WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Freeland, Lighthizer resume NAFTA talks after long night for negotiators
Canada’s negotiating team in Washington is returning to the bargaining table to resume talks with their U.S. counterparts, hoping for a breakthrough to reach a deal on the North American free-trade agreement. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she is looking over the work that officials from both countries did during a long night of talks to move the needle on negotiations.
Canadian negotiators spent the morning huddled in the Canadian Embassy to discuss the outcomes of last night’s lengthy conversations with their assessment setting the stage for this afternoon’s face-to-face meeting between Freeland and her American counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, sources said on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the negotiations. Sources said both sides want a deal, but cautioned there remain disagreements on key issues, including dairy, culture and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism.
Here's a guide to the NAFTA saga so far.
Hollywood star Burt Reynolds dies at 82
Burt Reynolds, whose looks and charm made him one of Hollywood’s most popular actors as he starred in films such as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit in the '70s and '80s, died today at age 82, The Hollywood Reporter said, citing his manager. His career rebounded in 1997 with a nomination for a best supporting actor Academy Award for Boogie Nights and he won an Emmy Award for his role in the '90s TV series Evening Shade. Reynolds’ personal life sometimes overshadowed his movies, with marriages that ended in divorce to actresses Loni Anderson and Judy Carne and romances with others, including Sally Field and Dinah Shore.
Top Trump officials deny writing New York Times ‘resistance’ column
Top aides to Donald Trump scrambled today to deny they wrote an anonymous New York Times opinion column that slammed the U.S. president’s leadership style and described “a quiet resistance” to him within his own administration. By early afternoon, eight senior officials had disavowed the piece, including Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Trump responded to the piece yesterday by calling the anonymous writer “gutless,” suggesting it was treasonous and saying the Times should identify the person to the government for national security purposes. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders separately called on the individual to resign.
The whole affair is hardly a journalist coup, Lawrence Martin writes: "The Times played right into the hands of Mr. Trump and his supporters who rail against takedowns by unidentified sources and claim there is a deep state out to get them. What more evidence do they need than the all-powerful New York Times caving to the demands of a maligner to go nameless?"
India’s top court legalizes gay sex in landmark ruling
India’s top court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex today in a landmark judgment that sparked celebrations across India and elsewhere in South Asia, where activists hope to push for similar reform. Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India, as well as in neighboring Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It was reinstated as a criminal offense in India in 2013, punishable up to 10 years in prison, after four years of decriminalization. A five-judge bench in India’s Supreme Court was unanimous in overturning the ban. But the ruling could face a legal challenge from groups that say gay sex erodes traditional values.
Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan drowned in bathtub after drinking, inquest finds
The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan accidentally drowned in a bathtub after drinking, a coroner’s inquest has concluded. A police officer told the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court that O’Riordan was found in pyjamas submerged in her bathtub at a London hotel on the morning of Jan. 15. Five miniature alcohol bottles and a bottle of champagne were found in the room, and toxicology tests revealed a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit for driving. “Therapeutic” amounts of prescription medication were also found, the inquest heard.
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Canada’s main stock index fell today despite optimism for a revised NAFTA pact as top U.S. and Canadian trade negotiators held a second day of talks. Cannabis and energy stocks dropped the most. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX fell 36.63 points to 16,100.94.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq declined as the possibility of more U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports loomed and as tech stocks stumbled on warnings from chipmakers and concerns about increased regulation of social media companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.88 points to 25,995.87, the S&P 500 lost 10.55 points to end at 2,878.05 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at 7,922.73, 72.44 points lower.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL
More than 100 people are being sent to court after the first weekend of the new school year at Queen’s University under a new city pilot project aimed at controlling intoxicated crowds in public. The crowds that assemble around this time of year – made up of students, locals and visitors – have been known to block off key city ambulance routes, cram into unsanctioned house parties and congest local emergency rooms in Kingston. Now, under the pilot project, anyone ticketed for high-risk or disruptive behavior during orientation week, homecoming weekend and St. Patrick’s Day or anyone charged with any offence under the city’s six-month-old nuisance party bylaw, will have to appear in person at a Kingston courthouse.
Trump’s actions on NAFTA, tariffs show that a deal is not a deal. Not any more
"Chapter 19 exists now, but Mr. Trump still applied tariffs to steel and threatened to apply them to autos, knowing a lot of damage can be done before cases are litigated, and that threats give him leverage. That doesn’t mean Chapter 19 is not useful – it allows for disputes to be settled by binational panels, instead of U.S. courts, and domestic courts can display bias. But it won’t stop another presidential strong-arm move." - Campbell Clark (for subscribers)
Can Andrew Scheer lead conservatives to success?
Mr. Scheer may feel he is saddled with his promises. But he should remember Peter MacKay’s leadership in reuniting conservative forces in 2003 despite promising David Orchard there would be no merger. Seizing an unexpected opportunity to unite conservative-minded parties on favourable terms, Mr. MacKay cast Mr. Orchard aside for the good of the country. With the use of emissaries – and after launching a massive consultation within the party – Mr. MacKay showed that good political leaders can break bad promises. - Bob Plamondon, author
Looking to up your career game with a business degree? Here's our guide to the best MBA and EMBA programs in Canada to help you find the best one for you. Report on Business magazine also breaks down how much it’ll cost, who’s got the most international cred, where you’ll get the biggest salary bump, and the right schedule to suit your life.
LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Meet Tamara Levitt, the Toronto woman who soothes millions on the Calm app
You can scarcely go out the door in California without bumping into a Zen master or meditation practitioner. And yet, when it came to choosing a voice for one of the world’s most popular mental wellness apps, the founders of San-Francisco-based Calm.com turned to a Torontonian. Downloaded 30 million times, the Calm app relies on the tranquil tones of Tamara Levitt, 46, who writes, produces and narrates its mindfulness and meditation sessions.
She appears composed and confident now, but Levitt admits that has not always been the case. “I had a difficult and complex relationship with my father,” she says. “I grew up without a strong sense of safety and stability.” She coped by channelling her inner angst into music and acting. “From the time I was really young, I was singing and writing music,” she says.
Schools putting real ‘play’ back into playgrounds
For 15 minutes on a blistering Wednesday afternoon, students at Chester Elementary School in Toronto were set free to run through the sprinklers in their shoes and regular clothes on the field. Others preferred to climb nearby trees, or hop off an old stump to get onto the roof of the storage shed – all with the principal's enthusiastic blessing, Caroline Alphonso writes.
It was a way to cool off or find shade on a humid day. But there was something else at play. In an era when so many parents seem to be filling every free minute of their child's day with organized activities – sports teams, music lessons or tutoring – a growing number of educators across the country are embracing the idea of putting unstructured play back into school playgrounds.