Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Palestinians fled neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City on Friday as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of artillery fire and air strikes, saying it was clearing a network of militant tunnels ahead of a possible ground invasion.
Israel has massed troops along the border and called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants have fired some 1,800 rockets, and the Israeli military has launched more than 600 air strikes, toppling at least three high-rise apartment buildings, and has shelled some areas with tanks stationed near the frontier.
Meanwhile, communal violence in Israel erupted for a fourth night. Jewish and Arab mobs clashed in the flashpoint town of Lod, even after Israel dispatched additional security forces. Gaza health officials say 119 people have been killed, including 31 children and 19 women, with 830 wounded. Seven people have been killed in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.
In many countries, dissatisfaction with governments’ COVID-19 pandemic response is growing
Vaccine hesitancy and concerns about safety have declined steadily around the world over the past year, but people in many countries, including Canada, have become more unhappy with how their governments have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers at Imperial College London have been tracking 540,000 people in 29 countries since April, 2020, to gauge how the public has responded to the virus. The latest findings, released Friday, showed polling results from 14 countries, including Canada, that have been surveyed most regularly.
The report found that willingness to get vaccinated has risen in every country except Australia since November, when the first vaccines were approved.
- Health officials lay out roadmap for what life could look like after most Canadians receive COVID-19 vaccines
- Spread of COVID-19 variant forces U.K. to reduce interval of second vaccine doses to older Britons
- The overlap between lockdown agitators and hate groups is a threat to us all
- The AstraZeneca fiasco is the latest example of the Gen X curse
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Jason Kenney distances himself from decision to expel two members from UCP caucus: The Alberta Premier says the decision affirms confidence of the caucus in his leadership, and his government can’t be distracted right now by those with “personal agendas.” Kenney made the comments this morning in an interview on CHED radio, one day after his caucus voted to turf backbench members Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes.
Kansas City Southern endorses CN’s takeover bid over rival offer from CP Rail: KCS switched suitors late Thursday, endorsing a US$30-billion offer from Canadian National Railway Co. and spurning a US$25.2-billion bid from rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. KCS, which operates a network that links the U.S. Southwest to Mexico, said its board and advisers found Montreal-based CN Rail’s offer of US$200 a share in cash and 1.129 common shares to be a “superior proposal” to the friendly bid of US$90 in cash and 0.489 of a share that CP Rail announced in March.
Prince Harry says he thought about quitting royal life on several occasions: The Duke of Sussex compared his royal experience to “living in a zoo,” and told a podcast that he contemplated quitting royal life on several occasions while in his 20s. He spoke candidly in the episode about keeping his relationship with Meghan a secret and dealing with the U.K. media scrutiny.
A broad-based rally led by energy and financials helped North American stock markets to recover from big losses early in the week over concerns about rising inflation.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 230.88 points to 19,366.69.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 360.68 points at 34,382.13. The S&P 500 index was up 61.35 points at 4,173.85, while the Nasdaq composite was up 304.99 points at 13,429.98.
The Canadian dollar traded for 82.58 cents US compared with 82.30 cents US on Thursday.
A weakened Biden throws Canada under the bus, again
“Canada is bearing the brunt of a progressive takeover of the Democratic Party that has forced Mr. Biden to bow to the will of the likes of Ms. Whitmer, a rising star who is positioning herself to run for president in 2024.” - Konrad Yakabuski
We’re ready to spend again. But there are profound costs to consumption
“Many people think that the taproot of the planet’s environmental problems is the endless rise of the human population. That’s no longer the case. According to the United Nations’ panel of experts on global resources, overconsumption surpassed overpopulation as the greatest driver of our eco-crises some time around the turn of the millennium.” - J.B. MacKinnon
Canada’s COVID-19 hotel-quarantine program is a farce, and it should be scrapped
“It is embarrassing at this point that Canada’s government persists with the charade that its hotel quarantine program for international travellers is in any way mandatory, serious or science-based. It is not, and has never been, compulsory or universal.” - Robyn Urback
Three new books to get you in the mood to tend to your garden
These books about gardening will help you find, or get back in touch with, your green thumb:
- The Way of the Gardener: Lost in the Weeds Along the Camino de Santiago: If you always dreamed of walking the historic Camino de Santiago, Lyndon Penner’s latest book is the perfect way to experience the botany of northern Spain.
- Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden: Professional gardener and memoirist Marc Hamer believes every garden has a story to tell.
- 100 Easy-To-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens: This perennial favourite of Canadian gardeners by Lorraine Johnson is back in print with a revised introduction and updated information.
TODAY’S LONG READ
A Winnipeg family’s horror shows the limits of elder care at home
Seven years ago, Betty Siwicki died on the floor covered in infected bedsores. Her son Ronald, accused of neglect, went to prison.
The facts, as they have been laid out in court documents and news reports, are grim: Ronald Siwicki, a Winnipeg musician, well-known on the local rock scene, failed to seek help for his elderly mother, who had dementia, allowing her to die on the floor of their home, covered in feces and urine. She had lain there so long – at least 26 days, according to court documents – that some of the open bedsores on her legs and hips were infected to the bone. Her death, caused by complications from these infected sores, was determined to have been entirely preventable.
Presented with these facts, which Ron doesn’t dispute, it’s easy to believe Betty Siwicki died at the hands of a callous monster. But the story is not so clear-cut.
Read Wency Leung’s full story here.