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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Rail and port blockades threaten to hurt the economy, industry groups warn

Canada’s retailers and manufacturers are braced for shutdowns and dwindling supplies as blockades at ports and on rail lines bring much of the country’s rail-freight network to a halt.

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Industry groups say the protests in support of Wet’suwet’en Nation opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C. have stopped rail shipments of perishable food, chlorine for water treatment and raw materials for manufacturers.

Canadian National Railway last week obtained court injunctions against protests in B.C. and Ontario and is "working with local law enforcement” on seeing them enforced, spokesman Jonathan Abecassis says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the protests while in Africa today, saying while the federal government respects the right to peaceful protest, the rule of law must be respected.

Background: How the Wet’suwet’en hereditary system at the heart of the Coastal GasLink conflict works

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Veteran journalist Christie Blatchford dies at 68

Christie Blatchford, whose career of almost five decades saw her serve as a reporter and columnist at all four major daily newspapers published in Toronto, died this morning after a brief battle with cancer. She was 68.

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Blatchford had been diagnosed last fall, after extreme pain brought her to doctors. The cancer had begun in her lungs and metastasized to her spine and hip.

She began her career at The Globe and Mail while still a journalism student, working as a part-time copy editor. She would go on write as a columnist on sports and humour, report while embedded with Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and cover courts, crime and politics.

Read more: The quotable Christie Blatchford: Snapshots from her decades-long career in journalism

The latest on the coronavirus: cases drop in Canada, rise on quarantined cruise ship

Ontario has resolved a case of the coronavirus for the first time, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says. The patient tested negative for the virus two times in 24 hours and is no longer considered infectious, bringing the total number of cases in Canada to six.

In Japan, another 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship – 10 crew members and 29 passengers – bringing the total to 175, the health ministry said. Two Canadians are reportedly among the new cases.

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The Globe in China: Authorities and high-tech companies are using surveillance technology to combat the spread of the virus now officially known as COVID-19:

  • Facial-recognition systems with thermal-imaging capabilities are identifying and tracking people with fevers.
  • Cameras and microphones outside the homes of people in quarantine are sounding the alarm if they detect unusual sounds or human movement.
  • Apps are collecting personal information to monitor subway, bus and taxi passengers.

All Ontario schools to close Feb. 21 in first joint, provincewide strike

All Ontario schools – public, Catholic and French – will be closed next week on Friday as the four main teacher unions stage the first provincewide strike amid stalled contract talks with Premier Doug Ford’s government.

The joint legal strike will take 200,000 teachers and education workers off the job and leave thousands of families will be left scrambling to make childcare arrangements.

Among the issues for the various education unions are class-size increases in high school, mandatory online courses for high-school students and funding for special education supports. Education Minister Stephen Lecce has maintained that the main issue in negotiations has been wages.

Related: E-learning in Ontario: Way of the future or an ineffective teaching model?

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Republicans reject calls for probe into Stone case: Republicans in Congress rejected calls to investigate possible political interference at the U.S. Justice Department after it asked for a lighter prison term for President Donald Trump’s long-time adviser Roger Stone. The department’s decision to back off from its initial sentencing recommendation prompted all four prosecutors to quit the case.

Shopify records first profit: Shopify shares surged today as the Ottawa e-commerce platform reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings - and its first profit - closing up 7.7 per cent at $705.90 on the TSX.

Bombardier reportedly to receive offer for rail business: Bombardier is set to receive a binding offer for its train business from French rail giant Alstom, according to French media, as the Canadian transportation giant races to pare its heavy debt load.

College Street Bar sexual assault sentences: A former owner and manager of Toronto’s College Street Bar were sentenced to a total of nine years each for the hours-long drugging and sexual assault of a barely conscious woman in 2016.

Pospisil, Auger Aliassime advance in Rotterdam: Canadian tennis pro Vasek Pospisil has recorded another major upset, beating top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Fellow Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime advanced, beating Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Both won in straight sets.

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Blue Jays’ McGuire arrested on exposure charge: Toronto Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire is facing a misdemeanour exposure charge after an incident last week in Dunedin, Fla., and a court date has been scheduled for next month, authorities said.

MARKET WATCH

Global equity markets scaled fresh highs today after China reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, boosting hopes the epidemic will be contained and driving up the price of commodities sensitive to Chinese demand.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 277.39 points to 29,553.77, the S&P 500 gained 21.64 points to close at 3,379.39 and the Nasdaq Composite added 85.61 points to end at 9,724.55.

Canada’s main stock index pushed into record territory led by the technology sector as shares in Shopify soared. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 55.74 points at 17,832.85.

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TALKING POINTS

Who’s to blame for the Muskrat Falls bailout? It’s not who you think

“Wait, it wasn’t Liberals who created this mess, was it? Prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives stepped up in 2012 to provide a $5-billion loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls … Harper who, in 2002, blamed Atlantic Canada’s “culture of defeat” on interventionist Liberal policies.” Konrad Yakabuski

Vancouver’s Sedin Twins will be remembered for their skill on the ice and their benevolence off it

“The two greatest players in the long, tortured annals of the Canucks franchise will have their numbers – 22 and 33 – retired on Wednesday, ahead of the team’s game against Chicago. It is the most uncontroversial decision the team has ever made.” - Gary Mason

LIVING BETTER

Now that Ottawa allows people to pay adviser fees on RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs from an outside account, should you do it? The answer is yes for tax-free savings accounts, a new report from the tax and estate planning people at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says. For registered retirement savings plans and registered retirement income funds, it may actually make sense to pay your fees from within your plan. According to CIBC, it all depends on your tax bracket, age and the rate of return you’re targeting over the long term.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

He broke my heart, but I cannot let him go

Romantic heartbreak distinguishes itself from other sorrows by the dismissal and loneliness that are stitched through its wool. Here is the conscious exit of someone who has free will to do otherwise. Here is the loss of a partner and best friend and self-worth. Of care and concern and comfort. Here is the loss of peace.

And so this is heartbreak’s grim essence: a message from the universe that you are not precious and a sentence to process that on your own.

For me, heartbreak was all-consuming. It stole all my quiet pleasures – loving my lunch, remembering a movie, filling with music. These were extravagances I could no longer accommodate. Now the whole of my being was occupied with mourning. Figuring, remembering, revisiting, untangling, replaying. Read Laura Pratt’s full essay here.

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