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Canada's job market and 'Jeopardy!' returns: In The News for Sept. 4


In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Sept. 4 ...

What we are watching in Canada ... 

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada will report this morning how well the country's job market fared in August.

After seeing a historic drop of some three million jobs over March and April at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has since recovered just over half of what was lost.

Expectations are for a gain again in August, but at a slower pace than previous months.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate is for a gain of 275,000 jobs in August and an unemployment rate of 10.1 per cent.

Canada's labour market gained 418,500 jobs in July, a slowing from the 953,000 jobs gained in June, and the unemployment rate dropped to 10.9 per cent as part of a continuing slide down from the record-high 13.7 per cent in May.

Economists have noted faster gains in part-time versus full-time work, and an increasing share of part-time workers who prefer full-time work compared with July 2019.


Also this ...

With students and teachers preparing to return to classrooms across the country this month, experts say ramping up testing protocols is one way to help provide a safe transition back to school.

Some epidemiologists believe testing a group of COVID nasal-swab samples together — a strategy known as pooled testing or batch testing — might be a more efficient method for dealing with a large number of tests that could potentially be coming in.

Colin Furness, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, envisions an ideal scenario where teachers would be tested for COVID twice a week. If that were to happen in Ontario, a province with roughly 160,000 teachers, Furness says labs would be processing more than 300,000 tests each week just on teachers.

"We don't really have the capacity to do that. And that is extremely concerning to me," Furness said. "So pooled testing would be one way of saying 'all right, we have an existing laboratory processing capacity. Let's multiply it.'"

Pooled testing works by mixing a number of samples together — Furness suggests eight — and screening them for the novel coronavirus at the same time. This could theoretically include a group of teachers working at the same school, or students and teachers in the same cohort.

If the pooled sample comes back negative, it likely means all the samples within the batch are negative.

If the batch tests positive, the lab would then re-test each individual sample from the pool to find the positive result.

This method works best in scenarios where you wouldn't expect to find many COVID cases, Furness said, but loses its effectiveness where prevalence of the virus is higher.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

LACEY, Wash. — A man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland, Ore., last week after a caravan of Donald Trump backers rode through downtown was killed Thursday as investigators moved in to arrest him, a senior Justice Department official said.

The man, Michael Reinoehl, 48, was killed as a federal task force attempted to apprehend him in Lacey, Wash., the official said. Reinoehl was the prime suspect in the killing of 39-year-old Aaron (Jay) Danielson, who was shot in the chest Saturday night, the official said.

Federal agents from the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service had located Reinoehl on Thursday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. During the encounter, Reinoehl was shot by a law enforcement officer who was working on the federal task force, the official said.

The official said Reinoehl had pulled a gun during the encounter and was shot by law enforcement. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Protests have erupted daily in Portland since the killing of George Floyd in May.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

BEIRUT — Rescue workers resumed search operations early today in a building that collapsed last month in Beirut's deadly blast in hopes of finding a survivor under the rubble after a pulsing signal was detected.

The search came as Lebanon was to mark one month since the blast that killed and wounded thousands of people and traumatized the country. A moment of silence was planned at 6:08 p.m., the moment that marks the most destructive single incident in Lebanon's history on Aug. 4.

Search operations first began Thursday afternoon after a sniffer dog belonging to a Chilean search and rescue team detected something as the team was going through the neighbourhood of Gemmayzeh and rushed toward the rubble.

After hours of searching the work briefly stopped after sunset before some protesters arrived at the scene claiming the Lebanese army had asked the Chilean team to stop the search. The protesters started searching themselves until members of Lebanon's Civil Defence team arrived an hour after midnight and resumed work.

The army issued a statement today saying the Chilean team stopped work half an hour before midnight for fears that a wall might collapse, endangering them. It added that army experts inspected the site and two cranes were brought in to remove the wall and the search resumed.

On Thursday, the team used audio detection equipment for signals or heartbeat and detected what could be a pulse of 18 to 19 beats per minute. The origin of the pulsing signal was not immediately known, but it set off a frantic search and raised new hope.

The beats dropped to seven per minute this morning, say reporters at the site.

Still, it was extremely unlikely that any survivors would be found a month after the August blast that tore through Beirut when nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate ignited at the port. The explosion killed 191 people and injured 6,000 others and is considered to be one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded. Thousands of homes were damaged.


On this day in 1946 ...

Clarence Campbell was elected president of the National Hockey League. Campbell, a former referee, succeeded Mervyn "Red" Dutton and held the post until 1977. Campbell was instrumental in creating the all-star game in 1947 and the Hockey Fall of Fame in Toronto in 1960. He died June 23, 1984.


Entertainment news ...

"Jeopardy!" is returning for its 37th season, with greater social distance between Canadian host Alex Trebek and the contestants, and a new role for all-time great contestant Ken Jennings.

A redesigned set for the coronavirus era will allow for the contestants to be further apart and at a greater distance from Trebek, who has continued as host after a diagnosis last year of pancreatic cancer.

Trebek said last month that he's responding exceptionally well to treatment and expects to mark his two-year survival next February.

The casting of contestants was done entirely online for this season, which was shot without a studio audience.

Jennings, the record-setting contestant who won on 74 straight shows and took last year's "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time" title, is joining the series as a consulting producer.

He'll appear on-air with his own video categories, develop projects and act as a public ambassador for the show.



A Nebraska man is drawing attention for his impassioned plea to take action — against boneless chicken wings.

Video of Ander Christensen's satirical rant before the Lincoln City Council on Monday pleading to ban the "boneless chicken wing" moniker has garnered widespread attention on social media and news sites.

Christensen, who is the son of a council member, made his case that the meat in boneless wings doesn't come from a chicken's wing at all, but from its breast.

"We've been living a lie for far too long," he told the council.

Instead, he suggested the dish could be renamed, "buffalo-style chicken tenders, wet tenders, saucy nugs or trash."

His plea, of course, was for the children.

"Our children are afraid of having bones attached to their meat, which is where meat comes from. It grows on bones!" he said.

"We need to teach them that the wings of a chicken are from a chicken, and it's delicious."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2020

The Canadian Press

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