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

CN to close ‘significant’ parts of its network if blockades are not removed

Canadian National Railway says it will be forced to close “significant” parts of its network if blockades, which followed RCMP arrests on Wet’suwet’en Nation territory in B.C., aren’t removed.

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CN has halted more than 150 freight trains since Thursday evening, when demonstrators set up blockades in British Columbia and Ontario in solidarity with opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses traditional Wet’suwet’en Nation territory.

Via Rail said 157 passenger trains have also been cancelled, affecting 24,500 travellers on routes between Montreal and Toronto, and Ottawa and Toronto.

Context: Wet’suwet’en chiefs vs. RCMP: A guide to the dispute over B.C.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline

Opinion: Duty to consult? Fine. But how? And with whom? - Andrew Coyne

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New name for novel coronavirus is COVID-19, plus more developments

The novel coronavirus will be called COVID-19, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as the agency began a two-day meeting where it appealed for sharing virus samples and speeding up research into drugs and vaccines.

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Canada: A second plane carrying evacuees from the quarantined region of Hubei, China, has landed at CFB Trenton in Southern Ontario. All 188 passengers were screened and have exhibited no symptoms of the novel coronavirus, joining the 213 who arrived at the base in the first plane last week.

China: Despite Beijing ordering the country back to work this week, a sprawling network of factories remained quiet today as virus fears, wide-reaching lockdowns and official reluctance kept workers off production lines.

Context: Keep up to date with development and catch up on the background with our explainer here.

Sudan agrees to have ex-president tried for genocide and war crimes at The Hague

Sudan’s transitional government has agreed to send its deposed former president Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of genocide and war crimes in Darfur.

That agreement is still subject to a final peace agreement between the government and Darfur rebel leaders.

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The ICC indicted him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of genocide and war crimes in Darfur, where more than 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million were forced to flee their homes as a result of a prolonged crackdown led by the military and pro-government militias.


Trump nominates ambassador to Canada: President Donald Trump has nominated Aldona Wos, a North Carolina Republican, physician and former diplomat, as the next U.S. ambassador to Canada, a post that has been vacant since August.

New role for Philpott: Former federal health minister Jane Philpott, who resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet over the SNC-Lavalin affair, has been tapped to lead the faculty of health sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston.

Dry January for Boeing: Boeing booked no new orders for airplanes last month, the first time it has come up empty in January since 1962, as its once best-selling jet, the 737 Max, remained grounded following two fatal crashes.

Weinstein not taking the stand: Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein will not testify in his own defence at his rape trial, his lawyers said today as they rested their case.

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Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips, wife to divorce: Peter Phillips, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth, and his Canadian wife Autumn will be divorcing after 12 years of marriage, the couple have announced.

Cause of death in British truck victims: Provisional post-mortem exams of 39 bodies found inside a shipping container in England concluded the victims from Vietnam died of a combination of a lack of oxygen and overheating in a closed space, police say.

Oil spilled during Sask. train derailment: The Saskatchewan government says about 1.2 million litres of oil was spilled during the fiery train derailment near Guernsey last week. The amount of oil recovered is still being determined, as a significant portion was burned off, it says.

Ukraine’s president shakes up staff: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed his chief of staff and put foreign affairs adviser Andriy Yermak in his place. Observers saw Andriy Bohdan’s dismissal as a sign that Zelensky wants to distance himself from billionaire tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky, who had employed Bohdan as his lawyer.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder dies: Joseph Shabalala, founder of the South African multi-Grammy-Award-winning music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has died at age 78. He known for his leadership of the choral group that shot to world acclaim, collaborating with Paul Simon on the Graceland album and many other artists.

(Photo by Alexander Joe/AFP via Getty Images)



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Several North American stock markets inched up to new record highs on a broad-based rally resulting from an easing of coronavirus concerns.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 36.54 points at 17,777.11, with the energy sector climbing as oil prices recovered from 13-month lows.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.48 point to 29,276.34, the S&P 500 gained 5.66 points to 3,357.75 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.55 points to 9,638.94.

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The death watch is on for Joe Biden’s presidential hopes

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“In the space of a week, assuming his New Hampshire results come in as dismally as predicted, he’s become moribund. Recovery is possible but unlikely. The vultures are hovering, and little sympathy is warranted.” - Lawrence Martin

How should media respond when an artist limits reviews to critics who are Indigenous, black and people of colour?

“It would be much easier to be outraged at my non-invitation to [bug playwright and performer Yolanda] Bonnell’s opening night, of course, if I could name a single Indigenous theatre critic regularly working in Toronto.” - J. Kelly Nestruck

Are the Leafs’ herky-jerky moves a sign of bad things to come?

“Once again, everything feels up in the air. A whole bunch of little things – Andersen’s neck, Campbell’s confidence, head coach Sheldon Keefe’s nerve, the local media’s bloodlust – could tip it off balance.” - Cathal Kelly


You can help yourself make the most of your travels by coming to the airport well-prepared for your flight. There are five must-haves to bring with you on the plane. They include:

  • Water: Avoid airport bottled water sticker shock by bringing your own travel container and filling up at a fountain after security.
  • Snacks: You never know when your flight might be stuck on the tarmac for hours or turbulence might delay food service.
  • Medication: Always have at least two days of medication in your carry-on bag. And if you need to take it at a certain time, keep it on you, not in the overhead bin.


I’m single and I’m fine with it – don’t pity me

The truth is, my marriage dissolved because it was a toxic relationship. Ultimately, both of us knew the marriage needed to end. There were no extramarital affairs, no big dramas that broke us up. It was simply years and years of trying to make it work, and finally recognizing that it was not going to.

Not everyone was disdainful. A good number of people offered me their pity. This also felt odd. I had made a choice that ultimately improved my life and my children’s lives. If you want to pity someone, pity those that stay in stale relationships because the unknown is too terrifying. For some people, stability is comforting. It doesn’t matter if that stability is suffocating the life out of them.

Another assumption I encounter is that I am lonely because I am single. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. When I was married, I was painfully lonely – I cried a lot more and laughed a lot less. I remember going to sleep at night with my partner lying next to me, both of us worlds apart, and the piercing loneliness that invaded me in those moments.

Being single does not mean being without love. Love is all around us. Read Carrie Freedman’s full essay here.

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