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Sask. Rivers notifies families of positive COVID-19 cases involving individuals connected to Big River schools

Sask. Rivers notifies families of positive COVID-19 cases involving individuals connected to Big River schools


Students and staff from one classroom at T.D. Michel Public School in Big River will be isolating until March 10 after an individual associated with the class tested positive for COVID-19.

Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division sent out a press release Saturday afternoon after informing staff and student families of the positive test.

Sask. Rivers says there is no evidence the case was acquired or transmitted at school. In-person learning will continue for all other classes.

An individual connected to Big River Public High School has also tested positive for COVID-19, but Sask. Rivers says no classroom isolations will be necessary.

The news release did not say whether the positive cases involved staff or students.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority plans to set up a mobile testing station in Debden on March 2.

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Mark McGeoghegan: Latest poll should be a wake-up call but catastrophe is not on the horizon

Mark McGeoghegan: Latest poll should be a wake-up call but catastrophe is not on the horizon


FOR nearly a year the SNP and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, have enjoyed seemingly gravity-defying polling as Scottish independence first became the preference of most Scots, and then overtook the level of support Unionism reached in 2014.

So, I think the media can be forgiven for overreacting to today’s Survation poll showing Yes and No neck-and-neck. If you take the Sunday Mail’s front page at face value, the independence movement and the SNP are in crisis, with independence support “plunging”. But that’s not even close to what the poll shows.

The National:

Compared to Survation’s January poll, support for independence is down two percentage points, and support for the Union is up one. Both of those changes are within the “margin of error” – in other words, they are as likely to be random statistical noise as they are to reflect real changes in public opinion. Survation tend to find lower Yes support than other pollsters, and that hasn’t changed.

That said, it would be dangerous for the SNP and pro-independence activists to ignore the polls completely. A rolling, six poll average of independence support shows that the Yes lead has slipped since the beginning of the year, from nine points to four. Ipsos MORI found that satisfaction with the First Minister has also slipped, from 72% of Scots saying they were satisfied with how she was doing her job in October 2020 to 64% this month.

READ MORE: Half of Scots back independence, according to new Yes poll

Internal SNP splits have also begun to cut through to the public. Savanta ComRes found that 45% of Scots now see the SNP as divided, up from 37% last December, and Ipsos MORI found that a fifth of 2019 SNP voters and the same proportion of Yes voters say they are less favourable towards the party because of the Salmond inquiry.

But none of this is catastrophic. The proportion of Scots who intend to vote SNP in May remains above 50% in all recent polling, and the party holds a commanding lead over its Unionist rivals on trust to deal with every major issue facing Scotland – from Covid-19 to the economy, healthcare, and education. The First Minister’s ratings may have slipped, but she remains extraordinarily, unprecedentedly popular.

More importantly, while the SNP’s divisions are beginning to cut through, very few voters seem to care that much. In the Ipsos MORI poll, less than 1% said the Salmond inquiry was a very important issue for how they’ll vote in May, compared to independence on 38%.

All of which points to a clear set of conclusions. While voters dislike divided parties – navel-gazing is not a good look – it takes time for division to have much impact and refocusing on the job at hand should be enough to shake that perception, especially given the SNP’s strength across the devolved policy areas.

READ MORE: Jim Sillars writes directly to Nicola Sturgeon over alleged code breach

The week ahead may be a difficult one. But with growth in support for independence tied to perceptions of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government’s competence, moving past the Salmond inquiry and focusing on the narratives that will win a pro-independence majority in May will also help to arrest sliding Yes support.

Unlike the Sunday Mail’s doom-mongering headline suggests, the polls do not suggest catastrophe on the horizon. But they should be a wake-up call to the SNP and independence activists across the country – play out divisions and the voters will punish you, but if you focus on the issues that matter to them, they will reward you with a pro-independence Parliament and the best shot at independence Scotland has ever had.





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D.S. Hooda on the Lasting Impact of China-India Ladakh Standoff – The Diplomat

D.S. Hooda on the Lasting Impact of China-India Ladakh Standoff – The Diplomat


Magazine

A former Indian Army commander discusses the key lessons he has drawn from the Ladakh standoff.

D.S. Hooda on the Lasting Impact of China-India Ladakh Standoff

This photograph provided by the Indian Army, according to them shows Chinese troops dismantling their bunkers at Pangong Tso region, in Ladakh along the India-China border on Monday, Feb.15, 2021.

Credit: Indian Army via AP

The China-India standoff in eastern Ladakh shows signs of ending after almost 10 months. Arguably the most serious in over half a century, the standoff – involving multiple points of Chinese incursions across a large frontage – at times threatened to erupt into war. Beyond a mid-June clash between Chinese and Indian forces in the Galwan Valley, an Indian military operation at the end of August to seize unoccupied peaks in the Kailash range saw the country deploy the secretive Special Frontier Force. Both sides used firearms ostensibly to warn each other and signal resolve.

The standoff also saw China and India field an unprecedented number of soldiers (about five divisions each, according to media reports) as well as armored columns, missiles, air assets, and other weapons and platforms along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, dramatically raising the risk of escalation. However, since February 10 both Chinese and Indian forces have disengaged at two of the critical friction points around the scenic Pangong Lake, and both countries have committed to working to resolve the crisis elsewhere.

Retired Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda is no stranger to the LAC, having headed the Indian Army’s Northern Command (responsible for the Ladakh sector, among other, contiguous, areas of responsibility) between 2014 and 2016. Since retiring from the military in November 2016, Hooda has been involved in a range of think tank and advisory activities around Indian strategic affairs. In an interview with The Diplomat, Hooda distills the key lessons he has drawn from the Ladakh standoff and how he sees the future unfolding as India renews focus on its northern boundary.

The Indian government had maintained, first, that it wasn’t sure why the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) did what it did, and then, that the explanations provided by Beijing for its actions were not “credible.” In your personal assessment, what could have been China’s motivations behind the standoff? To what extent are hypotheses that it was the result of India’s August 2019 Jammu and Kashmir decisions, or its push toward improving infrastructure along the LAC, credible?

China’s military actions indeed came as a matter of great surprise to India. In attempting to analyse China’s motivations, two things are clear. First, there was no immediate provocation that could have served as a trigger for the Chinese intrusion. Second, the Chinese plan was at least a few months in the making as the first reports of a major military exercise in Tibet had come out in January 2020. Soldiers from that exercise were diverted for the transgressions in May. Therefore, we could assume that it was a series of events from the August 2019 decision and subsequent comments made regarding Aksai Chin, India’s opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative, and the growing closeness in U.S.-India ties, that possibly prompted the Chinese leadership to attempt military coercion of India. I also think that China seriously underestimated Indian resolve not to buckle under their threat.



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UAE Covid cases decrease 22% as vaccination drive peaks – News

UAE Covid cases decrease 22% as vaccination drive peaks – News



Achievement comes even as vaccination rollout has slowed down in several countries.

Coronavirus infections in the UAE have fallen by 22 per cent – which is more than a fifth from a late January peak. According to BloombergQuint, the UAE has one of the world’s fastest Covid vaccination campaigns, having administered 56 doses per 100 people.

The UAE reported 2,930 Covid-19 cases on February 28.

This comes even as the vaccine rollout has slowed down in several major countries. The UAE has managed to administer more than 6 million doses and emerged as the top nation in daily distribution rate.


According to Friday’s statistics on Our World in Data, the UAE has a daily distribution rate of 0.88 per 100 people, edging past countries like the US (0.66) and Israel (0.39).

Dr Rohit Kumar, Medical Director, Medeor Hospital, credited mass vaccination for bringing the number of cases down.

“The government has vaccinated about half of the population. The agencies have been active in ensuring the cooperation of the public and educating them on the importance of vaccination. The decision to vaccinate high-risk people might have also contributed to yielding the result. Though vaccination doesn’t offer 100 per cent protection, it could have helped in reducing the chances of many getting infected.”

Medics noted that the current campaign is “rightly focused” on the most vulnerable groups.

DON’T MISS: Elderly citizens, expats can get jab at home

Arshia Banu Najeem, General Physician Aster Clinics, Aswaaq Mall branch, said: “A lot of people have been educated on the efficacy and effectiveness … of the vaccines. Also, the UAE has put in a lot of measures to contain the spread of infection … Each emirates has its own rules and regulations … (All these have helped) bring down the numbers and increase vaccination outputs.”

Dr Sreekumar Sreedharan, specialist – internal medicine, Aster Clinic, Karama, said Covid-19 vaccines help “our bodies” develop immunity to the virus. “Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of ‘memory’ T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

“Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masks and social distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.”






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La reforma eléctrica podría ser un incómodo elefante echado entre Biden y AMLO, este lunes

La reforma eléctrica podría ser un incómodo elefante echado entre Biden y AMLO, este lunes


La reunión entre Biden y López Obrador ocurrirá una semana después de que la Cámara de Diputados de México aprobara la reforma a la Ley de la Industria Eléctrica.

Por Pedro Pablo Cortés

México, 28 de febrero (EFE).- La polémica reforma eléctrica de México y la visión contra las energías verdes corren el riesgo de convertirse en la principal diferencia política del Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador en su primera reunión este lunes con su homólogo estadounidense Joe Biden en una cara a cara clave para las relaciones bilaterales.

La reunión virtual ocurrirá una semana después de que la Cámara de Diputados de México aprobó la reforma a la Ley de la Industria Eléctrica, que privilegia a la Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) en detrimento de las empresas privadas, sobre todo extranjeras y de renovables, y que constituye una apuesta a contracorriente de México en beneficio del petróleo frente a las energías solar y eólica.

“Puede haber un reclamo de Estados Unidos al Gobierno de México porque la reforma eléctrica tiene muchas implicaciones para inversionistas estadounidenses y desgraciadamente será un punto de tensión”, explicó a Efe la analista Brenda Estefan, quien trabajó en la Embajada de México en Washington.

DEFENSA DE LA ‘SOBERANÍA’

La iniciativa de López Obrador, ahora en el Senado, eliminará el criterio económico para siempre despachar primero la electricidad de las plantas hidroeléctricas y de combustibles fósiles de la CFE sobre las centrales privadas de renovables y de ciclo combinado.

También, de forma retroactiva, ordena revisar los contratos previos del Gobierno con particulares y cambia las reglas de los Certificados de Energía Limpia (CEL) para darlos a plantas viejas de la CFE.

El Presidente mexicano ha argumentado que es su deber defender la “soberanía”, pero supone cuestionar las inversiones de empresas norteamericanas y europeas en el sector energético que constituye una expropiación encubierta y que implicará la presentación de múltiples demandas en tribunales internacionales.

“Avanzaron bastante en la privatización del petróleo y de la industria eléctrica, pero afortunadamente se dio el cambio, el pueblo dijo ‘basta con la robadera, con el saqueo’, sobre todo de empresas extranjeras”, manifestó este domingo López Obrador para justificar su apuesta por una vuelta al monopolio en el sector energético.

Pero el Gobierno no puede escudarse en la “soberanía” porque firmó el Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC) y el Acuerdo de París, opina Emerson Segura, investigador del Centro de Estudios Internacionales Gilberto Bosques (CEI).

“El Gobierno mexicano no puede usar la soberanía como justificación para imponer su agenda en los temas que no quiere negociar, no puede apelar a la soberanía cada vez que esté en un tema en el que no piensa ceder nada”, expone Segura, también asesor en el Senado.

UNA NUEVA RELACIÓN

El tono defensivo de López Obrador frente a Biden contrasta con el que tuvo con Donald Trump, quien consiguió que México desplegara a la Guardia Nacional en su frontera sur para detener a los migrantes centroamericanos.

Por ello, Segura considera “poco creíble” el argumento de la soberanía del Gobierno de México, que además ha adoptado argumentos contra las energías limpias similares a los del Partido Republicano de Estados Unidos.

“Parece que México reaccionaba con la zanahoria y el garrote, que el Gobierno mexicano respondía a la lógica de Trump y que se sentía bastante cómodo aunque funcionaba a partir de la amenaza”, sugiere.

El Presidente López Obrador se acostumbró a que la relación bilateral giraba en torno a la figura de Trump, sus tuits y sus amenazas sobre migración.

Ahora, Segura opina que el Gobierno de México “debe replantear” su estrategia ante una Casa Blanca más institucional.

“La transición energética va a ser un tema de tensión, pero también de mucho distanciamiento, es decir, los incentivos son bajos para que se pongan de acuerdo, para que el Gobierno de México se pueda sentar y hable de manera franca”, prevé.

MAYOR PRESIÓN

La presión de Washington ya se materializa con el reclamo de certidumbre para las inversiones que hizo el Departamento de Estado la semana pasada, apunta Brenda Estefan.

En tanto, la próxima Representante de Comercio de Estados Unidos, Katherine Tai, ha advertido que el cumplimiento del T-MEC será prioritario.

El sector energético es uno de los seis temas que contemplan paneles de resolución de controversias bajo el T-MEC, recuerda la analista.

“Estados Unidos no está expresando su opinión respecto a cuestiones internas de la CFE, sino respecto a cuestiones violatorias de lo establecido en el T-MEC”, señala.

Además, el nuevo Presidente demócrata tiene la presión de grupos progresistas que esperan resultados en cambio climático y derechos laborales.

Aun así, la experta pronostica que la reunión será “cordial” porque hay coincidencias en migración y la gestión de la pandemia de COVID-19 con un acceso más equitativo a las vacunas.

“Biden no se va a pelear con Andrés Manuel. No está en el interés ni de uno de otro. Y esta idea de decir que es injerencista realmente no es así, Biden está en todo su derecho de defender las inversiones estadounidenses que ya se han hecho en México”, concluye Estefan.





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eLanka Newsletter – 28 February 2021 – 6th edition – Sri Lankans in Australia

eLanka Newsletter – 28 February 2021 – 6th edition – Sri Lankans in Australia


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Spring weather on the way this week, but watch out for ‘takatalvi’

Spring weather on the way this week, but watch out for ‘takatalvi’


Spring weather in Hanko, 28th February 2021 / Credit: Dr Jaana Bäck, Twitter

Meteorologists are forecasting spring-like weather on the way this week, but the fairer conditions come with the warning of ‘takatalvi’ or ‘winter backlash’ still ahead.

On Sunday one of mainland Finland’s most southerly weather stations near Hanko recorded its warmest ever February day at +9.1°C.

The weather station at Tvärminne on the south coast has been recording conditions since 1962 and meteorologist Mika Rantanen says the temperature is “more like April than February.”

On Friday the temperature in Åland rose to +9.8°C but the warmer conditions won’t last long.

“Although the end of February and beginning of March appears to be warm, like spring, it is not worth putting winter clothes into storage” says Foreca meteorologist Markus Mäntykannas.

“Statistically, March is still a winter month in the whole country, although the thermal spring usually begins in southern Finland towards the end of the month” he notes.

Low atmospheric pressure in the forecast for the second week of March brings with it colder temperatures again, particularly for Lapland and by the third week of the month the forecasters says the north will look colder than usual.

Mäntykannas says: “Based on this forecast, the thermal winter seems to continue throughout the country, and there is no reason to expect an early spring.”





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Scotch the top tipple as bottle sells for €44,500

Scotch the top tipple as bottle sells for €44,500



A 72-year-old bottle of Glen Grant single malt Scotch whisky has fetched more than €44,500 at an auction in Hong Kong.

t was the first time the 1948 vintage had been offered in a sale.

The decanter is numbered 88 of 290 and was sold by Bonhams for 421,600 Hong Kong dollars, including premium.

It had a book estimate of 300,000 to 380,000 Hong Kong dollars (€32,000 to €40,360).

The whisky, the oldest from the Glen Grant distillery, is in a Dartington crystal decanter with an American black walnut presentation box.

Despite the economic uncertainty of the pandemic, interest in rare whiskies remains high.

Collectable

Compared with other investment commodities, collectable whisky has done well in the past 10 years, with a four-fold increase in prices, said wine and whisky specialist Christopher Pong.

Other whiskies in yester- day’s auction included a 35-year-old Hibiki whisky from Japan that sold for HK$372,000 (€39,500).

Herald



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