The plan for Parliament and COVID-19 transparency; In The News for May 25

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 May 25 ...

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COVID-19 in Canada ...

OTTAWA — The House of Commons is meeting today to decide, again, how it's going to function as COVID-19 restrictions gradually lift across the country.

The governing Liberals are proposing four sittings a week of a special committee to talk about the pandemic and how the government is responding to it, using a hybrid system with some MPs in the Commons chamber in Ottawa and others participating by video conference.

They would also have four days scattered through the summer when MPs could press cabinet ministers on other issues.

The Liberals appear to have the NDP's broad backing for the plan, which would be enough to get it passed today.

The Conservatives have been pushing for many more normal sittings of the Commons, with full-blown question periods and a chance to debate legislation, though with a limited number of MPs in the room to reduce the risks of spreading the novel coronavirus.

The House of Commons has been working on how to hold debates and votes with some MPs participating remotely, but hasn't yet solved technical and security challenges.

Also this ...

OTTAWA — An ad-hoc transparency group is calling on governments to make crucial records related to the COVID-19 pandemic open by default as a measure of accountability to Canadians.

The Canadian COVID-19 Accountability Group urges public officials to proactively release documents concerning health and safety enforcement, scientific and public health research, and contracts, grants, and loans provided to companies and organizations.

The coalition includes academics, lawyers and representatives of groups including the Whistleblowing Canada Research Society and Anti-Corruption and Accountability Canada.

In a report released today, it says the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded dramatic action, both politically and financially, to slow the spread of the disease.

But the coalition says public and private bodies have been less than transparent with the news media and the public about those actions.

The group echoes a recent call from federal information commissioner Caroline Maynard for agencies to release pandemic-related records they create without prompting.

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COVID-19 in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — The White House has announced a ban on travel to the U.S. from Brazil due to the spread of coronavirus in Latin America’s hardest-hit country.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says the ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before they sought to travel to the United States.

McEnany cast it as a move by President Donald Trump "to protect our country."

Trump had already banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China, all of which have been hit hard by the virus.

Brazil has reported more than 347,000 COVID-19 cases, second behind the U.S. in the number of infections, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.

Brazil also has recorded more than 22,000 deaths, fifth-most in the world. There have been more than 97,000 U.S. deaths.

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COVID-19 around the world ...

PARIS — The number of people hospitalized with the virus in France rose slightly Sunday, the first daily increase since mid-April when France’s infections peaked.

The rise — from 17,178 people hospitalized Saturday to 17,185 Sunday — comes almost two weeks after France started gradually relaxing its confinement measures.

The number of people in intensive care with the virus dropped again Sunday for the 46th consecutive day to 1,655, down from more than 7,000 in mid-April.

The figures were released by the national health agency DGS, which did not release an updated death toll Sunday.

France is one of the hardest-hit nations by the virus, with some 28,000 deaths in hospitals and nursing homes.

Protests are planned today at nursing homes accused of mishandling the virus crisis.

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COVID-19 in sports ...

Tom Brady delivered the shot of the match by holing out from the fairway, while Tiger Woods didn't miss a fairway and earned some revenge on long time rival Phil Mickelson.

Sunday's exhibition match featuring two of golf's greatest with two of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks turned out to be as entertaining as the real thing.

It was called, "The Match: Champions for Charity," and it was the second and final TV exhibition before the PGA Tour returns for real at Colonial in just over two weeks.

Woods, who was paired with Peyton Manning, won 1-up over the Brady-Mickelson duo.

The goal was to raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief funds, however, online donations sent the total climbing toward about twice that much. And the value of trash-talking rights for Woods and Manning — priceless.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020

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