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Ontario ticket holder claims Friday night’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — This will certainly be a long weekend to remember for at least one Lotto Max player in Ontario.

The lone winning ticket for Friday night’s massive $70 million jackpot was sold in the province.

The exact point of purchase has yet to be released.

The draw also offered 18 Maxmillions prizes of $1 million each, and six of them were won, including one which will be split by two ticket holders.

The winning tickets for those prizes were sold in Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies and British Columbia.

The jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on Aug. 4 will be approximately $26 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2020.

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COVID-19 fallout: Ottawa announces details of support program for fishermen

HALIFAX — The federal government has announced details of a $469-million program aimed at helping Canada’s fish harvesters deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan issued a statement today saying the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program, which was first announced in May, will be open for applications from Aug. 24 to Sept. 21.

Jordan says the program represents the single largest investment in Canada’s fisheries in nearly two decades.

The minister says the program is designed to address unique challenges facing the seasonal industry.

Detailed information about the application process for financial support is now available online from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

Meanwhile, the federal government says it is still working on a program — also announced in May — that will allow self-employed fishermen to access employment insurance benefits on the basis of insurable earnings from previous seasons.

Earlier this year, Ottawa announced a $62-million program to help stabilize  the fish and seafood processing sectors, and another $50 million was pledged to help farmers, fish harvesters and food-processing employers deal with the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad.

 “Our fisheries operate under a unique structure and have faced distinct challenges throughout this pandemic,” Jordan said in a statement. “We’ve been working around the clock to develop a simple, accessible system to deliver over $469 million to Canada’s fish harvesters as smoothly and quickly as possible.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

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Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

OTTAWA — Canada is signing deals with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna to procure millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand is announcing the deals this morning in Toronto, which will see Canada get access to the vaccines if they prove to be both safe and effective.

Both companies began Phase 3 clinical trials of their vaccine candidates in the last week, large-scale tests to determine how well the vaccines work.

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials.

The Phase 3 trials will both test the vaccines on 30,000 people, and results are expected in the fall.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned Tuesday about expecting a vaccine to provide a quick end to the pandemic, saying they provide hope but likely no silver bullet for the novel coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

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Lebanese-Canadian group raises money while grappling with tragedy of Beirut blast

Lebanese-Canadians who watched in horror as an explosion levelled part of Beirut are now working to raise funds for hospitals treating the thousands of injured.

The president of the Lebanese Club of Ottawa says he feels powerless on the other side of the world from family members who were injured in Tuesday’s blast.

Ahmad Araji says his first cousin, his wife and their young daughter live in downtown Beirut and were hit by glass that shattered during the explosion.

He says it’s hard to process the scale of the tragedy, which has killed at least 100.

His group has started an online fundraiser that has so far raised more than $3,700 for the Lebanese Red Cross and hospitals overrun by the wounded.

Araji says the group is also trying to raise awareness about the lack of blood supply in Beirut, because encouraging locals to donate is one of the few things they can do from afar.

“There’s so little you can do from abroad,” he said. “And the country has been going through a lot. This is the last thing the people needed right now, especially with the economic crisis, poverty peaking, the currency crash, COVID.” 

He said he’s doing whatever he can to be helpful while his mother country grapples with yet another crisis.

“They need money, they need funds, they need help. They need support — moral support, financial support,” Araji said. “We’re trying to do all of that at the same time.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

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