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Year in review: A look at news events in December 2021

A look at news events in December 2021: 1 - Canadian actor Sandra Oh was named one of “People” magazine's “2021 People of the Year.” Oh was being honoured for fighting anti-Asian hate and working on what the magazine calls transformative stories.

A look at news events in December 2021:

1 - Canadian actor Sandra Oh was named one of “People” magazine's “2021 People of the Year.” Oh was being honoured for fighting anti-Asian hate and working on what the magazine calls transformative stories.

1 - The House of Commons fast-tracked the passage of a bill banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ Canadians. Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault said this shows that a minority Parliament can work and protect the rights of everyone. 

1 - The Alberta government announced the spending more than $80 million to help develop and manufacture vaccines at home. Premier Jason Kenney said the funding will address a need for vaccines that fight viruses such as COVID-19 and will also help diversify the provincial economy. 

1 - One of Newfoundland and Labrador's last remaining Second World War veterans died at the age of 103. Hedley Lake survived the sinking of the SS Caribou ferry by a German U-boat in October of 1942. He was from the small town of Fortune, on the Burin Peninsula.

2 - The new interim leader of the Green Party of Canada pledged to be ready to take tough disciplinary action to deal with party members who “have been at each other's throats.” Amita Kuttner, a Vancouver astrophysicist who is nonbinary and transgender, said they want to “listen and love” to heal the party, which had been riddled by infighting and accusations of racism and antisemitism. 

2 – U.S. President Joe Biden took action to try to slow the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant with tighter rules for Canadians and all other foreign visitors who arrive in the country by air. Airline passengers must get a COVID-19 test no later than the day before their departure.

2 - British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said its COVID-19 antibody drug appears to be effective against the Omicron variant. The company hopes to complete testing by the end of the month to confirm whether the drug is effective against all the mutations seen with the variant. 

2 – It is revealed that former fashion mogul Peter Nygard will not be facing sex assault charges in his hometown. Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth said in a statement that prosecutors decided not to lay charges. Nygard was first arrested in Winnipeg last year under the Extradition Act and faces nine sex-related counts in of New York. Nygard has denied all allegations.

3 - The Taliban's supreme leader banned forced marriage of women in Afghanistan, saying both men and women should be equal. The move is apparently meant to address one of the demands set by the international community for recognizing the Taliban as Afghanistan's government and restoring aid. But thousands of girls from grades seven to 12 are still not allowed to attend school, and most women have been banned from returning to their jobs since the Taliban takeover.

3 - The National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people over the age of 50. And it strongly suggested boosters for anyone who got two shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine, as well as front-line health care workers and First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. 

4 - CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo. It came after details emerged about how he assisted his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, as the politician faced sexual harassment allegations earlier this year. 

5 – Former Kansas senator and failed U.S. presidential hopeful Bob Dole died at the age of 98. 

5 - The Trans Mountain pipeline restarts. The federal Crown corporation said the pipeline had been re-started following a three-week precautionary shutdown during storms in southern British Columbia. It carries 300,000 barrels per day of petroleum products from Alberta to B.C. The B-C government had asked motorists to limit fuel purchases to 30-litres per trip to the gas pump.  

5 - The Canadian military discovered cracks in the tails of 19 of its 23 Cyclone helicopters. The Air Force said the Sikorsky-made aircraft were not been grounded. Engineering experts from the military are working with the company to repair the choppers.

6 - Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of incitement and violating novel coronavirus restrictions. The civilian leader was ousted in a de facto coup earlier in the year and her trial had been widely criticized as a further attempt by the country's military rulers to roll back the democratic gains of recent years. 

6 - Canadian pop star Justin Bieber went ahead with his concert in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, despite calls by human rights campaigners and activists to cancel the performance. Bieber is set to open a world tour next year that is being promoted by Live Nation -- a company that Saudi Arabia's state-owned sovereign wealth fund has a $1.4-billion stake in.

6 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepted the resignation of Dominic Barton as Canada's ambassador to China with both gratitude and respect. Barton said he would step down at the end of the month after two years in which he was praised for helping secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor but criticized for strongly pushing closer trade ties with Beijing. 

6 - Christian Aid Ministries said a gang in Haiti had released three more hostages and that they are all safe and seemed to be in good spirits. Another 12 were still being held by the 400 Mowozo gang. The religious group announced 17 people were kidnapped in mid-October and that the 12 adults and five children included one Canadian.

7 - Quebec drugmaker Medicago said its two-dose, plant-based COVID-19 vaccine was 71 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. Its large, late-stage study included several variants, but not Omicron, which wasn't circulating during the study period. The federal government invested $173 million in Medicago's vaccine as part of efforts to rebuild Canada's biomanufacturing sector.

7 - Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald said this month's Indigenous delegation to the Vatican was postponed because of the Omicron variant. The delegation planned to travel to Rome the week of Dec. 18 to meet with Pope Francis. Indigenous leaders want the Pope to come to Canada and deliver an apology for the role the Catholic Church played in operating the residential school system.

7 - Military police said they have charged the former head of human resources for the Canadian Armed Forces with one count of sexual assault. Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson had also been charged with one count of indecent acts. 

8 - Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said lab tests show a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine may protect against the new Omicron variant. Pfizer said two doses may still offer protection against severe disease caused by Omicron, but preliminary data suggest protection is maximized with a third dose. 

8 - The World Health Organization reported the new COVID-19 Omicron variant has now been found in 57 countries. Officials say how countries react now will determine how Omicron unfolds. 

8 - Canada said it will not send any diplomats to the Beijing Olympics in February. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is extremely concerned about China's human rights abuses. 

9 - The federal auditor general revealed Canada failed to adequately enforce border measures designed to keep international travellers from importing cases of COVID-19. Auditor Karen Hogan assessed enforcement of quarantine and COVID-19 test mandates between July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. She said the government only had records to verify 25 per cent of mandatory quarantine-hotel stays, and was missing or unable to match 30 per cent of COVID-19 test results to incoming travellers from February to June 2021. 

9 - A jury convicted actor Jussie Smollett on five of six charges that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself and lied to Chicago police about it. Two brothers testified Smollett orchestrated the hoax to get publicity and said he paid them to fake the January 2019 attack in downtown Chicago.

9 - Former NFL player Demaryius Thomas was found dead in his suburban Atlanta home. He was 33. Thomas earned five straight Pro Bowl honours and a Super Bowl ring during a receiving career spent mostly with the Denver Broncos.

10 - The wool-hatted, guitar-strumming member of the 1960s, made-for-television rock band, The Monkees, died. Michael Nesmith was 78.

10 – Ottawa singer-songwriter Les Emmerson, whose anti-establishment anthem ``Signs'' became a staple of 1970s rock radio, died at 77. The leader of Five Man Electrical Band contracted COVID-19 a  month earlier and died at a local hospital.

11 - Mel Lastman, the long-serving, often controversial former mayor of Toronto, is died at 88. Lastman served as mayor of North York for 25 years before Toronto's suburbs merged. He then became the first mayor of the amalgamated Toronto -- a role he held for six years.

12 - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the 108th Grey Cup in Hamilton. Winnipeg beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-25 in overtime.

13 - Canada's defence minister apologized on behalf of the federal government to victims of military sexual misconduct. Anita Anand said Ottawa has long failed to protect those who willingly signed up to protect the country, and she promises to do better. The apologies by Anand and two other officials were a key part of the federal government's $600-million settlement agreement in relation to several overlapping class-action lawsuits.

14 - The first large-scale study on vaccine protection against the COVID-19 Omicron variant found two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided just 33 per cent protection. But it provided 70 per cent protection against hospitalization. The South African study appeared to support early indications that Omicron is more easily transmissible, and that the Pfizer shot isn't as effective in protecting against infection as it was against the Delta variant. 

14 - CP Rail completed its acquisition of the American railway Kansas City Southern. CP said its takeover of KCS will create the only single-line railroad linking Canada, the United States and Mexico.

14 - The discovery of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C. was named Canada's news story of the year as chosen by editors in newsrooms across the country. It was the choice of 38 editors in the annual Canadian Press survey, compared with 31 votes for Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout and 13 for climate change and severe weather in B.C. 

15 – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights by kneeling on his neck as he was handcuffed and not resisting, and then failing to provide medical care. Chauvin was convicted in the spring of state murder and manslaughter charges and sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison. 

15 - The federal government advised against all non-essential international travel during the holidays. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the highly transmissible variant is now spreading in Canadian communities and there’s a need to be careful. 

15 - The Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year for 2021 was the children who didn't come home from Indigenous residential schools. The runners-up for Newsmaker of the Year were health workers and the two Michaels who were released after nearly three years in a Chinese prison.

16 - Canada surpassed 30,000 lives lost to COVID-19. Nine more deaths in Ontario pushed the country passed the grim milestone. 

16 - The remaining members of a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped two months ago in Haiti were freed. That included one Canadian. The missionaries were kidnapped in October by the 400 Mawozo gang, which demanded $1-million ransom each for the 16 captives.

16 - The Senate gave quick approval to a new round of pandemic aid. It came after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made a pre-Christmas plea to rubber-stamp the help and promised that benefits would flow quickly to businesses and workers in need.

17 - Heather Stefanson learned she would stay put as Manitoba premier. A judge rejected a court challenge of the vote that made her leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Shelly Glover, who came up just short on Oct. 30, alleged there were voting problems and wanted the court to toss out the results.

20 - The NHL and its players association temporarily banned Canadian- and American-based teams from crossing the border for games. Roughly 10 per cent of the 700-plus players were in the league's virus protocol.

20 - Lab tests showed a booster dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine increased the level of neutralizing antibodies able to fight the Omicron variant by 37 times. Moderna said the preliminary laboratory data hadn't yet undergone scientific review. 

21 - Canadian Maggie Mac Neil won the gold medal in the women's 100-metre butterfly at the world short course swimming championships in Abu Dhabi. She did it in a Canadian record time of 55.04 seconds. 

21 – The Canadian Press reported that NHL players won't be going to the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The league and NHLPA officially committed to going to China for the 2022 Games back in September, but the agreement allowed either party to withdraw if COVID-19 conditions rendered participation “impractical or unsafe.”

23 – Jurors convicted a suburban Minneapolis police officer of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Black motorist Daunte Wright. Kim Potter, who is white, had said she mistook her handgun for a Taser while she and other officers were trying to arrest the 20-year-old on an outstanding warrant for weapons possession. 

25 - The world's largest and most powerful space telescope blasted off from a spaceport in French Guiana. NASA partnered with space agencies in Canada and Europe to build the $10-billion infrared observatory. The James Webb Space Telescope will use state-of-the-art technology to behold light from the first stars and galaxies.

26 - Desmond Tutu, South Africa's Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for racial justice, died at the age of 90. The retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town was best known as an uncompromising foe of apartheid, South Africa's brutal regime of oppression against the Black majority..

26 – It was announced that Oscar-nominated Quebecois director and producer Jean-Marc Vallee died at age 58. A cause of death was not been released, but his representative says Vallee died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City. Born in Montreal, Vallee won an Emmy for directing the hit HBO series ``Big Little Lies,'' and was nominated for ``Sharp Objects,'' also on HBO. He also directed ``Dallas Buyers Club,'' which earned six Academy Awards nominations.

26 - Canada officially logged more than two million reported cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 

28 - Tennis player Leylah Fernandez, who advanced to the 2021 U.S. Open final, won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as The Canadian Press female athlete of the year. The Rosenfeld race was close with Fernandez receiving 12 of 45 votes cast by sports editors, writers and broadcasters across Canada. Swimmers Penny Oleksiak and Maggie Mac Neil finished with 10 votes apiece.

28 - The NFL said Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster John Madden had died at age 85. Madden was best known for his exuberant calls combined with simple explanations during his three decades of providing commentary to NFL games. As a coach, he led the renegade Oakland Raiders to victory in the Super Bowl after the 1976 season. 

29 - Rideau Hall released the names of the 135 newest additions to the Order of Canada. Among the list of recipients was former senator Murray Sinclair, the noted Indigenous advocate who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools. Also on the list was author Yann Martel, known for his book ``Life of Pi'' released two decades ago. 

29 - Damian Warner beat out sprinter Andre De Grasse and soccer star Alphonso Davies to win the Lionel Conacher award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year. The 32-year-old from London, Ont., won decathlon gold in dominating fashion at the Tokyo Olympics. 

29 – British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of helping American financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls. The verdict capped a month-long trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teens. 

29 - A Canadian woman was among seven people in custody in Hong Kong after police raided an online pro-democracy news organization. Two male editors who worked at Stand News were charged with conspiracy to publish a seditious publication, a day after the outlet said it would cease operations following the Wednesday morning raid. Five others being detained for questioning included Hong Kong-born-Canadian pop singer and board member Denise Ho. 

29 – Canada's border agency temporarily closed two ports of entry in the Atlantic region due to COVID-19. The CBSA said the affected offices were in Bathurst, New Brunswick and Charlottetown, P.E.I. Spokeswoman Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr  said service at the small offices was being suspended because of COVID infections and close contacts among staff.

30 -  An Ontario study suggested the Omicron variant was significantly less likely to cause hospitalization or death than the Delta variant of COVID-19. Public Health Ontario said its study suggests the risk of hospitalization or death was 54 per cent lower with Omicron.

The Canadian Press

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