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2020: A Year in Review

A look back at the moments that defined a historic and unprecedented 2020

MOMENTS FROM 2020

Here's What Canadians Searched For In 2020

There are many ways to define 2020 and these 10 topics give us a good start. COVID-19 surely made its imprint in Canada, with officials such as Justin Trudeau, Doug Ford and Dr. Theresa Tam constantly in the spotlight. Their every move was judged as Canadians looked for answers in a year that created so many questions. But our national interest spread beyond those who were making moves at home; Donald Trump was the most common search topic in 2020, dominating headlines from start to finish by playing a crucial role in WW3 rumours to making this year's U.S. presidential election unlike any other. We know the world's attention was also on Canada, following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to move to British Columbia. Royals drama served as a much needed distraction this year, with so many Canadians constantly worried about staying afloat with programs from the Canada Revenue Agency. With so much going on, these 10 most searched topics on Yahoo Canada helped frame a year that's been nothing but unpredictable.
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2020: HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS

  • People

    Mitchell Tenpenny Reflects on the Grief of 2020 — and the Blessings He Sees Ahead of Him in 2021

    "Life changed, for all of us," the rising country star tells PEOPLE. "Things were taken away that we never expected to ever be taken away"

  • CBC

    Leamington mayor reflects on challenges of 2020, COVID-19 crisis on farms

    One thing that governments have taken away from an unprecedented year in 2020 is the ability to pivot and adapt, says Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald. "I think we're getting better at that," she said. "And that might bode well for the future." After all, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and sparked a crisis within Leamington's vulnerable migrant farm worker population, MacDonald thought her goal for 2020 would be to focus on a sewer line project. But now, the beginning of that year feels like so long ago, she said. MacDonald shared her reflections on the challenges of 2020 in an interview with CBC Windsor host Chris Ensing last month. The first-term mayor said the year brought a lot of "learning and growing" for her as a leader, along with difficult choices. The COVID-19 outbreaks within the migrant farm worker population were the biggest burden, MacDonald said. The crisis saw the treatment and rights of temporary foreign workers thrust into the national spotlight. Assistance was brought in from other levels of government and the Red Cross, and on-site testing was introduced at farms. At one point, nearly 200 workers from a greenhouse in Leamington tested positive for the virus in a single weekend. Two workers in Windsor-Essex, Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos, died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, something MacDonald said was "heart wrenching" to see. MacDonald has earned praise for her handling of the crisis. This fall, MacDonald received an award from the Mexican Consulate in Leamington for her support of workers from Mexico. "I'm truly humbled by it," she said. Businesses feel effects of pandemic MacDonald also spoke of the hardships Leamington's small business community faced in making ends meet in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions. With more people still getting sick from the virus, there's no easy solutions, she said. "We have to weigh things out and find the best way that we can that is as close to fair and equitable as you can," she said. "And yet, there doesn't seem to be that sweet spot in this case."

  • CBC

    CBC Ottawa's year-end news quiz for 2020

    By and large, 2020 has been a year most people would probably like to forget.And while we totally understand, a word of advice: forgetting about the past 12 months isn't going to help you dominate the annual CBC Ottawa news quiz.So why not instead dive headfirst into the chaos of the past year? From police apologies to poppy bans, from bad train parts to very good dogs — and of course, all things COVID-19 — there was certainly no shortage of news in 2020.On a desktop computer? For the best quiz-taking experience, click on the arrows in the bottom right-hand corner of the quiz widget to expand it.

  • BBC

    Entertainment quiz of 2020

    It was a year to forget for the arts and entertainment. But let's see what you can remember.

  • People

    James Van Der Beek Says He’s 'Grateful for the Battle Scars' of 2020: 'Cheers to a New Year'

    "Cheers to a new year made brighter by gratitude for our newfound spiritual ninja skills - even if they came the hard way," the Dawson’s Creek star wrote

  • CBC

    B.C. announces 683 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 new deaths in final update of 2020

    B.C. health officials announced 683 new cases in the province and eight new deaths in what was noted to be the 160th and final COVID-19 update of 2020.There are currently 7,803 active cases in the province, with 374 in hospital and 76 in intensive care.A total of 901 people in B.C. lost their lives to COVID-19 in the year 2020."2020 has been hard on us, it has been hard on all of us," said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. "COVID-19 may define 2020, but it will not define us."The update represents the highest number of new cases in the province since Dec. 14 and the lowest number of deaths since Nov. 23.A total of 17,510 people in B.C. have now received one dose of vaccine and immunizations have begun in remote and rural areas of the province, including First Nation communities.Henry said that while B.C.'s curve has been trending in the right direction, the uptick in cases is a reminder to keep New Year's Eve celebrations small, and limited to immediate households.Liquor sale restrictions on New Year's EveIn a last-minute teleconference on Wednesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Henry ordered restaurants, bars and retail locations to stop selling alcohol at 8 p.m. PT on New Year's Eve in a bid to prevent a surge in cases in the new year.Henry said the restriction, which shaves two more hours off the previous cut-off time of 10 p.m., is being implemented to prevent small, safe gatherings from turning into group gatherings that place restaurant staff and patrons at risk."Two hours now is necessary for us to manage a situation that is going to last," she said."The actions of a small group of people like we have seen before can have consequences ... Every time you choose to do the right thing you are potentially saving a life."Current restrictions on social gatherings and events are in effect until Jan. 8, meaning rules must be followed on New Year's Eve.Henry said the province has assembled a task force to ensure students can safely resume in-person classes on Monday.Dix thanked B.C. residents for the sacrifices made throughout the year to stem the spread of the virus."All of us in the year changed for all that has been lost but we have also ended the year, I think, with significant resilience ... in the end, 2020 was a year where we showed a willingness ... to save lives," he said."We see the awesome power that we have, that every single one of us have."The next update from the province is scheduled for Jan. 4.

  • The Canadian Press

    Year in review: A look at news events in February 2020

    A look at news events in February 2020: 01 - The new coronavirus global emergency sent markets tumbling as major airlines announced the suspension of flights to China. Tour companies and hotels in Western Canada reported seeing an increase in cancellations from Chinese tourists. A number of countries announced they were moving to bar entry to most people who may have visited China in the past two weeks. A World Health Organization official noted that while most cases reported so far had been people who visited China, human-to-human transmission was becoming more prevalent in cases abroad. 01 - Ontario's Saugeen Ojibway Nation overwhelmingly rejected a proposed underground storage facility for nuclear waste near Lake Huron, likely bringing an end to the multibillion-dollar, politically fraught project that had been years in the making. 01 - Andy Gill, the guitarist for the iconic punk band Gang of Four, died at the age of 64. 01 - Mary Higgins Clark, the tireless and long-reigning "Queen of Suspense,'' died of natural causes in Naples, Fla. She was 92. 02 - Philippine officials reported the first death outside of China linked to the novel coronavirus. The Philippines joined the U.S., Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia in placing a temporary ban on all travellers from China. Many countries also reported seeing rising anti-Chinese sentiment. 02 - Parts of Kenya reported their worst outbreak of locusts in 70 years, as billions of the insects descended on communities. 02 - Mathematicians and geeks everywhere celebrated a rare occurrence: 02/02/2020. This kind of eight-digit palindrome hasn't occurred for more than 900 years — since Nov. 11, 1111. The date is considered a "universal palindrome" because it reads the same whether you write the date as "Month/Day/Year" or "Day/Month/Year." The next one won't come until Dec. 12, 2121. 02 - ''1917'' was the big winner at the British Academy Film Awards. The gut-wrenching First World War epic won seven prizes, including best picture and best director. 03 - The Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Miami. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed together at the halftime show. 03 - Chinese scientists published two papers outlining growing evidence that the new coronavirus likely originated in bats. 03 - Iran's civilian government said it didn't know for days that the Revolutionary Guard had shot down a Ukrainian airliner. Iranian civil aviation authorities for days insisted it wasn't a missile that brought down the plane, even after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. officials began saying they believed it had been shot down.  All 176 people on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 were killed, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and dozens of others with connections to Canada. 03 - The federal government chartered two aircraft to get Canadians out of Wuhan, China. 03 - Calgary city councillors unanimously voted to ban conversion therapy, which aims to change someone's sexual orientation through counselling or religion. 04 - The leadership race for the Green Party of Canada announced its official opening. It was the party's first leadership contest since 2006, when Elizabeth May won on the first ballot. May stepped down following the October 2019 election. 04 - The European Union rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace proposal, stating it breaks with internationally agreed parameters. The Palestinians and Arab Gulf states also rejected Trump's plan. 04 - Four B.C. First Nations lost their court challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed their challenge of the federal government's second approval of the project. 04 - Dr. Francis Plummer, the former scientific director of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory, died after a battle with alcoholism. Plummer, 67, was cited in particular for his research into HIV. 04 - In his third state of the union address, U.S. President Donald Trump took credit for the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, insisting his use of tariffs against trade partners had worked. But the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the negotiations saw the U.S. treat partners as enemies, resulting in Canada — and other countries — focusing on diversifying away from the U.S. 05 - Japan quarantined the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was carrying more than 3,700 people — including 251 Canadians — after several people on board tested positive for the new coronavirus. The ship was ordered to remain under quarantine for 14 days in Yokohama. 05 - The U.S. Senate acquitted President Donald Trump on both impeachment charges against him. The vote against impeachment was never in doubt, since Republicans controlled the chamber. Mitt Romney made history by becoming the first senator in U.S. history to vote in favour of removing a president from his own party. 05 - Legendary actor Kirk Douglas, star of "Spartacus" and "Lust for Life," died at 103. 06 - An International Space Station crew including NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who spent more time in space on a single mission than any other woman, landed safely in Kazakhstan. Koch wrapped up a 328-day mission on her first flight into space. 06 - The doctor who was reprimanded in late December by Chinese authorities for sounding an early warning about the coronavirus outbreak died of the illness. Dr. Li Wenliang was 34 years old. Meanwhile, a newborn discovered infected 36 hours after birth became the youngest known patient. Hospital officials in Wuhan said the mother had tested positive and the baby was separated from her immediately after birth. 07 - Two groups of Canadian evacuees from Wuhan, China, touched down on Canadian soil after severe weather and political meandering caused multiple delays. A flight carrying 176 passengers arrived at Ontario's Canadian Forces Base Trenton after refuelling in Vancouver. About 50 more Canadians who arrived in Vancouver on an American chartered flight were told to disembark and board another plane that would take them to Trenton for a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Officials said some permanent residents and Chinese nationals with Canadian visas were allowed to escort 34 Canadian minors returning home. 07 - The federally owned company in charge of building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion said the project is now estimated to cost $12.6 billion — a 70 per cent jump from the estimate made three years ago by the previous owner, Kinder Morgan. 07 - Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri joined Justin Trudeau on a trip to Africa, as the prime minister tried to gain support for Canada's bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. Ujiri said he was planning to travel to Africa to promote his foundation, which uses basketball to educate and enrich the lives of youth, and joined the trip on Trudeau's invitation. 08 - China said the death toll associated with the new virus surpassed SARS fatalities in the 2002-03 outbreak. China reported the death toll rose to 811. The outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, killed 774 people — including 44 in Canada. 08 - Efforts by hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation to halt the Coastal GasLink LNG Canada pipeline prompted a national protest movement. The massive 670-kilometre project ran from Dawson Creek to Kitimat on B.C.'s northwest coast. Protesters in Ontario stopped railway traffic east of Toronto. 09 - The South Korean thriller "Parasite'' broke barriers at the Oscars and became the first non-English movie to win best picture in the academy's 92-year history. In total, the film won four Oscars, including best director for Bong Joon Ho, best original screenplay and best international feature film. Bong's historic win also highlighted that no women were nominated in the best director category for the 87th time. 09 - Thailand's prime minister said 27 people died, including the gunman, in the worst mass shooting in the country's history. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said 57 people were wounded in the 16-hour rampage at a busy shopping mall. 10 - Researchers with the University of Calgary and Royal Tyrrell Museum said they'd identified the first new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years. A paper published in the journal Cretaceous Research described the fearsome lizard — whose name means "reaper of death'" in Greek. 10 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Canadian military personnel in Kuwait. The Canadians were moved to Kuwait just hours before Iranian missiles were fired at two Iraqi airbases housing Canadian, American and some coalition soldiers. 10 - A U.S. sheriff's deputy filed a lawsuit against the president of the Toronto Raptors. Alan Strickland said Masai Ujiri injured him at Oakland's Oracle Arena when the two got into an alleged shoving match following the Raptors' championship win. 10 - Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward led a team of World Health Organization experts in China to study the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. 11 - A second charter flight that was repatriating Canadians from Wuhan, China, landed at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in southern Ontario. There were 185 passengers on board the flight that left the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak. 11 - The Queen's eldest grandson and his Canadian wife announced their divorce after 12 years of marriage. Peter Phillips is Princess Anne's son. He and his wife Autumn said their separation is sad but amicable, and they planned to share custody of their two daughters, aged seven and nine. 11 - The Toronto Raptors set a Canadian record with their 15th consecutive win, the longest single-season streak from a major Canadian-based professional team. 11 - The World Health Organization said the new coronavirus would be called COVID-19 to avoid stigmatizing any country, city, group of people or animal, that may be linked to it. 11 - U.S. President Donald Trump nominated Aldona Z. Wos, a North Carolina Republican, doctor and former diplomat, to be the ambassador to Canada. The post had been vacant since August when ambassador Kelly Craft left to become the U.S. representative to the United Nations. 11 - A primped and poised standard poodle, Siba, won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club, even with the crowd at Madison Square Garden chanting for Daniel, a popular golden retriever. 12 - Newspaper columnist Christie Blatchford died of cancer in a Toronto hospital at the age of 68. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remembered Blatchford as a relentless storyteller with a wicked sense of humour and said she will be missed. 12 - Two hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation launched a constitutional challenge against the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, in the hopes that the Federal Court would declare Canada has a constitutional duty to meet international greenhouse gas emission targets. 12 - The Assembly of First Nations filed a federal class-action lawsuit seeking damages for thousands of children and their families affected by federal child-welfare policies on reserves. AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde asserted that Canada's child-welfare system discriminated against First Nations kids, causing them and their families harm and suffering. 13 - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Iraq agreed to allow it to resume military training activities, clearing the way for Canadian soldiers to leave Kuwait and restart their mission. The Canadian-led training mission was suspended after a U.S. drone strike killed Iran's top general at Baghdad's airport. 13 - Anti-pipeline blockades forced CN Rail to shut down its entire network in Eastern Canada. Via Rail also cancelled passenger service across the country. 14 - Ten women filed a class-action lawsuit against Canadian clothing mogul Peter Nygard, alleging he lured young women under false pretences of modelling opportunities to his mansion in the Bahamas, then drugged and sexually assaulted them. A lawyer representing Nygard said the lawsuit contains nothing but false allegations. 14 - Following consultations with Inuit leaders and people in the Northwest Territories, the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos made the decision to keep their team name. 14 - Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said anti-pipeline protesters blockading vital rail lines should "check their privilege" and let people do their jobs. Scheer called the protests illegal and referred to activists who "have the luxury of spending days at a time at a blockade." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said disruptions must be resolved through dialogue, not by ordering in the police. 15 - U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper announced a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban, saying it could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. 16 - Tony Fernandez, former shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, died at 57. Fernandez, a five-time all-star and winner of the 1993 World Series, battled kidney problems for several years. 16 - New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs announced his government's decision to back down on a plan for overnight closures at six community hospital emergency rooms. The announcement followed deputy premier Robert Gauvin's decision to quit in protest and sit as an Independent. 16 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled his trip to Barbados to deal with rail disruptions caused by protests against a multibillion-dollar pipeline project that crosses First Nations territory in northern B.C. 17 - Bombardier reached an $8.2-billion deal to sell its train division to French rail giant Alstom. 17 - Newfoundland and Labrador's premier announced his resignation. Dwight Ball said he asked the president of the provincial Liberal party to convene a leadership process to choose a successor at the earliest opportunity. Ball said he would stay on as premier until a new leader is chosen, and that he would continue to represent the Humber-Gros Morne district in the legislature until the next provincial election. 18 - The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection amid an avalanche of new sex-abuse lawsuits. 18 - Canadian National Railway announced temporary layoffs for about 450 workers at its operations in Eastern Canada due to blockades. CN said the layoffs affected operational staff, calling the situation "regrettable." 18 - The NDP government of B.C. introduced its 2020 budget with millions set aside for public schools, post-secondary education, health care and climate action. 19 - Canadian freestyle moguls team member Brayden Kuroda of Penticton, B.C., died suddenly at the age of 19. Freestyle Canada did not release a cause of death, but CEO Peter Judge called it an "immeasurable loss." 19 - The Ontario government asked 3M Canada to investigate complaints that the province's new licence plates are virtually unreadable at night. 19 - A 43-year-old man killed nine people in racially motivated shootings at two shisha bars in the German town of Hanau, then killed his mother and himself. According to police, the attacker left rambling texts and videos in which he espoused racist views, called for genocide and claimed to have been under surveillance since birth. 21 - The road circling the Ontario legislature was shut down for a mass protest by thousands of teachers. The protest marked the first time since 1997 that teachers and education workers from all the major unions staged a walkout on the same day. The province passed legislation last year capping wage hikes for all public sector workers at one per cent for three years. 21 - Canadian passengers who spent weeks stuck in their cabins aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived in Cornwall, Ont. They were flown out of Japan overnight, then bused to a NAV Canada centre to be quarantined for 14 days. Forty-seven Canadians remained in Japan for treatment after they tested positive for the coronavirus. 21 - Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, abandoned plans to use the "SussexRoyal'' brand after they stepped back from royal duties. Their office said the couple will no longer seek to trademark the term, because of U.K. rules governing use of the word "royal." 22 - Afghanistan passed a grim milestone in the long-running war. A United Nations report said more than 100,000 civilians had been killed or hurt in the 10 years since the agency began documenting casualties in Afghanistan. The report came at the same time a seven-day "reduction of violence" agreement between the U.S. and Taliban took effect. 22 - The charity founded by Canadian Catholic figure Jean Vanier condemned his alleged sexual abuse of six women. A report released by L'Arche International after an internal investigation said Vanier engaged in sexual relations with the women as they were seeking spiritual direction. Vanier died last year at the age of 90. 22 - David Ayres, a 42-year-old emergency backup goalie and full-time Zamboni driver, helped the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Ayers, who hails from Whitby, Ont., was called into action after Hurricanes netminders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured. The ex-junior goalie made eight saves. 22 - Bernie Sanders cemented his apparent status as the Democrats' national front-runner for the U.S. presidential nomination after a resounding victory in Nevada's caucuses. Former vice-president Joe Biden took second place, but told supporters in Las Vegas that he was going to win the nomination. 23 - The CBC series "Schitt's Creek" and "Anne with an E" were the top winners at the ACTRA Awards. "Schitt's Creek" took the Members' Choice Series Ensemble Award for a second straight year at the annual gala put on by Canada's performers union in Toronto. Dalmar Abuzeid won a trophy for outstanding performance by a male for playing a Trinidadian sailor on "Anne with an E," while Cara Ricketts won outstanding performance by a female for playing the sailor's wife. 23 - The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it stopped allowing employees to use the video app TikTok, after the Senate's top Democrat raised concerns about potential national security issues with the China-owned app. 23 - Teck Resources announced the cancellation of its oilsands project in northern Alberta, over what the company called the political discourse over climate change. 24 - South Korea became a smaller epicentre of COVID-19 a day after the country's president called for unprecedented steps to combat the outbreak. Italy also became a focal point of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Europe, with police manning checkpoints around quarantined towns in the north and residents stocking up on food. 24 - Ontario Provincial Police cleared a rail blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, after protesters ignored a midnight deadline to clear the blockade. The removal process remained largely non-violent, but several people were arrested and taken away in a police van. 24 - A Manhattan jury convicted movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, but not of the most serious charge he was facing of predatory sexual assault. The jury's decision followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of women and was seen as a long-overdue reckoning for Weinstein after years of whispers about his behaviour. 24 - Police in Germany said 35 people, including 18 children, were admitted to a hospital after a driver plowed into a crowd celebrating Carnival. Local media said the 29-year-old man behind the wheel was also injured in the incident. 24 - The federal carbon tax was struck down as unconstitutional by Alberta's Appeal Court, which said legislation that brought in the tax eroded provincial jurisdiction. Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the government would await a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the matter. 24 - The federal government introduced legislation aimed at making it easier for suffering Canadians to get medical help to end their lives. Justice Minister David Lametti said the bill would scrap a provision in the law that allows only those already near death to receive medical assistance in dying. The Superior Court of Quebec had previously ruled it was unconstitutional for the federal law to restrict eligibility to those whose natural death is "reasonably foreseeable." 25 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, ousted in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising, died at 91. 25 - Canadians and their family members flown home from Wuhan, China, were released from quarantine. They spent that time at CFB Trenton, Ont., being monitored for any symptoms of the new coronavirus. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the evacuees do not pose a risk of transmitting the disease when they return to their homes. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne advised Canadians planning trips overseas to check his department's travel advisories before booking, calling the outbreak a very dynamic situation. 25 - Dr. Bruce Aylward said the world isn't ready for a new coronavirus outbreak. Aylward returned to Geneva after leading a team of experts to China to study the virus for the World Health Organization. He urged other countries to get ready for a potential outbreak within their own borders as soon as possible, warning the spread of the virus seemed inevitable. 25 - Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard announced he has stepped down as chairman of his company following a FBI raid on his New York headquarters on suspicion of sex trafficking. Nygard has denied the allegations. 26 - Maria Sharapova retired from professional tennis. The 32-year-old Russian, who moved to Florida as a child, burst onto the tennis scene at 17 when she won Wimbledon in 2004 by upsetting Serena Williams in the final. 26 - Million-selling novelist Clive Cussler died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the age of 88. 26 - The World Health Organization said the number of new coronavirus cases reported outside China had exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time. 27 - Japan announced the closure of schools countrywide to help control the spread of the new coronavirus. Ontario announced its sixth confirmed case, also marking the province's first instance of human-to-human transmission. Quebec reported its first presumptive case of the virus in a woman from the Montreal region who had just returned home from travelling to Iran. 27 - Saudi Arabia closed off the holiest sites in Islam to foreign pilgrims due to the coronavirus. The decision disrupted travel for thousands of Muslims headed to the kingdom and was expected to affect millions more ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan and the hajj pilgrimage. Such a move wasn't even taken during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions of people. 27 - The Senate voted to suspend Sen. Lynn Beyak for a second time over derogatory letters about Indigenous Peoples posted on her website. Senators approved a report from the upper chamber’s ethics committee that recommended Beyak be suspended without pay for the duration of the current parliamentary session. The Ontario senator was kicked out of the Conservative caucus and eventually suspended without pay last May after refusing to remove the offensive letters from her website. 28 - The World Health Organization raised the risk assessment of COVID-19 to "very high" at the global level. Organizations across Canada cancelled conferences and events for fears of spreading the virus. 28 - The french fry master of downtown Halifax, "Bud the Spud," died at the age of 77. Leonard True, known as "Bud," started his food truck in 1977. 29 - The man who created the popular Trader Joe's markets in the U.S. died at age 89. Joe Coulombe opened the first of his quirky, nautically themed markets in Pasadena, Calif., in 1967. Trader Joe's now has more than 500 stores in over 40 states. 29 - The United States reported new COVID-19 cases not associated with travelling abroad or obvious contact with an ill individual. The U.S. also reported the country's first death from COVID-19. President Donald Trump said "there's no reason to panic at all" about the virus. 29 - The United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement aimed at ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan, America's longest. 29 - An Alberta-based humanitarian organization said 15 of its people — 13 Canadians among them — were detained in Ethiopia. Canadian Humanitarian said the group includes 10 Canadian volunteers, three Canadian staff members and two Ethiopian staff members. The non-governmental organization based in Medicine Hat said they were accused of practising medicine without permission and dispensing expired medication. 29 - Former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden won South Carolina's Democratic primary, riding a wave of African-American support to end Bernie Sanders' winning streak and offer badly needed momentum for Biden's White House bid. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • The Canadian Press

    Year in review: A look at news events in July 2020

    A look at news events in July 2020: 01 - Canada, the U.S. and Mexico officially enacted the new North American free-trade deal, after months of gruelling negotiations and several setbacks. 01 - The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unusual celebration of Canada's 153rd birthday, with backyard gatherings and digital events replacing large ceremonies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent part of the morning with his family harvesting broccoli at a farm operated by the Ottawa Food Bank. 02 - The Supreme Court of Canada announced the dismissal of a new appeal from British Columbia First Nations over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The court dismissed the appeal from the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Ts'elxweyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band, effectively ending the years-long legal battle over the project. 02 - Sources said a member of the Canadian Armed Forces was in custody after someone rammed a truck through the gates and drove up the path toward Rideau Hall, the official residences that house Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, before police intervened. Neither Trudeau nor Payette was in residence at the time. The Mounties said the man was armed. 02 - Officials in several Manitoba and Saskatchewan communities declared states of emergency after a rain-heavy weather system sloshed through the area causing flooding. The mayor of Humboldt, Sask., said much of the ground was already saturated due to earlier rainy weather when more rain hit on Tuesday night, leading to the latest trouble. 02 - FBI agents arrested British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in New Hampshire. Maxwell lived with Jeffrey Epstein for years and was his frequent travel companion on trips around the world. The indictment said she assisted, facilitated and contributed to Epstein's abuse of minor girls by — among other things — helping him recruit, groom and ultimately abuse girls under age 18. 03 - Youth Minister Bardish Chagger announced the WE organization wouldn't manage the federal government's $900-million program to pay students and fresh graduates for summer volunteer work. The sole-sourced deal had been criticized because of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's close relationship with the group. 03 - Canada suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as part of a package of responses to a new security law China imposed on the territory. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Canada would treat sensitive goods being exported to Hong Kong as if they were being sent to mainland China. That means an outright ban on some military-related goods being traded there. 03 - P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia began allowing their Atlantic neighbours to visit without self-isolating for 14 days after entering. The so-called "Atlantic bubble" is meant to boost struggling local economies. 05 - Hamilton-raised theatre star Nick Cordero, who had legions of supporters rallying for him on social media during his harrowing health battle with COVID-19, died in Los Angeles at the age of 41. His wife, dancer-turned-celebrity personal trainer Amanda Kloots, confirmed the news in an Instagram post. 05 - One of the first Black actors to perform in mainstream British films died. Earl Cameron was 102. He was best remembered for his starring role as a sailor in the 1951 drama "Pool of London," the first British film to feature an interracial relationship. 06 - Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who created the theme for the "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and produced more than 400 original scores for feature films, died at 91. 06 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replaced Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, just weeks after Canada lost its attempt to win a temporary seat on the Security Council. Former Ontario premier and federal interim Liberal leader Bob Rae replaced Marc-Andre Blanchard. The Prime Minister's Office said Blanchard notified Trudeau of his intention to leave the position earlier in the year. 06 - Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died at the age of 83. The singer, guitarist and fiddler got his start as a session musician and scored a hit in 1979 with "The Devil Went Down to Georgia.'' 06 - The U.S. Supreme Court handed another blow to the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key permit for the project. 07 - Pioneering Black Nova Scotian playwright and journalist George Elroy Boyd died. He was 68. Boyd, who was born in Halifax, died peacefully at a hospice in Montreal. After working as a journalist and radio broadcaster, he became Canada's first Black national television news anchor in 1992 as a co-host of CBC Morning Newsworld. He eventually left broadcasting to pursue his first love of writing, and his "Consecrated Ground'' was nominated for a Governor General Literary Award for Drama in 2000. 08 - Via Rail announced the temporary layoffs of 1,000 unionized employees amid reduced demand for travel due to COVID-19. Chief executive Cynthia Garneau said she doesn't think ridership will return to pre-COVID levels in the foreseeable future, but the company will work to resume service as the pandemic evolves. 09 - The longest-serving mayor of South Korea's capital, a fierce critic of economic inequality who was seen as a potential presidential candidate, was found dead. Park Won-soon was 64. Police say Park's body was found near a restaurant nestled in wooded hills stretching across northern Seoul after he was reported missing by his daughter. 10 - The WE uproar spread to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, whose daughters have ties to the charity. Morneau's office would not say if he recused himself from the vote that awarded WE the $900-million, sole-sourced contract to pay students and fresh graduates for summer volunteer work. 12 - A report from Iran's Civil Aviation Organization detailed a series of moments where the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS-752 could have been avoided. The Revolutionary Guard shot down the passenger jet on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people on board — including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and dozens more with ties to Canada. The report said a misaligned missile battery, miscommunication between troops and their commanders and a decision to fire without authorization all led to the tragedy. 12 - A new U.S. study showed aerosol droplets thought to carry the novel coronavirus can hang around for almost 16 hours. Researchers said their data shows very clearly that wearing a mask can make a difference in containing the spread of COVID-19. 13 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an apology for not recusing himself from the government's decision to award a contract to WE Charity to manage a major student-volunteering program. He said his and his family's longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions. 13 - Actress Kelly Preston died at age 57. John Travolta, Preston's husband of 28 years, confirmed his wife had died after a two-year battle with breast cancer. 14 - One of the co-hosts of the popular Discovery channel show "Mythbusters'' died. Grant Imahara died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at the age of 49. 16 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal, provincial and territorial governments reached a deal on billions of dollars in transfers to continue reopening economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau said the federal government will contribute $19 billion to the effort. 17 - Civil rights activist and U.S. Congressman John Lewis died at the age of 80. Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 18 - The Blue Jays were denied approval to play in Toronto amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trudeau government turned down the request citing danger to Canada because of all the cross-border travel involved. Major League Baseball needed an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days. 18 - Quebec became the first province in Canada to require mask-wearing in all indoor public places. 19 - Three people were killed and many others badly injured after a tour bus crash at the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. Alberta Health Services said 24 people survived the crash. 19 - Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet denied he sexually assaulted a woman in 1999, telling reporters he's not capable of that kind of behaviour. An anonymous allegation on Facebook said Blanchet forced himself on the woman in the washroom of a Montreal bar. 20 - Scientists at Oxford University said their experimental vaccine produced a good immune response in its early trial on 1,000 people. 21 - The $60-million acquisition of the Torstar Corp. newspaper group by NordStar Capital LP was approved as expected, despite a last-minute revised proposal from a rival group. A preliminary count of votes tallied after a brief online meeting showed the deal recommended by Torstar's board received the necessary support from the company's shareholders. 22 - A federal judge has struck down a key agreement on refugees between Canada and the United States. In a ruling today, Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald said elements of the law underpinning the Safe Third Country Agreement violate constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security. 22 - Prince Philip made a rare public appearance at Windsor Castle to hand over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to his daughter-in-law Camilla. The Queen's 99-year-old husband has held the post since 2007. He retired from public duties in 2017. 22 - Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he had repaid WE Charity for the full cost of a 2017 trip to Ecuador, where he saw some of its humanitarian work. Morneau told the House of Commons finance committee he sent the charity a cheque for $41,266 after he couldn't account for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses the organization covered. 23 - Ottawa and Nova Scotia appointed a three-person panel to review the cause and circumstances of a mass shooting that left 22 victims dead in April. The panel's terms of reference said all documents and information collected in the preparation of its report would be kept "confidential.'' Family members of victims had called for a full public inquiry that would include a comprehensive look at how the RCMP handled the shootings. 23 - The Privy Council Office said it would launch an independent review of allegations that Gov. Gen. Julie Payette mistreated past and current employees at Rideau Hall. The CBC reported that Payette had yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit. Payette said she is "deeply concerned" with the reports and welcomes an independent review. 24 - The Toronto Blue Jays announced they will play home games at their triple-A affiliate's stadium in Buffalo, N.Y., this season. Canada's lone Major League Baseball team was forced to find a new home for 2020 after the federal government rejected the club's proposal for the Jays and visiting teams to stay in the hotel inside Rogers Centre and never leave the facility during stints in Toronto. 24 - Legendary television personality Regis Philbin died at 88. According to a statement from his family, Philbin died of natural causes. The genial host shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." 26 - One of the NHL's most colourful players on and off the ice, Eddie Shack, died at 83. Known for his bruising style, distinctive skating stance and larger-than-life personality, Shack won four Stanley Cups with Toronto in the 1960s, including the franchise's most recent victory in 1967. 26 - One of the last great stars of Hollywood's golden age died. A spokesperson said two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland died peacefully of natural causes in Paris. She was 104. 27 - The world's biggest COVID-19 vaccine study began in the U.S. The 30,000 volunteers weren't told if they were getting a dummy drug or an experimental vaccine developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and drug maker Moderna. 28 - Canadian rapper Drake attains the record for the most top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 singles. He had been tied with Madonna at 38, but two new singles debuted in the top 10, giving him 40. The Beatles are in third place with 34 top-10 singles. 28 - HMCS Fredericton returned home from its mission in the Mediterranean Sea. The frigate was about halfway through its six-month mission when six crew members died in a helicopter crash on April 29. It was the worst single-day loss of life for the Canadian Armed Forces since six soldiers died in a 2007 roadside bombing in Afghanistan. 28 - WE Charity co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger were grilled by members of the House of Commons finance committee about the cancelled deal to have WE run the Canada Student Service Grant. The brothers said their organization was not tapped to run Ottawa's student-volunteer program because of any close ties to Liberal cabinet ministers, and that there was no financial benefit in doing so. 28 - Remdesivir became the first drug to be approved by Health Canada for treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. The federal agency said the antiviral drug may be used to treat adults and adolescent patients with pneumonia who need extra oxygen to help them breathe. 28 - Following months of steadily mounting public pressure, the federal government announced it will proceed with a full public inquiry into April's deadly mass shooting in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey said he would be in favour of a federal-provincial public inquiry if Ottawa agreed to go along. Furey's comments were a reversal of his earlier position that a joint review into the tragedy that claimed 22 lives was sufficient. 29 - WE Charity announced it had "mutually agreed'' to suspend its partnerships after a flood of companies announced they were dropping their support for the embattled organization. Several companies, including Royal Bank of Canada, Loblaw Companies, GoodLife Fitness and KPMG, already announced they had ended their partnerships with the charity. 29 - Scientists said they'd figured out why some COVID-19 sufferers temporarily lose their sense of smell, something the doctors call anosmia. They said the virus attacks the cells that support neurons in the brain that control smell. There is good news, as researchers say once a patient recovers, those neurons recover as well — and ultimately the ability to smell comes back. 30 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when he first learned the public service had proposed WE Charity to run the Canada Student Service Grant, he pushed back, knowing it would come under scrutiny. At a rare prime ministerial appearance before the House of Commons finance committee, Trudeau said he first learned WE Charity had been selected by the public service on May 8, mere hours before a cabinet meeting where it was scheduled to be discussed. 30 - B.C. florist Norma Fitzsimmons, who started the Greater Victoria Flower Count 45 years ago, died at the age of 97. The campaign to count flower blossoms is held every year in early March, when much of the rest of the country is still in the grip of winter. 30 - Temperature screening stations were set up at airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Transport Canada said passengers with a temperature above 38 C wouldn't be allowed to travel and would be asked to re-book after two weeks. 30 - Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died of COVID-19. He was 74. Cain had been ill for several weeks and was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., in June. The Trump campaign had named him co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. 31 - Statistics Canada said the economy grew by 4.5 per cent in May as businesses began to reopen after severe lockdowns in March and April. 31 - A voluntary smartphone app that can warn you if you've come into close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 became available to download. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he downloaded the "COVID Alert'' app. He said health experts believe that if enough people sign up, the app could help prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • The Canadian Press

    Year in review: A look at news events in March 2020

    A look at news events in March 2020: 01 - Former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden scored a resounding victory in South Carolina's Democratic primary, riding a wave of African-American support to get some badly needed momentum for his White House bid. 01 - The spreading coronavirus epidemic shut down France's Louvre museum, as Italy was recognized as the epicentre of the outbreak in Europe. A new U.S. government advisory urged Americans not to travel to two Italian regions hardest hit by the new virus, Lombardy and Veneto. 02 - The man who spent two decades as chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric died. Jack Welch was 84. Welch personified what became known as the "cult of the CEO'' during the late-1990s boom, and in 1999, Fortune magazine named him "Manager of the Century." 02 - The number of new COVID-19 cases in China dropped to its lowest level in six weeks, but clusters of infections in South Korea, Italy and Iran continued to expand. 02 - Mark Bourrie was named the final winner of the RBC Taylor Prize. Bourrie beat out four other authors to win the prize, which is shutting down after two decades of celebrating Canadian literary non-fiction. 02 - James Lipton, longtime host of "Inside the Actors Studio,'' died in his New York home from bladder cancer at age 93. Lipton interviewed hundreds of master actors and Hollywood luminaries for nearly 25 years on Bravo. 02 - The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada raised the risk level to three, meaning "avoid all non-essential travel." In addition, Dr. Theresa Tam asked people in Canada who have travelled to Iran to get in touch with health officials and self-isolate for two weeks. 02 - Work resumed on a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia at the centre of protests that disrupted both rail and road traffic across the country. 03 - Finance ministers and central bankers from the G7 industrialized countries decided against a co-ordinated response to the economic threat caused by the new coronavirus, but vowed to use "all appropriate tools'' to deal with the issue. 04 - Joe Biden won Maine's Democratic presidential primary. 04 - Several countries from Italy to Saudi Arabia announced drastic measures to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Hand sanitizer also became a hot commodity, with prices skyrocketing on Amazon and local stores completely selling out as people tried to stock up. The Bank of Canada also announced it cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.25 per cent and said it would make further adjustments if needed. 04 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a new cabinet committee to monitor the health impacts of the new coronavirus, appointing Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland as chair. 04 - The union representing Canadian performers honoured Sarah Polley as its National Woman of the Year. ACTRA said the actress and filmmaker has inspired others and made a real difference in the way performers and artists are treated and respected in Canada. 05 - Canada reported its first case of human-to-human COVID-19 transmission in B.C. 05 - Starbucks announced it would temporarily suspend the use of reusable cups customers bring into its stores to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. But the company said it will still honour the 10-cent discount for customers who have a travel mug. 05 - Alberta reported its first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus. 06 - Henri Richard, the speedy centre who won a record 11 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens, died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 84. 06 - Tim Hortons said it would temporarily stop accepting reusable cups brought in by customers amid concerns about the novel coronavirus outbreak. 07 - The women's world hockey championships in Nova Scotia were cancelled. It was the second time the women's worlds were cancelled, after the 2003 tournament scheduled for Beijing was called off because of the SARS outbreak. 07 - Former provincial cabinet minister Steven Del Duca was officially chosen as the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Del Duca took over from former premier Kathleen Wynne, who stepped down after a dismal election result in 2018. 07 - Canadian health officials urged people to avoid cruise ship travel, after a cruise liner with 237 Canadians aboard reported 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 07 - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the entire region of Lombardy and a number of provinces in other regions had been put under lockdown. 08 - Kamala Harris announced her endorsement of Joe Biden as the Democratic choice for president. Harris said she will do everything she can to help elect him. 09 - The actor who played the priest in the 1973 horror classic "The Exorcist'' passed away. Max von Sydow was 90. 09 - Stock markets on Bay and Wall streets took a nosedive on jitters about the new coronavirus and collapsing oil prices. Alarm spread through markets in Asia, then Europe, then North America, triggering the first automatic halt in trading on Wall Street in more than two decades. 09 - The interim report into the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet revealed software designed to stop an aerodynamic stall pushed the plane's nose down as the pilots struggled to control the jet. All 157 people aboard, including 18 Canadians, died on March 10, 2019, when the jet slammed into the ground shortly after takeoff. 09 - Canada recorded its first COVID-19 death. B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed a man in his 80s with pre-existing conditions died at the Lynn Valley care centre in North Vancouver. 09 - The federal government introduced legislation to impose a blanket ban on causing a child to undergo therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would also make it a criminal offence to cause an adult to undergo so-called "conversion therapy" against their will. 10 - Air Canada suspended flights to and from Italy, saying affected customers would be notified and offered a full refund.  10 - Some of the 237 Canadians from a cruise ship with a cluster of coronavirus cases arrived back in Canada on a flight chartered by Ottawa. They landed at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario, where they will spend two weeks in quarantine. 11 - Joe Biden had another big night in the Democratic presidential primary, capturing four more states, including Michigan. 11 - Air Canada cancelled an order for 11 Boeing 737 Max jets, but said it is still fully committed to the plane that has been grounded worldwide for a year following two crashes. 11 - A scathing report into the troubled Muskrat Falls hydro project said past provincial governments failed to protect the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. 11 - The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for countries to take urgent and aggressive action, stating the agency has rung the alarm bell loud and clear. 11 - Academy Award winner Tom Hanks and actress-singer Rita Wilson isolated themselves after they both tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 11 - Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping an aspiring actress in 2013 and sexually assaulting a TV and film production assistant in 2006. 11 - Russia's parliament gave the green light to sweeping constitutional reform that allows President Vladimir Putin to stay in power for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024. 11 - The NBA announced the indefinite suspension of its regular season after a Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19. The world figure skating championships in Montreal were also cancelled. 12 - Travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak prompted the European Space Agency and Russia's Roscosmos to postpone a planned joint mission to Mars until 2022. The ExoMars mission to put a rover on Mars was due to launch this year. 12 - Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported their first presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced it was time for his province to go into emergency mode to limit the spread of the virus. 12 - The NHL announced the indefinite suspension of its 2019-20 season. The National Lacrosse League made a similar announcement. The CFL cancelled its regional and national combines and the ATP called off all men's professional tennis tournaments for six weeks. Major League Baseball announced it was suspending its season. 12 - Canada's biggest celebration of homegrown music, the Juno Awards, was cancelled just a few hours before the show was set to kick off in Saskatoon. The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television also called off the Canadian Screen Awards for March 29. New York's governor ordered all Broadway theatres to shut their doors over coronavirus concerns. 12 - The Prime Minister's Office announced Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tested positive for COVID-19. As a precautionary measure and following the advice of doctors, Justin Trudeau entered isolation for a planned period of 14 days. 13 - Thirteen Canadians who were detained in Ethiopia while working with an Alberta-based humanitarian organization returned to Canada. 13 - A team from Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the University of Toronto and McMaster University announced they had isolated the coronavirus, which would help with developing treatments, vaccines and tests. Quebec-based biotech firm Medicago said it has produced a viable vaccine candidate for COVID-19 that will undergo pre-clinical testing for safety. 13 - All parties in the House of Commons agreed that Parliament would break until April 20 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 13 - The Greek Olympic committee suspended the rest of its torch relay after a large crowd gathered to watch, despite repeated requests for everyone to stay away. The Masters golf tournament and the Boston Marathon became the latest sporting events to be postponed due to the coronavirus. 13 - U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, freeing up nearly US$50 billion to help states and cities. Trump said no resource would be spared, but predicted the virus would pass and the country would come out of the crisis stronger than before. 13 - Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne issued a global travel advisory for Canadians, urging people to avoid non-essential travel outside the country. 13 - The National Arts Centre in Ottawa announced that all performances and events would be cancelled through April 5. The famed Stratford Festival in southwestern Ontario also called off all performances and the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 13 - The Bank of Canada dropped its overnight rate target by half a percentage point to 0.75 per cent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 14 - The Federal Court closed its buildings and offices to visitors in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Child care, schools, libraries, jail visits and jury trials were also shut down across the country. 14 - The government of Quebec reported a health emergency for the province. Premier Francois Legault urged everyone 70 years of age and older to stay home until further notice. 14 - A woman in her 50s became the first confirmed COVID-19 case reported in Prince Edward Island. In Newfoundland and Labrador, a woman who had recently travelled on a cruise ship was reported to be that province's first presumptive COVID-19 case. 14 - A Canadian woman and an Italian man who had been kidnapped in December 2018 in Burkina Faso were released in good health. Quebec resident Edith Blais and Italian Luca Tacchetto — both in their 30s — had been travelling by car in the southwest of Burkina Faso when all communication with their families abruptly ended on Dec. 15, 2018. 14 - The TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre in downtown Toronto became the first major Canadian film complex to close in the midst of COVID-19. Cirque du Soleil announced it was temporarily suspending its productions in Las Vegas and around the world. 14 - Ontario's chief medical officer of health urged long-term care facilities to bar access to all but ''essential visitors.'' Dr. David Williams said the safety and well-being of vulnerable residents is a top priority. 15 - Ontario became the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, with 101 cases. Meanwhile, three people in Nova Scotia were reported to be the province's first COVID-19 cases. Alberta ordered the immediate cancellation of all kindergarten to Grade 12 classes and closed all daycares. Spain announced a lockdown of its 46 million people. 15 - Canada's top public health officer said there should be no gatherings of 250 people or more. Dr. Theresa Tam also said all travel should be cancelled unless it's absolutely essential, calling the situation "serious.'' 15 - The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point to nearly zero in a bid to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. 15 - The Republic of Congo, home to the World Health Organization's regional Africa headquarters, reported its first case of the novel coronavirus. 15 - The Vatican announced Pope Francis would not lead any public celebrations for Easter due to the coronavirus. 16 - Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau was named the military's second-in-command, becoming the sixth officer to hold that post in just four years after a surprise announcement by Lt.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier that he would be stepping down this summer. 16 - With a few exceptions, Canada announced it would close its borders to all but Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the restrictions would not apply to Americans because the two countries are so closely intertwined. 16 - Major League Baseball pushed back opening day until mid-May at the earliest. 16 - Nunavut said schools and daycares were to be closed in the territory to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. The Northwest Territories suspended its sitting of the legislature. 16 - Cineplex said it would close its 165 theatres across the country until at least April 2. The company represents about 75 per cent of the Canadian film entertainment market. It had been reluctant to close down its operations, choosing instead to sell fewer tickets at each screening and clean surfaces more frequently. 16 - Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government has recommended that people avoid gatherings of over 50 people, a change from gatherings of 250 people recommended just days earlier. 16 - WestJet announced the suspension of all commercial operations for international flights for a 30-day period. The company said it would be operating rescue and repatriation flights in partnership with the Canadian government. 17 - Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, theatres and libraries. Alberta and British Columbia made similar declarations, while the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs declared a state of emergency for 62 First Nations, closing reserve borders to non-essential travel.  17 - Health officials confirmed Ontario's first death in a patient with COVID-19. The 77-year-old man in the Muskoka region was a close contact of another positive case and officials said the virus was discovered after his death. 17 - The Canadian Army cancelled its largest annual training event to protect the force from COVID-19 and ensure it is ready to respond should it be called upon. Exercise Maple Resolve is held each May at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright in Alberta, and involves thousands of soldiers from Canada and allied nations. 17 - America's longest continuously held sporting event, the Kentucky Derby, was postponed. The CEO of Churchill Downs said it would be the first time the Derby wouldn't be held on its traditional first Saturday in May since 1945. 17 - Tom Brady announced he would leave the New England Patriots, becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. 18 - Canada's six big banks announced they would let customers defer mortgage payments for up to six months. 18 - U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the border between the two countries would be shuttered to all but essential traffic in both directions in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. 18 - The federal government announced an $82-billion relief package to help support workers, businesses and the entire Canadian economy. The government also announced it was pausing Canada Student Loan payments for six months. 18 - B.C. and Saskatchewan became the latest provinces to declare states of emergency in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. 18 - An elderly woman from the Lanaudiere region, northeast of Montreal, became Quebec's first reported death from COVID-19. 18 - Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner easily won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. His closest competitor was three-time champion Mitch Seavey, who was about five hours behind. 18 - Several colleges and universities in Ontario either asked or ordered students to move out of their dorms to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  18 - Porter Airlines announced it would suspend all flights, giving passengers two days’ notice to return home. 18 - Despite not having any COVID-19 cases, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon announced they were declaring public health emergencies to allow their governments to respond quickly should cases surface. 19 - New Brunswick declared a state of emergency. 19 - A 60-year-old man from Alberta became the first recorded death in the province from COVID-19. The province's chief medical officer said the man had underlying health conditions and appeared to have contracted the virus in the community, not through travel. 19 - China exonerated the doctor who was reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus outbreak and later died of the disease. An official media report said police in Wuhan revoked the admonishment of 34-year-old Dr. Li Wenliang and issued a "solemn apology" to his family. 19 - The Academy of Country Music postponed its awards show because of COVID-19. 19 - Italy surpassed China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths. 19 - The Queen left London for Windsor Castle a week earlier than she usually does. The 93-year-old was seen driving away from Buckingham Palace with her dogs sitting next to her. 19 - The 73rd Cannes Film Festival was postponed due to the coronavirus epidemic. Cinema's largest annual gathering was scheduled to open May 12. 20 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that asylum seekers crossing into Canada on foot from the U.S. would be turned back as part of the border shutdown between the two countries. Trudeau said the move to turn them away was a temporary, exceptional measure to protect Canadian citizens. 20 - Ontario reached a tentative pact with its largest teachers union, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, following a highly contentious round of bargaining. 20 - The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 crested the 10,000 mark. 20 - Officials announced the Scripps National Spelling Bee, scheduled to start May 24, may not be held at all this year. 20 - Quarterback Tom Brady signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 42-year-old six-time Super Bowl champion said he was embarking on a "new football journey" after 20 years with the New England Patriots. 20 - With most of Air Canada's fleet grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montreal-based company moved to lay off more than 5,000  unionized flight attendants. 20 - Actor-singer Kenny Rogers — best known for the song "The Gambler'' — died at the age of 81. A representative said Rogers died of natural causes at home in Georgia. 21 - Canada and the United States closed their shared border to all non-essential travel. 21 - Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan officials announced citizens would be issued fines or arrested if they ignore the orders to self-isolate or practice social distancing. 21 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced restricted non-essential travel with Canada's northern territories. Trudeau also announced enhanced help for Canadians abroad to get flights home. 22 - Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil declared a state of emergency. 22 - Joyce Milgaard, who spent decades fighting for the exoneration of her wrongfully convicted son, David Milgaard, died at the age of 89. 22 - The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said they wouldn't send their teams to Japan to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer. The two committees said unless the Games were pushed back a year, Canada would not participate. 23 - The federal government rolled out a $30-million ad campaign focused on social distancing and good personal hygiene. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced that Canada is spending $192 million on developing and producing vaccines for the novel coronavirus. 23 - New guidelines from Heart and Stroke Foundation said those with no history of stroke, heart or vascular disease should not be taking Aspirin or similar brands as a preventative measure — a major shift from decades-old recommendations. It is still "strongly recommended" that anyone with a history of stroke, or heart or vascular disease continue to take a low daily dose of ASA to prevent another event, if prescribed by their doctor. 23 - Transat said it had temporarily laid off about 3,600 staff, including all flight crew personnel — about 70 per cent of its workforce in Canada. 23 - Under mounting pressure from several countries, broadcasters and sports federations, the International Olympic Committee said it would take four weeks to consider postponing the 2020 Tokyo Games. 23 - The founder of Shaw Communications died at 85 years old. The company said JR Shaw passed away peacefully. Shaw stepped down as CEO in 1988 when his eldest son, Jim, took over. 23 - Canada's top public health official issued a warning against the use of untested drugs to treat COVID-19 — specifically the anti-malaria medication chloroquine. U.S. President Donald Trump caused a stir when he touted it as a possible treatment. 23 - The City of Toronto declared its own state of emergency as some people continued to ignore stern warnings from health authorities. 24 - The 2020 Summer Olympics were officially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach agreed to the delay of about one year. 24 - The House of Commons unanimously passed a vote on the emergency legislation to provide billions in financial aid to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 pandemic. 24 - The Assembly of First Nations declared a COVID-19 state of emergency and urged governments to give special consideration to remote fly-in communities. Indigenous health managers noted it's hard to talk about the importance of washing your hands when tap water isn't drinkable, and that it's impossible to self-isolate in overcrowded homes. 24 - Canada's chief medical health officer said the ratio of travel-related to community transmission of COVID-19 is about equal, representing a fundamental shift in the spread of the virus in Canada. 24 - The Senate passed an emergency federal bill to inject billions of dollars of aid into the Canadian economy. 25 - Ottawa announced new federal restrictions on travellers who fail to self-isolate for 14 days after crossing the border into Canada. The restrictions stated that violators face fines of up to $750,000 and six months in jail. 25 - Prince Charles tested positive for COVID-19. The prince's Clarence House office said the 71-year-old heir to the throne showed mild symptoms and was self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland. His wife Camilla tested negative. 25 - More than 800 Canadians returned home on Air Canada flights from Morocco, Spain and Ecuador. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the government worked to repatriate as many Canadians as possible, but some will remain outside the country for an indeterminate amount of time. 25 - Justin Trudeau said his wife, Sophie, had recovered from COVID-19 after contracting the virus on a trip to the U.K. Trudeau said he and his children were still symptom-free. 25 - Canada started enforcing the Quarantine Act, requiring all international arrivals to self-isolate for at least 14 days. Violators could face fines of up to $1 million or three years in prison. 26 - The leaders of the world's 20 major industrialized nations said they would collectively inject more than $4.8 trillion into the global economy to help it deal with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The G20 leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, held an emergency virtual summit. 26 - Organizers said the Tony Awards, celebrating the best of Broadway, would not go on as scheduled in early June. 26 - The global total of COVID-19 cases rose above 500,000, as American deaths from the outbreak topped 1,000. 26 - The federal Conservatives announced the suspension of their leadership race due to COVID-19. 27 - The Bank of Canada made an unscheduled rate cut to its key interest target in a bid to provide support for the Canadian financial system and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. 27 - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the new coronavirus. The 55-year-old was tested for COVID-19 after showing mild symptoms including a fever and persistent cough. 27 - As part of a package of measures aimed at helping small businesses survive the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government said it would cover up to 75 per cent of salaries to prevent layoffs. 28 - Yukon declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 28 - Sophie Gregoire Trudeau announced she had recovered from COVID-19. In a Facebook post, the prime minister's wife said she was feeling much better and had been given the all-clear from her doctor and Ottawa Public Health. 29 - For the first time since the Second World War, Britain placed all parts of the country on an emergency footing. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick called it "an unprecedented step in peacetime.'' 30 - Organizers said the Tokyo Olympics would open exactly one year after the games were due to start. The opening ceremony will take place July 23, 2021. The Paralympics were rescheduled to Aug. 24 through Sept. 5. 30 - A First Nation in Ontario reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. Elected chief Mark Hill said checkpoints would be set up at the Six Nations of The Grand River's boundaries to restrict the flow of people in and out of the territory. 30 - Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador recorded their first deaths caused by COVID-19. The Manitoba government announced the closure of all non-essential businesses. 30 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced funding for people out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic. Those eligible will get 75 per cent of their pay with a cap of $847 a week. 31 - Prince Harry and his wife Meghan officially stepped away from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family. 31 - The Manitoba government closed elementary, junior high and high schools indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Education minister Kelvin Goertzen said schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year unless health officials said otherwise. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • The Canadian Press

    Year in review: A look at news events in November 2020

    A look at news events in November 2020: 01 - The Royal Canadian Legion named Debbie Sullivan of Saint John, N.B., as this year's Silver Cross mother. Her son, navy Lt. Chris Saunders, was killed at the age of 32 when a fire broke out aboard his submarine 16 years ago. 01 - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was cleared of COVID-19. She got tested after her COVID Alert phone app told her she'd been near an infected person. 02 - Former federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay announced he is quitting politics. MacKay had been spending the fall pondering his political future after finishing second to Erin O'Toole in the Conservative party leadership contest. 02 - For the first time, an HIV self-test was approved for use in Canada. The one-minute, finger-prick blood test manufactured by Richmond, B.C.-based bioLytical Laboratories was granted a medical device licence by Health Canada. Experts have said self-testing is critical to increasing access to life-extending treatments and preventing the spread of infection in Canada. 02 - Canadian aviation pioneer Max Ward died. A family friend said he collapsed at his home in Edmonton and died in hospital, 20 days short of his 99th birthday. Northerners still credit Ward for helping to open up the Northwest Territories when he worked as a Yellowknife bush pilot. He built his business into a regional carrier, then into Wardair, at one time Canada's largest charter airline. 03 - Toronto rapper Drake earned his 21st No. 1 hit on Billboard's R&B/hip-hop songs chart, with his song "Laugh Now Cry Later." The milestone broke a record held by two legendary performers, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, who each had 20 songs top the chart. 03 - One of the strangest U.S. presidential campaigns in history came to an end. Despite fears of clashes at polling places, chaos sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and confusion due to disinformation and swiftly changing voting rules, millions across the country cast ballots in a historically contentious election with few problems. 04 - Democrat Joe Biden took the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin, bringing him just six electoral college votes away from the presidency. Biden said at an afternoon press conference that he expected to win the presidency, though he stopped short of outright declaring victory. 05 - A Minnesota judge ruled that all four Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's death would be tried together and that the trial will be held locally. Judge Peter Cahill turned down defence requests to move the trial, rejecting their argument that pre-trial publicity would make it impossible for the four men to get a fair trial. 05 - General Motors announced it would resume making pickup trucks at its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont. The company made the announcement after it reached a tentative contract with Unifor overnight. 05 - The first Black baby doll to have an Afro was inducted into the U.S. National Toy Hall of Fame. Baby Nancy was launched in 1968 by Operation Bootstrap, a non-profit Black community self-help organization that emerged in the aftermath of the Watts riots in Los Angeles. Other 2020 inductees included sidewalk chalk and the wooden block game Jenga. 06 - Nunavut recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Health officials began contact tracing and a rapid response team was dispatched to the Hudson Bay community of Sanikiluaq. Everyone in the community of about 850 people was urged to stay home and limit contact with others. 06 - Democrat Joe Biden said he was already preparing to assume the presidency even though he had not been declared the winner. During a prime-time address, Biden cited his lead in key states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania as reasons for his confidence. 07 - Manitoba's government decided to extend the province's state of emergency for another 30 days. 07 - Joe Biden won the U.S. presidential election, clinching his victory in the electoral college over President Donald Trump. In his first address, Biden pledged to be a president "who seeks not to divide but to unify." With the win, Kamala Harris became the first woman and first person of colour to be elected vice-president. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he looked forward to helping the Biden administration tackle the world's greatest challenges. 08 - Alex Trebek, one of Canada's most famous citizens and the legendary host of iconic quiz show "Jeopardy!'' died at 80. The show's Twitter account said Trebek died at home, surrounded by family and friends. He had revealed in March 2019 that he'd been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Trebek kept working, recording new episodes of "Jeopardy!'' until late October. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians had "lost an icon." 08 - Canadian hockey pioneer Howie Meeker died at age 97. Meeker won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1947 and went on to win the Stanley Cup on four occasions over eight seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also had a 30-year broadcasting career. 08 - The final ballot count for B.C.'s Oct. 24 provincial election confirmed the New Democrats will govern the province with 57 of 87 seats in the legislature. Premier John Horgan said he was "humbled and honoured'' by the support British Columbians showed his party. 09 - Pfizer said preliminary data suggested its COVID-19 vaccine may be 90 per cent effective in preventing the virus. Pfizer's senior vice-president of clinical development said the company decided to reveal the early data in an effort to offer some hope in the midst of the global health crisis. 10 - The Manitoba government forced non-essential stores to close and banned social gatherings in an effort to stop a surge of COVID-19 cases. Premier Brian Pallister said the province was at a critical point in its fight against the virus. 10 - The man charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in the Toronto van attack pleaded not guilty. Lawyers for Alek Minassian asked the court to find him not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, when he drove the vehicle down a busy sidewalk. The judge hearing the case said the trial would turn on Minassian's state of mind at the time, since he had admitted in court to carrying out the attack. 11 - Remembrance Day was marked with scaled-down ceremonies across the country because of COVID-19. The Royal Canadian Legion told Canadians not to attend ceremonies in person. 12 - A $50-million foundation to help survivors of the '60s Scoop was ceremonially launched. Its aim is to help heal the damage done by taking Indigenous children from their families and placing them in non-Indigenous homes. Establishment of the foundation was part of a class-action settlement with the federal government. 13 - China finally issued congratulations to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden. Beijing, along with Moscow, had not immediately joined the international throng that congratulated Biden after he and running mate Kamala Harris secured enough electoral college votes to unseat Donald Trump. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said "We respect the choice of the American people.'' 13 - The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager, making her the highest-ranking woman in baseball operations in the major leagues and the second female general manager for a men's team in a major professional sport in North America. Jo-Anne Polak held the position with the now-defunct Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL from 1988-91. Ng started her Major League Baseball career as an intern 30 years ago and won three World Series rings while spending 21 years in the front offices of the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. 16 - Hackers targeted the City of Saint John, N.B., with a cyberattack. Officials said the "significant'' intrusion into the city's computer system forced an emergency shutdown. 16 - Canada's COVID-19 case count topped 300,000 — less than a month after it crossed the 200,000 threshold. 16 - Former federal finance minister Bill Morneau was appointed a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. He will also teach a graduate course on global economic policy-making in the spring semester. 17 - The federal Conservatives demanded that the Trudeau government side with Canada's allies and reject 5G technology from China. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said the Liberals must also crack down on the improper influence of China on Chinese-Canadians, though he acknowledged there could be an economic cost to Canada's actions. 17 - The head of the World Health Organization said Canada deserves praise for its efforts to fight COVID-19. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said distributing any vaccine would be among the most daunting logistical efforts since the Second World War. 18 - American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said new numbers from its ongoing COVID-19 vaccine study suggest the shots are 95 per cent effective. The announcement came just a week after the company first revealed preliminary results. Initially, Pfizer and German partner BioNTech said the vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective. 18 - A jet grounded worldwide after two crashes that killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians, was cleared to fly again. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it would certify the Boeing 737 Max jet to fly after a comprehensive and methodical 20-month review process. Boeing said it overhauled anti-stall software that pushed the nose down repeatedly on both planes that crashed, overcoming the pilots' struggles to regain control. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Canada would impose different requirements than the U.S., including added procedures on the flight deck and before takeoff. 19 - A team of scientists from Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca said their COVID-19 vaccine shows a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70. Phase 2 study results found the vaccine is as effective for older people as it is for the younger demographic, and that it produced few side-effects. 19 - RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki insisted there is no room in the federal police force for hateful, misogynistic or homophobic attitudes. Her comments came after an independent report found the force's "toxic" culture tolerates such attitudes. The report from former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache concludes that change must be initiated from outside the RCMP, and it's past time for the federal government to take meaningful and radical action. 19 - Newly released data on emergency COVID-19 aid showed some of the country's highest income earners used a key benefit for workers. Figures from the Canada Revenue Agency show nearly 115,000 people who earned between about $100,000 and $200,000 last year applied for the $2,000-a-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit. 20 - Canada's ambassador to China met virtually with Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained in China since December 2018. Their arrests came not long after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. Global Affairs Canada said Ambassador Dominic Barton was granted on-site virtual consular access to Kovrig and Spavor. The federal government said no further information could be disclosed about the meetings. 20 - A Fredericton jury found 50-year-old Matthew Raymond not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder for the 2018 killings of four people. The families of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns hugged each other and sobbed after the verdict was announced. Raymond bowed his head and wiped away tears but said nothing. 20 - A celebrated journalist, historian, world traveller and fiction writer who became a pioneer of the transgender movement died at 94. Jan Morris was a prolific and accomplished author and journalist who wrote dozens of books on a variety of subjects. 20 - Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech also submitted applications in other countries — Canada included. 21 - Canada and Britain announced a new trade deal, beating the Dec. 31 Brexit deadline that would have triggered new tariffs on a range of Canadian exports. Britain is Canada's fifth-largest trading partner, with $29 billion in two-way merchandise trade in 2019. 22 - Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the 2020 American Music Awards with a performance of their new duet ''Monster.'' The Weeknd won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for ''After Hours'' and favourite soul/R&B song for ''Heartless." 23 - British pharma company AstraZeneca and Oxford University said their COVID-19 vaccine showed positive results. Late-stage trials indicated the coronavirus vaccine was up to 90 per cent effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. 23 - The premiers of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced they would temporarily pull out of the so-called "Atlantic Bubble" for two weeks amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada. 23 - After weeks of delay, the U.S. government finally acknowledged president-elect Joe Biden was the "apparent winner'' of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for co-operation on a transition of power. 24 - Canada reached another agreement with a pharmaceutical company to buy doses of a potential COVID-19 treatment. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government bought 26,000 doses of an unnamed drug co-developed by Vancouver's AbCellera Biologics and Eli Lilly, with an option to buy thousands more. The two companies announced last March they were co-operating on developing a treatment using antibodies from a patient who had already had the illness. 24 - Two swing states certified Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. presidential election. Both Nevada and Pennsylvania formally declared their results from the Nov. 3 vote. 24 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada's lack of vaccine-production facilities meant we would likely receive our COVID-19 vaccines after countries like the U.S., Germany and the U.K. But Trudeau said Ottawa was working with the provinces and the military to ensure vaccines are distributed across the country as soon as they are delivered. 24 - Indigenous hockey pioneer Fred Sasakamoose died after a presumed case of COVID-19. His son, Neil, said the 86-year-old died in a Prince Albert, Sask., hospital after several days of fighting the virus. Fred Sasakamoose played 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54, becoming one of the first Indigenous players in the then-six-team NHL. 25 - The Weeknd blasted the Grammy Awards as "corrupt," after the Canadian pop star walked away with zero nominations. The three-time Grammy winner criticized the Recording Academy on Twitter after he was snubbed, despite having one of the year's biggest albums with "After Hours.'' Fellow Canadian Justin Bieber earned four nominations. 25 - Argentine soccer "Golden Boy" Diego Maradona died at the age of 60. Maradona was among the best players in history and led his country to the 1986 World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and other health problems. He captivated fans over a two-decade career and famously scored the "Hand of God" goal, in which he punched the ball into England's net during the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals. 26 - Federal health officials said Canada now has purchase agreements with seven COVID-19 vaccine producers. Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said most were in the final stages of testing before they can go to Health Canada for approval. 26 - Quebec's highest court declared that a provision of the Criminal Code that allows for life sentences to be served consecutively is unconstitutional. The decision effectively reduced the sentence given to the man who murdered six people in a Quebec City mosque in 2017. Alexandre Bissonnette, who is 30, was sentenced in February 2019 to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 40 years. With concurrent sentences, he will be eligible to apply for parole after serving 25 years. 26 - AstraZeneca and Oxford University acknowledged a manufacturing error in their COVID-19 vaccine, raising questions about preliminary results reported earlier that showed the vaccine to be 90 per cent effective. 26 - New Brunswick became the latest Atlantic province to opt out of the so-called bubble, and demand anyone entering the province self-isolate for 14 days. The province also introduced heightened public health measures in the Fredericton area. 27 - The Governor General's office announced 114 new inductees to the Order of Canada, including Olympians Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, Indigenous writer Thomas King and winemaker John Peller. 27 - Justin Trudeau said most Canadians should receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September 2021. The prime minister said Canada's vaccine distribution program would be led by former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin. 29 - Dave Prowse, the man behind the mask of Darth Vader in the original "Star Wars'' trilogy, died at 85. Prowse was a weightlifter before taking up acting and was noticed by director George Lucas. Although physically perfect for the Vader part, his lilting English West Country accent was considered less ideal, and the lines were re-recorded by James Earl Jones. 29 - The federal government extended the myriad travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the rules, first imposed near the beginning of the global outbreak, would now be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States. Among the rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days. 30 - Merriam-Webster's choice for its 2020 word of the year was a no-brainer. The dictionary chose "pandemic," which started to trend on merriam-webster.com as early as January and again in February. On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, lookups on the site for pandemic were about 115,000 — 800 per cent higher than a year before. This year's runners-up included coronavirus, quarantine, asymptomatic, mamba, kraken and malarkey. 30 - With the federal deficit closing in on $400 billion this fiscal year, the Trudeau Liberals said there is even more spending ahead. The fall economic update delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland looks beyond the pandemic, to where the Liberals see the economy going a few years from now. The government's fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families with young children next year as well as cash for skills training and to create new jobs. It also plans to inject another $100 billion into the economy over three years once the pandemic is over. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020. The Canadian Press