Coronavirus: COSAR still operational but with added precautions

Georgian churches remain open for Easter despite lockdown

Despite fines for gatherings of more than three people in Georgia, churches have stayed open.

Health officials in Georgia brace for a spike in infections after churches were allowed to stay open for the Orthodox Easter.

Gatherings of more than three people are banned in the country but that does not apply to Easter services.

Critics have accused the government of failing to hold the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Church to account.

Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker reports from Tbilisi, Georgia.

Sunday COVID-19 update: No new Manitoba cases

According to Manitoba health officials, there have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba as of Sunday morning.

The total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba remains at 253.

There are still more recovered cases, at 143, than active cases, which are at 105.

Safaricom to Forgo $51.5 Million Over Covid-19 Support: TV

Measures taken bySafaricom Plc to support its customers through the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic will cost the Kenyan telecommunications firm 5.5 billion shillings ($51.5 million) over three months, its Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said in an interview with Citizen TV.

The company haswaived fees on mobile-money-transfer transactions for amounts of 1,000 shillings and below.

“The key is to support our customers to get through this crisis,” Ndegwa said.

Safaricom Fixed Data Use Jumps 70% as Customers Work From Home

Facebook to Introduce Live Gaming Mobile App on Monday: NYT

Facebook will introduce an app designed for creating and watching live gameplay on Monday, the New York Timesreported, citing the social network.

The free app, which carries no advertising, was originally intended for release in June but the spread of the coronavirus prodded the company to accelerate its plans to meet the surge in gaming resulting from Covid-19 quarantine measures adopted around the world.

Facebook, which has more than 700 million of its 2.5 billion monthly users engaged with gaming content, will make money on the new app by taking a cut of “stars,” which fans can buy and send to gaming streamers.

Coronavirus: University of Alberta-based non-profit ramping up production of ventilator drugs

A non-profit pharmaceutical organization that’s based out of the University of Alberta is ramping up its efforts to produce ventilator drugs in anticipation of possible shortages.

Venezuelan migrants at risk of COVID-19

Venezuelan couriers are now being seen as essential in Colombia’s capital but the personal cost could be high.

One of the few jobs not affected by the pandemic lockdown in Latin America is courier work.

In Colombia, it has become particularly popular among Venezuelan migrants who are desperate to make a living, even if it means putting their health at risk.

Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti reports from Bogota, Colombia.

No refund yet for cancelled Westmount High Europe trip; parents angry

Ewan MacIver worked odd jobs for months to save for his Grade 11 European trip. He babysat on weekends and worked at the Westmount arena, saving as much as he could.

The Westmount High School student was bitterly disappointed when the March trip was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mnuchin: Adding Trump’s Name To Stimulus Checks Was ‘My Idea’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday took credit for President Donald Trump’s name being added to stimulus checks being mailed to Americans, following a report that the last-minute addition would cause a delay in their delivery.

“That was my idea. He is the president and I think it’s a terrific symbol to the American public,” Mnuchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump’s name will appear in a memo line on the printed checks since he is not authorized to sign them. It will be the first time in history that a president’s name will appear on a payment from the Internal Revenue Service.

Mnuchin said the checks, which are being sent out to those who forego direct deposit, have yet to be mailed out, but said the delay was not caused by adding Trump’s name. The Treasury Department has also disputed a report suggesting that was why.

“The reason why the checks have not gone out is we’re hoping that more people, as I said, will go to IRS.gov,” Mnuchin said. “It’s much safer to send out direct deposits.”

The White House initially said the payments would go out by early April. Direct deposits began to hit peoples’ bank accounts last week. 

Trump had been widely criticized over news that his name would be added. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) called the move an “unprecedented, cheap political stunt.”

Coronavirus: COSAR still operational but with added precautions

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) says it is still operational during the novel coronavirus pandemic but their responses will likely look a little different than in pre-COVID-19 times.

The organization said its members went out to help two ATV riders who were having mechanical problems near the Kettle Valley Railway just before midnight on Saturday.