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Keeping COVID variants at bay, Habs lose in Game Five : In The News for July 8

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 July 8 ... 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 July 8 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

A fourth wave of COVID-19 now surging across the United Kingdom won't necessarily hit Canada so long as people keep getting vaccinated as quickly as possible.

The delta variant behind the spike in Britain is more resistant to vaccines but two doses still work very well against it.

The U-K and other countries where the delta variant is spreading, including Canada, all report the people most affected are those who have not received even one dose of the vaccine.

Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of Canada's COVID-19 immunity task force, says Canada had higher vaccine rates before lifting most public health restrictions, would could prevent the delta variant from taking hold as strongly here.

Naylor says the U-K opened up more when its vaccine rates were lower.

Canada also got vaccines to younger people faster than Britain did, the group where infection rates have been highest for most of the pandemic.


Also this ...

Preliminary research suggests the COVID-19 crisis is having a sustained and significant impact on youth mental health in Ontario.

Researchers at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children released initial findings Thursday indicating that the majority of children and teenagers saw their mental health decline during the pandemic's second wave.

The early data, which has not been peer reviewed, shows that more than half of 758 kids aged eight to 12 reported significant symptoms of depression from February to March.

This psychological toll was even more pronounced among teenagers, with 70 per cent of 520 adolescents aged 13 to 18 reporting significant depressive symptoms.

The findings draw from the responses of roughly 1,500 parents and children in Ontario as part of a series of periodic surveys tracking youth mental health during the pandemic.

Dr. Daphne Korczak, principal investigator of the ongoing SickKids-led study, says the research shows that Ontario's stringent lockdown measures, including extended school closures in some regions, have posed serious harms to young people that could have lasting consequences.

"We didn't see evidence that kids started to improve, adapt or demonstrate resilience over the course of a year," said Korczak, an associate scientist in SickKids' neurosciences and mental health program.

"We have to have meaningful conversations as our society reopens about how we can prioritize children and their mental health."


And this ...

The Montreal Canadiens have come up short in their against-all-odds campaign to end Canada's 28-year Stanley Cup drought.

The Tampa Bay Lightning successfully defended as Cup champions Wednesday, edging the Habs 1-0 at home to claim the series four games to one. 

Ross Colton scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, tipping home David Savard's pass as it drifted through the crease behind a surprised Carey Price. 

The loss extends the championship deficit for the Canadiens, whose last Cup victory came at the end of the Lightning's debut season in 1993. 

Bolts netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots en route to the win, and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 29 saves. 


As well as this ...

The election for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations will go to a second day of voting and a fourth ballot after no candidates reached the necessary 60 per cent threshold of support.

The two front-runners are Reginald Bellerose of Saskatchewan and RoseAnne Archibald of Ontario following three rounds of virtual voting for seven initial candidates that began earlier today.

Both candidates were in a virtual dead heat after the first two rounds of voting, but Bellerose pulled slightly ahead of Archibald on the third ballot this evening with 40 per cent of votes cast and Archibald -- just 15 votes away -- at 36 per cent.

Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse from Alberta received the lowest number of votes after the third ballot and automatically drops off the next round of voting.

The third-place finisher, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, is voluntarily withdrawing from the race.

In their concession speeches, both Fiddler and Calahoo Stonehouse endorsed Archibald for national chief, stating it is their belief that it is time for the AFN to be led for the first time by a woman.


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

WASHINGTON -- The District of Columbia Court of Appeals suspended Rudy Giuliani's D.C. law license Wednesday pending the disposition of his New York suspension.

In a two-page order the court cited the action last month by a New York appeals court and said Giuliani is "suspended from the practice of law in the District of Columbia pending final disposition of this proceeding."

Giuliani, former president Donald Trump's lawyer throughout his efforts to have the 2020 election overturned, was suspended from practicing law by the New York court because he made false statements while trying to get courts to overturn Trump's loss in the presidential race.

An attorney disciplinary committee had asked the New York court to suspend Giuliani's license on the grounds that he had violated professional conduct rules as he promoted theories that the election was stolen through fraud.

The court made the action immediate, even though disciplinary proceedings aren't complete, because there was an "immediate threat" to the public.

Giuliani called the New York court's opinion a "disgrace," saying it was based on hearsay and "could have been written by the Democratic National Committee."

The practical impact of the D.C. court ruling is questionable, since Giuliani's law license in Washington was already inactive.


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

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti's police chief says four suspected killers of President Jovenel Moise have been fatally shot by police and two others arrested in an apparent hostage-taking situation. 

Leon Charles said three police officers held hostage were freed. 

The killing Wednesday in which Moise's wife was seriously injured is sure to bring more chaos to the unstable Caribbean country already beset by gang violence, soaring inflation and protests by opposition supporters who accused Moise of increasing authoritarianism. 

The legislature is effectively inactive, apparently leaving government in the hands of an acting prime minister, Claude Joseph. Joseph said the police and military were in control of security. 

The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti has a history of dictatorship and political upheaval, and Moise's assassination has thrown an already turbulent nation into deeper chaos. 

Elections for a new president had been scheduled for September. 

Moise himself had been ruling by decree in the absence of lawmakers and had faced repeated protests. The president had repeatedly alleged he was the target of coup attempts, but a court rejected the claim and released those who had been arrested.


On this day in 1917 ...

Artist Tom Thomson drowned during a canoe trip in Ontario's Algonquin Park. Born in 1877, Thomson was one of the most brilliant painters in Canadian history. His oils and scenes of desolate northern landscape are among the country's best-known works. Thomson worked closely with most of the future Group of Seven members including A.Y. Jackson, Fred Varley and Arthur Lismer.


In entertainment ...

The National Ballet of Canada has named Toronto native Hope Muir as its new artistic director.

The board of directors says the appointment of Muir, who is artistic director of the Charlotte Ballet in North Carolina, follows a two-year international search to fill the role.

She succeeds ballet legend Karen Kain, who ended her more than 15-year tenure at the company's creative helm last month, but will stay on as artistic director emerita.

Since assuming her post at the Charlotte Ballet in 2017, Muir has commissioned 12 world premieres and presented six U.S. premieres. She previously served as assistant artistic director of the Scottish Ballet.

She's maintained a relationship with the National Ballet of Canada over the years, assisting with the creation of Crystal Pite's "Emergence" in 2009 and staging the company premiere of Christopher Bruce's "Rooster" in 2008.

Muir is set to start her new position Jan. 1, 2022.



A team of researchers from McMaster University has mapped out how certain COVID-19 vaccines can trigger a rare but sometimes fatal blood clotting reaction in some recipients.

The findings, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature, suggest some people formed unusual antibodies after receiving an adenoviral vector vaccine, and those antibodies could stick to certain blood platelet components, triggering clot formation.

COVID-19 vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which both use adenoviral vector technology, are associated with rare cases of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia or VITT, a clotting disorder characterized by low blood platelets.

"We do not know why these rare antibodies form in the first place, and we do not know why they cause blood clots in unusual places, but we do know the specific target of the VITT antibody," McMaster researchers said in the study.

The study also compared blood samples from five VITT patients to 10 with a similar clotting condition known as heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, or HIT, and found patterns of platelet activation that were distinct from the HIT patient samples. That indicates the tests used to diagnose HIT aren't suitable to diagnose VITT.

VITT was found to occur in one in 60,000 AstraZeneca recipients in Canada.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended last month that provinces stop administering the AstraZeneca vaccine in most cases, adding that it preferred those who received first doses of AstraZeneca get an mRNA vaccine from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna to complete their two-dose series.

In June, the estimated rate of developing VITT after a second dose was one in 600,000.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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