brand-new offshoot of the Prospect Heights old-timer, was able to reopen quickly, getting power back by the Thursday after the storm and reopening on Friday after a quick cleanup. According to Amusing the Zillion, the Tom's team helped out their neighbors by running extension cords to Ruby's Bar next door, to help power refrigerators and the jukebox for "Small Business Saturday." Ruby's finally got power back this past Saturday.


Nathan’s Famous Expands Through Third Party Delivery to Canada

Nathan’s Famous, Inc., the American tradition serving New York favorites for more than 100 years, today announces the expansion of their menu offerings to Vancouver, Canada. The menu will be available to consumers through Uber Eats third-party delivery only now, and then in approximately two weeks SkinTheDishes and then DoorDash. Nathan’s Famous will offer its classic hot dog and fries as well as its expanded menu featuring premium burgers, hand-dipped chicken favorites and more.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201111005196/en/

Nathan's Famous Vancouver Menu. (Photo: Business Wire)

"We are excited to bring the Nathan’s Famous menu to Vancouver, British Columbia for the first time in the brand’s history," said James Walker, SVP, Restaurants. "We are confident that the brand will resonate well with the community in Vancouver and we look forward to partnering with Uber Eats and other platforms to continue to deliver the flavor of New York."

This continued expansion through ghost kitchens makes Nathan’s Famous available in 12 countries around the world. The menu will include Nathan’s Famous signature hot dogs and crinkle cut fries, as well as premium Canadian beef burgers, crispy and grilled chicken sandwiches, premium milkshakes and much more. Nathan’s Famous, which just launched a new brand, Wings of New York, has also recently expanded their menu offerings in the Middle East through a partnership with Kitopi as well as Ireland through a partnership with Eddie Rockets.

To learn more about Nathan’s Famous, visit www.nathansfamous.com

Nathan’s is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and 12 foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Last year, over 700 million Nathan’s Famous hot dogs were sold. Nathan’s was ranked #22 on the Forbes 2014 list of the Best Small Companies in America and was listed as the Best Small Company in New York State in October 2013. For additional information about Nathan’s, please visit our website at www.nathansfamous.com.

Except for historical information contained in this news release, the matters discussed are forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended that involve risks and uncertainties. Words such as "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "intend", and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which are based on the current belief of the Company’s management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the Company’s management. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include but are not limited to: the status of our licensing and supply agreements, including the impact of our supply agreement for hot dogs with John Morrell & Co. the impact of the recent COVID-19 outbreak the impact of our indebtedness, including the effect on our ability to fund working capital, operations and make new investments economic weather (including the impact on the supply of cattle and the impact on sales at our restaurants particularly during the summer months), and change in the price of beef trimmings our ability to pass on the cost of any price increases in beef and beef trimmings legislative and business conditions the collectability of receivables changes in consumer tastes the ability to attract franchisees the impact of the minimum wage legislation on labor costs in New York State or other changes in labor laws, including regulations which could render a franchisor as a "joint employee" or the impact of our new union contracts our ability to attract competent restaurant and managerial personnel the enforceability of international franchising agreements the future effects of any food borne illness, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE and e coli and the risk factors reported from time to time in the Company’s SEC reports. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking statements.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, May 20

Recent developments: What's the latest? Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has confirmed another 89 COVID-19 cases Thursday, but no new deaths. Both the Gatineau and Belleville, Ont., areas are reporting a single death each, however. Ontario should release its reopening plans at 3 p.m. ET., according to a senior government source. The province's control over the COVID-19 pandemic is improving due to current public health measures, according to new modelling released by the province's science advisory table Thursday. Making vaccine progress and keeping some protective measures in effect until mid-June can "help ensure a good summer," according to the models. The Quebec government will start vaccinating local children between the ages of 12 and 17 on Tuesday at mass vaccination sites. In the future, there will be vaccine clinics in schools. With registration now underway, one summer camp co-ordinator spoke to CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning about what kids — and parents — can expect from Ottawa's city-run offerings this year. How many cases are there? The region is coming down from a record-breaking peak of the pandemic's third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants. The rate of spread is still high. As of Thursday, 26,357 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,005 known active cases, 24,813 resolved cases and 539 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 47,900 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 45,400 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 185 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 209. Akwesasne has had 690 residents test positive, six of them active, and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were 24 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If youɽ like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least June 2. It won't return to the colour-coded scale when the order lifts. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Ontario has moved to online learning. Daycares remain open and the plan is to open summer camps. Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Canoeists exit the Rideau Canal and enter the Ottawa River near Parliament Hill in June 2019. Its locks won't open until Ontario's stay-at-home order ends, according to Parks Canada.(Ian Black/CBC) Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds and the Belleville area is doing for the agriculture industry. Western Quebec Western Quebec is under red zone rules. It has a plan to gradually reopen over several weeks, starting with the curfew lifting and outdoor gatherings and dining returning on May 28. For now, high schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses can open with restrictions. The curfew is in place from 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. Private gatherings remain banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Small religious services are allowed and people can go to theatres. Older secondary school students will be going to classrooms every second day. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. People can't travel to yellow or green zones or risk a fine. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. WATCH | More overdoses in Ottawa as people use drugs alone: Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. A masked smartphone photographer stops to snap a picture of blooming tulips near Ottawa's Dows Lake May 18, 2021.(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press) People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Ontario and Quebec have both stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, but plan to give second doses. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 1,070,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 480,000 doses to Ottawa residents and more than 221,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people 18 and older and 17-year-olds turning 18 in 2021. People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems as supply allows. WATCH | Woman with Down syndrome in ICU after not qualifying for vaccine: Ontario plans to allow everyone over age 12 to make an appointment starting the week of May 31. Individual health units and First Nations can choose to vaccinate that age group now at pop-up clinics. Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. Some offer standby lists for first doses. Western Quebec Quebec is vaccinating everyone age 18 and older. Teens age 16 and 17 are eligible if they have certain jobs or a chronic illness or disability. A walk-in clinic returns to Gatineau's Palais des Congrès Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The province plans to reach children as young as 12 starting Tuesday. It expects to have given a first dose to 75 per cent of adults by June 15 and is looking at 75 per cent of people age 12 and up getting their second dose by the end of August. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. There are currently no local walk-in options. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. The test site in Richmond is closing at noon because it's no longer needed to meet demand. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Shoppers Drug Mart stores can now offer rapid tests. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. People can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information

Israeli city where Jews and Arabs have lived as neighbours now seeing unprecedented violence

At first glance, the Israeli city of Lod in central Israel seems like it's just shut down for a siesta. The weather is hot, the shops are shuttered and even the call to prayer from a nearby mosque seems ready for a nap. But the husk of a burnt-out car sits on one street in the centre of town, and there are scorch marks on a synagogue just around the corner from it. An unusually large number of Israeli police officers are stationed on mostly empty streets. Lod has been under a state of emergency since last week, when a bout of vicious and unprecedented inter-communal violence broke out between Jewish and Arab Israelis. Suliman Zabarqa is confronting some of the officers leaning against the walls outside his restaurant, also shuttered. He's asking why they stood by when Jewish rioters burned his property. A Palestinian citizen of Israel, Zabarqa says the police didn't act the way they should have, allowing hard-line Israeli nationalists "from outside Lod" to take the law into their own hands. Neighbours now frightened of each other The rioting started after Israeli police broke up a demonstration organized by Palestinian Arab Israelis at the start of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza that began more than a week ago. A man named Musa Hassuna was shot and killed on May 10, reportedly by a Jewish man. The next day, Yigal Yehoshua, a Jewish man, was hit in the head by a brick and attacked by Arab youths, according to reports. He died on Monday of his injuries. The anger was out of the bottle. Five synagogues were set on fire while Arab Israelis reported firebomb attacks on their homes. Mobs took over the streets, and the unrest quickly spread to other mixed cities in Israel. A Jewish settler and a Palestinian protester take pictures of each other with their phones on May 5 amid ongoing tension over a land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Settlers want to evict Palestinian families, claiming the land is theirs.(Ammar Awad/Reuters) Now, people who once called each other neighbour are frightened of each other. "I'm scared for our lives. I have two kids, and I'm unarmed," said Tamer Nafar, standing on the edge of a plaza known as the "Triangle of Religions" in Hebrew. "Look how beautiful it is," he said. "You have a mosque, you have a church, and you have a synagogue." Nafar is a well-known Palestinian rapper, born in Lod. He's also an activist who says the anger that recently boiled over onto the streets among Arab Israelis is born of decades of racism and discrimination. Tamer Nafar, a well-known Palestinian rapper who was born in Lod, says the anger that recently boiled over onto the streets among Arab Israelis is born of decades of racism and discrimination.(Stephanie Jenzer/CBC) "I mean, Israel doesn't consider me Israeli. The [national] anthem says land for the Jews, ignoring the Muslims," he said. "The things we are going through here, from housing, from demolishing houses, the media only sees it when it escalates, and we've been trying to create a dialogue for years." On the second day of rioting, Nafar says, he and his wife witnessed armed Jewish hardliners arriving on the scene. "So, I call the cops because I'm a f--kin' taxpayer, and they take my money every week." He says the police eventually hung up on him. Arrival of settlers has changed city's character Palestinian Arabs make up about 20 per cent of Israel's population and 30 per cent of Lod's. But in recent years, there's been an addition to the mix in Lod in the form of hardline nationalist and religious settlers moving to the city, part of the Garin Torani movement. "The main strategy was to establish settlements in the mixed cities," said Amnon Beɾri-Sulitzeanu of the Abraham Initiatives, an Israeli think-tank promoting equality for Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens. Israeli paramilitary border police detain Jewish settlers during clashes between Israeli Arabs, Jews and police in Lod on May 12.(Heidi Levine/The Associated Press) "To Judaize those places where there is more Arab presence or there is ongoing conflict between the communities or there is a need to demonstrate Jewish sovereignty or to reclaim, if you like, the area," he said. The settlers' arrival has slowly changed the character of some parts of the city, and when the rioting broke out in Lod, Beɾri-Sulitzeanu says that reinforcements were called in from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Around the corner from the Triangle of Religions, cars pull up to a large yeshiva still bearing the scars of last week's riots. A yeshiva, where Jewish students study traditional religious texts, bears the scars of the violence in Lod.(Jean-François Bisson/CBC) Young men wearing the uniform of nationalist religious Jews — knitted kippas and long beards and earlocks — are arriving for a meeting of volunteers. They're setting up a sort of neighbourhood watch group to protect the property of Jewish families who fled during the unrest. Police stand guard outside, and blocks of shabby-looking apartment buildings stand opposite, Israeli flags hanging out of some of the windows. Arab women carry groceries into the building and up the stairs. "We're standing in front of a building [where] two Jewish families and four, six or seven Arab families have been living together for the past 10 years," said Ayelet Wadler, a physicist and mother of six who lives a few blocks away. "They have been helping each other change tires, carry groceries. And on Tuesday night, on Monday night, suddenly they've had their neighbours who have been living with them for 10 years point out to rioters, 'Here, this is theirs, this is a Jewish car. Burn it.'" Ayelet Wadler, a physicist and mother of six who has lived in Lod for 15 years, says she's distressed that a number of Jewish families who lived nearby didn't feel safe enough to stay in their homes because of the unrest, and she blames Arab Israelis.(Jean-François Bisson/CBC) Wadler has lived in Lod for 15 years. She says she believes Arab Israelis are the ones responsible for what happened and is happy to see the men across the street gathering, some of whom stare at bystanders and look menacing. "I don't see vigilantes," she said. "I see people defending the house." Wadler says she is extremely distressed that a number of Jewish families didn't feel safe enough to remain in their own homes. "They were refugees in their own country. That is inconceivable. That's something that cannot happen." 'They are not going away, and we are not going away' Her failure to connect her comments to the history of her fellow Palestinian citizens speaks volumes about the challenges of reconciliation and understanding in the country. Palestinians on both sides of the green line between Israel and the occupied territories refer to the creation of the Israeli state in 1948 as al Nakba, the catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced to flee Israeli troops in the war that came with it. WATCH | Ongoing conflict amplifies tensions in Israel's mixed cities: Beɾri-Sulitzeanu says many Jewish Israelis simply don't know the history. "They don't know that within Israel proper, about a fifth of the Arab population within Israel are internal refugees as well, including most of the Arabs who live in Lod. They themselves are refugees because they arrive in Lod after ❈ from destroyed villages throughout Israel." Haha Nakib looks at one of the several vandalized graves in a Muslim cemetery in Lod on May 14, as fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza intensifies.(Heidi Levine/The Associated Press) By the same token, many Palestinian Arab Israelis do not understand the heart-stopping shudder that many Jewish people will have felt at the mention of pogrom-like attacks against Jews. "Most [Arab Israelis] don't understand the connotation and what I call the pain baggage that we Jews are carrying on our back," Beɾri-Sulitzeanu said. "They are simply not aware of it." Torah scrolls, Jewish holy scriptures, are removed on May 12 from a synagogue that was torched during violent confrontations in Lod between Arab-Israeli demonstrators and police.(Ronen Zvulun/Reuters) It's hard to imagine how the city will move forward. Beɾri-Sulitzeanu says the Arab-Israeli community's problem is not with the Jewish community in Lod but with the national religious settlers who have infiltrated it. But they appear increasingly entrenched, a settlement within an Israeli city. Suliman Zabarqa is convinced it comes down to the local leadership, a mayor that serves only the interests of the Jewish community. "I live in the state of Israel, and I have rights as any Israeli. But the state doesn't provide me with [them]. I hope the mayor of Lod will treat everyone in the same way. I hope he pays attention to the Arab sector in this town." Suliman Zabarqa is a Palestinian citizen of Israel who owns a restaurant in Lod and says Jewish rioters burned his property. He says he feels his rights aren't respected, and he hopes the city's mayor 'will treat everyone in the same way.'(Stephanie Jenzer/CBC) Tamer Nafar says that's a symptom of a much deeper problem. "When the dialogue between us is 'This is my country, the land for the Jews, not for you,' the whole dialogue has the colour of being superior," he said. "They need to understand that co-existence needs two sides to exist. They are not going away, and we are not going away."

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Lebanese attack Syrian voters in sign of growing resentment

BEIRUT (AP) — Groups of angry Lebanese on Thursday beat up Syrian expatriates and refugees heading to the Syrian Embassy in Beirut and pelted their cars and buses with stones and sticks, outraged over what they perceive as an organized vote for President Bashar Assad. Meanwhile, some Syrian refugees reported being pressured to cast their ballot with threats of physical violence or confiscation of documentation that could lead to loss of refugee status, the U.N. refugee agency said. Assad is running for a fourth seven-year term — facing symbolic competition from two other candidates — in a vote all but guarantees to bring him back as president. The Syrian opposition, as well as Western and some Arab countries see it as a sham designed to give Assad a new mandate with a veneer of legitimacy. It also comes in violation of U.N. resolutions that call for a new constitution before a presidential vote. The in-country vote is expected next week. In Lebanon, scattered mobs, mostly from the Christian right-wing Lebanese Forces group, intercepted cars and buses plastered with pictures of Assad and carrying Syrian voters at intersections in and around Beirut and in the eastern Bekaa region. The attackers pelted them with rocks and smashed windows with sticks. On the highway north of Beirut, one attacker poked a wooden stick inside a car, while others smashed its windshield. In another attack, a Lebanese driver ran over a group of Syrians, hitting one man. There were no official reports on how many were injured. “If they want to vote, they can go home and vote there," said Fadi Nader, a Lebanese protester. “Since they love Bashar Assad, why don't they go home?" Lebanese soldiers stood guard as hundreds of Syrians queued outside their embassy in Yarze, east of Beirut, to cast their ballots. Some Syrians shouted slogans in support of Assad as they waited. “I came here to elect President Bashar Assad. This is a national duty," said Ramzi Ahmad, a native of the central Syrian province of Homs. Lebanon is home to over 1 million Syrians, the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita. Their presence — nearly one Syrian for every four Lebanese — has weighed heavily on Lebanon's infrastructure and resources, particularly as the small country reels under an unprecedented economic crisis. Calls for Syrians to go home have also been a widely politicized issue among Lebanese, deeply divided over the 10-year conflict in Syria, some supporting Assad and others backing his opposition. The violence came a day after Samir Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces group, called for for those who vote for Assad to go back home since they are clearly not fearful of his government. Even before the conflict, Syria's role in Lebanon was deeply divisive. Syrian troops — deployed in Lebanon in 1976, shortly after the civil war broke out — withdrew in 2005 following a U.N. resolution, after a 29-year domination of Lebanese politics. It's a dilemma for Syrians living in Lebanon. Many say they are not ready to return home because of fear of prosecution in the absence of a peace deal. The U.N., the EU and the U.S. say conditions are not ripe for the return of millions of refugees. Also on Thursday, UNHCR said it received reports of intimidation and pressure, according to Lisa Abou Khaled, a spokesperson for the agency, adding that the agency was looking into it “to ensure that refugees are free to decide whether or not to vote.” Assad has been in power since 2000 when he took over from his father, Hafez, who ruled for 30 years. In the 10-year conflict, Assad has been supported by Iran and Russia. While fighting has subsided in recent years, Syria remains torn. Thousands of foreign troops are based in different parts of the country. The elections are not taking place in at least four provinces under the control of the opposition or Syrian Kurdish forces, depriving nearly 8 million Syrians of a vote. The Biden administration has said it will not recognize the result of Syria’s presidential election. France and Germany banned any voting at Syrian missions in their country, with a French Foreign Ministry official saying the elections are “null and void” and there is no point in holding them. Syria has been engulfed in civil war since 2011, when Arab Spring-inspired protests against the Assad family rule turned into an armed insurgency in response to a brutal military crackdown. Around half a million people have been killed and half the country’s population has been displaced. Fadi Tawil, The Associated Press

Off-season decisions loom for Canucks after missing playoffs for 5th time in 6 seasons

A season that began with high expectations unravelled like an old wool sweater for the Vancouver Canucks. Changes are expected on the ice, possibly behind the bench and maybe even in the front office after the Canucks missed the NHL playoffs for the fifth time in six years with a 23-29-4 record for 50 points, leaving them last in the seven Canadian team North Division. Vancouver's playoff hopes were already hanging by a thread before a COVID-19 outbreak in late March ravaged the team, infecting 22 players and four members of the coaching staff. Once given a clean bill of health the Canucks faced a draining schedule of 19 games in 32 days. Injuries to slick centre Elias Pettersson (out since March 2 with a hyper-extended wrist), Brandon Sutter, Tyler Motte, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel depleted the lineup. Off the ice, forward Jake Virtanen was placed on leave May 1 following allegations of sexual assault. "We had a lot of ups and downs in a short season," Sutter said. "This has been a year like no other." WATCH | COVID-19 outbreak put Canucks' season in jeopardy: Head coach Travis Green and the entire Canucks' coaching staff enter the off-season in limbo with their contracts expired. Green was reluctant to talk about his future. "It's well known how I feel about our group and our team and the city," said Green, who has spent four years behind the Canuck bench. "I don't think there's anything else I want to say at this point. We'll see what happens." Captain Bo Horvat gave Green a vote of confidence. "Travis has been awesome," said Horvat, who had 19 goals and 30 points. "He helped me through this process, growing my game, teaching me how to play the game and be a good leader. "He's been great toward me and the team. Weɽ like to see him back for sure." The Canucks began the 56-game season riding the high of their 2020 playoff performance. Playing in the Edmonton bubble, Vancouver defeated the Minnesota Wild in four games during the playoff qualifying round. The Canucks then eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games before losing in seven to the Vegas Golden Knights. Over the summer the Canucks lost several players to free agency, including goaltender Jacob Markstrom forwards Tyler Toffoli, Josh Leivo and defencemen Chris Tanev, Oscar Fantenberg and Troy Stecher. The Canucks signed goaltender Braden Holtby and defenceman Travis Hamonic as free agents. They also made a trade for defenceman Nate Schmidt. 'It's been a crazy year' With no exhibition games, and with new faces in the lineup, the Canucks struggled early, losing 11 of their first 17 matches. They found some traction with an 8-4-1 stretch in March but fell out of contention after the bout with COVID. "It's been a crazy year," forward J.T. Miller said. "For everyone to get COVID when they did at that time, it couldn't have been worse. We were starting to hit a little bit of a stride. We knew we were playing well." There were bright spots. Thatcher Demko, 25, showed he can be a starting goaltender with a 16-18-1 record, 2.85 goals-against average and .915 save percentage on a team that allowed an average 33.4 shots a game, third most in the league. WATCH | Canucks stun Leafs in 1st game back from COVID outbreak: Forward Brock Boeser led the team in scoring with 23 goals and 49 points, after scoring 16 goals in 57 games last year. "I still think I can produce a little more for this team," the 24-year-old said. "I think it's great I had a bounce-back year. Personally, Iɽ rather be producing like I did this year for a team that's in the playoffs." Rookie Nils Hoglander played all 56 games, collecting 13 goals and 14 assists. Defenceman Jack Rathbone, picked 95th overall in the 2017 draft, looked promising in a handful of games. Pettersson, the league's top rookie two years ago, had just one assist in his first six games but then collected 10 goals and 11 assists in 20 games before his season ended. Defenceman Quinn Hughes, a rookie-of-the-year candidate last season, struggled early but found his legs, leading the Canucks with 38 assists. Decisions to be made The Canucks have some decisions to make over the summer. Sutter and veteran defenceman Alex Edler are both unrestricted free agents. Pettersson and Hughes, the building blocks of the Canuck future, are restricted free agents and need to be signed. Despite continued social media calls for him to be fired, Jim Benning is expected to return as Vancouver's general manager. There has been speculation Daniel and Henrik Sedin, two of the most successful and popular Canucks ever, might have a role in management. Although the team missed the playoffs, Green believes the Canucks are close to being a contender. "I still look at our group as a team on the rise," he said. "I don't have any doubts about that. I have no doubt, with the young pieces we have . . . good things are coming for the Vancouver Canucks." Miller said playing pre-season games, having fans in the stands, being able to leave the hotel on road trips, will all make a difference next season. "We just can't wait to have a little normalcy," he said.

Family begged to have sister with Down syndrome vaccinated sooner. Now she's on a ventilator with COVID-19

Toula Zouzoulas, 44, who has Down syndrome, has spent the last year terrified of catching COVID-19, according to her sister Olga Zouzoulas. Now, Toula is on a ventilator, fighting for her life in the ICU of Montfort Hospital in Ottawa after testing positive. Zouzoulas said she feels all this could have been avoided if her sister had been vaccinated, arguing that Toula and others with Down syndrome should have qualified sooner. Under Ontario's vaccine rollout program, those with intellectual or developmental disabilities are considered high-risk under Phase 2, but didn't become eligible until May 3 — too late for Toula who contracted COVID-19 a week earlier. "The government didn't see them as the highest risk and they failed. They failed my sister," said Zouzoulas. "She deserves to be protected . and she wasn't." Toula lives in a COVID-19 hotspot in Ottawa with her elderly parents, one of whom is considered high-risk and requires home care services. The parents qualified for a vaccine in March, as did Olga, who is her mother's caregiver. But Toula had to wait. WATCH | Sister says multiple attempts to vaccinate Toula failed: Repeatedly denied Given these circumstances and the fact that Toula has Down syndrome, Zouzoulas tried repeatedly to have her vaccinated as early as possible but said every request was denied by Ottawa Public Health (OPH), who told her Toula didn't yet qualify. In mid-April, Toula developed a stomach ulcer that required surgery. Complications after the surgery kept her in hospital longer. Then in late April, Toula tested positive for COVID-19 while in hospital and is now in the ICU on a ventilator. "It's horrible. She should not be in this situation. She needs to be home," Zouzoulas said. In Ontario, people with Down syndrome were put in an at-risk category that gave them vaccine access in Phase 2, but that still left Toula waiting until May.(Jean Delise/CBC) People with Down syndrome have 'increased risk for dying' There have been campaigns across Canada, from both organizations and families, to get people with Down syndrome vaccinated sooner. Yona Lunsky, professor at the University of Toronto, who specializes in developmental disabilities and health care, says it is a good thing that Ontario named people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities as a priority — even if vaccinations are still too late for some. Not every province in the country has done so. "I think the challenge with Phase 2 is that there were so many different groups to be included," Lunksy said. "Certainly the research shows that people with Down syndrome, regardless of where they [live], if they get exposed to COVID, then it's harder for them to fight that infection and others and they're at increased risk for dying." Lunsky said that alone is "a really good reason for us to take good preventative action, to support them as best we can to stop them from getting ill and to treat them as quickly as possible." The key, according to Lunsky, is not just making people with developmental disabilities a priority group for vaccination, but "actually doing everything you can to get the needle into people's arms." 'They need to be protected' OPH said it couldn't comment on any particular case, but that it's "obligated to follow" the order of vaccination priority laid out by the province. In a statement, it said only "in select, rare situations where the provincial guidance is not explicit or not yet determined" does the city's taskforce provide interpretation or recommendations on eligible populations. Ontario's Ministry of Health has not replied to a request for comment from CBC News. Zouzoulas is still left wanting answers — and a change if anything like this should ever happen again in the future. "The Down syndrome population, they can't be put [in the queue] where they were this time and they need to be protected. She may not matter to them, but she matters to us."

Polish journalist wins legal battle against US activist

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish journalist who described a U.S. conservative activist as part of a global war against democracy by right-wing actors with indirect ties to Russia has won a years-long legal battle with the American. Matthew Tyrmand, an American with Polish roots, has written for Breitbart and is a board member of the organization Project Veritas, which carries out undercover stings against media organizations seeking to expose what it believes is left-wing bias. Tyrmand sued Polish journalist Tomasz Piatek and Agora, publisher of the liberal newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, over a 2016 article that described Tyrmand as “part of the global war by the right wing against democracy” and as a supporter of Donald Trump, who was not yet the U.S. president. Tyrmand objected to several points in the article, including the description of him as “Trump’s man” and an allegation that he had an indirect link to Russia due to Trump's sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also objected to Piatek writing that Project Veritas wages “informational warfare.” Tyrmand maintained that the 2016 article was defamatory and sued Piatek, losing an initial case and also on appeal. The judge in the lower court argued argued that it was not defamatory to describe Tyrmand as part of Trump’s circle when he has written for Breitbart and been associated with other pro-Trump political actors. A panel of three judges at the appellate court upheld that ruling, though one of the three dissented. The appellate court's judgment became final earlier this week after a deadline passed by which Tyrmand would have had to appeal higher to the country’s Supreme Court. Tyrmand told The Associated Press that he decided to end his legal battle because he had “little faith” in getting a fair hearing if he continued, alleging that Polish courts are “politicized.” “I have decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court because frankly after reading the ridiculousness of the appellate court ruling, my faith in the judiciary acting apolitically stands somewhere between low and none,” Tyrmand said in message sent Wednesday. They are basically saying that my views make me a rightful target and any protections are nullified and voided but his views, since they are so agreeable to the politicized court, are upheld as valid and worthy of protection Piatek, who has written books that explore alleged links between people in the world of politics, business and the media with pro-Kremlin groups, welcomed the ruling. "It's a victory of truth,” he told the AP on Thursday from Warsaw. The Tyrmand name is known in Poland because the activist's father is the late Leopold Tyrmand, a prominent Polish-Jewish communist-era dissident and writer who survived the Holocaust and emigrated to the United States in the 1960s. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign Tyrmand distributed the film “Clinton Cash” — which portrayed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as captive to wealthy foreign interests — in Poland. Around that time he was also writing articles for Breitbart News, led by Steve Bannon, who later became Trump's chief strategist. Tyrmand also had friendly ties to some members of Poland's conservative government. Piatek and editors at Gazeta Wyborcza believed that Tyrmand's case against them was part of a broader effort by the government and people friendly to it to have a chilling effect on its journalists. Tyrmand has denied that and said he was fighting to defend his reputation. During the initial trial, Tyrmand argued that the article connected him “in this tenuous guilt-by-association to Vladimir Putin.” He called it the “biggest slander and slur” possible in a part of Europe that had “achieved independence from the Soviet tyranny.” Tyrmand also argued that it was unfair to call him a supporter of Trump, arguing that at the time that the article was published he still backed Republican challenger Ted Cruz. Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press

COVID fight could return 'to square one': experts sound vaccines alarm

India's export ban on COVID-19 shots risks dragging the battle against the pandemic "back to square one" unless wealthy nations step in to plug a gaping hole in the COVAX global vaccine-sharing scheme, health specialists said on Thursday. COVAX, which is critical for poorer countries, relies on AstraZeneca shots made by the Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest maker of vaccines. It was already around 100 million doses short of where it had planned to be when India halted exports a month ago amid a surge in infections there.

Ontario prepares to reopen after punishing third COVID-19 wave

TORONTO (Reuters) -Ontario expects to permit outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and allow non-essential retail to operate at 15% capacity starting the week of June 14, contingent on certain vaccination rates being met, the premier said on Thursday. The reopening will be confirmed closer to the date, Premier Doug Ford said. COVID-19 cases are falling steadily in Ontario, and new government modeling showed that if restrictions were maintained until mid-June, cases would likely remain under control.

Hinshaw announces new COVID-19 quarantine rules for vaccinated Albertans

EDMONTON — Fully vaccinated Albertans no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19 and are not showing symptoms, the province's chief medical officer of health said Thursday. "While vaccines don't erase all possibility of infection, the data shows the vaccine reduces the amount of virus in the person's body, even if someone does get infected, which further reduces the risk of transmission," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw. She also said people who have had one shot can have their isolation time reduced. Until Thursday, people were legally required to quarantine for 14 days when a close contact was confirmed to have been infected with the virus. Hinshaw said people who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks no longer need to isolate as long as they don't show symptoms. If that person is symptomatic they will be required to isolate and get tested. They would no longer need to quarantine if their test is negative, but if it's positive, they must isolate for 10 days after their symptoms started. Hinshaw said for those with one vaccine dose the quarantine period has been reduced to 10 days, or as long as they also don't have symptoms. Those who have a negative PCR test on Day 7 or later can be released from quarantine, but those who test positive must isolate as usual. All the other restrictions still apply to people who haven't had any vaccine and those returning from international travel, Hinshaw said. She noted that almost 51 per cent of Albertans age 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. But she stressed that public health restrictions are still in place and must be followed to keep infection rates down. "We are gaining momentum, but it is fragile and we cannot afford to take this (long) weekend off from following the rules," she said. There were 812 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday in Alberta and four new deaths. Since the pandemic began more than a year ago, a total of 2,162 people have died from the virus in the province. Hinshaw said there were 665 people in hospital, including 177 in intensive care. She said the province is working on a centralized vaccine booking system to ease the burden on pharmacies and to help prevent abuse of the system. Alberta Health Services (AHS) said in a tweet Wednesday that it was monitoring vaccination no-shows following claims on social media that some people are booking several times to try to stop others from getting a shot. The agency said it shared the information with police and is making sure participating pharmacies are aware of the claims. "At this time, AHS is not seeing an increase in no-shows. On any given day, no-shows account for approximately one per cent of the total number booked for an immunization," it said in an emailed statement Thursday. The Alberta Pharmacists' Association said it did not have information on the matter and could not comment. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2021. Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

Report: Chris Cuomo advised brother on sex harassment claims

NEW YORK (AP) — CNN said Thursday it was “inappropriate” for anchor Chris Cuomo to have been involved in phone calls with the staff of his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, where strategies on how the governor should respond to sexual harassment allegations were allegedly discussed. The network was responding to a story in The Washington Post that said Chris Cuomo had joined a series of conference calls with aides and advisers. The host of CNN's “Cuomo Prime Time” encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not resign, the Post said, quoting two people present on one of the calls that the newspaper did not identify. CNN said in a statement that Chris Cuomo has not been involved in the network's coverage of the allegations, either on the air or behind the scenes, because he could not be objective and often serves as a “sounding board” for his older brother. “However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the governor's staff, which Chris acknowledges,” the network said. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.” The network did not announce any disciplinary action against its show host. On his show Thursday night, Chris Cuomo said being involved in the calls was “a mistake.” “I put my colleagues here (at CNN), who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot,” the anchor said at the top of his show. “I never intended for that, I would never intend for that, and I am sorry for that.” Asked about the Post story, Cuomo press secretary Richard Azzopardi said that “there were a few phone conversations, with friends and advisers giving the governor advice.” The New York Democrat is facing allegations that he abused his power by inappropriately touching and sexually harassing women who worked with him or met him elsewhere. Accusations range from groping under a woman’s shirt and planting unwanted kisses to asking unwelcome personal questions about sex and dating. Cuomo has apologized for making anyone feel uncomfortable, but said he never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate advances. The state attorney general is investigating. A majority of state Democratic lawmakers have called on Cuomo to resign. The Post story said that at one point, Chris Cuomo used the phrase “cancel culture” as a reason to hold firm. During a March 12 phone call with reporters where Andrew Cuomo said he would not resign, the governor said, “people know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth.” Andrew Cuomo, 63, and Chris, 50, are both sons of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and have described themselves as best friends. The first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of harassment, Lindsey Boylan, issued a statement blasting the brothers. “The job of the press is to hold people who abuse their power accountable. Chris Cuomo has the loudest microphone at the biggest news station in the country. Entire power systems are structured to protect men like Andrew Cuomo. This is example infinity of why women don’t come forward.” During the height of the COVID-19 crisis in New York last spring, CNN set aside its previous policy not allowing Andrew to appear on Chris' program. Many viewers found the resulting banter between the two entertaining before CNN reinstated its ban in June. But those exceptions looked bad in retrospect when Cuomo received criticism for a New York state policy regarding COVID patients in nursing homes, and the subsequent harassment allegations. Chris Cuomo said on the air March 1 that he “obviously” couldn't cover the stories surrounding his brother. It's generally considered inappropriate for people in the news media to offer advice to news figures. Fox News Channel figures Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity have both acknowledged privately giving their opinions to former President Donald Trump, although Hannity has said that “I never claimed to be a journalist.” Andrew Cuomo is also under investigation by a state legislative committee over allegations that his administration arranged for members of his family, including Chris Cuomo, to get special access to COVID-19 tests last year at a time when they were generally unavailable to the general public. ___ Associated Press correspondent Marina Villeneuve in Albany, New York, and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report. David Bauder, The Associated Press

University of Windsor erred in handling student's sexual assault complaint, court rules

The University of Windsor failed to properly resolve a student's sexual assault complaint through a process she says left her feeling powerless and scared, an Ontario court has ruled. A university adjudicator unlawfully delegated her appeal to a criminal court instead of issuing a decision under its own campus policies, a divisional court panel of judges said in a decision released in April. The court set aside the university's decision, telling the school to revisit the student's complaint against a male student, using a different adjudicator. Since the court's ruling, the school has agreed to re-adjudicate the case. The student, who is protected by a publication ban, spoke exclusively to CBC Windsor, saying she's relieved by the panel's decision. However, she calls her experience with the university "terrifying." "I felt like my dignity was already stolen and whatever power I had left in me they took that away from me as well," says the student, who is referred to as Jane Doe. Jane Doe said she did not feel safe returning to campus after filing her complaint.(Chris Ensing/CBC News) The panel of judges also raised concerns with the lead investigator's focus on how she "would expect a sexual assault complainant to act" during the assault. The investigator failed to include in her report the student's position that she "did not consent and had expressed her lack of consent at several points verbally or by her actions." How the complaint process unfolded According to the court, Doe first filed a complaint with the university on Jan. 13, 2020, saying another student had "penetrated her without consent" in the fall of 2019. The university's associate vice-president of student experience (AVPSE) was tasked with investigating, and six months later, according to the court, "concluded, on a balance of probabilities, that the respondent did not sexually assault Ms. Doe." Doe appealed, saying the AVPSE made a "serious procedural error" in a decision that was "clearly unreasonable or unsupportable on the evidence," the judges said. The matter was passed on to an adjudicator at the school who said the initial investigation "veered into the dangerous territory of assessing how an ordinary victim might react or how a complainant ought to have reacted." The AVPSE, in its initial decision, relied heavily on that investigation's findings. Still, the adjudicator, who was not named in the decision, took no action and said the University of Windsor would wait for the outcome of a criminal trial. Failing a criminal conviction, the appeal would be dismissed, the adjudicator said. In their decision, the divisional court judges called this abdication of decision-making both unreasonable and unlawful. ɾrror after error': student's lawyer "I think what we saw here was the university shirking its responsibility under the law to properly address and adjudicate this allegation of sexual assault. Instead what they tried to do was foist this decision on to criminal court, which was completely improper," said Doe's lawyer, Gregory Ko, a partner at the Toronto firm Kastner Lam. "You have error after error that has resulted in an incredibly lengthy and painful process for Jane Doe that's lasted now 16 months," said Ko. Doe's lawyer, Gregory Ko, says the court's decision documents the University of Windsor's errors in handling her sexual assault complaint. (Chris Ensing/CBC) In agreeing to re-adjudicate the student's complaint, the University of Windsor is also reviewing its sexual misconduct policies and procedures. "This includes the incorporation of enhanced training for internal and external investigators as it relates to the university's Policy on Sexual Misconduct," the school said in a statement. Experts in sex assault prevention, policy weigh in Experts in sexual assault prevention and policy agree more training is needed to deal with campus complaints. Barb MacQuarrie led a team of researchers at London's Western University who developed a program for people dealing with sexual assault cases at Ontario campuses. She said what Doe went through is "completely unfair." WATCH | An expert in sexual violence prevention speaks on how U of W can improve: "That is dragging a survivor through a legal process that she shouldn't have to go through. No survivor of any gender should ever have to go through that kind of extreme effort just to have procedural justice." MacQuarrie worries about the ripple effect of Doe's experience. "There's no doubt that these kinds of experiences deter other people from coming forward. Survivors will be paying attention to this whole process." She said while the University of Windsor is considered a leader for its work on sexual assault prevention on campus, this decision shows systemic issues still need to be addressed. Dusty Johnstone, a sexual assault prevention officer who was not involved directly in Doe's case, says people need to know how to respond when someone tells them about a sexual assault.(Stacey Janzer/CBC) Dusty Johnstone, the sexual misconduct response and prevention officer at the University of Windsor, said she was not involved in the investigation or decisions made in relation to Doe's complaint. However, she said: "I think that it's an opportunity for us to look carefully at the procedures and how we, I think, fail to meet the standard that we have outlined in our documents, and to really try to align our policy and our procedures as we move forward." Johnstone stressed that sexual assault complaints needed to be handled in a timely manner, something the court makes clear in its decision. Complaint process 'oppressive' says Doe Doe said she wants voices like hers to be heard when universities make policy decisions involving sexual misconduct and the complaint process. She said it was difficult to come forward because of fears she wouldn't be believed. "This process requires a lot of courage and trust. I expect the university to handle these cases seriously and be able to eliminate second victimization. The process that the university has, it's basically oppressive to these individuals. It oppresses them instead of empowering them." A criminal case is expected to begin this summer. The male student accused in the sexual assault did not enter any evidence during the process. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Quebec's reopening plan brings much-needed hope — and yes, some risks

Premier François Legault was visibly upbeat on Tuesday — more than he has been in a while — as he laid out a timeline for the province's reopening. And why wouldn't he be? After imposing a curfew on much of the province since January, shutting down schools in some regions and keeping restaurants, bars and gyms closed, Quebec has become the first province to release a full-fledged plan with dates to loosen restrictions. (Saskatchewan earlier released a roadmap tied to vaccination rates, with no firm timeline, and Ontario was set to announce theirs Thursday afternoon.) The first step in Quebec's plan, starting May 28, is to lift the curfew where it still exists, including Montreal, and allow outdoor gatherings on private property and sit-down service on restaurant patios. On May 29, the province will also be the first to allow fans back to an NHL arena — with 2,500 permitted at the Bell Centre for Game 6 of the Leafs-Canadiens playoffs series (if the Habs haven't already won). If all goes well, gyms and indoor dining will reopen a few days later, on May 31. By the middle of June, Legault said most regions will be out of the so-called red and orange levels of restrictions, and at the yellow level, which means people from two different households can gather indoors and bars can reopen. There are, however, notes of caution about Quebec's plan, sounded by experts and even Montreal's own public health director, who has helped the city so far avoid a third wave. Quebec Premier François Legault was all smiles when he announced the gradual lifting of measures this summer and congratulated residents for following the rules.(Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press) Dates vs. vaccination rates Quebec has been subject to some of the strictest measures in the country and, clearly, the timeline provided a much-needed sense of hope to a weary public. There's some trepidation too. "It's a move in the right direction," said Johnny Zatylnyhalo, out for a bike ride on the Lachine Canal on Wednesday. "I think we just have to take it step by step." In general, Quebec is headed in the right direction, with daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths all on the decline, and the latest projections from Quebec's health research institute, the INESSS, suggest that trend will continue. It's a remarkable turnaround for the province that has had the most deaths per capita in the country. In the days and weeks leading up to the announcement, Legault said he favoured Saskatchewan's approach, where the lifting of measures is tied to the rate of vaccination. But in the end, Quebec's roadmap is a date-based timeline, with the expectation that the vaccination rate and an improving situation in hospitals will allow measures to be gradually lifted. (Quebec Ministry of Health) Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious diseases specialist at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, said there are clear drawbacks to that choice. "I think we've all seen over the course of this pandemic enough instances where there have been unexpected twists and turns," he said. "All of a sudden there's a shortage of a vaccine. All of a sudden there's an outbreak in one area of a particularly transmissible variant." Laying out a clear timeline has obvious benefits: it will allow for the province's long-suffering owners of restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses to make preparations and hire back staff, and for the public to make plans for the summer. (The restaurants had actually hoped for more warning). But, Oughton said, "once you commit yourself to a hard date, if you have to change, then you're going to get people who will come back to you and say, 'Well, you said,' and that makes it a little bit more difficult." The advantage of Saskatchewan's performance-tied reopening, he said, is that it serves as motivation to the public. "It's sort of a way to incentivize, before we reach those levels, to continue to follow the measures in place and to continue to go get vaccinated," he said. Kim Lavoie, Canada Research Chair of behavioural medicine at Université du Québec à Montréal, worries that delaying the planned reopening would be difficult if there is indeed a setback. Quebec was already forced to tighten back restrictions in much of the province earlier this year after a spike in cases. "That has an impact not only on business and everybody, but also psychologically," Lavoie said. "So there's that risk tying it to a certain date and then having to pull back, right?" A word of caution from Montreal Quebec's vaccination rate is climbing quickly 61 per cent of adults have received a dose of vaccine and another 14 per cent have an appointment booked. But the province hasn't begun to vaccinate teens, and only three per cent of the population has received two doses. The province made the decision early to delay the second dose and send vaccines from Montreal to Quebec City, which had a spike in cases earlier this year. Those decisions paid off, but Montreal is now lagging behind other parts of the province in terms of its vaccination rate. On Wednesday, Dr. Mylène Drouin, Montreal's public health director, appeared uncomfortable with the idea of tying the reopening to dates, rather than the situation on the ground. Although Montreal has been able to avoid a third wave, she noted the city is still considered a red zone, at maximum alert for restrictions. "I've always said that I don't put dates on things, but I am confident that we will, in the coming weeks, be able to reduce the rate of infection and stabilize it," she told Radio-Canada's Tout un matin. "As soon as we allow indoor events, there is a risk. We increase contacts. We can't do the yo-yo in reopening, so we'll have to be fairly careful." WATCH | Quebec will start to lift restrictions later this month: Later in the day, Health Minister Christian Dubé said the province is comfortable with its end-of-month target. Dubé said he's confident Montreal will see the rate of infection decrease. "The chances are really high and that's why we presented the plan the way we did, and the premier insisted that we were able to respect the dates. But we have to continue to do the same work that has been done by Quebecers," he said. Given the huge influx of vaccines, Dubé also said appointments for second doses will be moved up once the first round of vaccinations is complete. "If we continue like this, we should have really good news at the end of May." But even he sounded a note of caution. "There are always things that can happen. We've seen it with this pandemic, in the last year, there can always be surprises."

Message in bottle travels from P.E.I. to Texas

Lucas MacDonald usually pulls big blue fin tuna out of the water off the shores of North Lake, P.E.I., but about three years ago he tossed a bottle in the ocean with a message inside. "We were just out tuna fishing and it was kind of a slow day and we decided itɽ be just something to just kill time. Just had a bottle on the boat," said MacDonald, who is now 16. He fishes with his dad, typically doing tours with Tony's Tuna Fishing based out of North Lake. MacDonald said his dad would always tell him about messages in bottles being tossed out into the ocean in November of 2018. "I decided let's just make it. I put my name on the top, said ⟊tching ganders off North Lake, P.E.I.' Put my address, phone number, date, and just gave it a good throw. Never thought anything of it." ɿirst it found its way out of like the Maritime region, that ocean, then it went all the way around the Atlantic,' says Lucas MacDonald.(Arlene MacDonald) MacDonald pretty much forgot about the bottle completely as the years passed. "My first thought was it's either going to get crushed by another boat or I'm just going to find it the very next day on the beach," he said. "Could have been just stuck in a current just somewhere in the Atlantic doing figure eights for the rest of its lifetime." However about a week and a half ago, MacDonald got a text he wasn't expecting. "I got a random text message saying, like 'is this Lucas MacDonald?,'" he said. "Instantly I was like this is a scam, like there is no way, then I read over it again." The bottle MacDonald tossed into the ocean and the message he put inside.(Dianne Jurek/Facebook) The person told him they found a message in a bottle with his name and phone number on it and sent him a picture. Dianne Jurek lives in Fresno, Texas. She was walking on a beach in the area on May 7 on her way back from fishing when she saw something stuck in the sand — a bottle. "When we got out and looked at it, it definitely had something in it. So we grabbed it and took it with us," she said. 'How interesting' When Jurek was visiting family she decided to check out what was in the bottle and saw the message from MacDonald. 'This will really keep him excited to stay on the water,' says Dianne Jurek.(Dianne Jurek/Facebook) "It had moisture inside of it so we had to be careful pulling it out," she said. "I just thought how interesting, when we looked it up, how far it had travelled to our beach." Jurek was surprised to get a message back. She thought the person who made the message may have changed phone numbers. "I've actually spoke with his mother through Facebook," she said. "This will really keep him excited to stay on the water. So, yeah it was pretty neat." MacDonald said he had no idea his bottle would find its way into the Gulf of Mexico. "First it found its way out of like the Maritime region, that ocean, then it went all the way around the Atlantic," he said. "It was amazing how it went underneath Florida as well, and then went in and got stuck in Texas." The rough track the bottle took from the Island to Texas.(Tony's Tuna Fishing/Facebook) Jurek said now she wants to throw her own message in a bottle in the water. However, environmental experts advise against that. CBC has spoken with environmental experts in the past. They don't encourage throwing bottles of any type into the ocean as it adds to pollution. Back in 2018, a man who threw messages in bottles off P.E.I. for 22 years was ordered to stop by conservation officers or face a $5,000 fine. More from CBC P.E.I.

Canada's vaccination pace moves to top of pack but second doses, global aid slow

OTTAWA — Canada's vaccination effort against COVID-19 has pulled even with the United States in one of the key markers in the race to herd immunity and is closing in fast on a status as one of the top 10 most vaccinated countries in the world. Globally Canada now sits in the top 15 among nations for the share of the population with at least one dose of vaccine — a marked change from the 42nd place it held in early March. But any celebration of the achievement is muted for some health professionals who see Canada pulling ahead at the expense of much of the world. As of Thursday morning Canada had given at least one dose to 18.1 million people, about 47.6 per cent of the population, tying the United States. Canada will pull into the lead by day's end, now vaccinating people 1.8 times faster than the U.S. Canada is still well behind on second doses — down in about 64th place globally with only four per cent of the population fully vaccinated now. The U.S. has fully vaccinated 37.5 per cent. University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe said Canada's demand continues to be very strong, boding well for the goal to get at least 75 per cent of the population vaccinated. "Canada is in this situation where our pace of vaccination is accelerating, past the point where it started to sharply decelerate in the United States," he said. Tombe said Canada's pace is now among the fastest in the world, and is on track to go ahead of Chile and Hungary next week, the United Kingdom in early June and Israel before Canada Day. Canada will get half the population vaccinated with one dose this weekend, and to the magic 75 per cent of people over 12 by the third week of June. That's the number where health officials say restrictions can start to gradually be lifted. Procurement Minister Anita Anand seems loathe to do any celebratory dance about the milestones, repeating over and over that her focus is only on keeping the pressure on vaccine suppliers to fulfil their contracts in a world where demand is well higher than the available supply. "I still feel the responsibility weighing very heavily on my shoulders to ensure that we have enough vaccine for all Canadians who want it to be vaccinated," she said. Still, Anand said it "does feel a little surreal" to see so many Canadians now vaccinated. Canada's inability to produce COVID-19 vaccines at home has been a sore spot for the government's critics, and the biggest barrier to Canada's vaccine efforts at the start. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the latest numbers are "encouraging" but the vaccine plan is still a "failure" by the government. “From the beginning, the Liberals made some really key mistakes," he said. "They didn’t create the capacity to produce the vaccine in Canada." Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner has been one of the loudest critics of the federal vaccine procurement and said there are still a lot of issues to overcome. Communications to Canadians about what vaccine to get, the safety issues that arose around the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots and then confusing messaging about who should get that vaccine have been harmful, said Rempel Garner. People now want to know when they'll get their second dose, what kind of dose it will be, and when they can start having normal lives again, information that is not forthcoming from Ottawa, she said. "In spite of all these communication errors, and in spite of the lack of direction on what vaccinated persons can do, I am encouraged by the fact we're seeing an uptake in vaccinations," she said. "I think that's a very good sign." Dr. Srinivas Murthy, a critical care pediatric specialist in Vancouver with a research focus on pandemic preparedness, said he gives Canada's vaccine effort a D-minus, but not because Canadians aren't getting vaccinated fast enough. It's because Canada is vaccinating its own and leaving much of the world to wait months, if not years to do so themselves. He said his grade it would be an F if Canada hadn't donated $220 million to help the global-vaccine sharing alliance known as COVAX. The idea of COVAX was that the world would help vaccinate itself as a whole, pooling vaccines for an equitable global distribution. But Canada donated to COVAX and also signed private deals to get almost 10 doses of vaccine for every Canadian. Last week, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, urged wealthy countries to delay vaccinating their youngest — and least vulnerable citizens — and send doses to help vaccinate vulnerable and high-risk workers in low-income countries. Canada is already vaccinating kids as young as 12 in many provinces. Murthy said the political pressure to keep up with the U.S. or the U.K. pushed Canada to abandon any pretence that it would be a good global citizen on vaccines. "That impatience to get Canadians vaccinated . I think it's led to where we are now where politicians felt like they had to steal all the doses from around the world so that they can satisfy those Canadians," he said. "When really what they should have done is shown leadership from the very beginning." Murthy said it's not too late for Canada to step up and start donating doses today. Canada has said it will donate doses eventually but has provided no timeline of when or how many. Globally, 723 million people have been vaccinated so far, but only three per cent of them live in Africa, and nine per cent in South America, which together account for one-quarter of the world's population. Conversely Europe and North America, which account for less than one-fifth of the global population, are home to 56 per cent of the people vaccinated to date. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Why many Canadians feel stuck in 'limbo' without COVID-19 vaccine 2nd-dose appointments

When Rory Armstrong became eligible for a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, he jumped at the chance to get it. The 61-year-old Edmonton resident got an AstraZeneca-Oxford shot at a hospital's pop-up clinic on March 15, along with his wife that same week, and both felt fine afterwards — aside from a few aches and pains. What's been a concern in the months since, Armstrong says, is that the pair feel stuck in "limbo." So far they haven't received any information on when they'll get a second dose, even though Alberta's time frame to get another AstraZeneca shot is at least 12 weeks after the first dose and no later than four months. "We've heard absolutely nothing," he said, "and our due date is the first week of June." Canadians across the country have shared similar experiences with CBC News, citing a lack of information from local health officials, struggles trying to book second-dose appointments and confusion over a patchwork of different booking systems and access points — from pop-up clinics to mass immunization centres to pharmacies. "There's the fear: Are we going to get a second shot on time?" Armstrong said. Second dose rates vary between regions Right now, the second-dose situation varies widely among provinces and territories. In Canada's North, vaccination rates are the highest in the country: Close to 60 per cent of all Yukon residents are fully vaccinated with both doses, along with roughly half of all residents of the Northwest Territories and more than a third of Nunavut residents. Among the provinces, the rate of those fully vaccinated is significantly lower, ranging from about two to seven per cent — with the Canada-wide average a little over three per cent. Far more Canadians — nearly half the country — have been given a single dose. WATCH | Advice on COVID-19 vaccines for kids raises questions about 2nd doses: That difference comes as most regions are currently following recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to delay second doses up to four months, which gave health-care providers a chance to offer protection to as many people as possible while vaccine shipments were sluggish. Recently, NACI also gave its blessing to using Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for Canadians as young as 12, with some provinces already opening appointments to that age group. But Tania Watts, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto, said second doses shouldn't be on the backburner. "We want to get this second dose on schedule to get the boost we all need," Watts said. "Now that we've got [more Canadians] at dose one, and they're starting to vaccinate 12-year-olds, we really need to be — in parallel — getting those dose twos into people." Yet emails submitted to the Ask CBC News team from residents across the country have featured concerns ranging from second-dose appointments being cancelled through voicemail messages, to pharmacies not knowing when people can book, to struggles navigating how to get a much-needed booster shot for vulnerable people such as cancer patients. 'I waited and waited and waited' Much like Rory Armstrong, the Edmonton resident waiting for information about a second dose, 77-year-old Ottawa resident John Freeman said he's also lacking an appointment and can't get any details on the next steps. Freeman said he tried to book an initial vaccination appointment through the province's online system, but despite several tries, the website kept freezing. He called his local public health officials instead, who booked him into a pop-up clinic near his home — and on March 28, both he and his wife got a first shot of the Pfizer vaccine. But looking at his confirmation paperwork, Freeman was surprised to see that a line about his second appointment date was left blank. He said health-care workers on-site said theyɽ be in touch by email instead. "I waited and waited and waited," he told CBC News. "I thought Iɽ get an email within a few days, but up until now, I have not heard from them — zero." WATCH | How Manitoba's 2nd doses will be rolled out: Bill Campbell, a spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of Health, noted in an emailed statement that the province's booking system requires second-dose appointments to be booked at the same time as first-dose appointments. Meanwhile, anyone who gets a vaccine through other channels — such as pharmacies, hospitals or pop-up and mobile clinics — "will receive confirmation of their second-dose appointment before the four-month interval." In Alberta, Alberta Health Services (AHS) spokesperson Tom McMillan said pharmacies and AHS will contact residents directly, closer to their eligibility date, to book their next appointment — and when eligible, Albertans will also be able to book online or over the phone. The Saskatchewan government, in contrast, has already released a tentative schedule for when people aged 45 and older may be able to book an appointment to receive their second dose, with those aged 85 and older already eligible, along with some at-risk individuals such as patients with cancer. Many Canadians ɿrustrated' Given the varying approaches between provinces, the range of booking systems and vaccination sites, and shifting recommendations on who's eligible for a shot, it's not surprising some Canadians are feeling confused. Even Tania Watts, an expert on vaccines, is stuck in the same boat, not knowing when she'll get her second dose after having a first round of AstraZeneca. Ontario's booking website told her to check with her pharmacy — but Watts's pharmacy couldn't tell her anything either. "A lot of people are frustrated," she said. WATCH | Many Canadians feel caught in limbo as they await a 2nd vaccine dose: Watts's greater concern is that if people take months to get a second shot and perhaps slip through the cracks of the system, there could be more people testing positive for the virus as time passes after their first vaccine dose. Those breakthrough COVID-19 cases are typically mild but can be more serious for anyone elderly or immunocompromised. "People who don't get their boost for four months will get the benefit of the boost," she stressed. "But I'm most concerned about infection as immunity wanes over time, particularly in that oldest group."

Exclusive: G7 playing a ⟚ngerous game' by pushing Moscow towards China - Russian envoy

The Group of Seven is playing a "dangerous game" by making aggressive and baseless criticism of the Kremlin because it pushes Russia closer to China, Russia's ambassador to London Andrei Kelin told Reuters on Thursday. G7 foreign ministers this month scolded both China and Russia, casting the Kremlin as malicious and Beijing as a bully, but beyond words there were few concrete steps aside from expressing support for Taiwan and Ukraine. The G7, in a 12,400-word communique, said Russia was a destabilising influence on the world because of its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its build up on Ukraine's border and its meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.

Quebec says it will vaccinate kids age 12 to 17 with one dose by June 23

Quebec says it will vaccinate kids aged 12 to 17 beginning Friday. The province says teens should be fully vaccinated by the time they return to school.


Joey Chestnut, Miki Sudo win Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest

Competitive eaters from around the world met Wednesday on Coney Island for the annual Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT July 4: Joey "Jaws" Chestnut topped the men's field Wednesday to win his 11th Mustard Yellow International Belt.

He consumed 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes, setting a new world record, according to NY1.

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT July 4: Reigning women's champ Miki Sudo reclaimed her title Wednesday by gobbling 37 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She managed to down 41 in the same amount of time last year.

The men’s competition is scheduled to start at noon.

Original report: The contest, which takes place every Fourth of July, is one of the world's best-known competitive eating events. The women's event is scheduled to start at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday with the men's contest following at noon.

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will compete against 20 other men in an attempt to retain the Mustard Yellow International Belt for an 11th year. He set the Coney Island record last year by gobbling 72 dogs and he holds the world record, with 73 dogs consumed in 10 minutes.

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

On the women’s side of the competition, Miki Sudo is aiming to claim her fifth title in a row. She downed 41 hot dogs in 10 minutes to top the field last year, setting a new personal best for her. She will face off against 19 other women Wednesday, including Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, who holds the world record at 45 dogs eaten in 10 minutes.


Nathan's Famous® And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign

SMITHFIELD, Va. , March 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Earlier this year, Nathan's Famous ® , the iconic New York -based hot dog brand, teamed up with another pop-culture icon from the Big Apple, Andy Cohen , to star in the Get Along Famously Stranger Stand campaign a series of dynamic short videos showcasing how the one and only taste of Nathan's Famous 100% Beef Franks can help bring people together and foster genuine moments of connection.

Throughout the eight episodes, Cohen, a TV host known for interacting with famous faces and settling heated debates on his reunion shows, can be seen taking to the streets of a residential neighborhood to set up a Nathan's Famous hot dog stand. Along the way, he encounters strangers passing by – cliquey high schoolers, bickering siblings, a very friendly pack of dachshunds and more – who are having trouble seeing eye-to-eye and finding common ground. But Andy, using delicious Nathan's Famous Franks and his expert connection skills, helps them reach a mutual understanding and eventually 'get along famously.'

"At Nathan's, we strive to provide a unique taste experience with our original 105-year-old recipe that can bring together individuals from all walks of life, no matter what age, where they live, or who they are, and turn strangers into friends," said Bethany Gurecki , brand manager for Nathan's Famous. "There's no denying that Andy Cohen also knows a thing or two about bringing people together – including feuding A-listers – which is why he was the perfect fit for our Get Along Famously Stranger Stand video campaign."

This past weekend, Cohen posted one of his favorite episodes on Instagram, Episode 3: Capitalistic Beef. In the endearing clip, Cohen manages to 'get along famously' with the kids who strategically set up a lemonade stand next door. The entire collection of videos can be found on Nathan's Famous' YouTube channel, including:

Episode 2: Like Father, Like Son

Episode 3: Capitalistic Beef

Episode 7: Virtual Wedding

Episode 8: Sibling Rivalry

Nathan's Famous Beef Franks are made with premium quality beef and no artificial flavors, colors or by-products and are available in an array of varieties including Skinless, Bun-Length, Jumbo Restaurant Style, Cheddar Cheese, and All Natural. The Nathan's Famous franks can be found at stores nationwide to pick up and enjoy at home with family and friends. To learn where you can buy product in your area please visit https://nathansfamous.com. Nathan's Famous is a licensed brand of Smithfield Foods.

About Nathan's Famous
Nathan's Famous is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia , Puerto Rico , the U.S. Virgin Islands , Guam , and 16 foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Last year, over 700 million Nathan's Famous hot dogs were sold. For additional information about Nathan's, please visit our website at www.nathansfamous.com.

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. and 15,000 European employees are dedicated to producing "Good food. Responsibly. ® " and have made us one of the world's leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield ® , Eckrich ® and Nathan's Famous ® , among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

SOURCE Smithfield Foods, Inc.

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German services recover, factories struggle -PMI

RPT-NFT enthusiasts hold firm despite crypto price plunge

Germany, France See Services Perking Up as Factories Squeezed

China says frozen investment agreement with EU mutually beneficial

Halliburton shareholders vote against executive compensation plan

(Reuters) -Halliburton Co's shareholders voted against the oilfield services provider's proposed executive compensation plan in an advisory motion, the company said on Thursday. Halliburton Chief Executive Officer Jeff Miller said the company was "disappointed by the shareholder advisory vote" and that it had led its peers in shareholder returns despite challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and a supply and demand imbalance in oil markets. Halliburton did not provide vote tallies.

Billionaire Founder of China Property Giant Dies of Illness

(Bloomberg) -- The billionaire founder of KE Holdings Inc. has died of an unspecified illness, a shocking development for a Chinese property company that pulled off one of the strongest U.S. market debuts of 2020.Zuo Hui, who turned the company known as Beike from a nationwide chain of real estate offices into China’s largest platform for housing transactions and services, died May 20 after an “unexpected worsening of illness,” his company said in a statement without elaborating. KE Holdings’ board will announce follow-up arrangements within two weeks, it added.Zuo, 50, has been the driving force behind the company’s success, headlining the bell-ringing ceremony when it went public and holding 81.1% of voting shares under a dual-class voting structure as of end-February, according to its annual report. The company’s American depositary receipts fell 0.8% to $49.85 in New York on Thursday, paring an earlier decline of almost 10%.Zuo was backed by some of Asia’s most influential startup investors, including Hillhouse Capital Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., and ranks among SoftBank Group Corp.’s most successful bets. KE Holdings almost doubled on its August U.S. debut, vaulting Zuo into the ranks of the world’s richest entrepreneurs with a fortune in excess of $20 billion at one point, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index.Its shares were up 151% from their New York debut through Wednesday’s close, conferring on the late chairman a net worth of $14.8 billion.In an interview with CCTV aired in April, he downplayed the significance of the IPO and the riches it bestowed.“Why should I feel excited?” he said, dressed in jeans, a dark blue vest and black sneakers. “This makes no difference to me.”Read more: Founder of China Property Site With No Profits Worth $20 BillionBorn in 1971 in Shaanxi province, Zuo graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 1992 before getting into sales and establishing an insurance business, where he made his first fortune, according to local media. He then founded Beijing Lianjia Real Estate Brokerage Co. in 2001, when China’s property market was still relatively young, and started Ziroom in 2011 to offer long-term apartment rentals. In 2018, he incorporated KE and launched Beike, becoming one of the country’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.Beike uses artificial intelligence and big data to improve its service and provide market insights, according to its website. As of June, the company boasted 226 million homes on its platform and 39 million monthly active users on mobiles. That’s swelled to more than 48 million mobile monthly active users and half a million agents.The platform also draws in others by allowing decorators, renovators and financial institutions to connect with buyers, creating an ecosystem of property and related offerings.(Updates with closing share price in third paragraph)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Brilliant Car Cleaning Hacks Local Dealers Wish You Didn’t Know

Billionaire Founder of China Property Giant Dies of Illness

(Bloomberg) -- The billionaire founder of KE Holdings Inc. has died of an unspecified illness, a shocking development for a Chinese property company that pulled off one of the strongest U.S. market debuts of 2020.Zuo Hui, who turned the company known as Beike from a nationwide chain of real estate offices into China’s largest platform for housing transactions and services, died May 20 after an “unexpected worsening of illness,” his company said in a statement without elaborating. KE Holdings’ board will announce follow-up arrangements within two weeks, it added.Zuo, 50, has been the driving force behind the company’s success, headlining the bell-ringing ceremony when it went public and holding 81.1% of voting shares under a dual-class voting structure as of end-February, according to its annual report. The company’s American depositary receipts fell 0.8% to $49.85 in New York on Thursday, paring an earlier decline of almost 10%.Zuo was backed by some of Asia’s most influential startup investors, including Hillhouse Capital Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., and ranks among SoftBank Group Corp.’s most successful bets. KE Holdings almost doubled on its August U.S. debut, vaulting Zuo into the ranks of the world’s richest entrepreneurs with a fortune in excess of $20 billion at one point, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index.Its shares were up 151% from their New York debut through Wednesday’s close, conferring on the late chairman a net worth of $14.8 billion.In an interview with CCTV aired in April, he downplayed the significance of the IPO and the riches it bestowed.“Why should I feel excited?” he said, dressed in jeans, a dark blue vest and black sneakers. “This makes no difference to me.”Read more: Founder of China Property Site With No Profits Worth $20 BillionBorn in 1971 in Shaanxi province, Zuo graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 1992 before getting into sales and establishing an insurance business, where he made his first fortune, according to local media. He then founded Beijing Lianjia Real Estate Brokerage Co. in 2001, when China’s property market was still relatively young, and started Ziroom in 2011 to offer long-term apartment rentals. In 2018, he incorporated KE and launched Beike, becoming one of the country’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.Beike uses artificial intelligence and big data to improve its service and provide market insights, according to its website. As of June, the company boasted 226 million homes on its platform and 39 million monthly active users on mobiles. That’s swelled to more than 48 million mobile monthly active users and half a million agents.The platform also draws in others by allowing decorators, renovators and financial institutions to connect with buyers, creating an ecosystem of property and related offerings.(Updates with closing share price in third paragraph)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Deutsche Bank: 'The value of bitcoin is entirely based on wishful thinking'

Analysts are piling on bitcoin as it plunges, noting headwinds and issues that might stunt its increased adoption.

Chinese Bitcoin Mining Company Invests $25M in New Facility in Texas

BIT Mining's new Texas facility will open a new frontier for the firm at a time of rapid investment in North American mining.

UPDATE 2-Ford Motor, SK Innovation announce EV battery joint venture in N. America

Ford Motor Co and South Korean battery maker SK Innovation on Thursday announced they will form a battery joint venture in North America to support the No. 2 U.S. automaker's electric vehicle rollout. The companies said they have signed a memorandum of understanding for the formation of the venture, called BlueOvalSK. Reuters on Wednesday reported plans for the joint venture.

Daily Gold News: Thursday, May 20 – Gold’s Increased Volatility Below $1,900 Price Mark

Gold is 0.1% lower this morning, as it is trading within yesterday’s daily range. What about the other precious metals?

How to maximize your windfall if you sell your house and start renting

If you're willing to downsize your space, you could supersize your cash flow.

UPDATE 4-Canada to tighten mortgage lending rules as central bank frets over housing market

Canada said on Thursday it would tighten rules on mortgage lending starting next month after the Bank of Canada earlier warned that the hot housing market and high household debt levels had left the economy more vulnerable to economic shocks. The country's financial regulator and the Finance Department said separately that borrowers of both uninsured and insured mortgages must show that they can afford loans that are the higher of their current rate plus 200 basis points, or 5.25%.

U.S. regulators signal stronger risk, tax oversight for cryptocurrencies

U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell turned up the heat on cryptocurrencies on Thursday, saying they pose risks to financial stability, and indicating that greater regulation of the increasingly popular electronic currency may be warranted. The Treasury Department, meanwhile, flagged its concerns that wealthy individuals could use the largely unregulated sector to avoid tax and said it wanted big crypto asset transfers reported to authorities. The back-to-back announcements came in a week when Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, took a wild ride, falling as much as 30% on Wednesday after China announced new curbs on the sector, underscoring the volatility of the sector.

Giant New Iron Ore Mine May Aid China’s Push to Cool Prices

(Bloomberg) -- BHP Group’s start up of production at its $3.6 billion South Flank project in Australia -- combined with existing operations at the site -- will create the world’s biggest iron ore hub. It may also help temporarily cool a hot market.Iron ore futures are trading below $200 a ton after China’s cabinet called for tougher oversight of commodity markets and protection for consumers from soaring prices. While South Flank was a replacement mine, the announcement of a big mine coming on stream can add short-term to negative market talk, according to Peter O’Connor, mining analyst at Shaw & Partners Ltd.Commodities have tumbled as international markets are gripped by inflation fears and the authorities in Beijing continue to try to jawbone and manage prices lower. China’s cabinet expressed concerns Wednesday about the surge in prices for a second week in row, calling for more effort to curb “unreasonable” gains and prevent any impact on consumer prices. The meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, also called for a crackdown on speculation and hoarding.Against this backdrop, where steel margins were getting compressed in China and Li was trying to talk commodities down, “it weighs on that narrative as opposed to really weighing on the market,” O’Connor said. “But when you get these sort of extremes -- that subjective narrative can be a key driver.”South Flank has been built to replace the depleting Yandi mine -- and together with the existing Mining Area C -- will form a hub with annual production of 145 million tons a year. South Flank’s higher quality product will also lift the average iron ore grade across BHP’s Pilbara operations. In the short-term, there was potential for a squeeze higher in BHP’s ore exports as South Flank and Yandi operated in tandem, although the overall physical impact on the market was likely to be small, said O’Connor.The start of production of 80 million tons a year at South Flank, matching Yandi, comes at a time when top exporters Australia and Brazil have been challenged in meeting strong demand from Chinese steel mills. Pilbara shipments were down 6% in April compared to the year-ago period, while Brazil’s exports were flat, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. BHP’s current guidance is for annual production at the upper end of its range of 276-286 million tons.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Japan Exports Surge as Global Trade Rebounds From Dismal 2020

(Bloomberg) -- Supply Lines is a daily newsletter that tracks trade and supply chains disrupted by the pandemic. Sign up here.Japanese exports jumped again, climbing in April by more than a third from last year’s dismal level, as recovering global trade gave a needed boost to an economy that’s stalling at home amid new waves of the coronavirus.Surging car and auto parts shipments helped power a 38% rise in Japan’s exports from a year earlier, according to figures Thursday from the finance ministry that beat all but one forecast from 26 surveyed analysts. The consensus was for a 30.8% gain.Although the data give an inflated view of the strength of exports because they’re based on a comparison with 2020’s terrible figures, the report still shows trade bouncing back -- a major positive for the global economy and Japan. Shipments climbed almost 8% compared with 2019.A separate report showed Japanese machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital spending, gained in March from the prior month.Key InsightsMore export gains are good news for an economy struggling to quell new virus waves amid a slow vaccine drive. Weak consumer spending and business investment last quarter led to a bigger-than-expected GDP contraction and raised the risk of a double-dip recession.Last month’s trade increase showed a broad-based recovery in world economies. Shipments to the U.S. and Asia rose the most since 2010, while those to the EU climbed the most since 1980, according to a ministry official.“Demand itself is very strong led by the U.S., and Chinese exports,” said economist Hiroaki Muto at Sumitomo Life Insurance Co, adding that bottlenecks in semiconductor supplies could slow gains in months ahead. “‘I expect net exports to be positive for Japan’s 2Q GDP, although it wouldn’t surprise me if 2Q GDP overall was negative.”A drop in the yen’s value gives Japan’s exporters another tailwind. The currency has fallen roughly 6% versus the dollar so far this year, increasing the value of repatriated profits for companies from Toyota to Hitachi.What Bloomberg Economics Says. “Looking ahead, we expect exports to come in above the pre-Covid level in May, supported by a recovery in European demand with progress on vaccinations. Shipments to the U.S. and China may increase at a slower pace.”--Yuki Masujima, economistTo read full report, click here.Get MoreImports rose 12.8% from the previous year, compared with analysts forecasting a 9% increase.Shipments to the U.S. jumped 45.1%, while those to the EU climbed 39.6% and those to China gained 33.9%.The trade balance was 255.3 billion yen ($2.3 billion) in the black. Analysts had expected a surplus of 147.7 billion yen.Core machinary orders increased 3.7% in March versus the prior month, compared with a 5% rise forecast by analysts.(Adds economist’s comments.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

What bitcoin’s collapse could mean for your retirement

Youngsters’ dreams of an easy, early and rich retirement were getting a pounding this week as their favorite cryptocurrencies collapsed. Prices for bitcoin (BTCUSD) and other futuristic “currencies” were in free fall Wednesday. Anyone who has bought into bitcoin since February is already in the red.

With mortgage rates on the rise again, waiting to refinance can be costly

Rates have gone back up to 3% and are likely to keep climbing as the economy recovers.

‘Shark Tank’ Judge’s SPAC in Talks to Merge With Insurer

(Bloomberg) -- Home-coverage startup Kin Insurance is in talks to go public via Omnichannel Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company led by recurring “Shark Tank” guest judge Matt Higgins, according to people with knowledge of the matter.The combined entity is set to be valued at over $1 billion, one of the people said. Terms could change and as with all transactions that aren’t yet finalized, it’s possible talks could collapse. A deal, if agreed, could be announced next month, one of the people said.Representatives for Omnichannel and Kin declined to comment.Chicago-based Kin says it offers affordable coverage in “catastrophe-prone” regions including California, Florida and Louisiana directly to consumers online. It is led by co-founders Sean Harper, the chief executive officer, and Lucas Ward, who is president and chief technology officer.Kin raised $63.9 million in a recent funding round from investors including Senator Investment Group, Hudson Structured Capital Management, the University of Chicago’s startup investment program, Allegis NL Capital and Alpha Edison. Earlier backers include August Capital and Commerce Ventures.The insurer recently said it surpassed $100 million in annual recurring premium after just 21 months as a carrier in an industry that still sees more than 90% of home coverage sold through brick-and-mortar agencies.Omnichannel, led by Higgins -- an executive fellow at Harvard Business School -- in November raised $206.5 million in an initial public offering. The company’s website says it’s seeking a $1 billion to $2.5 billion acquisition, which it has defined in filings as including direct-to-consumer services. Beauty entrepreneur Bobbi Brown is on the SPAC’s board.Higgins is also CEO of RSE Ventures, an investment firm that has made bets on companies including David Chang’s Momofuku, Bluestone Lane and & Pizza on behalf of billionaire Stephen Ross. Higgins is also a vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins, of which Ross is a co-owner alongside Serena and Venus Williams, among others.Another so-called insuretech company, Hippo Enterprises Inc., in March agreed to go public via a SPAC. MetroMile Inc. in February became a public company after merging with a SPAC.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. Proposes $242 Million in Penalties for Traders

(Bloomberg) -- The top U.S. energy regulator has proposed forcing three power traders, all veterans of JPMorgan Chase & Co., to pay a total of $242 million for allegedly manipulating an obscure of corner of the country’s largest electricity market.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accused GreenHat Energy LLC and its owners of placing bets on potential grid bottlenecks, known as the financial transmission rights market, that sent false price signals, according to statement Thursday. The wagers cost utilities and other traders in the PJM Interconnection market more than $179 million in losses.“Today’s order offers another reminder that the Commission has a solemn responsibility to investigate and penalize participants that engage in market manipulation,” FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Thursday during a FERC meeting.Also Read: Ex-JPMorgan Traders Lost Millions on Bad Bets in Power MarketThe move comes after the number of FERC probes into wrongdoing in energy markets fell to a record low last year under the Trump Administration. Glick has made it a priority to step up investigation since he was appointed to lead the agency by the Biden Administration earlier this year.FERC proposed civil penalties totaling $179 million to GreenHat and fines of $25 million each to two of its owners: John Bartholomew and Kevin Ziegenhorn. The agency also proposed ordering them to surrender nearly $13.1 million in profits.A third GreenHat owner, Andrew Kittell, died in January. His estate is being asked to respond to the allegations. The parties have 30 days to respond.GreenHat started placing the bets in auctions held by PJM Interconnection LLC, which operates the country’s largest power market, in 2015 and kept building positions into 2018. The company kept placing the bets even as other market participants flagged PJM about the risk before it defaulted on a $1.2 million payment in June 2018 and those losses have ballooned 150 times. At the time of the default, GreenHat had less than $560,000 in collateral on deposit with the grid operator.GreenHat rigged the auctions by using inside information about sell offers made by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc to design its own bids to buy those same transmission rights from the energy giant, the commission said Thursday. The three owners of the firm had realized “their enormous portfolio” was not expected to be profitable overall, but some of the FTRs did gain value after GreenHat bought them. GreenHat then sold these “winners” in four deals to third parties for a total of $13.1 million.“This alleged scheme is an example of a type of fraud in which perpetrators acquire assets with no intent to pay for them, and then try to turn the assets into immediate cash for themselves,” FERC said in the FERC statement.Shell didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment, nor did lawyers representing Bartholomew and Ziegenhorn. Lawyers representing Kittell’s estate declined to comment.This default by a small, new trader was the largest any U.S. grid had experienced of any kind, until the freeze that struck Texas in February left the state’s power market facing a nearly $3 billion shortfall. GreenHat’s default forced the previous PJM chief executive out. PJM also hired a new chief risk officer reporting to the board and sparked a review of credit policies across grids.Market participants have already been charged $180.5 million for GreenHat’s bad bets when factoring related costs and those losses will continue to widen until the last positions are liquidated this month, according to the market monitor’s most recent report.FERC’s enforcement team has been investigating GreenHat’s trading behavior since at least 2018, bringing fresh scrutiny on trading activity by Kittell and Bartholomew just a few years after they were part of a team investigated at JPMorgan, according to filings. In 2013, the bank settled a case alleging its traders manipulated the California power market for a record $410 million fine at the time.FERC Commissioner James Danly concurred with the GreenHat order, calling in light of the massive default, in the monthly meeting. “It’s necessary for the commission to make an official pronouncement on whether or not there was manipulation.”(Updates with reference to GreenHat using Shell’s data in the eighth paragraph. An earlier version corrected the story to say that the penalties are proposed.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

What Hedge Fund Analysts Do for Investments

Every investment class needs someone to manage it. From the market makers and clearing houses that ensure stock trading to the bankers who move currencies around the world, markets are not natural phenomena. They require management. Perhaps nowhere is that more … Continue reading → The post What Hedge Fund Analysts Do for Investments appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.


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