Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Health Canada has approved a new COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna that targets both the original strain of the novel coronavirus as well as the Omicron variant.
The newly approved shots, called bivalent vaccines, are designed to recognize specific mutations in the spike protein of the Omicron BA.1 subvariant. Britain approved Moderna’s new vaccine two weeks ago, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Omicron-fighting shots the green light this week.
Shipments of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the next few days, and there will be enough supply for all Canadians 18 and older to get a dose this fall and winter, officials said.
- Omicron booster vaccine expected to arrive in Ontario next week, Health Minister says
- EU drug regulator backs Omicron-adapted COVID-19 shots
- Ontario scraps five-day COVID-19 isolation, announces booster shots for children
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UN team arrives to inspect Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia atomic plant after shelling shuts down nuclear reactor
The UN nuclear agency chief, Rafael Grossi, said his experts were “not going anywhere” today, after they crossed the front to Russian-held territory in Ukraine to reach Europe’s biggest atomic power plant.
An IAEA inspection team braved intense shelling to reach the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, arriving after a delay of several hours in a large convoy with a heavy presence of Russian soldiers nearby.
Grossi personally led the mission and after returning to Ukrainian-held territory told reporters that a group of IAEA experts had stayed behind and would provide an impartial, neutral and technically sound assessment of the plant, where the situation has been unravelling in recent weeks as Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of creating a risk of atomic catastrophe.
- Germany calls Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline maintenance ‘incomprehensible,’ fears shutdown may continue
- Top Russian oil official dies after fall from hospital window, circumstances unclear
- Opinion: Can our economic warfare defeat Putin’s actual warfare?
Canadian miner Turquoise Hill reaches agreement to sell itself to Rio Tinto, minority shareholder may complicate deal
Canadian copper miner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. has reached an agreement to sell itself to Anglo Australian megaminer Rio Tinto International Holdings Ltd., but uncertainty swirls over whether the deal will succeed with a prominent minority shareholder already indicating it intends to vote against the deal.
Montreal-based Turquoise on Thursday said a special board committee had accepted Rio’s latest offer of $43 a share in cash, after rejecting several lower bids over the past few months. London-based Rio, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, is poised to pay $4.2-billion for the 49 per cent of shares it doesn’t already own.
The acquisition by Rio of Turquoise would strengthen the company’s position in copper, a metal that is increasingly being marketed as a cleaner metal and is a key material in electrical conductors and is increasingly being used in the fast-growing electric-car industry.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
U.S. study shows alarming dip in children’s reading and math skills during pandemic: Test scores released today showed that American nine-year-olds’ reading and mathematics achievement levels had dropped to levels last seen two decades ago, revealing the damage the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on education in the United States.
Biden’s prime-time speech will warn of Trumpism’s threat to democracy: U.S. President Joe Biden will sound an alarm tonight about what he views as “extremist” threats to American democracy from the restive forces of Trumpism, aiming to reframe the November elections as part of an unceasing battle for the “soul of the nation.”
Twitter unveils edit button: The feature announced Wednesday will become available to Canadian subscribers of Twitter Blue, the company’s paid subscription service that has only launched in Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, for testing as early as late September.
Rogers lenders agree on extension to close Shaw acquisition: Rogers Communications Inc. says its lenders have agreed to give the company more time to close its planned acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc., in return for up to $775-million in extra fees on financing for the $26-billion deal that’s been delayed by regulatory opposition.
Feist exits Arcade Fire tour over Win Butler allegations – “I can’t continue”: Canadian musician Leslie Feist says she’s leaving Arcade Fire’s tour because of sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Win Butler.
The Canadian benchmark stock index closed lower for a fifth day, losing a further 1% as energy and materials stocks tumbled on falling commodity prices. It has now lost 5.1%, or just over 1,000 points, during the past five sessions.
The TSX lost 188.09 points or 0.97 per cent, ending at 19,142.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 145.99 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 31,656.42; the S&P 500 gained 11.85 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 3,966.85; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 31.07 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 11,785.13.
The Canadian dollar traded for 76.27 cents US compared with 76.48 cents US on Tuesday.
The harassment of Chrystia Freeland and the perils of the public-facing politician
“I’m as charmed as anyone by the romantic notion that the number-two leader in our country, its most powerful economic policy maker, can share a bike path with a food delivery guy and chat in the check-out line with a soccer mom. It’s lovely. But in the political climate that is gaining an increasing foothold in Canada, perhaps it’s foolhardy.” – David Parkinson
Rather than restoring seriousness to power, Britain’s Conservatives have opted for more cake
“Cakeism – a nonsense of that half-eaten scone of a man, Boris Johnson – emerged from his Brexit negotiations, when the Prime Minister promised that his country could have its cake and eat it, too.” – Tom Rachman
A new measure of unhealthy drinking
If you have three or more alcoholic drinks in a week, you’re putting your health at risk. That’s according to a new report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction. The CCSA is recommending that Canada’s current, more than a decade-old guidelines be updated. The Decibel podcast spoke with Catherine Paradis, the interim associate director of research at the CCSA and co-chair of this new report about what she’s learned on how alcohol affects our health and more. Listen here.
TODAY’S LONG READ
TIFF is back for 2022 – and with it, glitz, glam and YYZ anxiety
A return to a fully in-person Toronto International Film Festival means a return to fully in-person parties, including all the red-carpet premieres, cocktail-fuelled deal-making, and frantic award-season campaigning that are essential elements of the festival. Parties, it seems so far, will be slower to return to the calibre they once were, but what’s coming feels like a step in the right direction.
With invites out for a number of happenings, you never know just how buzzy a party will be until the biggest star shows up – or rather who’s contractually obligated to make an appearance. This year, the realities of travel, namely the persistent delays at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and how to circumnavigate them, are top of mind and will indeed affect who comes to town and for just how long. Read Nolan Bryant on what a return to an in-person TIFF will entail.