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

Edward Rogers and Brad Shaw appear at CRTC hearing

Rogers Communications’ $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications would give both telecoms the scale they need to compete effectively against global streaming giants and to deliver 5G wireless services, Edward Rogers and Brad Shaw told the CRTC today.

The sons of the founders of Rogers and Shaw kicked off five days of hearings. The telecom regulator is reviewing the transfer of Shaw’s broadcasting distribution business to Rogers.

Those opposing the merger argue that the combined entity’s greater scale in the broadcasting distribution market would give it too much control over the availability of programming services.

The hearings begin after weeks of turmoil at Rogers, which culminated in the departure of the wireless giant’s CEO, Joe Natale, last week.

Read more: Rogers looks to cash in on Blue Jays to pay down company debt ahead of Shaw deal

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Britain takes different approach as much of Europe clamps down amid fourth wave of COVID-19

As much of Europe begins to tighten restrictions to curb a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, Britain remains an island of calm and the government has no plans to change its relatively light-touch approach to the disease, Europe correspondent Paul Waldie reports.

Soaring infections in many European countries have led to the introduction of curfews, new vaccine passport rules and tighter regulations surrounding face coverings, sparking protests in many.

Britain, by contrast, has seen very little movement in its daily infection rate and there has been no attempt to tighten already minimal social restrictions. The government has been banking heavily on vaccines and hoping that Britons are slowly learning how to live with the virus.

In other COVID-19 developments: More provinces are revealing the timing for the rollout of vaccinations for children 5 to 11. Parents in Ontario can start booking appointments tomorrow, with vaccination expected to begin Thursday. Saskatchewan expects to begin vaccinations on Wednesday. Check out our explainer here for what to know about efficacy, side effects and more.

Opinion: Are the new COVID-19 pills a pandemic game-changer? André Picard

NDP, Liberals having ‘ongoing’ discussions about fast-tracking legislation, Singh says

Developing story: Members of Parliament returned to the House of Commons today, with the first order of business being to elect the Speaker. Liberal MP Anthony Rota has been chosen. Tomorrow, Governor-General Mary Simon delivers the Speech from the Throne.

Ahead of today’s session, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters that his party is in “ongoing” discussions with the Liberals about fast-tracking legislation that both parties support, but is warning that the NDP will strongly oppose the government’s plans to scale back COVID-19 benefits.

Opinion: Parliament is finally back. Here’s a refresher on how it works Globe editorial

B.C. update: CP to resume freight service between Vancouver and Kamloops

Canadian Pacific Railway says freight trains will resume moving on the railway between Vancouver and Kamloops, B.C., by midday Tuesday, after crews worked to repair damage from last week’s flooding.

CP said hundreds of workers repaired the tracks in 30 locations around-the-clock to restore rail service on the carrier’s busiest corridor. The damage severed rail links to the port of Vancouver, the country’s biggest marine shipping hub.

Analysis: The province had been warned natural disasters would hit more often, and it was not prepared

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Driver identified in Wisconsin parade tragedy: Investigators are looking into whether the SUV driver who plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40, was fleeing a crime, a law enforcement official has told The Associated Press. One person was taken into custody and has been identified by sources as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks.

Ontario doing little to protect at-risk species, AG says: Ontario’s Environment Ministry “automatically” approves permits for developments that may harm at-risk species, the province’s Auditor-General says in a report that also concludes the government broke its own law by failing to consult the public before making legislative changes that affect the environment.

Powell nominated for second Fed chair term: U.S. President Joe Biden is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing Powell’s stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession.

Optometrists, Ontario to negotiate on funding: The province’s optometrists and Premier Doug Ford’s government are entering into formal negotiations over a funding dispute that has dragged on for nearly three months, with eye doctors agreeing to resume publicly funded services for seniors and children in the meantime.

Export of PEI spuds to U.S. halted: Canada has stopped exports of fresh potatoes from Prince Edward Island to the United States, facing a threat from the U.S. to ban the shipments itself over concerns about the potato wart fungus, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

Edmonton Elks clean house: After a disappointing CFL season, the Edmonton Elks have fired president and chief executive officer Chris Presson, general manager Brock Sunderland and head coach Jaime Elizondo.

In today’s episode of The Decibel podcast: Globe columnist Elizabeth Renzetti discusses the hand signal that was created for people to silently ask for help and that went viral on TikTok. Renzetti also explores what we need to know about the more subtle signs of abuse that often go overlooked.

MARKET WATCH

The S&P 500 closed lower today after U.S. President Joe Biden picked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to lead the central bank for a second term, while Wall Street lenders rallied on the prospect of interest rate hikes in next year. The TSX also closed lower, with the tech sector - as it was on Wall Street - particularly weak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.27 points or 0.05 per cent to 35,619.25, the S&P 500 slipped 15.02 points or 0.32 per cent to 4,682.94 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 202.68 points or 1.26 per cent to 15,854.76.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 134.26 points or 0.62 per cent to 21,420.77.

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TALKING POINT

Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal exposes an illness in the United States, but not one with its courts

“The tragedy ... is that a 17-year-old kid could wander the streets with a military-style semi-automatic weapon and not be convicted of even a misdemeanour, thanks to an absurdity in Wisconsin law that permits minors to possess rifles as long as the barrel exceeds a certain length.” Robyn Urback

LIVING BETTER

New findings add to growing evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet helps protect cognitive health in later life. They also suggest that the higher a diet’s inflammatory potential, the greater the risk of dementia. While there is no single anti-inflammatory diet, foods many well-researched traditional dietary patterns are anti-inflammatory such as the Mediterranean, Nordic and Okinawan diets. So are vegetarian and vegan diets that are based on whole foods.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Françoise Laporte pushed past the grief of the October Crisis to thrive as a citizenship judge

Françoise Laporte with her husband Pierre circa 1965.Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

On Saturday, Oct. 10, 1970, Françoise Laporte was getting ready to go out for the evening with her husband, Pierre Laporte, a Quebec cabinet minister. Meanwhile, he was tossing around a football with a nephew in front of their home in St. Lambert, Que., while he waited for her.

Suddenly, a green Chevrolet pulled up and masked members of the Front de libération du Québec whisked away her husband at gunpoint. The brazen abduction was the second by the FLQ in five days and signalled an escalation in what became known as the October Crisis, one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history. A week later, he was found strangled to death in the trunk of the same car.

Despite her grief, Françoise Laporte, who died Nov. 2 at 98, went on to thrive in a new career as a citizenship judge from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. Ottawa offered her the post based on her past work volunteering with various immigration organizations. Read Monte Stewart’s full obituary here.

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