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The Canadian government is counting on President Joe Biden’s proposed reset of U.S.-China relations to open the door for the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, according to senior federal officials.

In talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris have shown great sympathy for the plight of the two Michaels, but they indicated the administration first must complete a review of U.S.-China relations before deciding how to handle the imprisoned Canadians, according to the two sources. The review is expected to take about four months, the Canadians were told.

Read more:

Kovrig and Spavor to face trial in China ‘soon,’ editor of Communist Party-run newspaper says

Campbell Clark: Trudeau talks a little tougher about China now that Biden’s got his back

A young man holds a sign bearing photographs of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, outside B.C. Supreme Court where Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was attending a hearing, in Vancouver, on Tuesday January 21, 2020. Canada has obtained agreement to allow greater family and consular access for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadians detained for more than two years in China.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckDARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Premiers to discuss reopening of ‘Atlantic bubble’ as tourism season nears

Atlantic Canada’s premiers will discuss tonight a tentative reopening of provincial borders later this spring, fuelling hope for a much-anticipated return of an “Atlantic bubble” that allowed East Coast businesses to salvage a tourism season in 2020.

But in the region’s $5-billion hospitality sector, where the summer months can make or break a season, the bigger question is when travellers from other parts of the country might be allowed in without restrictions. As the number of COVID-19 vaccinations grows across the country, a lot of people hoping to visit Atlantic Canada are left waiting and wondering.

Rogers deal complicates Shaw’s place at 5G airwaves auction

Rogers’s acquisition of Shaw would give it the ability to speed up building its 5G wireless network, but if the deal falls through it could leave Shaw in a difficult position when it comes to the spectrum auction this summer.

The $20.4-billion-deal would give Rogers access to Shaw’s fibre-optic infrastructure, putting it on more equal footing with rivals Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. But it could also see Shaw sitting out of the crucial telecom auction that will provide the building blocks companies need to offer the next generation of wireless technology.

Read more:

Rogers, accustomed to high debt, secures record bridge loan for Shaw deal

Campbell Clark: The Rogers-Shaw deal will make the Liberals nervous in an election year

Editorial: If Rogers buys Shaw, Canada will need new wireless competitors

Analysis: Canada’s efficiencies defence may enable Rogers-Shaw merger

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Anxiety drug increasingly found in opioid supply of overdose victims: A class of drugs commonly used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders is increasingly being found in the illicit opioid supply, raising the risk of overdose, producing complex overdoses that are more difficult to reverse and rendering medications used to treat substance use disorders ineffective in some cases.

Canada saw increase in killings of women and girls in 2020, report finds: An annual report into femicide in Canada has found that 160 women and girls were killed across the country last year – an increase from 2019, and a glaring reflection of the disproportionate violence faced by Indigenous women.

Medicago COVID-19 vaccine becomes first in Canada to reach large-scale trials: Quebec-based Medicago Inc. said yesterday it was moving forward with the Phase 3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a major step for the biopharmaceutical company that is aiming to play a role in curbing the coronavirus pandemic.

Advisory panel says AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for seniors

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine not linked to blood clots in preliminary European findings

For major economies, oil demand won’t hit pre-COVID-19 levels, IEA says: Global oil demand is unlikely to return to its pre-COVID-19 growth rate and the world will hit peak demand much sooner than expected, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.

Rebel priests vow to continue blessing same-sex couples: A dissident band of Roman Catholic priests leading a disobedience campaign against the Vatican said yesterday they would carry on blessing same-sex couples in defiance of Church orders.

Israeli archeologists announce discovery of dozens of new biblical text fragments: Israeli archeologists yesterday announced the discovery of dozens of Dead Sea Scroll fragments bearing a biblical text found in a desert cave and believed hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome nearly 1,900 years ago.


World markets await Fed announcement: Caution descended on markets on Wednesday with world stocks holding below recent record highs as investors waited to see whether the U.S. Federal Reserve would signal a faster path toward policy normalization than previously expected. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.26 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were both off 0.04 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished down 0.02 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.02 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.21 US cents.


Andrew Coyne: “... the case for monarchy is pretty simple to make. For all the abolitionists’ attempts to portray it as an antiquated relic (well yes, and while we’re at it, democracy’s getting a bit long in the tooth, isn’t it?), beside which their own alternative – assuming they could ever agree on an alternative – is reason itself, they have by far the harder side of the argument.”

Konrad Yakabuski: “By failing to privatize Canada’s airports when it could have, the Trudeau government missed out on an opportunity to reap billions of dollars for taxpayers and enable airports to tap new sources of capital that would have helped them withstand periods such as this one.”


Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Five memoirs on overcoming adversity to help get us through these (hopefully) last COVID months

With the country cold, gloomy and entering its second year of a global pandemic, hope is rather elusive. And while readers’ instincts may be to reach for escapist fiction, there is another way: leaning in to the grief of being human and letting writers who’ve grappled with it forge a path forward. A wave of absorbing dark-night-of-the-soul memoirs has been published lately, with five timely titles tackling the topic. Paradoxically, in this body of work on suffering, hope abounds. As does humanity.


An Indian official greets the Dalai Lama, second from left, on the latter's arrival at a military camp on the frontier of Assam April 18, 1959 in India.The Associated Press

Dalai Lama flees Tibet and heads to India

The spiritual and political leader of Tibet disguised himself as a common soldier, slipped past the crowds outside the palace and fled his homeland on this day in 1959. The Dalai Lama, then 23, feared for his life after a failed uprising by Tibetans against Chinese control of their country. Along with his mother and other members of his entourage, he crossed the harsh Himalayan terrain on foot and horseback, travelling only at night to avoid detection by Chinese troops. The group arrived at the Indian border two weeks later, reaching safety. India granted the Dalai Lama asylum and permission to establish a government in exile in the northern hill station of Dharamsala, already a sanctuary for thousands of Tibetans escaping Chinese repression. The Dalai Lama has never been back to Tibet. But he has travelled to dozens of other countries, campaigning for Tibetan autonomy under China’s rule. He has gained worldwide respect for his pacifist approach, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The 14th Dalai Lama is the first to achieve a level of celebrity that would have been unimaginable for his predecessors. Karen Howlett

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