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Good morning,

Highly contagious variants of COVID-19 have emerged in Britain, parts of Europe and South Africa, prompting a surge in infections and a wave of travel bans.

On Sunday, Ottawa announced a 72-hour suspension of flights from Britain beginning at midnight, Eastern time. The suspension does not affect cargo flights or overflights where passengers are not disembarking in Canada.

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Several European countries, including France, Italy and Ireland, have also suspended all flights to and from Britain for up to two weeks. Germany also put restrictions on travellers from Britain and South Africa while Israel banned travellers from Britain, South Africa and Denmark. Further steps could come today when European Union leaders hold an emergency meeting to discuss an EU-wide response to new variants of the virus.

In this file photo taken on 1, May 2020 Aircraft grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including planes operated by British Airways, are pictured on the apron at London Gatwick Airport near Crawley, southern England.

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

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Ontario expected to enter full lockdown on Christmas Eve, sources say

Ontario is expected to go into a provincewide lockdown on Christmas Eve as the government tries to gain control of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the most densely populated parts of the province. Premier Doug Ford is set announce the lockdown today.

Current lockdown rules prohibit the opening of indoor dining and gyms, and only allow for in-person shopping at essential and big-box stores. However, under the new lockdown, the rules could become even stricter.

Journalists’ phones hacked in widespread campaign by Saudi Arabia, UAE

According to Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto-based internet lab, operators affiliated with the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates hacked the phones of 37 journalists. The hack enabled the operators to turn on the microphones and cameras on the targets’ phones, and to remotely record phone calls and take photographs.

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All of the targeted journalists work for news channels affiliated with the government of Qatar, which has been at odds with Saudi Arabia and the UAE since the Arab Spring.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Taiwan urges Canada to join coalition against China: Taiwan says China has begun what military strategists call a “grey-zone” assault on the self-governing island, urging Canada and other like-minded democracies to use sanctions and increased trade ties with Taiwan to push back against this threat.

‘R’ is for Rohingya: Sesame Workshop recently unveiled two new Muppets in their cast of characters to reflect refugee children: six-year-old twins Noor and Aziz are Rohingya Muslims who escaped ethnic cleansing in their native Myanmar for refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Saturn and Jupiter set to put on best show since 1226: Skywatchers are gearing up Monday night for an unusually close alignment of Jupiter and Saturn. The rare spectacle can be observed across Canada without a telescope or other special equipment.

Concert catch-up: If you didn’t get a chance to watch the Sunday concert with Juno-award winning artist William Prince and his conversation with Globe reporter Jana G. Pruden, here are some snippets of the event.

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Indigenous leadership: In this instalment of the Globe’s conversation series on Indigenous leadership, the spotlight is on Dr. Tracy Bear. A Nehiyaw iskwêw (Cree woman), Dr. Bear is the academic lead and professor of record for the University of Alberta’s massive open online course Indigenous Canada.

Illustration by Chief Lady Bird


MORNING MARKETS

European shares drop on new virus concerns: European shares fell Monday, the U.S. dollar strengthened and market volatility surged amid growing unease over the economic impact of a new coronavirus strain in Britain which has seen several countries shut their borders to the U.K. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 2.8 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 3.86 per cent and 3.54 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished down 0.18 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.72 per cent. New York futures were sharply lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.32 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Reading is at the foundation of life and learning – and our youngest are losing ground

Janet Lane and Gary Mar: “The jobs in the current economy require people to adapt, learn and grow – sometimes very quickly. If Canada fails to provide adequate supports to the children who are falling behind today, they will slowly fall further behind in school and become less able to obtain good work in the jobs of the future.”

Ottawa is spending big on RCMP body cameras – but, inexplicably, not on Indigenous policing in Canada

Erick Laming: “The federal government needs to stop stalling and fully recognize Indigenous policing as essential. This should have been done a long time ago. This should be the main priority now.”

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Late season planning has exposed NHL’s incompetence

Cathal Kelly: “Skipping back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border is one thing. The United States is no longer a hot zone. It’s more like a viral oven.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

First person: Investing in ‘kin work’ keeps my extended family connected

Valerie Weaver-Zercher: “This holiday season, those of us for whom kin work does not come naturally likely feel a mix of relief and grief. We may even miss the mind-numbing chores of kin work, recognizing anew how they sustain fibres of connection in families and communities.”


MOMENT IN TIME

OH, WHAT FUN IT IS TO RIDE.... Fresh snow, split-rail fences, old farm buildings and a one-horse open sleigh -- what better way to get into the spirit of the season? James Lyons, on staff at Black Creek Pioneer Village, bundled in furs, shows Judy Molland, 19, (right), and Leslie Taylor, 7, the joys of winter, December 23, 1970.

JAMES LEWCUN/The Globe and Mail

For more than 100 years, photographers have preserved an extraordinary collection of 20th-century news photography for The Globe and Mail. Every Monday, The Globe features one of these images. This month, we’re out having fun in the snow.

If you’re bundled into the wooden seat of a horse-drawn sleigh on a cold winter’s day, you’re living the fantasy of a hundred Christmas cards and carols. A cutter ride across the frozen countryside used to be the standard mode of transportation in wintry climates, before motorized vehicles and snow tires took over. It still has a mythical quality to it, with the curved runners of the sleigh gliding effortlessly across ice and through snow, with the tinkling of the bells, the crunching of the snow and the steed’s chuffing the only break to the stillness of a winter’s day. Above, Globe and Mail photographer James Lewcun captures the moment at Toronto’s Black Creek Pioneer Village in 1970. With the promise of a hot drink at the end, it’s an enjoyable trip for everyone, except, perhaps, for the one doing all the work, the unflagging horse. Philip King

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