On the same day the first doses of the Oxford vaccine were administered, 58,784 new COVID-19 cases were recorded. This is the highest daily total since the pandemic began, and the seventh consecutive day over 50,000 people tested positive for the disease. 407 deaths were also recorded. 23,823 people with COVID-19 are currently in hospital across the United Kingdom, exceeding the number seen at the peak of the “first wave” in April. The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and Astrazeneca have been delivered at Oxford’s Churchill hospital. Brian Pinker, an 82 year old retired maintenance manager, was the first person in the world to receive the vaccine outside of clinical trials. Born and raised in Oxford, Mr Pinker received the vaccine at 7:30 am on Monday January 4th, five days after the vaccine was approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The news also comes on the day that First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced that the country would go into a full lockdown from midnight on Monday January 4th. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation at 8pm, when he is expected to announce “further steps” to combat the spread of COVID-19. Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the approval of the Oxford vaccine as “pivotal moment” in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. Around 530,000 doses of the vaccine – which requires two doses to be administered between 4-12 weeks apart – will be made available across six hospital trusts in Oxford, Sussex, Lancashire, Warwickshire and London. Remaining doses will be made available to GP surgeries and care homes. Despite the rollout of the Oxford vaccine being haled as an important moment in the fight against COVID-19, some experts have cautioned the public against taking the virus less seriously. The Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty tweeted that “vaccines give us a route out in the medium term. The NHS is however under very considerable and rising pressure in the short term. We must all follow social distancing for now.” Professor Andrew Pollard of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who also received a dose of the vaccine on Monday, echoed Professor Whitty’s concerns: “It gives us a bit of hope, but I think we’ve got some tough weeks ahead.” The Oxford vaccine is easier to distribute than the Pfizer vaccine because it can be stored at a higher temperature. Both vaccines introduce a segment of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus into human cells. Cells then translate this genetic information to produce viral spike proteins, which trigger the patient’s immune system to produce complementary antibodies and activate specialised cells which combat the virus if the patient is exposed in the future. RNA is an unstable molecule which breaks down easily; the Pfizer vaccine has to be refrigerated at -70 °C to remain effective. The Oxford vaccine encases the RNA in a harmless chimpanzee adenovirus, which allows the vaccine to be stored at 2-8 °C in conventional fridges. This makes it easier to administer in care homes or regions of the world where refrigerating the Pfizer vaccine would be difficult. Mr Pinker is a dialysis patient, which puts him at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 according to NHS guidelines. Speaking after receiving the first dose, Mr Pinker told attending press: “The vaccine means everything to me. To my mind, it’s the only way of getting back to normal life.” Image: CDC/unsplash.com
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affiars has appointed two new independent members to the Board of the Consumer Council for Water.Robert Wilson and Alison Austin have been appointed for four years commencing on 1 July 2018. Board members provide non-executive leadership challenge and support to the executive through regular Board meetings, committees and groups.The Consumer Council for Water is the voice of water and sewerage customers in England and Wales. It represents the views of customers to Government, the regulators and water companies. It also handles complaints about water companies where customers are not satisfied with a company’s performance.All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. The appointments have been made in accordance with the Ministerial Governance Code on Public Appointments.There is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if significant) in the last five years to be declared. Robert Wilson has declared that he held ministerial office for the Conservative party.Consumer Council for Water Board members receive remuneration of £7,812 per annum based on a minimum time commitment of 2 days a month.BiographiesRob Wilson is the current Chair of The Community Bank and was previously Chair of an IT company. Until June 2017, Rob was a Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and prior to this was a Minister for Cabinet Office. During his time at the Cabinet Office, Rob was responsible for reforming the charity fundraising and the National Citizen Service as well as implementing the Prime Minister’s ‘Big Society’ agenda.Alison Austin has more than 25 years of consumer affairs experience, having led sustainability, environmental, food safety, corporate and public affairs work for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. She established her own sustainability consultancy practice in 2009. She is presently the Independent Board member of Seafish and also chairs their Remuneration Committee.Alison chaired the Defra-appointed Seafood Industry Expert Group from 2016 to 2018 which resulted in a 25 year plan for a thriving seafood industry in England – Seafood 2040, a strategic framework for England. Alison is currently a Trustee of the Green Alliance, chair of the Soil Association Certification Scrutiny Committee and also the SGS Independent Advisory Committee on Climate change for SGS UK Ltd.Previously she was a Board member and then Trustee of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) where she sat on the Audit and Risk Committee.Alison was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to sustainable development.
US House passed a bill today that would invest $6.4 billion in school modernization, renovation and repairs in fiscal year 2010. The vote was 275-155. The bill authorizes $14 million in funding to Vermont schools.HR 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Act, would require that the majority of funds be used for projects that meet green building standards.US Rep Peter Welch and several other northeastern lawmakers successfully amended the bill during the last Congress to allow schools to use the funding for renewable energy and heating systems including biomass, wind, solar and geothermal. This investment in public education will support Vermont students, make-much needed improvements in their schools and save taxpayers money by reducing energy costs, Welch said. Vermont s schools have already taken the lead in converting their heating systems to woodchip and wood pellet burners. This bill will help continue that process and ensure our schools have the resources they need to thrive.Welch worked with Reps. Carol Shea-Porter, Michael Arcuri and Paul Hodes on the amendment.Source: Congressman Welch’s office
MASON CITY — A St. Paul Minnesota man charged with carrying weapons as a felon, possession of methamphetamine and fleeing authorities has pleaded not guilty. Back on December 6th, the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Department stopped a vehicle in the 900 block of North Adams, where a deputy saw a sawed-off shotgun in the back seat. One of the two men in the vehicle, 31-year-old Marcus Jones, fled from the scene on foot, and while exiting, a loaded .45 caliber handgun fell onto the ground. The same deputy located Jones in the 1400 block of North Rhode Island at about 2:50 AM on December 12th. When the deputy approached, Jones again fled on foot, but was apprehended a short time later hiding inside of a garage. A search warrant for Jones’ vehicle allegedly resulted in finding a large quantity of methamphetamine and a loaded .25 caliber handgun. Jones was charged with carrying weapons, possession of a firearm as a felon, and interference with official acts from the December 6th stop. Charges from his arrest on December 12th include possession of meth with the intent to distribute, carrying weapons, possession of a firearm as a felon, interference with official acts and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. Jones filed a written plea of not guilty to the charges on Tuesday, with his trial scheduled to start on February 18th in Cerro Gordo County District Court. A passenger in the car during the December 6th traffic stop, 35-year-old Carlos Cooper of Mason City, was charged with carrying weapons, possession of a firearm as a felon and third-offense possession of marijuana. Cooper is due in court for his arraignment hearing next Tuesday.
Rents on the rise From 1997 to 2005, the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment rose by 72 percent. A decade ago, 59 percent of renters in the county could afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment. But by 2005, only 33 percent of renters could because it required an income of more than $50,000 annually. The report comes when state and federal governments have cut health and welfare programs, including affordable-housing programs. City and county government have allocated $329 million to address the homeless crisis since March 2006, but analysts say the state and federal cuts are offsetting those increases. Helmut Anheier, director of the Center for Civil Society and a professor in the UCLA Department of Social Welfare, said local governments need to seriously coordinate their efforts with those of nonprofit groups to address the crisis. “Unless we have a long-term coalition between government and nonprofits in addressing issues like homelessness, we are not going to be able to solve it,” Anheier said. “We are always going to be winning a bit, losing a bit, and going up and down with the numbers. There has to be a sustained effort.” Frustration mounts More than a year after county officials introduced a $100 million plan to combat homelessness, many are frustrated that the city’s point person, Torie Osborn, and the county’s homeless coordinator, Assistant Administrative Officer Lari Sheehan, have been replaced. Leslie Wise took over as the city’s homeless coordinator. Garrison Smith replaced Sheehan in county government. “Right now, it’s so focused on fixing the problem in the short term,” Anheier said. “Even if you move the homeless off Skid Row,” he said, “other homeless people will replace them in a year or two. You have to break the cycle. Government can’t do it alone. Nonprofits can’t do it alone. They have to work together.” Elise Buik, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, said she is encouraged by steps city and county officials have taken. “A lot of people have touted New York City’s effectiveness in getting people off the streets,” Buik said. “But they are spending $1.7 billion a year on their population, which is smaller than ours. We are spending $600 million a year, and our homeless population is larger.” In an attachment to the report, Osborn wrote that it will take city, county and nonprofit agencies working together to achieve the 15-20 percent reductions in homelessness that many cities around the nation have achieved in the last five years. [email protected] (213) 974-8985160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Nonprofit groups face a mounting crisis as they find themselves increasingly responsible for caring for a growing regional homeless population, a new UCLA report says. Charities spent $30 million on services for the homeless in 2000 and $47 million just two years later – increasing the amount spent on each homeless person from $384 to $574. But by 2005, spending for each homeless person fell nearly $100 because of a 12 percent surge in the population, says the report by the Center for Civil Society at the University of California, Los Angeles. “At the local, state and national levels, elected officials have disproportionately walked away from addressing the crisis of homelessness, leaving it up to the incredibly overwhelmed nonprofit sector to try and address,” Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness, said Monday. “The best we can do now is manage homelessness. We are not even close on the nonprofit side to ending or preventing it.” The report comes when soaring real-estate prices on the open market have ballooned the unmet demand for below-market-price housing provided by local, state and federal agencies. Of the 9.9 million residents of Los Angeles County, an estimated 90,000 are homeless – including 54,000 women and children. Nonprofit temporary housing and homeless shelters in the county increased by 50 percent from 22 to 33 from 2000 to 2003. One was added between 2003 and 2005. Each of these shelters served about 2,600 homeless people in 2005, up 4 percent from 2003. But even the increase in shelters has been unable to keep up with the growing numbers of homeless, including many forced onto the streets by rising rents.
Nature’s editorial on religion and ethics last month (see 12/09/2004 entry) motivated two medical professionals to write in and give the journal a piece of their mind.1 Apparently indignant over the editorial’s patronizing view of religion and its simplistic view of ethics, they made it clear that the scientific establishment is no judge of truth and righteousness.Ben MacArthur, a bone and joint researcher at University of Southampton, reminded Nature that science without dissent is in danger of dogmatism. He said that science, which has become the “orthodox worldview of the industrialized world,” has become a court from which there is no appeal, and in so doing, has become the mirror image of medieval religious intolerance:As you note in your Editorial, “Where theology matters” (Nature 432, 657; 2004), this is perhaps most clearly seen in medical research. It is often presented as being carried out purely to relieve pain and maximize personal autonomy. Yet most religious traditions would disagree with these aims, suggesting that well-being additionally depends upon other, ‘spiritual’, factors such as expressions of love and fulfilment of purpose. Critical dissent has played a central role in advancing scientific understanding, and the right to dissent should be held in high esteem by scientists. In the past this dissent has primarily been by thinking scientists against the religious establishment. It seems ironic that these roles have now been reversed, with much dissent coming from thinking religious communities against the scientific establishment. Like it or not, such dissent should be accepted, perhaps even embraced, since it may provide a means to a more balanced view of the place of science in society. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Did he have in mind the intelligent design scientists and the creationists as the dissenters that should be embraced? The context seems to demand it.Stephen McSorley of the University of Connecticut Health Center gave Nature some advice about claiming the moral high ground. In a tone of righteous indignation, he writes that it’s not just theologians who are morally troubled: on the contrary, the shoe is on the other foot:Your Editorial “Where theology matters” (Nature 432, 657; 2004) fails to mention that it is scientists, not theologians, who are out of step with society. The seemingly important ethical question, “Why [should society] be denied a medical advance just because some of its members find it morally troubling?”, is disingenuous. I question the assumption that only a small minority are troubled by the ethics of medical research. In the United States, scientists who believe that “all scientifically sound lines of research should be pursued simultaneously” are in the minority. Although US polls reveal a large majority in support of stem-cell research for therapeutic purposes, they also indicate broad support for President Bush’s stance on federal funding restrictions. Scientific progress within strict ethical limitations seems to be the majority opinion. Thankfully, we live in a democracy where public policy is decided by elected representatives, not a scientific oligarchy. A better question is why certain individuals should be allowed to pursue a line of research when most members of our society find it morally troubling. A third letter, by a Indian mathematician, tended to agree with Nature. Rahul Siddharthan wrote that followers of Eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism and others) stress following one’s own path within certain basic ideas of ethics, rather than following the holy writ of ancient texts. He seemed eager to distance himself from Nature’s characterization of the “‘religions of the book’ that originated in west Asia, and to Christianity in particular.”1Correspondence, Nature 433, 355 (27 January 2005); doi:10.1038/433355a, b, c.Medical professionals may be the awakening giant among allies in the revolution against Darwinism and the naturalistic, secularistic Big Science oligarchy. Highly intelligent, well trained and compassionate, doctors have no use for a philosophy that glorifies selfishness and survival of the fittest, even though the Darwin Party tries to wiggle its way into the medical schools (see 06/25/2003 entry). Medical doctors have devoted their lives to the unselfish care of the unfit: the weak, the sick, the poor and needy, unlike followers of eastern religions that have viewed the suffering as better off left alone to work out their karma.* Western doctors understand morals, love and purpose. If you are a medical professional, follow the lead of these two bold letter-writers, and voice your opinion. All that is needed for out-of-touch, dogmatic, disingenuous scientific oligarchies to triumph is for good doctors to say nothing.(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes up for a dunk as Brooklyn Nets’ Jarrett Allen defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 41 points and 13 rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets 116-91 on Friday night.Antetokounmpo returned after sitting out two games to manage chronic pain in his right knee. He sealed it late, dribbling between his legs before hitting a jumper over Quincy Acy and drawing a foul. Antetokounmpo made the free throw, and hit a 3-pointer on the next possession.ADVERTISEMENT Khris Middleton added 21 points for the Bucks in their second game since coach Jason Kidd was fired Monday. They also beat the Nets for the ninth consecutive time.DeMarre Carroll and D’Angelo Russell had 14 points apiece for Brooklyn.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMilwaukee built a 26-point first-half lead. Brooklyn, which had just 35 points at the half, scored 37 in the third quarter and got within seven points late in the period.The Nets, coming off a one-point loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, struggled offensively throughout the first half, connecting on just 26 percent of their shots, including 4 of 20 from 3-point range. Milwaukee led 58-35 at the half. The Bucks opened on a 16-2 run and led 33-15 after the quarter, led by Antetokounmpo with 11 points.TROUBLE FOR BROWNPolice officers used a stun gun on Bucks rookie guard Sterling Brown and arrested the 22-year-old Friday after a confrontation at a pharmacy parking lot. “It’s a personal issue I’m dealing with right now,” Brown said before the game. Brown had what appeared to be a bruise and scratches on the right side of his face. Officers contacted a man believed to be Brown after seeing a vehicle parked across two handicapped parking spots while doing a business check at about 2 a.m. Asked if there could be any discipline for Brown, coach Joe Prunty said: “We believe it will be resolved quickly.” Brown entered the game midway through the first quarter.TIP-INSNets: Brooklyn shot just 22 percent in the first quarter, including 2 of 13 from 3-point range. … Rondae Hollis-Jefferson limped off the court midway the second quarter with a strained right groin and didn’t return. … Brooklyn made buzzer-beating 3-pointers at the end of the first and second quarters.Bucks: G Malcolm Brogdon missed the game due to right calf soreness. … Former Milwaukee player Vin Baker has been hired as an assistant coach. Baker most recently served as a pre- and postgame analyst for Bucks telecasts and served as a volunteer coaching assistant. … Milwaukee Brewers players Josh Hader, Brett Phillips and Jacob Barnes sat courtside.UP NEXTADVERTISEMENT Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LeBron’s triple-double leads Cavaliers past Pacers 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Nets: At Minnesota on Saturday night.Bucks: At Chicago on Sunday. Giannis Antetokounmpo powers Bucks in bounce back win over Celtics PLAY LIST 02:29Giannis Antetokounmpo powers Bucks in bounce back win over Celtics00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Read Next View comments MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises
England cruised home against New Zealand in a World Twenty20 Super Eight tie at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Sri Lanka on Saturday.New Zealand suffered their second successive defeat of the Super Eights by six wickets as English batsman Luke Wright smashed a 43-ball 76, including five sixes and five boundaries, to take England home.Electing to bat first, the Black Caps kept losing wickets at regular intervals right from the start which halted them from putting together partnerships, from where they could never recover.English pacer Steven Finn wrecked havoc for the Kiwi top order taking three wickets for 16 runs from his four overs.Off-spinner Graeme Swann also played an important role in restricting New Zealand to a sub-150 total, chipping in the wicket of Rob Nicol and giving away 20 runs from his four.The only batsman who provided some fireworks was James Franklin who scored a 50 of 33 balls before being run out. His innings included four boundaries and two sixes.New Zealand captain Ross Taylor and Nathan McCullum chipped in with 22 and 16, respectively, in the end to take the Black Caps to 148.During the England innings, after losing openers Craig Kieswetter (4) and Alex Hales (22) early, Wright and Eoin Morgan (30) put up a 89-run partnership which literally took the game away from Ross Taylor led side.Morgan provided support to Wright chipping in with ones and twos throughout his 31-ball innings. While Wright’s brilliant hitting and strokeplay earned him the Man-of-the-match award.Both teams play there next must-win ties here Monday. New Zealand take on West Indies while defending champions England take on hosts Sri Lanka.advertisementToss: New Zealand captain Ross Taylor won the toss and elected to bat against England in their Super Eight match of the World Twenty20.Teams:England: Craig Kieswetter, Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad (c), Graeme Swann, Danny Briggs, Steven Finn.New Zealand: Martin Guptill, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor (c), Rob Nicol, Daniel Vettori, Doug Bracewell, Kane Williamson, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills.
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, Feb. 6———LEGAL POT ON TRACK FOR JULY, MINISTER SAYS: The Trudeau government insists it’s on track to legalize recreational pot in July — but that will require co-operation from senators who don’t appear to be in any hurry to pass the legislation. Three federal ministers — Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale — are making a rare appearance in the Senate, where they’re fielding questions from senators on Bill C-45. Petitpas Taylor says provincial and territorial governments have indicated they’ll need eight to 12 weeks after the legislation has received royal assent before they’ll be ready to implement the new regime for legalized and regulated cannabis. That would mean the Senate would have to pass the bill by no later than the end of May, if the legislation is to go into effect by the end of July. Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith says his senators won’t be obstructionist, but they will insist on rigorous and thorough examination of the bill.———SPACEX’S NEW ROCKET BLASTS OFF ON ITS FIRST TEST FLIGHT: SpaceX’s big new rocket blasted off Tuesday on its first test flight, carrying a red sports car aiming for an endless road trip past Mars. The Falcon Heavy rose from the same launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today, doubling the liftoff punch of its closest competitor. The three boosters and 27 engines roared to life at Kennedy Space Center, as thousands jammed surrounding beaches, bridges and roads to watch the rocket soar, delayed more than two hours by high wind. Two of the boosters were recycled and programmed to return for a simultaneous touchdown at Cape Canaveral, while the third, brand new, set its sights on an ocean platform some 300 miles offshore. SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk owns the rocketing Tesla Roadster, which is shooting for a solar orbit that will reach all the way to Mars. As head of the electric carmaker Tesla, he combined his passions to add a dramatic flair to the Heavy’s long-awaited inaugural flight. Typical ballast for a rocket debut: concrete or steel slabs, or experiments.———CANADA SELLING HELICOPTERS TO THE PHILIPPINES DESPITE HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS: The Canadian government is facilitating the sale of 16 helicopters to the Philippine military, which human rights groups have accused of killing civilians and committing other atrocities while waging a war on two rebel groups. The Canadian Commercial Corporation, whose role includes selling military goods to other countries on behalf of the government, says the Philippines agreed to buy the Canadian-made Bell helicopters at the end of December. While the Crown corporation would not reveal any other details about the deal, citing commercial confidentiality, reports say the Philippine government had set aside nearly $300 million for the purchase. And while the deal represents another win for the Canadian defence industry following the sale of eight other helicopters to the Southeast Asian country in 2015, it has also sparked concerns from human-rights groups. They say there is evidence that the Philippine military has committed numerous human-rights abuses while fighting Islamist militants and communist rebels in the country, and want a suspension of military sales.———GROUPS READY FOR NEW LYRICS TO O CANADA: School districts, a police department and the National Hockey League are just some of the groups preparing for the new gender-neutral lyrics of O Canada, which could get Rideau Hall’s seal of approval just in time for Friday’s start of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Once the legislation changing the lyrics receives royal assent from Governor General Julie Payette, it will be the first time the official wording has been altered since the song was enshrined as the country’s national anthem in 1980. The update applies only to the English version and will see the second line “in all thy sons command” replaced with the gender-neutral “in all of us command.” The Canadian Olympic Committee has asked athletes competing in the games to use the new wording. National Hockey League spokesman Gary Meagher said adjustments will be made once the new lyrics become official.———ALBERTA TO STOP IMPORTING B.C. WINE: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province will stop importing wine from British Columbia. It’s the latest move in a growing dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would carry more Alberta oilsands bitumen to the B.C. coast. B.C. has said it will restrict increased shipments of bitumen while it further studies the effectiveness of spill response and cleanup. Notley says Alberta currently imports about 17 million bottles of wine worth $70 million annually from B.C. wineries. She also says the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission will step up enforcement of sales from B.C. directly to consumers in her province. Last week, Notley said Alberta was ending any further talks on power purchase agreements with B.C.———B.C. TO INTRODUCE AUTO INSURANCE PAYOUT LIMITS: Years of reckless decisions by the previous British Columbia Liberal administration have thrown the public auto insurer into chaos and forced the government to place a cap of $5,500 on accident payouts for pain and suffering, Attorney General David Eby says. Eby said Tuesday the Insurance Corporation of B.C. was created to provide affordable insurance to all drivers in the province, but decisions and inaction by the former Liberal government led the corporation to a projected net loss this fiscal year of $1.3 billion. Eby said the settlement limit on injury claims will not take effect until April 2019, as part of legislation to be introduced by the NDP government. Without these actions, Eby said B.C. drivers could face insurance premiums averaging $400 or more. Immediate changes introduced Tuesday include doubling the amount of money available for care and recovery for accident victims to $300,000. The government said the cost of pain and suffering claims has increased by 265 per cent since 2000 and B.C. is the last province in Canada to place a limit on such claims.———NEW BILL TO EXPAND PROTECTIONS FOR FISH: The federal government will spend $284 million over the next five years to enforce new laws protecting habitat wherever fish are present, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says. A number of amendments to the Fisheries Act were introduced in the House of Commons on Tuesday to expand the reach of a prohibition against anything that alters or impacts fish habitat to all waters where fish exist. Changes to the act in 2012 meant the protections were enforced only for fish listed in provincial registries as being part of commercial, recreational or Indigenous fisheries. Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in Ottawa the 2012 changes resulted in a lot of confusion about exactly what projects would require a federal government assessment, because it wasn’t always clear which fish needed protecting and which didn’t. Under the new law, only major projects will go through a federal assessment with more minor ones, such as smaller things being done on individual farms or in small municipalities, being given guidelines to follow.———AT LEAST TWO DEAD AFTER MAGNITUDE-6.4 QUAKE HITS TAIWAN: A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Tuesday near the coast of Taiwan, killing two people and injuring more than 200 others, officials said. The ground floor of the Marshal Hotel in Hualien county caved in, causing the death of one employee. Another person died in a residential building, the national fire and rescue service reported. Other buildings shifted on their foundations and rescuers used ladders, ropes and cranes to get residents to safety. Taiwanese media reported that a separate hotel known as the Beautiful Life Hotel was tilting. The agency also posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts. Bridges and some highways were closed pending inspections after buckling due to the force of the quake. With aftershocks continuing, shell-shocked residents were being directed to shelters, including a newly built baseball stadium, where beds and hot food were provided. Speaking from a crisis centre in Taipei, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said rail links appeared to be unaffected and the runway of Hualien airport was intact.———AIDE DEFENDS KEEPING CHAGGER IN THE DARK: Liberal cabinet minister Bardish Chagger has made it clear to her top aides that if they ever hear of sexual misconduct allegations involving anyone in her office, they need to tell her about it. “I have spoken to my chiefs of staff to ensure that I am notified of these matters moving forward, because not only do I want to know, I need to know,” the small business and tourism minister said Tuesday. The direction came after Chagger learned Rachel Bendayan, who was then her chief of staff, did not follow up on allegations that a colleague had made sexually suggestive remarks toward a young woman applying for a job. “I did what I thought was best,” Bendayan said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “There was no further action we could take as an office.” According to HuffPost Canada, Myriam Denis told Bendayan in August 2016 that a policy adviser in Chagger’s office had contacted her about a job opportunity through an online networking site, then made sexual comments during their meetings to discuss it. Chagger, who is also the government House leader, said she did not learn about the allegations until last week.———PARTICK BROWN SAYS ‘TRUTH WILL COME OUT’: The former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives broke his silence Tuesday, saying “the truth will come out” about the sexual misconduct allegations that prompted him to step down abruptly last month. In a brief message posted on Twitter, Patrick Brown said that while he applauds the #MeToo movement, which has sparked an international conversation on sexual harassment and assault in recent months, false allegations “undermine that good work.” Brown, who had not publicly spoken since his resignation in late January, said he is “immensely grateful” for the support he and his family have received. He has vehemently denied the allegations against him, which were made to CTV News and have not been independently verified by The Canadian Press. His sister, Stephanie Brown, has also denounced the allegations as a “political hit.” Brown’s resignation plunged the Progressive Conservatives into turmoil in late January, forcing the party to select an interim leader and plan a leadership race that will be held before the spring election.———
Want to turn over a new leaf on New Year? No need now to spend sleepless nights fretting over how to tell your significant other that you are moving on — thanks to a new app that claims to do the thing in the way you like.Named ‘Breakup Shop’, the site, whose slogan is “Let us help you end it”, uses email, snail mail, text or Snapchat, at prices from 6 pounds sterling to 30 pounds for customised naughty or nice options, The Sun reported.“It’s hard to break-up with someone. Let us do it for you. We’ll send a phone call to your future ex to share the bad news,” The Breakup Shop says. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Warring couples can use the website to do the dirty work of splitting up for them — by sending a text telling your partner that you are dumping them. Users are given the option of buying emails or a written letter and phone call services from the site. Once paid for, the break-up is sent or spoken directly to your future ex.Customers can select a break-up to suit their price range or personal preference.A break-up text or email costs around 6.50 pounds, while a text-bouquet combo will cost you 32 pounds. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe site also sells The Notebook on DVD, boxes of cookies and Netflix giftcards to people who have recently been axed from a relationship.The site provides the option of sending standard pre-written or custom made letters to your to-be ex.Nice options include a gift pack with chocolate chip cookies and a copy of The Notebook on Blu-way while one naughty option sends a “mean photo attachment” of you with your new replacement.Yet another feature of the website is the break-up phone call service, offered at 20 pounds if you are in “no rush” or 26 pounds for a call “within 24 hours”.