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 17 ...
What we are watching in Canada ...
OTTAWA -- Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19 vaccines this week, even as questions swirl around how the immunization drive will be affected by the sudden departure of the man tasked with overseeing it.
The federal government says it expects around 4.5 million doses to arrive this week thanks to planned deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Pfizer and BioNTech had been scheduled to deliver around 2 million doses this week as their vaccines continue to flow into Canada on a regular basis after early hiccups in February and March.
But the federal government says the two companies will ship an additional 1.4 million shots, which were originally slated to land next week but are now expected to arrive before the upcoming holiday weekend.
Moderna is also expected to deliver 1.1 million doses this week.
The large influx comes as the Liberal government faces questions about who will now lead the vaccination campaign after Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin was sidelined suddenly on Friday and reassigned from his role presiding over the national inoculation effort.
The Department of National Defence has said Fortin is under military investigation, but otherwise refused to provide any details. The government, meanwhile, has yet to name a replacement.
Also this ...
Indigenous surgery patients are nearly a third more likely to die after their procedures than other populations in Canada and face higher risks of complications, new research suggests as doctors warn these inequities could worsen with the COVID-19 crisis.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a systemic review today consisting of 28 separate studies. The research involved roughly 1.9 million participants — about 10 per cent of whom identified as Indigenous — to assess the surgical outcomes for Indigenous patients in Canada across a range of procedures.
Lead author Dr. Jason McVicar said the findings underscore the need for the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to lead a data-informed overhaul of health care, particularly as the pandemic raises concerns that Indigenous patients will fall behind in the mounting backlog of surgeries.
"This study tells Canadians two things: that we need better data, and the data that we have tells us that we need to do better," said McVicar, a Métis anesthesiologist at The Ottawa Hospital.
Researchers found Indigenous Peoples face a 30 per cent higher death rate after surgery compared to non-Indigenous patients, according to data from four studies with a combined 7,135 participants.
The authors also analyzed literature indicating that Indigenous patients suffered higher rates of surgical complications, including post-operative infections and readmissions to hospital.
The data also showed Indigenous patients were less likely to undergo surgeries aimed at improving quality of life, such as joint replacements, as well as potentially life-saving procedures including cardiac surgery, transplants and caesarean sections.
And this ...
Canadian researchers who tracked a group of men who were born prematurely at a weight of less than 2.2 pounds are finding they tend to age more quickly than male babies with average birth weights.
The findings from a team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., were published today in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers followed a group of what they refer to as "extremely low birth weight" babies as well as their normal-weight counterparts.
They found the premature boys age more quickly and are biologically 4.6 years older than boys with normal birth weight born at the same time.
The difference was not found between birth weight groups in girls.
Study lead author Dr. Ryan Van Lieshout says in a news release that the rate of aging may be influenced by boys’ handling of physiological stress both before birth and in the hospital neonatal intensive care unit after they are born.
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Denmark for talks on climate change, Arctic policy and Russia as calls grow for the Biden administration to take a tougher and more active stance on spiraling Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Blinken is seeing Danish leaders as well as top officials from Greenland and the Faeroe Islands in Copenhagen today before he heads to Iceland for an Arctic Council meeting that will be marked by his first face-to-face talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a time of significantly heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow.
The U.N. Security Council held an urgent session about the Mideast situation on Sunday at which U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the administration was working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to stop the fighting.
President Joe Biden spoke with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, Blinken worked the phones with various counterparts while flying to Copenhagen on Sunday, and a senior U.S. diplomat is currently in Israel meeting with the parties there.
Yet, calls for a greater U.S. response are growing, not least in Congress where a large number of Biden’s Democratic allies are clamoring for more action, including a demand from the administration for a cease-fire.
Biden has thus far resisted such calls, reaffirming staunch support for Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
What we are watching in the rest of the world ...
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The Israeli military has unleashed a wave of heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
It says it destroyed 15 kilometers of militant tunnels and the homes of nine alleged Hamas commanders.
Residents of Gaza awakened by the overnight barrage described it as the heaviest since the war began a week ago, and even more powerful than a wave of airstrikes in Gaza City the day before that left 42 dead.
There was no immediate word on the casualties from the latest strikes.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes across Gaza and militants have launched more than 3,100 rockets into Israel since the fighting began.
The war broke out last Monday, when Hamas fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem after weeks of clashes in the Holy City between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.
The protests were focused on the heavy-handed policing of a flashpoint holy site during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
In entertainment ...
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Pounding beats? Check. Uplifting lyrics? Check. Huge, backlit white wings? Check.
After last year's Eurovision Song Contest was canceled amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is roaring back to life this year with coronavirus bubbles added to its heady mix of music and melodrama.
National delegations traveling to the Dutch port city of Rotterdam are abiding by strict measures to reduce the risk of infections, while the thousands of fans allowed to attend dress rehearsals, two semifinals and May 22's grand final will have to undergo testing to ensure they do not bring the virus into the cavernous venue.
WAYNE,Alta. - Built during the First World War, it survived the Great Depression, the Second World War and the closure of coal mines in the 1950s. Now the historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale.
There are a century's worth of memories in the three-storey wooden hotel, including photos of the community in its heyday, mining equipment and three bullet holes — framed on one wall of the bar — dating back to the 1970s when a trigger-happy bartender wanted to encourage some patrons to pay their tab.
The hotel, about 15 kilometres southeast of Drumheller, Alta., was built by the Rosedeer Coal Co. to house its workers and opened in 1913. The saloon was added a few years later so employees being paid in company scrip could buy a meal or a beer.
"It originally was built for the coal miners when Wayne was starting to boom with 2,500 residents in the early 1920s. Now we're down to 29 residents and this is one of the few remaining structures from that time," explains current owner Dave Arsenault, who has to sell the hotel as part of a divorce settlement.
"It was a going concern. There was more than one hotel out here. There were 12 coal mines and it was a bustling place. Of course, there's almost nothing left but there's lots of photos around depicting what it was like in the day.
The hotel is listed for $925,000. Arsenault says there's already been some interest from prospective buyers.
Some think the third floor of the hotel, which is locked up and used only for storage, is haunted. The hotel was featured in Season 3 of the Canadian ghost-hunting TV show, "The Other Side.''
It has also hit the big screen.
The 1983 movie "Running Brave," starring Robby Benson, was filmed in part at the hotel as well as the 2000 martial arts western comedy "Shanghai Noon" which starred Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021
The Canadian Press