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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Shocking images of bodies in the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv, have led to an outpouring of international condemnation of Russia, including from Joe Biden. The U.S. President labelled Putin a war criminal today, and called for him to face trial over the killings. But the Kremlin denies Russia had anything to do with the atrocities, saying photos and videos have been staged for Western media.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky left Kyiv for his first reported trip since the war began nearly six weeks ago to see for himself what he called the “genocide” and “war crimes” in the town.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada will support the International Criminal Court with funding in order to facilitate its work probing the incidents. “These acts cannot go unpunished,” she said.

Russia has repositioned about two thirds of its forces from around Kyiv, a senior U.S. defence official said today, with many consolidating in Belarus where they are expected to be refit, resupplied and redeployed to other locations in Ukraine.

Elsewhere, Red Cross buses meant for the rescue of civilians were blocked from reaching the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Latest IPCC climate report shows reducing emissions is possible, but not without a shift in values and policies

The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s knowledge about climate change has been released in full by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The third and final instalment of the report, approved late last night by the IPCC’s 195 member countries, focuses on policy-oriented solutions, and it minces no words.

“Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C is beyond reach,” the IPCC said in a statement issued with the report.

It calls for major transitions in the energy sector away from fossil fuels, emphasizing solutions focused on urban areas, and promoting lifestyle changes by enabling energy efficient and healthier individual choices.

Ahead of housing-focused 2022 federal budget, records show low take-up of shared mortgage programs from 2019

Days before the release of a federal budget in which the search for solutions to the housing crisis may feature prominently, critics of a pair of 2019 programs say they aren’t surprised that their adoption has fallen short of what Ottawa had hoped.

The two schemes designed to share the burden of home buying between individuals and the federal government – the $1.25-billion First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program and the $100-million Shared Equity Mortgage Providers Fund – have been paid out 20 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

“The government provides the funds to close, but then gets a share in the increase in the appreciation value of the home,” said Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations John Dickie. “Whereas when you buy a home these days, you’re buying both a place to live and you’re buying an asset that seems to be forever increasing in value, and that value comes to you without being taxable.”

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Troubling COVID-19 trends in central Canada: Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are up in Quebec and Ontario, in the latter by 30 per cent compared with a week ago, but Ontario Premier Doug Ford downplayed the trend by saying the “little spike” was expected.

Alleged war crimes in Darfur going to trial: The first trial addressing atrocities in Darfur opens at the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, nearly 20 years after the Sudanese region was wracked by widespread violence that left hundreds of thousands dead.

RCMP union defends N.S. shooting response: The head of the RCMP’s national union says criticisms of police actions connected to the Nova Scotia mass shooting that left 22 people dead in April 2020 have been unfair.

Ontario plans to cut gas tax temporarily: Premier Doug Ford’s government says it will introduce legislation to bring in a temporary six-month cut to the gas tax by 5.7 cents a litre, starting July 1.


The benchmark S&P 500 index rose on Monday, boosted by megacap tech and growth stocks and a surge in Twitter after Elon Musk revealed his stake in the company, amid cautionary signals in the bond market and talk of more sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

The TSX also got a boost from tech and growth stocks, and closed less than 2 points away from setting a new all-time high. The energy sector also rallied.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 37.18 points to end at 4,583.13 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 271.77 points, or at 14,533.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108.18 points to 34,926.45.

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Following the Pope’s apology, Canadian Catholics need to step up

Michael W. Higgins: “The Canadian Catholic Church is called to bold leadership: It is the Catholic Church in Canada and not the Vatican that bears responsibility for reparation. Shunting matters to Rome avoids the deeper issue of accountability and compromises the importance of subsidiarity in church governance.”

Canada needs a unified approach for people fleeing Ukraine and Afghanistan

Naomi Alboim and Karen Cohl: “Certainly, the specific context of a refugee crisis can necessitate unique policy responses. But a common framework should be in place to provide similar support for individuals in crisis, with differences in treatment only where demonstrably justified.”

Canadians get a failing grade in civics

Josh Fullan: “Based on recent and consistent evidence, it is clear that many Canadians, whatever their political leanings, appear to lack basic understanding of the workings of our parliamentary democracy. Much worse, others weaponize their misapprehension of our political processes and rights to attack and shrink their opponents, along with anyone else who happens to be in earshot. Some are even elected officials.”


In case you missed the Grammys: the good, the bad, the quotes and the Canadians

It was mission accomplished for the Grammys last night for, as Brad Wheeler writes, in the aftermath of the Oscars all the music awards broadcast had to do was avoid a scandal to be successful by comparison. The show was heavy on performances, but took on a sombre tone with a recorded video appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Jon Batiste walked away with the most statuettes, including Album of the Year for We Are.

Return of the Star Wars Kid: Meet, at long last, the Quebecker behind one of the world’s first viral videos

In 2003, a lifetime ago in internet years, Quebec teenager Ghyslain Raza gained infamy – in the form of mock and ridicule – when a video of him awkwardly imitating a Star Wars character using a long pole as a lightsaber was posted online. Now, Raza is the subject of Star Wars Kid: The Rise of the Digital Shadows, a documentary made with his full participation that brings the reluctant meme star into the light by examining his story in context.


Chrystia Freeland. Illustration by Kagan McLeodKagan McLeod/The Globe and Mail

Chrystia Freeland readies another big-spending federal budget amid fears of rising inflation

Crafting a federal budget is a daunting job at the best of times. But with her attention divided between several priorities as Deputy Prime Minister as well as Finance Minister – not to mention dealing with a lingering pandemic, a troubling war in Europe and rising inflation – Chrystia Freeland has her work cut out for her.

The Globe and Mail spoke with 15 government officials, business executives and policy experts about the difficulty of writing the first budget for a postpandemic economy while preoccupied with other major files.

Read how these challenges stack up in this feature by Robert Fife, Bill Curry and Steven Chase.

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