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

Canada’s foreign ministry suffers network disruption as tensions rise over Ukraine

Canada’s foreign ministry is still recovering from a computer network disruption that has spanned days and one security expert says the working assumption is this was a cyberattack.

Networks at the Department of Global Affairs had not been fully restored to normal as of this morning, sources told The Globe and Mail.

While Ottawa declined to cast blame for the incident, the episode comes as tensions rise between Russia and Western allies such as Canada over the future of Ukraine.

In Kyiv, as Western embassies began to evacuate staff ahead of a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine, Jawed Haqmal had a terrifying sense of déjà vu.

Once more, war looms. And once more, Haqmal – a former Canadian military translator, who escaped the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan by fleeing to Ukraine – is scared that he and his family of 12 will be left behind.

As the United States, Britain and Australia have all announced they are ordering home the families of diplomats, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Ottawa was drawing up “contingency plans” to possibly do the same.

Analysis: Russia and Europe risk mutually assured destruction in a natural gas war - Eric Reguly

Read more: NATO sends forces to eastern Europe to bolster Ukraine and allies in standoff with Russia’s Putin

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Britain to drop COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers

The British government is scrapping its last remaining COVID-19 restriction for fully vaccinated travellers and returning to test-free travel for the first time since the fall of 2020. As of Feb. 11, vaccinated travellers to England will no longer have to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their arrival. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to follow suit.

Opinion: ‘I’m done with COVID’ is easier said than done - André Picard

Read more:

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Assange can appeal extradition: A British court has given WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a final opportunity to stop his extradition to the United States to face criminal charges related to espionage, if Britain’s Supreme Court agrees to hear it.

Fortin chooses trial by judge: Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the senior military officer once tasked with overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, is opting to have his sexual assault case tried by a Quebec judge without a jury present.

Palin tests positive for COVID-19: Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican U.S. vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing a U.S. judge today to delay her defamation trial against The New York Times.

Bob Dylan sells musical catalogue: Sony Music Entertainment has acquired Bob Dylan’s catalogue of recorded music, including his performances of such popular songs as Blowin’ in the Wind and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, as well as the rights to future releases.

Avenatti trial opens: U.S. lawyer Michael Avenatti, a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump, has gone on trial over claims he stole nearly US$300,000 from his one-time client, adult film star Stormy Daniels.

On today’s episode of The Decibel podcast: There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can’t get We Don’t Talk About Bruno out of their head, and those who don’t. Ethnomusicologist Michael Birenbaum Quintero discusses the surprise hit from the Disney film Encanto and explores its musical influences along with the movie’s wider representation of Colombian and Latin American music and culture.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street bounced back from a steep selloff late in the session to close higher today, with bargain hunters pushing the indexes into positive territory. Canada’s main stock index ended in the red, but well off its low of the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 99.13 points or 0.29 per cent to 34,364.50, the S&P 500 added 12.19 points or 0.28 per cent to end at 4,410.13 points, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 86.21 points or 0.63 per cent to 13,855.13.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 50.09 points or 0.24 per cent to 20,571.30. The loonie dropped to 79.17 U.S. cents

Opinion: Why today’s stock market slide is different - and where we go from here - Ian McGugan

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TALKING POINTS

Canada needs to build more rental housing. A lot more

“When housing prices go up by more than 26 per cent in a single year, it should be a five-alarm emergency. This mess was decades in the making. It will take years to fix. The time to start the work was yesterday.” - Globe editorial

Even in losing, Tom Brady finds a way to dominate the conversation

“The only thing better than Brady defending a title is Brady after he’s been told he doesn’t have it any more. No one’s said that about him in years, but he has this wonderful way of pretending they have.” - Cathal Kelly

LIVING BETTER

The new year always brings with it the false promise of a fresh start, personal trainer Paul Landini writes. But resolutions aren’t all-or-nothing propositions. Here he offers three ways to keep your fitness resolutions on track - or any other lasting life changes. They include being realistic: Setting unattainable goals just sets you up for failure.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Animal stress may put medical-research results in question, Canadian-led study finds

The use of animals, particularly mice and rats, is a common element in biomedical research. Now, an analysis led by Canadian researchers shows that many laboratory rodents are housed in conditions that induce stress – a situation they say may significantly compromise the quality of the science that’s derived from the animals.

The result has a bearing on two widely recognized problems in health science. One is that drugs and treatments that appear to work in animals often fail when they advance to human clinical trials. The other is that studies often cannot be reproduced because of poor design – a situation that has only been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the urgent demands that the pandemic has placed on the biomedical research community.

While acknowledging that animal experiments are usually regarded as a necessary step prior to testing new therapies in people, the researchers behind the new analysis conclude that the adoption of more humane housing for mice and rats would improve the scientific return on investment in those experiments by providing results that are more relevant to human health. Read Ivan Semeniuk’s full story here.

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