Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing begins in Vancouver
Despite the celebrity atmosphere, the case has enormous consequences for Canada internationally, politically and economically, as the fate of two Canadians detained in China remains uncertain.
Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of U.S. authorities who accuse her of fraud. Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavour were detained in China 10 days later in apparent retaliation.
At issue at this week’s hearing is the legal test of double criminality, meaning if the conduct she’s accused of would also be a crime in Canada, then Meng should be extradited to face the accusations.
The defence team, led by senior Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck, is arguing that while the offence of fraud exists in both countries, in Meng’s case it pertains to an alleged violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran; Canada dropped similar sanctions in 2016.
For background on the case and to keep up to date with developments, check out our explainer here.
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SARS-like virus has been transmitted from person to person, Chinese health authorities say
A new SARS-like virus spreading in China and into other countries in Asia has been transmitted from person to person, Chinese health authorities said today, as the number of confirmed cases rose to 224.
Health workers in Wuhan in central China, where most of the cases have been confirmed, as well as family members who have not travelled to the city have been infected by the new type of coronavirus, according to comments reported by state media.
Evidence suggests it has begun to spread more rapidly just days ahead of the Lunar New Year celebration – China’s busiest travel season.
Over the weekend, Canada said it plans to take measures at some major airports in the coming week to identify people travelling from Wuhan who may have flu-like symptoms.
Read more on the Wuhan coronavirus: What we know so far about the new disease from China.
The latest on Ontario school strikes
All four of the province’s major education unions are involved in some form job action, from work-to-rule to one-day walkouts, as contract talks stall with the government.
- The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has one-day strikes planned at various school boards every day this week, starting at the Toronto, York Region and Ottawa-Carleton today.
- Tomorrow, the public high-school teachers’ union will continue with its rotating strikes, the same day the English Catholic teachers’ union will stage a one-day provincewide strike.
The issues include:
- Class sizes: The province has proposed boosting the size of high-school classes, although it has reduced its planned increase. Government figures show that bigger classes would result in thousands of teaching positions being phased out.
- Wages: Education Minister Stephen Lecce says this remains a stumbling block, with the unions asking for a 2-per-cent increase reflecting the rate of inflation, in the face of the government’s wage-cap legislation meant to limit public-sector pay increases to 1 per cent.
- Online learning courses: The government recently walked back its proposal on online courses, saying it will require high-school students to take two courses to graduate instead of the initial plan for four. The concern is that it would still lead to fewer teaching jobs.
Premier Pallister says Manitoba is working on new climate deal with Ottawa
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is seeking a deal with Ottawa on a climate-change plan that would replace the federal carbon tax imposed in his province.
Pallister made his intentions known after a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is in Winnipeg for a three-day cabinet retreat.
Manitoba announced in 2018 that it would not agree to Ottawa’s conditions on a carbon tax, but Pallister said it is time to stop playing politics with environmental policy in Canada.
Read more about carbon pricing in Canada: A guide to who’s affected, who pays what and who opposes it.
Separately on the climate file today, a group of U.S. and Canadian researchers has found that ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have played an important and underappreciated role in the rapid warming of the Arctic.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Newfoundland’s big dig: A state of emergency stretched into its fourth day in St. John’s today as Armed Forces personnel began to help dig out a city where travel remained difficult and some residents are helping neighbours who have run out of food.
Violent demonstrations in Lebanon: The mass demonstrations in Lebanon that brought down the government in October entered a new, dangerous phase over the weekend when battles erupted between protesters and police, pushing the economy another step closer to collapse.
Gun rally in Richmond: Thousands of gun-rights activists rallied peacefully at the Virginia Capitol today under a heavy police presence, protesting against the state’s plan to pass gun-control legislation. The expected participation of white supremacists and fringe militia groups raised fears of a repeat of the violence that exploded in 2017 in Charlottesville.
Canada’s main stock index rose today with gains in gold and industrial stocks. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 38.37 points at 17,597.39.
U.S. stock and bond markets were closed today for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes Enbridge turnaround, top analysts’ stock picks and dividend hikes on the horizon.
My grief for Australia: I no longer recognize the land that raised me
“This grief and anger belong to all of us. This planet is our home, and there’s no more looking away: It is on fire.” - Alison Wines, writer
Abraham, my mother, found a life beyond the gender binary. I wish I could have been a part of it
“There were no words back then to describe the life my mother had chosen to live. I didn’t need any labels to accept my mother and their life choices. There is a simple beauty in the idea of living in a world that doesn’t need labels.” - Heather O’Neill, author
Strong evidence shows that regular physical activity reduces the risk of at least seven different types of cancer, and moderate evidence indicates it raises your chances of survival if you do get diagnosed, Alex Hutchinson writes. For those undergoing cancer treatment, it staves off reductions in physical function and helps reduce anxiety, depression and cancer-related fatigue. No single set of exercise guidelines will ever apply to all cancer survivors. But the most essential message is the simplest: Avoid inactivity.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Less than a year after launch, an innovative direct-to-consumer pantyhose brand that had outgrown its modest production facility in Ontario cottage country moved to Montreal’s venerable garment sector to tap into the resources and growth opportunities available there.
Katherine Homuth, the founder and chief executive officer of Sheertex (formerly called Sheerly Genius), shipped the company’s first pair of pantyhose – billed as indestructible and rip-proof – in February, 2019, from Bracebridge, Ont. Total number of employees: 25.
Today, she oversees production of a broad range of pantyhose and related products at a 115,000-square-foot Montreal factory employing about 200 people.
At the same time, Sheertex is helping rejuvenate the city’s textile sector, which was hit hard by the rise of low-cost competition, new technology and the slashing of tariffs on products from abroad. Read Bertrand Marotte’s full story here.