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

After today there’s only one remaining obstacle to Rogers’s purchase of Shaw: a decision by federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

The Competition Bureau’s appeal of a tribunal decision that approved the sale was dismissed today by the Federal Court of Appeal, removing another roadblock that has contributed to the two-year-long timeline of the $20-billion deal.

“It would be pointless to send this case back to the competition tribunal for re-decision,” Justice David Stratas told the court. The appeal represented the Competition Bureau’s concern that the deal will hurt competition in the telecom industry. Canadians pay some of the highest mobile phone bills in the world.

Now, for the deal to be finalized, it must get Champagne’s stamp of approval.

“I will render a decision in due course,” he said in a statement today.

Use of Leopard 2 tanks on Ukrainian front approved by Germany

On the same day President Volodymyr Zelensky oversaw a dramatic shakeup of his country’s senior leadership in an effort to address allegations of corruption, he also got news he had been hoping for.

Germany has approved the shipment of about 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks for use in the war with Russia, and also cleared the way for other countries to send the same model of tanks. Germany has final say about whether Leopard 2s, built by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, can be delivered abroad.

Recent graft scandals in Ukraine, though small in scale, could undermine requests from Ukraine’s military for fresh donations – including tanks, artillery and ammunition – from its allies in Europe, the United States and Canada ahead of an expected large-scale Russian offensive this spring.

While the resignations and firings were meant to send a signal, critics inside Ukraine note that Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov escaped unscathed despite reports by independent journalists of wrongdoing within his ministry.

Academy recognizes Sarah Polley and a slate full of blockbusters

Writer and director Sarah Polley has earned Oscar nominations for her film “Women Talking.”Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley is among those being recognized with an Oscar nomination, as her film Women Talking will vie for Best Picture honours. She was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for the same movie. The sci-fi indie hit Everything Everywhere All at Once earned the most Academy Award nominations with 11.

A year after streaming services dominated the slate of nominees, this year’s crop reflects the return of moviegoers to large-screen cinemas. Blockbusters Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, and Top Gun: Maverick join Women Talking as Best Picture nominees.

The Oscars ceremony, hosted this year by Jimmy Kimmel, happens March 12.

Film critic Barry Hertz rounds up the day’s snubs and surprises, while a summary of the most notable nominees can be found here.

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Ex-PM of Lebanon charged over Beirut blast: Former prime minister Hassan Diab is among those charged with homicide after a judge unexpectedly resumed an inquiry into the 2020 explosion at the port of Beirut in which 220 people were killed.

Business coalition touts employee ownership of companies: A group that includes prominent business leaders is seeking changes that would make worker-owned companies more common in Canada and relieve current challenges in succession planning.

No more passport application backlog: The federal minister in charge of Service Canada says the agency has cleared the backlog of passport applications that inconvenienced many Canadians last year, with 98 per cent now processed.

Pence had classified documents, too: A lawyer representing former U.S. vice-president Mike Pence says “a small number of documents bearing classified markings” have been found at Pence’s Indiana home.


The New York Stock Exchange experienced technical glitches and Canadian telecom stocks soared on news the Rogers-Shaw deal was a step closer to approval, but ultimately North American indexes barely moved by the end of the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 104.4 points, or 0.31%, to 33,733.96, the S&P 500 lost 2.86 points, or 0.07%, to 4,016.95 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 30.14 points, or 0.27%, to 11,334.27.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 2.03 points, or 0.01%, at 20,629.55.

One Canadian dollar could be bought for 74.8 cents US.

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Preston Manning’s COVID-19 panel appointment is a $253,000 travesty

“It’s worth examining some of Mr. Manning’s views on this topic, starting with the ‘COVID commission’ he imagined, which, while fictional, certainly reflects his feelings on a range of issues, such as pandemic-related restrictions. At least part of it could have been written by a member of the ‘freedom convoy,’ such are the lengths to which it goes to talk about how people’s ‘rights and freedoms’ were ‘violated’ by ‘unelected bureaucrats.’ ” – Gary Mason

Random acts of violence won’t end if all we do is react to them

“We move on too quickly and throw money at reactive measures, while the actual problems are left to fester. [My] alleged attacker was caught – and so, to many, everything has been resolved. Case closed! But nothing could be further from the truth. … My story is just one of many that reveals the systemic failure of our social infrastructure.” – Julia Rady


Debunking gut cleanses and other diet myths

Proponents of colon cleanses and short-term diets insist there are a multitude of health benefits these practices can achieve. But what does the science say?

While short-term dietary change may bolster your microbiome, there’s no evidence that doing so has health benefits, or even what those health benefits might be. Likewise, research on colon cleansing is incredibly sparse; no studies have been done to show that colon cleansing delivers its claimed benefits.

Instead, eat a diet that’s high in nutrient and fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils and nuts and seeds.


Can the Liberal government fix its sorry innovation record with a new agency?

Illustration by Sebalos

Inspired by a similar, and successful, program in Finland, the federal government is preparing to roll out the Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency, its latest attempt to foster commercial innovation and reverse Canada’s productivity slump.

Focusing innovation initiatives on helping promising startups grow into global giants should be the top priority. That has been the clear call from many observers, and was the first recommendation in fall 2018 from Canada’s Economic Strategy Tables.

While the CIIA has been greeted with some optimism, innovation policy watchers are now waiting to see if Ottawa selects the right leaders and governance structures to deliver on the agency’s mandate.

Read the third instalment of The Globe’s Per Capita series, by technology reporter Sean Silcoff.

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