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

U.S. Federal Reserve delivers small rate hike

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, but signalled it could soon pause further hikes to borrowing costs amid recent turmoil in the financial markets set off by the fall of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

In a key shift driven by the sudden collapse this month of the two U.S. banks, the Fed’s latest policy statement no longer indicated “ongoing increases” in rates will likely be appropriate. Instead, the Federal Open Market Committee said only that “some additional policy firming may be appropriate.” That leaves open the chance that one more quarter-percentage-point rate increase, perhaps at the Fed’s next meeting, would represent at least an initial stopping point for the rate hikes.

Officials at Canada’s central bank, meanwhile, expressed concern that inflation could get “stuck” above their 2-per-cent target, according to a summary of the deliberations ahead of their decision to hold the key interest rate steady March 8.

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New York grand jury in Trump probe not meeting Wednesday

Manhattan prosecutors postponed a scheduled grand jury session Wednesday in the investigation into allegations Donald Trump made illegal hush-money payments to adult-entertainment star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential bid, at least temporarily slowing a decision on whether to charge the ex-president.

The grand jurors were asked to be on standby for Thursday, when they may hear from another witness, according to a person familiar with proceedings that appear to be nearing a decisive vote on whether to indict Trump.

Biden urged to raise Canadian bills’ impact on tech giants

President Joe Biden has been urged to escalate U.S. concerns about the impact of two Canadian bills on Google, Facebook and Netflix during his two-day visit to Ottawa this week, after tensions grew between the tech giants and the federal government over the measures.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has expressed disquiet about the bills’ financial implications for U.S. companies in meetings with her counterpart, Trade Minister Mary Ng.

In downtown Ottawa, signs of the anticipated arrival of Biden and first lady Jill Biden were already visible on the streets. About 20 police vehicles were spotted circling the area, as U.S. flags were strung up near the Prime Minister’s Office and the main street in front of Parliament Hill.


Boris Johnson denies he lied about ‘partygate’: In a parliamentary committee hearing that could mark the end of his tumultuous career, the former British prime minister insisted that he did not knowingly mislead MPs about the rule-breaking government parties. If it rules he deliberately lied, he could face suspension or lose his seat.

Fox, Dominion Voting Systems lawyers spar over top executives’ liability: A Delaware judge wrapped up two days of hearings without ruling on both parties’ requests that he decide elements of the defamation case in their favour without moving to a full trial.

A quarter of world population lacks safe drinking water, UN says: Forty-fix per cent also don’t have access to basic sanitation, according to a UN report that painted a stark picture of the huge gap that needs to be filled if the UN is to meet its goal of ensuring all people have access to clean water and sanitation by 2030.

Ontario to get rid of temporary paid sick days: Ontario has decided not to extend its temporary program for paid sick days, when it expires at the end of March.

Why millennials and Gen Z are Alberta bound: For many making the move to Alberta, it all comes down to affordability. The latest Stress Test episode hears from Canadians who left for the Western province and how it’s worked out for them.


Wall Street gyrated to end sharply lower on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered a widely expected policy hike of 25 basis points. The three major U.S. stock indexes, which were mostly directionless prior to the Fed announcement, jumped higher and then deflated as investors digested the accompanying statement and Chair Jerome Powell’s subsequent Q&A session.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 530.49 points, or 1.6 per cent, at 32,030.11. The S&P 500 index was down 65.90 points, or 1.7 per cent, at 3,936.97, while the Nasdaq composite was down 190.15 points, or 1.6 per cent, at 11,669.96. The S&P/TSX composite index was down 122.14 points at 19,532.78.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.93 cents US compared with 72.96 cents US on Tuesday.

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The new climate change report brings the harsh truth into sharp focus

“Decarbonizing at the pace and scale the IPCC calls for (less than seven years to cut emissions in half?!) will require total collaboration – a mass mobilization across all levels of society, co-ordinating all levels of government. Instead, we have a former oil and gas lobbyist sitting in the Alberta premier’s seat, and a federal opposition leader who rose to power by promising to “Axe the [carbon] Tax” and build pipelines in every direction.” - Arno Kopecky

The Taliban, Afghanistan’s governing terrorists, face a terror problem of their own

“The Taliban is unlikely to attract any allies in its fight against ISKP while it continues to serve as a patron for other insurgent and criminal groups. On their own, they lack the capacities to rein in the growing insurgencies of groups with vast resources and large stocks of foreign fighters. But this is a problem for the West, too. Analysts watching Afghanistan have warned that the Taliban’s failure could turn Afghanistan into fertile ground for terrorist groups looking for rent-free, lawless real estate from where they can target other countries.” - Ruchi Kumar

Trudeau retreats, and retreat is his best political strategy

“Mr. Trudeau keeps saying that Canadians don’t want to see Chinese interference become a partisan issue. The Liberals accuse the Conservatives of turning the issue into a political circus, but the truth is they hope the hearings will look like one. At any rate, Ms. Telford was always going to end up having to testify, at least to avoid something worse. The Liberals suffered damage in a vain attempt to prevent it. Mr. Trudeau should learn a lesson about the value of retreat.” - Campbell Clark


Nature-focused vacations a growing trend that connects travellers to their destination

If you’re looking to spend more time with nature on your next vacation, unique offerings in Canada abound. Stacy Lee Kong explores the rise in popularity of nature-based tourism and shares some tips on where you should consider booking your next getaway.


Unlike the U.S., Canada hasn’t had a major bank fail in a century. History explains why

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People stand outside Home Bank in Toronto in December, 1923. The bank's collapse 100 years ago triggered a homegrown banking crisis.John Boyd/The Globe and Mail

On a Saturday morning in 1923 in Toronto’s financial district, an employee appeared behind the locked doors of a bank headquarters with a sign that read: “Bank Closed. Payment Suspended.” It was nailed to the stately building’s mahogany doors, and with that, a Canadian financial institution was dead.

The collapse of the Home Bank of Canada 100 years ago triggered a homegrown banking crisis, the highlights of which are uncannily familiar today.

Tens of thousands of depositors faced the loss of their savings, sparking a debate over how much bank deposits should be guaranteed at the federal level. Speculative lending, poor management and lack of oversight soon came to light. Canadians panicked, their faith in the financial system shaken. Other banks were shored up to stave off a run on deposits. Read the full story by Tim Shufelt.

Evening Update is written by Beatrice Paez. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.