Posts tagged with "Canada"

Canada has no plans to replace the image of Queen Elizabeth on its currency with one of King Charles

September 12, 2022

Canada, a former British colony, has a new head of state. But the face of Queen Elizabeth II will continue to appear on its currency, reports Fortune magazine.

Queen Elizabeth’s image is featured on the backs of coins and on plastic-based C$20 (US$15.28) banknotes that were first introduced in 2011. Those bills will remain in circulation; and the central bank said it’s up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to decide if new notes will feature the image of her successor, King Charles III.

 “The current polymer $20 banknote is intended to circulate for years to come. There is no legislative requirement to change the design within a prescribed period when the Monarch changes,” Paul Badertscher, spokesperson for the Bank of Canada, said by email on Thursday, September 8.

 “As always, the Minister of Finance is responsible for approving the form and material of any new bank note, including the portrait subject,” he added.

 The queen died peacefully at age 96 at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland, earlier on Thursday.

 Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Introducing Twitter Blue, which comes with more bells and whistles—and a subscription price

July 14, 2021

Twitter is rolling out its first-ever subscription product this week in Australia and Canada, the social media site has announced on its blog.

“We’ve heard from the people that use Twitter a lot, and we mean a lot, that we don’t always build power features that meet their needs. Well, that’s about to change,” the blog states, adding, “We took this feedback to heart, and are developing and iterating upon a solution that will give the people who use Twitter the most what they are looking for: access to exclusive features and perks that will take their experience on Twitter to the next level.”

And for those wondering, no, a free Twitter is not going away, and never will. This subscription offering is simply meant to add enhanced and complementary features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it.

Those who sign up for a Twitter Blue subscription will get a set of features and perks that include the following:

  • Bookmark Folders:Want an easy way to better organize your saved content? Bookmark Folders let you organize the Tweets you’ve saved by letting you manage content so when you need it, you can find it easily and efficiently.
  • Reader Mode:Reader Mode provides a more beautiful reading experience by getting rid of the noise. Twitter is making it easier for you to keep up with long threads on Twitter by turning them into easy-to-read text so you can read all the latest content seamlessly.
  • Perks: Subscribers will get access to perks, such as customizable app icons for their device’s home screen and fun color themes for their Twitter app; andwill have access to dedicated subscription customer support.

The current monthly price in Canada and Australia, respectively, is CAD $3.49 or AUD $4.49 (or about $2.75 in U.S. dollars).

Research contact: @Twitter

Biden to join virtual G7 event on efforts to combat COVID-19 on February 19

Febraury 16, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden will participate in a virtual G7 event on Friday, February 19, during which he plans to discuss efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the world economy, CNN reports

According to the BBC, the G7 (or Group of Seven) comprises the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The group regards itself as “a community of values,” with freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and prosperity and sustainable development as its key principles.

The virtual meeting, hosted by the United Kingdom, also will include leaders of the European Commission and European Council.

The Friday confab will be Biden’s first meeting with the leaders of the G7 as president and represents a departure from former President Donald Trump’s retreat from handling of the pandemic and global relations.

He’ll specifically focus on areas including “coordination on vaccine production, distribution, and supplies, as well as continued efforts to mobilize and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing,” a White House statement released Sunday evening said.

When it comes to rebuilding an economy badly battered by the pandemic, Biden is set to focus on “the importance of all industrialized countries maintaining economic support for the recovery,” the statement said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement this past weekend that he will use the virtual event to call for global cooperation in the battle against the “common foe” of coronavirus. Johnson will charge the leaders to “work together on a joined-up global approach to pandemics that brings an end to the nationalist and divisive politics that marred the initial response to coronavirus,” the statement said.

“Quantum leaps in science have given us the vaccines we need to end this pandemic for good. Now world governments have a responsibility to work together to put those vaccines to the best possible use. I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year humanity worked together like never before to defeat a common foe,” Johnson said.

Even as global Covid-19 cases have declined in recent weeks, the virtual meeting comes just as new variants are threatening to throw a wrench in government vaccination plans.

Biden’s vow to coordinate with other governments on the pandemic and global economy offers yet another break with Trump’s approach to foreign policy.

As the pandemic surged globally last May, Trump announced he was postponing the summit, “because I don’t feel as a G7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world.”

“It’s a very outdated group of countries,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One at the time.

CNN notes that, throughout his term, Trump publicly questioned and denigrated the value of the America’s  most longstanding alliances, including with USA from the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord, the World Health Organization,and a slew of other United Nations agencies.

On his first day in office, Biden reversed several of Trump’s attempts to withdraw from international agreements—beginning the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord and halting the departure from the World Health Organization.

In remarks at the State Department earlier this month, Biden declared that “diplomacy is back at the center” of US foreign policy as he vowed to “rebuild” US alliances worldwide.

Research contact: @CNN

Meghan blabs: Tells friends she found royal life ‘toxic’ and ‘soul-crushing’

January 20, 2020

Life with the Windsors was simply a royal pain, as Meghan Markie is telling friends now—and it was “a matter of life or death” to escape the UK with Harry and baby Archie, The Daily Beast reported at the end of last week.

A friend told DailyMail on January 16 that Meghan felt that living within the royal confines was “soul crushing” and that she didn’t want Archie growing up within such a “toxic environment ….”

According to both newspaper reports, the Duchess of Sussex told her friends that “her soul was being crushed and that the decision to leave was a matter of life or death. Meaning the death of her spirit. She felt she couldn’t be the best mother to Archie if she wasn’t being her true, authentic self. She didn’t want Archie picking up on her stress and anxiety. She felt like it was a toxic environment for him because there was too much tension.”

The Mail also reported that staff at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, are being let go from those positions and reassigned to other jobs within the royal household. Palace sources told the Mail that Meghan will never return to live in Britain in “a meaningful way.”

However, The Daily Beast said, cracks are now appearing in the couple’s delicate plans to move to Canada, amid signs that the royals might have overestimated the willingness of the Canadians to have an unemployed prince and his wife on their hands.

Indeed, The Globe and Mail, billed as Canada’s national newspaper, has spoken out against the Duke and Duchess settling in Canada if they remain tied to the Royal Family professionally. The publisher claimed Canada was not a “halfway house” for the Royals while they “work out their own personal issues”.

In an article posted online, the publisher said: “The Canadian monarchy is virtual; it neither rules nor resides. Our roys don’t live here. They reign from a distance. Close to our hearts, far from our hearths.”

What’s more, findings of a poll conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute found that a stunning 73% of respondents said they would prefer Canada not to pitch in as much as a red cent to the cost of keeping the Sussexes safe.

Michael Behiels, an emeritus professor of political and constitutional history at the University of Ottawa and fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, said the Sussexes’ decision to move could end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

He told The Times of London: “They can visit Canada on behalf of the Queen but they can’t take on any other royal family responsibilities or live in Canada permanently or part-time. I hope that [the] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet fully respect the nature and scope of Canada’s Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982.”

Trudeau tweeted before Christmas that Harry, Meghan, and eight-month-old Archie “were among friends, and always welcome here,” but he may live to regret the open invitation.

Research contact: @dailybeast

First adult molars are ‘living fossils’ that hold a health record dating back to the womb

November 12, 2019

Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada announced some simply jaw-dropping findings on November 11: They have discovered that a person’s first permanent molars carry a life-long record of health information dating back to the womb—storing vital information that can connect maternal health to a child’s health, even hundreds of years later.

Dentin, the material under the enamel that makes up the bulk of a tooth, forms in microscopic layers that compare to the rings of a tree. Adequate formation of those layers is dependent on Vitamin D. Dark streaks develop in periods when the body is deprived of the critical nutrient, usually because of a lack of sunlight.

The researchers, led by anthropologist Megan Brickley, had previously established that such microscopic defects remain in place and can be read later, in the same way a tree trunk can show years of good and poor growth. Because teeth do not decay as rapidly as flesh and bone, they can retain such information for hundreds of years post-mortem.

Combined with other data, Brickley says in a university press release, patterns in dentin can create rich banks of knowledge about past conditions, including the health impacts of living in low-light environments.

“It’s a living fossil of your life, starting in utero,” Brickley says. “Conceivably, it would be possible to remove the molar of anyone and compare their health to the evidence in the tooth.”

Early colonial settlers in Canada, for example, who were often wrapped head to toe, even in summer, commonly developed conditions such as rickets, or died prematurely from other conditions related to poor access to vitamin D.

Now the same team of researchers has established the value of such records, which begin during the original formation of teeth in the fetal stage, for reflecting the health of the mother during pregnancy. All of the body’s primary or “baby” teeth, which start forming in utero, are lost in childhood.

The first permanent molars—which emerge around age six—also start forming in utero and stay in the mouth throughout one’s adult life, where they retain a record of Vitamin D intake dating back to the mother’s pregnancy.

That record provides a critical intergenerational link that can offer valuable clues connecting maternal health to the eventual fate of a child.

“We’ve been able to set out really clear evidence that there is part of the first permanent molar that records what happened in the life of the mother,” Brickley says. “This is a tool that people can use. It can be used in current health research, and in bio-archaeological research.”

The researchers examined modern and archaeological tooth samples, including teeth taken from two skeletons from 19th century Quebec—one from a three-year-old girl who had survived rickets as a toddler, and one from a young man. The toddler’s undescended molar showed that her mother had suffered a Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy—a possible clue to the child’s early death. The young man’s molar also showed his mother had suffered Vitamin D deficiency, raising the possibility of a connection between his mother’s health and his early death.

In that time, Brickley explained, social practices and weather conditions meant that pregnant women in particular would have had very little exposure to the sun, before it became clear how necessary sunlight or substitute sources of Vitamin D are to good health.

Research contact:

Last chance: Join a trip aboard a submersible to the Titanic wreckage and debris field

January 2, 2018

Are you adventurous? You may want to consider the opportunity to visit the most famous shipwreck ever—the RMS Titanic, which sank  on its maiden voyage in the wee hours of April 14, 1912—if you have the funds ($105,129) and the fortitude to sign up with OceanGate Expeditions for one of six, weeklong tours next summer.

After all of these years, deep-sea bacteria have begun to consume the Titanic. Ocean Gate is offering tickets to visit the stately ship one last time and to help measure its deterioration.

Those who sign up will be among a select few who ever have visited the site: Fewer than 200 people have seen the wreck in person—representing just a fraction of the number who have flown in space or climbed Mt. Everest.

Each weeklong mission will start with a helicopter ride to the support ship, Island Pride, located about 380 nautical miles south of Newfoundland off the coast of Canada. Aboard the support vessel, accommodations and meals will be provided.

After comprehensive orientation sessions to learn how to assist the crew planning the dive, four days are allotted for the dives (subject to weather conditions) aboard the appropriately-named Titan submersible.

The submersible will take a pilot and four passengers down about 12,800 feet under the surface of the icy ocean to the site of the ship’s wreckage and the debris field. Average dive time will be six to eight hours. Dive time may vary, depending on specific mission objections; and environmental, logistical, or personnel considerations.

“Citizen explorers” will need to qualify for participation before being accepted to the program. According to the Titanic Survey Expedition website, those who sign on for the trip must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age when the mission begins,
  • Have a valid passport,
  • Be able to live aboard a dive support ship at sea for up to one week,
  • Be able to board small boats (Zodiacs) in rough seas;
  • Be comfortable in dynamic environments where plans and timetables may change,
  • Be able to demonstrate basic balance and flexibility (e.g., climb a six-foot ladder, carry 20 pounds), and
  • Be able to complete the required one-day Helicopter Underwater Egress Training

Helicopter Underwater Egress Training is a one-day (8-hour) course that provides an understanding of the hazards of helicopter over-water transportation. Whether landing on the helideck of a ship or offshore platform,  this course will provide participants with knowledge of personal and helicopter safety and survival equipment;  and introduce them to emergency response procedures designed to prepare for water impact with a subsequent abandonment on the surface or egress underwater. This training includes a classroom session of about  two hours, and practical training of about two hours in a pool environment where students will don a survival suit and practice egress from a simulator in multiple landing scenarios.

If you are interested, don’t lose any time: The first four missions already are booked, with only a few spots left available in the final two expeditions.

Research contact: @OceanGateExped

Six Flags will pay you to spend 30 hours in a ‘slightly used’ coffin

October 1, 2018

An “out-of-the-box idea” is gaining traction at the Six Flags theme parks. After more than 25,000 people registered for the chance to spend 30 hours in a box—a coffin, to be specific—at Six Flags St. Louis, the company decided to roll out the challenge at 15 of its parks in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The 30-Hour Coffin Challenge— scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 13 through 7 p.m. on October 14—is being used to take “the fear factor to the extreme” at the parks’ Halloween-themed Fright Fest, management announced in a September 27 statement. All participants who last the full 30 hours will receive a cash prize of $300, as well as Gold Season Passes for 2019, and Express Haunted House Passes.

“No one does Halloween like Six Flags and this year is the biggest and scariest ever. We have added more zombies, more ghouls, and more haunted mazes to make this the most talked-about Halloween event in the industry,” said Chief Marketing Officer Brett Petit. “And this year, the 30-Hour Coffin Challenge has taken the country by storm. Everybody wants in.”

To participate, you have to be 18 years of age or older and have a valid photo ID. In addition, competitors:

  • Cannot have medical conditions that would make lying in a coffin for 30 hours a risk to health or well-being;
  • Must sign a waiver at check-in;
  • Must be able to lie completely flat and still; and
  • Must provide their own pillow and sleeping bag or blankets.

Six Flags will provide the coffins and meals. Participants will receive one six-minute bathroom break every hour and will have access to phone charging stations. Friends can join participants while the park is open but won’t be allowed after the park closes.

Participants who leave their coffin for any reason except scheduled bathroom breaks will be disqualified.

Research contact: @Six Flags

Putin challenges Trump’s tariffs

July 5, 2018

Russia has requested talks with the United States on President Donald Trump’s decision to impose new duties on steel and aluminum—the first step in formally challenging the action at the World Trade Organization. Indeed, the subject may come up at the July 16 summit  in Helsinki, Finland, already scheduled by Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The complaint filed Monday is the seventh initiated by a WTO member against Trump’s new tariffs, following cases brought by China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Norway, Politico reported on July 2.

Moscow’s move comes just as the Trump administration is mulling 25% tariffs on auto imports in the name of national security.

The U.S. imported $192 billion in new passenger vehicles in 2017, according to Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Russia claims the U.S. duties of 25% and 10% on imports of steel and aluminum products, respectively, are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards, Politico said.

The Trump administration imposed the duties under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows a president to restrict imports to protect national security.

However, rather than accept the U.S. national security rationale for the steel and aluminum duties, other WTO members are treating the restrictions as emergency “safeguard” restrictions, Politico reported. Such restrictions are allowed under WTO rules but must meet certain criteria to pass muster. Steel safeguard restrictions imposed by former President George W. Bush in 2002 were struck down by the WTO.

The EU, Canada, Mexico, China and others also have retaliated against the U.S. steel and aluminum duties, arguing that they are entitled to take such steps because the United States did not compensate them for imposing safeguard restrictions.

On tariffs, 48%  of Americans disagree with President Trump’s imposition of new levies on steel and aluminum imports, while 36% agree, according to findings of a recent CBS News poll. When asked specifically about tariffs on Canadian imports, the number of Americans who disagree rises to 62%. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans approve of the Canadian tariffs.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Canadian legislators vote to ‘go to pot” nationwide in September

June 21, 2018

Following a 52-29 vote in Canada’s Senate in favor of The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) on June 19, America’s neighbor to the north will become the second country in the world—and the first G7 nation—to legalize marijuana this coming September. The first nation to do so was Uruguay, which decriminalized marijuana production, sales and consumption in December 2014, according to a report by CNN.

The move—promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the run-up to his election—was supported by nearly 70% of the Canadian population, based on findings of a CTV poll conducted back in 2016. A more recent Nanos survey established that 43% of Canadians fully supported legalization, while 26% “somewhat’ supported the idea; and only 26% opposed decriminalization.

On Twitter, Trudeau said he was happy with the legislative vote, noting, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept

Indeed, the bill set a floor on the minimum age of the consumer at 18 years—and makes the production, distribution, or sale of cannabis products an offense for minors. Canadian adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, the bill specifies. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants at home and prepare products such as edibles for personal use.

However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana, CNN reports. Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from retailers regulated by provinces, territories or—when neither of those options are available—federally licensed producers. Marijuana also will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco.

The Canadian government also has implemented changes to its impaired driving laws, to address repercussions is estimated to surge as high as 58%, especially as users are expected to be willing to pay a premium for legal access to the drug

In the United States, BDS Analytics  has estimated that the marijuana industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017.

Research contact: @bani_sapra