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COVID in Canada, Ex-Chadian diplomats to Canada charged: In The News for May 25.

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 25... What we are watching in Canada ...

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 25...

What we are watching in Canada ...

As the COVID-19 situation shows continuing signs of improvement in parts of Canada, several regions have begun moving toward loosening public health restrictions.

Quebec, which has seen case counts trend downward, lifted the last remaining emergency lockdown measures imposed on some of its hot spot regions on Monday.

The decision to end the special measures in some municipalities in the Estrie, Chaudiere-Appalaches, and Bas-Saint-Laurent regions came as the province recorded 433 new COVID-19 infections and 11 new deaths related to the virus.

Those areas will now return to the red alert level of the province's pandemic system, meaning non-essential businesses can reopen and the evening curfew will be pushed back to 9:30, in step with most of southern Quebec.

Saskatchewan announced it would begin to relax its restrictions less than a month after crossing the threshold for Step 2 of its reopening plan, which called for a first vaccine dose to be administered to at least 70 per cent of residents 30 and older.

The province will ease capacity limits on retail, personal care services, restaurants and bars starting June 20, though physical distancing and other health measures will remain in place.

Yukon's government is set to lift a variety of COVID-19 health restrictions on Tuesday, including allowing groups of up to 200 people to gather in and outdoors, provided physical distancing is in place.

British Columbia, which is poised to unveil its restart plan Tuesday, logged 974 new cases and 12 more deaths over the long weekend. The province also saw a drop in COVID-related hospitalizations.

However, Manitoba continues to struggle with high positivity rates and overburdened intensive care units.

Days after requesting added help, Ottawa announced Monday it will send health workers and other supports to the province, along with medical staff through the Canadian Red Cross as well as military help, adding it was also prepared to deploy epidemiologists, lab technicians and other supports to respond to Manitoba's needs.


Also this ...

American prosecutors say Chad's former ambassador to the United States and Canada, along with his ex-deputy, face bribery and money laundering charges allegedly involving a Canadian energy startup company.

The U.S. Justice Department says according to court documents a $2 million bribe was allegedly solicited from the unnamed company before the payment was laundered in the U.S. financial system to hide its true nature.

The bribe is alleged to have been in exchange for help obtaining oil rights in Chad.

Officials allege in addition to the $2 million payment, shares in the startup were also transferred to the diplomats' wives and a third Chadian individual as part of the bribe.

The Justice Department says the founding shareholder of the Canadian company pleaded guilty in 2019 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and forfeited $27 million.

It says the alleged scheme happened between August 2009 and July 2014 while the two diplomats were based at the Embassy of Chad in Washington.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON (AP) --The Biden administration says it will appeal a judge's order directing it to release a legal memo on whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice during the Russia investigation. 

Earlier this month U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the Justice Department to release the March 2019 memo as part of a public records lawsuit from an advocacy organization.

She said the department, then under Attorney General William Barr, had misstated the purpose of the document in arguing that it was entitled to withhold it from the group. 

In a motion filed late Monday, the Justice Department said that it continued to believe even in the new administration that the full document was exempt from disclosure.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.N. special envoy for Myanmar is warning of possible civil war in the country, saying people are arming themselves against the military junta and protesters have started shifting from defensive to offensive actions, using homemade weapons and training from some ethnic armed groups.

Christine Schraner Burgener told a virtual U.N. news conference Monday that people are starting self-defense actions because they are frustrated and fear attacks by the military, which carried out a coup on Feb. 1 against the democratically elected government, and is using ``a huge scale of violence.''

A civil war "could happen,'' she said, and that's why for the past three weeks from her base now in Thailand she has discussed with many key parties the idea of starting an inclusive dialogue that would include ethnic armed groups, political parties, civil society, strike committees and the army, known as the Tatmadaw, as well as a small group of witnesses from the international community.

"Clearly it will not be easy to convince especially both sides to come to a table, but I offer my good offices... to avoid more bloodshed and civil war which would last a long time," Schraner Burgener said. "We are worried about the situation and clearly we want that people on the ground... decide how they want to see the country going back to normal."

Calling the situation in Myanmar "very bad," she pointed to more than 800 people killed, over 5,300 arrested, and more than 1,800 arrest warrants issued by the military.


On this day in 2965 ...

Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round of their world heavyweight title rematch in Lewiston, Maine. Ali's victory generated controversy over whether he'd truly connected when he sent Liston crashing to the canvas with a right to the head, or whether it was a "phantom punch," implying that the fight had been fixed.


In entertainment ...

NEW YORK -- In one more step toward a reopened entertainment world, CBS says Stephen Colbert's late-night show will return on June 14 to episodes with a full studio audience. 

Audience members at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York will be required to show proof of vaccination before being admitted, and face masks will be optional for them. 

Colbert is television's top-rated late-night host, and has been doing untraditional shows since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak. He delivered his first COVID-era monologue from the bathtub at his home, and has done 205 show away from the theater's audience. 

Lately he's been doing the show backstage at the Ed Sullivan Theater.



Recruitment agencies and workers say remote-working guidelines were pretty much created overnight in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They add employers need to ensure they stamp out any unhealthy work practices as the pandemic drags on.

Experts say it's especially critical for retention: promoting a healthy work environment means fewer employees leave for another company or change careers altogether.

A survey by recruitment agency Robert Half found that 62 per cent of respondents say the pandemic has made them feel stuck on career advancement and salary growth.

The same survey found that employers need to ensure they're supporting their workers, or else they could face mass departures when pandemic uncertainty lifts and people become less risk-averse.

A poll by the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation found that 42 per cent of workers say they're considering changing their job or entire career in the next year.

C-E-O Brian Gallant says the research reveals the pandemic has driven a shift in life priorities for Canadians, with young people and women in particular caring more about their mental health and personal lives.

He says the top reason some Canadians are considering a different job is the belief their employer cares almost solely about revenue or profits and does not care enough about stakeholders like employees.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press