Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The latest in coronavirus news: U.S. death toll surpasses 500,000, Britain outlines plans to ease restrictions and more
The United States today crossed the staggering milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths in just over a year. It had recorded more than 28 million COVID-19 cases and 500,054 lives lost as of this afternoon, according to a tally of public-health data. With 4 per cent of the world’s population, the U.S. has 20 per cent of all COVID deaths and one of the highest rates of deaths per 100,000 residents.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a cautious plan to ease lockdown restrictions over the next four months in hopes that the country has managed to finally control a new variant of the COVID-19. Under the multistage plan, all schools in England will reopen on March 8 and households will be allowed to mix outside on a limited basis as of March 29. If all goes well, pubs and restaurants will resume operations outdoors in mid-April and indoors a month later.
In treatment developments, a study of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Scotland released today has found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs reduced hospitalization by up to 94 per cent after a single dose.
Canada, meanwhile, is poised to receive a record number of COVID-19 vaccine doses this week - more than 640,000 - with deliveries scheduled from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
In Ontario, the vaccine rollout could look different in each of its 34 public-health units as the province receives more doses in the coming weeks, provincial Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones says. Get up to date on rollouts across the country with our explainer here.
- Background: Which COVID-19 variants are in Canada?
- Mandatory hotel quarantine, other COVID-19 health measures now in effect at Canadian borders, airports
- Canada Post facility in Mississauga hit by major COVID-19 outbreak excluded from provincial inspections
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New Ontario legislation aims to end human trafficking
The Ontario government has introduced significant legislative changes aimed at curbing human trafficking, including requiring hotels to quickly provide guest registries to police and new obligations for businesses that come into contact with suspected victims. Measures include broad reforms to give police greater powers to access information for their investigations, to get help for victims sooner and to hold more offenders accountable.
Opinion: Sex trafficking is a game where the ‘Romeo pimps’ always win, and that has to end - Julia Drydyk, executive director of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking
Parliament declares China is committing genocide against its Muslim minorities
Members of Parliament overwhelmingly approved a motion introduced by the Conservative Party to formally recognize that China is committing genocide against its Muslim minorities, a declaration that Beijing’s ambassador has already warned would constitute interference in his country’s domestic affairs.
MPs, including many from the governing Liberal Party, also voted to adopt an amendment proposed by the Bloc Québécois that Canada urge the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games from Beijing if it continues the brutal treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet did not vote.
Opinion: Trudeau said Canada committed genocide. Why won’t he say the same of China? - Robyn Urback
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Canadian carriers unaffected by Boeing incident: Canada’s airline fleets are not affected by Boeing’s recommendation to ground its 777 aircraft after a dramatic incident during a U.S. flight over the weekend, as the type of engine involved is not in use by Canadian carriers.
Supreme Court rebuffs Trump: Donald Trump has suffered a major setback in his long quest to conceal details of his finances as the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain the former president’s tax returns and other records as part of an accelerating criminal investigation.
Lawsuit filed against MyPillow founder: Dominion Voting Systems has filed a US$1.3-billion defamation lawsuit against the founder and CEO of Minnesota-based MyPillow, saying that Mike Lindell falsely accused the company of rigging the 2020 presidential election.
NHL’s Artemi Panarin takes leave of absence: New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked a woman almost a decade ago, which he denies. Panarin has been a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and last month posted support on social media for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Daft Punk hang up their helmets: Grammy-winning electronic music pioneers Daft Punk have announced that they are breaking up after 28 years. The French duo have had hits including Get Lucky, featuring Pharrell Williams, and worked with Canada’s The Weeknd on songs such as Starboy and I Feel It Coming.
North American markets were mixed today, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing lower as climbing Treasury yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of high-flying growth companies. But Canada’s TSX closed with a modest gain, as energy and materials stocks rallied.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.37 points or 0.09 per cent to 31,521.69, the S&P 500 lost 30.21 points or 0.77 per cent to end at 3,876.50 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 341.41 points or 2.46 per cent to 13,533.05.
The S&P/TSX composite index added 32.47 points or 0.18 per cent to close at 18,416.74.
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 bargain bank stock, high-yielding dividend plays and last-minute RRSP ideas.
Attacks on Asian-Americans reveal a strange racial double standard
“Protecting racial groups is not a zero-sum game; ensuring the safety of one does not need to come at the expense of another.” - Debra Soh, sex neuroscientist and author
Are you ‘done’ with pandemic restrictions? How that feeling is crossing over into your work day
“Our collective personal actions affect any return-to-work plans. All those COVID restrictions we’re tired of can make a difference and eventually lead to lessening restrictions, including opening workplaces.” - Eileen Dooley, leadership coach
Many of us are longing to get out of the house these days. And research points to the multiple benefits of “green excercise,” a catch-all term for activity done in natural settings. Environmental factors such as better air quality and lower noise pollution almost certainly play a role. So, too, do psychological factors such as stress reduction.
TODAY’S LONG READ
A small business closes after 35 years selling food at Halifax farmers’ markets – and learns what a big impact it had
My parents’ food stall at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market never had a sign, so when people would ask where they could find them I would tell them they’re behind the butcher. When the butcher shop closed, I’d say, “They’re across from the florist.” But not long ago; the flower business left too. And now, as of Feb. 6, their business is gone as well.
For more than 35 years, my Taiwanese immigrant parents made and sold food at farmers’ markets in Halifax. Like many new immigrants, Pi-Yeng and Yi-Chiao Chen didn’t have a lot of money, didn’t speak much English and had limited employment options when they arrived in Canada. After a short-lived attempt at running a convenience store, they settled on a Chinese food counter and a sandwich shop in a food court as the businesses they would build. During all of this, they sold food at the Saturday farmers’ market in the city’s old Alexander Keith’s Brewery to supplement their income.
My parents were not successful in the standard ways of measuring the value of a business. They hadn’t grown to multiple locations, it wasn’t worth a tidy sum of money, they didn’t have a team of employees. And my mother still had to work every day. But judging by the incredible turnout and outpouring of support during their final business days earlier this month, they were more successful than they could have ever imagined. Read Pay Chen’s full story here.