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Everything posted by Kargokings

  1. Ottawa’s talks with Quebec shipyard to build much-needed icebreakers shrouded in fog By The Canadian Press Fri., Jan. 21, 2022timer1 min. read JOIN THE CONVERSATION OTTAWA - Questions are swirling over yet another delay in Ottawa’s nearly $100-billion plan to rebuild the fleets of Canada’s navy and coast guard, only this time the delay isn’t due to the stalled construction of a ship. The federal government announced in December 2019 that Quebec shipyard Chantier Davie was the only company to qualify for a piece of that work. That announcement kicked off negotiations toward an agreement that would see Davie responsible for building the coast guard’s next icebreaker fleet over the next 20 years. But more than two years later, those talks remain shrouded in fog, which has raised concerns about what will happen to those much-needed icebreakers. While both sides say discussions are proceeding, the last official update from the government was in July when it said it expected a deal by the end of the year. Some experts worry the failure to reach an agreement is indicative of a fissure between the two sides and will further delay replacing the coast guard’s icebreakers, most of which were due to retire years ago. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022. Read more about: Ottawa
  2. The only ones who are against are some "Traditional Chiefs" (non elected of course).
  3. Biden administration suspending 44 U.S flights by Chinese carriers By David Shepardson 1 hour ago By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Transportation Department said Friday it would suspend 44 China-bound flights from the United States by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government's decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over COVID-19 concerns. The Biden administration action came after Chinese authorities suspended a total of 44 United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines flights after some passengers tested positive for COVID-19. The suspensions will begin on Jan. 30 with Xiamen Airlines’ scheduled Los Angeles-to-Xiamen flight. The decision will cut some flights by Xiamen, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment. The Transportation Department said China's suspension of some flights "are adverse to the public interest and warrant proportionate remedial action." It added that China's "unilateral actions against the named U.S. carriers are inconsistent" with a China-U.S. bilateral agreement. The department said that if China revised its "policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers, the Department is fully prepared to once again revisit the action." But it also warned that if China cancels more flights, "we reserve the right to take additional action." The number of U.S. flights being scrapped has surged since December, as infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus soared to record highs in the United States. Beijing and Washington have sparred over air services since the start of the pandemic. In August, the U.S. Transportation Department limited four flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capacity for four weeks after Beijing imposed identical limits on four United Airlines flights.
  4. 'No dissent is allowed': School board bars teacher from raising concerns over transgender books Tom Blackwell 1 hour ago Like18 Comments| An Ontario school board is facing charges of censorship this week after shutting down a teacher’s presentation to the group, saying her comments about books on transgender issues violated the province’s human rights code. Carolyn Burjoski was discussing publications she said are available in the libraries of Kindergarten to grade six schools. She had begun to argue the books made it seem too simple and “cool” to medically transition to another gender when her presentation was cut short by the Waterloo Region District School Board’s chair. Scott Piatkowski ruled she could not continue and the board eventually voted 5-4 to back up his decision. The fallout has continued since. Though controversial and opposed by most transgender advocates, concerns have been voiced before — including by leading figures in the movement itself — that gender-dysphoric young people are sometimes pushed too aggressively into medical transition. Piatkowski later told a local CTV station , however, that Burjoski’s comments were actually transphobic and “questioned the right to exist” of trans people. Meanwhile, the organization took down its recording of the meeting — a regular, public session of elected officials — and had YouTube remove another copy of the video for alleged copyright infringement. And then the teacher was given what she calls a “stay-at-home order” and told not to communicate with colleagues or students, though she’s still being paid and is slated to retire soon. On Thursday, she says her union rep informed her the board had appointed an outside investigator to examine her actions. In her first interview on the affair, Burjoski said she was “flabbergasted” by what happened at the meeting and Piatkowski’s remarks afterward. “I am not a transphobic person. It’s crazy that just because you ask a question, the first thing people do is call you that,” she said. “We do need to have a conversation about the intersection of biology and gender. We’re not having those conversations in our culture because, look what happened to me.” She said the order to stay away from school was likely meant to make an example of her: “The message is clear: no dissent is allowed.” Piatkowski declined to comment Thursday, saying he was already the target of organized online harassment and didn’t want to feed it further. He referred to two previous interviews with local media outlets. The human rights code bars discrimination based on gender identity and other grounds in the areas of housing, employment and providing services. Asked to explain how Burjoski’s comments violated the code, the chair told 570 News radio station that he would not repeat or respond to her remarks and “give them oxygen.” But he said he stood by his decision, and that chairs of other boards in the province have told him they would have done the same thing. “This person was speaking about transgender people in a way that was disrespectful, that would cause them to be attacked and I really needed to ensure it did not continue,” Piatkowski said. “I’m quite confident it was the right decision.” He said Thursday he knew nothing about the board’s actions against Burjoski or removal of the video of the meeting. Canada's teen transgender treatment boom Canada too quick to treat gender dysphoria in minors with hormones, surgery: critics Two groups representing the LGBTQ community in Waterloo could not be reached for comment. Trans activists, however, often argue that statements questioning medical transition in any way can fuel transgender harassment, discrimination and violence. “I’m not sorry that someone who opened the door to transphobic comments was stopped from keeping that door open,” Laura Mae Lindo, the NDP MPP for Kitchener Centre, commented on Twitter. “That’s not over-reach. Protect the most vulnerable. Uphold human rights. If you can’t do that, sit down.” One Waterloo trustee who came to Burjoski’s defence on Monday, though, blasted the board’s decision and said he’s never seen a delegation silenced in that way before. “It’s censoring presentations that the chair doesn’t agree with,” said long-time board member Mike Ramsay, who has served as chair three times himself. “As decision makers, we have to make informed decisions.… If we’re going to just take one point of view and say that’s sufficient, that’s wrong on so many fronts.” Burjoski said she has worked for more than 20 years as a teacher of English as a second language, specializing in children who have immigrated from various countries affected by war and political unrest. She appeared as a one-person public “delegation” in a session discussing the board’s controversial decision to conduct a system-wide removal of books it considered “harmful.” Her comments focused on resources recommended by the board for a transgender awareness day. Trouble started when she turned to a book called The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey and a scene that depicts a meeting between Shane, a transgender boy (born a girl), and a doctor. He voices excitement about starting on testosterone and when the physician says it would mean he likely wouldn’t be able to have children, he says, “It’s cool.” As Burjoski remarked that such books make it seem overly straightforward to take cross-sex hormones, Piatkowski interjected to warn she may be violating the code. The teacher then went on to say the book was misleading “because it does not take into account how Shane might feel later in life about being infertile. This book makes very serious medical interventions seem like an easy cure for emotional and psychological distress.” At that point, Piatkowski told her he was “ending the presentation.” The widely used “affirmation” approach to children who identify as transgender has raised some concerns in several countries, and not just among obvious critics. Two leading psychologists in the transgender medical community, one of them a trans woman, complained in a recent article about sloppy and dangerous assessment of young people presenting as trans, with overly hasty resort to hormones. Pam Buffone, whose parents group Canadian Gender Report highlights similar issues, said Burjoski raised legitimate questions about the appropriateness of school materials, as places like Finland restrict the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. “If there’s a reason to hide this discussion from public scrutiny, then there’s really something wrong,” she said.
  5. No support to decriminalize minor drug possession Calgary Herald 21 Jan 2022 STEPHANIE BABYCH With files from Madeline Smith sbabych@postmedia.com Twitter: @Babychstephanie Alberta police chiefs are taking a stand against decriminalizing the personal possession of drugs. The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) said Thursday it will not support the decriminalization of minor drug offences before supports are improved and public policy is modernized. The announcement comes as Edmonton city council is poised to discuss a motion on Monday that would lay the groundwork for the city to request an exemption from the federal government to decriminalize the personal possession of drugs, similar to exemptions being pursued by officials in Vancouver and Toronto. Edmonton Coun. Michael Janz said on Twitter that council's discussion will be an opportunity to take the first step toward a public health approach to the ongoing drug poisoning epidemic. During a news conference Thursday, Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld, chair of the AACP, said Alberta communities are not ready for the effects of decriminalization. While Neufeld acknowledged that decriminalizing minor drug offences could be part of an integrated approach to redirect drug users away from the criminal justice system and toward appropriate health supports and care, he said Alberta chiefs don't believe those supports are currently available, including quickly accessible treatment services. “Drug decriminalization triggers an immediate need for structural and societal changes in areas that do not currently exist,” Neufeld said. “Jurisdictions that have implemented decriminalization have added a range of administrative sanctions in replacement of criminal justice outcomes.” All levels of government and stakeholders would have to establish regulations for issues such as the use of drugs in public spaces, the use of drugs in areas near minors, discarded needles or other debris, and public complaints, Neufeld said. And it would be essential to include input from rural and Indigenous communities, he added. Blood Tribe Police Service Chief Brice Iron Shirt said at the news conference that he does not recommend decriminalization of drug possession for Indigenous policing in Alberta, though he said Blood Tribe Police Service is taking a holistic approach to the opioid crisis that's specific to Blackfoot culture and beliefs. Elaine Hyshka, assistant professor and Canada research chair in health systems innovation at the University of Alberta, said charging people with minor possession of drugs does not deter substance use but contributes to significant harm to people's health, well-being and economic chances. In Alberta, nearly 1,400 people died from substance-related overdoses between January and October 2021. Hyshka said she's glad to see Edmonton council open the discussion and hopes other communities follow suit. Calgary Coun. Courtney Walcott said he took notice of Edmonton's motion. “It's setting a roadmap. This action on behalf of Edmonton, it's going to have a trickle-down effect because we'll be able to take a look at it, see the response, see the response from the public and, honestly, plan accordingly.”
  6. the outstanding question, except perhaps for a youngster (teen) , why anyone would want it?
  7. Will the Russians care about the sanctions. They would of course turn off the natural gas to Europe etc. Russia is facing ‘severe’ sanctions for Ukraine threats. Here’s what that could mean By Karin Strohecker and Andrey Ostroukh Reuters Posted January 20, 2022 11:41 am Growing tensions between Moscow and Western powers have raised the prospect of new sanctions being imposed on Russia, possibly the most severe yet, if it attacks neighboring Ukraine. U.S. Senate Democrats have unveiled a bill to impose sweeping sanctions on the Russian government and military officials – including President Vladimir Putin – as well as Russian banking institutions if Moscow engages in hostilities against Ukraine. “If Russia is using its conventional military to acquire land in Ukraine, that will meet a severe economic response,” a senior White House official said on Wednesday. Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders in what Kyiv and its allies fear could be preparation for a new military offensive. Russia, which denies planning to attack Ukraine, has been subject to sanctions since its 2014 annexation of Crimea from its neighbor. Further punitive measures were added after a former Russian spy was poisoned in Britain in 2018 and following an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election won by Donald Trump. Russia has denied any role in the poisoning of ex-spy Yuri Skripal and his daughter, and denies trying to interfere in foreign elections. Here are some ways financial sanctions could target Russia. Sanctions could target semiconductor chips The White House has told the U.S. chip industry to be prepared for new restrictions on exports to Russia if Moscow attacks Ukraine, sources said. This includes potentially blocking the country’s access to global electronics supplies. Similar measures were deployed during the Cold War, when the United States and other Western nations maintained severe technology sanctions on the Soviet Union, keeping it technologically backward and crimping growth. Sanctions could hit Russia's big banks, assets The United States and the European Union already have sanctions on Russia’s energy, financial and defense sectors. The White House is floating the idea of curbs on Russia’s biggest banks and has previously mooted measures targeting Moscow’s ability to convert roubles into dollars and other currencies. Washington could also target the state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund. 2:09Questions remain over how much more Canada’s military can help Ukraine Questions remain over how much more Canada’s military can help Ukraine Sanctions applied to individual firms often cause sector-wide pain, according to former U.S. State Department economist Mark Stone, as they make investors worry that the curbs will be widened or that they will be unable to differentiate. “Sanctioning all transactions with Russian banks and freezing assets would be more impactful and more targeted” than a cut-off from the SWIFT global messaging system, said Brian O’Toole, a fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank. Targeting Russia’s access to SWIFT, which is widely used in international financial transactions, would become useful really only following broad financial sanctions by the United States, Britain and the European Union, O’Toole said. Sanctions could zero in on individuals with bans, freezes Sanctioning individuals via asset freezes and travel bans is a commonly used tool and can sometimes resonate widely. Britain imposed sanctions in April 2021 on 14 Russians under a new law giving the UK government the power to penalize those it says are credibly involved in the most serious corruption abroad.
  8. The president of Emirates says the 5G rollout that led to flights being canceled is 'one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible' situations he's witnessed Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images%7B The president of Emirates lashed out at US 5G rollout plans. Tim Clark told CNN it was "one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible issues" he'd seen in his career. Airlines including Emirates and British Airways canceled flights over 5G safety concerns. The president of Emirates has slammed a 5G rollout plan in the US that prompted airlines to cancel flights. "This is one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible issues, subjects, call it what you like, I've seen in my aviation career," Emirates President Tim Clark told CNN Wednesday. His comments came after Dubai-based Emirates and other airlines announced Tuesday they would suspend flights to some US airports over safety concerns linked to a 5G rollout near airports. Verizon and AT&T agreed last-minute on Tuesday that they would delay the launch of 5G service near airports after airlines warned the technology could cause massive flight disruptions. Despite the pause of the rollout, some airlines – including Emirates – continued to suspend flights. Clark told CNN that 5G was being deployed differently in the US compared to other countries, and that Emirates wasn't aware until Tuesday morning of "the extent that it was going to compromise the safety of operation of our aircraft and just about every other 777 operator." He added that Emirates decided to suspend the flights "until we had clarity." Video: Does 5G pose a threat to airline safety? (Reuters) Pause Current Time 0:03 / Duration 2:04 Loaded: 29.09% Unmute 0 LQ Captions Fullscreen Does 5G pose a threat to airline safety? Click to expand Many of the aircraft used on the affected routes are Boeing 777 airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration Sunday published a list of Boeing and Airbus aircraft whose radio altimeter models were approved for performing low-visibility landings at many of the US airports where the 5G rollouts were due to take place. The 777 aircraft was not included in the January 16 list, although some 777 models have been included on updated lists. Emirates said Tuesday that from Wednesday it was suspending flights to six of its 12 US passenger destinations and was switching another three routes from Boeing 777 planes to Airbus A380s "due to operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services." It said that this was based on Federal Aviation Administration advice and guidance from Boeing. Emirates said Thursday that the FAA and Boeing had changed their guidance and that it would resume the canceled routes Friday and switch the A380s back to 777s Saturday. Airlines including Air India, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, and British Airways also suspended some flights over the 5G rollout. Ten major US air carriers had warned federal officials in a letter Monday that the scheduled 5G deployment could "potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas" and grind the nation's commerce "to a halt." This is because it could affect the aircraft's radio altimeter, which is used to determine a plane's altitude above ground level when landing or flying above mountainous terrain. Verizon and AT&T said Tuesday they would continue with the rollout on Wednesday as planned but would voluntarily delay deploying the technology near airports. Both criticized the FAA, with an AT&T spokesperson telling Insider that the company was "frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services." Read the original article on Business Insider
  9. `RIGHTS HAVE TO HAVE TEETH' COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS VS. THE CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS Calgary Herald 20 Jan 2022 TYLER DAWSON National Post tdawson@postmedia.com Twitter.com/tylerrdawson ARTUR WIDAK / NURPHOTO / FILES Every Canadian has, thanks to Section 6 of the Charter, the right to “enter, remain in and leave Canada” and the right to “move to and take up residence in any province.” Over the course of the pandemic, Canadians have gone before the courts, arguing public-health measures to combat COVID-19 have infringed upon their rights. Yet, time and time again, these attempts have failed. Interprovincial travel restrictions have been found constitutional; some members of the military failed to stop a mandatory vaccination policy; and quarantine hotels have been found justifiable. While some of these court battles are ongoing, and many could be appealed to higher courts, two years into the pandemic, it's clear the courts have not been sympathetic to the idea that public-health measures have unreasonably infringed upon Canadians' rights. At a time when Quebec is pondering a variety of mandatory vaccination — financial penalties for the unvaccinated — some experts are asking, to what extent is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protecting Canadians' rights? Have courts struck an appropriate balance during the pandemic, and, will they do so afterwards? “The reality is that, given that judges are not specialists in public health, they have shown an overwhelming tendency to defer to policy-maker's decisions, and they've been very reticent to step in and invalidate them,” said Joanna Baron, the executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation. “Rights have to have teeth. And I think that judges, they've erred too far on the side of deferring to government.” What's critical to understand about the way courts have ruled during the pandemic, is that the rights the charter grants are not absolute. “The very first section of the charter explains to us that all of the rights in the charter are subject to reasonable limits that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society,” said Emmett Macfarlane, a political scientist studying the constitution at the University of Waterloo. This isn't especially unique to Canada. The U.S. Bill of Rights is often perceived to be tougher than the charter — after all, the First Amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law” — but those rights can also be limited: freedom of speech doesn't extend to child pornography; the Second Amendment right to bear arms doesn't extend to fully automatic weapons. Yet, the existence of Canada's limitations provision was controversial back when Canadians were actually debating what the charter ought to say. The initial version of Section 1, drafted in agreement between the federal government and the provinces, said charter rights would be “subject only to such reasonable limits as are generally accepted in a free and democratic society with a Parliamentary form of government.” Peter Hogg, one of the leading authorities on Canadian constitutional law, wrote that of the 46 groups that addressed Section 1 in their discussions of how to improve the charter, 38 of them said it had to go. Among them: the Canadian Bar Association, which said it “must be deleted”; the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, which said it was a loophole so ginormous, members dubbed it the “Mack Truck clause”; and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which, in a written memo from November 1980, said the government was “attempting, at one and the same time, to eat and have its constitutional cake.” “Parliament must either fish or cut bait. Legislative supremacy and the entrenchment of human rights cannot co-exist in this way,” the memo said. Jean Chrétien, who was then the justice minister, backed down in January 1981, and the language changed from “generally accepted” and “with a parliamentary form of government” to the current version, which says, charter rights are “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” (As it happens, the government was actually prepared to drop Section 1 altogether, if this new draft was also rejected.) “The purpose of the original draft was to ensure that the people, the legislatures and the courts would not look upon rights as absolute, but would recognize them as subject to reasonable limitation,” Chrétien said at the time. It's inarguable that some aspects of the pandemic response have infringed upon rights. But, because the charter allows for limitations on rights, that does not mean the policy or law or regulation is unconstitutional. “It's really a question of proportionality: Is the rights-restricting policy or law doing more harm or more good on balance?” said Macfarlane. In May 2020, Newfoundland and Labrador instituted a travel ban. Days later, Kimberley Taylor, who lived in Nova Scotia, was turned away when she tried to visit for her mother's funeral. As it happened, eight days later, she was allowed in, but her lawsuit — she was joined by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association — was heard by the court to determine if a province could restrict travel. Every Canadian has, thanks to Section 6, the right to “enter, remain in and leave Canada” and the right to “move to and take up residence in any province.” The court conceded that, yes, Taylor's mobility rights were violated. But, it said, this infringement was “a reasonable measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Cara Zwibel, director of the fundamental freedoms program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says it's not the charter's fault it isn't being used to strike down pandemic-related legalization. Yes, the charter exists, and, yes, it has various clauses that justify infringements upon rights, but, at the end of the day, it's judges who are making those analytical calls and deferring to politicians and public-health experts. “Because of the nature of this particular emergency and the length of it, I think we do need the courts to be scrutinizing these measures more closely and requiring governments to really bring forward the evidence for why they're doing what they're doing,” said Zwibel. The way in which a court decides if something is constitutional or not is somewhat complex. But versions of this analysis have been done in many of the Covid-related court cases. In one case in the Federal Court, regarding the federal government's quarantine hotels, the judge had to analyze alleged violations of a number of charter rights, such as security of the person. “It is not difficult to readily apprehend how the prospect of having to stay at (government-approved accommodation) or a (designated quarantine facility), and then actually being at such a facility, would cause feelings of stress and anxiety in some people,” wrote Chief Justice Paul Crampton. “However, I find that the alleged violations did not engage the Applicants' right to security of the person.” Because of the pace of the pandemic — a restriction might have been lifted before it gets a court hearing — many issues haven't even come before courts or received charter analysis. In the United States, said Zwibel, the Supreme Court has heard stacks of Covid-related court cases. “We just don't have a system that lets that happen at that kind of speed. And the speed is important, because we've had rules that change so frequently that by the time you get something in front of a court, the rules that you're challenging might no longer be in place,” Zwibel said. In the four decades since the charter was adopted, courts both low and high have been sifting through these questions to determine the constitutionality of various laws and regulations, although, at times, the level of scrutiny has ebbed and flowed. “The court has oscillated on how much it demands government actually present to demonstrably justify its laws,” said Macfarlane. A recent — and obvious — example of this is the immediate post-9/11 era, when courts were exceptionally deferential to governments and their anti-terrorism legislation. “The courts aren't immune from the broader political context of the day,” Macfarlane said. An analogous phenomenon might be afoot now. So, what comes next? And what effect might the way the courts handled pandemic restrictions have on the way we perceive rights? “You can see a sort of draining away of public enthusiasm and public perception of the legitimacy of the charter's protections,” Baron said. (The Canadian Constitution Foundation has also litigated against some COVID-19 policies, such as quarantine hotels.) Just like the courts after 9/11 slowly became less willing to accept government arguments, as normalcy slowly returns, or the justifications for severe restrictions weaken, the courts may become more likely to strenuously question infringements upon rights. “We're seeing a period of some deference to public-health decision-making, but that may moderate over time, as courts feel a bit more confident in entering into some of the charter analysis on these issues,” said Dwight Newman, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Since the way judges approach the charter shifts back and forth over time, so, too, does the perception that judges and the charter aren't protecting Canadians' rights. “I think people would like to have an instrument that actually protects some absolute rights ... that draws some clear lines in the sand. And that's not the way Section 1 has come to be interpreted in the Canadian context,” said Newman. But, he said, the charter still exists, and it still has power to protect against government overreach. “People should feel some confidence in that,” Newman said. It's hard to say what the effects will be in the long term, with regards to precedents and a shift toward judicial deference, experts said. Zwibel, though, argued individual rights have been devalued during the pandemic. “I agree that it's a problem that's required collective action and responsibility, and that there are rights and responsibilities, and that collective interests are important, but I think that we've forgotten — or just not paid sufficient attention to — the importance of protecting individual rights and freedoms.” YOU CAN SEE A ... DRAINING AWAY OF PUBLIC ENTHUSIASM.
  10. Omicron highlights fading hope of herd immunity from COVID-19 Julie Steenhuysen ReutersStaff Contact Published Thursday, January 20, 2022 10:19AM EST CHICAGO -- The Omicron variant, which is spreading far faster than previous versions of the coronavirus, is not likely to help countries achieve so-called herd immunity against COVID-19, in which enough people become immune to the virus that it can no longer spread, leading disease experts say. From the earliest days of the pandemic, public health officials have expressed hope that it was possible to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, as long as a high enough percentage of the population was vaccinated or infected with the virus. Those hopes dimmed as the coronavirus mutated into new variants in quick succession over the past year, enabling it to reinfect people who were vaccinated or had previously contracted COVID-19. Some health officials have revived the possibility of herd immunity since Omicron emerged late last year. The fact that the variant spreads so quickly and causes milder illness might soon expose enough people, in a less harmful way, to the SARS-COV-2 virus and provide that protection, they argue. Disease experts note, however, that Omicron’s transmissibility is aided by the fact that this variant is even better than its predecessors at infecting people who were vaccinated or had a prior infection. That adds to evidence that the coronavirus will continue to find ways to break through our immune defenses, they said. “Reaching a theoretical threshold beyond which transmission will cease is probably unrealistic given the experience we have had in the pandemic,” Dr. Olivier le Polain, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization (WHO), told Reuters. That is not to say that prior immunity offers no benefit. Instead of herd immunity, many experts interviewed by Reuters said there was growing evidence that vaccines and prior infection would help boost population immunity against COVID-19, which makes the disease less serious for those who are infected, or become reinfected. “As long as population immunity holds with this variant and future variants, we'll be fortunate and the disease will be manageable,” said Dr. David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. NOT LIKE MEASLES Current COVID-19 vaccines were primarily designed to prevent severe disease and death rather than infection. But clinical trial results in late 2020 showing that two of the vaccines had more than 90% efficacy against the disease initially sparked hope that the virus could be largely contained by widespread vaccination, similar to the way measles has been curbed by inoculation. With SARS-CoV-2, two factors have since undermined that picture, said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "The first is that immunity, especially to infection, which is the important kind of immunity, wanes quite quickly, at least from the vaccines that we have right now," he said. The second is that the virus can quickly mutate in a way that enables it to elude protection from vaccination or prior infection - even when immunity has not waned. "It changes the game when vaccinated people can still shed virus and infect other people," said Dr. David Wohl, an infectious disease specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He cautioned against assuming that infection with Omicron would increase protection, especially against the next variant that might arise. "Just because you had Omicron, maybe that protects you from getting Omicron again, maybe," Wohl said. Vaccines in development that provide immunity against future variants or even multiple types of coronaviruses could change that, said Pasi Penttinen, the top influenza expert at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, but it will take time. Still, the hope for herd immunity as a ticket back to normal life is hard to shake. "These things were in the media: 'We’ll reach herd immunity when 60% of the population are vaccinated.' It didn't happen. Then for 80%. Again, it didn't happen,” Francois Balloux, professor of computational systems biology at University College London, told Reuters. “As horrible as it sounds, I think we have to prepare ourselves to the fact that the vast majority, essentially everyone, will get exposed to SARS-CoV-2," he said. Global health experts expect that the coronavirus will ultimately become endemic, circulating persistently in the population and causing sporadic surges. The emergence of Omicron, however, has raised questions about exactly when that might happen. “We will get there," said the WHO's le Polain, "but we are not there at the moment.”
  11. Czech folk singer dies after intentionally catching COVID-19 Brooklyn NeustaeterCTVNews.ca Writer @bneustaeter Contact Published Thursday, January 20, 2022 11:02AM ESTLast Updated Thursday, January 20, 2022 11:02AM EST The son of a Czech folk singer says his mother, who was opposed to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, has died after she deliberately contracted the disease. Hana Horka, of the folk band Asonance, died on Sunday after intentionally exposing herself to the coronavirus at home, her son Jan Rek told CNN affiliate CNN Prima News. She was 57. Rek says his mother voluntarily exposed herself to COVID-19 after he and her husband, who are both vaccinated, caught it before Christmas. Rek said Horka wanted to get sick so she would not be required to get vaccinated. "My mom wanted to get sick so she gets the COVID pass," Rek said. "She said to me, and even publicly, she wants to get infected so she is done with COVID." In the Czech Republic, proof of vaccination or a recent COVID-19 infection is required for travel, accessing cultural and sports facilities, and for visiting bars and restaurants. Rek said his mother was getting incorrect information about the virus "from her social circle," and was posting anti-vaccination sentiments online. He added that Horka was "ignoring on purpose some facts and comments that were disproving her arguments." "She wanted to get sick on purpose," Rek said. While Rek said that his mother "wasn't extremely against vaccination," she was open to the idea of choice. "She was living by even at times unrelated information concerning health in general, but there has always been this underlying thought that nature will take care of everything and only we know ourselves the best," he said. Rek said he is sharing the story to warn others about the risk the Omicron variant poses to those who are unvaccinate
  12. The following article will of course raise the question re why the prices are so high and why can we not get reduced prices. 1. As the title of this thread states, you don't want our oil so why the hell would you expect to reap it's benefits? However all Canadians will share some of the benefits due to the increased federal tax revenue. 2. As a Province we may achieve a balanced budget from this new money and then be able to afford more benefits and jobs for our citizens, along with those who commute here from other provinces to work. (win / win) for all. 3. Re the cost, that is of course based on the world market. At the retail end, it varies greatly from Province to Province, City to City.
  13. Military may take months to gauge 5G safety risks to aircraftMilitary may take months to gauge 5G safety risks to aircraft By Stephen Losey Jan 19, 08:33 PM WASHINGTON — As the commercial airline and telecommunications industries scramble to limit the potential safety risks to aircraft from a rollout of new 5G networks, it may be months before the U.S. military has a handle on whether, or how big, of a problem this might be for its own planes. At the center of the controversy is whether the deployment of 5G networks, operating along a frequency known as the C-band, will interfere with radar altimeters used by military, civilian and commercial aircraft and helicopters. These altimeters are used to measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground. For the military, they are particularly necessary when mobility aircraft such as cargo planes or tankers land in adverse weather conditions. If the pilot’s visibility is poor during such a landing, he or she would have to use altimeters to measure how far off the ground the aircraft is during the approach, and a flawed reading could lead to a crash. Verizon and AT&T began activating their 5G networks on Wednesday, promising much faster wireless service speeds than the previous 4G network. But amid a growing outcry from the commercial airline industry, the companies on Tuesday announced they would temporarily limit the deployment of new 5G networks near some airports. Some international airlines announced plans to cancel certain flights to the United States over the concern.hat 5G deployment could cause interference to civil and military aircraft. By Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta The Federal Communications Commission in early 2021 auctioned off the rights to operate 5G transmissions in the C-band, or 3.7-3.98 GHz, primarily to Verizon and AT&T. That is close to the 4.2-4.4 GHz spectrum radar altimeters use. The airline industry trade association Airlines for America said it has brought concerns about the potential for interference and safety risks to the FCC several times since 2018, to little avail. The Air Line Pilots Association said in a Jan. 18 statement interference from 5G networks operating on this spectrum could cause aircraft to lose their radar altitude information or mistakenly tell the pilots the wrong altitudes, and could lead to crashes. In a Jan. 17 letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Federal Aviation Administration head Stephen Dickson, FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and the White House, Airlines for America urged that the new 5G networks not be activated within two miles of major airports. Failing to do so could result in “significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies,” reads the letter, which was also signed by the heads of major commercial aviation firms such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines, UPS and FedEx Express. The military decided about a year ago that instead of trying to block the auction of the C-band spectrum, it would work to limit the potential interference with its aircraft’s systems. In a Tuesday email, Air Force spokesman Capt. Patrick Gargan said the Defense Department is working with its FAA counterparts on the 5G issue. Gargan said the Pentagon stood up a “Joint Interagency FiveG Radar Altimeter Interference,” or JI-FRAI, team, to develop “quick reaction tests” to determine the impact of 5G on avionics. The military is scrambling to understand the aviation crash risk from a new 5G sale More than a dozen commercial aviation groups are warning that the sale of spectrum could lead to interference and even fatalities. By Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta But those tests will not provide any answers soon. Gargan said testing is scheduled to begin this month, and the results are expected late this summer. Gargan also said military services have issued bulletins to the field and to fleets to alert aircrews about the potential for interference, and is setting up a system for reporting interference if it happens. The Air Force, Verizon and AT&T did not respond by press time on whether the telecommunications companies would similarly limit 5G rollout around military bases where aircraft take off or land. Honeywell, one of the leading manufacturers of radar altimeters, told Defense News it hasn’t been asked to take any steps to further safeguard its altimeters, though it continues working with the government and aircraft manufacturers on this issue. “Honeywell’s radar altimeters meet all existing FAA and manufacturer certification requirements,” Honeywell spokesman Adam Kress said in an email. “Neither the agency nor manufacturers have provided any additional requirements for our equipment. If needed, we’re ready to verify compatibility of our equipment with any new requirements and we have been working with the FAA, Department of Defense and aircraft manufacturers to conduct testing of our systems in the 5G spectrum.” The Air Force Safety Center said it had received no reports of problems with 5G interference, although the 5G networks on the C-band spectrum had only started to come online. CNBC reported some other forms of 5G have previously been available to some Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile customers. Those 5G services, however, are not on the C-band, which is prized for its ability to travel long distances and transmit large amounts of data.
  14. The EU Removed Canada From Its Safe List & It Means Travellers Could Face More Restrictions Helena Hanson 5 hrs ago The European Union has recently removed Canada from its safe travel list, which means Canadian visitors could face additional restrictions when travelling there. On Monday, January 17, the EU shared an update confirming that Canada, Argentina and Australia would be taken off the list of places for which travel rules should be lifted. It means passengers from these countries could be subject to additional travel measures if they enter the EU, although each member state is ultimately responsible for its own border policies. According to Forbes, to stay on the green list a country must have no more than 75 new COVID-19 cases daily per 100,000 people within 14 days. On the same day that Canada was pulled from the safe travel list, fourteen other countries were actually added to it. This included Qatar, Colombia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates and China, among others. The EU suggests member states should "gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders" for residents of these places. It comes as the Omicron variant continues to impact the travel industry both in Canada and internationally. On January 10, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its advice and warned Americans to avoid all non-essential travel to Canada due to its "very high" levels of COVID-19. On Tuesday, WestJet announced even more cuts to flight services through February due to related staffing shortages and "cumbersome" travel restrictions. Other Canadian airlines have made similar moves in recent weeks. Canada's strict pandemic-related border measures remain in place and the country's global travel advisory is still active. This article’s cover image was used for illustrative p
  15. Cathay Pacific Is On Life Support, and Hope Is Running Out Hong Kong’s unofficial flag carrier lacks the attributes that have helped other airlines weather the pandemic. All dressed up and nowhere to go. Photographer: Kyle Lam/Bloomberg By David Fickling January 18, 2022, 3:00 PM MST Listen to this article 5:36 Share this article David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian. @davidfickling + Get alerts for David Fickling In this article 293 CATHAY PAC AIR 6.42 HKD -0.04-0.62% 753 AIR CHINA LTD-H 5.84 HKD +0.00+0.00% RYA RYANAIR HLDGS 16.22 EUR -0.18-1.10% SIA SINGAPORE AIRLIN 5.07 SGD +0.02+0.40% 1055 CHINA SOUTHERN-H 4.97 HKD -0.15-2.93% Open Is any airline on the planet in a more impossible situation right now than Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.? The carriers that have coped best during the pandemic have two qualities in common. They either have a substantial domestic or quasi-domestic market, such as Interglobe Aviation Ltd., Spring Airlines Co. or Ryanair Holdings Plc; a reliable government shareholder, like Singapore Airlines Ltd. or Emirates; or, ideally, both, like China’s big three airlines Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Hong Kong’s unofficial flag carrier has neither. A pandemic that shuttered international travel was always going to be tough for an airline that crosses a border every time it flies. Still, rivals have been slowly getting back on their feet. Singapore Air was running at 37% of pre-Covid capacity in November before climbing to 45% the following month, buoyed by a government determined to return the city to its status as a global hub. Cathay was at just 12% of pre-pandemic levels in November — and the border rules have since been tightened. On Jan. 8, all flights from several of Cathay’s biggest markets — including Australia, Canada, the Philippines, the U.K. and U.S. — were suspended for a month. A week later, even transit flights — one of the few areas where Cathay was able to operate, given Hong Kong’s zero-Covid strategy involves a three-week quarantine — were suspended to a list of 150 countries, leaving the city almost cut off from air traffic: Cathay is a relatively rare example of a full-service airline that’s never been nationalized, but it’s always been able to count on an attitude of benign neglect. When Qantas Airways Ltd. tried to set up a budget carrier in the city in 2013, Cathay blocked it in the courts. When it funded trips to Europe for members of Hong Kong’s legislature amid that lobbying effort, the city’s future Chief Executive Carrie Lam said no rules had been broken. She’s now far less indulgent, promising this month to take legal action against the airline after outbreaks of the omicron variant were traced back to members of its crew who’d been allowed to skip quarantine protocols. The former flight attendants were arrested Monday and released on bail. Once upon a time, Cathay Pacific was treasured as a cherished part of Hong Kong’s unique identity as a laissez-faire center of free speech and free markets. With that identity itself now seen as a threat to Beijing, the airline has about as much value to the territory’s government as Lennon Walls, Tiananmen Square memorials and muckraking media tycoons. If there’s one aspect of Hong Kong that hasn’t changed, it’s that big money often speaks most freely. While Cathay Pacific’s shares have barely responded to the change in conditions, the airline’s 4.875% notes due in 2026 have been slumping, from 99.1 cents on the dollar on Jan. 5 to 93.9 cents now. That shift arises from a growing recognition that Hong Kong's one major favor to Cathay Pacific turned out to be a poisoned chalice. That the airline is operating at all right now is largely down to the HK$40.95 billion ($5.3 billion) bailout it received in 2020. Generous terms mean that the interest-like dividends on the HK$19.5 billion of preference shares at the heart of that package don’t even have to be paid until conditions improve. The sums owed are quietly accruing, though, and the interest rate will start ramping up in August 2023, from 3% currently to 9% by 2026. If Cathay keeps deferring preference dividends and adding them to its sum of debt, the annual interest bill alone on the prefs will top HK$2 billion by the middle of 2025 — roughly equivalent to its average net income in the last five pre-pandemic years. Those obligations will rank ahead of any dividends Cathay could hope to pay to its ordinary shareholders — and it’s also going to have to start paying down the principal, too. Cathay Pacific’s only hope to avoid its prefs turning into an ever-growing money pit is to see earnings spring back at lightning speed. But even a return to something resembling normal when international traffic gets back to pre-Covid levels around 2024 seems optimistic. With Hong Kong turning ever more into a hermit city indistinguishable from the authoritarian mainland of China, the business-class travelers who’ve helped make flights turn a profit are quitting for more welcoming locations. What future does Cathay Pacific have in that situation? It seems impossible that it will ever pay off its debt to the government. The most likely option is that a weakened airline finally falls into the arms of state-controlled Air China, which could turn it into a premium carrier and use it to extend its own cargo operations.
  16. Here we go again, ....... Coast Guard retiring key ocean science vessel, replacement delayed yet again OTTAWA — The federal government says it is being forced to retire one of the country's most important science vessels, even as work on its replacement has hit yet another snag. The Canadian Coast Guard announced this afternoon that age has finally caught up to the 59-year-old CCGS Hudson, and the science vessel is being decommissioned. The difficult decision came after one of the ship's motors broke last November and officials determined it was too expensive to both repair it and upgrade other outdated parts of the vessel to meet new regulations. The coast guard will now be without a dedicated ocean research vessel for years as the government says the Hudson's replacement has experienced yet another delay and won't arrive until at least 2025. The government originally planned to receive the Hudson's replacement from Vancouver's Seaspan Shipyards, which is building the ship, in 2017, but had most recently been targeting delivery in 2024. Aside from many delays, the shipbuilding project has also seen numerous cost overruns, with the original $108-billion budget now nearing $1 billion. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022. The Canadian Press And now why?
  17. BC Has Quietly Changed Its COVID-19 Restrictions & Now There's No End Date For Closures COVID-19 restrictions in B.C. just changed, and now there is no end date to the current closures and limitations. There are currently restrictions that limit gatherings and prevent gyms, nightclubs, and bars from opening. Previously, the public health order said that these restrictions would be in place until January 18. However, on January 17, the government changed the order, which now states: "This Order does not have an expiration date." Without this expiry date, it is unclear when these restrictions will be lifted. Under the current restrictions in the province, a household is able to gather with up to 10 other people or with one other household. Indoor venues have a maximum capacity requirement of 50%, and there is a maximum of six people allowed at a table. B.C.'s Health Minister Adrian Dix tweeted about the change to restrictions on Monday. While the change to the health order came without a formal announcement to the public, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will be updating the public about the new changes in a news conference at 1.30 p.m. PT on Tuesday. The order was originally put in place as COVID-19 cases surged in the province, aimed at curbing the impact of the Omicron variant. Some businesses have refused to comply with the restrictions by keeping their doors open. Iron Energy Gym in West Kelowna said earlier this month that they will not be closing their doors, arguing that gyms are essential.
  18. Very scary if true. I hope we never see this sort of action happen. Some like idea of jail time for unvaxxed, poll finds Poll finds 27% of Canadians support jail time Calgary Herald 19 Jan 2022 ANJA KARADEGLIJA Many Canadians are in favour of harsh punishments for the unvaccinated, with 37 per cent saying in a new poll it would be acceptable to deny them publicly-funded health care — and 27 per cent that it would be OK to go as far as a short jail sentence. “A majority of Canadians have little sympathy for the unvaccinated,” said John Wright, executive vice-president of Maru Public Opinion, which conducted the poll on Jan. 14 and 15. Maru surveyed an online panel of 1,506 Canadians. It found two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of mandatory vaccines for everyone over the age of five. Health Minister Jeanyves Duclos said earlier this month that mandatory vaccinations are on the horizon, and something that provincial governments should be discussing. The poll also asked about various punitive measures for those who would refuse a mandatory vaccination. Thirty-three per cent of the survey respondents said it would be acceptable to not allow them to renew their drivers' licence. Another 37 per cent said it would be OK to refuse to “allow them access to any publicly funded hospital/ medical services.” More than a quarter, 27 per cent, said it would be acceptable to make them serve up to five days “as part of a jail sentence for endangering others/overwhelming (the) health-care system.” Wright said that with the spread of the Omicron variant, many Canadians are now experiencing a “de facto withdrawal of medical services.” “An increasing group of people either can't get access to the medical care that they need or they're seeing members of their family or their circle being refused that same kind of treatment,” he said. The viewpoint, Wright said, is that if an unvaccinated person hasn't “taken any precaution whatsoever, why should you be more at the front of the line than others who have done all the right things, and they aren't able to get access to treatment,” including people who have had cancer treatment delayed by months. Sixty-one per cent of the respondents said it would be OK to make the unvaccinated pay “a monetary health-care surcharge on their taxes of up to $150 per month.” That's the same percentage that said it would be OK to make such individuals “pay out of pocket for the full medical cost” if they are admitted to hospital or the ICU with COVID-19. “The sentiment out there is, if you're going to clog up the health care system, then you're going to pay for it yourself,” Wright said. Asked how they view those who refuse to be vaccinated, 48 per cent of respondents said those individuals were responsible for overwhelming the health care system, and 40 per cent described them as people “who are holding us back from having a new normal life.” Another 36 per cent said they were “misguided conspiracy theorists” and were “endangering society.” More than three-quarters of those surveyed, 77 per cent, said it would be acceptable to put in place restrictions barring those who would refuse a mandatory vaccination from entering public spaces like liquor and cannabis stories, libraries, restaurants, cinemas and retail outlets. Quebec has already moved on some of those measures. New rules requiring proof of vaccination to enter a liquor or cannabis store came into effect Tuesday, and the province has also promised to implement a tax on unvaccinated adults. Asked how much sympathy respondents had for an unvaccinated person who becomes seriously ill or dies as a result of COVID-19, 27 per cent said they had none at all. Only 19 per cent said they had a lot of sympathy, while the rest were somewhere in between. There were some with a more favourable view of the unvaccinated. Twenty-seven per cent said they were “good people with legitimate reasons/concerns” and 12 per cent went further, describing them as “heroes for free speech/choice.” That's three per cent more than the nine per cent of the respondents YOU'RE GOING TO PAY FOR (HEALTH CARE) YOURSELF. who were unvaccinated themselves. When those individuals were asked why they refused a vaccination, 45 per cent said they were “defending my civil liberty to make a choice for me.” A similar proportion, 42 per cent, said they were waiting for more data on safety of the vaccines. Other reasons cited by the unvaccinated included being anxious or scared about how the vaccine could affect them (28 per cent) and not wanting the government to tell them what to do (22 per cent). Others cited conspiracy theories, like that the vaccine could affect their genetic structure (21 per cent), that COVID is a “hoax” and “not a killer” (nine per cent) and “a global conspiracy to control those who get it” (four per cent).
  19. Attempting to curb COVID-19 through mandatory travel testing like 'trying to stop mosquitoes in the summer': expert Nicole BogartCTVNews.ca Writer @nlynnbogart Contact Published Wednesday, January 19, 2022 11:03AM ESTLast Updated Wednesday, January 19, 2022 11:16AM EST What should Canadians know before travelling to the U.S.? NOW PLAYING There are growing calls for the federal government to drop the mandatory arrival testing requirement for travellers, a rule experts say is doing little to impact the spread of COVID-19 while diverting sorely needed testing resources from provinces. Ottawa is doling out thousands of PCR tests a day to randomly selected, fully-vaccinated travellers—including Canadians—upon arrival as part of its COVID-19 screening efforts. But with the Omicron variant already driving unprecedented spread of COVID-19 domestically, Jason Kindrachuk, infectious disease expert at the University of Manitoba, says attempts to curb travel-related cases of the virus are akin to “trying to stop mosquitoes from circulating in the summer.” “We already know we have a massive number of mosquitoes—you're not going to be able to do that,” Kindrachuk told CTV’s Your Morning Wednesday. “You can test for other species that may have a stronger bite or may be able to circulate more, but that doesn't mean that you have to look at all the mosquitoes that are coming in.” According to statistics provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the test-positivity rate for randomly tested fully-vaccinated travellers is just above two per cent. Meanwhile, across Canada, the test-positivity rate is above 20 per cent. This, at a time in the pandemic where many provinces have been forced to restrict molecular PCR testing, has sparked questions about the government’s use of testing resources, even prompting Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to pen an open letter to the federal government calling for changes to the testing protocols. “From a resource standpoint, we have to appreciate where we are right now and we're already seeing limitations within the country with trying to be able to assess where Omicron is in our own communities,” Kindrachuk said, noting that Canada is in a very different place than it was in late November 2021, when Omicron was still isolated to certain regions. “Now the question is, are you really stopping any potential additional transmission by being able to identify those cases [at the border]? And I think the actual answer is likely not.” On Friday, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam admitted that the mandatory testing requirement is a “drain” on the system. And while she stopped short of calling for an end to the testing requirements, she suggested that Canada should stop “sequencing” every COVID-19 sample from travellers given the global spread of Omicron. “The whole world has Omicron,” Tam told reporters. “We could do sampling for the tests, instead of testing every single vaccinated individual coming from other countries. But, we will evaluate that over time.” In a statement to CTVNews.ca, PHAC defended the requirements calling them “critical at this time of reduced capacity in health and other sectors.” “This approach makes optimal use of the maximum federal testing capacity in that it identifies as many cases of COVID-19 as possible. Individuals testing positive are required to isolate, preventing onward transmission of the infection,” read the statement. “The Government is mindful of the need to monitor the impact of its testing program, including sequencing levels, to ensure that the program works in synergy with the diagnostic programs of the provinces and territories.”
  20. Airlines worldwide rush to change flights over U.S. 5G dispute Issue appears to affect the Boeing 777, used by carriers around the world The Associated Press · Posted: Jan 19, 2022 3:28 AM ET | Last Updated: 4 hours ago Airlines across the world, including the long-haul carrier Emirates, rushed Wednesday to cancel or change flights heading into the U.S. over an ongoing dispute about the rollout of 5G mobile phone technology near American airports. The issue appeared to impact the Boeing 777, a long-range, wide-body aircraft used by carriers across the world. Two Japanese airlines directly named the aircraft as being particularly affected by the 5G signals as they announced cancellations and changes to their schedules. Dubai-based Emirates, a key carrier for East-West travel, announced it would halt flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Orlando, Florida, San Francisco and Seattle over the issue beginning Wednesday. It said it would continue flights to Los Angeles, New York and Washington. In its announcement, Emirates cited the cancellations as necessary due to "operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the U.S. at certain airports." AT&T, Verizon delay 5G rollout after U.S. airlines warn of massive travel disruptions "We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our U.S. services as soon as possible," the state-owned airline said. Potential interference with aircraft altimeters The United Arab Emirates successfully rolled out 5G coverage all around its airports without incident. But in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration worries that the C-Band strand of 5G could interfere with aviation equipment. Of particular concern in the 5G rollout appears to be the Boeing 777, a major workhorse for Emirates. Japan's All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. said in a statement that the FAA "has indicated that radio waves from the 5G wireless service may interfere with aircraft altimeters." Altimeters measure how high a plane is in the sky, a crucial piece of equipment for flying. "Boeing has announced flight restrictions on all airlines operating the Boeing 777 aircraft, and we have cancelled or changed the aircraft for some flights to/from the U.S. based on the announcement by Boeing," ANA said. Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. similarly said that it had been informed that 5G signals "may interfere with the radio altimeter installed on the Boeing 777." "We will refrain from using this model on the continental United States line until we can confirm its safety and we regret to inform you that we will cancel the flight for which the aircraft cannot be changed to the Boeing 787," the airline said. 4 hours ago Duration2:04 The U.S. aviation regulator, the FAA, came to a last-minute deal to avoid turning dozens of airports into no-fly zones for certain planes, but the bigger issue about whether 5G could interfere with airplanes' ability to land remains unresolved. 2:04 Chicago-based Boeing Co. did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Air India also announced on Twitter it would cancel flights to Chicago, Newark, New York and San Francisco "due to deployment of the 5G communications" equipment. It said it would try to use other aircraft on U.S. routes as well. The cancellations come even after mobile phone carriers AT&T and Verizon will postpone new wireless service near some U.S. airports planned for this week. The FAA will allow planes with accurate, reliable altimeters to operate around high-power 5G. But planes with older altimeters will not be allowed to make landings under low-visibility conditions. CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices|About CBC News
  21. Passenger flights resume at St. John's airport, but officials say fix is temporary The Canadian Press Staff Contact Published Jan. 19, 2022 7:11 a.m. MST Share Officials at the St. John's International Airport say services will resume today after a labour dispute with firefighters forced widespread flight cancellations Tuesday night and into this morning. But they warn the fix is temporary. The airport authority announced Tuesday that as of 8 p.m., all flights except cargo, medical evacuation and planes with fewer than 20 seats would be suspended because of staffing shortages at the airport firehall. The authority said in a tweet today that normal commercial operations have restarted at the airport, but the solution to the staffing shortage is not permanent. The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees claims that a "campaign of harassment and discrimination" against firefighters has stifled concerns around safety and regulatory compliance and ultimately thinned their ranks. Federal Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan said in a tweet early this morning that federal mediator Barney Dobbin had been brought in and was working with the parties through the night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.
  22. Betting Omicron has peaked, Johnson drops COVID-19 rules in England Alistair Smout ReutersStaff Contact Published Wednesday, January 19, 2022 10:11AM EST British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures introduced to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England as he looks to live with the virus after a peak in cases. Johnson's light touch approach to dealing with the highly transmissible Omicron variant saw him introduce work-at-home advice, more mask-wearing and vaccine passes to slow its spread, stopping short of more onerous restrictions seen globally. While cases soared to record highs, hospitalizations and deaths have not risen by the same extent, in part due to Britain's booster rollout and the variant's lesser severity. Tracking every case of COVID-19 in Canada Some provinces say Omicron surge starting to ease, others warn worst is still to come First at-home COVID-19 antiviral prescription drug authorized by Health Canada Ontario's top doctor 'starting to have much more hope' on COVID-19 New COVID-19 restrictions take effect in Yukon, school exposure notices nixed Quebec girl, 4, dies of 'circumstances related to COVID-19,' hospital centre says Latest research shows Omicron infectious up to 10 days: Tam Study reveals potential genetic risk factor for loss of smell and taste with COVID-19 Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus Newsletter sign-up: Get The COVID-19 Brief sent to your inbox Johnson's pledge to avoid lockdowns and live with the virus contrasts with a zero tolerance approach to COVID-19 in China and Hong Kong, and tougher restrictions in many other European countries. "Many nations across Europe have endured further winter lockdowns... but this government took a different path," Johnson told lawmakers, saying the government had got the toughest decisions right and that numbers going into intensive care were falling. "Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally... because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A." Johnson said that none of the so-called Plan B measures would remain in England, as face masks would not be legally enforced anywhere, COVID-19 passes would not be mandatory and advice to work from home would end. He cited Office for National Statistics figures that showed infection prevalence levels falling from a record high. But scientists warned that cases could still turn higher again if people's behaviour returned to normal quickly. "Removing Plan B measures in the face of extremely high levels of infection is a risk," University of Warwick virologist Lawrence Young said. "Perhaps it would have been wiser to wait for another couple of weeks before removing the advice to work from home and the face coverings mandate. There’s no guarantee that infection levels will continue to fall." PANDEMIC 'NOT OVER' Johnson has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic overall, and Britain has reported 152,513 deaths, the seventh highest total globally. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have followed their own anti-coronavirus measures, generally with tougher restrictions, but have also begun to ease them. Johnson hopes to reset his agenda following furore over the lockdown gatherings at his office, which has some in his party plotting to remove him. The lifting of Plan B measures, along with the navigation of Omicron without resorting to a stringent lockdown, could help Johnson appease vocal opponents of restrictions in his own caucus amid the party unrest. He said if data supported it, he may end the legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive before the regulation lapses in March. "But to make that possible, we must all remain cautious during these last weeks of winter," he said, warning of continued pressure on hospitals. "The pandemic is not over."
  23. AT&T, Verizon pause some new 5G after airlines raise alarm 19 January 2022Canadian Aviation News From CTV News – link to source story – thanks to PN A China Airlines cargo jet lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport, on March 14, 2020. (Kathy Willens / AP) David Koenig, The Associated Press | January 18, 2022 AT&T and Verizon will delay launching new wireless service near key airports after the nation’s largest airlines said the service would interfere with aircraft technology and cause widespread flight disruptions. The decision from the companies came Tuesday as the Biden administration intervened to broker tried to broker a settlement between the telecoms and airlines over a rollout of new 5G service. The companies said they will launch 5G or fifth-generation service Wednesday, but they will delay turning on 5G cell towers within a 2-mile radius of runways designated by federal officials. They did not say how long they would keep those towers idle. President Joe Biden said the decision by AT&T and Verizon “will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90% of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled.” He said the administration will keep working on a permanent solution. RELATED STORIES Here’s why 5G is so concerning for U.S. airlines, and what Canada has done to fix it ‘Anti-5G’ jewelry and accessories are radioactive, Dutch authorities warn U.S. FAA to issue 5G wireless aviation impact notices Even with the concession by the telecommunications companies, federal officials said there could be some cancellations and delays because of limitations of equipment on certain planes. Delta Air Lines also said there could be issues with flights operating in bad weather because of airport restrictions that regulators issued last week, when the 5G rollout appeared to be on schedule. The new high-speed wireless service uses a segment of the radio spectrum that is close to that used by altimeters, which are devices that measure the height of aircraft above the ground. Altimeters are used to help pilots land when visibility is poor, and they link to other systems on planes. AT&T and Verizon say their equipment will not interfere with aircraft electronics, and that the technology is being safely used in 40 other countries. However, the CEOs of 10 passenger and cargo airlines including American, Delta, United and Southwest say that 5G will be more disruptive than earlier thought. That is because dozens of large airports were subject to flight restrictions announced last week by the Federal Aviation Administration if 5G service was deployed nearby. The CEOs added that those restrictions wouldn’t be limited to times when visibility is poor. “Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded. This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays,” the CEOs said in a letter Monday to federal officials. “To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.” The showdown between the airline and telecom industries and their rival regulators — the FAA and the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees radio spectrum — threatened to further disrupt the aviation industry, which has been hammered by the pandemic for nearly two years. This was a crisis that was years in the making. The airlines and the FAA say that they have tried to raise alarms about potential interference from 5G C-Band but the FCC ignored them. The telecoms, the FCC and their supporters argue that C-Band and aircraft altimeters operate far enough apart on the radio spectrum to avoid interference. They also say that the aviation industry has known about C-Band technology for several years but did nothing to prepare — airlines chose not to upgrade altimeters that might be subject to interference, and the FAA failed to begin surveying equipment on planes until the last few weeks. Randall Berry, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northwestern University, likened the interference issue to two stations that overlap on the radio dial. The FCC-determined separation “may be be enough for some (altimeters) but not for others,” he said. One solution could be outfitting all altimeters with good filters against interference, Berry said, although there could be a fight over who pays for that work — airlines or telecom companies. After rival T-Mobile got what is called mid-band spectrum from its acquisition of Sprint, AT&T and Verizon spent tens of billions of dollars for C-Band spectrum in a government auction run by the FCC to shore up their own mid-band needs, then spent billions more to build out new networks that they planned to launch in early December. In response to concern by the airlines, however, they initially agreed to delay the service until early January. Late on New Year’s Eve, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson asked the companies for another delay, warning of “unacceptable disruption” to air service. AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg rejected the request in a letter that had a scolding, even mocking tone. But they had second thoughts after intervention that reached the White House. The CEOs agreed to the second, shorter delay but implied that there would be no more compromises. In that deal, the telecoms agreed to reduce the power of their networks near 50 airports for six months, similar to wireless restrictions in France. In exchange, the FAA and the Transportation Department promised not to further oppose the rollout of 5G C-Band. Biden praised that deal too, but the airlines weren’t satisfied with the agreement, regarding it as a victory for the telecoms that didn’t adequately address their concerns.
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  25. Here's why 5G is so concerning for U.S. airlines, and what Canada has done to fix it Ben CousinsCTVNews.ca Writer @cousins_ben Contact Published Tuesday, January 18, 2022 6:34PM ESTLast Updated Tuesday, January 18, 2022 6:34PM EST The emergence of 5G technology has raised some red flags for airlines in the United States. The cellphone technology, capable of producing laser-fast mobile internet speeds, can interfere with some sensitive aircraft technology, which the airlines worry could produce severe disruptions or even crashes. While most aircraft technology is unaffected, 5G can disrupt an aircraft’s altimeter, which indicates how high a plane is in the air relative to the Earth below. The altimeter is also used in automated landings. Altimeters operate at frequencies close to the new C band 5G wireless, set to launch in the U.S. on Wednesday. Disruptions to this technology -- in a worst-case scenario – can lead to runway crashes or collisions with mountains. More realistically, any bad weather could cause significant delays as pilots would need to conduct visual landings without the help of the altimeter. These networks also have the potential to disrupt helicopters and air ambulance services, along with some military and police operations, according to Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED). U.S. airlines have been adamant that Verizon and AT&T – the two major 5G carriers in the U.S. -- should slow down the launch of the new service surrounding the country’s airports, warning that thousands of planes may be grounded or delayed if the rollout continues. “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies. The harm that will result from deployment on January 19 is substantially worse than we originally anticipated,” Airlines for America, which represents eight major U.S. airlines and two major shipping companies, wrote in an open letter on Monday. “The ripple effects across both passenger and cargo operations, our workforce and the broader economy are simply incalculable. Every one of the passenger and cargo carriers will be struggling to get people, shipments, planes and crews where they need to be. To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.” Airlines for America has asked that 5G service be halted in the two miles surrounding 50 of the U.S. top airports. On Tuesday, AT&T and Verizon announced it would postpone the launch of 5G service near some U.S. airports for six months and would work with regulators and the aviation industry to come up with a solution, but are moving forward with their launch everywhere else on Jan. 19. WHAT HAS CANADA DONE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE?While the U.S. is launching its 5G this week, Canadian companies have offered 5G to customers since early 2020 and airline disruption has not been a major concern. But why?The answer is two-fold: Canada doesn’t offer 5G networks at the speed the U.S. is set to launch, and Canada has already taken several measures to help keep airlines safe.While the U.S. is about to launch 5G in the 4.2 to 4.4 gigahertz range, Canada’s latest spectrum auction was only for speeds of up to 3.7 gigahertz, which means Canada’s mobile internet is slower, but doesn’t come as close to the range that would interfere with airplane technology.Some 40 countries have already launched 5G, but the U.S. is among the few to launch in the higher range. The European Union set standards for up to 3.8 gigahertz in 2019, for example.Additionally, Canada has already addressed concerns regarding 5G’s impact on aircraft. In Nov. 2021, the ISED restricted 5G services by creating “exclusion zones” in the areas surrounding Canadian airports and required that 5G antennas be tilted downward to avoid interference with aircraft. “ISED and Transport Canada are working with both the telecommunications and aviation industries to ensure that appropriate rules are in place to protect the critical operations of radio altimeters,” a spokesperson for Transport Canada wrote in an email to CTVNews.ca.“These technical rules are designed to ensure that 5G is deployed in a manner that minimizes the potential for interference to radio altimeters.”Additionally, Transport Canada has issued several recommendations for all pilots who use altimeters, including to avoid the use of automated landing or takeoff procedures in areas not covered in these exclusion zones and to avoid the use of night vision goggles without external lighting to avoid relying on the altimeter.Transport Canada also suggests that all 5G-connected devices need to either turned off or set to airplane mode and only 3G or 4G networks should be used in the event of an emergency.
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