Skip to main content

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

Health Canada approves Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 drug

Up until now, the only approved treatments for COVID-19 had to be given in hospital intravenously or through an injection. Pfizer’s new treatment – Paxlovid – is the first oral COVID-19 treatment that can be taken at home. It has been greenlit for adults who test positive on a molecular or a rapid test, who have mild or moderate symptoms and are at high risk of becoming severely ill.

The drug maker says some of it has already been delivered for use, but extremely limited supplies mean the Public Health Agency of Canada is asking provinces and territories to prioritize the treatment for people at most risk of serious illness, including severely immune-compromised patients and some unvaccinated people over the age of 60.

Air Canada, WestJet, Pearson airport urge end to COVID-19 arrival testing for vaccinated travellers

Canada’s busiest airport and largest airlines issued a joint letter today to the federal and Ontario governments, calling on them to scrap the arrival test that is required on top of a vaccination mandate and prearrival negative COVID-19 test.

Some of the country’s leading health experts also question the policy’s value. A growing number of physicians and public-health experts say the rule should be revisited because it is out of step with Canada’s overall approach to COVID-19 and diverts critical lab resources to asymptomatic people with less need.

Other COVID-19 news:

This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.

Former president Poroshenko returns to Ukraine to face treason case as Russian war fears escalate

Petro Poroshenko, the former Ukrainian president, was immediately sent to court upon his arrival in Kyiv to face treason charges, exacerbating political divisions at a time when the Russian military remains massed at the country’s border. Video footage posted online appeared to show Russia accumulating more forces near its 2,000-kilometre-long frontier with Ukraine.

Trainloads of Russian troops and military equipment also began deploying in Belarus, which shares its own border with Ukraine. Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s Moscow-backed dictator, said the troops were arriving ahead of joint Russia-Belarus drills that would take place next month.

Petro Poroshenko speaks to his supporters from the courthouse balcony before entering the building Kyiv, Ukraine on Jan 17, 2022.ANTON SKYBA/The Globe and Mail

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Texas rabbi says captor grew ‘belligerent’ late in standoff: A rabbi who was among four people held hostage at a Texas synagogue said Sunday that their armed captor grew “increasingly belligerent and threatening” toward the end of the 10-hour standoff, which ended with an FBI SWAT team rushing into the building and the captor’s death. The investigation stretched to England, where police in Manchester announced that two teenagers were in custody in connection with the standoff.

Former ambassador to China cleared of possible ethics breach: Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion says Dominic Barton, Canada’s former ambassador to Beijing, did not violate ethics rules when he accepted an offer to chair Rio Tinto, a global mining company that does much of its business in China.

Canadian home prices jumped by record 26.6 per cent in 2021: The typical price of a home across the country rose at its fastest pace on record yet to a high of $811,700 year over the year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s home price index, which adjusts for pricing volatility.

EU faces threat of prolonged ‘twindemic’ with return of flu: Influenza has returned to Europe at a faster-than-expected rate this winter after almost disappearing last year, raising concerns about a prolonged “twindemic” with COVID-19 amid some doubts about the effectiveness of flu vaccines.

Flights sent to assess Tonga damage after volcanic eruption: New Zealand and Australia were able to send military surveillance flights to Tonga today to assess the damage a huge undersea volcanic eruption left in the Pacific island nation. New Zealand hopes to send essential supplies, including much-needed drinking water, on a military transport plane Tuesday.

Winter storm causes closings, disruptions across country: A winter storm plowing through a large swath of southern Ontario caused widespread school closings and transportation disruptions Monday, and prompted some communities to cancel COVID-19 immunization clinics. Toronto police shut down two of the city’s major highways, due to safety concerns. Take a look at the day in photos here.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday to its highest level in nearly eight weeks, led by gains for energy and financial shares.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 179.89 points at 21,537.45, its highest closing level since Nov. 25. TSX trading volumes were lower than usual as U.S. markets were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Gains for the index were notched as shares globally recovered some ground after declines at the end of last week. Canadian firms see labor shortages intensifying and wage pressures increasing, with strong demand growth and supply chain constraints putting upward pressure on prices.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

TALKING POINTS

2022 is starting out to be a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day year for Biden

David Shribman: “The unbending oaks of Washington left Mr. Biden drooping like one of those weeping willows that flourish in his home state of Delaware”

Russia must reveal the truth about the fate of human rights hero Raoul Wallenberg

Irwin Cotler: “It is imperative that the international community finally secure for Wallenberg and his family the justice long-denied.” Irwin Cotler is international chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, former minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada and long-time parliamentarian.

Indigenous people need allies as we keep fighting for a seat at the table

Lisa Beaucage: “As a nation, Canadians have collectively grieved the loss of children found buried at residential schools, and they have moved on with their busy lives.” Lisa Beaucage is a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

We must establish Canadian university education as a prestigious brand worldwide

Munir Sheikh: “There is a truly important economic advantage that Canada has essentially ignored: the intersection between our systems of university education and immigration.” Munir Sheikh is the former chief statistician of Canada, deputy minister of labour and associate deputy minister of finance.

LIVING BETTER

Outside or via YouTube, exercise has great mental, physical benefits for kids (parents, too)

Even before the pandemic, getting kids up and moving was a daily challenge. The recent wave of school lockdowns has rekindled parental anxiety about how much exercise their kids are getting. Fortunately, online programs such as Cosmic Kids Yoga and classes that include gymnastic movements to develop balance, co-ordination, flexibility, and other skills have been shown to boost cognitive performance and mental health.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Anne Frank’s diary was published in 1947, and in the decades since, the identity of the informant has remained a mystery. A new book by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan documents the years-long investigation and traces the Franks’ movements and arrest and follows several theories as to who betrayed them. Each theory was disproved but one. Marsha Lederman reports.

Journalist takes images of pictures of Anne Frank at the renovated Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.Peter Dejong/The Associated Press

Evening Update is written and compiled by Andrew Saikali. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.