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The GLOBAL REPORT – sixth wave, Afghan refugees and more

Free COVID 19 tests are available until the summer

The Ford government has decided to extend the free distribution of COVID 19 testing kits across the province.

The program was to expire on April 8th, but will now continue until at least July 31st.

The move comes as members of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table warn that we’re entering the sixth wave of COVID-19 infections, with the more-contagious but less-dangerous sub-variant of the Omicron strain taking hold.

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They say we should keep wearing face masks to limit the spread of the virus.

The Ontario Hospital Association notes COVID-19 hospitalizations are starting to rise again.

Funding for historical legacy residential schools

The Anishinabek Nation is getting some provincial funding to help educate and inform about the history and legacy of the residential school system in its territory.

The over $400,000 in funding will also fund commemoration, research, education, and outreach.

Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe says the money will help encourage survivors and families to come together to share their stories of healing, strength, and survival.

Officials add the money will also help the Anishinabek Nation respond to mental health and trauma-related impact of ongoing and future residential school investigations.

Afghan refugees arrive in Canada

Canada has now welcomed more than 10-thousand refugees from Afghanistan since western forces were withdrawn at the end of last August.

The latest planeload arrived in Toronto yesterday.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says provincial governments, charitable organizations, and thousands of individual Canadians have made the resettlement possible.

He says the federal government will continue to work with local groups to ensure the refugees are able to establish their new homes in Canada.

The housing supply

The provincial government has introduced legislation designed to streamline the process of applying for new housing construction.

It’s to try to boost the supply of new homes, with the goal of building 1.5-million new ones over the next decade.

The bill will speed up the various approvals needed for new residential subdivisions, and force municipalities to repay development fees if they don’t meet the as-yet-undefined deadlines for making a decision.

Ukraine calls for more arms and supplies

Ukraine’s president says the defence of his country against Russia’s invasion is at a “turning point.”

Volodomir Zelensky says Ukrainian soldiers are preparing for stepped-up Russian action in his country’s eastern regions, and he’s pleading with Western nations for more arms and supplies.

Russian forces are continuing artillery and air attacks on regions around the capital of Kyiv despite a pledge to scale back its attacks during peace talks, which are scheduled to resume tomorrow.

U-S and British intelligence officials say Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misled by his advisors about the poor performance of his troops in Ukraine.

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