Thousands Protest In Montreal Against COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

In this file photo, Pfizer vaccines are seen kept on the table at the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center in Miami, Florida on April 15, 2021. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP


Thousands gathered Saturday in the streets of Montreal to protest against the province of Quebec’s Covid-19 vaccine passport, which will go into effect early next month.

Holding signs that said “Freedom!” and “We are not laboratory rats,” the demonstrators, many of whom came with their families, paraded peacefully under a blazing sun in downtown Montreal.

Quebecers wanting to eat at a restaurant, go to a bar, exercise at the gym or attend a festival will need to present proof of vaccination against the coronavirus beginning September 1, under a measure introduced by the province earlier this week.

“It should be the choice of each person whether to be vaccinated. With the passports it is a means of forcing us” to get vaccinated, said Veronique Whalen, a 31-year-old who came with her family and said she doesn’t normally attend protests.

“I’m here for my children, I’m afraid for them. It’s discrimination,” she said.

Other signs in the crowd read “Dictatorship,” “The vaccine scam,” and “Health apartheid,” and were seen dotting the crowd alongside a number of Quebec flags.

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Several women held posters reading “My body, my choice,” using the popular feminist slogan that is also associated with the abortion rights movement.

Some protests also wore a yellow star on their chest with “unvaccinated” written across it, in the fashion of the Star of David that Jewish people were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

Vaccination rates in the French-speaking province are high — 84 percent of Quebecers have received a first dose and 70 percent are fully vaccinated.


Group Of Canadian Charity Workers Detained In Ethiopia


Ottawa confirmed Saturday that a group of Canadians had been detained in Ethiopia after a humanitarian organization reported that 15 volunteers and workers, including 13 Canadian nationals, had been apprehended.

Global Affairs Canada, the foreign ministry, said it had “raised this case directly with the government of Ethiopia and officials are in contact with local authorities to gather further information.”

The charity, Canadian Humanitarian, said that the 15 detained individuals were medical professional volunteers, general volunteers, and staff members.

READ ALSO: More Than 200,000 Affected By Congo Floods

All were Canadians except for two Ethiopian staff members, it said.

Canada’s foreign ministry said it was “aware that Canadian citizens are detained in Ethiopia.”

According to Canadian Humanitarian the detained “are being investigated on the allegations that they were practicing medicine without permission and had dispensed expired medication.”

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of the expiry of the medication, we can with confidence say that all medicine and care offered by our team was safe,” it said.

The organization added that all protocols had been followed to be properly permitted to provide medical support.

Canadian Humanitarian describes itself as a “non-political organization” that has worked in the country for 15 years providing educational, medical, dental and social-emotional support to youths.

Justin Bieber Reveals He Has Lyme Disease

In this file photo taken on November 09, 2019 Justin Bieber waits in the ring after the fight between KSI and Logan Paul at Staples Center on November 9, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP


Pop superstar Justin Bieber announced Wednesday that he has Lyme disease.

In a post on Instagram, Bieber said he will address his struggle with the illness, which is contracted through a tick bite, in a YouTube documentary.

“It’s been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever,” the 25-year-old entertainer wrote in the post’s caption.

He called out critics who he says have been unfairly commenting on his looks by saying he looks like he is “on meth.”

“They failed to realize I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health.”

The photo portion of Bieber’s post shows a TMZ article reporting that the YouTube documentary is set for a January 27 release.

“You can learn all that I’ve been battling and OVERCOMING!!” he wrote on Instagram.

He spent much of last year suffering but undiagnosed, TMZ reported, until doctors figured out what was wrong.

The post’s photos include pictures said to be taken in September of Bieber appearing to be hooked up to an IV drip.

In subsequent Instagram posts and on his Instagram story later in the day, Bieber thanked his fans for supporting his new song “Yummy,” released last week.

And the Canadian seemed to say he is doing better, posting a meme video of a little girl dancing with the caption, “But now this is how I’m feelin.”

Bieber was discovered by talent scouts as a young teenager after posting videos of himself singing on YouTube and quickly shot to superstardom. He has since won several MTV awards, Billboard Music Awards, and a Grammy, among others.

After an Instagram post from March indicated Bieber would be taking time off music to focus on “my family and my health,” Bieber married US model Hailey Baldwin in September.

Now he has a new album and tour coming soon, according to TMZ.

In September Bieber opened up about “massive ups and downs” he experienced as he went from beloved teenage heartthrob to “the most ridiculed, judged and hated person in the world.”

In a lengthy Instagram post, he reflected on how child stardom triggered depression and a lack of humility that led to drug abuse and his becoming “resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry.”

“I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind, a shell of a person that I had become,” he wrote.

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through infected ticks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint aches and a “bull’s-eye” rash that occurs in 70 to 80 percent of infections.

Most people who are treated with antibiotics early fully recover, according to the CDC, though the infection can become severe or prolonged in some cases.

Canada Heat Wave Death Toll Rises To 54

children cool themselves in water spray from a fire truck outside the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Independence Day July 4, 2018, in Washington, DC. Photo: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP


The death toll in a week-long eastern Canadian heat wave has reached 54, officials said on Friday.

Most of the victims linked to the “overwhelming heat” were in the Montreal area, which recorded 28 fatalities, metropolitan health authorities told AFP in an email.

The other victims were reported in the southwest of the French-Canadian province, the Quebec health ministry said.

On Thursday, Environment Canada had forecast a maximum temperature of 35 C (95 F) but said the heat index would make it feel like 45 C.

The mercury has since June 29 regularly topped 30 C, accompanied by stifling humidity levels, but temperatures should drop back to seasonal averages from Saturday.

“Looking at the weather forecast, we are waiting for a return to normal in the coming hours,” said Health Ministry spokeswoman Noemie Vanheuverzwijn.

Most of the victims in Montreal were men in their 50s or older, and living in vulnerable conditions without air conditioning, regional public health director Mylene Drouin has said.

Neighboring Ontario has also been coping with high temperatures but no deaths have been reported there.

In 2010, around 100 people in the Montreal area died when extreme heat stifled the area.


Zverev Shocks Federer In Straight Sets To Win In Montreal

Zverev Shocks Federer In Straight Sets To Win In Montreal
Alexander Zverev

German fourth seed Alexander Zverev upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 in the Rogers Cup final in Montreal.

The victory of the 20-year-old on Sunday has helped him to join the Swiss right-hander as the most trophy-laden player on the ATP Tour this year with five titles.

The German, who arrived in Montreal fresh off his triumph in Washington, proved up for the task right out of the gate as he had the Swiss second seed on his heels from the start on a sun-kissed afternoon.

Zverev was poised and aggressive off the ground to create space for his power game and displayed some short-angled winners off thumping forehands and backhands to grab an early break for a 3-1 lead.

He consolidated for a 4-1 lead and ultimately closed out the opening set after a mere 30 minutes.

Federer started to find his groove early in the second set but suddenly appeared out of sorts while Zverev broke in the seventh game to pull ahead 4-3 and then held on for a surprise win that took 68 minutes.

The win improved Zverev to 5-1 in finals this year with the only defeat coming at the hands of Federer at Halle.

Rafa Nadal Cruises Through In Montreal

Rafael Nadal

Rafa Nadal enjoyed an easy rout of Croatia’s Borna Coric at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Wednesday as he raced through the first set in just 29 minutes and did not face a break point until the 13th game.

The Spaniard went on to win the match 6-1 6-2 and next faces 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who enjoyed the biggest win of his young career by defeating hard-hitting Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 7-6(4).

Federer Hopes Nadal Regains Top Spot

Roger Federer

World number three tennis player Roger Federer said he hopes Rafael Nadal regains the number one ranking in Montreal this week.

Nadal will return to the top of the ATP world rankings for the first time in three years if he reaches the semi-finals at this week’s Rogers Cup.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, a top seed in Canada in the absence of current world number one Andy Murray, ended last year ranked nine after taking time off to recover from a wrist injury.

Rafael Nadal

Federer, ranked number two at the tournament, said Nadal deserves to be world number one again.

Nadal said it is not something he is thinking about, but said if it happens it would be welcome.

“It would be absolutely massive. I remember when he was injured at the end of the last year and here he is a few matches away from clinching world number one.

“In a way, it seems very far yet it’s very near so he’s just got to stay focused and I hope for his sake he’s going to make it. If not, I’m happy for Andy (Murray) to get another week at number one because of the run that he showed as well last year was tremendous.

“I have unbelievable respect for Andy that he was able to do it and get to world number one and finish the year at world number one. That was nice to see. Now there’s probably going to be a changing of the guard at world number one level in the near future and I hope for Rafa he can get there again. He would absolutely deserve it after his 10th French Open win in the summer here,” Federer said.

Nadal opens in Montreal against either Croatia’s Borna Coric or Russian Mikhail Youzhny on Wednesday.

Federer opens up against Canadian Peter Polansky also on Wednesday.

Montreal Declares Flood Emergency

A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian City of Montreal due to flooding caused by torrential rains and melting snow.

The city officials said the measure was declared on Sunday afternoon and will remain in place for 48 hours.

Authorities said nearly 1,900 homes have been flooded across 126 towns and cities and some 1,200 troops have reportedly been deployed to help evacuate people.

Warmer temperatures had caused snow to melt in British Columbia in Canada’s West, combining with the rain to cause flooding and mudslides.