Archive for January 13th, 2020

Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam rejects call to cut immigration from mainland by half – Hong Kong Free Press

January 13th, 2020

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has rejected a call to half the number of people allowed to settle in Hong Kong from mainland China each day.

Currently, 150 people from the mainland can move to the city every day under the one-way permit mechanism.

On Monday, Adam Kwok – a standing committee member of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) – said that the number should be slashed in half to 75.

Adam Kwok

Adam Kwok. Photo: GovHK.

Kwok, also an executive director at Sun Hung Kai Properties, said that some young Hongkongers believed that new immigrants from China took public resources from them. He suggested a three-year pilot programme to ease the number of immigrants and help resolve the conflict between the mainland and Hong Kong, according to Ming Pao.

But Lam said the one-way permit policy was a humane policy intended for family reunions: “We as a society have to respect family reunions, it is – in a way – a human right and freedom,” she said ahead of the Tuesday’s Executive Council meeting.

Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

She said mainland authorities have the power to vet people who apply for the one-way permit, and – over the past two years – not all of the allocated slots had been used up: “We do not wish for too many people to come to Hong Kong to live under the one-way permit system,” she said.

She added that couples who were separated by the border have to wait for four years for their partner to join them in Hong Kong. She added that one-third of marriages in Hong Kong were cross-border marriages.

“It proves that we still need an immigration policy for family reunions. If we change the policy now, it will send a message that we blame a certain problem or phenomenon in society on the one-way permit family reunion policy. Thus it is not a proposal that we are considering,” she said.

Lam said the government will put forward more policies on healthcare and welfare to fulfil the needs of local residents.

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TransLink helps plan and fund the region’s major roads — but doesn’t clear the snow –

January 13th, 2020

For some Metro Vancouver municipalities, snow removal is a logistically complex and politically fraught endeavour, where just a couple inches of snow can cause headaches for mayor and council, if not dealt with swiftly. 

In Belcarra, things are a bit different. 

“We have one primary snowplow …. and it takes care of Belcarra in a way that we’re actually quite proud of,” said Neil Belenkie, mayor of Metro Vancouver’s smallest municipality.

With just 643 people and around 15 streets, Belcarra deals with its snow problems quite easily during the region’s rare snowstorms — a big reason why Belenkie sees no reason for higher levels of government to get involved. 

“I could see, for example, a secondment of our [snowplow] to be able to support a more regional perspective … we’re very happy being able to take care of ourselves,” he said. 

21 municipalities, 21 budgets

But when all of Metro Vancouver is blanketed by snow, Belenkie’s comments also illustrate the patchwork nature of road maintenance. 

Responsibility for snow removal on highways falls to the provincial government — which contracts out to different companies in different parts of B.C. — with everything else falling to individual municipalities. 

That includes Metro Vancouver’s major road network, a 675 kilometre span of major arterial roads that are jointly funded and planned by TransLink and local governments.

“There are major arterial routes I think should be considered as a regional problem,” said former Vancouver councillor George Affleck.

Affleck sparred with the majority Vision Vancouver council during several snowstorms, arguing the city’s response was insufficient and believes TransLInk could play a role in ensuring transit-heavy roads across the region are quickly cleared, allowing municipalities to focus on other streets.

“They understand operations for vehicle movement very well. If you think of a snowstorm, the best way to deal with a snowstorm is get those vehicles out and get them doing their job,” said Affleck.

“Who does better mass vehicle distribution of where they should go but Translink? So why not look at TransLink to start partnering with the city, because clearly Vancouver cannot handle it on its own.” 

No discussion at the moment

Currently, TransLink has no plows, and its snow removal role is limited to communicating with other municipalities about which routes are most in need of clearing. Mayors’ Council chair Jonathan Coté said the idea of an expanded regional approach was “interesting,” but he hadn’t thought about it enough to respond further. 

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said it might be worth discussing in the future. 

“It’s largely intended to connect our communities together … it’s obviously the case that the major road network is a regional benefit,” he said.

However, Stewart said there were plenty of reasons why any sort of “Metro” snow force would only have a limited use. 

“There’s lots of communities that have established a higher level of care,” he said.

“But the problem is some communities that have established a lower level and that’s really up to the taxpayers of the city as to the level of service they will be demanding that bring in the people.” 

Because of its more mountainous areas, one of those communities with a high level of care is Coquitlam — which famously led to Stewart pretending to guard his community’s salt supply three years ago, the last time there was a prolonged snowstorm. 

“We have the trucks available and the salt and the various components of road clearing to make sure that our community will have a really good service,” he said.

“I think we have to think regionally about everything we do … [but] I don’t know that snow clearing is the one.” 

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Dallas Teen Dies From Complications From the Flu – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

January 13th, 2020

A teenager in
Dallas has died from complications from the flu.

By all
accounts, Reese Termulo was a healthy, active teenager.

16-year-old was a junior and member of the Brigade at Bishop Lynch High School.

She died Friday from complications from the flu.

“We’re going to miss seeing her come through the doors,” said Carolyn Lang, Termulo’s dance teacher.

Lang says
Termulo spent summers at Motion, The Studio in Carrollton. Lang is the owner.

“You kind of had to take a step back and like, am I really hearing what I’m hearing about someone who is so young,” Lang said.

The peak of flu season is right around the corner, but numbers are already high.

Doctors say it could be the worst flu season in a decade.

In 2020 alone, at least four deaths have been linked to the flu in Dallas County.

This year,
for the first time in nearly three decades, doctors say Influenza B, the
hardest on children, is the predominant strain.

The Centers
for Disease Control recommends getting the flu vaccine every fall since the
season usually runs October to May.

This year, doctors
say the season started early, especially in the south.

“When we started seeing cases of the flu, the flu vaccine for this year was not yet even commercially available,” said Dr. Leron Finger with Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

It’s unclear if Termulo had a flu shot.

Lang says the illness quickly took a turn for the worse before Termulo died.

“Just hug your loved ones because every day you have with them is a gift and she was definitely a gift even though she was only here 16 years,” Lang said.

In a
statement, a spokesperson for Bishop Lynch said:

It is with profound heartbreak and sadness
that we confirm the devastating news of the passing of one of our Bishop Lynch
High School juniors, Teresa “Reese” Termulo. Reese passed away Jan. 10, 2020.
Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to the family, friends,
classmates, and teachers of this beloved student.”

Grief counselors will be available for
students and staff.


‘Patient Zero’ testifies as ex-nurse sentenced to prison for stealing drugs, infecting patients –

January 13th, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Five years ago, he went to the McKay Dee Hospital emergency room for a dislocated shoulder. Monday he stood in court to confront the nurse who infected him that day with hepatitis C and is now headed to prison.

Identified only as “Patient Zero,” the man described how the illness stigmatized and disrupted his life and that of his family. He said he’s subjected to embarrassing questions about drug use and sex whenever he seeks health care. He can no longer donate blood as he regularly did in the past, including for a granddaughter who now has cancer.

“The people she infected are real people. We have real lives,” he said.

Patient Zero was among at least seven people former nurse Elet Neilson infected with hepatitis C during a two-month period in 2013 and 2014.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson sentenced Neilson, 53, to five years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty last September to two counts each of tampering with a consumer product and fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance. Prosecutors dropped six other charges as part of a plea agreement.

“This is not a complicated case. It’s a sad case,” Benson said, adding it’s a case of unintended consequences because Neilson didn’t knowingly infect people with the disease.

A teary Neilson apologized in court for “my selfish, horrible” decisions.

Neilson said she turned drugs after going through a difficult divorce, dealing with back problems and being a single mother to two children, including an autistic son who burned the house down. She said she had no idea the tentacles of her “reckless and careless” actions would impact other people.

“I’m repulsed by my own behavior,” she said.

Neilson said Patient Zero’s story strikes close to home because she attends the same Latter-day Saint ward as his granddaughter. Church, she said, is her only lifeline because “if anyone needs forgiveness, it’s me.”

Court documents show Neilson admitted to injecting herself with painkillers meant for patients before giving the drug to them while she worked as an emergency room nurse at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. The hospital fired Neilson after confronting her with evidence she had taken medications.

Consequently, at least seven people contracted the hepatitis C Neilson carried but didn’t know she had until nine months after losing her job.

Neilson would put half of a vial of pain medication in a syringe for a patient and half in a syringe for herself, which she took home to use, said her lawyer Adam Bridge. She then brought the syringe back to work, loaded it with more drugs and used it on other patients, who became infected with hepatitis C.

“She acknowledged what she did was reckless,” Bridge said.

Prosecutor Sam Pead said Neilson’s explanation is plausible but not believable. He said it’s hard to imagine someone carrying around multiple needles. Neilson always injected herself first, he noted, recognizing she would not get sick that way.

“This is more than a mistake,” he said.

Neilson didn’t intend to hurt anyone, Bridge argued.

“For the last few months of her career, she abused opioid pain medication, which she stole from work because it was readily available. She wasn’t trying to harm patients, spread disease or cause public alarm,” according to Bridge. “Nationwide panic and harm were not on her radar and she was sickened to learn the full consequences of her actions.”

Pead argued that Neilson caused patients pain.

“When this case was investigated, a number of the victims all reported that they received no analgesic effect from the medication that the defendant administered to them,” according to prosecutor Sam Pead.

Pead contends it’s fair to infer that Neilson did not administer any beneficial quantity of medication to those patients, and thereby caused them bodily injury by allowing them to remain in serious pain.

Neilson also caused serious psychological injury to many of the victims, as well as substantial financial loss because the treatment for hepatitis was about $100,000 per patient, he said.

“The treatments were three months of horror for the victims,” Pead said.

U.S. Attorney John Huber said although the judge found Neilson didn’t intend to infect people with hepatitis C, but “boy, that is just a very unique, drastic and dark picture” of addiction.

“This case illustrated that addiction does not come without victims. It’s not a victimless issue,” he said. “Here you have a very unique circumstance that in the wake of this addiction, these innocent and unwitting victims’ lives were turned upside down.”


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Super Nintendo World theme park is a ‘life-size, living video game’ – Engadget

January 13th, 2020

Premier and prime minister ‘giddy’ about Harry and Meghan’s possible move to B.C. –

January 13th, 2020

Premier John Horgan says he is excited by the prospect of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle calling British Columbia their part-time home.

He had a light-hearted conversation about the couple with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, he said, during a news conference in Victoria.

“We’re both kind of giddy about it. Canada is a cool place to be. We are all pretty happy about that as Canadians.”

The Queen said Monday there will be a period of transition to sort things out on the couple’s future roles as members of the Royal Family, during which Meghan and Harry will spend time in both Canada and the United Kingdom.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the Queen said in a statement.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family, while remaining a valued part of my family.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent the holidays at a secluded beachfront villa near Victoria, where they were seen exploring the community.

“And the fact that they felt comfortable here speaks to us as a society and that gives us a reason to pat ourselves on our back,” Horgan said. “That we are good and kind people who don’t want to intrude in the lives of famous people. We’re excited when we see them but leave them be.”

“He took “comfort” watching the response of residents of Vancouver Island who “bumped” into the family but largely left them alone, Horgan said.

“The paparazzi weren’t here. You, as a media group, left them alone,” he said. “You talked to people who bumped into them on the trail and it was a curiosity and a bit of a delight for British Columbians to say, ‘oh good, they came here because they felt safe.”’

Royal costs

He hasn’t “given a lot of thought” to the costs of the family putting down roots in the province, if B.C. is where they choose to spend their time in Canada, he said.

“I’m sure there are people working on that right now,” he said. “And I may have more to say on that should the royals choose to put down roots in British Columbia.”

The Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t comment on potential costs of the couple living in Canada.

In Toronto, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said there had been no discussions about who would cover the couple’s security costs.

Horgan joked he may be able to find some work for the couple, should the family choose to settle down in Victoria.

“‘I’m sure I could find something for Harry to do,” he said with a smile. “The film industry is booming in British Columbia so I’m sure Meghan could get on with one of the great — maybe Riverdale — who knows,” Horgan said with a laugh. “She’d be good.”

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Japan’s Nintendo theme park can’t possibly be as fun as it looks in this Charli XCX music video – The A.V. Club

January 13th, 2020

Virus Causing Iowa Hospital to Cancel All January Maternity Tours – WHO TV Des Moines

January 13th, 2020
Data pix.

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Flu season is ramping up in Iowa, but there’s another virus that has health officials concerned.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) may be trailing only influenza in central Iowa viruses, but it may be just as lethal.

“Potentially fatal. We have our hospital full with infants and children with multiple viral illnesses, but RSV is one of our most prevalent,” said Carrie O’Brien of UnityPoint Health.  Children 12 months old and younger are most vulnerable.  O’Brien said, “Hopefully they will survive that infection, but there are those that do not unfortunately.”

Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director and State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati says there’s one glaring difference between the flu and RSV.  “Unfortunately, there are other viruses we don’t have vaccines for, and RSV is an example of one of those.”

In response, Des Moines’ UnityPoint hospitals are prohibiting expecting families from touring maternity wards for the entire month of January.  O’Brien said, “It could be weeks. It could be months.”

They are also encouraging visitors with friends and family receiving any type of care to stay away.  “Being able to provide the best patient care for those individuals unfortunately does mean we are asking to limit people that they come in contact with that are not 100 percent pertinent to their care,” said O’Brien.

With no vaccine for RSV, it’s actually the best option for a virus that spreads from coughing, sneezing or kissing babies. “If you reduce the number of times people interact, you reduce the number of times the virus can move from one person to the next,” said Dr. Pedati.  To help prevent coughing and sneezing, get a flu shot. Pedati said, “Wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home when you are sick.”

The Polk County Health Department is open Monday through Friday for walk-in flu shots. Since Christmas, they say they’ve seen an uptick in patients. One of the contributing factors may be in December when a 4-year-old Waterloo girl contracted the flu virus and went blind. She was not vaccinated.

Nola Aigner-Davis serves as the public information officer with the Polk County Health Department and said, “If you are not getting your flu shot, this is when we see people hospitalized, this is when we see even the healthy die. So I think people are starting to take that seriously and getting their flu shot.”

UnityPoint is offering virtual tours at all of their Des Moines hospitals. You can take the tours by clicking on the links below.

Iowa Methodist:

Iowa Lutheran:

Methodist West:


Mark Steyn: Prince Harry touting Meghan Markle for voiceover work ‘the lowest point in the monarchy’ in a c… – Fox News

January 13th, 2020

Author and columnist Mark Steyn called reports that Prince Harry asked Disney CEO Bob Iger to consider hiring his wife — Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex — to do voiceover work might be the “lowest point” in the United Kingdom’s monarchy since the abdication of Edward VIII.

Steyn reacted Monday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to video obtained by the Daily Mail which shows Harry, 35, speaking with Iger at the London premiere of “The Lion King” last summer.

“You do know she does voiceovers?” Harry told Iger, gesturing to Markle.

“Oh really? I did not know that,” Iger responded.


“You seem surprised,” said Prince Harry.  She’s really interested.”

“We’d love to try,” Iger said. “That’s a great idea.”

“That is the absolute lowest point of the monarchy in the last hundred years,” said Steyn, a native of Canada. “I think of all the pathetic things that the Duke of Windsor did after he abdicated the throne[in 1936]  when he entertained wealthy Americans and gave them a sort of pseudo-glimpse into royal life.

“[That’s] nothing like actually touting your wife available for ‘Lion King 7’ or whatever it is,” Steyn continued.

Pivoting to the press coverage of the couple’s so-called “Megxit” from the royal family, Steyn remarked that the British media seems more thorough in their reporting on powerful figures and wished the American media would be as thorough in their coverage of Hunter Biden and Chelsea Clinton as they are of Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

“You mentioned that the talentless Chelsea Clinton made nine million bucks for doing nothing,” he told Carlson. “Right now, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — The Mounties — are going to have to pick up the half-million-dollar tab for Harry and Meghan’s security costs in Canada.”


“People are already beginning to chafe under that … That would be a rounding error in Chelsea Clinton or Hunter Biden’s expenses,” Steyn claimed.

On Saturday, it was announced that Markle, 38, had signed a deal with Disney to provide a voiceover for an upcoming studio project in exchange for a donation to a non-profit benefiting elephants in Botswana.

The American-born Markle has also reportedly told friends she will not make a rumored move to the U.S. until President Trump leaves office.

Fox News’ Nate Day contributed to this report.


Oscars 2020 predictions and snubs: Joker, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – CNET

January 13th, 2020

Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix face off in Joker.

Warner Bros.

The Oscars nominations have done us a couple of solids this year. The brilliant Parasite will vie for the top award, making it the first Korean film and 11th foreign-language film overall to be nominated in the best picture category. Voters also gave Florence Pugh her first supporting actress nod for her scene-stealing Amy in Little Women (she was snubbed by both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards).

But the most nominated film at the 2020 Oscars is, um, a comic book movie. Joker is nominated 11 times. Crucially, it’s nominated in the four fields that normally signify an Oscar winner: writing, directing, acting and editing. But The Irishman, which also scored in those fields and has 10 nominations, has a little something the Oscars prize: prestige. (Being a Netflix movie isn’t so much of a taboo after Roma’s success.)

1917 seems to be the front-runner after it took the top Golden Globe, plus it too has 10 nominations. Its only worry is the editing snub, although that wasn’t an issue for previous winner Birdman, which was also edited to look like one continuous shot.

Let’s do a quick rundown of who we think will win, taking into account BAFTA and SAG nominations, Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice winners, and nominations in those crucial Oscars categories. After the SAGs and BAFTAs take place (on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. respectively), we may need to update this post.

The Oscars will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 and will air on ABC.


Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Andrew Cooper


Best picture

1917 — will win
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite — want to win
Ford v Ferrari

Based on its 10 nominations and Golden Globes win, 1917 has its nose in front. Ultimately, The Irishman has failed to pick up the top award in any of the preceding awards shows, and Joker, well, comic book movies have never won. Once Upon a Time would not be a surprising win given its acting nods (which 1917 lacks), but let’s be honest. We all know the tour de force that is Parasite deserves to win.

Best director

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite — want to win
Sam Mendes, 1917 — will win
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

It’s a close one between Tarantino and Mendes, but as of this moment Mendes has the edge. That’s thanks to his Golden Globe win, although Tarantino has never won, and it would be a disaster if he never did. That being said, let Bong Joon-ho win.

Best actor

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker — will win
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story — want to win
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Joaquin Phoenix will win, but make him sing a rendition of Being Alive (Adam Driver did it in Marriage Story) before he receives the award.

Best actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Renée Zellweger, Judy — will win
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story — want to win
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Zellweger is swimming in best actress awards (her latest is the Critics’ Choice), so it wouldn’t be surprising to see her transformative performance garner her first best actress Oscar. Scarlett Johansson deserves a mention for her impressive year, with standout performances in Marriage Story as well as Jojo Rabbit. Sadly, Awkwafina and The Farewell aren’t in the Oscars conversation, not even for best foreign-language film.

Little WomenLittle Women

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women.

Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures

Best supporting actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story — will win
Florence Pugh, Little Women — want to win
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Midsommar, Little Women, the upcoming Black Widow — even though Florence Pugh won’t win, she’s paved a huge career ahead of her. If Dern takes the SAG on top of her Globe, she’s a shoe-in for the Oscar. Where’s Jennifer Lopez? If Hustlers had been directed by Martin Scorsese, this category may have upped its diversity.

Best supporting actor

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood — will win, want to win
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Brad Pitt proved he’s still got A-list star power (and abs) in Once Upon a Time, having already taken the Golden Globe. Pacino and Pesci will split the vote for The Irishman, and Hopkins and Hanks haven’t really been in the conversation.

Best film editing

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Ford v Ferrari — will win
Parasite — want to win

This category is difficult to predict, except Parasite has been nudged aside slightly by failing to secure a BAFTA nod. Ford v Ferrari (which goes by Le Mans ’66 in the UK) is a sports movie with lots of fast cuts. Let’s go with that one.

Best original screenplay

Rian Johnson, Knives Out — want to win (tie)
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood — will win
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite — want to win (tie)

It’ll probably be Tarantino based on his recent wins (Globes, Critics’ Choice), but let’s hold out for the BAFTAs before saying he’s a shoe-in.

Best adapted screenplay

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Greta Gerwig, Little Women — will win, want to win
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker

The Oscars are still mulling around in the dark ages (with the BAFTAs) by failing to nominate a woman for best director. Instead, Greta Gerwig has a good chance of taking a conciliatory writing win, although The Irishman may be very close on her tail if it fails to score wins in the other categories.