Year in review: A look at events in August 2020

A look at news events in August 2020:

01 – The recipient of the first partial face transplant in the U.S. died almost a dozen years after the groundbreaking operation. The Cleveland Clinic said 57-year-old Connie Culp died at the Ohio clinic of complications from an infection unrelated to her transplant. She once told reporters she did not care about what people thought of her looks. She had the operation after her husband shot her in the face in a murder-suicide attempt.

01 – Minnesota’s Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel during the U.S. anthem when he did so before an Oilers-Blackhawks game in Edmonton. Dumba made a speech about racial injustice prior to Edmonton’s first game of the NHL restart. Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse and Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban each put a hand on Dumba’s shoulder as he knelt for a recording of the American anthem. All three players are Black.

02 – Veteran actor Wilford Brimley died at the age of 85. His manager said he’d been on dialysis and had several medical ailments.

03 – Quebec increased the limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings from 50 people to 250 people. The province’s health minister said despite the relaxed rules, COVID-19 continues to circulate in Quebec, especially among young people. Christian Dube asked all Quebecers to work together to reduce the number of new daily cases in case of a second wave.

03 – Andrew Furey won his bid to become premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. Furey, a physician and founder of a charity, beat out John Abbott in the contest to replace Premier Dwight Ball as Liberal leader. Before the result was even announced, Abbott issued a statement calling for an independent audit of the voting process.

04 – The United Nations chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at least 40 million preschool-age children worldwide have missed out on critical education.

04 – Massive explosions that sent a mushroom cloud into the sky over downtown Beirut flattened much of the port in Lebanon’s capital. The blast blew out windows and doors and knocked down apartment balconies more than two kilometres away. More than 200 people were killed, and more than 6,000 were injured in the blast.

05 – Ottawa pledged up to $5 million in humanitarian aid for the battered city of Beirut. Development Canada said an initial $1.5 million will be directed toward meeting the urgent needs of a population left devastated by a massive explosion. Countries around the world sent search and rescue teams, emergency medical personnel and equipment, money and humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

06 – China sentenced a third Canadian citizen to death on drug charges amid a steep decline in relations between the two countries. Local media reports in Guangzhou said police confiscated more than 120 kilograms of ketamine from Xu Weihong’s home and another address. China has also handed a death sentence to Robert Schellenberg in a sudden retrial on drug trafficking charges. And in April 2019, a Canadian citizen identified as Fan Wei also was sentenced to death in a multinational drug smuggling case.

06 – Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced his intention to step down. McNeil, who has been premier since 2013 and spent a total of 17 years in provincial politics, said he would stay on until the provincial Liberal party chooses a new leader.

06 – U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum. Trump said he signed a proclamation that will restore the 10 per cent tariffs, saying “Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual.” In a speech at a Whirlpool factory in Ohio, Trump touted his record of defending American workers. The Trudeau government promised to impose retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump’s announcement.

07 – Another Canadian was sentenced to death in China — the second in the same week and the fourth in less than two years. Ye Jianhui had been found guilty of manufacturing and transporting illegal drugs.

07 – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Americans would be the first casualties of President Donald Trump’s tariff on Canadian aluminum. Freeland said Canada will strike back with $3.6 billion in tariffs on a list of American products.

10 – Canada’s first lady of the blues died. Salome Bey was 86. Bey was born in the U.S. and in 1964 moved to Toronto, where she played the jazz club circuit, and soon made her mark on Canada’s music and theatre scenes. She was made an honorary member of the Order of Canada in 2005.

10 – Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab delivered a brief televised speech to say he would step down from his job in the wake of the Beirut port explosion. He blamed corrupt politicians who came before him for the explosion that killed at least 200 people and injured about 6,000 others. Diab’s cabinet resigned earlier in the day following a weekend of anti-government protests.

10 – The federal government named Winnipeg lawyer Isha Khan to be the new head of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She became the first woman and the first person of colour in the post. The museum’s board had apologized after an external report found systemic racism and other mistreatment was pervasive at the institution.

10 – Former professional wrestler James Harris died at the age of 70. The Mississippi-born sharecropper was better known as “Kamala the Ugandan Giant.”

10 – The confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the world reached 20 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

11 – Russia became the first country to register a vaccine for COVID-19. President Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters had already been inoculated. Putin said the vaccine had proven efficient during tests, offering lasting immunity from the novel coronavirus. But many scientists in the country and abroad questioned the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people.

11 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had full confidence in Finance Minister Bill Morneau. In an unusual move, Trudeau’s office issued a statement in support of Morneau in a bid to shut down rumours he was about to be removed from cabinet.

11 – Presumptive Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket. Harris lived in Montreal as a teen so her mother could work at McGill University. She attended Westmount High School while she was there.

13 – Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said measures must be taken to protect politicians in Canada from hate speech and threats. McKenna’s comments came after a police investigation was launched into incidents at her office and after reports that two other Ottawa-area politicians faced threats recently. Security was visibly present today when McKenna made a funding announcement in Ottawa.

14 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that two Canadians were among those killed in the deadly explosion in Beirut. Trudeau didn’t disclose their names, but CBC reported that one of the two was a three-year-old girl. The blast killed more than 200 people, injured thousands more and destroyed large parts of Beirut.

15 – The longtime leader of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, who played a prominent role in the 1990 Oka crisis and rail blockades earlier this year, died at 70. The council said Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton suffered a fall at his home and died later in hospital surrounded by his family.

15 – U.S. President Donald Trump said his younger brother, Robert Trump, died at 71. The president visited his brother at a New York City hospital after White House officials said he had become seriously ill. Robert Trump was a businessman known for an even keel. The youngest of the Trump siblings remained close to the president.

16 – The Canada Revenue Agency temporarily suspended its online services after two cyberattacks. The CRA said hackers used thousands of stolen usernames and passwords to fraudulently obtain government services and compromise Canadians’ personal information.

17 – After 10 years of court proceedings and negotiations, the Toronto Police Services Board settled a class-action lawsuit filed over mass arrests at the G20 summit in 2010. The deal meant about 1,100 people arrested during the summit would share a $16.5-million settlement. In addition to compensation, the deal also included a public acknowledgment by police regarding the mass arrests and detention conditions, as well as a commitment to changing how protests are policed in future.

17 – The CFL cancelled its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the first year since 1919 that the Grey Cup won’t be awarded. The move came after the league couldn’t solve a number of issues in an effort to try to salvage a season, including to secure financing from the federal government. The league had asked for a $30-million interest-free loan.

17 – New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs called a snap election, saying the campaign leading up to the Sept. 14 vote would be unlike any other.

17 – Canada named a new ambassador to Lebanon. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Chantal Chastenay would take over the job from Emmanuelle Lamoureux.

17 – Bill Morneau resigned as the federal finance minister and a Liberal MP. Opposition parties had been calling for Morneau’s resignation for weeks, over allegations that he had a conflict of interest in the WE Charity affair. Morneau said he would put his name forward as a candidate to lead the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He denied that the prime minister had asked him to resign.

18 – Everyone in attendance wore a mask and the chairs were spaced well apart in Rideau Hall as Chrystia Freeland was sworn in as Canada’s first female finance minister. Freeland removed her mask as she took the oath, then replaced it before bumping elbows with the prime minister and the governor general.

18 – Dale Hawerchuk, who became the face of the Winnipeg Jets en route to the Hockey Hall of Fame, died at the age of 57.

18 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the COVID-19 pandemic called for a reset of the government’s agenda, and he asked Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to prorogue Parliament until late September.

18 – Joe Gosnell, a renowned treaty negotiator, politician and leader of B.C.’s Nisga’a Nation, died at the age of 85 following a long battle with cancer. A hereditary Nisga’a chieftain of the Eagle Clan, Gosnell was president of the nation when the landmark Nisga’a Final Agreement was completed in 2000. The treaty gave the Nisga’a control over their land, including forestry and fishing rights, and was the first treaty signed in B.C. since the 1800s.

18 – Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on state television. It came hours after he was detained by mutinous soldiers firing shots outside his home. Soldiers seized weapons in the garrison town of Kati and advanced on the capital. Mali had seen more than two months of regular demonstrations in which anti-government protesters demanded that Keita step down.

18 – The Democratic Party formally made Joe Biden its presidential nominee. Delegates from each state took a roll call vote during the second night of the virtual Democratic National Convention.

19 – The swearing-in ceremony for Newfoundland and Labrador’s new premier was held outdoors at Government House in St. John’s. Andrew Furey said he’s optimistic about the province’s potential, despite the fact that some have told him his new job is like “being made captain of the Titanic after hitting an iceberg.”

20 – Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was in a coma and on a ventilator in a Siberia intensive care unit after falling ill from suspected poisoning during a flight. A spokeswoman for the 44-year-old foe of President Vladimir Putin speculated his morning tea at the airport was spiked.

20 – Former White House adviser Steve Bannon was arrested. Federal prosecutors alleged he and three others ripped off hundreds of thousands of donors in an online fundraising scheme called “We Build The Wall.”

21 – Canada took a major step toward producing personal protective equipment, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced an agreement with 3M. The company will produce up to 100 million medical-grade N95 masks a year at its plant Brockville, Ont.

21 – “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin was sent to prison for two months after a judge accepted her plea deal for paying half a million dollars to cheat the college admissions process for her two daughters. Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was sentenced earlier to five months behind bars.

22 – The global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 800,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

24 – Erin O’Toole became the new leader of the federal Conservative party, winning the contest on the third ballot count. Peter MacKay placed second after coming out on top in the first round. Upwards of 175,000 party members cast a ballot.

24 – Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle, son of country rocker Steve Earle, died at 38. New West Records confirmed his death, but did not immediately give details.

24 – Donald Trump was re-nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during a scaled-back roll-call vote at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina.

24 – The partner of a Black man shot and wounded by police in Kenosha, Wis., said she was sitting in the back seat of an SUV with their children when an officer opened fire. Laquisha Booker said Jacob Blake was not armed and that the children were screaming. Police responding to a call about a domestic dispute fired seven shots as Jacob Blake opened the door to the SUV and leaned into the vehicle with his back turned to the officers. The shooting set off a night of violent protests.

26 – Police in Antioch, Ill., arrested a teenager on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide after two people were shot to death during a night of Black Lives Matter protests in nearby Kenosha, Wis. A man was caught on cellphone video opening fire in the street with a semi-automatic rifle and could be heard saying “I just killed somebody.” Video also showed police apparently letting a young man walk past them with a rifle over his shoulder as people yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

26 – Arnold Spielberg, the father of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and an innovating engineer whose work helped make the personal computer possible, died at 103. Spielberg and Charles Propster designed a mainframe computer in the late 1950s that would allow computer scientists to develop a programming language that would be essential to the rise of personal computers decades later. Arnold Spielberg said in a 2016 interview that he tried to get his son interested in engineering, “but his heart was in movies.”

26 – Players from six NBA teams decided not to play post-season games, in a boycott that quickly reverberated across other professional leagues. Players made the decisions to protest the shooting by police of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

27 – The NBA postponed all of its games, including a Toronto Raptors playoff game against the Boston Celtics, amid an impromptu strike by players over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Other professional leagues followed suit.

27 – Bombardier announced plans to lay off 200 workers at its plant in Thunder Bay, Ont., as it wound down production of ventilators to fight COVID-19. The losses left about 270 employees at the plant, which was staffed by 1,100 workers as recently as 2019.

28 – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced he would step down because a chronic health problem he has had since he was a teenager has resurfaced. Abe said he was on a new treatment for ulcerative colitis that requires IV injections and provides no guarantee of a cure. Abe became Japan’s youngest prime minister in 2006 at the age of 52, and this year became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister by consecutive days in office.

28 – The co-creator of the famous Scooby-Doo cartoon series died at the age of 87. Joe Ruby came up with the idea with his TV writing partner Ken Spears in 1969.

28 – The federal government once again extended travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said existing restrictions on international travel to Canada would be extended one more month to Sept. 30.

28 – Civil rights advocates gathered with the families of victims of police brutality and vigilante violence during a commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This year’s March on Washington was first planned after the killing of George Floyd. But the crowds were also there for Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and many others — demanding change and calling for real solutions to police shootings of Black Americans.

28 – Friends, fans and colleagues lamented the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Before he was a Marvel superstar, Boseman wowed audiences with his portrayals of baseball icon Jackie Robinson in “42” and James Brown in the biopic “Get On Up.” His “Wakanda Forever” salute reverberated around the world after the release of “Black Panther” two years ago.

29 – Montreal’s mayor said acts of vandalism would not be tolerated, after protesters brought down and defaced a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald. Valerie Plante condemned the incident, which happened at the end of a peaceful march. The statue of Canada’s first prime minister was unbolted, pulled down and sprayed with graffiti, and its head ended up falling off the body.

30 – The Weeknd took home the top prize at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. The Toronto singer paid tribute to Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor after winning video of the year for “Blinding Lights.” Lady Gaga also won multiple honours, most of them for her No. 1 hit with Ariana Grande, ”Rain on Me,” which the duo performed live for the first time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020.