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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Canadian parliamentarians push China to immediately free two detained Canadians

A delegation of Canadian parliamentarians pressed Chinese officials today to immediately release two jailed Canadians, warning the continued detentions have caused a “major chill” in relations between the countries, Robert Fife and Michelle Zilio write.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper, one of the six lawmakers visiting China, said the delegation protested the treatment of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor. The two men were arrested on Dec. 10 – days after Canada detained Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. law enforcement agencies, sparking angry protests from China and threats of reprisals. The Canadians are accused of engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security.

Canadian universities are keeping a close eye on the diplomatic rift, Joe Friesen writes, concerned that a relationship worth billions of dollars to the economy could be disrupted. China is by far the largest source of international students in Canada.

Separately, a fundraiser for Mr. Spavor that had raised more than $14,000 has been deleted by U.S. internet firm GoFundMe, leaving organizers in the dark, Nathan VanderKlippe writes. People who donated said they received an e-mail early Saturday saying their money had been refunded. Less than 24 hours later, the campaign vanished without warning.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe apologizes to Sixties Scoop survivors

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has apologized to survivors of the Sixties Scoop for failing them (for subscribers). About 20,000 Indigenous children were seized from their birth families and relocated to non-Indigenous homes starting in the 1950s until the late 1980s. The practice stripped children of their language, culture and family ties. Alberta and Manitoba have already apologized for their role.

Cyntoia Brown granted clemency from life sentence after Kim Kardashian West pushes for release

Cyntoia Brown, who says she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim when she killed a man in 2004, was granted clemency today by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and will be released from prison on parole Aug. 7.

“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life,” he said in a statement.

Her case has attracted attention from U.S. criminal justice reform advocates, which amped up as the governor’s second and final term entered its final weeks. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and singer Rihanna threw their support behind the fight for her release.

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This file photo shows Cyntoia Brown appearing in court during her clemency hearing at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, Tenn., May 23, 2018.Lacy Atkins/The Canadian Press

Advocates for students with disabilities call on Ontario to stop school exclusions

Autism advocates in Ontario are calling on the province to remove a principal’s power to exclude students from school for an indefinite period, saying it is being misused as a disciplinary measure that disproportionately targets children with special needs, Caroline Alphonso writes.

A Globe and Mail analysis found that families with children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities are increasingly being asked to pick up kids early, start the school day later or simply keep them home for days. Most school districts don’t formally track these exclusions or shortened days. Informally, parent and advocacy groups have documented the problem and have seen a rise in the incidence of these events.

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index continued to rise today, after notching two weeks of gains, as advances in healthcare and tech stocks offset a drop in materials shares. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index finished up 77.51 points at 14,504.13.

On Wall Street, the resumption of U.S.-China trade talks helped eased concerns about the fallout from an extended trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Technology and consumer discretionary shares led gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 98.19 points to 23,531.35, the S&P 500 gained 17.75 points to 2,549.69, and the Nasdaq Composite added 84.61 points to 6,823.47.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Mississauga teen Bianca Andreescu jumped 45 positions to No. 107 in the world women’s tennis rankings today after her surprising run to the final at the ASB Classic, which included beating Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki (for subscribers).

Lawyers for Kevin Spacey entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in Massachusetts court today on charges he groped an 18-year-old busboy in 2016 (for subscribers).

Testifying during the second-degree murder trial of Dennis Oland, retired Saint John Staff-Sgt. Mike King could not hold back tears as he recalled the pain of being asked to lie on the stand at the first trial.

Seals have been swarming the streets of Roddickton, a northern Newfoundland town, with residents fearing for the animals’ safety but being warned to stay away.

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A seal is shown on a road in Roddickton, Nfld.The Canadian Press

TALKING POINTS

'Tis the season for hospital overcrowding – but the flu isn’t to blame

“The fundamental problem in Canada’s health system is not ER overcrowding so much as it is hospital overcrowding. The waits in the ER are due not to the inflow of patients but due to inadequate outflow – a lack of beds for patients who need to be admitted for care. That’s why we have a shameful amount of hallway medicine.” - André Picard

Bohemian Rhapsody’s surprise Golden Globe wins portend the Most Problematic Oscars Ever

“Plenty of bad movies have won Golden Globes, and Oscars, too. What is more troubling is the fact that the film arrived in today’s #MeToo and #TimesUp climate – an era when power players and gatekeepers across the industry have pledged real change – courtesy (sort of) director Bryan Singer.” - Barry Hertz (for subscribers)

Let’s make 2019 the year Canada finally gets pharmacare

“When it comes to drugs, the Canadian system is the broken American system. If you’re hospitalized and you’re given prescription meds, it’s free. But once you walk out of the hospital with a prescription to fill, you may be on your own.” - Globe editorial

The gutting of Barrick Gold – it didn’t have to be this way

“I have little doubt Mr. Bristow and his team will make money for shareholders. But what a loss for Toronto and for Corporate Canada. Could Barrick have taken another route that would have preserved its Canadian status and big head office? The answer is yes.” - Eric Reguly (for subscribers

LIVING BETTER

After more than 10 years as an advice columnist, The Globe’s David Eddie offers these five golden rules for being a better human being in the new year. Exercise empathy - remember, it’s not all about you. Let other people worry about their problems: You worry about your own. And be as nice to those closest to you as you are to the barista at the closest coffee shop and everything will go better for everyone.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

How a Montreal researcher is helping the blind experience visual art

Art aficionado Jean-Daniel Aubin lost his sight to glaucoma in 2012, so it had been years since he had seen one of his favourite Alfred Pellan paintings.

Last summer, Mr. Aubin, 64, absorbed the painting’s influence once again. A groundbreaking project combining art, graphic design and 3D printing by graduate researcher Patricia Bérubé put the Pellan at the fingertips of Mr. Aubin and hundreds of other visually impaired people through silicone lines and textures.

“It was quite a discovery. It ignited an emotion I hadn’t felt in a long time,” said Mr. Aubin, who worked for years in the perfume industry and has always had in interest in style, design and art. “When you’re standing there for a moment in front of that painting, it’s like we are no longer blind.” Globe subscribers can read Les Perreaux’s full story here.

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Patricia Bérubé poses by her master's thesis in art history at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. She made a 3D version of the above painting by Alfred Pellan so that blind people can appreciate the art.Christinne Muschi

The big diet this year could be no diet at all

Intuitive eating isn’t really a plan, nor is it a diet, Emma Waverman writes. Instead, it is a way of approaching food that is so simple it should be obvious. In a nutshell, it’s eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full and eating as much as what you want, when you want it.

It’s not necessarily a new concept, either – dietitians have been promoting this way of eating as far back as 1995 – but the approach has recently started to gain momentum online in an environment otherwise chock-full of messaging that promotes restrictive eating. There’s no shortage of Instagram accounts plugging “clean eating” or trendy diets such as keto, and some so-called experts promote the idea that thinness, goodness and avoiding certain food groups, such as grains or dairy, are all intertwined.

But advocates of intuitive eating say this has driven people away from listening to their bodies, and that an obsession with thinness has resulted in a constant anxiety that nobody is ever good enough. This fear, some argue, is crucial for the diet and fitness industry, one that generates hundreds of billions of dollars by capitalizing on people’s continued failure to lose weight – or a fear of gaining it.

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