Year in review: A look at news events in May 2020 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

December 14, 2020 - 1:20 AM

A look at news events in May 2020:

01 - Pioneering drummer Tony Allen, considered the driver of the Afrobeat sound that featured prominent guitars, complex brass harmonies and polyrhythmic drumming, died in Paris at the age of 79. Allen got his start in Lagos, Nigeria, in the 1960s and had an influential career that spanned decades and continents.

01 - The federal government announced it would ban 1,500 "assault-style" firearms in a cabinet order that took effect immediately. The rule doesn't forbid ownership but does ban the trade in what the government called military-style weapons.

01 - Atlantic provinces began easing restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prince Edward Island allowed elective surgeries and other non-urgent health-care services to go ahead, as well as outdoor gatherings of up to five people. Nova Scotia reopened garden centres and nurseries, along with trails and provincial and municipal parks.

02 - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly made his first public appearance since April 11, following rumours of his poor health or even death. State media showed video of Kim celebrating the completion of a fertilizer factory near Pyongyang. Speculation about Kim's health began after he missed the April 15 birthday celebration for his late grandfather, which is North Korea's most important holiday.

03 - An Ottawa company voluntarily recalled its rapid COVID-19 test following concerns from Health Canada. Spartan Bioscience said there were no questions about accuracy and analytical performance, but the agency was concerned about the "efficacy of the proprietary swab" for the testing product.

04 - Manitoba loosened some COVID-19 restrictions, allowing museums, libraries and retail businesses to reopen and non-essential medical activities to resume. Saskatchewan and Alberta allowed non-essential medical activities to resume and Quebec reopened retail stores outside Montreal. Ontario allowed a small number of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen.

05 - Statistics Canada reported that Canada's trade deficit grew from $894 million in February to $1.4 billion in March. Both exports and imports fell due to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19, but the trade deficit was not as steep as the $2-billion figure economists had predicted.

05 - Britain became the first European country to confirm more than 30,000 deaths due to COVID-19, surpassing the death toll in Italy.

05 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deflected questions about why it took more than 12 hours for the Canadian Armed Forces to confirm a military helicopter had crashed off Greece on April 29. He also didn't address questions about when he found out that horrified crew members on board a Halifax-class frigate had watched it go down. Trudeau said the military followed protocols around informing the next of kin of the six Armed Forces members aboard as quickly as possible and for sharing information with the public. The military did not confirm a crash until the next day, after NATO had already reported the same thing.

05 - Canada surpasses 4,000 COVID-19 deaths.

06 - The co-founder of the German electronic music group Kraftwerk died after a battle with cancer. Florian Schneider-Esleben was 73. He and Ralf Huetter started working together in 1968, and in 2014 were honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys.

06 - Six hearses lined up on the tarmac at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario, as the Forces members killed in Canada's worst military tragedy in more than a decade were welcomed home. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Julie Payette watched as the casket carrying the remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough was carried from a heavy transport aircraft. The body of the 23-year-old sailor was the only one recovered from the Ionian Sea. The service headdress of the other five killed in the crash were also returned as part of a symbolic repatriation.

06 - Shopify became Canada's most valuable company after its share price climbed on signs demand for online commerce is higher than ever. Shopify shares more than doubled in price since mid-March, as brick-and-mortar retailers that were forced to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic turned to online alternatives.

06 - The Alberta Energy Regulator suspended a wide array of environmental monitoring requirements for oilsands companies over public-health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

07 - Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs pulled out of plans to build a high-tech neighbourhood along Toronto's waterfront. Sidewalk's CEO said it had become too difficult to make the project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan. The project had been criticized over privacy protections and intellectual property concerns.

07 - The former lead singer of the British rock band Bad Company died. Brian Howe suffered a heart attack at his Florida home. He was 66.

08 - Statistics Canada reported the country's economy lost nearly two million jobs during the first full month of the COVID-19 lockdown. But despite the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 13.0 per cent in April, the news was still better than what economists had predicted. Financial markets data firm Refinitiv said on average, economists had expected the loss of four million jobs and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent.

08 - Magician Roy Horn of the famed Las Vegas act Siegfried & Roy died of COVID-19 complications. Horn, who was 75, announced last month he'd tested positive for the virus. Horn was critically injured when one of the act's white tigers attacked during a performance at the Mirage hotel-casino in 2003. The attack ended the long-running production that attracted sold out crowds. Siegfried Fischbacher said the world has lost one of the greats of magic and he had lost his best friend. The two first teamed up in 1957.

09 - The flamboyant singer known for his piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour hair died in Nashville. Little Richard was 87. Little Richard introduced Black R&B music to white America with hits including "Long Tall Sally'' and "Tutti Frutti.'' No cause of death was released.

10 - A Cargill meat plant south of Montreal was shut down temporarily after 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. It was the second time the company had to close one of its Canadian operations due to an outbreak, after a beef-packing plant in High River, Alta., was closed for two weeks after more than 900 of 2,000 workers there tested positive.

11 - Quebec reopened elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area. Officials said students would be subject to physical distancing, frequent handwashing and carefully co-ordinated school days spent in large part at their desks.

11 - Comedy veteran Jerry Stiller died at the age of 92. Stiller launched his career opposite wife Anne Meara in the 1950s and re-emerged four decades later as the hysterically high-strung Frank Costanza on "Seinfeld." His son, Ben Stiller, announced his passing via Twitter, saying he died of natural causes.

11 - Princeton University named its first Black valedictorian since the school's founding 274 years ago. As part of his senior thesis, Montreal-raised Nicholas Johnson developed algorithms to help address Canada's obesity problem.

11 - After only 18 months on the job, former army officer Craig Dalton resigned as veterans ombudsman. The move left veterans without a key advocate at a time when many worried about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their requests for assistance from the federal government.

12 - The Canadian National Exhibition was cancelled for only the second time in its 142-year history. The CNE attracts more than 1.4 million visitors to Toronto each year.

12 - Singer Bryan Adams was called a racist after a COVID-19 rant on Twitter and Instagram. Adams blamed the global pandemic on "bat-eating, wet market animal-selling, virus-making greedy bastards.'' Critics said Adams contributed to anti-Chinese rhetoric.

12 - The death toll from COVID-19 passed the 5,000 mark as the country's overall caseload rose to 70,343. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the pandemic had exposed serious flaws in the long-term care system.

12 - Health Canada said it had authorized the first COVID-19 serological test to detect antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus. It comes from DiaSorin, an Italian multinational biotechnology company.

14 - Melissa Etheridge said her son Beckett Cypher died. The singer released a statement saying opioid addiction was behind Cypher's death. Cypher was one of two children Etheridge had with her former partner Julie Cypher. He was conceived with sperm from Rock & Roll Hall of Famer David Crosby.

14 - The Canadian Armed Forces agreed to extend its support to Quebec for another 30 days. More than 1,000 members of Canada's military — including most of its medical personnel — had been deployed to long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario.

15 - Slovenia became the first European country to proclaim an end to its COVID-19 outbreak, saying the virus was under control and there was no longer a need for extraordinary health measures.

15 - Newfoundland and Labrador's education minister said schools in the province would remain closed for the rest of the school year. Brian Warr said students would continue their studies through Google Classroom and other online tools.

15 - German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who shot some of the earliest and most striking images of the Beatles, died at 81.

16 - Comedian Fred Willard died at the age of 86. Willard rarely played leading roles over his 50-year career, instead making scene-stealing appearances in films including "This Is Spinal Tap," "Best in Show" and "Wall-E.'' He was also a four-time Emmy nominee.

16 - Phyllis George, the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer, died at 70. George got into television in 1974 at CBS on ''Candid Camera'' and joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross in 1975 on ''The NFL Today."

17 - Capt. Jenn Casey, an Armed Forces public affairs officer with the famed Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds team, was killed in a crash in Kamloops, B.C. Video of the incident showed the aircraft climbing into the sky before rolling, nosediving and plunging to the ground. It happened as the Snowbirds were scheduled to make a trip from Kamloops to Kelowna as part of Operation Inspiration, the cross-country tour aimed at boosting the morale of Canadians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Capt. Richard MacDougall, the pilot of the aircraft, was injured in the crash.

17 - Award-winning Quebec actress Monique Mercure died at 89 after a battle with throat cancer. Appearing in such films as "Naked Lunch,'' "The Red Violin'' and "Conquest,'' Mercure won best actress awards at both the Cannes Film Festival and Canadian Film Awards in 1977 for her performance in "J.A. Martin Photographer.''

19 - Kaie Kellough was named the Canadian winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize. The Montreal-based writer was virtually awarded the $65,000 honour for "Magnetic Equator,'' published by McClelland & Stewart. The Griffin is billed as the world's largest prize for a first-edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English. The winners are typically feted at a swanky Toronto gala, but this year's literary bash was cancelled.

19 - Three provinces took tentative steps to reopen their economies. The moves by B.C., Ontario and Saskatchewan came as Canada's COVID-19 caseload approached 80,000. Canada's top public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, said she hoped to see that COVID-19 cases were still being suppressed.

19 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the partial closing of the border with the United States will be extended by another 30 days.

20 - Statistics Canada said the annual inflation rate turned negative in April as the economy came to a standstill in the first full month of the pandemic. It was the first year-over-year decline in the consumer price index since September 2009.

20 - Ontario extended its pandemic emergency orders until May 29, meaning the closure of bars and restaurants — except for takeout and delivery — would continue, as would measures limiting gatherings to five people.

21 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government would send $75 million to organizations that help Indigenous people living in urban areas and off reserves. The government had previously promised $15 million in funding for services such as counselling, health care, food and supportive housing.

21 - The Honda Indy Toronto was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement came a week after race promoters said the event would not be run on its originally scheduled dates of July 10-12.

22 - Statistics Canada reported retail sales posted their largest monthly drop on record in March, with an even larger drop for April expected. The agency said retail sales fell 10 per cent to $47.1 billion in March as non-essential businesses began to shut their doors due to the pandemic. A preliminary estimate for April indicated a 15.6 per cent drop for the month.

22 - Ninety-seven people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed in the port city of Karachi. There were only two survivors of the Airbus A320 crash, which was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members. A 13-year-old girl from the neighbourhood where the plane went down was critically injured and later died in a hospital.

24 - Thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong to march against China's proposed tough national security legislation for the city. Pro-democracy supporters sharply criticized the proposal to enact a national security law that would ban secessionist and subversive activity, as well as foreign interference.

24 - After a week of online and phone voting by members, Currie Dixon defeated two contenders to become the new leader of the Yukon Party, taking over for an interim leader who'd been at the helm since 2016. Dixon is a former environment minister whose party was widely criticized for its development plan for the Peel region. The Supreme Court of Canada later ruled in favour of the territory's First Nations.

25 - CBC's "The National'' and the documentary "The Accountant of Auschwitz" were the big winners on the first night of virtual presentations from the Canadian Screen Awards.

25 - Video captured four Minneapolis police officers pinning an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, to the ground. In the video, Floyd can be heard pleading that he can't breathe, while a white officer pressed a knee against his neck for several minutes. Floyd's death would eventually set off mass demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality across the U.S.

26 - A military report on five long-term care homes in Ontario detailed troubling allegations such as rooming COVID-19-positive patients with uninfected ones, insect infestations and aggressive resident feeding that led to choking. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the report "deeply disturbing."

26 - The Quebec government pledged to loan up to US$200 million to support Cirque du Soleil, the live entertainment giant whose operations were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic forced Cirque to cancel all 44 shows and lay off about 4,700 employees, the vast majority of its workforce.

26 - NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league and the players union had agreed on a return-to-play format in the event the 2019-20 season can resume.

26 - Torstar Corp. said it has agreed to be sold to NordStar Capital for $52 million.

27 - The military's report into its mission inside Quebec's long-term care homes revealed many facilities in the network continue to struggle to bring down the number of COVID-19 infections. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces noted that upon arrival, they found a widespread lack of personnel and high absenteeism, which they said negatively affected patient hygiene. But the report was less critical than one released earlier in the week on the military's mission inside five Ontario long-term care homes.

27 - Firings came swiftly for four Minneapolis police officers after a bystander's video captured the death of a Black man, George Floyd, in custody.

27 - The crime drama "Cardinal" came out on top at the Canadian Screen Awards, winning seven trophies including best drama series. "Schitt's Creek" took home six awards and "Anne with an E" won five.

28 - The mayor of Minneapolis appealed for calm after a second night of violence left one person dead. People protesting the death of George Floyd set fires and looted businesses.

29 - Statistics Canada said the economy in the first quarter had its worst showing since 2009 as steps taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced businesses across the country to close their doors and lay off workers. Statistics Canada said domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 8.2 per cent in the first three months of 2020.

29 - Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said the federal government will spend another $650 million to help Indigenous communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. That's in addition to $305 million previously promised to help First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities with supplies, medical care and facilities that allow for physical distancing.

29 - Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

30 - Georgia's governor declared a state of emergency to activate the state National Guard as violence flared in Atlanta and dozens of other American cities following the death of George Floyd. The National Guard was also on standby as a crowd grew outside the White House with President Donald Trump inside.

31 - Cities across the U.S. imposed curfews to try to stem violent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Police and National Guard troops demonstrated force by firing tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds. New York City suffered its worst day of unrest in decades.

31 - The SpaceX Dragon capsule made history when it docked smoothly at the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy greeted the incoming crew by ringing the ship's bell.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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