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

The NDP says it has reached a deal with the Liberals on the first piece of a national pharmacare program that includes coverage for both birth control and diabetes medication.

A source said the deal includes funding for a broad range of contraceptives – such as prescription birth control, intrauterine devices, the morning-after pill and the abortion pill – along with a large majority of diabetes drugs.

The deal is a crucial part of the supply-and-confidence pact between the two parties and comes before the March 1 deadline to introduce legislation. Sources say that the legislation, which will be tabled next week, does not amount to a national phamacare program but is a step in that direction.

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Poilievre says other parties should have voted against ArriveCan’s growing costs

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says MPs in other parties should have voted against ArriveCan’s growing costs when they had the chance.

He pointed to millions’ worth of specific spending items tied to the government app that Parliament approved during the pandemic. When Parliament resumes Monday, the Conservative Leader is planning to highlight the fact that MPs twice held votes on spending that included specific references to ArriveCan. His party will be launching a video to point out that the Liberals, Bloc Québécois and NDP all supported those votes, while the Conservatives voted against.

The Globe first reported in October, 2022 that the cost of the ArriveCan app had grown to more than $54-million.

McGill, Concordia launch legal action against Quebec’s tuition hike for out-of-province students

Concordia University and McGill University are taking the Quebec government to court over its move to raise tuition for out-of-province students and change the funding model for international students.

They’re pursuing separate court proceedings in a last-ditch attempt to forestall the new rules that they say are discriminatory and financially damaging.

Ukrainians are worried about the fate of Kharkiv as the country marks two years since Russia’s invasion

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is entering its third year. The first anniversary was a slightly celebratory event for Ukraine, having survived a year of Russia’s onslaught and with a counteroffensive in the works. The second anniversary, however, is marred by the country’s depleted military resources and renewed Russian aggression.

Kharkiv is eyeing the coming year anxiously. There has been an upsurge in missile attacks targeting the city. But along with this, Russian troops are pushing closer to the city of Kupyansk, a key transportation hub 100 kilometres to the east. If Kupyansk falls to Russia, as was the case for the first six months of the invasion, Kharkiv would again be in President Vladimir Putin’s sights. Just like two years ago.

The question of whether to leave Kharkiv again haunts Ukrainian families who had already fled once and returned in September, 2022. Mark MacKinnon reports on the situation.

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Damaged apartment buildings in the neighbourhood of Northen Saltivka in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2024.Olga Ivashchenko/The Globe and Mail


Latest in the Middle East: Israel proposes to keep security control over Palestinian areas and make reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip dependent on demilitarization, according to a plan unveiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Meanwhile, Gaza truce talks were under way in Paris today in what appears to be the most serious push for weeks to halt the fighting and see Israeli and foreign hostages released.

Trump news: Donald Trump was formally ordered by a New York judge to pay more than US$454-million after being found liable for manipulating his net worth, in a civil fraud case brought by New York State’s Attorney-General. As well, the former president said that he would “strongly support the availability of IVF” and called on lawmakers in Alabama to preserve access to the treatment. It was his first comment since an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that led some providers in the state to suspend their in vitro fertilization programs.

Lynx Air ceases operations: Discount airline Lynx Air says it is struggling to fund daily operations and will stop flying on Sunday night after being granted creditor protection in an Alberta court.

Lunar lander survives: The moon’s newest arrival was said to be “alive and well” a day after making the first U.S. landing in half a century, but flight controllers were still trying to get a better handle on its bearings.

First Indigenous-owned investment dealer in Canada: Scotiabank is launching the first majority Indigenous-owned investment dealer in Canada through an agreement with two Indigenous development corporations and one First Nation.


TSX ends higher, wraps up week with gains

Canada’s main stock index gained on Friday, wrapping up the week on a positive note, helped by gains in material and tech stocks.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 95.07 points at 21,413.15.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62.42 points at 39,131.53. The S&P 500 index was up 1.77 points at 5,088.80, while the Nasdaq composite was down 44.80 points at 15,996.82.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.11 cents US, unchanged from Thursday.

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Justice Hogue can still fix the growing mess at the election interference inquiry

“The inquiry’s overriding concern should be restoring Canadians’ faith in the integrity of the electoral system, and answering the questions of what the government knew, when it knew it, and what actions it took.” – The Editorial Board

My dream of a democratic Afghanistan came true. The country needs another miracle for it to happen again

“The fall of the Afghan Republic serves as a stark reminder of the complexities of state-building in a context of deep-seated political, social and historical challenges. Afghanistan was a collective failure of the Afghan people, Afghanistan government, the international community and UN agencies.” – Sima Samar


How much should we listen to our wearable health-tracking devices?

As helpful as the data wearables provide can be for your fitness journey, experts suggest they should be taken with a grain of salt. Most numbers fed to us by our wearables – such as sleep scores, recovery scores or stress levels for example – are estimates and inferences based on a handful of measured metrics such as heart rate and body temperature. Still, to some, the devices are key to their vitality. Read the full story.


Booking your vacation? Consider the added cost of cancellation inflation

Open this photo in gallery:

iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Last summer, Jason Kirby and his family’s vacation to British Columbia was thrown into chaos when wildfires began ravaging the next stop on their trip – the Okanagan region. The province’s Premier urged tourists to stay away. There was only one problem: The owner of the cottage they had booked months earlier using the short-term rental marketplace VRBO was unmoved by the ban. The deadline to cancel and get a refund had passed, she told them. “What followed,” writes Kirby, “was a crash course in the fine print of vacation cancellations, one in which we ultimately found a loophole that saved us thousands of dollars. But it also served as a reminder that in a world beset by wildfires, floods and wars – not to mention the occasional global pandemic – planning a vacation increasingly means hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.” Read the full story.

Evening Update is written by Prajakta Dhopade. 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.

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