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Canada Morning Update: At least 49 dead after Mosque shootings in New Zealand; senators rebuke Trump over wall; May notches rare victory on Brexit

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49 killed in shootings at two New Zealand mosques

Forty-nine people were killed and more than 20 seriously wounded in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday, in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said was a terrorist attack.

The attack by at least one gunman during Friday prayers in the city of Christchurch is the country’s worst-ever mass shooting and was condemned throughout Asia.

“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said.

Ardern said New Zealand had been placed on its highest security threat level. She said four people in police custody held extremist views, but had not been on any police watchlists.

Some 48 people, including children, are being treated in Christchurch Hospital after shootings at two mosques in the city on Friday, New Zealand health authorities said.

Video footage widely circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded, showed him driving to one mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people inside.

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New Zealand’s Police Commissioner Mike Bush said 41 people were killed at the Al Noor mosque, the city’s main mosque, and another 7 at a mosque in the suburb of Linwood. One person died at Christchurch Hospital.

Political and Islamic leaders expressed their disgust at the deadly shootings, with some citing rising Islamophobia as being responsible.

As governments in Asia and the Middle East scrambled to find out how many of their citizens had been caught up in the Christchurch bloodshed, there was also anger that the attackers targeted worshippers at Friday prayers.

B.C.’s Auditor says the delay in new rules for oil-well cleanups is ‘not acceptable’

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has yet to force companies to clean up thousands of wells – despite liabilities estimated as high as $3-billion. Premier John Horgan’s government passed legislation nearly a year ago giving the regulator authority to make changes; Auditor-General Carol Bellringer says the continued absence of regulation “is just not acceptable.” (for subscribers)

OGC has vowed to put changes in place by May, but it’s not clear how stringent they will be. The regulator plans to “provide flexibility to achieve cost-efficient restoration” of dormant sites, which could fall short of hard timelines environmental groups have demanded.

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There are tens of thousands of inactive and idle wells across B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. Subscribers can go here to read The Globe’s investigation into the looming financial and environmental crisis.

Forced to flee again: Rohingya labelled ‘illegal migrants’ in India have headed to Bangladesh

Among the more than 1,500 who have arrived is Mohammad Salim, who had been living with his wife and three children in northwest India. But in late 2016, tragedy struck, with a fire engulfing a collection of wood-and-cardboard homes. Salim had been working past midnight, but he lost his family in the fire. And in the months and years that followed, Rohingya became a target: the Indian government called the refugees a “security threat” and “illegal migrants.”

Now, more than 900,000 Rohingya – who first fled violence in Myanmar in 2017 – live in the world’s most concentrated refugee settlement. “I did not want to come here. I was forced to come here,” Salim told Globe and Mail correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe. “I don’t know why Rohingya are persecuted everywhere.”

Why the Republican-controlled Senate rebuked Trump’s border-wall emergency

A dozen Republicans joined Democrats in voting to block the U.S. President’s emergency declaration designed to reallocate funds for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. Trump shot back, tweeting “VETO!” in reference to his promise to override any Senate moves.

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David Shribman argues that the principal reason for the rebuke was principle itself. The broader issue, he writes, is “the separation of powers at the heart of the American system that gives equal weight to the legislative and executive branches.” It’s a clear line of distinction between the way Canadian and U.S. politics work, he notes.

A rare victory for Theresa May sets the stage for another Brexit vote next week

British MPs voted to delay leaving the European Union for at least three months past the planned March 29 deadline. The Prime Minister will now once again put her withdrawal agreement to a vote next week; if she succeeds, she’ll ask the EU to extend Brexit until the end of June.

If it’s defeated, Parliament will be given the chance to decide the way forward – and that could include another referendum or revoking Brexit. And that’s not to mention the EU, which may opt to reject an extension or prolong the delay for years.

Who May needs to win over: Based on this week’s rejected exit deal, May must get 75 MPs to switch sides. Most of the opposition has come from a bloc of fellow Conservatives, as well as a Northern Ireland party whose 10 seats prop up May’s minority government.

Mario Di Tommaso: The man involved in a string of key OPP decisions

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The Ontario Provincial Police has been in a state of flux for months after the appointment of Ron Taverner, a friend of Premier Doug Ford, as commissioner. And a key figure behind a string of personnel decisions is Mario Di Tommaso, the deputy Minister of Community Safety. Di Tommaso played a prominent role in the the hiring of Taverner, the firing of a dissident OPP deputy and the hiring of a new commissioner who didn’t apply for the job the first time.

But Di Tommaso’s connections have raised some alarm: Before he joined the public service, he was Taverner’s Toronto police boss. There are also photos of him socializing with Taverner and Ford. The Globe’s Greg McArthur and Colin Freeze examine Di Tommaso’s backstory. (for subscribers)

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Jody Wilson-Raybould affirmed her commitment to the Liberals at an event in her Vancouver riding, but said there is “a path forward” to a higher standard of government. Her comments come as Justin Trudeau’s government continues to face questions about its handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair. In Quebec, Trudeau’s home province, 68 per cent of respondents to a recent poll said the Prime Minister has mismanaged the controversy.

Boeing’s 737 Max jets will be grounded for weeks if not longer as a software upgrade is tested and installed, U.S. lawmakers say. The black box from the Ethiopian Airlines crash is in France, where investigators began trying on Friday to piece together what went wrong.

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Stocks rise

Global stocks rose on Friday after a report that U.S.-China trade talks were making progress and a vote by U.K. lawmakers to delay the British exit from the European Union. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.6 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 1 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.3 and 0.6 per cent by about 6:30 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. The Canadian dollar was above 75 US cents.


Is the Boeing 737 Max safe? That depends on how you define safety

Ashley Nunes: “Some pilots claim that the company opted – with cost savings in mind – to use a sticky design that raised safety concerns. Boeing alleviated those concerns using state-of-the-art technology. But it allegedly ultimately chose – once again, with cost savings in mind – to limit how much pilots were told about that technology. Unsurprisingly, Boeing disputes this characterization, instead emphasizing its commitment to safety.” Ashley Nunes studies regulatory policy at MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics.

Beto O’Rourke’s mystique makes him the Democrat of destiny

Lawrence Martin: “[The 46-year-old Texan says he feels ‘it,’ feels that he’s the one to meet the challenge even though his only claim to fame is in losing a Senate race last year to Ted Cruz. Prior to that, he was a three-term Congressman who didn’t make much of a mark. But his audacity in feeling it may amount to more than delusions of grandeur. Republicans fear him. They’ve already put out an attack ad likening him to a white Barack Obama. Other Democratic contenders for the nomination fear him as well.”

The U.S. admissions scandal shouldn’t be a shock – and it may be happening in Canada

Adam Kassam: “While U.S. colleges garner attention, the same privilege exists on Canadian campuses. Indeed, with fewer schools and larger numbers of alumni, it’s likely that legacy rates at Canadian universities are much higher than the reported ones in the United States. This information should be publicly available, given that our universities receive staggering amounts of taxpayer dollars. However, the lack of desire in sharing or even collecting this type of demographic data is widespread.” Adam Kassam is a resident physician who writes about health care, public policy and international affairs.


(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)



Your guide to the 2019 Juno Awards

Drake won best rap song at this year’s Grammys – but don’t expect him to make a surprise victory speech at the Junos in London, Ont., this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Despite setting streaming records with his album Scorpion, the Torontonian has requested his name not be put forward for any nominations; he’s been estranged from the Junos since getting shutout when he hosted in 2011. Brad Wheeler outlines why his exclusion is a mistake. (for subscribers)

One Canadian guaranteed to be in attendance is two-time Grammy winner and four-time Juno winner Sarah McLachlan, who’s hosting the event. You can expect her to use the platform for “Spreading love and joy and gratitude. I know that sounds really corny,” she says. “But I think you can get your point across without being overt. One of the things that I love about music is how it unites people in a joyful manner. It elevates people. We might all have different opinions, but in this moment, we are here together.” (for subscribers)


U.K. clothes rationing ends four years after Second World War

(Peter Newark Pictures/Bridgeman Images)

Peter Newark Pictures / Bridgeman Images

March 15, 1949: First came food rations, and then two years later in the spring of 1941, the British people were asked to ration clothes in support of the war effort against Germany. Silk and wool were scarce – one was needed for parachutes, the other for uniforms – so each person was given a Clothing Book with 66 coupons that had to be stretched throughout the year. Coats cost 16 coupons, shoes (for men) were seven, dresses cost 11, underwear nine and a corset was three. Staying warm in the winter was no easy feat. (Children were allotted an additional 10 coupons to compensate for growth spurts). As the war dragged on, the government launched an aggressive campaign called “Make do and mend” and the push was on for Britons to make better use of needle and thread. By March of 1949 – four years after the war ended – clothes rationing ended but its impact on fashion is still felt. Trousers became acceptable on women, suits became more streamlined and sleek, and large-scale garment manufacturing led to mass-market fashion. As Britain’s economy slowly got back on its feet, department stores flourished ushering in a new era of postwar consumerism. – Gayle MacDonald

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