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

First ruling by USMCA panel finds Canada’s dairy trade conduct violates the treaty

The first dispute settlement panel called under the revised North American free-trade deal has ruled that Canada is violating the treaty and must change the way it grants special access to its heavily sheltered dairy market.

The disagreement over dairy between Canada and the United States is a first test of how the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will function as a replacement for the North American free-trade agreement.

The USMCA panel says Canada can no longer reserve preferential access, or tariff-rate quotas, for domestic processors, which ends up denying U.S. farmers the opportunity to sell into this country’s market.

Ottawa has 45 days to comply with the panel findings. While it was only made public today, the panel report was issued on Dec. 20, so Canada has until Feb. 3 to come into compliance.

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First Nations child-welfare agreements reached out of court set stage for final settlement

The federal government and parties involved in a human-rights tribunal case, as well as class actions on First Nations child welfare, released details of agreements-in-principle today, including $20-billion for compensation for children and $20-billion for long-term reform.

Those agreements were reached late this past Friday after intense negotiations that were facilitated by former Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair Murray Sinclair. Ottawa says they will provide a basis for final settlement agreements to be negotiated over the coming months.

The compensation agreement includes First Nations children on-reserve and in the Yukon, who were removed from their homes between April 1, 1991, and March 31, 2022, and for their parents and caregivers. The agreement on long-term reform is designed to ensure that discrimination found by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal never repeats itself, the Indigenous Services Department said in a statement.

The latest COVID-19 developments: Return to school delays in Canada, global record cases in the U.S., plus more

Across Canada: Manitoba and Prince Edward Island have joined other provinces in delaying in-person learning at schools as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

In Alberta, the opposition is calling for better supports for students when they return to class. And opposition politicians want the Ontario government to make testing available to children attending daycare and to resume the reporting of cases in child care centres.

Read more: As Ontario closes schools for two weeks, fault lines over measures to combat COVID-19 spread once again focused on classrooms

The United States set a global record of almost one million new coronavirus infections reported yesterday, according to a Reuters tally, nearly double the country’s peak of 505,109 hit just a week ago as the highly contagious Omicron variant shows no sign of slowing.

Internationally, the World Health Organization says more evidence is emerging that the Omicron is affecting the upper respiratory tract, causing milder symptoms than previous variants.


  • With hospitals in crisis, it’s time there were consequences for vaccine holdouts Gary Mason
  • Ontario and Quebec’s movie theatre shutdown is shameful Barry Hertz
Open this photo in gallery:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his booster injection of a COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Ottawa, Jan. 4, 2022.PATRICK DOYLE/Reuters


Mayo Schmidt departs Nutrien: The Saskatchewan-based fertilizer giant is parting ways with CEO Mayo Schmidt after naming him to the top job just this past April, giving no reason in a news release today for the swift departure.

Prince Andrew’s effort to toss sex assault lawsuit: A U.S. judge today appeared skeptical of a bid by Britain’s Prince Andrew to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was 17 and being trafficked by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Groping case against Cuomo dropped: Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo won’t face criminal prosecution over an allegation that he fondled an aide, after a prosecutor said Tuesday he was dropping the case because he couldn’t prove it.

Hedley frontman’s trial delayed again: Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard, the frontman for the band Hedley, has once again had his sexual assault trial postponed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice says there will be no new jury selection until at least Feb. 7.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average scored a record closing high for a second straight day as financial and industrial shares rallied, while the Nasdaq Composite fell. The S&P 500 was near flat, with declines in shares of big growth names including Tesla weighing on the index and the Nasdaq.

The Dow rose 214.59 points or 0.59 per cent to 36,799.65, the S&P 500 lost 3.02 points or 0.06 per cent to end at 4,793.54 points, and the Nasdaq dropped 210.08 points or 1.33 per cent to 15,622.72.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 13.68 points or 0.06 per cent to 21,236.52. The loonie rose 0.29 per cent to 78.686 U.S. cents.

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Is ‘Dry January’ the way to kick off 2022? Why abstaining from alcohol could be a starting point for better health

“Many people drink a lot more than they care to admit. They use alcohol to numb their fears, sadness, anxiety or anger – and there’s a lot of that going around now.” André Picard

In a deeply divided U.S., Americans struggle over how to commemorate Jan. 6

“The struggle over the legacy of Jan. 6 mirrors the deep political divides that are reflected in Americans’ colliding views of [Donald] Trump, of the outcome of the 2020 election, and of mask and vaccine mandates.” David Shribman


Who couldn’t use a little distraction these days? Here’s a list of 22 under-the-radar films to watch for streaming and in theatres in ‘22. They include the star vehicle Michelle Yeoh deserves (Everything Everywhere All At Once), art perhaps imitating life as Nicolas Cage plays a performer in massive debt who needs whatever payday comes his way (The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent), plus Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham and a conceit involving international thieves and crooked movie stars (Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre).


What will Silicon Valley learn from Elizabeth Holmes’s fraud conviction?

Open this photo in gallery:

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives to attend her fraud trial at federal court in San Jose, Calif., Jan. 3, 2022.BRITTANY HOSEA-SMALL/Reuters

U.S. federal prosecutors depicted former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes as a charlatan obsessed with fame and fortune. On the witness stand, she cast herself as a visionary trailblazer in male-dominated Silicon Valley who was emotionally and sexually abused by her former lover and business partner, Sunny Balwani.

The trial also laid bare the pitfalls of one of the go-to moves of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs – conveying a boundless optimism regardless of whether it’s warranted, known as “fake it `til you make it.” That ethos helped hatch groundbreaking companies such as Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Apple – the latter co-founded by one of Holmes’s heroes, Steve Jobs.

But few expect her conviction to lower the wattage on the brash promises and bold exaggerations that have become a routine part of the tech industry’s innovation hustle. Read the full story here.

Related: Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes found guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy, not guilty on four others

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