Continued COVID restrictions, super rich tax cheats: in the June 22 news

Léger’s executive vice-president Christian Bourque says Canadians are still fairly cautious and cautious while waiting for the vaccination campaign to end, or at least until governments say they have achieved all of their goals vaccination.

He says the pandemic has impacted the well-being of many Canadians as they exercise less, gain weight, drink more alcohol and smoke more cannabis.

The survey found that 63% of those polled say their mental health has been poor since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said their level of exercise had decreased, 39 percent said they gained more weight, 16 percent said they drank more alcohol, and nine percent said they smoked more of cannabis since the start of the pandemic. .

Those who have gained weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average.

Respondents who have drunk more alcohol since the start of the pandemic report drinking 6.3 more servings per week, and those who have smoked more cannabis report smoking an average of 5.6 times more per week.

The poll also suggested that six percent of Canadians spent more money on online gambling, including gambling on sports and casino games.

Those who spent more on gambling say they spent an average of $ 74.8 more on gambling per week.

“It’s not that there are a lot more players than before, but those who play more have actually increased their spending quite significantly,” said Bourque.

At the same time, the poll found that 59 percent of respondents say they are optimistic about next year in Canada.

“Optimism tends to be higher among young Canadians and those who live in large urban areas, so probably a few more well-off young people are anxious to get out, to be more social again,” said Bourque. .

“Canadians, anyway, seem to be taking a more gradual, cautious, and cautious approach to getting out and enjoying some of the things they loved before the pandemic period.”

Also this …

Data from the Canada Revenue Agency shows that its recent efforts to tackle tax evasion by the super-rich have not resulted in any prosecutions or convictions.

In response to a question to Parliament by NDP MP Matthew Green, the CRA says it has referred 44 cases involving people whose net worth has exceeded $ 50 million to its criminal investigations program since 2015, but only two of those cases went to federal prosecutors. , without any charges being laid thereafter.

The lack of prosecution comes despite more than 67 hundred audits of ultra-wealthy Canadians over the past six years and a significant increase in spending on the agency’s high net worth compliance program.

Green says federal authorities are avoiding prosecution of the biggest tax frauds in Canada, but going after small business owners who don’t pay their taxes, which amounts to what he calls a two-tier system with loopholes for the ultra-rich.

Denis Meunier, former deputy director of Canada’s Financial Intelligence Center, says the dearth of criminal charges is striking, but notes that authorities may lack the resources to conduct costly and laborious prosecutions across international borders and may opt to room for heavy non-criminal penalties.

The April Liberal budget allocated $ 2.1 million for a new beneficial ownership registry by 2025 that experts say could “be a game-changer” by pulling the curtain on front companies and hidden wealth. abroad in tax havens.

What we are watching in the United States …

The United States reaches two encouraging milestones as the COVID-19 pandemic’s grip on the nation continues to loosen.

Deaths from COVID-19 in the United States fell below 300 per day for the first time since the early days of the epidemic in March 2020. Meanwhile, nearly 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer.

Now, however, data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests more Americans are dying each day from accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease. than COVID-19.

The death toll in the United States stands at more than 600,000, while the global number is close to 3.9 million, although the actual numbers in both cases are considered to be significantly higher.

About 45% of the U.S. population has been fully immunized, according to the CDC. More than 53 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. But U.S. demand for vaccines has collapsed, much to the disappointment of public health experts.

Dr Ana Diez Roux, dean of Drexel University’s school of public health, said the drop in infection and death rates is cause for celebration. But she warned the virus still had a chance to spread and mutate given low vaccination rates in some states, including Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.

“So far, it appears that the vaccines we have are effective against the variants that are circulating,” said Diez Roux. “But the more the virus passes from person to person, the more time it takes for the variants to develop, and some of them could be more dangerous.”

What we watch in the rest of the world …

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iran’s president-elect has said he is unwilling to meet with US President Joe Biden or negotiate over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for regional militias.

Ebrahim Raisi stuck to his hard-line stance on key issues during his first press conference on Monday after a landslide election victory last week.

The United States, which is trying to resuscitate Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, eventually hoped to negotiate a stronger deal that addresses other US concerns about Tehran.

Senior diplomats, meanwhile, reported progress in talks Sunday in Vienna as they tried to reinstate the deal, which was scrapped in 2018 by the Trump administration.

The press conference in Tehran also marked the first time that the head of the judiciary was confronted live on television about his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the Iran war. -Iraq. Raisi offered no specific response to this dark chapter in Iranian history, but seemed confident and defiant as he described himself as a “defender of human rights”.

Behind a sea of ​​microphones, mostly coming from Iranian media and from countries home to Tehran-backed militias, Raisi answered questions ranging from his perspective on the nuclear talks to relations with regional rival Saudi Arabia.

The 60-year-old cleric, a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won nearly 62% of 28.9 million votes in Friday’s presidential election, which recorded the lowest turnout in the world. history of the Islamic Republic.

On this day in 1960 …

The Liberals won their first election in Quebec in 16 years, defeating the Union Nationale and inaugurating what became the Quiet Revolution under Prime Minister Jean Lesage.

In entertainment …

NEW YORK – Steven Spielberg, a filmmaker synonymous with enchantment on the big screen, has struck a new deal with Netflix in which his production company, Amblin Partners, will make several feature films per year for the streaming giant.

The partnership announced on Monday is a big plus for the company, which, amid increasing competition, is perhaps more officially bringing the most beloved director into the fold of streaming.

The deal does not specifically include any films that will be directed by Spielberg.

In December, he will release his “West Side Story” in theaters. Amblin, which takes its name from a 1968 Spielberg short, helped produce a wide variety of non-Spielberg films, including “1917” and “Green Book”.

The partnership, long courted by Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, is a huge plus for the company which, amid increasing competition, is perhaps more officially bringing the most beloved director into the fold of streaming.

“At Amblin, storytelling will forever be at the center of everything we do, and from the moment Ted and I started discussing a partnership, it was abundantly clear that we had an incredible opportunity to tell stories. new stories together and reaching audiences in new ways, ”Spielberg said in a statement.

Amblin, which takes its name from a 1968 Spielberg short, helped produce a wide variety of films aside from those made by my Spielberg, most notably “1917” and “Green Book”. The two companies have previously worked together on television series and Aaron Sorkin’s film “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” an Amblin co-produced film that was sold by Paramount Pictures to Netflix during the pandemic.


HONOLULU – Dozens of Hawaii’s baby squids are in space for study.

The baby Hawaiian bobtail squid was bred at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii. They were sent into space earlier this month as part of a SpaceX refueling mission to the International Space Station.

Researcher Jamie Foster studies how spaceflight affects squid in hopes of boosting human health during long space missions.

Squids have a symbiotic relationship with natural bacteria that help regulate their bioluminescence.

When astronauts are in low gravity, their body’s relationship to microbes changes, said Margaret McFall-Ngai, a professor at the University of Hawaii, with whom Foster studied in the 1990s.

“We found that the symbiosis of humans with their microbes is disrupted in microgravity, and Jamie has shown this to be true in squid,” said McFall-Ngai. “And, because it’s a simple system, she can get to the bottom of what’s wrong.”

Foster is now a professor in Florida and a principal investigator for a NASA program that studies how microgravity affects interactions between animals and microbes.

“As astronauts spend more and more time in space, their immune systems are becoming what’s called a derangement. It doesn’t work as well, ”Foster said. “Their immune system doesn’t recognize bacteria that easily. Sometimes they get sick.

Foster said understanding what happens to squid in space could help solve health issues that astronauts face.

The squid will return to Earth in July.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 22, 2021

The Canadian Press

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