Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The latest on the coronavirus
China has relied heavily on Western methods to combat the Wuhan 2019-nCoV virus, which has killed 106 and infected many more, with 4,622 confirmed cases in China and a further 6,973 suspected cases, with hospitals employing equipment and medicine that would not be unfamiliar in Canada. But at the epicentre of the virus in Wuhan, many people are already turning to local remedies, crowding into traditional medicine hospitals to buy their own herbal pharmaceuticals, guided in part by health leaders in Hubei province who have described “significant” benefits from mixing Chinese and Western medicine.
Meanwhile in Canada, a Vancouver-area man in his 40s is self-isolating at home and is doing well as British Columbia records its first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus. The man began developing symptoms following a business trip to Wuhan, China. Upon his return, he contacted a primary health-care provider and was administered a diagnostic test which came back positive late Monday night.
The man’s case is still considered a presumptive positive pending confirmation from a laboratory in Winnipeg. Members of his family are asymptomatic but are in regular contact with public health officials.
President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China was sure of defeating a “devil” coronavirus that has spread across the world and rattled financial markets. Yet despite his confidence, international alarm was rising. From France to Japan, governments were organizing evacuations, while Hong Kong – scene of anti-China unrest for months – planned to suspend rail and ferry links with the mainland.
More than 8,000 people were calling for school boards in the region north of Toronto – a region in which the top reported ethnic origin is Chinese – to not allow students whose family members had travelled to China within 17 days to come to school. On Monday, the York board released a note to parents to address another virus: anti-Chinese xenophobia.
The profusion of surgical masks among travellers and airline and security personnel has much to do with memories of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), says Frederic Dimanche, director of the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. The good news, says Dimanche, is that the travel industry is reacting much more quickly and efficiently than it did in 2003. “They’ve learned from what happened and are taking measures from the very beginning to make people feel more comfortable.”
- The Wuhan coronavirus: What we know so far about the new disease
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Trump calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze
U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East plan, calling for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in east Jerusalem while recognizing Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank. While celebrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “vision for peace,” Trump’s plan is likely to be opposed by Palestinians who say it favours Israel and falls short of their goal of creating a viable independent state.
For his part, Trump called the plan a “win-win” for both Israel and the Palestinians, but it was created without input from Palestinian leaders and they already had rejected it before the President unveiled it at the White House with Netanyahu by his side.
Trump’s legal team argues against relevancy of Bolton testimony
Meanwhile, over at the impeachment hearings, President Donald Trump’s legal team argued against the relevance of testimony from Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton as the lawyers neared the end of their defence and the Senate braced for debate on whether to summon Bolton and other witnesses into the impeachment trial. Attorney Jay Sekulow took a dismissive swipe at an unpublished book by Bolton that is said to contradict a key defence argument about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. “It is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts,” Sekulow said, calling the book “inadmissible” and not evidence.
- Lawrence Martin: “Mr. Bolton’s 500-page book will be out in March. There will likely be other leaks from it before then. Mr. Bolton is a bomb-thrower, always has been.”
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Canada’s China envoy testifying against ‘repeated false allegations about me and McKinsey’
Dominic Barton spent much of the day in Manhattan – 11,000 kilometres from his post in Beijing – giving a deposition in a case in which a Texas judge is trying to determine whether the firm he ran for nine years has violated U.S. bankruptcy laws. Barton has been drawn into an battle between McKinsey and Co., the world’s largest management consulting firm, and Jay Alix, the billionaire founder of AlixPartners, which made a name for itself as a specialist in turning around bankrupt or near-bankrupt companies.
Photos suggest a U.S.-criticized Iranian satellite launch looms
Iranian officials and satellite images suggest the Islamic Republic is preparing to a launch a satellite into space after three major failures last year, the latest for a program which the U.S. claims helps Tehran advance its ballistic missile program. Satellite images show work at a launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province. The photos also show more cars and activity at a facility at the spaceport.
Shopify plans to take on 1,000 new employees for Vancouver office amid hiring spree across country
Nearly two years after Amazon unveiled plans to hire 3,000 people in Vancouver, two hours north of its home in Seattle, Shopify says it too will open an office just a few blocks away in the downtown core this year, hiring 1,000 people spread over four floors of the Bentall Centre office tower. Shopify’s expansion into Vancouver comes as global tech companies have descended upon the city for hiring sprees of their own, reshaping the city and its technology scene.
Juno Awards nominees announced; singer Alessia Cara to host
Performers at the 49th Juno Awards will include Daniel Caesar, Lennon Stella, the Glorious Sons and Tory Lanez, while honourees at the show will include singer Jann Arden, who will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Global equity markets rebounded in a broad rally and some safe-haven assets lost a bit of their appeal as investors took a less pessimistic view of the potential economic fallout from China’s coronavirus outbreak.
Gold fell and the Japanese yen eased against the U.S. dollar, but risk aversion in currency markets persisted, with the Australian dollar leading losers and the greenback strengthening to an eight-week high against a basket of six rivals.
Canada’s main stock index rose on Tuesday, following a steep sell-off in the previous session, helped by gains in energy stocks which got a boost from higher oil prices. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 58.36 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 17,500.88.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.79 per cent, while its emerging market index lost 0.05 per cent.
Shares on Wall Street also surged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 186.23 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 28,722.03, the S&P 500 gained 32.59 points, or 1 per cent, to 3,276.22 and the Nasdaq Composite added 130.37 points, or 1.43 per cent, to 9,269.68.
Oil futures edged up after falling for five days following the recovery in equities and talk that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies might tighten the market amid fears the coronavirus could weigh on oil demand. Brent futures settled up 19 cents (U.S.) at US$59.51 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled up 34 U.S. cents at US$53.48.
The strange pugilistic fantasies of Peter MacKay
Gary Mason: “I have no idea how central the macho image Mr. MacKay is trying to create for himself is to his campaign. But I would suggest that if it is deemed important, he is in trouble already.”
We can’t afford to skimp on mental health services
Louise Bradley: “We need smart, targeted and measurable investments in mental health to improve access to services – beyond brick and mortar clinics.” Louise Bradley is president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mind the gap: Canadians are talking about mental health – but getting care is still often out of reach
Psychiatric care is hard or impossible to find in some parts of the country, police are being forced into the role of front-line mental health workers, and, at school and in the work force, Canadians’ need for care is growing. Here’s a look at some of The Globe and Mail’s recent reporting and commentary and a look at how the issues are playing out here in Canada.
Five things to do before you book your next trip
Planning a March break escape? Now is the perfect time to run through what should become an annual travel checklist.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Why Sarah Davis is the leader Loblaw needs right now
The president of the food giant is ready for her close-up but, boy, the spotlight sure isn’t her natural habitat. What is? Spreadsheets, processes and store layout planograms. “I’m a very mathy person,” she says.