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Saskatoon parent says she’s more scared of anti-maskers than COVID-19

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A Saskatoon parent is now more scared of anti-maskers than she is of COVID-19, she told Global News. Kaitlyn Hofstra said she doesn’t understand why police in Saskatchewan’s two main cities issued so few tickets to those protesting public health orders. Last weekend, around 100 people — about half of which were children — met…

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A Saskatoon parent is now more scared of anti-maskers than she is of COVID-19, she told Global News.

Kaitlyn Hofstra said she doesn’t understand why police in Saskatchewan’s two main cities issued so few tickets to those protesting public health orders.

Last weekend, around 100 people — about half of which were children — met in Saskatoon and around 60 also met in Regina. The day before, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) issued a COVID-19 exposure alert for an event anti-mask held in Prince Albert, telling everyone who was there to self-isolate. One attendee said they attended both.

Hofstra said she’s worried for the safety of her child because children at the event could have been exposed to the disease and spread it through schools and daycares.

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She also said she’s worried for her wife.

“The fear is that (the anti-maskers) are just going to grow and get more powerful and we are going to be unsafe.”

She told Global News she deleted her social media accounts a few days earlier because the comments she saw from anti-maskers are about more than just the pandemic.

She said she believes their actions and their demonstrations bely something more sinister.

“It’s about 100 per cent about power,” she said, adding she was frightened because it seemed like “nothing is being done to stop these people.”

“These are the same people that a month ago were posting, ‘Why is there no straight pride?’ They were posting anti-immigration things.

She said she was frustrated she couldn’t visit her parents last Christmas but police seemingly allow events to take place where people don’t wear masks, don’t have proper physical distancing and don’t abide by gathering limits.

Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatoon Teachers’ Federation, said he was extremely frustrated by the rallies because, “We know that hospitals are filling up, especially in the Regina area and in southern Saskatchewan.”

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He said the events, where people who had potentially been exposed to COVID-19 were close to children, puts everyone at risk because the disease could spread through schools.

“We can’t guarantee that all students are going to be safe,” he said.

“Some of their fellow students could have attended the rally and could be sitting beside them in school.”

He said the public has to rely on the justice system and policing to hold people accountable for their “irresponsible” actions.

He also renewed his call for schools in the Saskatoon region to move to online learning.

Global News spoke over the phone with Mark Friesen, who was at the Prince Albert and Saskatoon events.

He said he was not concerned about spreading the disease and called asymptomatic spread “a fallacy” — directly contradicting science.

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He said he’s attended rallies, sometimes with thousands of people, in the past and no one has gotten sick.

The SHA COVID-19 alert for the Prince Albert event stated, “there is an increased risk of exposure… where a person or persons attended while infectious…”

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Friesen sad he had never encountered any bigotry at the rallies.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and opposition leader Ryan Meili both condemned the racist language used at a rally in Regina on Dec. 12, which Friesen attended.

“I think people are hoping, and they’re going to see, the organizers held to account,” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark told Global News Morning.

He said he was happy to see the event was much smaller than previous rallies but said he was also frustrated to see people gathering without masks “when we have these variants (of concern) spreading in our community and infecting the health of our citizens.”

A spokesperson for the Regina Police Service (RPS), in a statement, called the level of attention “appropriate.”

Elizabeth Popowich said officers issued four tickets and are continuing to investigate with the SHA.

“It is possible there may be more tickets issued, but we don’t know that yet,” she said.

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She also wrote that handing out a ticket “is not as simple as handing out papers like flyers,” because doing so requires the intended recipient’s personal details.

“As you can imagine, people at these rallies don’t offer that information, nor do they line up to give it to our officers.  We are not there to make the situation worse and it could get worse, in an emotionally-charged environment, to step in and start laying hands on people.”

“Another consideration in getting that close is:  some of the attendees may be shedding the COVID virus and then you are exposing more people to the virus, including the officers there,” the statement said.

She told Global News Regina Police chose to focus on the organizers of the events.

Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

The Friday before the anti-mask event, the SPS put out a statement saying officers would be attending to ensure it is peaceful and public health restrictions are enforced.

“The police response to a protest is a balance between protecting the rights of people to express their opinions in a safe and peaceful manner while ensuring the general safety of the community at large,” it said.

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It also stated police have issued 25 tickets for health order violations since the pandemic began.

When asked about Hofstra’s concern, Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman simply said he would let the police conduct their investigation.

He also said now is not the time for anti-mask demonstrations, warning they can lead to outbreaks.

“We’ve seen many many times throughout this (pandemic), one bad situation can turn into multiple cases that can turn into dozens of cases.”

A spokesperson for the Saskatoon Public School division, in an email, wrote, “Our school division is continuing to take direction from local public health officials whom we are in regular contact with about our pandemic response.

“At this time, we have no plans to move to Level 4 across the division.”

A spokesperson for the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School division said the division is aware of the event on the weekend.

“Health officials remind us that the protocols we have in place have created many layers of protection to mitigate and reduce risk,” Derrick Kuntz wrote.

“At the time of writing this response, we do not have an indication there is a significant increase in risk to students or staff that would warrant a switch to online learning.”

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3:54Saskatchewan election 2020: Meili criticizes Moe for ‘failure to speak out’ on anti-mask movement

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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UK anxious about Indian variant, PM Johnson says

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Author of the article: LONDON — Britain is anxious about the spread of the novel coronavirus variant first detected in India and rules nothing out, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday. “We are anxious about it – it has been spreading,” Johnson said, adding that there would be meetings later on Thursday to discuss…

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LONDON — Britain is anxious about the spread of the novel coronavirus variant first detected in India and rules nothing out, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.

“We are anxious about it – it has been spreading,” Johnson said, adding that there would be meetings later on Thursday to discuss what to do.

“We’re ruling nothing out,” Johnson said.

“At the moment I can see nothing that dissuades me from thinking we’ll be able to go ahead on Monday and June 21 everywhere,” he added, referring to further steps to ease lockdown. (Reporting by William James; writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Andy Bruce)

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Soccer-Madrid judge asks top EU Court to decide on Super League legality

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Author of the article: MADRID — A Madrid court has asked the European Court of Justice to establish if FIFA and UEFA, the world and continental soccer governing bodies, are breaching EU competition law by preventing clubs from creating a breakaway European Super League. The commerical court in Madrid has also asked Europe’s top court…

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MADRID — A Madrid court has asked the European Court of Justice to establish if FIFA and UEFA, the world and continental soccer governing bodies, are breaching EU competition law by preventing clubs from creating a breakaway European Super League.

The commerical court in Madrid has also asked Europe’s top court if FIFA and UEFA are able to impose restrictions or penalties on clubs who remain part of the planned competition.

The Super League was announced last month by 12 founding clubs but collapsed less than 48 hours after it was launched following an outcry by fans, governments, players and managers.

Nine clubs — Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid — officially withdrew and accepted financial penalties from UEFA for their part in the process.

Each of the clubs also signed a commitment declaration with the continental governing body last week.

However, three of the founders – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – have not distanced themselves from the project.

UEFA on Wednesday announced it had appointed disciplinary inspectors to conduct an investigation into whether the three clubs had violated UEFA’s legal framework.

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The Madrid court, which last month passed a holding order that FIFA, UEFA and all its associated federations must not adopt “any measure that prohibits, restricts, limits or conditions in any way” the Super League, has asked the EU’s highest court to rule on the matter.

The court document, released on Thursday, mainly centers around Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Article 101 prohibits cartels and other agreements which could disrupt free competition in the bloc, while 102 prevents undertakings who hold a dominant position in a market from abusing that position.

The document also asks the EU court to rule if FIFA and UEFA dictating to an economic operator from a member state constitutes a breach of multiple other articles. (Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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High-powered Astros open four-game series against Rangers

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Author of the article: The Houston Astros will look to push their winning streak to three games when they host the Texas Rangers to open a four-game series on Thursday. The Houston Astros entered play second in the American League in runs (181), hits (318), doubles (72), batting (.260) and OPS (.749) before banging out…

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The Houston Astros will look to push their winning streak to three games when they host the Texas Rangers to open a four-game series on Thursday.

The Houston Astros entered play second in the American League in runs (181), hits (318), doubles (72), batting (.260) and OPS (.749) before banging out 12 hits in a 9-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

All five of the Astros’ extra-base hits cleared the fence, fitting for a team with five players with at least five home runs: Kyle Tucker (eight), Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel (seven each), and Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa (five apiece). Tucker, Alvarez and Gurriel all homered Wednesday, as did Jose Altuve and Chas McCormick.

“Homers come in bunches,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We were going to some ballparks that weren’t home-run friendly and the ones that were like Colorado were extremely cold or it was snowing. It seems like it’s contagious. Guys are getting good pitches to hit and keeping pitchers in the stretch. Hitting’s contagious, and just keep (the homers) coming.”

Right-hander Cristian Javier (3-1, 2.90 ERA) gets the starting nod for the Astros on Thursday.

After stringing together three consecutive scoreless appearances, Javier has allowed eight runs on eight hits and six walks with 12 strikeouts over his past two starts and 10 1/3 innings. The Astros dropped both games, including an 8-4 setback to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 8, a decision that resulted in the first loss of the season for Javier.

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In two career starts against the Rangers, Javier is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA with nine strikeouts against three walks in 12 1/3 innings.

Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (1-3, 4.50 ERA) will start the series opener for the Rangers. Selected by the Astros in the first round (19th overall) in the 2010 draft, Foltynewicz was 0-1 with a 5.30 ERA over 16 games with the Astros in 2014 before being traded to the Atlanta Braves prior to the 2015 season. He ranks second on the Rangers staff with 40 innings pitched but his 11 home runs allowed are the most in the majors.

The Rangers won three consecutive games behind Foltynewicz prior to his last start against the Seattle Mariners on May 7, when he allowed four runs on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.

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Foltynewicz will face the Astros for the first time in his career.

After winning seven of nine games to climb back to .500, the Rangers dropped both games of a road interleague set with the San Francisco Giants, including a 4-2 decision on Tuesday. That setback concluded a stretch where the Rangers played for 19 consecutive days, and there were subtle signs in Texas’ performance indicating that Wednesday’s off day came just in the nick of time.

“I think I said it before the game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said prior to the series finale in San Francisco. “I said our guys didn’t look fatigued but I felt like the 19 games were wearing on us a little bit. But I’m not going to make excuses.”

–Field Level Media

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