Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
WHO warns against ‘fatal’ complacency in global coronavirus fight
No country should make the “fatal mistake” of assuming it will be spared the coronavirus, the World Health Organization said today, as governments from Iran to Australia raced to contain the epidemic’s rapid global spread.
New infections reported around the world now surpass those in mainland China, where the virus emerged. More developments:
Markets: The U.S. stock benchmark fell into official correction territory and the Toronto Stock Exchange suffered a technical halt amid frenzied trading and mounting concerns over potential economic and corporate damage caused by the spread of the coronavirus. See market watch below for the numbers.
Italy: Prosecutors have opened an investigation into a hospital to determine whether the delayed treatment of an early coronavirus victim triggered a surge in infections that could have been avoided. The patient, known only as “Mattia” in the local media, is thought to be the first Italian coronavirus case in Lombardy.
Canada: Ontario has a sixth confirmed case – the husband of the province’s fifth case.
Opinion: How prepared is Canada’s health-care system to handle a potential coronavirus pandemic? – André Picard
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Carolyn Bennett set to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs amid pipeline protests
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has arrived in northern B.C. for meetings with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and her provincial counterpart Scott Fraser.
The hereditary chiefs said they were going ahead with the meeting after an agreement by the RCMP to stop patrols on a forest service road as well as to close a community outpost.
The concerns of the hereditary chiefs have sparked blockades, demonstrations and arrests in parts of Canada, including in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont.
Separately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has scheduled a first ministers meeting in Ottawa on March 12 and is inviting national Indigenous leaders to attend.
Opinion: Clearing the lands has always been at the heart of Canada’s Indian policy - Pam Palmater, professor and chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University
Canadians Kovrig, Spavor have received legal access during Chinese detention
Chinese authorities have allowed two detained Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor – to speak with lawyers, The Globe and Mail has learned.
The two were detained in China in mid-December, 2018, in apparent retaliation for the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. authorities.
For 12 months, they were denied access to legal representation, but have been allowed to see lawyers on multiple occasions in the past few months, a source says – until the COVID-19 outbreak swept across China and suspended the meetings.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
TD and National Bank release results: Toronto-Dominion Bank became the only major Canadian lender to miss first-quarter profit estimates, but still boosted its quarterly dividend, as Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce had earlier. Meanwhile, National Bank of Canada beat estimates for quarterly profit, helped by growth in its financial markets and wealth management units.
Baker wins approval to take HBC private: Hudson’s Bay executive chairman Richard Baker has won shareholder approval to take Canada’s oldest retailer private, as he tries to overhaul the unprofitable department store chain out of the glare of the public eye.
Ontario changing judicial appointment process: Ontario Attorney-General Doug Downey is moving ahead with changes to the way the province appoints judges and justices of the peace, including expanding the pool of qualified candidates and giving government more control over the committee that recommends judges.
RCMP to end security for Harry and Meghan: The RCMP will end its security protection of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan over the coming weeks. Harry and Meghan, who will stop using their royal titles to pursue financial independence from the monarchy, have been receiving RCMP protection since November while staying in Canada.
Lori Loughlin trial date set: In October, actress Lori Loughlin will be among eight parents accused of participating in a vast U.S. college admissions bribery and fraud scheme to face the first trial to result from the scandal.
Second Senate suspension for Beyak: The Senate has voted to suspend Lynn Beyak a second time over derogatory letters about Indigenous peoples posted on her website.
Steven Seagal charged after touting cryptocurrency offering: Actor Steven Seagal has agreed to pay $314,000 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after being charged with “unlawfully touting” a cryptocurrency offering, the regulator says.
Wall Street’s main indexes plunged with the S&P 500 confirming its fastest correction in history as the rapid global spread of coronavirus intensified investor worries about economic growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,197.43 points, or 4.44 per cent, to 25,760.16, the S&P 500 lost 137.99 points, or 4.43 per cent, to 2,978.4 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 414.30 points, or 4.61 per cent, to 8,566.48.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index dropped 324.48 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 16717.44 before a technical glitch ended trading for the day.
Investors, let’s contain our bearishness – this too shall pass
“The bottom line is that the damage to the market would have been a lot less intense had it not been so expensive and investor complacency so rampant heading into February.” - David Rosenberg
Tim Hortons’s half-baked Roll Up The Rim changes are just another example of corporate greenwashing
“The hypocrisy of a large company encouraging its customers to go green for a short-term campaign by using their branded plastic cups – while doing nothing to modify their standard disposable ones that continue to be one of the largest sources of litter in the country – is astounding.” - Glynis Ratcliffe
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
SkipTheDishes founders target big banks with new startup, digital fintech company Neo Financial
Two co-founders of Prairie startup success SkipTheDishes have launched a venture called Neo Financial, which aims to stand out in the crowded and competitive market to provide a digital alternative to the big banks.
Neo co-founders chief executive Andrew Chau and chief merchant officer Jeff Adamson – formerly senior executives at Winnipeg-based SkipTheDishes – and chief technology officer Kris Read, are readying the market launch for later this year.
Their 50-person Calgary startup will launch a mobile app-based high-interest savings account and no-fee Mastercard that doubles as a loyalty card. Neo, founded 16 months ago, says thousands of prospective customers have signed onto its waiting list, while hundreds of local merchants are joining the loyalty program in the Calgary area – its first pilot market – including restaurant chain Earls. Read Sean Silcoff’s full story here.